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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

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I was flying through New York's air space one typical busy Friday afternoon. The controller on 124.07 was shotgunning instructions out to a dozen or more airplanes when a flight instructor grabbed the frequency and started requesting multiple practice approaches into Danbury (CT), thoroughly describing each missed approach and the path to the next approach. He had the frequency for about 20 seconds. I guess he figured he'd better get it all in while he could. The controller came back, obviously annoyed. ... NY Approach: "Aircraft calling for practice approaches, call back later." ... Instructor: "How much later?" ... NY Approach: "How about 9:30 tonight?" -- Jerry Plante More

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Several years ago, a large jet flown by a famous British airline was approaching New York for a landing at JFK. They were still at their cruising altitude of FL 350 and had been asking New York Center for a lower altitude continuously for several minutes. New York Center was very busy and obviously had neglected to clear them to a lower altitude because of their high work load, which was not unusual during the afternoon peak arrival times in New York. Finally, NY Center replied to the crew and asked them if they could descend to 10,000 feet within the next 20 miles from their altitude of FL350. The frustrated captain replied in his best and most proper English: "That is affirmative, sir! However we cannot take the aeroplane with us!" -- Cal Tax More

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I was listening to O'Hare ground one claggy fall night, and several arriving flights were being sent to the penalty box due to delays. One arriving flight protested, saying they were promised their gate would be open. ... Ground: "Flight 123, proceed to the box." ... Flight 123: "But we were promised -- !" ... All of a sudden, several mic clicks could be heard, and the sounds of babies crying filled the frequency: "WaWaWaWaWaah." ... Then silence. ... Then Flight 123: "123 is proceeding to the box." ... Multiple mic clicks of approval accompanied the concession. Talk about being taught a lesson by your peers! I cracked up. -- Steve More

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I fly from a small air field outside Johannesburg, South Africa. When I had less than ten hours experience, I thought it would be a great idea to fly to one of the larger (controlled) air fields closer to Johannesburg to refuel. ... I requested joining and landing instructions from the tower. Very nervously. Tower requested that I report on final approach next. ... In South Africa, the broadcasting language is English, and I speak an indigenous language, Afrikaans. I wanted the aircraft on the apron to expedite because my approach was slow in the light sport aircraft I was flying. ... My language failed me at that moment, and this is what I said: "Tower, ZU-ABC. The aircraft on the apron is welcome to EXCAVATE." -- Eben van Niekerk More