"Short Final..." BIM
This is it! You asked for it, and we delivered. A compilation of of all the jokes, gags, and stories from the ever-popular Short Final... feature in AVweb's AVflash and NewsWire. Enjoy!
|25-Nov-02||In a holding pattern behind several
Pilot: Request an estimate for our clearance for the approach.
Controller: Bonanza 1234, is there a problem?
Pilot: Do the words, "Daddy, I gotta go potty!" mean anything to you?
Controller: Bonanza 1234, cleared for the approach.
|18-Nov-02||Pilot: Approach, Cessna 1234, student
pilot ... I am at 3500 feet and am otherwise a bit lost.
Approach: We will try to help you. Do you see a city, highway, or water tower nearby?
Pilot: There is a city nearby with a water tower.
Approach: Fly over the water tower and tell us what you see written on it.
Pilot: "Class of '98"
|11-Nov-02||Overheard following a Lear's very steep
climb out of Teterboro:
Controller: "Lear 12345, after retrieving your passengers from the tail section, contact departure..."
|04-Nov-02||Overheard on Tallahassee Approach during
heavy turbulence conditions.
TLH Approach: Cessna 12345, state intentions. Pilot: Cessna 12345 intends to land without hurling ... somehow.
|28-Oct-02||You know it's football season when...
Unknown Pilot: There's some bad interference on twenty-six nine. Controller: Roger. That's 15 yards ... automatic first down!
|21-Oct-02||Another good "Rule of Thumb"
overheard at Sun 'n Fun:
Cessna 123: Tower, I have a load of Young Eagles on board. Do you have any idea how long I should keep them up here?
Tower: Cessna 123, ahhh, until the second one throws up ... that should just about do it.
|14-Oct-02||Another for our "Make the punishment
fit the crime" file:
A test pilot for Cessna Aircraft Company logged over 3000 hours flying over Independence, Kan., in five years of service with the company. For his anniversary, the pilot was given a tie tack and a certificate for a free one-hour airplane ride ... over Independence, Kan.
|07-Oct-02||More from our "We love it when they
play along ..." file:
Aircraft: Ground. Extra NXXX at the south "T's," VFR to the northwest with information "Extra" ... I'm sorry, information "Echo."
Ground: Good morning NXXX. Taxi to Runway 31. Information "Fast- airplane" now current!
|30-Sep-02||Lapses in attention near Strasbourg
Pilot: Air France Alpha Victor short final 23. Controller: AF Alpha Victor cleared to land 23. Is it for a full stop? Pilot: Wait a second. I'll ask the passengers.
|23-Sep-02||Inbound to ... ?
Taking advantage of the classic Midwest winter -- solid overcast with about a 2,000 ceiling -- one local resident on the approach path to Milwaukee Mitchell airport's 19R last year offered a neatly lettered rooftop sign, "Welcome to Cleveland!"
|16-Sep-02||Boston Center is a busy frequency, so it's
not uncommon for controllers and pilots to unwittingly "step" on
each other's transmissions ...
Boston Center: " ... <garbled> ... descend and maintain 110."
Unknown aircraft: "That was blocked, sir."
Boston Center: "Good, then I can change it."
|09-Sep-02||More from our "signs of the
times" file ...
When President Bush is in residence at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, the prohibited area around it often expands, and pilots are instructed by NOTAM to contact nearby Waco approach control for assistance in avoiding the airspace.
While flying recently in the area, a pilot monitoring frequency overheard the following from the very busy Waco controller:
Cessna 1234, don't be alarmed by the two F-16s circling a couple of thousand feet overhead ... and DON'T climb until advised.
|02-Sep-02||More from our "trailer and tractor no
Waterloo Approach (providing flight following): Cherokee 123, I've got a primary target at your 2 o'clock, 3 miles, altitude unknown. Looks low and real slow.
Cherokee 123: Waterloo, any info on altitude or speed?
Waterloo Approach: No, primary target only. Wait a minute ... disregard. Its a semi on the interstate.
|26-Aug-02||About five years ago in a 727 on a scheduled service run into Orlando descending below 15,000 feet ... During one three-minute span the aircraft received five "vector for traffic" calls from Approach Control. Upon receiving the sixth the Captain asked, "Are we the only ones up here with ailerons today?"|
|19-Aug-02||Flying to Los Angeles from San Francisco, a passenger noticed that,
although the flight was a particularly smooth one, the "Fasten Seat
Belts" sign stayed illuminated throughout the entire trip. Just before
landing, he asked the flight attendant about it ...
"Well," she explained, "up front there are 17 University of California girls going to Los Angeles for the weekend.
"In back, there are 25 Coast Guard enlistees. What would you have us do?"
|12-Aug-02||One night while climbing out on a single-engine IFR flight...
N6851R: Denver, Centurion 6851R, checking in out of twelve for FL180.
Center: 51R, radar contact fifty miles east of the Denver VOR.
N6851R: Uh, Denver, 51R. Sir, I show us fifty miles WEST of Denver VOR.
Center: 51R, correction: make that 24,950 miles east of the Denver VOR.
|05-Aug-02||A Qantas 747 landed at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport just after the
Rugby World Cup -- in which Australia beat France. De Gaulle has
circular stands, so if an aircraft misses the turn-off it often must
taxi around again to get back to it. As the Qantas aircraft did this...
Paris ATC: Qantas 123, are you having difficulty?
Qantas 123: No, just doing a victory lap!
|29-Jul-02||Flying in marginal conditions a crew requested a tight turn over the
outer marker in order to stay in sequence ahead of the pack. The
following exchange was overheard after the maneuver:
Pilot: That was a good turn over the marker. Thanks for making us
number one. You ever worked at DFW?
Controller: No ... but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
|22-Jul-02||More from our "Well, you ASKED!" file:
Pilot: Tower, Cessna 1234, what's the wind doing?
Tower: Blowing. (Laughter in background.)
|15-Jul-02||At the Arlington NWEAA Regional Fly-in almost all the aircraft parking
is on grass. As Mooneys are notorious for low prop clearance (and gear
doors), the Aircraft Parking Tower tries to minimize their taxiing on
grass. The result was the following:
Tower: "Mooney 123, we have a special place for Mooneys."
Mooney pilot: "So does the devil!"
|08-Jul-02||Cessna 1234: ...15 miles from VORTAC.
Request a VOR Runway 14 approach, circle to land, full stop.
Approach: Cessna 1234, say your indicated airspeed.
Cessna 1234: Our ground speed is 59 knots. Is that going to be a problem?
Approach: No problem. We're open 24 hours.
|01-Jul-02||Logic even Spock could appreciate:
Aircraft: Ground, Bigjet 123 would like to report a family of cats crossing taxiway Bravo.
Ground: Roger. They're there to keep the family of mice off the taxiway.
|24-Jun-02||Airline123: Airline 123, request a 360 to
Ground: 360 approved, 180 recommended.
Airline123: You've been saving that one for while, haven't you?
|17-Jun-02||As a B-757 pilot was vectored onto final
behind a 310 flying at 155 knots ...
Controller: Cleared for a Visual Approach. Maintain 170 knots for slower traffic ahead.
757 Crew: OK, we're visualizing Runway 36L and practicing slow flight.
|10-Jun-02||Some years ago, streams of RAF Vulcan B2s
were flying into their base in extremely marginal (English) weather. Once
on the ground, and after roll out, each pilot in turn was asked,
"What height did you see the runway lights?" Answers such as 250
and 300 confirmed that pilots had landed within safe limits -- all except
the last. That radio sequence follows:
XXXXX -- On the runway from approach, which dispersal please.
Tower -- Back to Alpha. At what height did you see the lights, please?
XXXXX -- What lights?
|03-Jun-02||Reportedly true ATIS:
Big Airport International information Delta. 2100 zulu ... [weather, approach information, NOTAMs, etc.] ... Arriving aircraft contact approach at 120.3 ... [silence] ... You stupid machine, why do you always do this to me?
|27-May-02||More from our "everybody's a
Recently, a student and instructor were practicing holds over a VOR. Strong winds aloft led to a very messy hold entry. When finally established in the hold, the controller asked:
"Cherokee 1234, was that the Spirograph entry?"
|20-May-02||On Toledo departure control this week:
Departure: Diamond 1234, what is your on-course heading to St. Paul?
Diamond: (After looking at the GPS) About 304 degrees for Diamond 1234.
Departure: Diamond 1234, you are cleared about on course to St. Paul.
|13-May-02||Like a lot of pilots I know, I tend to read back confirmation and reservation numbers and, out of habit, use the phonetic pronunciations for all alphabetic characters. Recently, while dealing with a car rental company, I was reading back my confirmation number -- One Five Alpha Two Quebec -- when I was interrupted with "Is that with a C or a K?"|
|06-May-02||A pilot was flying in his C-205 with his
two sons, ages 4 and 6, over the mountains of Tennessee, bucking a strong
headwind. He looked in the back and noticed the boys looking down in the
valley below, where a train was also heading northwest, and they were
barely gaining on it. Nothing was said.
Four months later, the younger son, Brian, was called to kindergarten roundup, where the officious school psychologist was conducting evaluations. When Brian's turn came, the shrink said: "Brian, what color is an apple?" Brian replied: "Are you talking about the inside or the outside of the apple?" Perplexed, the shrink went on: "Well, Brian, which goes faster, a train or a plane?" Straight-faced, Brian replied: "Well, Doctor, it kind of depends on the headwinds."
|29-Apr-02||Tampa Approach: CAP Flight XXX, you have
traffic at your six o'clock position, 1 mile, same altitude.
CAP Flight XXX: Roger, Tampa, we don't have rear-view mirrors installed, so please keep us informed.
|22-Apr-02||While recently flying from FLL to JFK an
airline captain was given holding instructions due to congestion. After
holding for quite some time, the captain finished an exchange with a
controller with an attempt to clarify his situation:
Captain: Copy. Could we get an EFC [expect further clearance], please?
Captain: ...I don't think I have the fuel for that.
|15-Apr-02||Like a lot of pilots I know, I tend to read back confirmation and reservation numbers and, out of habit, use the phonetic pronunciations for all alphabetic characters. Recently, while dealing with a car rental company, I was reading back my confirmation number -- One Five Alpha Two Quebec -- when I was interrupted with "Is that with a C or a K?"|
|08-Apr-02||Overheard on Ft. Smith, Arkansas, Approach
Cherokee 1234: "Cherokee 1234 requesting direct Paris." Razorback Approach: "Cherokee 1234, is that Paris, Arkansas, or Paris, Texas? ...It's kinda important."
|01-Apr-02||Cessna 12345: Atlantic City approach, this
is Cessna 12345 with you out of eight thousand seven hundred for seven
thousand assigned. Tell me Atlantic City, why are we descending?
Atlantic City Approach: Well, it's just something you've got to do ... when you're going to land.
|25-Mar-02||While waiting for clearance to leave
Avalon Air Force base after the "Air Show Down Under," the
following call was emitted by an obviously exasperated air traffic
Tower: "Cessna just departing Avalon, for your future information ... in the Southern Hemisphere most runways numbered 36 generally point NORTH!!!!!"
|18-Mar-02||More from a child's perspective
A little boy and his mother were taking his first commercial airplane ride. After boarding the plane, taking off and being at cruise altitude for some time, the puzzled boy looked at his mother and said, "so when do we get smaller?"
|11-Mar-02||Flight deck pun-manship:
While taxiing past aircraft stands, and noticing some passengers boarding the rear entrance of a Finnair DC9, the Captain remarked to the F/O: "Look at all those people disappearing into Finnair."
|04-Mar-02||Aviate, Navigate, and, well ...
A brand-new pilot flew his then-girlfriend to Mendocino, Calif., to propose to her. His logbook entry for that day shows where his mind was:
SQL to O48 -- Asked Monika to marry me, she said yes, will avoid the Class B airspace on the way home.
|25-Feb-02||Found in our "Oh, THAT
I was flying my first "Bay Tour" in the San Francisco Bay area and didn't yet know many of the landmarks. As I continued up the coastline I was handed over to SFO, who announced, "Cessna xxxxx, turn left to 300 and report Shoreline." I promptly reported that I was "unable." That course would not take me over the Shoreline Amphitheatre -- the landmark was retreating behind me.
Regardless, the controller stated that it was at my 12:00, and "please report Shoreline." After going back and forth few times, the controller said, a bit exasperatedly, "It's the long thing with sand."
|18-Feb-02||We dedicate this astute observation
overheard at Heli-Expo last week to all the great folks who attended the
event, and to sling-wing enthusiasts everywhere:
"If the wings are traveling faster than the fuselage, it's probably a helicopter."
|11-Feb-02||Instructor on ground with handheld radio
to first-time solo student: "Cessna 1234. Make sure you keep your
turns shallow and watch your airspeed. Copy?"
Instructor: "Cessna 1234, Tom, you ok up there?"
Instructor: "Cessna 1234, um, Tom, you've got to key the mike. I can't hear it when you nod."
|04-Feb-02||More from our "be careful what you
ask for" file:
Pilot: "Good Morning Vienna Ground, could you give me a rough time check?"
Ground: "Good Morning sir, today is Tuesday."
|28-Jan-02||More from our "Perspective is
Overheard while transitioning San Francisco Class Bravo, between Bay Approach and a United 747:
Bay Approach: United 12345 Heavy, traffic a triple-7 at your 12 o'clock, climbing through 2,000 feet.
United 12345: Roger Bay, we have the light twin in sight.
|21-Jan-02||More from our "It's all in your point
of view" files...
A pilot departing La Crosse, Wis., contacted Minneapolis center. After initial contact, the following transmission was heard:
"Attention all aircraft on this frequency, this controller position will no longer be manned." Perplexed, the captain and first officer looked at each other with amazement. After 10 or 15 seconds another transmission, now in a woman's voice, said... "That was not funny."
|14-Jan-02||More from our "Approved,
On a flight near Madison, Wis., a pilot overheard this exchange on the frequency:
Madison Approach: "Cessna 1234, are you direct to Madison?"
Cessna 1234: "We're trying."
Madison Approach: "Cessna 1234, turn right 20 degrees and try harder."
|07-Jan-02||More from our "Work imitates
A pilot overheard this exchange between another pilot and a female controller at Miami Center:
Cessna 1234: "Miami Center, this is Cessna 1234. Are you having radio problems? We're hearing intermittent static on your frequency."
Miami Center: "Yeah, my husband says he gets intermittent static from me, also."
|31-Dec-01||More from our "You're on your
Kalamazoo Approach was giving an approach clearance to an instrument student, when the student told them he would have to cancel IFR and return to the field VFR.
"We're having problems with the intercom, and I can't hear the instructor," he explained.
"That's okay," the controller responded, "Instructors are optional."
|24-Dec-01||More from our "Always ready to
While flying out to Reno in September (for the Air Races that didn't happen) a pilot overheard the following on 122.0:
"Albuquerque Flight Watch, this is King Air 12345, request weather from Santa Fe to your location and any reports of turbulence..."
