Positive ATC Stories

Discussion in 'Change to my Frequency...' started by Cajun_Flyer, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. Joshuajayg

    Joshuajayg Line Up and Wait

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    I've had a lot of great interactions with concerned and patient controllers.

    I've had my first ever pop up IFR with a patient controller. Had controllers tell me their concern over route or altitude of flight. Had to call Aspen Tower every morning before work started and they were always pleasant and helpful to talk to. I like the great majority of controllers, they are actually there to help.
     
  2. Mistake Not...

    Mistake Not... Cleared for Takeoff

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    They're all awesome, so it sucks when I can't give them something they ask for. Like, we were out doing approaches (VFR) at night. Obviously an accident somewhere, 'cause the major highway through town is backed up for miles. Approach asked if we could see it, but the snarl started well west of where we were. Small thing, but they hardly ever ask.

    I was able to relay a message for ATC once. And I'd had enough instrument training I didn't totally screw it up ("Please tell N9999 IFR cancellation received, etc."). Was happy to help.

    Was positioned to land on 36L, an airliner had taken the runway and then told tower they'd need another minute. I was on <1 mile final, but still plenty of time to offer to side step to 36R. Guy seemed happy I offered, cleared me to land 36R.

    A couple of times now, they've let me land long so I'd have a shorter taxi to my hangar. -That's- fun. I'm not sure how you're supposed to it, but I just slow flight down the runway a couple hundred feet up, then pull the power and finish landing normally. Fun. :)

    Right after I'd bought the plane, and still not comfortable with ATC in general, my xponder quits on flight following. I'm afraid I won't be allowed back in to the class C (and my car). Tell approach the problem. He's all "No problem. When you get 30 miles out, we'll identify with radar vectors."

    Told clearance delivery I was going to do some sight seeing in the area in and around their airspace, could we get flight following? "Sure! No problem. Just let us know when you're ready to come back."

    Staying patient and professional while I botch approach after approach in between commercial and military traffic using same runway.

    I was on flight following with center approaching a class D. I had the field in sight from 40+ miles out (really clear day), and called up to cancel. Center said there were multiple primary targets between me and my destination. I could cancel now or stay with him until I'm closer. I happily remained on flight following. I thought I was doing him a favor by cutting his workload, but since he offered...

    Around here, we do not let our transponders warm up, we "recycle" them. Or so I've heard. You know. From friends. With transponders. That... needed recycling. Yeah.

    Controllers are awesome.
     
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  3. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou En-Route

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    I flew a short trip on Saturday. I was empty so I asked my neighbor whether he wanted to join me. He replied: "I got the kids this weekend, could they come?" My answer was a loud "heck yeah!" :)

    I think my neighbor is hooked now and he might use the GI Bill to get into flying. And his 6-y/o is hooked too. He can't even legally drive but he flew like a champ. :)

    And why am I telling you all this?
    After landing back home, I asked "the ground guy" whether I could come up with an adult and two quiet kiddos. "Come on up" was the answer. Our Delta controllers are cool guys for sure.
    The kids got to see the tower from the inside and as we were turning around to leave, the ground guy says "the C47 is about to overfly, y'all wanna watch from the catwalk?" And we did. For about 15 minutes.

    Most controllers are cool folks. Ask to go see a tower when you land sometime!
    (I am known to have asked on downwind, short final, while taxiing to the hangar etc - I've brought a lot of pilots/students/civilians to the tower over the years - always fun)
     
  4. CRAFT

    CRAFT Pre-Flight

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    Many years ago, I was returning home from a XC trip. I called approach as I neared the ARSA (talk about dating) and got nothing. Called two more times and a voice responded "calling approach carrier signal only no voice". I immediately tried again with the same response. I tuned to 7600 and we created a makeshift communication with the Ident being yes. Unfortunately on one yes the transponder faded out and the yes was not received. They were running the litany of possible airports of intended landing when the yes got lost. I maintained course and altitude until I reached my home field. I started flying 360s North of the pattern for a South landing. After a couple of circuits control got the message and asked if that was where I intended to land, the transponder yes worked and I was handed over to the tower. I was suddenly hit with a very bright green light coming from the tower. I landed without any additional problem. BTW I had my nonflying dad along on this flight and was making sure that he was never concerned about the outcome.
     
