Thursday, August 13, 2009

Phantom Broadcast

When I first started out in Air Traffic Control our base was training aviators in the venerable F-4 Phantom, the work horse fighter/bomber of Viet Nam. It was a great aircraft in one respect for controllers because it's engine churned out so much black smoke that you could see it for miles. But it had a lot of bugs and things were always breaking. One day a crew came in with a stuck mike. In other words everything the pilot said was transmitted to the tower...and recorded for posterity. Here's what we heard: "DM tower, DM tower, DM tower this is Fox 14." "" That's squeal is what we heard when the controller tried to answer Fox 14 because his mike was stuck open. "DM tower if you can hear me rock your wings. Ha, ha, ha. Well I guess we're definitely NORDO" (AF acronym meaning no radio.) "This has been a fucked up mission: no radar, no radio, and the damn seat won't go down. Well let's make a low pass and see if we get a green light to land." The tower tried to signal a green light to clear Fox 14 to land but then they heard the pilot tell the back-seater, "Did you see a light? Nah, I didn't either. Screw 'em, let's land land anyway." Then as they turned base they saw someone else on approach. "Hey, let's cut inside this dick. We'll make a t-bird approach and come in hot. Wheeeeeeee!" After they landed we heard the canopy come up and the pilot yell over the roar of the jets, "What? It's stuck?!? Oh great. Now how do I get it unstuck?!?"
We played the tape for every squadron on base. It made the top ten.