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Climbing out of Houston on a Sunday afternoon: Houston Center: "Citation 123, please see if you can contact Challenger ABCD on 128.17 and have them contact Houston Center." [A few minutes pass.] Challenger ABCD: "Houston Center, this is Challenger ABCD checking in at flight level 360." Houston Center: "Roger, Challenger ABCD. Descend to FL 240. What was the last frequency you were on?" Challenger ABCD: "It was New York Center 132.05. They never handed us off." Peter Serodino via e-mail More

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In the late 1950s, our aero club was transitioning from Tiger Moths without radio to "cabin class" with the addition of a Tri-Pacer and a C-172A, where the flights were made without headsets using the overhead speaker. It came that an MK-5 Auster we had been restoring was due for test flying, and our chief flying instructor decided he must make the flight. The Auster duly taxied to the far edge of our all-over field, where it sat for five minutes before returning to the tarmac. The CFI climbed out and stated that he could hardly hear the speaker, and please do not waste his time until it was fixed. Nothing was really said; we just pointed to the earphones hanging behind his head. Jim Hammond via e-mail More

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Overheard during a very, very rough ride out of Newark last week: Center: "Airliner 123, how is your ride?" Airliner 123: "The rides are crap." [momentary pause] Airliner 123: "I'm sorry. That was unprofessional of me. The rides are unsatisfactory." Center: "Your first description was acceptable." Rob Nabieszko via e-mail More

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Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK, elevation 303 feet) with a long-standing glider club on the field, recently began tower operations. After the tower had been operating for about one week, on a relatively busy Saturday afternoon I heard this exchange: Glider: "Frederick Tower, Glider XXX at 1,600 feet inbound for a right downwind for landing runway 12, with information Sierra ... ." Tower: "Glider XXX, Frederick Tower. Hold your altitude. I have a few ahead of you." Glider: "Frederick Tower, I'm a glider." Tower: "Glider XXX, cleared to land, runway 12." Lance Nuckolls via e-mail More

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This was my experience, airborne near Hollister (CA) inbound to Salinas (CA) airport, SNS: Me: "Oakland Flight Watch, Aircoupe 1234, ten east of Hollister. Please give me current Salinas weather." OAK: "Aircoupe 1234, Oakland Flight Watch. What's the identifier?" Me: "Salinas identifier is SNS." OAK: "I know what the identifier for Salinas is. I need the identifier for your location near Hollister." Me: "I don't know the identifier for Hollister. Just please give me the weather at Salinas." OAK: "The computer won't let me give you the Salinas weather unless I tell it where you are with an identifier." Me: "Disregard my request. I'll call on my cell phone. It doesn't care where I'm at!" Bill via e-mail More

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We had lost our autopilot and advised the local ATC controller in the Kyrgyz Republic that we were not RVSM-compliant. This prompted the following exchange: Aircraft 1234 (us) : "Aircraft 1234, Osh control. State nature of the problem?" Osh Control: "Osh Control, Aircraft 1234. We have lost our autopilot." [long pause] Osh Control: "Aircraft 1234, which pilot doesn't work?" Karl Vogelheim via e-mail More

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This happened just three days ago, during instrument training, while copying and reading back a clearance for only the second time ever. Clearance Delivery (after I'd read back my clearance correctly) : "Readback correct. What runway, and how long?" Me: "Runway 03, and it's 4,200 feet long." I can only imagine what the controller said at that time. My instructor keyed in immediately to clear things up. Brian Smith via e-mail More

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Back in the 1970s, while flying an MU-2 into El Paso, Texas, I heard the following exchange between approach and an airline crew after repeated attempts to get the crew to reduce speed: Approach: "Flight 123, I must have you at 120 knots right now." Captain of Flight 123: "Son, do you have any idea of the stalling speed of this thing?" Approach: "No sir, but I bet if you ask your co-pilot he can tell you." Larry Bartlett via e-mail More

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When an air traffic controller asked an aircraft to reduce speed even more than he already had: Aircraft 1234: "If I reduce any further, I'll fall out of the sky!" Controller: "Roger. Report leaving altitudes on descent." Ed LeSage via e-mail More

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One day I took a friend's son up for a flight in my Cessna 150. As we flew around the area, I explained, "One of the things we have to do is look out for other airplanes." As I was scanning the skies, I found a plane off in the distance and pointed it out to the young boy. "Do you see the plane over there?" I asked. "Yes," he replied. "Is it one of ours?" Ron Hogle via e-mail More