Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Sports Scores and the Price of Gas

On first contact with an air traffic controller, a pilot gives basic information like her call sign and altitude then the controller gives the latest altimeter setting, and describes the location of any traffic that the pilot should watch for. If the airspace is not busy, the pilot and controller may not talk to one another again until it is time for the controller to pass the aircraft along to the next controller en route. Or sometimes the controller has information to give, or questions.

On a quiet frequency the other day, I received a radio call:

Him: X-Ray Yankee Zulu, a question.
Me: Go ahead for XYZ.
Him: What's the price of avgas these days?
Me: A dollar fifty-five last time I stopped.
Him: I wondered why there was nobody out there.

Not everyone was of the same mind. Later, another controller who was juggling a number of airplanes, helicopters and even a hot air balloon asked us with some frustration:"Why aren't all you people home watching the Canadian Open?"

That last one reminds me of controllers who would put the latest hockey scores on the ATIS, or report them to arriving aircraft, so we could pass the news onto the passengers, "We'll be landing in Sumspot in fifteen minutes, and the Flames are up 3-2 at the end of the second period."


Lord Hutton said...

Oi! What about the cricket?

GC said...

I'm a huge sports fan, so if something's going on when I fly with a sport I enjoy (i.e. the MLB playoffs, NHL playoffs, or anything in the NFL, I usually get scores either from ATC, an AM station on my ADF, or through dispatch on ACARS (gotta love that.)

Last year during the MLB playoffs, I was flying into St. Louis and I decided to give the final score of the Cards/Astros game that night over the PA. I was verbally assaulted by a passenger on his way out of the airplane for "ruining everything" for him. I imagine he'd taped the game and was waiting to watch it when he got home. He was really pissed!

So now, I'll get the scores and write them down to pass to the flight attendants. Then I make a PA telling the passengers that all they have to do is ask for a score and they'll get it.

Most FA's don't like it, but some love to do that for passengers.