Short Final: Better-Than-Passing Grade


From an AVweb reader:

I conduct airfield vehicle driver training at a large-hub Part 139 airport with a very complex layout. The training for each driver ends with a practical evaluation where the driver has to call ATC to get directions to navigate the field safely and efficiently, so a major part of the evaluation is on the driver’s ability to communicate with the controllers.

If the controller isn’t busy, I’ll ask for their opinion of the driver’s performance, just for the heck of it (the controllers know my voice and are normally happy to respond). Usually, I get an immediate “pretty good” or “they did OK.”  

On one occasion after finishing an evaluation, I asked the question of the controller. The driver, a somewhat hyper and excitable fella, looked at me nervously as he waited for the controller’s answer. There was dead silence for a few seconds, and I could tell from the look in the driver’s eyes that his blood pressure was going through the roof waiting for an answer. Then…

Controller: “He did a real good job!”  

Unidentified voice (heard earlier while taxiing an aircraft): “He did better than some pilots I know.”