Support a Fellow Pilot in Need

August 27th, 2008

Some of us may know what it is like to not be able to fly, I mean that’s bad enough, but this situation has expanded exponentially for one of our colleagues who has been suddenly struck, almost overnight, with bone cancer, taking him from a fit healthy helicopter pilot to literally fighting for his life.
And as we know helicopter pilots who can afford ICU care are like ATC’s that don’t have control issues.
It sounds like Steve is tackling the problem and improving daily with his usual zest for life, but lets help him reduce one worry and assist in easing the financial burden,
this is an appeal to any readers out there to please help out if you can, the following link explains the whole story.

Cessna Training Manuals

More Frequency Funnies

August 27th, 2008

Actual exchanges between pilots and control towers

Tower: ‘Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o’clock, 6 miles!’
Delta 351: ‘Give us another hint! We have digital watches!’


From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue: ‘I’m f…ing bored!’
Ground Traffic Control: ‘Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!’
Unknown aircraft: ‘I said I was f…ing bored, not f…ing stupid!’


O’Hare Approach Control to a 747: ‘United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o’clock, three miles, Eastbound.’
United 329: ‘Approach, I’ve always wanted to say this..I’ve got the little Fokker in sight.’


A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight. While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked, ‘What was your last known position?’
Student: ‘When I was number one for takeoff.’


A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down.
San JoseTowerNoted: ‘American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are not able, take the Guadeloupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport.’


A Pan Am 727 flight, waiting for start clearance in Munich , overheard the following:
Lufthansa (in German):’ Ground, what is our start clearance time?’
Ground (in English):’If you want an answer you must speak in English.’
Lufthansa (in English):’I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany Why must I speak English?’
Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): ‘Because you lost the bloody war!’


Tower: ‘Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on frequency 124.7′
Eastern 702: ‘Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way, after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway.’
Tower: ‘Continental 635, cleared for takeoff behind Eastern 702, contact Departure on frequency 124.7. Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?’
BR Continental 635: ‘Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern… we’ve already notified our caterers.’


One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee. Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said, ‘What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?’
The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with a real zinger: ‘I made it out of DC-8 parts. Another landing like yours and I’ll have enough parts for another one.’


The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one’s gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206.
Speedbird 206: ‘ Frankfurt , Speedbird 206! clear of active runway.’
Ground: ‘Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven.’
The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.
Ground: ‘Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?’
Speedbird 206: ‘Stand by, Ground, I’m looking up our gate location now!’
Ground (with quite arrogant impatience):’Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?’
Speedbird 206 (coolly):’Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark, — And I didn’t land.’


While taxiing at London ‘s Gatwick Airport , the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727. An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming:
‘US Air 2771, where the hell are you going? I told you to turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right there. I know it’s difficult for you to tell the difference between C and D, but get it right!’

Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically:
‘God! Now you’ve screwed everything up! It’ll take forever to sort this out! You stay right there and don’t move till I tell you to! You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour, and I want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you! You got that, US Air 2771?’
‘Yes, ma’am,’ the humbled crew responded.
Naturally, the ground control communications frequency fell terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller in her current state of mind. Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was definitely running high. Just then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone, asking:
‘Wasn’t I married to you once?’


Maintenance Funnies

August 23rd, 2008

The following text is taken from an actual Cessna maintenance manual – you gotta love the straight forward trouble shooting suggestions!

PROBLEM: No Fuel Flow to Engine Driven Pump

POSSIBLE CAUSE (1): Fuel selector not turned on
ISOLATION PROCEDURE: Check position of fuel selector
REMEDY: Turn Fuel Selector ON

POSSIBLE CAUSE (2): Fuel tank empty
ISOLATION PROCEDURE: Check fuel quantity
REMEDY: Service with proper grade and quantity of fuel

PROBLEM: No Oil Pressure

POSSIBLE CAUSE (1): No oil in sump
ISOLATION PROCEDURE: Check with dipstick
REMEDY: Fill sump with proper sump and grade of oil

Think Before Speaking, Please

August 10th, 2008

We found this a very ‘gonumbers’ post from:

Jul 22, 2008

By Ross Detwiler

I’ve been flying professionally for a long time — two score and four years, actually — first flying fighters for the U.S. Air Force, and since 1974, piloting business jets for the executive air force.

Throughout, I’ve noted procedures and calls that made no sense when I first encountered them and still make no sense today, though they’re still in use.

When I fly, like most pilots, I like it quiet, save for the routine calls necessary for control and operation. These are a part of a pleasant background from which any of us can pick out the calls meant for us and the rest seem to just quietly flow by, unobtrusive, not abrasive.

But there are other calls that are still routinely made, that will probably be routinely made 30 years from now and yet don’t seem to accomplish anything but feed someone’s ego and/or grate on everyone else’s nerves. Some of these may seem necessary, but as I write this tongue in cheek, I often wish the speakers would keep their tongues in cheek instead of wagging them to make certain calls. Knowing full well that every one of these calls will have a staunch supporter, nevertheless I put them out as my personal “Whys?”