"King Air 12345, weather is ... nothing significant, and I've had no complaints about turbulence."
"Roger, King Air 12345, thanks."
"Albuquerque Flight Watch, this is Cessna 54321, if you want complaints about turbulence, I can give you some."
|17-Dec-01||More from our "Old allegiances"
Recently, a pilot listening on a frequency near Dallas/Fort Worth overheard this exchange between air traffic control and an American Airlines aircraft:
ATC: American 1234, descend and maintain 5,000, heading 280.
ATC: American 1234, Regional Approach?
ATC: Okay, American 1234, will you answer to TWA?
|10-Dec-01||More from our "Didn't we forget
A Lewisham reader told the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald that one day, while boarding an airline flight aboard a twin-engine Saab, the smiling flight attendant welcomed everyone as usual, then raised the stairs and sealed the door. There was an expectant pause, then the head steward realized someone was missing. The door was opened, the stairs lowered ... and the pilot got on, to a round of applause.
|03-Dec-01||More from our "Why we do this"
A pilot took his grandson to the airport to watch airplanes, which always enthralled the boy. He watched, fascinated, as several airplanes took off and flew up, up and away, into the sky. Then they spotted a plane on final, and the boy asked what the plane was doing. The grandfather explained that the pilot was done flying and coming in to land now. And the boy looked up with angelic eyes and said, "But if you take off, why would you ever want to land?"
|26-Nov-01||More from our "don't make me come up
One Saturday, a student pilot (read: his CFI) failed to report his position as ordered by the tower. Just before turning base the controller realized that the sequence wouldn't work so he told the offender to make two left 360s and report back on base.
Another aircraft entering the pattern called in and said that he had traffic in sight maneuvering ahead. The controller replied, "Don't worry about him, he's in the penalty box!"
|19-Nov-01||More from our "center of
During development of the A-7 Strike Fighter modification, it was necessary to ballast the nose to balance the plane for the F-101 engine. The U.S. Air Force strongly objected to use of the term "ballast," so the aerodynamics engineer then proposed 300 pounds of "Passive Stability Augmentation."
That was approved.
|12-Nov-01||Although the ATIS advertised visibility
above this student pilot's minimums, a setting sun and haze combined to
Student: "Tower, Cessna 12345, student pilot, BUSY intersection, information BRAVO, landing, and I can't see bupkis."
Tower: "Is that a nautical bupkis or a statute bupkis?"
|05-Nov-01||Seen on a blackboard in a pilot's ready
Call the bike shop; we're in deep trouble. Ma wants her bedsheets back!
|29-Oct-01||The pilot of Cessna N12345 had read back
his IFR clearance four times without getting it correct. It finally seemed
he had it but, alas, he asked:
N12345: "Ah, Clearance, what was that squawk code again?"
Clearance: "Cessna 345, squawk 3423."
N12345: "Clearance, we need a squawk code that ends in zero."
Clearance (instantaneously): "How about 1200?"
|22-Oct-01||More from our "We're ready when you
XYZ123: "Good morning ground; Airline 123 request start-up and push- back, please."
Tower: "Airline 123, expect start up in two hours."
XYZ123: "Please confirm: Two hours' delay?"
XYZ123: "In that case, cancel the good morning!"
|15-Oct-01||More from our "How low can you
A military student pilot on a low-level VFR flight was struggling to find the entry point to his route in less-than-perfect weather. Hoping to see the ground better at a lower altitude, he called Center.
Student: "I need your lowest altitude ever."
Center: "I can give you sea level, but I don't think you'll like it."
|08-Oct-01||More from our "you ALMOST have the
idea, dear" file...
A few years ago, I was explaining to my spouse the traffic pattern and its different legs: Take-off, crosswind, downwind, base and final. The message seemed to be getting through.
Later, on seeing a plane in the pattern at a local airport, my spouse happily announced, "Look, there's one on its last legs."
Lake: "That's okay; he can't land on water."
|01-Oct-01||More from our "Make up your
I overheard the following at National Airport last month, while all departing aircraft (including mine) were being held on the ground:
Tower: "United XXX, can you execute a hard right turn without encroaching upon the runway?"
United XXX: "Negative." (brief pause...) "I could if my engines were running."
|24-Sep-01||More from our "company flight
I had a nice visit with my parents in Florida and, as usual, I promised to call as soon as I arrived home safely. A mag problem and Wx delays made the trip longer than normal, but I eventually got there and had this exchange:
Me: "Indianapolis Approach, N12345, landing Indianapolis with (ATIS)."
Indy Approach: "N12345, is there a 'Mark' on board?"
Me, sheepishly: "Uhh, yes."
Indy Approach: "CALL YOUR MOTHER!"
|17-Sep-01||More from our "The mouths of
An airline pilot was traveling with his young son aboard a company jet. Late into the flight, the son said, "Dad, I can tell we are getting ready to land."
The father proudly started thinking, "He must have noticed the attitude of the aircraft changing, or maybe he heard the slats extending and felt the speed brakes rumbling."
When he asked his son how he knew that they were about to land, the reply was, "Because all the flight attendants are putting on their high-heeled shoes."
|10-Sep-01||More from our "eye of the
New York Center: "Bonanza 12345, you are overtaking Lake traffic at your ten o'clock and 4 miles, 6,500 feet."
Bonanza 12345: "Traffic in sight."
Center: "Lake 23456, Bonanza at your 5 o'clock, 6,000 feet is overtaking you."
Lake: "That's okay; he can't land on water."
|03-Sep-01||More from our "what happens when I
pull this?" file...
On a penny-a-pound ride I once gave at an airport open house, I used a 1957 C172, the one with the flap handle on the floor. On short final, I pulled on all 40 degrees on but we still floated a ways.
Later, he told his mother that he liked the flight but, "When the guy pulled the emergency brake on, we still didn't stop!"
|27-Aug-01||Heard last summer on an Oklahoma City (OKC)
Approach Control frequency:
Bellanca pilot: "Approach, I need to land and close my door."
OKC Approach: "Are you having any control problems?"
Bellanca pilot: "No more than usual."
|20-Aug-01||Coming home from Oshkosh, I had a
conversation with a Chicago approach controller. He asked me about my
Cessna 140 and if I had been to OSH. He explained that he never had, so I
encouraged him to bid for a gig there...
Me: "You should seriously consider working the tower at the Oshkosh convention."
Chicago Approach Control: "Oshkosh? No way. Too busy!"
|13-Aug-01||A flight instructor was giving a final
review to a student pilot going for his Private Pilot check ride the next
day. The instructor was asking about various documents (A-R-R-O-W) that
must be aboard the airplane.
Instructor: "What has to be displayed in the airplane, facing front, that passengers can see?"
Student: "The propeller...?"
|06-Aug-01||More from our "thanks for the
Pilot: "Reagan Tower, airline 123 for the visual."
DCA Tower: "If you'll refrain from calling us 'Reagan Tower,' we won't call you 'Eastern Airlines.'"
|16-Jul-01||More from our "One good turn deserves
Several years ago while instructing in sailplanes, I took a young boy for his first flight. I had to fly from the front seat to keep the weight and balance of the Schweizer 2-33 within the envelope. I found a weak thermal and racked the glider into a steep 360-degree turn. Since I was concentrating on milking all the lift I could from the thermal, I neglected to keep my passenger apprised of what I was doing.
After completing about 20 consecutive 360s, I heard a weak, quivering voice from the back seat ask, "What's the matter mister, is it stuck?"
|09-Jul-01||More from our "home is where the
airplanes are" file...
A Navy officer was cutting through the crew's quarters of his carrier one day and happened upon a sailor reading a magazine with his feet up on the small table in front of him.
"Sailor! Do you put your feet up on the furniture at home?" the officer demanded.
"No, sir, but it's not the same thing, is it?"
"What do you mean, 'not the same'?"
"Well, we don't land airplanes on our roof at home either!"
|02-Jul-01||More from our "Where does a 400-pound
canary sleep?" file:
"San Carlos airport information Zulu ... Bird advisory in effect; 150- foot crane one mile southwest of the airport...."
|25-Jun-01||Sometimes you need more than just
Approach controller: "Arrow 12345, are you a high- or low-tail Arrow?"
N12345: "Uhh ... standby; let me check."
|18-Jun-01||More from our "open-door policy"
Tower: "Airline XXX, it looks like one of your baggage doors is open."
Captain (after quickly scanning the FE panel): "Ah, thanks tower, but you must be looking at our APU door."
Tower: "Okay, Airline XXX, cleared for takeoff."
Captain: "Cleared for takeoff, Airline XXX."
Tower, during the takeoff roll: "Airline XXX, ahh ... it appears that your APU is leaking luggage..."
|11-Jun-01||More from our "Don't get wise with
A United Airlines 747 captain tries to make light banter with Sydney, Australia, Approach Control ...
Captain: "Good morning, Sydney, this is United XXX, we're 50 miles out and have your island in sight ..."
Approach: "Roger, United ... you're cleared to circle the island twice, then it's okay to land."
|04-Jun-01||More from our "Those were the
Student pilots who can fly "OK" often still get tongue-tied trying to talk on the radio. This student -- after practicing in her mind several times -- decided she would go for it, and called the tower: "... Ready for takeoff, request a straight-out-approach."
To which ATC had this to say: "Lady, if you can do it, you can have it!"
|28-May-01||More from our "Citations get no
Overheard on O'Hare frequency inbound:
Controller: "Airline 22, slow to 170, you're following a Citation."
Airline 22: "Slow to 170, roger ... I thought a Citation was a jet?!"
|21-May-01||More from our "situational
Navy XXX: "Duluth, we don't have any Jeopardy contestants on board and we were wondering if you could tell us what lake that is that we're seeing."
Duluth Approach: "Do you mean that big one off to your right?"
Navy XXX: "Yup, that's it."
Duluth Approach: "That would be Lake Superior."
|14-May-01||More from our "Einstein was
Several years ago I was flying co-pilot for a crusty old Braniff captain. As we descended towards JFK at the "barber pole," ATC asked us to slow to 250. The captain kept the speed on the "barber pole." When ATC asked us to say our speed, the captain told me to respond with "250."
When I did the controller immediately responded, "Roger, slow to 40."
|07-May-01||More from our "A kiss is just a
Washington Center (male voice): "N12345 ... ahhh ... disregard."
N12345 (male voice): "Were you trying to give 12345 direct Monroe?"
Washington Center (after a short pause): "N12345, cleared direct Monroe."
N12345: "Direct Monroe, 12345. If I knew who you were, I'd kiss you!"
Washington Center (after another short pause): "Well, I'm glad you don't know who I am."
|30Apr-01||More from our "Big-sky Theory"
Omaha Approach: "Southwest 405, expedite your descent though 3,000. Traffic at one o'clock and seven miles; a Citabria northeast-bound at 3,500."
SW 405: "Roger, expediting through 3,000. Is the Citabria doing aerobatics?"
Omaha Approach: "No, but he will be if you don't expedite below 3,000."
|23Apr-01||More from our "a rose by any other
Willard Airport, at Champaign, Ill., while being nowhere near anything, still manages to get hectic at times thanks to the numerous training aircraft from the University of Illinois and the trainees in the tower. On one particularly nice day, the pattern was hopping with numerous aircraft when this gem was heard:
Tower: "Archer 46R, right 360 for spacing."
46R: "Ummm, unable."
Tower: "46R, you're unable to do a 360?"
46R: "Affirmative; student solo."
Tower: "Can you do a turn around a point?"
Tower: "Okay, see that parking lot? Do turns around a point until I say to stop!"
|16Apr-01||More from our "Who's minding the store?" file:
As part of a private pilot ground-school curriculum, I take my students
on a tour of the Deer Valley (Ariz.) Control Tower. During one recent
tour, the two controllers on duty happened to be women. As one began
her introduction, she said, "The first thing we want you to notice is
that this is an unmanned facility!"
|09-Apr-01||More from our "We didn't have a say
in the merger; you don't get a say in what's for dinner" file...
It was mealtime during our trip on a small airliner flying over the northwest. "Would you like dinner?" the flight attendant asked the man seated in front of me.
"What are my choices?" he asked.
"Yes or no," she replied.
|02-Apr-01||More from our "not as obvious as it
The weather was marginal VFR on the ILS approach to Runway 5 at Birmingham, Ala. Just outside the marker I was between layers and had this exchange with approach:
Citation xyz: "Approach, be advised that there is a bunch of blue and white balloons just outside the marker."
Approach: "What were they?"
Citation xyz: "Balloons. You know like someone let go from a wedding reception or something."
App: "Oh, balloons. Which way were they headed?"
Citation xyz: "Ummm ... downwind."
|26-Mar-01||Cleared for the River Visual Runway 19
approach at Washington National, I landed on the numbers with a stiff
quartering wind. Braking hard, I made the first turnoff.
DCA Tower: "70GD, congratulations."
70GD: "Thanks ... for what?"
DCA Tower: "You are the first person to ever make the first turnoff since that runway was built three years ago. Nice looking plane. Is that a new Tiger?"
70GD: "No, it is a 1976 model, but it thinks it's a Maule."
|19-Mar-01||More from our "situational
The winter winds were howling out of the west as flights got in line for the approach to Detroit's Runway 21R. Approach control asked the Northwest flight ahead of a 757 if they had a readout on the winds at 3,000 feet. The NWA pilot came right back and said, "Hey, we're a DC-9 -- we're lucky to know what state we're flying over!"
|12-Mar-01||More from our "wish we'd said
that" file, courtesy of Denver Departure...
Denver: "Learjet 5234J ... for a vector to Hector, contact the sector director...."
|05-Mar-01||A few months ago at Downtown Airport in
Kansas City (MKC):
Controller: "Archer 1234, your Mode C is not operating."
Archer 1234: "I'll recycle it."
Archer 1234: "Are you receiving my Mode C now?"
Controller: "I have 1,400 indicated."
Archer 1234: "I'm showing 1,450."
Controller: "That's close enough for government work."
Unidentified pilot: "If I could just get you to do my taxes..."
|26-Feb-01||More from our "No purchase required
-- details inside package" file...
Observed recently, stenciled on the engine cowl of a Brand B airliner flown by a major air carrier:
"Do not open fan cowl door until leading edge slats are retracted and deactivated. See instructions inside door."
|19-Feb-01||More from our "can someone help me
fly this thing?" file:
A very low-time student was on an early area solo out from Camden Airport, just south of Sydney. Returning to the airfield, the student was obviously a little confused as to how to join the circuit and began circling the airfield at about 2,000 feet.
A very nervous voice was then heard on the radio: "Camden Tower, this is Tomahawk ABC, request instructions for descent."
