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Monday, February 20, 2012

When Being Lighthearted Wasn't A Crime

Greetings all, today being President's Day I was going to relate a story about meeting a President of the United States, but that will have to wait. We have to go attend to Anna's Dad, Mr. S., and I do not know how long that will take. So I will not be able to spend the time writing.

Instead I will offer you a very short story which won the national Mensa PRP award for humor in 2009.

Yes, I was a wise-guy even then. Enjoy.

When Being Lighthearted Wasn't A Crime

Many have heard of this brief exchange between pilot and control tower. Many have even related the incident to me, which is highly amusing, because I was the Air Traffic Controller who was involved.

The year was 1972 and the location; Lawson AAF, Ft Benning, GA.

A helicopter training flight had launched for a night orientation of a newly assigned pilot riding along with a local qualified pilot. They flew around the local area showing the newbie what the landing areas looked like at night and the various reporting points for the airport. After the initial swing through the immediate area, the newbie pilot took over and was trying to impress his new instructor and anyone else listening with his coolness.

I had been watching their progress and instructing my controllers on the sight, sound, and position of the helicopter so that they might learn to use more of their senses for the business at hand.

The young pilot was feeling confident and popped off, "Tower, guess who?"

My quick reply was, "Guess where?"

And without missing a beat I shut off the airport lighting, the navigational aids, and even the airport beacon light. It was too easy, the controls were all at my fingertips.

It took less than one minute for the new pilot to realize that he had just been outdone and it was very, very dark in an unfamiliar place. The instructor pilot came over the radio and said, "Well done Tower, my student is sufficiently humbled now. May we please have lights and landing instructions?"

I flipped the lights and other equipment back on and the rest went according to plan. We had an excellent relationship with that MedEvac Company for as long as I worked there. No one else ever challenged me like that again.

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