Con Trails 200 - Sky Obscured: A Fiction Novel by HS135 Pilot
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I asked an ex-military friend who used to work in the Key West area, about the weakness of our Southern air-defense, and here is what he told me:

When the military got dragged into the War-On-Drugs, it came under much pressure from Washington to find a reliable method to determine which aircraft are carrying drugs. As a result, all of the human radar operators have been replaced by specially-trained, drug-sniffing dogs. Whenever the dog sees a new blip on the radar screen, he sniffs at it, and if he detects drugs, he barks, which alerts the supervisor (a human), who sounds the alarm.

A decade ago or so I was in the back seat of a motor-glider being flown to a local airport for some repair work on a noisy muffler.

Control: You're unreadable, say again.

Us: I've turned off the engine, is that better?

Control: L..o..n..g pause.

Dead reckoning still has its place. We once had a pilot call in and say "Help, I'm hopelessly lost over Gravette, Ark.". We all looked at each other, and after a chuckle, the controller for that area asked the pilot "If you are hopelessly lost, how do you know you are over Gravette, Ark.?" The pilot said "Because I'm circling the water tank and it says Gravette, Ark."!! (The town was too small to be on his sectionals).
A pilot called in and said he was unsure of his position but he had a town in sight. Since we didn't have him on radar, the controller told him to descend and look for the town's water tower, see what it said on the side, climb back up and tell him. Sure enough in about 3 minutes the pilot called back and said, "Approach, I found the water tower". The controller, looking rather pleased, asked "And what did it say on the side?" The pilot replied, "It said Seniors, 1978". Truly happened.
Tower: Hotel-1, cleared to hover taxi, stay clear of Runway 16, Cessna in the pattern doing touch and go's.

Me: Cessna 123, downwind for 16.

H-1: Uh, Tower, could we get some progressive taxi instructions?

Tower: Roger,'re going the WRONG WAY, Sir...(brief instructions)...and remain clear of 16.

Me: Cessna 123, turning left base for 16.

Tower: Hotel-1, proceed on course. Break. Cessna 123 fly through final, 270 to 16.

Me: (Pause. through..? Vectors? No...Huh?) "Cessna 123, uh, sorry could you repeat that last?"

Tower: Cessna 123, fly through your final, right 270 back to 16. (Pregnant pause)

Tower: ...Kinda like an 'off-ramp'. (Another pause, but shorter this time)

Me: Roger that, 123 takin' the next exit, will call final.

Tower: "Aircraft on final, go around, aircraft on runway."

Solo Student Pilot: "Roger" (Continues descent.)

Tower: "Aircraft, GO AROUND"

Student: "Roger" (Continues descent.)

Tower: (Screaming) "AIRCRAFT, GO AROUND!!"

Student: "Roger" (Continues descent.)

So, the student pilot plunks his airplane down on the numbers, taxies up to where the twin is sitting in the middle of the runway, GOES AROUND it, and continues on to the taxiway.

This is from when my wife was a student pilot returning to HYA from the practice area:

7MA: Cessna 187MA is 5 NE, landing, with the numbers.

HYA: Roger 7MA, make straight-in runway 22. Say type landing.

7MA: We're a Cessna 182.

HYA: Negative, say *type* landing.

7MA: Uh, 7MA is a Cessna 182 slant Uniform.

HYA: 7MA, I say again, say **type** landing.

7MA: (Silence) A good one I hope.

Here's another one from the wacky minds of our Military controllers at Namao. A bit of Background is in order: CFB Edmonton (Namao) is a military field just outside of Edmonton. All aircraft touching down at Namao require a PPR (Prior Permission Request) number, and have to recite it to the controller at first contact. Our flying club is civilian/military, and all our aircraft have permanent PPR's.

One day, we were sitting around listening to the scanner, when a Tomahawk from a local flight school announced inbound for circuits. The controllers asked for the PPR #, and the pilot said they didn't know about one. We expected the aircraft to turn away, but the controller cleared them right-base for 29. We now pick up the audio from this momentous day:

Tomahawk: "F-XAA is final 29, touch and go."

Tower: "XAA is cleared touch and go, 29".

{Several more circuits later...}

Tomahawk: "F-XAA is final 29, touch and go"

Tower: "F-XAA is cleared touch and go, 29. How many more circuits were you planning on making?"

Tomahawk: "We though we'd make one or two more."

Tower: "Roger. I just wondered because we were calculating your landing fees, and you're up to $13,000 now."

{LONG delay...}

Tomahawk: "THAT WAS OUR LAST ONE!!!!!"

Tower: "Just kidding. Next time, read your flight supplement."

The tower was having some difficulty working a student pilot in the pattern and it finally came down to this;

TOWER: 95 Delta, do you read the tower?

95D: 675, sir

TOWER: 95 Delta, Say Again

95D: I think it is 675.

TOWER: 95 Delta, What do you mean by 675?

95D: I mean I think I read "Elevation 675 feet" on the tower as I taxied by for takeoff, but I am too far away to read it now.

TOWER: 95 Delta, you are cleared to land. Please give the tower a call ON THE TELEPHONE after you have tied down.

