A shout out to ATC....

Discussion in 'Change to my Frequency...' started by Piper18O, Sep 1, 2020.

  1. Piper18O

    Piper18O Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I was going to post this under the post Ryanb started but thought maybe it should be it's own thread. I am fortunate that I have been able to fly in nearly all sectors in the United States, and I am absolutely amazed at how great our air traffic controllers in this country are. I can honestly say that I believe that nearly all controllers that I have spoken with have just been superbly professional and extremely helpful, no matter what the situation. I doubt there has been more than a time or two in 30+ years where I was a little frustrated with a controller, and I am more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, because I don't know what else they were having to deal with at the time. Besides, everybody has a bad day at least once in their life, and most of the time it is probably because of someone else's incompetence. I just love to listen to ATC as well. If I am put on hold when talking to a business that pipes in ATC frequencies, I almost don't mind being put on hold. My great grandfather immigrated to the U.S. and my grandmother spoke mainly German, especially when she was younger. I never learned, but I do remember watching her face light up when she heard someone else speak her father's native tongue. That is kind of how I feel when listening to this language that only pilots (and of course controllers) understand. It may be silly to some, but to me it is pretty cool. Everything is recorded now, and sure, every now and then some like to point out the low points of an ATC transmission, but even then I am often siding to some extent with the controller. Sometimes we pilots can be real "Richards" if you know what I mean. Hats off to all of you who keep us safe day in and day out. I have gone on too long on this post, so I will have to tell you about the controller that saved me once at 2 am when my friend forgot to turn on the lights at our grass strip. Bless all of you Controllers! If you have a story you would like to share from either side, pilot or controller I'd love to hear it!
     
  2. jimhorner

    jimhorner Line Up and Wait

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    Second the motion.
     
  3. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Back when Lake Tahoe (TVL) had a tower, one of their controllers probably saved my life by telling me about a squall line across my proposed line of departure, not only because of that, but also because of a dangerous misconception I had about obstacle departure procedures (ODPs).
     
  4. kath

    kath Administrator Management Council Member

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    Third the motion!
     
  5. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    There are businesses that play ATC frequencies on hold? Never heard that before. Sometimes ya get a human who says do you mind holding. After you say ok, when they come back you can say ‘do you mind putting me back on hold.’:) While we’re on second languages try “Ricardo Cabezas” for Richards.:) As a former controller, thanks for the shoutout and your benefit of the doubt. But the profession unfortunately has it’s Ricardo Cabezas as does any.
     
  6. Piper18O

    Piper18O Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I think I tried to connect with him on Linkedin once but he ignored me. (I was going to say he blew me off, but I didn't think that sounded too good.)
     
  7. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf Pattern Altitude

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    I really enjoy our local Class C controllers and the tower. Great people. In fact I don't think I've had a bad ATC interaction yet flying around the Midwest. There was a Center controller once that seemed to not care, but he wasn't rude or anything.
     
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  8. sarangan

    sarangan Cleared for Takeoff

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    I can't agree with you more. Sometimes I wonder if controllers go through special training how to deal with unruly pilots and bad behavior. I know this story has done the rounds here, but it reminded me of this jerk busting into a class B airspace and arguing with the controller. It takes a special kind of human to maintain your composure.

     
  9. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Won’t be long before they’re all replaced with AI. ;)
     
  10. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    None that I know of. Some controllers handle it better than others.
     
  11. AlphaMike

    AlphaMike Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There’s a guy at great lakes approach that’s awesome. I don’t know his name but it always puts a smile on my face when I hear him on the frequency. You can tell all the pilots really like talking to him. Great personality
     
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  12. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I'm always impressed at how good the good ATCers can be, and how bad the bad ones can be. Fortunately the former heavily outweigh the latter. And when I do run into the latter, I usually contact the facility to try and correct things.

    I've heard some pretty good saves from ATC. I remember listening to some controller dealing with some lost student pilot on 121.5 one day. Very calming and reassuring and helped her get down.
     
