Thursday, June 22, 2006

Controller's Delight

Communication in the flying game is quick and to the point.  We are asked or told to do something, be it a radio frequency change, a turn to a heading, to climb or descend, clearances for a myriad of things, and so forth.  The skies are filled with airways that have thousands of jets flying 1000 feet apart in opposite directions, with close to 1000 miles an hour of speed differential.  It is one of those jobs that require you to pay attention.  Controlling this volume of traffic are the professional air traffic controllers.  We could not do this job without them.  There are pilots who fly the same airspace on a regular basis who talk to the same controller day after day. This can lead to both parties recognizing the voice of the other party.  I have heard pilots checking in to a new frequency, and upon hearing the controller’s voice asking how the new baby is. Fly Guy has never had this happen to him; however this past week climbing out of JFK into the high altitude structure, I overheard the following conversation between three male pilots and a female air traffic controller.  She was working New York Center when a US Airways flight checked in……………………….

US Airways “US Airways XXXX checking in 320”

NY Center “Roger US Airways XXX 320”

US Airways “You sound tired today”

NY Center “Just got back from a week of vacation”

Jet Blue “Sounds like you had a lot of fun”

NY Center “It was Las Vegas”

Fly Guy “Is it true that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?”

NY Center “Not telling”

What followed was 30 seconds of silence then “US Airways XXXX contact Washington Center on XXXX.

It was back to business but my copilot talked about all the possibilities for the next 2000 miles.  Be Safe, FlyGuy.


Anonymous Jay said...

That is one of the coolest things to listen to when I am up in the flight deck taking a break!

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Jay said...

Just got back from doing a Vegas red-eye turn and was up in the flight deck taking a much needed break - well just from the boredom and it was WAY too warm in the cabin.

The guys had the overhead speakers on listening to traffic chatter, so I tuned in hoping to hear some off that "familiar" banter in between instructions.

Sadly it was ALL business, no little extra tid-bits!

12:05 PM  
Anonymous tjb said...

Just found your blog and have read through most of the archives. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and outlook with us. I'm a (pretty much) recovered fearful flyer and since I don't get to fly as often as I like, I seek out positive information like you provide.

Thanks again!

4:38 PM  
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