Wednesday, July 06, 2005

They Should Put It on the ATIS

All the air traffic controllers for the different airport frequencies sit together in one room in the control tower. Pilots can't see them, just hear them. Approaching the airport we first listen to the recorded message about which runway is in use and what the winds are and whether one of the runways is closed because the fire department is practicing on it. The message is called ATIS, which stands for Automated Terminal Information Service, or something similar. When we have the information, we call the tower controller who gives us instructions and landing clearance, and then after landing we call the ground controller for permission to move on the ground. Sometimes there is an inner tower and an outer tower, or a south ground and north ground frequency, or a controller dedicated to clearance delivery before taxi. They trade jobs from time to time through the day, so that no one has to work the busy or the dead job all day. We address them by their positions, so "Winnipeg Ground" or "Halifax Tower" and then we quickly abbreviate that to just "Ground" or "Tower." It's not like we don't know what airport we're at.

On this particular occasion, we've called tower and have been cleared to the circuit, to approach the runway for landing. We descend and turn right base, towards the runway, following the controller's instructions for altitude and traffic sequence. The tower controller is so friendly, and he has such a sexy voice, that I and the other (also female) pilot remark on it.

She's flying, and on final I'm giggling.

"What?" she says.

"Oh, I was just thinking of daring you to do something."

She lands, and then I relate my dare. And then she takes over the radio and does it.

"Ground, Alpha Bravo Charlie, request taxi to the terminal--and can you tell us if Tower is single?"

Apparently, he's happily married. I hope he and he wife had a good laugh over that. I know everyone in the tower must have. We figure the ATIS should include the marital status of the controllers.


Greybeard said...

One of the big differences between flying starch wing and fling wing aircraft:
Helo pilots can go days on end without talking to a controller of any sort......we don't need 'em!

Aviatrix said...

I always think it's funny when helo pilots report "on final for the pumps," as opposed to any particular runway.

dibabear said...

Dunno...I always had "issues" with wings that spin over my thick head.

When I was training in Florida, one of the controllers and I became friends. When my instructor and I landed and got back to the school the owner came out and gave the CFI $100 cash. He said he's never had the tower call him to say how professional a student and instructor were before. I got a tower tour and 4 hour shift in the cab for my efforts. Another good learning experience (like your blog).

Anonymous said...

More importantly with EFIS.... picture of the controller first and then the marital status.... I have seen lots of "sexy" voices in person and man can your mind conjuour up images that do not quite go along with reality.

Aviatrix said...

So PSR returns the presence of radar reflecting objects, SSR returns transponder codes and altitudes, but TSR returns images of the controllers. Clearly QSR is required, to give us images of the other radio users -- naked.