Short Final: IDENT


I’m originally from eastern North Carolina, and have family in Greenville, North Carolina. My office has a business in Pinehurst, North Carolina, and several times a year I will fly to either Greenville or Pinehurst and then swing by the other location on my way back to Virginia. There is a military base, Fort Bragg, east of Pinehurst near Fayetteville, home of the 82nd airborne with restricted airspace. On one trip my office administrator and I flew down to Pinehurst and were on our way back towards Greenville, North Carolina, to visit my mother when the following happened.

After departing Moore County airport at Southern Pines, I changed over to departure, and was asked if I wanted to go direct to Greenville instead of flying the dogleg around the military base. This was the first time I’d been allowed to do that. The controller assured me it was clear. So I stated I would go direct and he cleared me to 3000 feet.

I could see all of the C130 dirt airstrips where they landed and took on passengers after their parachute training. It was quite a view. During this time, I had to change frequencies and in doing so checked in at least a dozen times over the next 10 minutes with no one answering my check‑in call.

I was complaining to my office administrator that this was absolutely the worst service that I had ever had with air traffic control, when I finally had a response answering me and asking me to IDENT.

I pressed the IDENT button and started telling my office administrator why I was doing this because the controller was evidently very busy and I had gotten into their sector pretty far and they wanted to locate the exact location of our plane. Very quickly, the controller called back and said that was a very good explanation of why they asked me to press the IDENT button, and if I wanted a job I had one waiting for me when I got back. We all got a good chuckle and I felt very fortunate that I had not broadcast my earlier complaints while I was talking to my administrator about poor service.

Sometimes a blind hog finds an acorn.

Bill Whiteford
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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