Sunday, 28 July 2013

Please let me land

I finished what I needed to do in Claremont and set about on my way back. Navigating back is a lot easier than navigating out here, much to my relief. One of my fears, of course, being that I can get out there but not back. As I got to Bluffer’s Park I made my initial call: Call sign and ATIS identifier. When asked I replied with my intentions: “currently at Bluffers park, 2000ft inbound for landing on 08. Request right downwind.” Didn’t see the point in negotiating over the left downwind, I can’t accept it. I may as well save her the radio call.

“Request or Require?”
Oh c’mon. I’m trying to be polite here but if you are going to insist then yeah I “REQUIRE” the right downwind!

And this, ladies and gentleman, is where it all started to go a bit horrible.
“Follow the Danforth, I’ll give you instructions for crossing the approach path shortly”

I have no idea which road below me is the Danforth, but I know it runs east west. I pick a likely looking candidate and trundle along. Okay no one is yelling out me, I can’t be too far off course. So far, so good.
Okay the downtown core, you know the one I can’t fly over, thus requiring me to request that damn right downwind in the first place, is coming up bloody quick. Should I say something?

Just as I’m contemplating the game of chicken with ATC that I’m currently engaged in, a voice in my ear:
“JES start a right orbit please, I’ll get back to you.”

So orbit I do, for a solid 15 minutes.
Occasionally ATC speak to me, initially chiding me for sloppy altitude control; the story of this flight quite frankly. I feel a little put out, what’s a hundred feet or so? Then I realise that she has two of us orbiting up here. Me at 2000ft, another somewhere above me at 2500. And then a third who she won’t even let into the zone yet. Yep I’ve hit rush hour again.

After a while, she makes a call “JES, It’s going to be a while are you OK up there?”
Many thoughts flash through my mind while I stumble out with an “errm continuing right hand orbit JES.”

Thought number one: I guess this is as close to an apology from ATC as I’m ever going to get.
Thought number two: Am I OK up here? Do I have a choice? I can’t exactly say what I want to, can I? I mean what responses are acceptable in this situation? In reality the only answer I can give is “yes” unless I’m seriously low on fuel. In which case I’m in a whole other world of trouble because I should have 30 minutes of reserves available.

I figured unacceptable responses included:
“No, I need the washroom”

“I’ll give you $100 bucks to run me to the front of the line”
“I’m bored”

“Can I do a left hand orbit to break up the monotony a bit?”
I landed eventually, willing myself to get it down on the first attempt because there was NO WAY I wanted to go around again.

1.3 hours, my longest solo yet. Not in the circuit but the majority of it still spent within sight of the airport!




  1. At least you didn't say, "you heard me!" when they queried your intentions. :-)

    1. tempting, !!!

      i try not to p!ss ATC off too much ( not intentionally anyways) but i never seem to get rewarded for being polite either!