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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

LITH009: Skittish Skylanes and working around emergencies

182’s ALL IN A ROW Had me a string of eastbound 182’s today. First one chose wisely and picked Alamosa, CO as his destination. There was a large line of thunderstorms from Denver south with Center Weather Advisories (CWA’s) and Convective Sigmets. The second one was going from Kingman, AZ to Jeffco Airport in the Denver area. After quite a few calls back and forth, he left for the next frequency and then he changed his destination to Alamosa as well. The next one sat out all the bad weather in Farmington, NM. She was going from Carlsbad, CA to Colorado Springs, CO. We spoke at great length about GPS’s and the weather. She’s a CFI in Carlsbad, very friendly. Continue reading

LITH008: Departure procedures and missing engines

IFR DEPARTURES There seems to be some confusion on departing IFR from an uncontrolled airport of from one with a VFR tower. In the absence of an IFR Departure Procedure or departure instructions from ATC, the pilot is responsible for his/her own terrain and obstruction clearance. Chapter 5 of the AIM gives the pilot discretion on joining the filed route or course. In other words, after you depart and you are cleared “as filed” it is at pilot’s discretion how he or she joins the filed route or course. Do you need to ask permission to turn to intercept your filed airway ? Absolutely not ! However, if you ask for that early turn you may not get it. ATC, is not supposed to vector below the minimum IFR altitude. It is entirely up to the pilot when the on course turn is made. Also, there is no requirement to actually cross the navaid. We have to put the navaid into our route of flight so the flight plan will process properly. Make Sense ? -Scotty (SW) Continue reading

LITH007: High fuel prices and swearing in junior controllers

FUEL FOR THOUGHT The topic of aviation fuel came up on frequency Sunday, and of course it turned into a mini free-for-all. A Baron going from Las Vegas to Denver Centennial was going to make a stop in Farmington for gas. I warned him of their high prices but he felt their price compared to the $3+ Las Vegas charged was acceptable. A Stationair chimed in and said he paid $2.96 in Hawthorne, NV and it was self-serve! That’s pretty atrocious. Continue reading