Very quickly came ATC's response: "ABC, push the nose down."
|12-Feb-01||More from our "the only reason to fly
four-engine airplanes is because there are no five-engine airplanes"
Back in the early 1960s, Patrick AFB, Fla., was losing its C-54 four- engine transports and some of the crews. The maintenance officer asked one of the C-54 flight engineers if he'd like to move over to the SA- 16, the military designation for Grumman's Albatross amphibian, which were used to support NASA sites on small islands in the Bahamas and made many, many water landings.
The flight engineer thought about it for some 30 seconds, and then said, "No sir. That's a four-engine ocean out there."
The maintenance officer, himself a SA-16 pilot, replied, "Yeah, but we can taxi all the way."
|05-Feb-01||A few years ago at New York's Westchester
Tower: "Falcon 12345, runway three-four, cleared to land. Traffic is a Tampico on short final."
Hot-shot Falcon pilot: (snidely) "What's a Tampico?"
Tower: "Single-engine low-wing, sorta like a Cherokee."
Hot-shot Falcon pilot: (condescendingly) "Oh! We thought it was a Mexican restaurant."
Tower: "United 123, runway three-four, cleared to land. Traffic is a Falcon, one-mile final."
United: (with just the right amount of irony) "What's a Falcon?"
|29-Jan-01||One day a few years ago, a very busy Fort
Worth Center controller kept calling a particular aircraft repeatedly,
only to end his transmission with, "...Cessna 123, disregard."
Some of his instructions were quite complicated, but he still ended with
the same directive.
After minutes of busy, almost frantic transmissions between the controller and his charges, a lull in the action finally occurred. After a moment, the controller finally said, "Cessna 123, what are you doing right now?"
The obvious reply came right back: "Cessna 123 is disregarding."
The not-so-obvious response? "Roger, Cessna 123. Continue."
|22-Jan-01||More from our "I am what I am" file...
Heard on the frequency while en route in the northeast U.S.:
XYZ airline: "Center, say again that heading?"
Center: "I need you on your present heading!!"
XYZ airline: "Roger, I am on my present heading."
|15-Jan-01||Several years ago, Australian Airlines
(later to become Qantas Domestic) used a barf bag that doubled --
presumably as an alternate, NOT additional use -- as a film-mailing
envelope for a large photo processing company.
This colourfully printed barf bag encouraged passengers to -- and I swear that I'm not making up this quote -- "Re-live those wonderful memories."
|08-Jan-01||More from our "how bumpy was
A few years ago, when Sabena, the Belgian airline, was still landing in Libreville, Gabon, a flight left in very rough weather toward Kinshasa, Zaire, in west-central Africa. The following conversation was overheard:
"Sabena 123, maintain contact with Brazzaville."
"Control, I can't even maintain contact with my own seat."
|01-Jan-01||The Aeronautical Information Manual has
been updated for 2001. One of the new updates in Chapter 5 describes GLS:
"'GLS' is the acronym for GNSS Landing System; GNSS is the acronym for Global Navigation Satellite System."
Only in aviation and from the FAA is there a need for an acronym to define another acronym.
|25-Dec-00||More from our "the glass is
We were flying over Madison, Wis., on a nice Sunday headed for lunch and in contact with the exceptionally great people at the Madison TRACON. All of a sudden we heard a voice over the frequency:
"Ah, Madison, this is Cessna 12345 ... lost."
The cheerful controller came back and asked if the pilot could enter a squawk code; she could and did. The controller then asked her destination, to which she responded, "Madison."
A few moments later, the controller came back: "Okay, 12345; you're not lost ... you just haven't found the airport yet."
|17-Dec-00||More from our "who's on first?"
A controller trainee (a.k.a., developmental) was heard to say while training on ground control:
"Cessna 12345, are you the Cessna behind the Cessna in front of you?"
|11-Dec-00||More from our "The easiest solutions
are often the best" file...
A light twin had just landed on Runway 29. Missing the last turnoff onto Taxiway Delta, its pilot started to turn left onto Golf when the controller spoke up:
Tower: "N1234, that taxiway is approved for single-engine use only."
N1234: "That's okay, I'll just shut down one engine."
|04-Dec-00||More from our "can you be more
Center: "Delta XXX, say your Mach speed for in-trail spacing."
Delta XXX: "Center, oh, we're really hauling ass."
Center: "I don't care what kind of cargo you're carrying, I just want to know how fast you're going."
|27-Nov-00||Heard on the Boeing Field ATIS in the
morning of Nov 23:
"Boeing Field Information Turkey, special observation (all the usual November morning stuff about mist and low overcast). Advise controller on initial contact you have Turkey!"
|20-Nov-00||It seemed that everybody and his brother
arrived back at Moody AFB at the same time. The frequency was cluttered
with directions to breakout and reenter, formations breaking up on the
downwind and other challenges to the over-taxed controller.
At the height of the confusion, a T-38 arrived on initial. Aboard was a crew with keen appreciation for the burden placed on the folks in the tower. Their radio call?
"Moody Tower, Sacker 43 on initial. What are my intentions?"
|13-Nov-00||I have a Helio Courier, an STOL airplane
that can fly at very low airspeeds. On approach to my home airport, I was
flying slowly down the 5,000-foot runway to the end where my hangar is.
With a stiff headwind, I probably had a groundspeed below 15 knots.
Finally, an exasperated tower controller said, "Helio Courier on 24 Left, could you please just land and taxi to your hangar? It'd be quicker...."
|06-Nov-00||More from our "What time is it?"
While flying through the Phoenix Class B airspace with a student pilot, a controller called "Opposite direction traffic at twelve o'clock and four miles, four thousand five hundred feet, a Cherokee."
The student looked at me with a blank stare and said, "His clock or mine?"
|30-Oct-00||More from our "you're spending too
much time with your computer" file:
We had an accident recently with our Mooney and went out with fellow pilots one Sunday to take some additional photos.
Having taken the digital photos needed, one pilot commented, "It's not so bad. Nothing Photoshop can't fix."
|23-Oct-00||More from our "controller vs.
Controller to Air France Airbus: "Please confirm whether you are an A330 or A340."
Air France Airbus: "We are senior pilots. We only fly the A340."
Controller: "In that case, captain, please fire up your other two engines and get to the altitude and speed that I assigned to you."
|16-Oct-00||More from our "reality check"
While I was waiting for ground control to give me a taxi clearance, I overheard the following exchange:
N12345: "Boeing ground, N12345. Can you give me a radio check?"
BFI Ground: "You sound like you're calling from a tin can."
N12345: "We *are* calling from a tin can..."
|09-Oct-00||More from our "the simplest solution
is often the best" file...
Cessna XXXX: "Tower, every time I turn crosswind, I have trouble receiving you. No matter which runway I'm on I get the same thing. Have you any idea or suggestion what I might do to improve the situation?"
Tower: "I'll check with the tower chief." (Delay)
Tower: "Cessna XXXX, the tower chief suggests you not turn crosswind."
|02-Oct-00||The local weather was 1,700 feet
broken-to-overcast with eight miles visibility underneath, an improvement
from the 800 overcast that had prevailed most of the morning. As I motored
along above the clouds I heard the following:
Cessna XXX: "Approach, this is Cessna XXX, we need some help getting down."
Approach: "Can you fly IFR?"
Cessna XXX: "Nope."
Approach: "Are you VFR right now?"
Cessna XXX: "Nope."
Approach: "Can you hold a heading and altitude?"
Cessna XXX: "No problemo."
Approach: "Stay on your current heading and altitude until you reach VFR conditions."
Cessna XXX: "Roger."
Approach: "When you get to VFR, let's talk."
Cessna XXX: "About what?"
Approach: "I am sure we can think of something."
|25-Sep-00||More from our "Helpful hints from the
Cessna N1234: "234 going around."
Tower: "Roger, report left downwind."
Cessna N1234: "Roger."
Tower: "234, I think I know why you had to go around."
Cessna N1234: "Oh? Why?"
Tower: "Because your landing gear isn't long enough to land from that altitude."
|18-Sep-00||More from our "Eye of the
Some local flying club students were visiting the tower for the first time and being shown all the equipment, radar screens, radios, etc., by the two controllers on duty.
One of the students asked, "Have you ever had a real live emergency?"
The controllers thought for a minute and then one replied, "Well yeah, we did run out of coffee once...."
|11-Sep-00||...From our "waking the dead
Aerodrome Information for Arriving Aircraft at Manchester Barton:
"For noise abatement, pilots are requested to avoid flying low over the cemetery to the northeast of the aerodrome."
|04-Sep-00||...From our "organizational
An airliner was suffering through a severe thunderstorm. As the passengers were being bounced around by the turbulence a young woman turned to a priest sitting next to her and with a nervous laugh asked, "Father, you're a man of God, can't you do something about this storm?"
To which he replied, "Lady, I'm in sales, not management."
|28-Aug-00||...From our "Out of the mouths of
Recently my three-year-old son and I went to ride with a friend in our 182 while he practiced his landings. After seven or eight landings we decided to make a full stop and get a bite to eat at the airport diner.
Over dinner my son asked, "Why were we taking off and landing so many times?"
I replied, "John was practicing his landings."
My son then inquired, "Why was he practicing BUMPY landings?"
|21-Aug-00||From our "What's holding us up?"
While aboard AA 1157 from BUF to ORD, a woman sitting next to a loyal AVweb reader had the following conversation with the flight attendant:
Passenger: "Are we in a holding pattern?"
Flight Attendant: (Turns around and looks out the window) "No, we're still moving."
|14-Aug-00||We were on a training flight to practice
touch and go landings at a particularly windy airport but the student was
having a hard time. While on a crosswind leg, the student kept fighting
for control of the plane's direction. Finally, the exasperated instructor
asked, "Where's the crab, where's the crab?"
The frustrated student answered, "Sounds like he is right next to me."
|07-Aug-00||Heard at the Gwinnett County (Ga.) - Briscoe Field
Airport (LZU), a couple of years ago:
Tower: "Cessna 123, you have your traffic on final yet?"
Cessna 123: "Ugh, still looking."
Tower: "He's on short final, kind of high, still trying to shovel some air out from under his wings."
|24-Jul-00||From our "You've been off the line for a while,
haven't you?" file...
Shortly after boarding a United Airlines flight from Denver to Phoenix, I listened to the following exchange over the ATC channel of the plane's audio system after pushing back from the gate:
Denver Ground: "United xxx, the good news is you are clear to taxi to Runway 16."
United xxx: "Uhh, thanks ... but what's the bad news?"
Denver Ground: "I don't have any bad news right now but the sooner you
get going the less chance there will be of my finding any."
|17-Jul-00||Peoria, Ill., 1990. Thunderstorms south of the
PIA: "TWA xxx, how's the ride?"
TWA xxx: "It's rougher than burlap underwear up here."
PIA, after a short pause to catch a breath: "Would you classify that as light, moderate, or severe chafing?"
|10-Jul-00||From our "Eye of the beholder" file...
The student pilot was too high on his approach so he decided to use a slip to lose some extra altitude. But, being not very experienced, the maneuver lacked somewhat in effectiveness. The instructor, a bit surprised seeing such execution, asked his student, "What was that?!"
The student, a bit embarrassed by the tone in the instructor's voice, responded, "Well, it was a slip...."
The instructor, unconvinced, responded, "No, that wasn't a slip, it was
an intentional loss of control."
|03-Jul-00||It was a foggy, busy "rush-hour" morning at
LaGuardia. A US Air flight was taxiing to the active when they made a wrong turn and came
nose-to-nose with a United 727.
The irate ground controller (a woman) lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming and shouting on the ground control frequency. She ended her tirade with, "You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about a half hour, and I want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you. You got that, US Air?"
The humbled crew responded: "Yes Ma'am."
The frequency went terribly silent, and no one wanted to engage the irate ground controller in her current state. Finally, after what appeared to be an eternity, an unknown captain from another airline, came up on the frequency.
"Wasn't I married to you, once?" he asked.
|26-Jun-00||From our "Is it fixed yet?" file...
After about an hour of ground school on aircraft systems and what instruments would be affected by various failures, the student began a thorough pre-flight inspection before embarking on her first bout with "partial-panel" work.
As the student buckled herself into the left seat, the instructor said, "Hmmm, I wonder what's going to fail first?"
The student thought for a millisecond before replying, "Uhhh, the
|19-Jun-00||From our "Walking and chewing gum" file...
Approach: UPS XXX, expedite descent through four thousand and slow to one-seventy knots.
UPS XXX: UPS XXX can slow or descend, but not at the same time.
Approach: Did you just make that up or did you win that in your last contract?
UPS XXX: UPS XXX slowing and descending!
|12-Jun-00||Back in the days before altitude alerters were
mandatory, but with altitude reporting installed, a crew was climbing their BAC 1-11 up to
an assigned altitude of 17,000 feet. At about 17,700 feet, the pilot flying noticed the
inadvertent altitude bust and started back down towards 17,000.
Just as he was getting ready to level off, ATC called: "NXXXXX, say your altitude."
The fast-thinking captain replied, "Just passing through 17,000."
Whereupon the faster-thinking controller asked, "Which way?"
|05-Jun-00||Approaching Philadelphia some years ago, Approach
Control warned me of geese in my area. My not-so-smart question was, "How can you
The controller's smarter answer? "They're squawking."
|29-May-00||From our "cause and effect" file...
NOTAM received one winter night at Boston ARTCC:
"3B1 (Greenville ME) rwy 14-32 BRAN nil rptd by vehicle"
NOTAM received 10 seconds later:
"3B1 arpt clsd due vehicle accident 14-32"
|22-May-00||On a recent trip from BJC to CMA in the Salt Lake
Center's airspace, center was trying to raise Delta Air Lines flight xxx:
ZSL (numerous times): "Delta xxx, Salt Lake Center..."
Finally, Delta xxx answered: "Salt Lake, Delta xxx. Sorry about that. We were in the back watching the movie."
Unknown: "What's playin'?"
Delta xxx: "Lost in space."
|15-May-00||This happened in 1979. I was working the ground control
position at Patrick AFB, Fla.
A flight of two A-4s was parked on the north ramp, preparing to return to Navy JAX. Lead checked in and requested his clearance be put on request.
I said, "Clearance on request and monitor ATIS 273.5 prior to taxi."
When the flight was ready to taxi he said, "We tried contacting ATIS but couldn't get a word in edgewise."
|08-May-00||From our "Are we there yet?" file:
While flying from SLC to SMO recently a loyal AVweb reader overheard this exchange:
Center: "United XXX please say winds aloft."
UAL XXX: "260 at 105 knots."
Center: "Okay, I just wanted to make certain that you had head winds and did not have an engine shut down."
|30-Apr-00||From our "Where do you want to be today?"
As I was taxiing at Penticton airport in British Columbia I overheard the following:
C-Gxxx: "Request taxi clearance to Kelowna."
Ground: "Cessna Gxxx, we would prefer if you flew there."
C-Gxxx: "Then we would request taxi clearance to the active."
|24-Apr-00||From our "We aim to please" file:
While in the traffic pattern practicing touch and goes at Brown Airport in San Diego, a student requested the option from the tower controller.
