Short Final

Short Final »

On some air bases, the military uses one side of the field and civilian aircraft use the other side, with the tower in the middle serving both. One day, at one of these fields, a call from an aircraft called in asking, "Hey, Tower, what time is it?" The tower answered, "Who is calling?" The aircraft answered, "What difference does it make?" The tower responded with, "It makes a lot of difference. If you are a civilian aircraft, it's three o'clock; if you're an Army aircraft, it's 1500 hours; if you're a Navy aircraft, it's 3 bells; if you're an Air Force aircraft, the big hand is on 12 and the little hand is on 3; and if you're a Marine aircraft, it's Thursday afternoon and 120 minutes 'til Happy Hour." John Yates via e-mail More

Short Final »

This happened some years ago when I was wrenching as an A&P tech at the old TallMantz aviation hangar at John Wayne Orange County Airport in Southern California. The airport is a very busy airport with a tight mix of air carrier and recreational aircraft, causing occasional high stress moments for all. Radio traffic can be fun to listen to when it gets busy and tight. An American 757 was on short final to 19R when sequencing got a little crossed up, and a light twin pulled out on the runway to begin its take-off roll. The female tower controller issued a go-around command, and assertive she was. Tower (very clearly) : "American XXX, go around, go around." American XXX (clearly irritated) : "We seem to run into this at this airport often. Do you realize this costs over 3,000 dollars every time it happens?" Tower (without emotion or hesitation) : "Roger, American XXX, that will be a 3,000-dollar go-around, sir." American XXX: "..." [silence] A ramp up of turbofan power could be heard in the distance as the aircraft began to climb. I thought, "Wow, she's awesome!" with a chuckle. Robert Reed via e-mail More

Short Final »

Many years ago, as a USAF C-141A/B flight engineer, I was a crew member on a routine supply mission from McGuire Air Force Base (New Jersey) to Thule, Greenland. Oh-dark-thirty take-off. The AC (aircraft commander), Capt. Julie Sangiorgio -- great pilot. We had just been handed off to Moncton Center, from Boston Center, I believe. Julie was the PNF (pilot not flying) and was working all the radio calls. She reported in to Moncton. The controller said there was confusion on our next waypoint. She replied, "Mount Jolly next" in plain English. The controller rogered that but said the correct pronunciation was "Mon Jolie." Capt. Sangiorgio, who spoke four languages, came back in her best French and said something that I didn't undertand. The Moncton Controller replied, "That's great, MAC XXX, but no one on this shift speaks French. To that, Capt Sangiorgio replied, "Moncton, in that case, I guess it's Mount Jolly." Chuck Holzer via e-mail More

Short Final »

Between Houston and Austin on December 18, 2012, I overheard the following breif conversation between Houston Center and another aircraft: Aircraft: "Houston Center, can you give me a current altimeter setting?" Center: "At your altitude, it is 29.92." Aircraft: "Uhhhh -- yeah." [A brief pause.] Aircraft: "Guess I will see that one in the back of IFR magazine next month." Larry Frasier via e-mail More

Short Final »

A double-dose of holiday merriment to celebrate the season. As a retired NWA/Rep/NCA pilot, I spent a lot of time in and out of ORD. One time, leaving the gate for departure, we heard ground control say to us: "Via the outer and over the bridge, to 32 rt you go." Very melodic for the season. John Clark via e-mail In the early 1970s, just before Christmas: Landing at Burbank, California, the ATIS was: "Information Raindeer" When we departed a short time later, it was: "Information Santa Clause" On Christmas Day a few days later, Van Nuys ATIS: "Advise Van Nuys Ground or Tower on initial contact that you are having a merry Christmas." Terry Lankford via e-mail More

Short Final »

This happened about 40 years ago. We had just had a snow storm at the airport I worked at, which was serviced by a commuter airline flying Twin Otters. It was near Christmas, and as the plane took the runway, the pilot announced over the unicom: "Air North flight XXX is dashing through the snow, runway 23." Denis Arquette via e-mail More

Short Final »

Heard at Orlando Executive: Tower: "Ercoupe 1234, we have a blimp landing to the right of runway 7. Reduce speed." Ercoupe: "1234 reducing speed." Tower: "1234, make a half-'S' turn to the left." Ercoupe: "1234 making a half-assed turn to the left." Robert C. Abbaticchio via e-mail More

Short Final »

Several years ago, while passing through Caracas air space, I heard this on the radio: Piper 1234: "Caracas Control, Piper 1234 inbound for full stop." Caracas: "Piper 1234, turn right five degrees to intercept the ILS." Piper 1234: "Caracas, five degrees is too little a turn for me." Caracas: "Piper 1234, can you make a 90-degree turn?" Piper 1234: "Affirmative. I can do 90 degrees." Caracas: "Roger. Piper 1234, make a 95-degree turn to the right, then make a 90-degree turn to the left to intercept the ILS." Tom McEntire via e-mail More

Short Final »

As an AIM AIR missionary pilot flying in South Sudan, listening in on Juba International Airport's frequency can provide a few minutes of eye-watering laughs. It is a completely non-radar environment, and all position reports are by radial and DME. Everyone, from the British Airways flights transiting overhead to our small bush airplanes, all share the common frequency. Last year, I heard this exchange between a Kenya Airways jet and the tower controller after he was done handling half a dozen other aircraft: Juba: "Kenya 543, please state your position." Kenya 543: "Juba, we are on the ground." Juba (rapidly) : "Confirm on the ground!" Kenya 543: "Yes, sir. On the ground." Juba (pausing) : "Roger. Vacate via taxiway Bravo. Over to the marshaler." Needless to say, my confidence in their traffic separation abilities went way up! Jerry Hurd via e-mail More

Short Final »

A friend of mine is a helicopter instructor in Arizona, and a student of his is approaching the cross-country flight portion of flight training. My instructor friend received this text from his student a few days ago: Hey, you've got me down for a cross-country to TBD. Where is it? I can't find it anywhere! Kate via e-mail More