When I was a student & instructor at ATP, I made sure I always greeted everyone with a good morning and closed out a conversation hoping to see them again soon. Recently, I flew a reposition flight in August due to an airplane having a GPU to plane problem which required a ferry permit to get to Roanoke for maintenance. I always made sure to stay on ATC’s good side in Trenton, not just from an instructor view, but as a friend. During my final week instructing at Trenton in 2022, I found out one of my favorite controllers was moving from MidWest ATC Services to a FAA tower. I would always take donuts or snacks to the tower when I went up. This individual repositioned to Newport News (PHF).
On approach into Newport News, we were cleared to land once switched from approach to tower. This was my first flight with an empty aircraft, taking off with speeds as low as vR 106 KTS and landing with a vREF of 114 KTS. It is completely different flying a passenger plane full to empty. After being handed off from tower to ground, I had a feeling I knew who was behind the upcoming voice. The aviation community is small, make your friends now because you never know who you will cross paths within due time. I was thrilled to get to “fly” with one of my favorite controllers who I built a friendship with when we both were at Trenton.
Below is the flight strip for my reposition flight to Roanoke, compliments of my friend who mailed me a copy of my flight strip so I could remember this adventure later in life.
Below is a publication from the ATC manual on understanding the flight strip and decoding it, so the next time you are flying this is how ATC knows who, where and what your intentions are, when flying VFR flight following or IFR: