Short Final: Mistaken Identity


At my home airport, apparently the controllers know my voice. But this day I was flying a friend’s airplane back to our home airport from maintenance, and the weather was characteristically benign with smooth air and clear skies with unlimited visibility.

Me: “Tower, Twin Cessna 9287A, 15 south. Landing with Whiskey.”

There was a long delay, and I was just about to try again. Tower finally responded, but to my aircraft, which I wasn’t flying: “Twin Cessna 1234Z, report a left downwind…”

Me: “You must recognize my voice, but I’m in disguise today as Twin Cessna 9287A.”

Tower: “Roger.”

On rollout, Tower gives me the runway exit rather tentatively and haltingly. “Twin Cessna, uh, nine … two … ah … eight … Lima, Alpha, take the next right…”

I acknowledged and then corrected him, “That’s nine, two, eight, seven, Alpha.”

Tower: “Yeah, I’ve got the right call sign. I just can’t read my own writing!”

I replied: “No problem. You should see the ATIS I wrote down. It must be the hurricanes you’re reporting.”

He laughed.

Sal Cruz
Watsonville, California

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  1. When out giving talks to local pilot groups – our local controllers start with a party trick.

    They ask you to stand up and state your name – in return they tell you your tail number or tell you which school you are a CFI at.

    They get it right about 98% of the time.