How about this one? “Good morning, Center, this is So and So level at FL 330. How’re the rides this morning?” I know turbulence is an important concern as is passenger comfort, but let’s just for a moment think about this call.

It used to be that, “We’re trying to serve a meal back there,” was the standard reason for this query, but nowadays a bag of peanuts can be thrown at an uncaring Seat 25C regardless of the ride. Consider also this fact: If the controller were to answer that the rides are the worst he’s ever heard, it would still take a few minutes to get clearance to come down and to execute the descent. Pilots are all required to report more than light turbulence or chop. Why not wait just a moment and actually listen to how the rides are. If they’re bad, you’ll hear about them in less than 30 seconds. Only about one guy in ten still makes this call, but that’s still one too many since it’s unnecessary.

Here’s another favorite. “What’s the reason for that delay?” C’mon, skipper, use your head. The only two common reasons for ATC delay are traffic or weather. Look out the window. If you see weather, that’s the reason. If you don’t, it’s traffic. We all get upset about delays, but this is just another one of those radio calls that needn’t be made since the answer is obvious and the inquiry only jams up the airwaves. The fact is that the person asking it is usually in a bad mood because of the delay and the call is a way of expressing frustration. I would say to that person, when you PA the folks just tell them weather or traffic or both. They don’t care about the cause of the delay, but rather its likely duration.

ATC is not immune to silliness either. How many times have you received the clearance, “Cross 24 miles Northeast of so and so at Flight Level 250″? Or “Cross 25 Northeast of so and so at 240″? Those clearances are misread almost every time they’re given. I’d be willing to make ATC a deal: I’ll gladly spot you the mile or the thousand feet to make it 24 miles at FL 240 or 25 miles at FL 250. This happens too often.

But the beat goes on. The vast majority of traffic is handled with the sure knowledge that all pilots in flight want to get their passengers on the ground as expected, and all pilots on the ground want to get their passengers in the air as promised. I truly believe controllers feel exactly the same, i.e. keep us moving and get us out of their space.

While we’re on the 24 miles gig, for years and years when coming up the East Coast to New York’s Westchester County Airport (HPN), the descent clearance read, “Cross 24 north of Sea Isle at Flight Level 24″ (How ’bout that, 24 at 24?). Finally an intersection was put at 24 North of Sea Isle and they named it Beckr. I remember thinking how smart this was at the time. Since virtually every airplane that came along got the same clearance, now they could just say, “Cross Beckr at Flight Level 240.” Nope, too easy. So what is the clearance now? “Cross 5 north or 5 south of Beckr at 240.” I actually queried a controller about this one day. He laughed and said I had a point and cleared me to cross Beckr at FL 240. It hasn’t happened since. Why name the descent point you’ve been crossing for years at FL 240 and then require users to be at FL 240 just before that point?

Here’s one that constantly irritates me, although the reaction may be mine alone: “The National Weather Service has issued a severe weather warning along and 30 miles either side of a line from 34 miles east northeast of Boston to approximately 26 miles west southwest of Buffalo to twelve miles west southwest of Dryer to Pittsburgh to 24 south southwest of Armel to 34 miles east northeast of Boston . . . .”

Call me stupid here, but really, is providing that geographic corral necessary? I’ve long since given up on TV weather for any useful aviation weather information because every snow storm is a blizzard, every rain storm is a nor’easter and every thunderstorm a tornado maker. This does not help those of us who “have to go anyway,” and do. And the complicated description of the severe weather area doesn’t help us, either. How about this instead? “The National Weather Service has issued a severe weather warning in an area from Boston to Buffalo to Pittsburgh to Washington, D. C., back to Boston.” I will get the idea. Watch out in the northeast.

Also, after so many years of this, do we really need the follow-on explanation of what a severe weather warning means in terms of damaging wind, hail and so forth? Severe means “Watch out! Keep the radar on. If you get sucked into one of those big white puffies, you might not come out the other side right side up. Don’t get sucked into something just because, ‘everyone else has been going through there.’”

Here’s another exchange that gripes me: I begin, “Good morning so and so, this is Falcon 123 Alpha Bravo at flight level 330.” Now I’m not one to repeat myself two seconds later because I know how busy the guys are in the control centers. So, I wait for a response for at least a minute, and only then try again. “So and so, this is Falcon 123 Alpha Bravo at 370.” Wait another minute and then try for the third time. Finally, back comes the reply:

“Falcon 123 Alpha Bravo, stand by. I’m handling a lot of traffic. I heard you, please stay off the air.”

