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! Continue reading

LITH004: Making the big time, bad landings, colorful language, and mind reading

HOLE REGULARS MAKE THE BIG TIME Mesa Airlines Pilot Development (MAPD) program is based at Farmington, we work their Bonanzas and Barons constantly. In the latest issue of Plane&Pilot Magazine lo’ and behold there’s a color picture of one of the planes we work. Keep in mind, all we see are little green slashes for an airplane, for an airplane buff like me it’s kind of cool to actually see what we work. I’ve been razzing the pilots of these planes lately over their new celebrity status. Of course when I do others on freq jump right in. Continue reading

LITH003: Trainees, nervous pilots, closed airports, stealth Navajo’s, ferrying, and broken transponders

MR. ROBOTO Lately I’ve been spending an unnatural amount of time with YZ in The Hole while he trains CW, the geographically challenged trainee. It’s not as though he doesn’t know the four-state area, he does, it’s just not the four states under his jurisdiction, but I digress. We both got a laugh and wonder why so many pilots talk like robots on freq. They can’t possibly talk this way in real life, not to say working this sector is not real life, well, maybe it’s not. Continue reading

LITH002: Friends, history, and future of The Hole

FRIENDS OF THE HOLE There’s about 60 people in my area, The Hole is mostly worked by 2 people. There’s the southern sounding guy, Scotty, and the Southern California guy, me, FO. Between the hours of 7am-9pm MST/MDT, you’ll probably find one of us there. We both are pilots and enjoy dealing with our kind back there. People maneuver to avoid The Hole, we maneuver to get in The Hole. Quite often people maneuver themselves out of The Hole just so I can get in it. There is a handful of other people that don’t mind The Hole, but probably wouldn’t go out of their way to work it. Some hate it just because it’s off by itself and not part of the main control room. Some hate it because they don’t want to deal with the complexities of its design. Some just don’t speak the same language as a large portion of the traffic back there. But all work it, sooner or later. I just do more than most. Continue reading

LITH001: Welcome to Life In The Hole

BACKGROUND “The Hole” is an area of my Air Traffic Contol facility. Its a sector that is usually the only one open, in a dark, cool, empty space, hence the name. I work this sector quite a bit and a day doesn’t go by that something funny or interesting doesn’t happen. I plan to use this blog to document some of these stories, I hope you find it interesting.

GOAL To enlighten, educate, and entertain on the interesting world of Air Traffic Control through one persons eyes. Continue reading