  13. Skywalker

    Skywalker Cleared for Takeoff

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    When we flew from NC to MI earlier this year we heard a real nail biter on Indianapolis Center: Cessna pilot was on IFR flight plan in IMC relatively low (I think he was at 3,200’) and was icing up. He was below minimums for IFR, couldn’t clime, could barely hold altitude. The controller was super reassuring, gave he pilot vectors and altitudes for the instrument approach to an airport close by, called that airport’s tower and arranged everything for the distressed pilot. At the same time, he supported all other traffic in the area. As far as we know, the pilot made it to that alternate airport ok.

    I said that if I am ever in such a situation, I want that kind of guy on the other side of the radio.
     
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  14. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Yes! They are great!

    saved my hide as a rookie, lost the airport amongst the city lights At night , tower was closing and as he did he issued me a low alt warning- I had got so fixated on looking for the airport I wasn’t watching the altimeter... I fessed up, I couldn’t find the airport that was right there, he stayed after hours a few mins to guide me back and cranked the runway lights...

    angels on our shoulders..
     
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  15. Piper18O

    Piper18O Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Reminds me of a time when I needed lights, and since I promised the story earlier....

    I was flying back from working a night football game in Lincoln Nebraska in the late 90's. It was very late, about 2am. I dropped off my coworker in Wichita, and headed for home, a grass strip about 30 miles away. I had told the guy that lived there to make sure he turned on the runway lights before going to bed. When I got over the strip at about 2:20, I discovered that he forgot to turn on the lights. I asked Wichita approach if they could call the guy to turn on the lights. Two minutes later they came on. I was so appreciative. A simple phone call may not seem like that big of a deal, but at the time it was a lifesaver. I sent a letter to Mr. Hale, the head of the facility at the time thanking him and telling him how much his staff was appreciated, not just then but everyday. He posted it in the break room for his controllers to read I believe. Come to think of it, it was also the only time I ever told Approach, "I have a number for you to call. Advise when you are ready to copy."
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2020
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  16. Justin M

    Justin M Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I've flown more this year than any other prior year, twice from New Jersey to Wisconsin and back. The controllers have been awesome. The controllers at MC GUIRE APPROACH and ATLANTIC CITY APPROACH are awesome too and I'm always glad for them when I'm flying south.
     
  17. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    These stories are what befuddles me when folks are literally scared of ATC... why?

    im a VFR guy flying an antique taildragger who rarely goes to controlled airspace- so I’m prob not the slickest radio guy but hold my own and not once have I ever felt demeaned or attacked or anything close...frankly the absolute opposite!

    it’s like a child being scared of the monster in his closet...
     
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  18. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Same reason they want everything sent via message to their iPad, won't call an FBO ahead of time to talk to someone, wishing that every little detail was on the airport diagram, etc...

    Scared of any human interaction.
     
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  19. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

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    I always had great experiences with the controllers and they have gone above and beyond for this dumb VFR pilot. I have posted this on this board before, but among many times when they have gone above and beyond, this is the one that i cherish the most.

    I was on a fall color trip to Duluth, MN, with 2 pax, while coming back to Fargo, there was a broken layer at 3500 or so. so i stayed under it at about 1700 AGL. in that route they cannot see you on radar that low, in fact anything below 6500 is a hit and miss. i knew that but staying that low with 2 pax onboard and not much place to land if something goes wrong made me fairly uncomfortable and there was another wx system staying just south of me for the entire route. granted ATC cant do much if things goes south and its all on me, i definitely want to talk to them if i am doing off airport landing or know in advance from them if there is wx up ahead that should call for a precautionary landing. When MSP center asked me if I would climb so that they can keep an eye on me, i told them about the layer and that i am staying where i am and if they could continue to advice me of any weather up ahead. They stayed with me, asked me position reports every x mins or so, got a SW big iron to relay a new frequency when they lost me on radio until they handed me over to Fargo approach.

    He didnt have to do any of those. He could have just told me that he lost me on radar and to squawk VFR and get off his back, he didnt.