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  5. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Final Approach

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    Did he give you a number to call? ;);)
     
  6. Terry M - 3CK (Chicago)

    Terry M - 3CK (Chicago) Pre-Flight

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  7. Justin M

    Justin M Pre-takeoff checklist

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    When I was making touch and goes last month, I felt like I crossed the controllers. I was trying to let them know what I wanted to do and I think they were hinting strongly that I should do something else (I wanted a touch and go and they said cleared to land. I thought I was reminding them of what I wanted, but I think they were hinting I should give them a break during a busy time at the airport). (Recently there was a POA thread about "Descend at your Discretion" that I should have remembered how controllers sometimes hint.)

    I felt bad enough afterwards I wanted to do something nice for the controllers, but struggled with what would be appropriate.

    This week when I went flying, the controllers were super friendly, professional and accommodating on the radio. I'm sure they had no idea I was the clueless pilot from last month (I rent), but I was impressed that despite the number of low-time pilots at the home drome, they are incredibly professional day-in and day-out.
     
  8. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I suspect that having a lot of low-time pilots at an airport helps keep the controllers sharp.
     
  9. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Pseudo-necro thread now, but I saw it and had to mention how Ft Worth center got me through some hairy chit at 11pm last weekend. That boy was Busy helping route folks safely through gaps in a long line.
     
  10. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Now offering reverse discounts.
    <<<<< sharing a chuckle and a wink with @JCranford about this after what we experienced tonight.
     
  11. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Professional pilot going on 8 years now, plenty of great stories about ATC, especially Boston.

    One of the many reasons most in the industry don't want to change our current system
     
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  12. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Everytime I get a Class B VFR transition. I know NY doesn't have to accommodate VFR traffic and even when they're super busy, they'll find a a way to fit me in.
     
  13. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-Flight

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    My first solo IFR flight in actual conditions I lost situational awareness after an equipment failure. The controller at Oakland Center figured out quickly that I was in trouble. He could have given me a number to call for my actions that day but instead allowed me to sort it out in a uhh, non-standard way.

    I wanted to kiss the ground the guy walked on once I got back on the ground. That was also the last time I filed IFR. Neither myself, nor my aircraft, was prepared for the real world reality of solo IFR.
     
    Cajun_Flyer likes this.
  14. JCranford

    JCranford Pattern Altitude

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    Gawd :eek:
     
  15. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou En-Route

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    I always recommend to pilots to go up to the tower and say "hi", "thank you" or even ask questions (if they are not busy).
    You would be surprised how many controllers are people persons :D and enjoy seeing us (pahlots).

    Nonono, please do keep posting. It doesn't matter how long ago I started this thing but it should be kept alive with good stories being added periodically. Please. Pretty pretty please. :)
     
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  16. iamtheari

    iamtheari Line Up and Wait

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    What's best when asking to come up for a visit: ask on frequency before changing to ground control or call on the phone after parking at the FBO?
     
  17. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Either way will work but the actual tour will be handled differently based on where you're at. Unless you know the controller personally, you're gonna have to call ahead of time. Some smaller towers can handle a tour at a moments notice with a simple supervisor approval. Your larger facilities will most likely have you call their admin people downstairs and schedule an appointment.

    If it's busy, speak softly...always a pet peeve of mine when we did tours.
     
  18. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller En-Route PoA Supporter

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    [QUOTE="Justin M, post: 2266294, member: 29330]
    I felt bad enough afterwards I wanted to do something nice for the controllers, but struggled with what would be appropriate.
    [/QUOTE]

    A box of donuts is always appreciated.
     
  19. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou En-Route

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    Agreed. It depends on the facility.
    At a C or B tower, no chance you'll get a positive answer on frequency. Those facilities are guarded, gated, TSA agents waiting to grope you and insert probing devices wherever they please. :)
    But at our Delta tower where the controllers know me and us locals, we can always ring the doorbell (no kidding) at the base of the tower or I often ask on frequency too (to put a puzzled look on a student's face :D ). Never been denied so far.

