Short Final


We did not have digital radar in the TRACON 25 years ago when I was an air traffic controller. With our analog radar, spring and fall waterfowl migrations of ducks, geese, and cranes always created a cluster of raw radar returns on the scope. It was one of those days when the scope was almost white with more raw radar returns coming from flocks of birds than from transponder equipped or non-transponder equipped aircraft returns (of which there was and still are MANY of in Alaska!). It is always a long flight to Alaska and the captain was chatty with a sense of humor. Delta checks on with the standard information arriving the airport.

“XXX approach, this is DAL123 descending out of eight-thousand with information BRAVO, direct the VOR.”

Approach (me):
“DAL123, XXX approach, traffic twelve o’clock five miles opposite direction altitude unknown multiple targets most likely waterfowl.”

“Approach, well how do you know that, do they have a transponder?”

Approach: “DAL123, no sir, but they are squawking!”

Dan Brady