Her response: "Sure. Which option would you like?"
|17-Apr-00||This is job dedication...
Late one dark and cloudy night I was flying northward across central California. As Bakersfield Approach handed me back to LA Center the controller said, "You are about to leave my airspace and the known world."
|10-Apr-00||From our "the devil made me do it" file...
"It is not necessarily impossible for human beings to fly, but it so happens that God didn't give them the knowledge of how to do it. It follows therefore, that anyone who claims he can fly must have sought the aid of the devil. To attempt to fly is therefore sinful."
-- Roger Bacon, a 13th-century philosopher
|03-Apr-00||From our "can you tell us more" file:
Seen on an aircraft insurance quote request:
"Description of loss: Hard landing caused by altitude change."
|27-Mar-00||From our "eye of the beholder" file...
Last Friday I had the pleasure of taking a co-worker for a ride in a Cessna 152 after a very long workweek. She had never flown in a general aviation aircraft before, was curious about everything, and made some interesting observations that those of us who are around light planes regularly don't think about any more. I made my way through the preflight inspection, called "Clear!" and the engine growled to life.
"Sounds like a lawn mower," my companion observed.
She obviously mistook my look of interest in her perspective as one of
"Well, a big one," she said.
|20-Mar-00||My friend, an ex-Marine Aviator, wanted to show off his
new twin-engine plane. I was riding along as he put it through its paces. Suddenly, we
were caught in a violent thunderstorm, with lightning crashing all around us. Next, we
lost the radio and most of the instruments.
As we were being tossed around in the sky, George said, "Uh-oh!"
Fearing the worst, I asked, "What's wrong now?"
George replied, "I got the hiccups. Do something to scare me."
|13-Mar-00||Apparently, an owner of an Aztec in Africa had an engine
problem in some
rather remote location and was considering trying to take off and fly the airplane on one engine to a maintenance base. The message he sent to Piper's engineering department ended with the question, "How long will it take to take off on one engine?"
This request for information made its rounds within engineering until it got to the Aztec project engineer who replied, "Ask him if he wants that in miles or months."
|06-Mar-00||A Delta Air Lines jet was traversing Arizona on a clear
day. The copilot was bombarding passengers with remarks about landmarks over the PA
"Coming up on the right side of our cabin, you can see Meteor Crater. A major tourist attraction in northern Arizona, it was formed when a lump of nickel and iron weighing 300,000 tons, 150 feet across, struck the earth at 40,000 miles an hour, scattering white-hot debris for miles in every direction. The hole measures nearly a mile across and is 570 feet deep."
From the cabin, a passenger was heard to exclaim: "Wow! It just missed
|28-Feb-00||From our Bonanza-envy file...
A Bonanza landed at my home airport some years ago with the leading edge of the left wing bashed in from hitting a goose in flight.
A remark from a Cessna driver was overheard: "If he'd been flying a
high-wing airplane, he'd have missed it."
|21-Feb-00||From our "we can only afford one landing
While trying to work touch-and-goes with a student in the traffic pattern at Daggett Airport, we were acutely aware of a pair of regional airline Fokker jets practicing the VOR approach to an intersecting runway. Each time they executed a missed approach, but we would hold short just in case they landed.
Finally, I keyed the mic and asked them if they were ever going to land.
Their curt response: "Negative, the company said they don't mind buying
the gas, but we have to buy our own tires."
|14-Feb-00||Seen in an FAA Air Traffic Controllers publication about
15 years ago:
ATCT: Bonanza 1234 cleared to land Runway 15; be advised the REIL lights are out of service.
Bonanza 1234: Roger, cleared to land; are the artificial lights working?
|07-Feb-00||From our "Are you sure you've done this
The weather was dropping rapidly and DCA (Washington National) was the only field still VFR, so they got a flood of diversions. Then they went from 2,000/5 to 600/1, so it was a scramble to get everyone on the ILS. One pilot didn't seem very familiar with the concept of the ILS, which resulted in the following exchange:
DCA TRACON: Nxxx, turn to 020 to intercept the localizer; you went right through it.
DCA TRACON: Nxxx, do you have an ILS receiver?
DCA TRACON: Is it turned on?
|31-Jan-00||Heard on the frequency while going into Newark, N.J.
(EWR) a while back:
Big jet: "Left to 120, and if it helps we've got the field."
NY TRACON: "Roger. Let me know when you get the other 12 guys ahead of you in sight."
|24-Jan-00||From our "you can't get there from here" file
The weather in Oregon has been seasonal. Rain for days, and now snow starting yesterday. Freezing down to 2000 feet. I'm based at the Illinois Valley Airport (3S4), Cave Junction, Ore., surrounded by the beautiful Siskiyou Mountains.
I've been waiting to ferry a PA-32 to southern California. Yesterday morning I called Flight Service, and asked for an outlook briefing to get over the Siskiyous southbound. The FSS Specialist asked, "and what month are you planning to depart?"
There's still a few good guys left, at least in Flight Service!
|17-Jan-00||From our "It's Not Polite To Point" file...
Overheard recently on the ground control frequency at Midway Airport
(MDW) in Chicago:
Vanguard XXX: "Midway Ground, Vanguard XXX push from gate YY with Whiskey."
MDW Ground: "Vanguard XXX, push back approved; point your nose toward the city."
Vanguard 123: "Vanguard 123, wilco."
Then, a couple of minutes later:
MDW Ground: "Vanguard XXX, just which city did you think I was talking about?"
|10-Jan-00||From our "We really mean it this time..."
This happened at the Boston ARTCC where I work. The controller noticed that an air carrier jet was not going to make the 11,000-foot crossing restriction that is required by Providence Approach. As the controller was issuing the "expedite" clearance to get him down, he noticed the jet also had head-on traffic at 15,000. His clearance went like this:
"Flight XXX, expedite your descent to 11,000, but REALLY expedite
|03-Jan-00||"We have your request..."
Airline captain to clearance delivery: "xxx1184 to BOS, and we're a DC9
Clearance delivery: "Roger cleared to BOS via ... and we'll change the B737 to a DC9."
Unidentified pilot: "Clearance, while you're at it, could you change this PA28 to a Learjet?"
|27-Dec-99||It's all in your point of view:
On the Friday after Thanksgiving it was very foggy in Billings, Montana. The RVR was between 800 and 1,400 feet all morning. Delta, NWA and UAL flights were waiting for departure and on-frequency requesting frequent updates about the RVR and the overall weather picture.
One captain asked if any dramatic improvement was expected. I responded, "I don't think the weather's going to change much, but I expect a dramatic improvement in about an hour ... when my shift ends."
|20-Dec-99||THE TWELVE (Flying) DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
On the first day of Christmas, my C-F-I gave to me...
A regulation 91.3;
A two-hour preflight;
Three full stalls;
Four short approaches;
FIVE FORCED LANDINGS!
Six flights computing;
Seven route re-thinkings;
Eight in-flight briefings;
Nine charts a-folding;
Ten minutes holding;
Eleven towers talking; and,
|13-Dec-99||From our "local procedures" file:
At Victoria we have a reporting point, a hotel, which is called "The Waddling Dog". One day recently, an American pilot called the tower,
reporting, "Bonanza 4567Y, Discovery Island, landing."
The tower controller responded, "Roger 67Y, call the Waddling Dog on
119.7 for left base 09."
The American acknowledged with, "Roger that, and, uh, we're over the
nudist colony at this time."
The controller, completely taken in, said, "WHERE IS THAT?"
"You first," the American laconically responded.
|06-Dec-99||From our "tell it like it is" file...
I'm a corporate pilot with a large interest in warbirds and antiques. On a recent flight into Wharton, Texas, I asked the senior gentleman at the FBO if there were any antiques or warbirds on the field.
He smiled and quickly replied ... "Just me!"
|29-Nov-99||This exchange took place shortly after this year's
Edwards AFB airshow.
Controller to F-117 stealth fighter: "Traffic is an F-16, two o'clock, 13 miles, southbound, climbing thru 6,000."
F-117 pilot: "Acquired and tracking..."
Controller to F-16: "Traffic is an F-117, two o'oclock, 12 miles, opposite direction, level 5."
F-16 pilot: "Roger, tracking..."
F-117 pilot (without missing a beat and in a monotone): "Bull."
|22-Nov-99||This week's Short Final comes courtesy of the BBC:
"Israeli premier Ehud Barak escaped unhurt when a jet carrying him and his party was in collision with a baggage truck on the tarmac at Manchester airport. The Israeli Air Force Boeing 707 was maneuvering during a refueling stop when the accident happened late on Thursday night.
"Mr. Barak's senior policy adviser, Danny Yatom said: 'It is good that it happened on the ground and not in the air.'"
|15-Nov-99||Heard on the heavily-congested O'Hare clearance delivery
during the Monday morning outbound rush:
Aircraft: "O'Hare Clearance, November [loud squeal] #@%^&~!..."
Clearance: "General aviation aircraft calling clearance, say your call sign and go ahead with your request."
Aircraft: "This is November [loud squeal] #@%^&~!...at Signature for
Clearance: "All aircraft standby; November aircraft calling for clearance, say again your call sign."
Aircraft: "This is November [loud squeal] #@%^&~!...clearance."
Clearance: "November aircraft at Signature, I cannot understand your number, so I'm going to call you November Niner Niner Bravo ... is that
okay with you?"
Clearance: "Okay then, November 99 Bravo, what can I do for you."
Aircraft: "This is November 99 Bravo at Signature, ready to copy IFR
clearance to Toledo."
Clearance: "Roger, stand by."
(after a brief pause...)
Clearance: "November 99 Bravo, I can't seem to find your clearance. Did
you file a flight plan?"
[Thanks to "The NATCA Voice" for this gem.]
|08-Nov-99||A friend of mine works for Mesaba and relates a radio
call he heard at MSP. A female Northwest Airlines cockpit crewmember had called several
times for push-back clearance, and after receiving the okay, called back and canceled. Her
last request went something like this:
NW123: Ground control, NW123 ready for push back, again.
Ground Control: Are you sure?
NW123: Well, I am a female and can change my mind at any moment.
Ground Control (laughing): Cleared to push back.
|01-Nov-99||From our "is it soup yet?" file...
NY Center: USAir 312, what is your ride like?
USAir 312: Oh man, I got whitecaps in my coffee!
NY Center: American 435, what's your ride like?
American 435: Dunno, we haven't been fed yet...
|25-Oct-99||From our "on the gauges" file...
I had stopped my car at a red light and was waiting for the signal to change when I noticed a person crossing on the green and reading a book at the same time. Halfway across the street, the pedestrian walked right into another automobile that had stopped too far into the crosswalk. Startled but not hurt, he closed his "Instrument Flying Handbook" and then walked around the car.
|18-Oct-99||From our "unanswerable questions" file...
This (reportedly) really happened at a nontowered airport in Northern California. The pilot of a Cessna 180 on amphibious floats, en route from Kentucky to Alaska, called for an airport advisory, and the Unicom operator issued the following:
"Wind calm. No reported traffic. Use runway 32 or 14, your choice."
The 180 pilot replied, "Which runway is longer?"
|11-Oct-99||From our "Euphemisms for TCAS" file:
On the final leg of a trip from Chicago to Ohio University, KUNI, I turned south in my C172 over APE VOR and shortly thereafter heard Columbus Approach call a bizjet at 8000 inbound to CMH:
Approach: "Bizjet 123, traffic one o'clock, 7000, a Cessna 172 southbound."
Bizjet 123: "Roger, we got him on The Discovery Channel."
Approach: "Cessna 89L, traffic eleven o'clock, 8000, a bizjet."
Cessna 89L: "Negative contact, but then we don't have The Discovery Channel."
With no hesitation at all, the bizjet pilot keyed his mic and said -- in the slowest, deepest, most deliberate announcer-like voice he could muster -- "CALL YOUR CABLE OPERATOR."
|04-Oct-99||I'm a flight instructor, and was teaching a brand new
student how to taxi the airplane. On initial call-up, I said, "Ground, Nxxx with
ATIS, ready to taxi to active, will be doing taxi practice."
The controller suggested we taxi all the way down to the inactive area, but that was more than we wanted, so I said, "No thanks, we're ready to taxi to the active ... I just wanted to warn you that we may be slow and crooked."
ATC's comeback: "Well, why don't you just let the student taxi?"
|27-Sep-99||From our "student pilots say the darnedest
Instructor (briefing student for his first dual cross-country): "What would you do if I fell unconscious halfway through the trip?"
Student: "Uh, let's see ... complete the flight, and log it as half dual and half solo?"
|20-Sep-99||From our "Heard On The Frequency" department:
It was a busy session one day several years ago when a flight slopped through and paralleled the localizer, but was not correcting back. The controller's comment?
"Hughes Air 520, you're paralyzing the localator; turn left and intercept."
|13-Sep-99||The scene: A rare quiet time at the Prescott, Ariz.,
airport. A nicely waxed Cessna 150 with its original factory paint job is taxiing out for
takeoff behind a beautifully painted Kitfox.
Ground Control: "Kitfox 1234, Prescott Ground. Nice stripes on your left wing."
Kitfox: "Prescott Ground, Kitfox 1234. Thanks, it was my wife's idea."
Cessna 150: "Uh, Prescott Ground, Cessna 5678. Any kind words about my 30-year-old paint job? I'm feeling just a little neglected down here."
Ground Control: "Cessna 5678, Prescott Ground. That sure is a nice 30-
year-old paint job, sir."
Cessna 150: "Prescott Ground, Cessna 5678. Thanks, it was my wife's idea."
|06-Sep-99||Several times a week I drive by the Aurora, Ill.,
airport with one or both of my twin daughters. On one night as we drove by fairly late, my
daughter Jaime noticed that the runway lights were on.
"Dad," she said, "I thought you said the airport was closed at night."
I was surprised at her notice of that bit of trivia, and answered, "Yes, that's right, it closed about an hour ago."
"Then why are the lights still on?" she queried. I explained that the airport was equipped with pilot-controlled lighting, and that if the pilot clicks the mic button a few times in quick succession, the lights come on.
Jaime digested this information for a moment, and then asked, "Is that
like a 'Clapper' for old pilots?"
|30-Aug-99||From our "now that you mention it" file...
I took my nine-year-old to the airport to see my flight instructor's Waco. Being the sharp future aviator that he is, my son examined the classic open-cockpit biplane from spinner to tailwheel, and then asked, "Dad, is the Waco IFR-rated?"
"Sure, son," I replied, "you can fly a Waco IFR."
He digested that for a few moments with a puzzled expression, then followed up with this stumper: "Well, when you fly it IFR, how do you keep the clouds out of your mouth?"
|23-Aug-99||I am a flight instructor at a large flight school where
my girlfriend is a student. She is preparing for her private checkride, so every once in a
while I quiz her.
She was having difficulty remembering when a pilot needs a complex endorsement, a high-performance endorsement, and a type rating. I asked
her if I could be a copilot on a Boeing 747.