    Yes, yes, YES! Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! :D
    Pet peeve of mine too, I always tell visitors in the elevator to turn off cellphone sounds and whisper or speak very quietly.
    If I speak to a controller on duty and I hear a voice on the radio, I immediately hush and let him do his job.
    Afterall, how would you, as a pilot, like it if your passengers kept talking to you during your approach clearance? :)
    Or even better, when you call the tower as a Ghostrider requesting a flyby, how would you like the tower guy to come back with "Whaa? I can't hear you, we have visitors here". :)


    But please DO ask! The worst that can happen? They will decline that day. But might agree the next. Every (student) pilot should go up to a tower at least once to see how it works on the inside.
     
    Velocity173 likes this.
  20. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    A box of doughnuts.... pizza.... or one FSS that helped me out a lot liked vanilla ice cream and grape jelly....
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  21. Hippike

    Hippike Filing Flight Plan

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    On the video that Velocity173 posted on Feb 3, at the beginning is the voice of the lady I'm in love with! I'm a student at SMO and soloed a lot to VNY and everybody around here loves her soft, lovely voice.
    On my first solo to VNY, when I told the male controller that I was a student on solo he passed me onto another tower frequency and after saying "with you", this lady responded! I got so exited to hear her voice that I actually told her on the radio "it's so nice to hear your voice". She laughed, and I guess other pilots in the air too. (don't get me wrong, I'm a girl, and straight, but her voice makes me feel warm inside :D I could listen to her for hours giving instructions maintain 1,800, cleared to land, turn base now, etc.
     
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  22. Ken Thompson

    Ken Thompson Pre-Flight

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    I got dropped off at KTKI (McKinney TX-just north of Dallas and just inside the Class Bravo) last week to take delivery of my new Ercoupe. A lady came down from the tower to see the plane and we chatted a minute. I told her that I was a rusty pilot just getting back into flying and had not flown cross country in almost 40 years. I was heading south to near Houston and I told her I would be asking for Flight Following but would immediately turn East to get out of the Bravo before heading south and home. She said that she would give me a Code when I called up Ground Control for Taxi so that I could already have it set when I took off. The north bound runway had a right pattern which would take me from under the Bravo in about one minute, but shortly after I rotated the tower told me to make a LEFT turn out which put me smack into the Bravo.

    The tower handed me off to Approach and I was cleared into Bravo. YIKES! I had a couple of requested turns and altitude changes for traffic and was out of the Bravo in about 20 minutes. Out of Bravo I was given a frequency change for flight following. About 15 minutes later I started having transponder issues. It switched, on its own, to 1200. ATC called me up and asked about it. I thought that I had merely bumped the toggle, so I reset it, but it happened again a few more times, then it started quickly fluttering back and forth between assigned squawk and 1200. ATC asked me to ident and that didn't work, either. I told him that I'd really like to stay with them if possible. They were all patient and kind and stayed with me even when my codes kept changing. I kept them advised of my altitude changes such as when I found a big hole and climbed up to 7500. They were with me all the way.

    I was apprehensive enough, being very rusty, with an unfamiliar plane, in a busy ATC environment and had never been in a Class Bravo. Having Flight Following made it much easier for me. And all the controllers handled me with kid gloves, despite my technical issues. It made me wonder if the lady controller I met at KTKI put some note in the system so that everyone along the way new I was a Rusty Pilot.
     
    Radar Contact likes this.
  23. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou En-Route

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    Glad to read your nice story, Ken. The KTKI people are definitely great.
    We flew in once to pick up a rescue pup. When the nice ground lady inquired about our parking, I requested "under the tower so that we can pick up the rescue pup".
    She asked whether he was cute and I said "more than you can imagine". To which she retorted "we demand pictures". :D

    On the way out a few minutes later, I got the same ground lady and announced "Cessna XYZ changing callsign to Compassion XYZ, requesting FF to ABC at X thousand, ready to taxi with Lima and a cute puppy". :D
    When you meet the right folks, life gets all of a sudden a lot brighter!
     
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