    I called center the next day to tell them how much I appreciated their help. Center supervisor appreciated the call. as pilots we often forget how invaluable these people are. Since then i make it a point to thank them on the frequency and in some cases when they are too busy, i would land and make a phone call to thank them (when they go above and beyond like that guy did)
     
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  20. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    You need to register that guy as an "emotional support controller" so you can fly with him all the time. ATC usually tells be to bugger off anytime I really need something from them.
     
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  21. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

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    that must be because of your charming personality ..lol. well i am nice (people who knows me will disagree, but the controllers dont know me ) :biggrin:

    i kid.. may be :p
     
  22. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

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    Used to go to Fullerton (KFUL) quite a bit for Disney when my son was younger (from Texas). Fullerton and SoCal were always awesome, provided vectors whether you needed them or not, and several times tower said "Howdy welcome to California" after roll out (guess they had flight origin on FF strip).

    Had an eastbound flight to La Mesa TX years ago and got "Traffic opposite direction 500 feet below stop descent, traffic is 15 miles ahead, if you have a camera you ought to use it" ... unbelievably, I could already see it (had the sun at my back), knew it was something big ... my son was slow pulling it out ... it was Fifi the Superfortress and would've been the BEST photo ever with that lighting as it passed beneath me.
     
  23. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    good point! And frankly I just love people! So probs oh why I don’t mind chatting with em :)
     
  24. Piper18O

    Piper18O Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Reminds me of the time I was informed that traffic passing below me would be a KC-135 tanker. It would have been awesome to have a photo of that big refueler below a little Piper Cherokee. Unfortunately, I didn't think about it until I saw him, and by then it was too late. All I had was my phone but that would have been better then nothing. Instead, I got nothing.
     
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  25. YKA

    YKA Pre-Flight

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    They are almost always awesome. Had one being grumpy about 15 years ago, but minimal time spent on the radio with him. Even when I have done something stupid, they have not been mean about it.
     
  26. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    the more you work ATC the more you come to appreciate them.
     
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  27. Oldmanb777

    Oldmanb777 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    They are great. As a professional pilot (retired now) They are absolutely priceless when you need them. I remember the Patco strike, and how that effected us. Some good, some not so good. We were able to operate some flights without the controllers. I have had some issues with controllers, thats just going to happen. But over all, they were always there, ready and willing to pull out the stops to do whatever they could to help. A few times they screwed me, usually contract issues. But over all, they are great.
     
  28. YKA

    YKA Pre-Flight

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    When you are a student doing a solo, playing around flying in hills, buzzing a lake, having a good time, not paying attention to where you are, not sure which way is home...climb up some till you have enough altitude to reach the tower, and request a 'Practice radio direction steer back to the airport' . Instead of rubbing it in, and asking if I am lost, nothing but a cheerful voice, and a heading to follow. It took me a long time to confess my sins of that day. Played around for about 1.5 hours, not keeping track of where I was at all, and too low in the hills for radio communication. I just put it in a climb, and around 8500' had radio contact again, what a feeling of relief. I was about 90% sure he knew that I was a bit lost, but let me slide with the 'practice' as I requested. From that day on, I had nothing but good to say about all of them.
     
  29. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    3 short stories I hope.

    Back lets say 20 years ago I had a home outside Chicago and was working in Alaska. One trip Juneau to Chicago, a Canadian controller told me if you get to (XXX) can't remember the town and the weather does not improve it would be a good idea to overnight. Tomorrows weather will be improving. Ended up overnighting in (XXX)..:)

    Another time, 2nd day into a long cross country, flying 10 hours a day. Flight following told me of weather on your route is worsening . Best to overnight at (XXX), met another pilot after landing with the same story. We grabbed the crew car, old Cadillac, seat springs poking your butt. Each of us gabbed a room at a local motel met for breakfast, and departed west the next morning...:)

    Coming into Juneau, my transponder let all the smoke out. Shut electrical down. Turned electrical back on to make a call to tower. Told them smoke in cockpit I'm going to shut electrical off after reporting in. He asked I wanted to declare an emergency. I said no, 5 min out, be advised coms will be down, give me light signals. All went well...:)

    Never had a bad experience with ATC, sure a few times things have gotten a little tense but everyone has a bad day or get overwelled from time to time. Hats off to ATC..