Just Your Average Joe

I found this on a webpage called Funny air traffic controllers quotes and amusing aviation conversations and I just had to share. The story was submitted by an Air Traffic Controller named Jim.

In 1978 I was a trainee Air Traffic Controller under supervision at Collage Station Texas, Easterwood Tower. This is a true story of a radio discussion one afternoon:

Unknown Aircraft: “Hello…?”

Easterwood Tower (me): “Please say again.”

Unknown Aircraft: “What?”

Easterwood Tower: “Who is this?”

Unknown Aircraft: “This is Joe”

Easterwood Tower: “This is Easterwood Tower, where are you?”

Unknown Aircraft: “I’m in the plane!”

(I looked down the flight line, checking if someone was sitting in a parked plane playing with the radio. I didn’t see anything, and the senior controller was becoming more interested in my handling of the situation.)

Easterwood Tower: “Joe, where is the pilot?”

Unknown Aircraft: “He got out when the engine quit..”

(I could only imagine a bizarre scenario in which the pilot had jumped from the plane.)

Easterwood Tower: “Joe, what does your airspeed indicator read?”

Unknown Aircraft: (Long pause) “Zero?”

(So the plane was now in a stall, I thought.)

Easterwood Tower: “Joe, whatever you have in front of you – a stick or a steering wheel – push it forward – you need to get airspeed over your wings!”

Unknown Aircraft: “Are you sure?”

Easterwood Tower: “Yes Joe you need to push it forward… (pause)… What does your airspeed indicator read now?”

Unknown Aircraft: “It’s still zero.”

(I thought, oh my god, Joe’s plane was in a falling leaf spin. I couldn’t help him. Joe was going to die. I did not know what to do. I looked to the senior controller. He said, “Ask him where his plane is.”)

Easterwood Tower: “Joe, where is your plane?”

Unknown Aircraft: “We are parked down at the end of the runway, the pilot got out when the engine quit and walked back to the hanger..”

Easterwood Tower: “Joe, get off the radio.”

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