Short Final: On Final


One of the joys of being based at an airport with a very active flight school (Orange County, Montgomery, New York) is the entertainment value of some of the radio transmissions. Witness:

Slightly bored instructor voice: “168 Lima Alpha, 45‑mile final Runway 22.”

Overly excited voice, hence probably a student: “Did you say 45‑mile final?!”

Instructor: “Sorry, actually it’s a late call. We were lined up 20 miles ago.”

Sometime later, even more bored instructor voice: “168 Lima Alpha now 30-mile final Runway 22 …”

Daniel Spitzer, MD
Piermont, New York

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  1. I have a pet peeve when people call final when in reality they are on a straight in approach. While not specifically specified in the FARs, any real pilot knows that you are only on “final” when you have passed the final approach fix. Maybe they should call outer or middle. In any case, calling final when you are not is poor form.

  2. I was taught to fly a pattern that would allow me to land on the runway if an engine failure occurred at any point. It really irritates me to follow someone in a 172 flying a mile downwind before turning base.

    • I’ve been in the pattern plenty of times at DVT and no choice but fly a 1.5mi final. Sometimes it’s necessary due to the amount of traffic. Sometimes I do think it’d be nice to just turn base and cut in front of them.

  3. Orange County was a favorite breakfast flight from KFWN. When I was between airplanes, I rented one of Paul Styger’s airplanes. If it was available, I’d take the “Flying Bodego”(as a first time passenger called it), a yellow PA-28-180 that had prominent blue and red stripes on it. I never heard a radio call like the above, but I DID know to really pay attention when I got near the airport.

  4. Y’all realize this is the humor part of AVweb, right? And that the instructor wasn’t actually being serious when he / she called a 45 mile final? Lighten up a little, eh?