Short Final: Smooth Spot


Before Chicago’s O’Hare airport joined the rest of ICAO in the early 90s by identifying all their taxiways with alphanumeric designations, they used local street names and cute references for various taxiways and surface features. They had Wolf Road, North‑South, Stub, and Cargo taxiways, and a Penalty Box (holding area).

Suffering from an often‑severe winter and heavy use, many of these taxiways were in less than pristine condition. In fact, the rough condition of some was a common joke among pilots and controllers alike.

Late one night while taxiing to Runway 22L passing the Stub, we heard, “Ground, TWA 123 would like to report an unusually smooth spot on the Cargo taxiway.”

Instantly the controller replied, “TWA 123 we will have a crew take care of that in the morning.”

Larry Nikolaus

Huntington, WV

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