She looked at me with a puzzled expression and said, "Let's see ... ummm
... how many horsepower does it have?"
|16-Aug-99||Sometimes pilots need to consult a higher authority:
It's the day of my first solo flight, and the only member of my family who could show up to watch is my grandmother. Gramma is no stranger to aviation -- her first husband was a B-26 pilot who was shot down in WWII. So I'm out doing my solo, and Gramma is on the porch at the flight school, surrounded by all the CFIs and students.
The crowd on the porch is discussing whether or not the weather is going
to stay good enough for cross-country flying, as there are many towering
cumulus clouds building. They'd consulted the NEXRAD in the school's
weather room. They'd called the FSS. They'd solicited PIREPs from
Gramma, hearing all this, decides to put her opinion into the mix. "It's not going to rain," she announces. "My bones aren't hurting."
Whereupon all the pilots on the porch immediately decide to go flying.
|09-Aug-99||From our "how to pass the time on those long
An RV-6 owner attended a breakfast fly-in, and put the airplane on the static display line. A three-year-old hopped up on the wing, pointed to the yoke-mounted Lowrance AirMap 300 handheld GPS, and said: "Look, Ma ... he's got a Gameboy!"
|26-Jul-99||From our "Things to do at the gate" file:
While boarding a coast-to-coast flight with his two boys, a pilot asked the captain if he could show the kids where Dad worked. The captain said, "Sure, come on in." He and the F/O demo'd all the bells and whistles for the kids and then got back to work.
The kids watched as the captain pulled out his charts and began to highlight the planned route. The seven-year-old was amazed by this and asked quietly, "Dad, what's he doing?" Before Dad could respond, his nine-year-old brother answered, "What do you think he's doing? He's coloring."
|19-Jul-99||The D-ATIS at Philadelphia International Airport has
infamous for ending with -- how shall we put it? -- "non-standard phraseology." One day, when the weather was awful and departing aircraft were lucky to have a flow-control delay of just two or three hours, the monotone computer-generated voice went through the usual weather, runway info and NOTAMS, then finished up with:
"Not going anywhere for awhile? Grab a Snickers bar."
On another day, at the end of the usual litany, the mechanical voice could be heard to say:
"One turn in a hold: $2,000. One go-around: $4,000. Spending a day with your copilot: priceless. Advise you have Yankee."
|12-Jul-99||From our "Situational Awareness" file...
A wife reports that her husband, an airline pilot, often has difficulty locating items around the house. One day he asked where the salt was. Annoyed, the wife responded, "How on earth can you find Detroit at night in a blizzard, but you can't find the salt in your own kitchen?"
"Well, darling," he replied, "they don't move Detroit."
|05-Jul-99||From our "Size Counts" file:
Shortly after just landing at a big international airport in his Cessna 150, our hero strolls into the busy airport cafeteria for a bite to eat. He finds an empty table by the window to keep an eye on the airport comings and goings. Shortly thereafter, a striking woman walks up and asks to share his table. Naturally, he invites her to sit down.
After several minutes of small talk, the woman asks if he is a pilot. He responds, "Why, yes, I am -- I fly a C-150." Knowing next to nothing about airplanes, she asks him what a C-150 is. The pilot looks out the window and spots a C-130 Hercules taxing out for takeoff.
Pointing to it, he tells his companion, "See that plane over there? That is a C-130. I fly a C-150!"
|28-Jun-99||A pilot friend recently took his 5-year-old son for the
boy's first airplane flight, in a Cessna 172. The little passenger, although serious
during the flight, thoroughly enjoyed the brief sightseeing tour over some local
When they returned home, the boy's grandmother asked him what part of the flight he liked best. He replied, "The rubber snakes they put on the plane to keep the birds away."
|21-Jun-99||We wonder how many of today's captains started this
When I told my niece that I had built a kitplane and was flying it, she asked, "May I come with you one day?"
Hoping for a wonderful line on how nice the earth looks from above or something of the kind, I replied, "Sure, but WHY do you want to come fly
Her answer: "To get a free orange juice on board."
|14-Jun-99||Sometimes it pays to know the local fixes, as this
When departing Oakland, Calif., last week I asked the controller for the "bay tour," a flight over the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, etc. I was instructed to "fly over and follow the Nimitz."
After two calls from controllers to again follow the Nimitz, I confessed that I couldn't find the Nimitz. The controller responded that the Nimitz Freeway was off my right wing. That explained it: I had been looking for the aircraft carrier.
|07-Jun-99||Kids, ya gotta love 'em! From our "out of the
mouths of babes" file...
** One 10-year-old girl in a crowd of Young Eagles wanted to look at the aircraft's instrument panel. While standing in awe, she turned to her classmates and said, "If we want to be pilots, we are going to have to stay in school a long time. Do you see all these clocks up here?"
** We had just completed a flight in a commercial airliner from Chicago to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The aircraft had taxied to the gate and the engines shut down. Everyone in the now-quiet aircraft was waiting for the seatbelt light to extinguish when my 4-year-old brother's voice called out, "But, Dad! We didn't drop any bombs!"
** When told that his mother had just soloed a sailplane, our son's impertinent reply was, "I knew she was taking lessons, but I didn't think she was learning anything."
|31-May-99||Spotted on an aircraft insurance claim form...
"Description of loss: Hard landing caused by altitude change."
|24-May-99||This note to the AVweb "Help Desk" gave us a
Please unsubscribe AVweb and AVflash for this email address, as the pilot left the copilot/navigator for his silicone-enhanced, bleached-blonde ex-wife who has no interest whatsoever in flying. Go figure!!!
|17-May-99||When even your best isn't good enough:
I was demonstrating an ILS to a former Private Pilot student while my wife was in the back seat. For once, thanks to calm air, I nailed it perfectly. The only instrument with a moving needle on the entire panel was the altimeter.
My wife asked what was guiding me to the runway. I pointed to the CDI and GS needles and told her how I get lateral and vertical guidance from them.
"How can you get any guidance from those?" she asked, obviously puzzled. "They're not moving!"
|10-May-99||Another good "Rule of Thumb" overheard at this
year's Sun 'n Fun:
Cessna 123: Tower, I have a load of Young Eagles on board. Do you have any idea how long I should keep them up here?
Tower: Cessna 123, ahhh, until the second one throws up ... that should
just about do it.
|03-May-99||From our "more than we really wanted to know"
While working as a volunteer at our local Boy Scout Council office, one of the professional staff -- who was wearing street clothes instead of her usual uniform -- was talking about the International Phonetic Alphabet. She said that she had learned it some years ago and proceeded to recite it. "Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta..." But, when she got to the letter "U," she stumbled and asked for help.
I offered a hint: "What aren't you wearing today?"
"Underwear?" she replied.
|26-Apr-99||Overheard in Lakeland, two pilots were comparing notes
on their flight times to get to Sun 'n Fun. Lamenting the fact that he'd found a fuel stop
necessary on the way to the airshow, one of the airmen said that he was hopeful that he
would be able to make it home nonstop. In all seriousness, he justified his reasoning to
his friend thusly:
"Well, I'll pick up an hour on the way back because of the time change."
|19-Apr-99||Ground: "12 Alpha, turn right on Hotel, taxi to
parking. Bear left, disabled aircraft on the right."
12 Alpha: "Roger, I have the disabled aircraft in sight, looking for the bear."
|12-Apr-99||From our "Maneuvers Not Covered By The PTS"
I was recently supervising a student on his first solo. Attentively listening to him on a handheld radio, I heard his last radio transmission before completing the successful solo:
"Frederick Traffic, Cessna 39A simulated instructor failure, runway 5."
|05-Apr-99||It was very hot that day -- over 100 degrees Fahrenheit
-- as it usually is in the southern California desert during the summer. I was feverishly
calculating density altitude and working out my weight-and-balance to decide how much fuel
I could take on, when I noticed a Piper Navajo on the ramp. It had just been topped it off
with fuel, and I could see that it was about to be filled full of passengers.
As a new pilot, I was intrigued by the apparent capabilities of this aircraft. "It's so hot today, how can you fill your airplane like that?" I asked the Navajo pilot.
With the calm and commanding voice of an experienced PIC, he replied, "It's okay, we have air conditioning."
|29-Mar-99||The millennium bug is a hot topic these days, both for
fun and profit. We got a chuckle when we visited Sensenich Propeller's web site and saw
"The Home of Y2K Compliant Propellers"
|22-Mar-99||From our "Orville and Wilbur would turn over in
their graves" file...
When F-117 test pilot Dave Ferguson first saw the highly faceted, unconventional, "slab-sided" Nighthawk, he asked Dick Cantrell, the program's Chief Aerodynamicist, how airframe ice encrustation might affect the 117A's aerodynamics.
Cantrell replied, "Probably improve it."
(From the forthcoming book "F-117 Nighthawk" by Paul Crickmore, MBI Publishing, coming July 1999.)
|15-Mar-99||From our "So THATS what its for!"
file, we thought we'd share this insightful tidbit from this week's "Dateline
NBC" expose on the Boeing 737 rudder problem:
RUDDER STEERS THE PLANE
The rudder is the vertical panel attached to the tail that steers the plane left or right. Its moved by pedals in the cockpit. The pilot pushes the right rudder pedal, the plane turns right. He pushes the left rudder pedal, it turns left.
|08-Mar-99||From our "We certainly HOPE so" file...
Pilot: Montgomery County radio, could you give us the current weather at College Station?
FSS: Currently they're carrying a 500-foot broken ceiling, winds out of the northeast at 10 to 15, visibility 8, and the altimeter 29.85.
Pilot: Copy that. Is that 500-foot ceiling due to clouds?
|01-Mar-99||Another gem from our "how's that again?" file:
One of the secretaries at our corporate offices called down the other day to make sure that all was set for an upcoming flight on our company aircraft, checking the airport, flight time, and which H.B.O. we would be using...
|22-Feb-99||The Pilot's Prayer
Oh controller, who sits in tower
Hallowed be thy sector.
Thy traffic come, thy instructions be done
On the ground as they are in the air.
Give us this day our radar vectors,
And forgive us our Class B incursions
As we forgive those who cut us off on final.
And lead us not into adverse weather,
But deliver us our clearances.
|15-Feb-99||As reported above, Veep Al Gore's delayed departure from
night snarled air traffic in the Northeast. After yet another revised EFC, ATC queried one hardy soul on his status:
ALB Approach: "Commuter 5678, can you hold out for another half hour or
Commuter 5678: "Yes sir, fuel is not a problem. But I should advise you
that about half my passengers have now turned Republican."
|08-Feb-99||From our "How's that again?" file:
The following was reported to be an actual boarding announcement made by a gate agent in MIA in December.
"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your patience, we are ready to begin boarding flight 1234 with service from Miami to Atlanta. Due to a weight problem with the aircraft, we are going to limit you to one piece of carry-on luggage. Any additional items will have to be checked."
|01-Feb-99||A loyal reader shared this with us:
When my primary instructor took me out for my first "demo" ride, he had me in the left seat and told me how to steer with my feet and sit on my hands to avoid "steering" the ailerons.
"How do I know how fast to taxi?" I asked anxiously.
"At your stage in training," my CFI replied, "a good rule-of-thumb is not to taxi any faster than you want to run into something."
(The AVweb staff thinks this is a pretty good rule for pilots of ANY
|25-Jan-99||Taxiing down the tarmac, the jetliner abruptly stopped,
turned around and returned to the gate. After an hour-long wait, it finally took off.
A concerned passenger asked the flight attendant, "What was the problem?"
"The pilot was bothered by a noise he heard in the engine," explained the F/A, "and it took us a while to find a new pilot."
|18-Jan-99||Remember folks, those PIREPS are important, and that
goes double if you're flying in Canada. The Canadian Aeronautical Information Publication
(RAC 1.12.2) states:
"A CIRVIS report shall be made immediately upon the sighting of any airborne, waterborne or ground objects, or activities which appear to be
hostile, suspicious or unidentified. A few examples are: unidentified flying objects; submarines; surface warships positively identified as not Canadian or American; nuclear bursts...."
Our informal poll reveals that most AVweb readers make a practice of
reporting UFO sightings, but many were unaware that they had an obligation to report nuclear bursts. Most told us that they intend to start doing so immediately, however, just in case the authorities miss the odd one....
|11-Jan-99||Overheard while watching the French Rafale Multirole
Combat Fighter do
its thing at the Paris Air Show:
"You've got to give them credit -- they've perfected the F-102."
|04-Jan-99||As a New Year's treat for our readers, here's a few more
from our famous
"Squawk List" series:
Problem: Unfamiliar noise coming from #2 engine.
Solution: Engine run for four hours. Noise now familiar.
Problem: Noise coming from #2 engine. Sounds like man with little hammer.
Solution: Took little hammer away from man in #2 engine.
Problem: Whining noise coming from #2 engine compartment.
Solution: Returned little hammer to man in #2 engine.
Problem: Flight Attendant cold at altitude.
Solution: Ground checks OK.
|28-Dec-98||This week's Short Final comes from the FAA's December
1998 issue of AC No. 43-16A, "Aviation Maintenance Alerts," proving once and for
all that some folks at the FAA do have a sense of humor:
Sled; Model NP12-25; Noel Flyer; Oil Leak; ATA 7910
This aircraft had seven "oat eating" engines installed in accordance with Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) SA122598HOHO. The "Jolly Ole"
pilot reported that oil dripped on the stable floor and requested it be repaired before an upcoming marathon flight. An inspection of the "skid
lubrication" oil system disclosed a cracked oil tank. A .1225-inch long crack was on the side of the tank. There were two creases in the tank running in a vertical direction on both the forward and aft sides of the tank. It appeared the crack originated at the top of the forward crease. A pressurized oil tank with even a small crack can cause a substantial amount of oil loss.
Four vertically challenged technicians removed the tank and made the necessary repairs, although a final inspection revealed evidence of cookie crumbs and milk drops in the vicinity of the repair.
The submitter recommended the oil tank be inspected at frequent intervals, in the "off season," for creases, dents, cracks, and/or cookie crumbs. For all who read these Alerts and their loved ones, have a happy and safe New Year.
Part total time: 4,000,000 hours.
|21-Dec-98||From our "ATC phraseology not covered in FAA Order
Cessna: "Van Nuys Ground, Cessna 2467 Sierra, how do you read?"
Ground: "On about a twelfth-grade level." (Followed by laughter in the
|14-Dec-98||Cessna: "Miami, Cessna 24737 is at five thousand
Center: "Cessna 24737, roger, Fort Pierce altimeter three zero one five."
Cessna: "This is 24737 -- was that setting for me?"
Without missing a beat, Center replied, "No, actually that was for everyone."
|07-Dec-98||Pilots flying heavy iron are sometimes known for their
lighthearted jibes at pilots of smaller aircraft.
