ON THE AIR.
Not long ago, I was flying through Kansas City Center's airspace. I heard the controller, who was working pretty hard but doing a good job keeping everything in order, repeatedly call the wrong aircraft.
When the mistake was pointed out to him, he responded, "Sorry. Too many six-day work weeks."
Shortly after that I got a frequency change. After reading back the frequency, I added, "Hope you get a couple days off soon."
To this, he responded, with an obvious bit of frustration and resignation in his voice, "From your lips to the Administrator's ears."
We were returning from a trip to Nantucket late one evening in a Piper Cherokee and although the weather was VFR, I always file IFR, especially at night. We had a particularly strong headwind and we were barely keeping up with the highway traffic on the expressway.
New York Center called and asked that I report reaching BEADS. Acknowledging the request, I checked the chart to see when that fix might be approaching and noticed it was a voluntary reporting point.
I called Center back and noted that BEADS was a voluntary reporting point and asked why they were requesting the report. The controller--I think I heard him laughing--said that their shift was ending at 2300 hours and they had a bet as to whether I would reach it before they left for the night.
Not sure who won the bet, but it did enlighten my evening.
At Camp Graling, Michigan:
Army 12345 (In a pirate voice): "Graling Tower, Arrrrrmy Copter 12345, we be a fleet of three UH-60s on Charrrrrlie taxiway, ready to set sail to the southwest."
Graling Tower: "Army ... (pause) ... Army ... (longer pause) ... Arrrrrmy Copter 12345, ahoy, Matey. Clearrrrred for takeoff, Charrrrrlie taxiway."
"Somewhere in the Middle East"
The NorCal approach sector south of Monterey, CA is quite mountainous and it can get a little quiet at times. We were enjoying a lovely and quiet scenic flight along the coast when we overheard a pilot request a destination change.
The controller asked for the reason for the change in plans. The pilot said he wanted to refuel before continuing.
The controller approved the request, then added, "We have to ask for the reason for destination changes. The best answer I ever heard was when a pilot stated, 'My passenger has an internal problem that is about to become an external problem.'"
I'm going to use that reason next time instead of "passenger comfort."
Santa Clara, CA
Cruising over the upper Midwest we heard this exchange:
Aircraft: "Indy Cen ... (SCREECH) ... vember 12(SQUEAL) ... checking in at ... (HOWL)"
Indy Center: "N123 Congratulations! You win the award for the worst ... radio ... ever!"
Angelo Iannuzzo, Lowell, MA
Overheard over South Carolina, with the busy Atlanta arrivals streaming overhead:
Delta 1234: "Center, Delta 1234 flight level 230."
Atlanta Center: "Delta 1234, welcome. Cross OZZI at 12,000 and 250 knots."
Delta 1234: "Cross OZZI at 12,000 and 250 knots. And what runway can we expect?"
Atlanta Center: "You'll have to ask Approach on the next frequency. That's above my pay grade ... even though I actually make quite a lot more than they do."
Unknown airplane: "So it happens to you, too?"
Send us your cleverest or most embarrassing moment on the radio--or your favorite fix names or airport names--with a subject of "OTA," to IFR@BelvoirPubs.com. Be sure to include your full name and location.