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While a young second lieutenant at nav school at Mather Air Force Base in 1983, I was trundling along in a T-37 in the high teens on a training mission. I overheard the following conversation between an Air Force pilot and a controller who was apparently unfamiliar with the Northern California air space and the SR-71s and U-2s that routinely flew from Beale AFB. ... Air Force Pilot: "Oakland Approach, Air Force XX for FL600." ... Oakland Approach: "AF XX, Oakland Approach. If you can reach it, it's yours. Cleared for FL600." ... Air Force Pilot: "Roger that, Oakland Approach. Descending to FL600." ... The pilot and I just looked at each other and laughed! Only in America! -- Chris Fairchild More

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One day at Spangdahlem Air Base (Germany GCA), I was working a couple of F-16s. One was on the go for his last approach. ... Me: "Callsign, reset transponder, squawk XXXX, and ident." ... Pilot: "Roger. XXXX on the flash." ... Me: "Callsign, radar contact." ... [after a moment] Me: "Callsign, your ident feature appears stuck." ... Pilot: "Roger." ... [pause] ... Pilot: "How about now?" ... Me: "Negative. Still flashing." ... Pilot: "O.K. Stand by." ... [still keyed - I can hear loud banging in the background] ... Pilot: "How about now?" ... Me: "That did it. Turn right, heading 050. Vector for ILS, runway 23." ... Who says violence and technology don't work together? -- Robert More

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While flying back to Arkansas from eastern Tennessee, we stopped at McKeller-Sipes Regional Airport (in Jackson, Tennessee) to take advantage of their $4.75-per-gallon low lead. Being a slow day at the field, after clearing the active, the tower told us to stay on tower frequency and gave us taxi instructions to the FBO. ... As we were taxiing in, we saw the line guy waiting on us, still a couple of hundred yards away. We then noticed two large tanks just to our right and called tower to ask if these were self-serve fuel tanks and if it was O.K. to stop there and not go on over to the FBO. ... Tower replied: "Affirmative for self-serve. He'll just drop his head and mope back into the FBO." ... It made our day to hear a little "official" humor. -- Dave Myrick More

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I was arriving in the Washington, D.C., area with a destination of Manassas Regional in Virginia. There was a mid-morning thunderstorm that was causing aircraft, including Air Force One, to request deviations when I heard the following. ... After being denied a 20-degree deviation to the right to avoid weather and given an alternative of 30 degrees left, a GA pilot sounded irritated and was particularly demanding with a second request for a 20-degree deviation to the right. ... Sounding ever the professional, Approach responded: "I can give you 20 right, but if I can't give you any more if you need it because that will put you in the Washington restricted airspace and you'll have an F-15 escort within a couple of minutes." ... The response? After a short pause, a more humble: "I'd like the 30-degree left deviation, please." ... I would have also. -- Joe Shelton More

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Doing my run-up and getting ready to depart for my first cross-country as a student, the tower instructed me to hold short. Over the radio, in a frantic voice, I heard: "Help me. Help me. I'm a student pilot on my first cross-country, and I'm lost. I've been flying around and around, and I don't know where I am." I sat and listened as the controller failed to establish the student's location. Finally, the tower told the student to please hold then told me I was clear for take-off. I flew away listening as the controller and student continued on and on trying to establish a ground reference. -- Michael Woodard More

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While traversing New York/Washington Center air space, we received a frequency change. However, when trying to check in, the frequency was congested with multiple aircraft being worked. This went on for a while. Finally there was a break, and the PM was able to check in: "Good afternoon, New York. NXXXXX -- long-time listener, first-time caller; FL410." -- Julian McVay More

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True story: During my first visit to AirVenture, known as "Oshkosh," around 1996, I brought my hand held radio to listen to the tower. ... I heard a guy ask one question: "Tower, can you tell me where the traffic is?" ... Tower responded: "Sir, their is traffic in front of you, behind you, to your left, to your right and above you. There probably is traffic below you. Just be real careful out there." ... I turned off my radio, as I had heard it all. -- Matthew Bunch More

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Last Friday, we departed Detroit City VFR northbound in my SR22 for some sightseeing and requested traffic advisories from Selfridge Approach. Shortly thereafter, we heard this exchange: ... Selfridge Approach: "Cessna XXX, traffic at one o'clock and two miles. A whacko." ... Then a brief pause. ... Selfridge: "Correction: That's a 'Waco.'" ... Cessna XXX: "Maybe he's both!" -- Brian Litch More

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Last week, my wife and I heard this radio exchange while flying across Texas: ... San Angelo Approach: "Cardinal XXX, you got time for a quick question?" ... Cardinal XXX: "Sure." ... SJT Approach (in a deep Texas drawl): "Is there somethin' special about your flight today? Special cargo or something?" ... Cardinal XXX: "Nope." ... San Angelo Approach: "They just have you on a beacon code that's usually reserved for unusual stuff." ... Cardinal XXX: "Well, that's the only code my transponder'll squawk, so they let me have it." ... Anonymous Aircraft: "Nice." ... Cardinal XXX: "Well, I tried hittin' it with a hammer but " ... SJT: [Amused laughter while trying to think of something else to say.] ... We laughed all the way to San Antonio. More

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During the early '70s, Pappy Wilkes, a former Piedmont Airlines DC-3 captain, was flying a pressurized Queen Air 88 along the east coast of Florida. He had been cleared to climb to 15,000. Being hot and heavy, the 88 was very slow climbing. ... An impatient ATC controller asked Pappy when he expected to reach his assigned altitude. ... Pappy, in his best Southern drawl, responded: "What time do you get off?" ... The controller said: "1600." ... And Pappy replied: "I might make it by then." ... Anyone who remembers Pappy will confirm that this episode was completely in character for him. -- Jim Hamilton More