When I hear this, my temptation is to stay off his frequency until I’m out of the sector and try the next guy. This cause and effect is so unnecessary. I respect the fact that a controller may be busy. All I need is a “Standby,” or even just a grunt in the mike to let me know he heard me. If I hear “Standby,” I will do just that in silence until spoken to.

Now a toss up in the controller’s favor. How many times have we heard this one? “Atlanta Center, this is Falcon 123 with a request.” Now the center has to come back and say, “Falcon 123, go ahead with your request.” Which in turn prompts, “Roger, Falcon 123 requests so and so.” And then, “Okay, Falcon 123, you’re cleared to do such and such.” That’s four transmissions. While this call may be mandated, it would still be easier on everyone if the captain simply waited until it’s relatively quiet, if possible, and then make his request speaking clearly and slowly in his initial call up. At least nine times out of ten ATC will answer yes or no immediately, thereby eliminating the additional two transmissions.

I know someone will quote the way such and such reg on the subject is written, but common sense has to jump in here somewhere. Let’s cut down the noise.

Another all-time great gratuitous call: “Hello, Washington, this is so and so at Flight Level 330. Nice ride up here, how you all doin’ down there? We’re moving right along. Nice day for flying.” Okay, friend, here’s my input for what it’s worth: No one cares how your ride is going. All most folks care about is how quickly they can get in touch with ATC if they need them. Save the big Howdy and chit-chat for lunch at the barbecue in Tulsa.

A little barb that usually ties up otherwise busy ground frequencies: “Dulles Tower, what number are we?” The funny thing about this query is it usually comes from a guy buried about ten deep in the line. My technique, for what it’s worth, is count the airplanes in front of me. If there are ten, I assume I’m roughly number 11 in line. If there are two lines to the runway, I’m number 20. When I get to the runway, if they don’t call my number, I’d advise them of it and await clearance. If I’m off by a number or two, who cares? Meanwhile, I’ve reduced the noise on the frequency.

Here’s a hometown favorite. The STAR into HPN is relatively direct and allows one to keep the speed up until about 35 miles out, all of which is good. The trouble comes when you look at the top view of the arrival. It’s long. If you fly the entire arrival you will be at it for about 20 minutes. However, in the last 15 years I don’t think I’ve ever flown the STAR in its entirety. Remembering the premise that the controllers want to get rid of us as much as we want to get where we’re going, we always get a shortcut about a fourth of the way through the arrival. Nevertheless, and despite the fact that you always get the shortcut, some Captain Quigg will click his little steel balls together on check-in and ask, “Any chance of the shortcut today?” This superfluous call requires an answer prior to the actual issuing of the shortened clearance.

Out over the North Atlantic, or over any stretch of water for that matter, there is always an air-to-air frequency. This is supposed to be for operational talk, but what constitutes “operational” is in the mind of the talker, and let’s face it, there’s a lot of time to talk over most expanses of water. While I still maintain that I prefer quiet, I have no problem at all with someone transmitting, “Hey 23, where you coming out of? We’re going to Detroit, and so forth.” Some of these conversations get a little wordy, but so what? I can always turn them down. If I did need that frequency rather than guard, I could always come in with a, “Pan, pan, pan, or even “Mayday, mayday, mayday . . .” I’m sure I’d get it.

What bugs me here is the people that have taken upon themselves to be the frequency police with a tone button, electronically jamming the frequency every time some guy wants to brag about how smart he was with his airline scheduler. They never speak up and ask to use the frequency, they just replace a minor annoyance with a major one, anonymously.

As F. Lee Bailey wrote in this publication just last year, “All the guys with big cojones have their names withheld.”

As a final I offer this: “Tower what’s your phone number? I’m going to call the supervisor.” To me the truth of the matter is if the guy that gave you a bad clearance is a decent hard working controller, he’s already said he was sorry. If he isn’t, he could care less and will probably have an attitude when you call. The supervisor is already in the cab and has heard everything. If you think safety was involved, write a letter. If not, shut up. People are trying to land, take off, or taxi.

So there’s my list. Do I think this article will change anything? Nope. I just put the calls out there to see if anyone else is bugged by them or any other favorite sillies they hear on a routine basis.

But with all this, there are some calls that are just too good, when made in quiet times, not to like.

*”Center if you would like to clear us to Out West VOR . . . we have the technology.”

*”Yes sir, I said light, but I will revise that to moderate and wipe the coffee off the center console and my trousers.”

*”Hey Gulfstream so and so, that’s a cute little airplane. Who owns that?”

“Well, airliner so and so, it’s owned by ABC Insurance.”

“Sure is cute.”

“Guess what airliner so and so?”


“We own your airplane too.”

*”Sir, this is Southern 200, did you say taxi to Runway 9 Left?” (This was at Atlanta Hartsfield right after the two south runways were put into operation. The taxi distance was about three miles.)

“That’s right Southern.”

“But sir, we only goin’ to Huntsville.”

It’s a great way to make a living. *

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