Short Final: Altitude Reporting

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Best radio call I ever got to make:

I was a student pilot in the USAF, on my T‑38 cross country. Our final leg was a short hop from ABQ to home at Reese AFB (Lubbock, Texas). Of course, all surplus gas would be consumed with approach and landing practice.

Departing ABQ, the TRACON asked for an expedited climb to something like FL220 and to “report passing every 2000 feet.”

With the blessing of my instructor, I had the true privilege of lighting both afterburners, pitching up, keying the mic and saying, “Reese 69 passing 12,000, 14,000, 16,000, FL180, FL200, leveling FL220,” then releasing the mic.

Climb rate in full afterburner exceeded 6000 FPM, which was the mechanical limit of our VSI.

Jim McIrvin
Warrenton, VA