One day at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, an A-340 was in line
for departure behind a Fokker F-28, an aircraft that has a tail that splits to act as a large speedbrake. The Airbus captain was heard on the radio, making some comment about the "cute little plane" in front of him and boasting about the brand new jumbo he was flying.
In response, the Fokker's fuselage speed brakes opened wide, and over
the radio a very loud, "Pbbbbbbbt!" was heard.
"I do believe we've been mooned!" said the A-340 first officer to his
|30-Nov-98||Controller to transitioning aircraft: "Do you have
Student pilot (after long pause): "No sir, this one belongs to the flight school where I rented the plane."
|23-Nov-98||Graffito found in the crew lounge:
"The only thing worse than a captain who never flew copilot is a copilot
who was once a captain."
|16-Nov-98||Our intrepid glider pilot took off from a popular
gliderport for a local soaring flight. After waiting a while to ensure soaring conditions
adequate for an extended flight, his ground crew (and spouse) called on
the radio to say she was leaving the airport to run some errands. His reply indicated that he had to land soon to make a "phone call."
Among glider pilots, "phone call" is a polite term referring to the need to attend to physiological needs. These are usually handled in flight by emptying one's bladder into a plastic bag. So, the puzzled ground crew queried the pilot by radio: "Didn't you bring any baggies?"
"You don't understand," said the agitated voice from aloft. "I need to make a LONG DISTANCE phone call!"
|09-Nov-98||From our "out of the mouths of babes" file...
I was putting on my pilot uniform when my little girl asked my wife what I was doing. My wife replied that I was getting ready to go to work. Then my daughter asked why I had to go to work. My wife told her that it was the way I made money to provide for our family. My little girl thought about that for a moment and then asked:
"Mommy, why is all the money at the airport?"
|02-Nov-98||From our "I think she's coming around" file:
Being a relatively new pilot, I've always been very enthusiastic and felt that my wife may have been growing weary of all the "pilot talk." However, it was a gorgeous fall day, a perfect opportunity for the "$100 hamburger," so at her suggestion, we headed out enjoying beautiful foliage scenery all the way.
As we dined at the restaurant, we were suddenly visited by a persistent fly that seemed intent on staying for the full meal. After swatting at it a time or two, I could no longer see it when my wife informed me:
"Honey, I think he departed the pattern to the north."
|26-Oct-98||A reader shared this with us to show that some airlines
answer to an even higher authority than the FAA:
I recently took a domestic flight in Egypt on their national carrier, Egyptair. As I boarded the aging 737, I looked over the door at the frame where the airworthiness and registration certificates are normally found. Instead, the carrier had placed a copy of the Koran there. Made me feel much safer!
|19-Oct-98||From our "Universally-Applicable Procedures"
AT&T apparently has a pilot on staff with a wry sense of humor. We were amused recently to learn that the procedure for reporting problems with
AT&T's cellular telephone service is to call 1-800-888-7600.
|12-Oct-98||A loyal reader shared this one with us:
I was standing at a red light waiting for the signal to change. As I was waiting I noticed a person crossing on the green and reading a book at the same time. Halfway into the crosswalk he walked right into a car that had stopped too far into the crosswalk. Startled, but not hurt, he closed his Student Instrument Flying Handbook and then walked around the car.
|05-Oct-98||We can't verify this story, but it seems that aircrews
are getting more resourceful about supplementing their incomes...
An AVweb reader reports that, while sitting in the upper deck business class front seat of a Cathay Pacific 747 in Taipei, the following announcement was heard over the cabin PA system: "Ladies and gentlemen, we are overbooked and are offering anyone $1,000 plus a seat on the next flight in exchange for their seat on this flight."
After a short pause, the offer was loudly accepted by someone in the
|28-Sep-98||From our "Shorts Drivers get no respect" file:
The pilot of a twin on approach to Bakersfield's Meadows Field was on the same course parallel to a Shorts 360 landing on 30R and was conversing with the pilot of the 360.
360 pilot to the twin pilot: "How do you like our new airplane?"
Twin pilot: "It will look a lot better once you remove it from the shipping crate!"
|21-Sep-98||Y'know, we've got to get our kids out more. As evidenced
by this reader's contribution:
After completing a flight lesson for the day, I asked my instructor if he could give my 12-year-old son his first ride in an airplane. My CFI being a genuine promoter of general aviation (and a good friend), my son got his first ride in the left seat. After landing, my CFI asked him how he liked the ride, to which my son exclaimed, "Wow! Just like the flight simulator on my computer, only the graphics are a whole lot better!"
|14-Sep-98||Last Tuesday, September 8, the following PIREP was
spotted on the wire:
STL UUA /OV BUSCH STADIUM/TM 0153/FL050/TP UNKN/RM SMALL ROUND WHITE OBJECT GOES PAST MARIS
|07-Sep-98||A reader reported overhearing this exchange between a
Mother and her
young son on a recent commercial flight:
About one hour into the flight a dog could be heard barking from underneath. The little boy asked his mother what the noise was. She replied, "it is a dog."
After a brief period of silence, the little boy asked, "Mom, how high are we?"
|30-Aug-98||Regardless of what it says in the AIM or
Pilot/Controller Glossary, an
emergency is in the eye of the beholder. Want proof?
A veteran 747 captain recently retired and got checked out in a Cessna 172 for "puddle jumping." After filing a short IFR flight plan over the phone one day, he definitely got the attention of the Flight Service Station specialist when he added, "..and I'd like to declare an emergency at this time." Intrigued, the FSS man dutifully recorded in the "Remarks" section of the flight plan exactly what the old captain had to say:
"I'm down to one radio, one VOR receiver, no deice equipment, one flight crew member, and one engine."
|23-Aug-98||We don't usually publish the "Xeroxed jokes"
that circulate wildly on the 'net, but every rule is meant to be broken. This one tickled
us, and is sure to touch home with a lot of our fellow pilots:
"The male pilot is a poor, confused soul who talks about women when he's in an airplane...and talks about airplanes when he is with a woman."
|17-Aug-98||Airline pilots, like any of us, can have a tough time
finding their way around an unfamiliar airport. One day at SJC (San Jose, Calif.), a UAL
DC-10 was headed into unfamiliar territory. Controllers observed the aircraft come to a
full stop just short of an intersecting taxiway and remain motionless. After a moment,
Ground Control called and said, "UAL XXX turn right at that taxiway." There was
no response. Again the controller said, "UAL XXX turn right at that taxiway." No
After a few seconds, the controller tried a different approach: "UAL
XXX, turn toward the copilot", at which point the aircraft made an immediate
90-degree turn to the right...
|10-Aug-98||Found in the Jepp airport guide -- the one that's a
companion to the approach plates -- for VKX (Potomac Airfield, MD):
Noise Abatement: Avoid TO
|03-Aug-98||Pilot: "Airplane XXX is over [fix] and we almost
have the field in sight."
ATC: "Roger XXX, you are almost cleared for visual approach to runway
|27-Jul-98||From our "knot exactly" file:
Found in the Cirrus Design ad in FLYING magazine (August 1998, p. 15),
describing Cirrus' new SR20 aircraft:
"With a 160-knot cruise speed and an 800-knotical-mile range, the SR20 is a great cross-country aircraft."
[EDITOR'S NOTE: In the spirit of full disclosure, we wish to point out
that both Cirrus Design Corporation and FLYING Magazine are AVweb
sponsors. We sincerely hope they also have a sense of humor...]
|20-Jul-98||From our "get along, little doggies" file:
On a very quiet Sunday morning, a pilot was flying his Robinson R22 helicopter to 06N -- a very small uncontrolled field in Middletown, N.Y.
-- for a gathering of helicopter pilots for competitions and hangar flying known as a "Helicopter Round-Up."
The pilot's route passed through the Windsor Locks, Conn., Class B
airspace, so the pilot called up BDL Approach and gave his location,
altitude, destination and type. The controller cleared the helicopter into the airspace, adding "I used to work that district. What in the world are you going there for?" The pilot replied he was going to Middletown to participate in a helicopter round-up.
After a lengthy pause, the controller came back with, "It must be kinda
hard to lasso those puppies."
|13-Jul-98||Overheard at Cottonwood (Ariz.), this one goes in our
"Cottonwood, this is Cessna XXXX at 4300 ft inbound for runway 34,"
(pause) "or 35, whatever..."
|06-Jul-98||Our old friend JimmyJay shared this one with us:
Capt'n said, "I'm retiring next month and wish to pass something on to
young pilots who will be flying this airline after I'm gone." His copilot leaned an attentive ear toward his gray-haired Captain in anticipation of some unwritten rule-of-thumb, or some secret technique for ensuring smooth landings.
Capt'n confided, "In 30 years of flying the line, if there's anything I've learned, it's this: the smaller the flight attendant, the heavier her suitcase, and the harder she slams the cockpit door."
|29-Jun-98||Pilot report filed over Alaska:
ANC UA/OV BIG SUSITNA RVR AREA/TM 2325/FL015/TP CSNA/RM ACFT IS BEING BOMBARDED BY INSECTS WHICH ARE NOT IN FORECAST
|22-Jun-98||From our obvious-advantages-of-Mode-C file:
Recently overheard on Fargo (N.D.) Approach Control frequency:
"Cessna One Alpha Bravo, you have unidentified traffic at 2 o'clock,
three miles, altitude unknown, over the railroad tracks. Very slow
moving primary target, might be a helicopter."
"Might be a train."
|15-Jun-98||An item from our "Texas airports get no
Queen Air: "Queen Air N1234 requests direct T00."
ATC: "Approved as requested. And what is T00?"
Queen Air: "That's Anahuac, Texas. We're landing there."
ATC: "Yes sir, and is that intentional, or will you be declaring an emergency?"
|08-Jun-98||Scrawled on the wall in the Pilots Lounge:
"Asking a pilot what he thinks about the FAA is like asking a fireplug what it thinks about a dog."
|01-Jun-98||From our "out of the mouths of babes" file:
The young student pilot was flying with an examiner for the first time.
The examiner said, "Why don't we start with something simple like
straight and level?"
The student pilot replied, "Okay, which do you want first?"
|25-May-98||A few years BR (before radar), airlines assigned flight
according to aircraft model -- DC-7 flight numbers were in the "100s",
Convairs in the "200s", etc. Based on these flight numbers, air traffic
controllers could sequence airplanes by their known approach speeds.
During a holiday weekend, an "extra section" flight reported in to
Washington Approach Control with a flight number that didn't coincide
with any known airplane type.
The controller acknowledged and added, "Say aircraft type."
The FO responded, "Ahhh, wait one."
Whereupon the controller replied acerbically, "Whatsa matter? You gotta
get out and look at the hubcaps?"
|18-May-98||A commuter flight on approach was advised of a Shorts
360 (a boxy, twin-engine turboprop) ahead of them.
The captain responded to ATC: "We've got him in sight. Oh no, wait a
second! He just flew over a trailer park and we lost him."
|11-May-98||Back in the days when direction finding equipment was
being installed in
towers, a pilot enroute from Pensacola to Norfolk and not knowing
exactly what his position was, called:
"Atlanta Tower, this is N1234"
"N1234, go ahead"
"Could you give me one of those practice DF steers?"
"Sorry but we don't give *practice* DF steers."
"Well, how about one of them other kind, then?"
|04-May-98||From our "Perspective is Everything" file:
A loyal reader wrote us, retelling the story about the military pilot calling ATC for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter was running "a bit peaked." ATC told the fighter jock that he was number two behind a B-52 that had one shut down.
"Ah," the pilot remarked, "the dreaded seven-engine approach!"
|27-Apr-98||After holding short of the runway for ten minutes
following a runway configuration change, number one for takeoff calls:
"Dulles Tower, flight 301 looking for higher."
|20-Apr-98||We appreciate the perspective this reader shared with
About 60 years ago, my father flew to his father's Kansas farm, landed in a pasture, and took his dad aboard for his very first airplane ride. They flew over the countryside for a half hour or so and then returned to the pasture. As they were walking away from the plane, my dad asked his dad how he liked the flight. The old man said, "I liked it fine, but you know, I've lived on this farm for 40 years, and today, for the
first time, I realized that all those years I've been lookin' at it sideways."
|13-Apr-98||From our "so far, so good" file:
A Huey Cobra practicing autorotations during a military night training exercise had a problem and landed on the tail rotor, separating the tail boom. Fortunately, it wound up on its skids, sliding down the runway doing 360s in a brilliant shower of sparks. As the Cobra passed the tower, the following exchange was overheard:
Tower: Sir, do you need any assistance?
Cobra: I don't know, tower. We ain't done crashin' yet!
|06-Apr-98||The ability to think ahead is important to being a
pilot. This reader's son shows good potential:
We were getting ready for a quick dinner trip from Oklahoma City to Ponca City. While I was doing a weight-and-balance, my eight-year-old son was looking over my shoulder. Finishing, I said: "Well if the four of us go, we will be just 7 pounds under gross." My son asked: "But Dad, what about after we eat?"
|30-Mar-98||We usually think of McGraw-Hill's Aviation Daily as a
source of serious aviation news, but a copyrighted story in last Monday's edition gave us
quite a chuckle.
Seems that at a hearing called by the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee on March 19, seven airline CEOs -- Robert Ayling of British Airways, Gordon Bethune of Continental, Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic, Robert Crandall of American, Gerald Greenwald of United, Leo Mullin of Delta, and Stephen Wolf of US Airways -- found themselves crammed together cheek-by-jowl at the witness table. Whereupon subcommittee chairman Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) cracked, "Sorry about the crowding, but welcome to coach class."
|23-Mar-98||What Instrument Pilot among us hasn't wanted to say
Center: N1234 you're 15 south of Vero Beach. Expect a visual approach at Fort Pierce.
N1234: Would it be possible for us to get the full NDB 9 approach?
Center: N1234, understand you would like the full NDB 9?
N1234: I didn't say I'd like it...I was just asking if we could fly it!
|16-Mar-98||From our "You can super-size that for 79
N123: "Youngstown Approach, Cessna 123 off Elser, request two practice ILS approaches, followed by the published missed to the VOR to hold, a VOR approach, two NDB approaches, and an ASR approach."
Approach: "Cessna 123 squawk 4753, and would you like fries with that, sir?"
|09-Mar-98||During the "rush hour" at Houston's Hobby
Airport, a flight was delayed due to a mechanical problem. Since they needed the gate for
another flight, the aircraft was backed away from the gate while the maintenance crew
worked on it.
The passengers were then told the new gate number, which was some distance away. Everyone moved to the new gate, only to find that a third gate had been designated. After some further shuffling, everyone got on board and as they were settling in the flight attendant made the usual announcement:
"We apologize for the inconvenience of this last-minute gate change. This flight is going to Washington, D.C. If your destination is not Washington, D.C., then you should de-plane at this time."
