Regional Pilot Attitudes


I have worked as an air traffic controller and pilot briefer in most parts of the continental United States and each area has its charms and its challenges.  There are truisms about the pilots who fly small private aircraft in each area, for instance, in the southwestern part of the country pilots just plain will not fly if there is any kind of low to medium cloud deck.  They are accustomed to bright clear skies…maybe some scattered cirrus.  In the late summer they do have thunderstorms to dodge, but the monsoonal storms are always very high based and not terribly […]

I Want This Job!

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  I was helping someone file a flight plan the other day and the pilot said he wanted to go here.  Here?  No, HEERE.  That struck me funny for some reason – pilot’s flying HEERE or THERE.  So I casually started looking at fixes used in flight plans and noticed that some names of waypoints, or intersections, seemed very….appropriate to the area the pilot was flying into. Somebody at the FAA has a great sense of humor – whoever devises the 5 letter identifiers of the nation’s waypoints.  For instance in New England there are four waypoints:  ITAWT ITAWA PUTTY TTATT.  I’m guessing our mystery government […]

Painless Pilot Briefing

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  Painless Pilot Weather Briefing (Or how to Help Flight Service Brief You)    In air traffic it is a joke that an Air Traffic Controller tells pilots where to go. But a Flight Service Specialist tells pilots where NOT to go, and his method of doing that is by using a standard weather briefing format. You have no idea how nice it is to have a pilot call us and rattle off (slowly) something like this: “Hi, I am VFR experimental N5LP going from Albuquerque at 1430 zulu at one-two-thousand via Gallup to Flagstaff with two hours and 15 […]