Friday, June 15, 2007

Overheard on 128.1

I hopped over to MadCo to tank up after flying on both Saturday and Sunday last weekend. It was a nice afternoon, although the 10 knot crosswind from the east warranted just a bit more rudder play than had the air been calm. Being what ultimately turned out to be 17.1 gallons (that precise value having been determined at the rate of $4.07 per, alas) lighter on the way over to MadCo, Papa and I took the opportunity frolic a bit before we loaded up on gas.

On the way back, I called the tower at my usual western side reporting point, and received the expected "report two mile left base for runway 4." Having done so, and made my turn to final, I heard one of the FBO rental 172s call in a few miles south. This also prompted a standard call for planes approaching from the south: "Report two mile right base runway 4." There was a brief pause, then what must have been the instructor called back and requested a straight in approach to 4.

This request seemed eminently reasonable to me, having asked the same myself many times in the past. Back when I had the Tampico, landing on 4 meant that I could exercise the ILS skills and hardware, albeit while being able to see the runway the entire time. Still, it was always interesting to see how the localizer and glideslope aligned with the visual approach. I was surprised, therefore, to hear the tower respond with a sarcastic "then I guess you weren't to the south after all, you must have been southwest."

With that in mind, I'm not clear how it could have been inferred from the request for a straight in that the plane was not where they said it was, actually, since all he really knew was that the plane in question was reportedly to the south, not what direction it was headed. One could assume that they were headed due west in order to pick up the ILS to runway 4, or one could guess that they were headed directly towards the airport and would thus already be lined up for the extended right base. The best assumption, in my opinion, would have been that the pilot had a reason for the request and that it should be approved if able, or denied if not. That would have been more reflective of what I believe the proper relationship between the pilot-in-command and the controller should be.

Apparently the instructor agreed. "We were right on the border of south or southwest. Come on." That last bit being inflected with more than a tad of derision, constituting an unmistakable and well deserved "get over it." They were approved for the straight in with no further discussion or delay.

I just kinda chuckled as I taxied back to the hangar. I love this stuff!

1 comment:

  1. Seems Mr. Personality isn't on vacation this week. Glad you got to stretch PG's legs today.