LITH011: 4 hours on position, namecalling, and funky fixes

FORE SCORE & 4 HOURS ON POSITION Okay, it was only 237 minutes, but it sure felt like 240. The thing about this sector is when you get in a groove you want to stay, bladder and hunger be damned. This was one of those times. Not only was I getting begging eyes from relieving controllers (begging me to not give it to them), but it would’ve taken too long to explain everything that was going on.

Besides, I had a regular (the KingAir from FAREWELL TO SOME REGULARS) and a repeat victim (from 182’S ALL IN A ROW). This was something I thought about yesterday: how do things you’ve suggested turned out? We rarely find out, except for maybe finding out someone safely landed. This was the C182 from Carlsbad to Colorado Springs, now going the other way. Once again we talked all the way across the sector, except this time I was busy much of the time. May even have our 3rd reader of Life In The Hole, Kathy (I reserve the right to misspell anything, including names), she’s the CFI from Carlsbad. Small world, she grew up a few miles from where I did. Unfortunately I had to hand her off to those lowlifes at LA Center, sorry about that. (DISCLAIMER: FO former LA Center controller, “lowlifes” used in a kind, gentle way)

WHAT DID YOU CALL ME? PT DEUX During the conversation with above CFI Kathy, she mentioned how an unnamed facility that starts with P, ends with B, and has a U in the middle, wouldn’t answer unless called a certain name. If I ignored all the incorrect names I’m called, the frequency would be mighty quiet. I’ll stay at home if I want to be called names! Anyway, immediately a Citation off Page calls me LA Center, glad to see a sense of humor on each side of the frequency. It’s funny how often pilots will apologize for calling you the wrong facility, when in reality, I’m guessing most of the time the previous controller told them to use that incorrect identification. That’s okay, unless you call me Denver Approach. (DISCLAIMER: FO former Denver Approach controller, that is all)

(ANTON)CHICO & THE MAN There’s those things you don’t see or say too often. Today had a BE56, a fairly rare type of Beech Baron. Until recently, rarely saw Seminoles, had one today. Talked about a Dutchess, I can’t remember last time I actually saw one. Well, used ACH (Anton Chico VOR) for the first time today, twice! And another I’ve never used OTO (Otto VOR), keep in mind these two fixes are not very far from my airspace. Heck, one pilot (Mesa training Bonanza) would’ve had the trifecta if I’d never heard of TCC, Tucumcari. Oh, and Santa Rosa, NM, that’s a new one, the pilot who changed his destination to there for fuel threw that one at me after Anton Chico. Must not be a big airport, the identifier wasn’t on his charts, odd.

THE NAME GAME With all these GPS approaches coming in, also comes strange fix names. Today used SEDZU, AWIZO, and CABZO, always fun to hear how they’ll be said. Was reminded about the more creative ones, like ITAWT ITAWW APUDY & TATTT (don’t quote me on the spelling, you get the idea) from Kathy. But the most fun I had was with a SpendAir pilot who I took over to UNLAP. No matter how many times I kept saying it one way, he’d say it another. Finally he relented, you know how it goes, my way or the airway.

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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