People unclear on the concept dept.

Just turned off the 10 O'Clock channel 9 news here in LA, a single engine plane (identified as Aero Commander) went down short of Burbank airport, both people on board survived. The Pilot was lucid as he was being cut out of the wreckage & said he ran out of fuel over Eagle Rock & was trying to make Burbank airport.

Remarking about the lack of fire, the Fire Marshall in charge of the rescue said, "They are just lucky there was no fuel on board".

This CFI and his Student are holding on the runway for departing cross traffic when suddenly a deer runs out of the nearby woods, stops in the middle of the runway, and just stands there looking at them.

Tower: Cessna XXX cleared for take-off.

Std: "What should I do? What should I do?"

Inst: "What do you think you should do?"


Std: "Maybe if I taxi toward him it'll scare him away."

Inst: "That's a good idea."

(Taxi toward deer, but deer is macho, and holds position.)

Tower: Cessna XXX cleared for take-off, runway NN.

Std: "What should I do? What should I do?"

Inst: "What do you think you should do?"


Std: "Maybe I should tell the tower."

Inst: "That's a good idea."

Std: Cessna XXX, uh, there's a deer down here on the runway.

(long pause)

Tower: Roger XXX, hold your position. Deer on runawy NN cleared for immediate departure.

(Two seconds, and then -- I presume by coincidence -- the deer bolts from the runway, and runs back into the woods.)

Tower: Cessna XXX cleared for departure, runway NN. Caution wake turbulence, departing deer.

It had to be tough keeping that Cessna rolling straight for take-off.

I was transitioning through the Lawrence (LWM) area the other day, when I heard a new-sounding student call up, inbound for a landing, with his instructor sitting next to him, shouting prompts in the background over the engine noise....

N23B: (Lawrence tower) UHHH LAWRENCE TOWER (Cessna 5123B) CESSNA 5123B (7 miles east) 7 MILES EAST (inbound for landing) INBOUND FOR LANDING (with) WITH (.....hotel) HOTEL!

Well, the guys in the tower didn't miss a beat!

LWM: [Supervisor yelling to the Tower position from background] (Cessna 23B)

[Tower] CESSNA 23B

(report a 2 mile right base) REPORT A TWO MILE RIGHT BASE

(runway 32) RUNWAY 32

N23B: [instructor, now on the mike] YEAH, HAW, HAW, HAW, VERY FUNNY, REPORT A 2 MILE RIGHT BASE FOR 32, CESSNA 23B

I heard this exchange when flying to Lancaster, PA yesterday:

LNS tower: "Cessna 1234X, report three mile final."

Cessna 1234X: "Unable, we're negative DME."

Heard in the Bay Area yesterday:

BB: "Bay Approach, Barnburner 123, Request 8300 feet."

Bay Approach: "Barnburner 123, say reason for requested altitude."

BB: "Because the last 2 times I've been at 8500, I've nearly been run over by some bozo at 8500 feet going the wrong way!"

Bay: "That's a good reason. 8300 approved."

Direct from the ABS convention at IWS (West Houston, TX): On arrival day for the ABS convention, an FAA Flight Check aircraft showed up to flight check the instrument approaches at IWS. Was interesting to watch them try to do this with lots of traffic in the pattern. Also, the tower was a temporary VFR facility which was having major problems since the notam about the temporary tower had the wrong frequency listed.

FL 98: Good morning West Houston Tower. Flight check 98 with you and we are inbound on the RNAV 33 approach. Will be low approach only at MDA.
IWS: Roger, Flight check 98. Be advised we have multiple aircraft inbound for 15 and lots of NORDO traffic.
[NORDO = ATC does not have radio contact with these aircraft]
FL 98: Roger, will break off the approach at MAP.
[MAP = Missed Approach Point on the instrument approach procedure being used]
IWS: Roger, break off the approach to the West. What are your intentions after the RNAV 33 approach?
FL 98: We plan to flight check the RNAV 15 approach.
IWS: Roger, have fun out there.
. . . . as FL98 breaks off the approach
FL 98: Flightcheck 98 requesting frequency change.
IWS: Roger, Flight check 98. Contact departure on 123.8
FL 98: 23.8. See you later
. . . several minutes later
FL 98: West Houston Tower, Flight check 98 back with you on the RNAV 15 approach. Low approach only.
IWS: Roger Flight check 98. Be advised we have multiple NORDO aircraft in the pattern and 15 is the active at West Houston.
FL 98: Roger. By the way, are you aware that the localizer to 15 is out of service? (side note, there is no LOC 15!)
IWS: Uhhh - we weren't aware that there was a localizer at this airport. Say again.
FL 98: Isn't this Southwest?
IWS: Negative sir. Houston Southwest is 21 miles SE of here.
FL 98: Oops, never mind. We're at the wrong airport.
IWS: No problem. By the way, the LOC at Southwest is to runway 9. Say intentions.
FL 98: Think we want to start this day over again. We'll complete checking the RNAV 15 and be departing the area.
IWS: Roger. At the MAP, make a right turn westbound and contact departure on 123.8. No one in the TRACON is ever going to believe this story.

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