A very confused-looking and red-faced pilot emerged from the cockpit, carrying his bags. "Sorry," he said, "wrong plane."
|02-Mar-98||For months after California's Northridge earthquake of
1994, aftershocks rocked the San Fernando Valley and Van Nuys Airport. One morning about
three weeks after the initial quake there was a particularly sharp aftershock. Moments
later on Van Nuys' ground control frequency:
"Uh, four three kilo would like to file a pilot report for moderate turbulence on the east taxiway..."
|23-Feb-98||We all appreciate quick-thinking pilots, in the air or
on the ground...
Many years ago I traveled by General Aviation making business presentations to banks. The presentation involved using a projector and folding screen. Upon returning from one such flight, I went into the FBO office to turn in the logbooks and pay for the Skylane I had rented. The local hanger-flyers seemed to be looking me over suspiciously as I lugged my flight gear, logbooks, briefcase, and the projector screen. Realizing that they thought I looked out of place, I glanced over my shoulder towards them and remarked, "In-flight movies."
|16-Feb-98||Found on the Net...
Top Ten Changes at NASA to Accommodate 76-Year-Old John Glenn's Return to Space Aboard the Shuttle Discovery:
10. All important devices now operated by the Clapper.
9. Shuttle's thermostat set at 80 degrees.
8. Shuffleboard installed in cargo bay.
7. "Early Bird" specials from Morrison's Cafeteria included on menu.
6. One monitor specifically designated for Matlock.
5. Little bowls of candy scattered randomly about the ship.
4. Top speed of shuttle set at 25 miles per hour.
3. Installed a new bifocal windshield.
2. Space pants now go up to armpits.
1. Left-blinker left on for entire mission.
|09-Feb-98||Senior airline captain complaining to chief pilot:
"I'm really getting tired of this...Every time I wake up the other two guys are reading."
|02-Feb-98||A veteran airline captain, apparently checking in with
ATC on the wrong frequency, was asked, "Say your position?" to which he replied:
|26-Jan-98||From our "Care To Rephrase That?"
The traffic was heavy, and the weary local controller had apparently heard all the "blocked" and "stepped on" responses he could take when he made this transmission: "How come every time I key my mic, some idiot starts talkin'?"
|19-Jan-98||Approach: Beech 998, you're showing two
thousand feet and intermittent Mode C. Say altitude.
Beech 998: Beech 998 is intermittently at two thousand feet.
|12-Jan-98||A student became lost during a solo cross-country
flight. While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked, "What was your
last known position?"
"When I was number one for takeoff," replied the student.
|05-Jan-98||After a particularly lousy landing made from the right
seat of a commercial airliner, that FO heard the Captain announce "Ladies and
gentlemen, XXX Airlines wishes to apologize for that rough landing provided today by our
Some months later the same crew was together and, sure enough, the Captain made an even worse one. The First Officer immediately jumped on the intercom, announcing "Ladies and Gentlemen, XXX Airlines wishes to apologize for that rough landing provided today by our Captain."
The Captain turned angrily to his FO. "What did you say that for?"
"Remember a couple of months back when you did that to me?" the First Officer replied. "Now we're even!"
"But I never keyed the mike!" protested the Captain.
|29-Dec-97||FSS Briefer: "Threshold of runway
28 is displaced 277 feet."
Pilot: "It that MSL or AGL?"
|22-Dec-97||Student pilot to irate instructor: "You're simply impossible to satisfy. I just finished navigating successfully through a boiling fluid swirling around a rotating sphere that is hurtling around a fusion reaction source at thousands of miles per hour. This system is moving in a circular motion around a black hole at who knows what speed, while the space it takes up is expanding. And then I bounced the landing six inches. SIX MEASLY INCHES! Get off my freakin' back!"|
|15-Dec-97||Courtesy of "Saturday Night Live":
The NTSB has determined that a frayed wire caused the spark that ignited vapors in the TWA 800 fuel tank. The wire became frayed when it was hit by a missile...
|07-Dec-97||A pilot planning a VFR flight was getting a weather briefing from AFSS. When told of a line of thunderstorms approaching the departure airport the pilot asked: "Well, if I'm IFR will the thunderstorms still be there?"|
|01-Dec-97||Comment in the New York Times editorial page of December
10, 1903... just one week before the successful flight at Kitty Hawk by the Wright
"...We hope that Professor Langley will not put his substantial greatness as a scientist in further peril by continuing to waste his time and the money involved in further airship experiments. Life is short, and he is capable of services to humanity incomparably greater than can be expected to result from trying to fly. ...For students and investigators of the Langley type, there are more useful employments."
|23-Nov-97||At a recent software engineering management course in
the U.S., the participants were given an awkward question to answer. "If you had just
boarded an airliner and discovered that your team of programmers had been responsible for
the flight control software, how many of you would disembark immediately?"
Among the ensuing forest of raised hands, only one man sat motionless. When asked what he would do, he replied that he would be quite content to stay onboard. With his team's software, he said, the plane was unlikely to even taxi as far as the runway, let alone take off.
|17-Nov-97||A 70 year old very experienced flight instructor had to
go to a "New" FAA medical examiner since he had outlived the previous AME. Try
as he would the "rookie" AME could find no medical faults with the wise old
silver haired flight instructor..except for a slightly red eye. Inquiring into this
problem the AME asked how long the eye had been red, and did it hurt, etc.
"It has been red for 2 weeks, but much better now, and it never hurts when I fly."
"I understand, but have you ever had a purulent (pus) discharge"?
"Not me Doc, I'm flat footed and was always 4-F."
|09-Nov-97||The venerable Cessna 152 POH recommends testing the
stall warning horn by placing a clean cloth over the stall vent and drawing a vacuum. When
an instructor asked a student at our club how to test the stall warning horn, he replied
"place your mouth over the wing stall vent and suck hard till the siren goes
The instructor then asked, "What would you do if the vent was full of bugs and such?" The student pondered for a moment and then replied, "Ask the instructor to place his mouth over the wing stall vent and suck hard till the siren goes off..."
|02-Nov-97||The student pilot was midway through the oral portion of
his Private practical test. After reviewing his pre-flight planning, the examiner pointed
out that the Weight & Balance figures showed that the airplane would be 50 pounds over
max gross. "What can you do about that?" asked the examiner.
"First, I would have my passengers take off their clothes," suggested the applicant. "If that were not enough, I'd drain a gallon of oil from the engine. Finally, I'd remove 12 pounds of air from each tire..."
|27-Oct-97||The student pilot radioed for taxi instructions,
sounding pretty nervous. When the tower asked if he was departing IFR or VFR, his reply
"No, I'm G.I. Bill."
|20-Oct-97||Pilot to ATC: "...it's rougher than a stucco bathtub up here!"|
|13-Oct-97||During a heavy traffic period, a pilot comes on Center
frequency, speaking in slow Texas drawl:
"Good afternoon Houston Center, King Air 12345 checkin' in with ya'll, VFR at eighteen-five."
"Ah, King Air 12345, sir, you can't be VFR at eighteen-five."
"Sure we can, Center. We're flyin' a Super King Air!"
|06-Oct-97||Pilot: Request a flightlevel between
FL210 and FL250
ATC: Roger, you can have either 230 or 250...which would you like?
ATC: Affirmative what?
|29-Sep-97||Overheard at O'Hare:
Cessna 152 pilot with obvious French accent: "Center, I would like a vector back home".
Unidentified commuter pilot: "Heading 090, 2000 miles".
|22-Sep-97||From our "Hey supe, can I go home now?"
Overworked air traffic controller responding to the disoriented student pilot of a single-engine Cessna calling on 121.5 MHz on a busy Saturday:
"Lost aircraft, say position."
|15-Sep-97||From the Spoonerism section of our
Controller pointing out floatplane traffic to an IFR aircraft: "Traffic at your two o'clock is a phone on plates."
|08-Sep-97||An excerpt from the Canada Flight Supplement (equivalent
to the US A/FD):
LONDON, ONTARIO SERVICES...
CFR - 5 1130-0330Z, O/T 2 hrs PNR
Decoded: Crash, fire and rescue services: level 5. Available 1130Z to 0330Z; other times 2 hours prior notice required.
Let's try to keep that in mind next time we're planning to crash there.
|01-Sep-97||Overhead in London TMA...
ATC: N12345, descend to 3,000' on QNH 1019.
N12345: Could you give that to me in inches?
ATC: N12345, descend to 36,000 inches on QNH 1019!
|25-Aug-97||AVweb reader John Frank (executive director of the
Cessna Pilots Association) spotted this grafitto scrawled on the inside of a fiberglass
Port-A-Potty honeyhut at Oshkosh '97:
"I could've been a Glasair."
|18-Aug-97||A sharp-eyed AVweb reader spotted this entry in his
JeppGuide Airport Directory:
EASTWAY AVIATION, INC, xxx-xxxx, fax xxx-xxxx, 24 hrs daily. Other hrs on-call.
|10-Aug-97||Overheard on the flightline at Oshkosh last weekend:
"Honey, you just have to stay for the B-2. It's so stealthy that you're not going to see it when it goes by."
|03-Aug-97||The following PIREP was obtained from a DUATS session on
PRC UA /OV LRU-VGT/ TM1630/ FL220/ TP MU2/ RM PICKED UP A FULL LOAD OF ICE FL220-230 E OF LAS MORE THAN GOD ALLOWS
|27-Jul-97||Heard on the frequency at BNA (Nashville, Tennessee):
A/C: "Hey, that altimeter setting we got put us 15 feet underground!"
TWR: "Well, up-periscope and taxi to the ramp!
|21-Jul-97||AVflash reader Jim "Zoom" Campbell shared this
tidbit with us:
MIR Accident Report:
After extensive investigation by both the Russian and US space agencies, spokespersons from both organizations announced that they have determined the cause for the accident which has placed the station and its resident personnel in jeopardy. In a terse statement at a recent press conference, Soviet and US space agency spokespersons said Thursday: "We have concluded joint investigations concerning this potentially tragic accident and each nation's team, separately, has arrived at identical conclusions for this incident. The accident was caused by one thing and one thing only:
Objects in MIR are closer than they appear!
|14-Jul-97||Anyone who has watched a group of pilots talking
understands this comment from a reader:
"If God had intended man to fly, he would have equipped a chosen few with universal joints instead of wrists so they (pilots) could talk about it."
|07-Jul-97||A couple of loyal readers contributed some thoughts
about flying and computers:
I read today that the Boeing 777 has five million lines of computer code. Bet you won't see too many programmers flying in those babies!
An aircraft received a very lengthy and complicated IFR clearance. After he read back the clearance and was given a frequency change, he replied, "You couldn't have given me a clearance like that before you had computers."
|30-Jun-97||His aircraft badly bashed by tall corn, the pilot was
doing his best to explain to the FAA guy why there was no fuel in the tanks. Suddenly his
tale was interrupted with a crucial question.
"This really wasn't the field I picked out," he said. "I realized I was too high to make the first one so I had to take this one. I was on short final when it hit me. I didn't know whether to land WITH the corn rows or AGAINST the corn rows. What is the standard corn field landing procedure?"
Without batting an eye the inspector replied, "The standard corn field landing procedure is to buy gas at the airport."
The pilot stood there blinking for several seconds, before he answered.
|23-Jun-97||A travel agent was having a devilish time trying to
satisfy her client. Each time she suggested a sensible airline routing, the client would
pause, as if checking a reference, then politely refuse the itinerary. Somewhat confused
and frustrated, she finally asked, "Perhaps I could help you more if you told me
exactly what you were looking for?"
The client paused again, then she heard an audible sigh over the telephone. "Well, it's like this," he confessed. "All the flights you recommend are on two- or three-engine airliners. I would really like to take this trip on a four-engine plane."
"I see. Let me look some more," she responded as the client listened to her keyboard in the background. "But, while I'm checking, could you tell me why it is you only want to fly on a four-engine airplane?" she asked.
Another sigh. "It's a bit embarrassing, but very simple, really," he said. "There are no five-engine airplanes."
|15-Jun-97||This week we feature readers' contributions about one
A friend of mine, who has a quick wit, owns a Cherokee 180. One day he was told by the tower to hold short of the runway in a taxiway while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, performed a 180 and taxied back past my friend.
One of the DC-8 crew said, "What a cute little plane, did you make it yourself?"
My friend replied, "I made it out of DC-8 parts. Another landing like that and
I'll have parts enough for another one."
|09-Jun-97||And here they come again! Yet another installment of the
Problem: Lower Rotating Beacon half-full of water.
Solution: Lower Rotating Beacon topped off.
Problem: Approximately 2 each wires in bundle burned.
Solution: Removed and replaced between 1 and 3 wires.
Problem: No 2 engine oil overserviced.
Solution: No 2 engine oil under-overserviced.
Problem: Aircraft climbs like its tired.
Solution: Aircraft rested overnight. Ground checks OK.
|02-Jun-97||The beguiling ideas about science quoted here were
supposedly gleaned from essays, exams, and classroom discussions. Most were from 5th and
6th graders. Some seem to apply to the art of flight...
- The law of gravity says no fair jumping up without coming back down.
- Clouds are high flying fogs.
- I am not sure how clouds get formed. But the clouds know how to do it, and that is the important thing.
- Water vapor gets together in a cloud. When it is big enough to be called a drop, it does.
- Humidity is the experience of looking for air and finding water.
- Rain is often known as soft water, oppositely known as hail.
- Rain is saved up in cloud banks.
- A blizzard is when it snows sideways.
- A hurricane is a breeze of a bigly size.
- Isotherms and isobars are even more important than their names sound.
And our favorite...
- Rainbows are just to look at, not to really understand.
|26-May-97||Even Controllers have "those days." And many
have a sense of humor too! This week's Short Final... is a tribute to the guys
and gals that work the traffic.
Overheard at O'Hare TRACON:
During a heavy arrival push one evening, a VFR pilot (and O'Hare Tower controller) calls and requests sequencing stating, "I can land on anything and hold short of anything!" The supervisor after hearing the requests shouts, "Good, tell 'em to land on Pal-Waukee and hold short of O'Hare!"
Last summer, after many years of flying over Fisk inbound for OSH, an AVweb member finally visited the place. Spent an enjoyable and busy afternoon helping the feds spot and identify arriving aircraft. One C-172 couldn't seem to do anything right and finally the exasperated controller shook his finger at the Cessna and hollered "Don't make me come up there."
And Last, But Not Least, From An Unknown Location:
ATC to Flight 123: "Slow to 300 knots please." Then, ATC to Flight 123: "Slow to 280 knots," when it was apparent the crew had not complied with the first speed reduction and was overtaking the plane in front. This was soon followed by a request for 250 knots from ATC when the crew STILL had not slowed the airplane. Finally, the now frustrated controller said, "Gentlemen, the number is 250. Either SLOW to it or TURN to it!"
|19-May-97||We can't take credit for coming up with this one. It is
excerpted from "Masquerade: The Amazing Camouflage Deceptions of World War II"
by Seymour Reit (Signet, 1980):
[One] enemy decoy, built in occupied Holland, led to a tale that has been told and retold ever since by veteran Allied pilots. The German "airfield," constructed with meticulous care, was made almost entirely of wood.
