“Four-four-Mike, I’ve been calling you for two minutes!” I was climbing with Jean and two buddies out of Salt Lake City International Airport, in a Cessna 210. Frantically, I apologized for missing the controller’s calls.
“There are mountains out there!” he chided, “What if you missed a vector?”
There was little danger, as we were in good visual conditions. But missing radio calls on an instrument flight plan is inexcusable. Why such a blunder? While another pilot flew, I was attempting to monitor two frequencies while filing a flight plan four hours in advance of our final leg home to Lafayette, Indiana.
The reason? Three months earlier, in August, 1981, President Reagan had fired 12,000 air traffic controllers in the ugly wake of a strike…
Photo: Santa Catalina Island’s “Airport in the Sky,” California (Chris Dejongh photo). See more photos here. Thanks to all the pilots who provided “Airport in the Sky” photos this month, including Chris Dejongh, Barry Knutilla, and Bill Rote −and extra kudos to Diane Myers, Gabe Wisdom, and Jeff White, who flew dedicated photo missions to help me out!
©2011 Gregory N. Brown
If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!