By Lex, On February 12, 2007
When a pilot arrives at his destination air field, the approach controller will know what airfield he intends to land at, but not which approach procedure – visual or instrument, precision or non-precision – he will use. To clear this up, if the pilot doesn’t share his plan with the controller on check in, the controller will often ask, “State your intentions.”
But when I was a flight school instructor back in the day, another of the IP’s shared an amusing anecdote about one of our students – flight instructors are eternally amused by their students when they aren’t being terrified by them, and the sharing such stories occupies a very great deal of an instructor’s free time. This particular student had requested a practice instrument approach to a touch-and-go at a local civilian field. Unfortunately for the student, he hadn’t done all of his homework and by the time he arrived at his destination, the airfield was closed:
“Memphis Center, Shad 951 requesting a practice TACAN approach to a touch and go at Key Field,” requested our hero.
“Shad 951, Memphis, Key Field is not in service,” drawled the controller in reply.
“Roger, center,” answered the student, aware that he needed an approach to successfully complete his flight, but not having planned such an unlikely contingency as an airfield closure – he peremptorily added, ”State my intentions!”
Which, despite the fact that we call them “controllers” is not how it works. Except in a limited, “turn left to avoid traffic” kind of a way, controllers don’t tell us what to do, we tell them what we’d like to do and then they clear us for it or modify the request such that it aligns with local procedures, traffic flows and FAA regulations.
Unless, you know: The airfield is closed.
Somehow this news from the Atlanta Journal Constitution reminded me of that long-ago day:
The Navy is looking for a few good ideas, many of which it hopes will come from the general public, as its leadership tries to determine the course it should chart over the next several decades…
Known as “A Conversation With the Country,” the conferences are bringing together Navy leaders from the U.S. and its allies, professors and futurists who are charged with compiling ideas and suggestions and developing potential future strategies by late summer.
Now, your correspondent will freely admit to his deficiencies as a strategic thinker, but he thought that we would be telling them that.