LITH005: Pilot Getaways, odd requests, boneheads, MTR’s, and messing with trainees

PILOTS, GO AWAY! Actually, the magazine I’ll refer to is “Pilot Getaways”. This is another fine publication I receive, and sometimes they show real out of the way places, some not even on charts. Well, sure enough I had someone head for Goulding’s Lodge, a fairly remote dirt strip near Navajo Mountain on the Utah/Arizona border. I had to ask if he’d heard about it through the magazine. Sure enough he did. He had flown over the spot before, but hadn’t landed (one way in, one way out, huge mountain in the way), this time he would. Since then I’ve talked to a few pilots about destinations in that magazine, more people get it than I thought. One was surprised we could read!

REQUEST FLIGHT FOLLOWING, NOT Now that summer’s about here, we should see more requests for non-flight following from Scenic Airlines. Huh, you say? It’s been told to us that it’s a company rule that they must ask for advisories while flying through Monument Valley. But they know we can’t see them at 7,500’/8,500’ and really don’t want the service anyway. Just one of those things I guess.

ODD MILITARY REQUEST One day I was working some military jet, and he asked for vectors to Four Corners. That’s the name of Farmington Airport, it wasn’t on his route of flight, was this an emergency? No, he wanted to see the actual Four Corners of the United States. That was a first, so I had to figure out where it was on our scope and give him a heading for it. He didn’t think he’d find it, nor did I personally, but then he saw the line of cars and a bunch of people standing around a piece of cement. Sounded a little disappointed.

I’M A BONEHEAD I could have given myself a concussion with the palm slap to the forehead on this one. I don’t know how many times over the years I’ve worked a B-1 flight with the callsign BONE01, or BONE02, etc. BONE = B ONE = B1, duhh. I don’t feel so bad though, I asked another controller, he hadn’t thought of it either.

GIVE THE SKYLANE A B’ONE Speaking of B1’s, one lucky Cessna 182 Skylane was at the right place and the exact right time. I had a B1 in an military training route fairly low to the ground, but I could still see him. This C182 was on a course for a direct flyover of it. I pointed it out to him, and this is rare, he actually saw him. Could see the dirt he was kicking up behind him also.

LAUNDRY LIST OF REQUESTS I like to have fun with pilots, especially ones that are in training. Last week a Cessna 182 came over IFR filed via an airway to FMN. I knew what this was, an IFR training flight. Sure enough on first contact they ask for: vectors to the ILS, circle to RWY7, Missed Approach, holding at missed approach holding fix, on and on. My response “How about the whole enchilada and do the arc as well?” DME ARCs aren’t the easiest things in the world, especially compared to a heading by me to set them up on final. “Uh, no thanks (laughs), we have DME, but we don’t want that!”

Life In The Hole (LITH) is based on real-life Air Traffic Control (ATC) stories from pilot and controller Chris Rodriguez (unless otherwise noted) of Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC).  The comments and opinions are only of the authors and do not reflect the opinions or positions of any other company or organization.

About Chris Rodriguez

Chris is the editor/publisher of LightningRod Blog - as well as founder/editor of Wrongmont, Longmont Advocate, Vote!Longmont, Longmont Politics, the LightningRod Radio Network, as well as being the original Longmont Examiner. Chris is a writer and talker - whether it be blogs, podcasts, music, or public speaking. When he's not heard on Air Traffic radio, he can be heard on his podcasts or seen in the local paper causing trouble.
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