Short Final: Hold Your Horsepower


From sister publication IFR Magazine’s “On the Air” letters page:

A female tower controller at a flight-school airport was known to have a sultry voice that the young male instructors found … appealing. On one occasion, she advised one of the school aircraft that had been waiting for ground fog to dissipate:

Controller: “Cessna Five Mike Fox, weather is now clear with 2.5 miles visibility in fog. State your intentions.”

Instructor: “Cessna Five Mike Fox … Dishonorable.”

After a brief silence on the frequency, she replied: “Cessna Five Mike Fox, hold your present position—indefinitely.”


  1. Hi, AvWeb staff! I believe this story elicited an apology from the IFR editorial staff in the Feb 2024 issue, when they acknowledged it was in poor taste and shouldn’t have been published. Perhaps you could add that letter from the reader and the magazine’s apology to this article?

    Thanks, and have a great day.

    • Ah yes the coddled mind…

      I edited this from another source but it gets the point across.

      An unfortunate trend that has emerged in recent years is that some young pilots have developed feelings. John Wayne would roll over in his grave if he could see some of the pansy stuff some young dudes try to pull off (so to speak). Fighter pilots are not allowed to have feelings, except for the feeling of exhilaration watching some communist cook to death in the flaming wreckage of the Flanker that you just shot down. The Sensitive New Age Pilot (SNAP) trend is unacceptable. If you don’t like the way someone talked to you, get the over it. If you think your opinion should matter, it doesn’t. If you want some respect, stop whining about it – get off your ass and earn it.
      If you feel like crying, then get out of my community.

      • Hi, Will! My, that’s a strongly-worded response! You sure do seem to have taken offense from my suggestion that the editorial staff publish all of the correspondence around this particular article. I’m sorry that you were unable to cope with my comment, and I’ll try to remember in the future that you seem to have a very strong aversion to hearing differing viewpoints, should we ever have the opportunity to interact again!

        Have a great day!

        • Like I said but might not have been that clear. I did not write that, I merely pulled it from a document from a community of pilots—that has its share of women. I edited out the bad words and something that might have made it identifiable.

          • I’m a bit confused, Will. Are you saying that you reposted those sentiments because you share them, or do you instead disavow them? I guess it really doesn’t matter in the end, because they’re out there with your name associated with them, but it might be good to clear up the issue if you want others to know how you REALLY feel!

            I will note that the writer (whoever they are) makes a bold assertion at the end that the aviation community is ‘theirs’. What a funny thing to say! I don’t remember the community of aviation enthusiasts being put up for sale! I hope they don’t start charging membership dues – aviation’s already expensive enough!😜

      • … as opposed to treating all the professionals you interact with as just that, professionals doing their jobs?

        Have all the private feelings you want. Don’t foist them on your co-workers. Is that simple enough for your Cro-Magnon brain?

      • I don’t even know where to start, but I speculate that you’d bluster about what you would do if your wife or daughter were sexually harassed while trying to do their jobs. You’d beat your “alpha male” chest and “protect” your lady. Soooo, why is this guy allowed to do it and it’s just fine? Is it because you don’t know the woman, and that means she’s irrelevant because she’s not “blessed” enough to know you?

        I hope the next time you and whatever woman that’s unlucky to be attached to you go to a restaurant, when she asks what’s good the server responds with “your sweet t**s” and you just sit there and let it happen. Like toy said, if you don’t like something, just ignore it and move on.

      • Hi, Rush! The letter printed in IFR Magazine (the link is still awaiting moderation) read in part

        “Being in the far minority of aviation professionals and enthusiasts, and being so for decades, women have a hard enough time in the field; having inappropriate behavior like this laughed off is just an additional barrier to full acceptance.”

        The staff’s response said, again in part,

        “We’ll try to remain more fully engaged to better evaluate content in the future. We apologize for publishing this particular item that was in bad taste, while sadly noting that we wish more readers would have scolded us for it.”

        Taste, like beauty, is obviously in the eye of the beholder, and is not an absolute by any means. I’ve always been taught that it’s my duty not to offend, rather than others’ duty not to be offended by me.

        Have a great day!

    • In fact, I remember a conversation one of my fellow controllers had on going control. American called to push back. I swear thee female voice sounded like she was about 10 years old. Our controller said, “Ma’am, I’m afraid I’m going to have to see some ID.” A male voice came right back and said, “Trust me, you don’t need too!” Now that quick humor is funny. She may have reached over and slopped him. I don’t know. But I sure laughed at both the controller and male voice….without shame.

  2. I’m disappointed to see that this has been on the front page for two weeks now, and also that there has been no response to the concerns brought up in these comments. Russ? Mark? Amelia? Craig?

  3. just another: We are unlikely to get a response from AvWeb. Especially now. GA and GA money is top heavy with old white men offended by the notion of treating other-than-old-white-men respectfully. AvWeb cannot afford to offend the codgers … yet.

  4. I thought the anecdote was funny and admired the snappy come back from the controller. I was rather surprised to see the pushback in the comments so I showed this to 6 female pilots I know and asked for their opinion.

    All of them thought it was funny and were not offended. They all though that a little back and forth on the radio at appropriate times, can humanize flying. Personally I have been the recipient of a few well deserved barbs from ATC and took them in the spirit they were meant as humorous, not malicious.

    I have sadly also heard completely inappropriate sexist comments directed at female pilots, including the “kitchen” comment and the “were you my wife”. Those have no place, ever; but this was not that.

    I think everyone has to cool down on outrage machine. It’s not IMO helpful at addressing the real sexism issues in flying.