There were wooden hangars, oil tanks, gun emplacements, trucks, and aircraft. The Germans took so long in building their wooden decoy that Allied photo experts had more than enough time to observe and report it.
The day finally came when the decoy was finished, down to the last wooden plank. And early the following morning, a lone RAF plane crossed the Channel, came in low, circled the field once, and dropped a large wooden bomb.
|12-May-97||A special thanks to our old friend, Jimmy Jay Johnson
for the following story:
An Airbus A300 crew arriving late into JFK was told their gate was occupied and to hold on the ramp until the airplane on their gate pushed back. Twenty minutes later the crew asked how much longer before that airplane would push back. Operations responded with, "We'll check on it and get back to you, please standby, we're busy up here."
Twenty minutes later, Ops added, "That airplane will push as soon as they find the cockpit crew...the crew should be here any minute since they landed almost an hour ago." The waiting crew then asked, "What flight number is that going to be?" "Flight 547 to Dallas", snapped a busy and irritated voice.
The crew replied, "We've found the crew for you...we're supposed to work that flight!"
|05-May-97||We don't know if this is truth, fiction, or urban
legend. And we don't care either, because it's an enjoyable story:
Yorkshire (UK) police were jolted from their routine of traffic radar when they apparently began clocking a speeder at 300 mph. It proved to be no malfunction as a low-flying Harrier Jet screamed overhead a few seconds later.
When Police officials registered a complaint with the Ministry of Defense about their damaged equipment, the MOD only replied that the damage could have been worse. Much worse.
It seems the Harrier's defense systems had locked onto the radar and had gone into an automatic preemptive strike mode before the pilot decided enemy antiaircraft activity was unlikely along the motorways of northern England....
|28-Apr-97||If you think a lost overnighter would be tough, imagine
You've just shipped a small package from Zaire to London via Swissair and its cargo center in Zurich and all seems well. Paperwork's in order, package intact...did we say package? This package of $11 million in raw diamonds went unnoticed for two hours in a freight container thought to be empty in a Swissair freight room at Zurich airport, the airline said Friday.
But all ended well, it seems. Swissair said a cargo handler discovered the shipment, from Zaire and bound for London, when he opened the metal container. A Swiss newspaper reported that the cargo worker who found and turned over the diamonds was given a reward by his boss.
And the finders fee? Well, lets just say the handler isn't going to Euro Disney on his booty -- a whopping U.S. $34 paid from the boss' own pocket.
|21-Apr-97||They're baaaaaack! More entries from our ever-popular
Problem: Turn & slip indicator ball stuck in center during turns.
Solution: Congratulations. You just made your first coordinated turn!
Problem: Whining sound heard on engine shutdown.
Solution: Pilot removed from aircraft.
Problem: Pilot's clock inoperative.
Solution: Wound clock.
Problem: Autopilot tends to drop a wing when fuel imbalance reaches 500 pounds.
Solution: Flight manual limits maximum fuel imbalance to 300 pounds.
Problem: #2 ADF needle runs wild.
Solution: Caught and tamed #2 ADF needle.
|14-Apr-97||We're not sure if this actually happened, but we thought
we'd share it anyway...
According to Reuters, the dazed crew of a Japanese trawler was plucked out of the Sea of Japan earlier this year clinging to the wreckage of their sunken ship. Their rescue was followed by immediate imprisonment once authorities questioned the sailors on their ship's loss. To a man they claimed that a cow, falling out of a clear blue sky, had struck the trawler amidships, shattering its hull and sinking the vessel within minutes. They remained in prison for several weeks, until the Russian Air Force reluctantly informed Japanese authorities that the crew of one of its cargo planes had apparently stolen a cow wandering at the edge of a Siberian airfield, forced the cow into the plane's hold and hastily taken off for home. Unprepared for live cargo, the Russian crew was ill-equipped to manage a frightened cow rampaging within the hold. To save the aircraft and themselves, they shoved the animal out of the cargo hold as they crossed the Sea of Japan at an altitude of 30,000 feet.
|07-Apr-97||Some Boeing employees recently "liberated" a life raft from one of the 747s on the company's production line. Later, they took it for a float on the Stilliguamish river. Imagine their surprise when a Coast Guard helicopter "rescued" them after homing in on the emergency locator beacon that activated when the raft was inflated. Not surprisingly, they no longer work at Boeing.|
|30-Mar-97||April Fool fever seems to be running rampant this week.
Our spies in the field turned up this (unverified) memo:
"There appears to be some confusion over the new pilot role titles. This notice will hopefully clear up any misunderstandings.
"The titles P1, P2 and Co-Pilot will now cease to have any meaning, within the BA operations manuals. They are to be replaced by Handling Pilot, Non-Handling Pilot, Handling Landing Pilot, Non-Handling Landing Pilot, Handling Non-Landing Pilot, and Non-Handling Non-Landing Pilot.
"The Landing Pilot is initially the Handling Pilot and will handle the take-off and landing, except in role reversal when he is the Non- Handling Pilot for taxi, until the Handling Non-Landing Pilot hands the Handling to the Landing Pilot at eighty knots.
"The Non-Landing (Non-Handling, since the Landing Pilot is handling) Pilot reads the checklist to the Handling Pilot until after the Before Descent Checklist completion, when the Handling Landing Pilot hands the handling to the Non-Handling Non-Landing Pilot who then becomes the Handling Non-Landing Pilot.
"The Landing Pilot is the Non-Handling Pilot until the "decision altitude" call, when the Handling Non-Landing Pilot hands the handling to the Non-Handling Landing Pilot, unless the latter calls "go-around", in which case the Handling Non-Landing Pilot, continues handling and the Non-Handling Landing Pilot continues non-handling until the next call of "land" or "go-around", as appropriate.
"In view of the recent confusion over these rules, it was deemed necessary to restate them clearly."
|24-Mar-97||This week, we offer a thought-provoking answer to one of
aviation's most enduring questions:
A new student pilot was having trouble getting a handle on landings. He asked the old flight instructor, "Why are take-offs fairly easy to learn and landings so difficult?"
The instructor cocked an eyebrow and said, "Take-off is like the farmer who is standing on a fence post and then jumps off. Landing is like that same farmer trying to jump back up on the fence post. It's just that simple, the runway is your fence post."
|16-Mar-97||An oldie, but a cutie:
During a cross country flight, a new private pilot began looking for an airport where he could refuel. As his fuel condition worsened, he added gas stations with suitable landing areas to his search list, and he finally spotted a gas station, right alongside a straight highway with remarkably few obstacles.
As he taxied up to the pumps, old man in the rocking chair near the doorway seemed totally unaffected by the sight, and the young pilot finally had to ask: "I don't suppose you get many airplanes here at your station, do you?"
"Naw," the old man said, gazing idly into the distance while he pumped. "I reckon most of 'em gas up over yonder," he continued, pointing, "at th' airport across th' highway."
|10-Mar-97||Aircraft Wildlife Squawks (or, software isn't the only
thing with bugs):
Problem: F/A's complain of numerous roaches in the galleys.
Solution: Roaches deplaned.
Problem: Live cockroach seen disappearing in forward galley.
Solution: Live cockroach transferred to HIL (Hold Item List).
Problem: 3 roaches in galley.
Solution: 1 roach killed, 1 wounded, 1 got away.
Problem: Mouse in radio stack.
Solution: Cat installed in radio stack.
Problem: Weather radar went ape-%@#&!
Solution: Opened radome, let out ape, cleaned up %@#&!
|03-Mar-97||The crew was beginning to worry as they waited in the hotel lobby. The crew bus would arrive soon and there was no sign of the new young Flight Attendant, on her first layover. When the Senior F/A called her room to see if she was OK, the somewhat upset reply was "I can't get out of my room!" When asked if the door was stuck, she replied "No, there's no door to get out." She went on to explain "There are three doors. One leads to the closet, another to the bathroom, and the third door has a sign hanging on the knob that says `DO NOT DISTURB'!"|
|24-Feb-97||* OUR FIRST "GOLDEN SQUAWK" AWARD: Our loyal
"Squawk List" readers will appreciate why we tip our hat to the Part 121 PIC who
carried around a supply of pencils that he handed out with the A/C log book that were
inscribed with: "This is not a wrench!"
* OVERHEARD IN THE AIRPORT LOUNGE: I was checking in at the gate, when the airport employee asked, "Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?" I said, "If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?" He smiled and nodded knowingly, "That's why we ask."
* AND IF THAT DIDN'T CONFUSE YOU, ONE OF OUR READERS SHARED THIS: As most of you know, the FAA sent out a round of letters to all certificated U.S. pilots last month. Since both my wife and I are pilots, we received two copies. As my wife was reading her letter, I asked "What's it about this time?". She replied, "The FAA is warning us to be careful when landing at towers without airports." Sounds like a good idea to me. [Us too! --Ed.]
|19-Feb-97||By popular demand, here are some more selections from
the "Squawk List":
Problem: Dead bugs on windshield.
Solution: Live bugs on order.
Problem: Autopilot in altitude hold mode produces a 200 fpm descent.
Solution: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.
Problem: IFF inoperative.
Solution: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
Problem: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
Solution: That's what they're there for.
|10-Feb-97||A F-15 was escorting a C-141 into Tel Aviv during the war. The F-15 pilot said, "Bet you wish you could do this!" and moved way out front and did a nice barrel roll for all to see. A little later when the F-15 was back in position behind the C-141, the pilot said, "Bet you wish you could do this!" After several minutes the F-15 pilot finally radioed, "So?" The C-141 pilot replied, "I just went back to the lav and took my morning relief!"|
|03-Feb-97||From the Windy City, where the air traffic is heavy, the
winter weather is lousy and the controllers are cheeky, here are our favorite picks from
the latest installment of "Top Twenty Actual Transmissions Heard in the O'Hare
Approach: Wisconsin 335, caution wake turbulence, there's a Winsconsin 345 on the frequency.
Approach: The traffic at 9 o'clock's gonna do a little Linda Ronstadt on you.
Airliner: Linda Ronstadt? What's that?
Approach: Well, sir, they're gonna "Blue Bayou".
Airliner: Approach, what's our sequence?
Approach: Calling for the sequence, I missed your callsign...but if I find out what it is, you're last.
Airliner: Approach, what's this aircraft doing at my altitude?
Approach: What makes you think it's YOUR altitude, Captain?
Approach: Air Force 45, it appears your engine has...oh, disregard, I see you've already ejected.
Interphone: Hey, O'Hare, you see the 7600 code flashing five northwest of Gary?
O'Hare: Yeah, I do, you guys talkin' to him?
Airliner: How far behind traffic are we?
Approach: Three miles.
Airliner: That doesn't look like three miles to us.
Approach: You're a mile-and-a-half from him, he's a mile-and-a-half from you...that's three miles!
(Courtesy of O'Hare's NATCA newsletter "Intentionally Left Blank".)
|27-Jan-97||At one point, we were all primary students,
understanding little, questioning even less, but placing complete faith in our instructor.
Many of the little things necessary to get through the first few lessons before solo were
done by rote, without a great deal of understanding. Such as ensuring anyone on the ground
near the airplane was aware the prop was about to spin.
One instructor was working with a pre-solo student. Instead of using the phrase, "Clear prop!" before turning the key, the instructor had simply taught his pupil to use the word "Clear!," presumably shouted loudly enough that those inside the FBO could hear. Of course, primary students rarely fly in poor weather.
One day, preflight complete, the student reached for the key, looked outside the airplane, and shouted, "Cloudy!"
|20-Jan-97||Last week's "Squawk List" brought on a record
number of reader contributions. Here are some of your editors' favorites:
Problem: Something loose in cockpit.
Solution: Something tightened in cockpit.
Problem: Evidence of hydraulic leak on right main landing gear.
Solution: Evidence removed.
Problem: Number three engine missing.
Solution: Engine found on right wing after brief search.
Problem: DME volume unbelievably loud.
Solution: Volume set to more believable level.
|13-Jan-97||From the "Squawk List":
Problem: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
Solution: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
Problem: Test flight OK, except autoland very rough.
Solution: Autoland not installed on this aircraft.
Problem #1: #2 Propeller seeping prop fluid.
Solution #1: #2 Propeller seepage normal.
Problem #2: #1,#3, and #4 propellers lack normal seepage.
Problem: The autopilot doesn't.
Signed off: IT DOES NOW.
|06-Jan-97||I remember my Air force instructor telling all the other
students at our table that he wasn't worried about me killing myself in that 700 MPH
jet--I grinned and beamed--then he added "...because he is so far behind the airplane
that if it crashes he won't get hurt."
The best definition of jet lag I've ever heard is "finding your wallet in the refrigerator and not remembering what you did with the milk".
--Thoughts from an old friend, <JimmyJay@Juno.com>
|30-Dec-96||The pilot of a small freight/mail plane was getting a
little complacent in his phraseology, probably because of the rather dull routine of his
late-night run. Every weekday at 0215 he would stop at a small airport and check in with:
"Good morning Jones field, guess who?"
The lone controller was bored too, but insisted on proper terminology and would lecture the pilot on proper radio technique every morning. The lessons fell on deaf ears and the pilot continued his daily "guess who?" callups.
That is, until the morning the radio crackled: "Jones Field, guess who?" The controller, well prepared, turned off all the lights on the airport and responded "Jones Field, guess WHERE!" establishing proper communications from then on.
|23-Dec-96||A Mexican newspaper reports that bored Royal Air Force
pilots stationed on the Falkland Islands have devised what they consider a marvelous new
Noting that the local penguins are fascinated by airplanes, the pilots search out a beach where the birds are gathered and fly slowly along it at the water's edge. Perhaps ten thousand penguins turn their heads in unison watching the planes go by, and when the pilots turn around and fly back, the birds turn their heads in the opposite direction, like spectators at a slow-motion tennis match.
Then, the paper reports, "The pilots fly out to sea and directly to the penguin
colony and over fly it. Heads go up, up, up, and ten thousand penguins fall over gently
onto their backs."
|16-Dec-96||During the heat of the space race in the 1960s, the U.S.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration decided it needed a ball point pen to write
in the zero gravity confines of its space capsules. After considerable research and
development, the Astronaut Pen was developed at a cost of about US $1 million. The pen
worked and also enjoyed some modest success as a novelty item back here on earth.
The Soviet Union, faced with the same problem, used a pencil.
|09-Dec-96||"Some are concerned about the risks from computer
hackers with such a connected system. (A spokesman) said that with the current FAA
software, it's not a problem. A recent White House panel on security concluded that (the)
software is so out of date that no one could possibly hack into it."
-From an Aviation Week article about ATC automation
"They're multipurpose. Not only do they put the clips on, but they take them off."
-Pratt & Whitney spokesperson explaining why the company charged the Air Force nearly $1000 for an ordinary pair of pliers