Short Final: Be Advised


One flight recently, I had an interesting exchange with Jacksonville Approach, south of Jacksonville at 9000 feet.

Approach: “N1234, be advised traffic 11 o’clock 10 miles at 9500 can exhibit abrupt changes in altitude and position.”

Me: “Will observe. That a military aircraft?”

Approach: “I’m not really allowed to say. Just watch out.”

That’s a new one for me! I wonder what was being tested in the skies that day.

Andrew Doorey

Raleigh, North Carolina

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  1. You don’t suppose that was someone at Patty Wagstaff’s aerobatic flying school, do you?

  2. “abrupt changes in altitude and position.”

    I’ve heard that applied to UFO’s back in the day. Apparently this was an IFO…

  3. It was a Cessna 152. It might have taken an hour to get to that altitude, but he did it. )

  4. Back in the Cold War times, flying a BAC 1-11 from West Germany to West Berlin Tegel the USAF ATC called up, “Speedbird 1234 pop up traffic 12oclock 2 miles”. At night the Soviets flew uncontrolled through the air corridors linking Berlin to civilisation. My response, “Roger, thanks”, meant we hadn’t hit, though I recall the slipstream buffet as something unseen in the dark crossed our path.

  5. Thats interesting. I’ve heard that civilian pilots during the Cold War would hear similar things or exchanges between unknown aircraft that later turned out to be top secret aircraft like the U-2 or SR-71. This is slightly off subject, but just to share something interesting: I read a guy whose dad was a Royal Canadian Air Force spy plane flight instructor during the ’60s. He said his dad would often cross over the border into Montana to a top secret underground NORAD joint US/CAN base (just a short drive from their hometown) to assist the USAF and the RCAF in instructing their pilots to fly spy aircraft. One day he said to his kids: “This might get me killed, but come outside and look up at 1 o’clock. You might see something.”
    His kids and wife, obviously interested, looked up into the sky at one and saw a faint black dot moving extremely fast across the cloudless blue sky. His older brother said importantly: “That must be the YF-12!” (The YF-12 was a fake name that the CIA gave to the public in case they saw the SR-71)

    Later on when the SR-71 was declassified, their father told them that the to tell the pilots he was training that in case they were out on a mission and had an emergency; to destroy the aircraft and make it look good. The Canadian pilots were told if they tried to make an emergency landing at anywhere but the secret base in the Badlands, they, and I exactly quote here, “would not be returning to their country at the end of the month.” end quote.

    Crazy stuff. I guarantee there are aircraft right now being developed that they are hiding from us, probably even the SR-72!

  6. We gotta watch those “UFOs”. By the way, love your story, Carson W.
    We have incredible people doing some incredible work and missions in this country. It must be tough to keep comments on black projects to yourself.