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The radio conversations between pilots and air traffic controllers can create quite a bit of laughing, confusion and misunderstanding.
Questions via the radio should not always be answered exactly.
Tower: Aircraft in holding pattern, say fuelstate?
Tower: Say again?
After this the tower controller switches off his radio and climbs down the stairs to drink coffee the rest of the afternoon.
And the Big Hand Is On the…
Tower: “Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o’clock, 6 miles!”
Delta 351: “Give us another hint! We have digital watches!”
Turbulence on taxiway!
For months after California’s Northridge earthquake of 1994, aftershocks rocked the San Fernando Valley and Van Nuys Airport. One morning about three weeks after the initial quake there was a particularly sharp aftershock.
Moments later on Van Nuys’ ground control frequency: “Uh, four-three-kilo would like to file a pilot report for moderate turbulence on the east taxiway…”
“ATIS” stands for “Automated Terminal Information Service,” which is a recorded message broadcast at most busy airports around the country. ATIS gives pilots the current wind, air traffic, and runway information and each time the information changes, the broadcast is revised, with each revision being assigned the next letter in the phonetic alphabet. This designation is included in the broadcast, which is identified as, “Information Alpha…” Bravo, Charlie, etc.
At ATIS-equipped airports, pilots are required to listen to the recording prior to contacting Approach Control or the tower and must repeat the “Information so-and-so” identifier when they make their initial radio call. Sometimes, the results can be hilarious…
The scenario: it was night over Las Vegas and “Information Hotel” was current on the ATIS. Mooney 33W wasn’t too sharp, but he didn’t let that stop him from talking to Approach Control.
Approach: “33W, confirm you have ‘Hotel.’
33W: “Uhhhmm, we’re flying into McCarren International. Uhhhmm, we don’t have a hotel room yet.”
After that, Approach was laughing too hard to respond. The next several calls went something like this call to United 583 (which didn’t make it any easier to stop laughing)…
Approach: “United 583, descend to Flight Level 220.”
United 583: “United 583, down to Flight Level 220. We don’t have a hotel room, either.”
Now That We’ve Got That Straight…
Tower: “November 2115L, are you a Cessna?”
2115L: “No, sir…I am a male Hispanic.”
Some People Just Never Listen
ATC to Flight 123: “Slow to 300 knots please.” After several moments, it was apparent the crew had not complied with the first speed reduction and was overtaking the inbound plane ahead of them.
ATC to Flight 123: “Slow to 280 knots.” This was soon followed by a request for 250 knots from ATC when the crew still had not slowed the airplane.
Finally, the now-frustrated controller ordered, “Gentlemen, the number is 250. Either slow to it or turn to it!”
How slow can you go?
It seems that it was a very busy day and a “good ol’ boy” American (Texas-sounding) AF C-130 reserve pilot was in the instrument pattern for landing at Rhein-Main. The conversation went something like this…
Tower: “AF1733, You’re on an eight mile final for 27R. You have a UH-1 three miles ahead of you on final; reduce speed to 130 knots.”
AF1733: “Rog-O, Frankfurt. We’re bringin’ this big bird back to one-hundred and thirty knots fur ya.”
Tower (a few minutes later): “AF33, helicopter traffic at 90 knots now one-and-a-half miles ahead of you; reduce speed further to 110 knots.”
AF1733: “AF thirty-three reinin’ this here bird back further to 110 knots”
Tower: “AF33, you are three miles to touchdown, helicopter traffic now one mile ahead of you; reduce speed to 90 knots”
AF1733 ( sounding a little miffed): “Sir, do you know what the stall speed of this here C-130 is?!”
Tower (without the slightest hesitation): “No, but if you ask your co-pilot, he can probably tell you.”