LITH010: Farewell to regulars and Hall of Shame

FAREWELL TO SOME REGULARS Scotty brought it to my attention tonight that some regulars won’t be flying our friendly skies as much anymore. We work this Lifeguard KingAir on a regular basis in and out of Farmington, NM. Apparently they no longer have the contract and the plane and crew will be taken out of the area. They’ll be missed as they were always great to work with. This airplane was one of the few that I worked that showed up on the FAA’s Accident/Incident website, after which it again flew with us regularly. The incident was on a midshift when the plane hit a coyote on the runway in Farmington. The flight had to be cancelled and there was some minor damage to the plane, major to the coyote. That pilot got a lot of flack, and I always called him the “Coyote Killer” jokingly. Scotty knows them even better, hope to hear from you guys again in your next job. Say hi to Scotty or FO.

WATCH THIS SPACE ‘Cause once we figure out how to do this website better, this entry will disappear. There are certain limitations with, one is the webpage you see here that is automatically created. We may get a custom domain name for the site, have links, info, etc. In the meantime here is some contact info and stuff.

FO – Chris, founder and keeper of The Hole’s flame (that somehow just doesn’t sound right)
SW – Scotty, Hole Team Member, CFII etc, all around cool guy

LINKS (in no particular order) – FAA’s Preliminary Accident/Incident website – Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association website – AirNav, a great site for airport, navaid, and fuel information. – Aviation Digital Data Service Weather Site – Aircraft registration inquiry site – Airliners.Net – lots of great pictures – Aircraft Shopper Online – Trade-A-Plane Online – Sporty’s Pilot Shop – RisingUp aviation resources – Controller aircraft sale listings

Let us know if you’re reading, any comments/suggestions, etc.

BACKUP BETTER THAN PRIMARY Today we lost our Durango radio site, possibly due to the fire burning on Missionary Ridge. The backup (BUEC) is on a 13,000’ mountain 20 miles northwest. Not only can we talk to the tower at DRO, but also somewhat to the tower at Farmington! That’s pretty good. I also was able to talk to low altitude traffic way out of my sector toward Taos, NM. The site we lost is right on the airport at Durango, no guess on when we’ll get it back. No hurry as far as I’m concerned.

IS OUR HOUSE STILL THERE? We’ve had plenty of tankers fighting the fire near Durango, as well as spotters, and aircraft getting infrared images of the status of the fire. Today I had a Cheyenne request to overfly the area, figuring it was another spotter aircraft, I approved it. They then told me it was to see if their house was still standing. Probably about the only way to really see what’s going on with their house as no one’s allowed to drive into there.

HALL OF SHAME Here’s a fun new area of Life In The Hole, pretty self explanatory. Our first inductee (as told by GQ) is a Skywest flight out of Durango. DRO still has their temporary tower, Skywest was #2 for departure and was told as much by the tower. Not being happy about this he decided to call us directly for an earlier time, for shame. Then, as the controller was issuing the clearance/release to DRO Tower, Skywest jumps in between the coordination calls with requests for VFR climb on course, etc. Keep in mind the coordination calls between us and DRO Tower are done on our frequency, not a landline. The pilots are getting wise to this apparently.

HALL OF SHAME PT.2 A Cessna 172 flew over ninety minutes through The Hole without any communication. The aircraft had a discreet beacon code the entire time, went down low over the Halls Crossing area, then again over Page. When we lost radar it was heading for Grand Canyon for another low pass more than likely. Wasn’t monitoring our freq or emergency freq. Pretty hard to miss that your transponder, right in the middle of your panel is not on a VFR squawk, oh well.

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.

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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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