Flying Up Down East

Flying Up Down Eastb282c6b0e
by Deborah Fallows
You won’t be surprised to hear that we decided to make a precautionary landing in Portland, the closest big airport. Jim told the controller that we were “changing destination because of non-emergency equipment problems,” a phrase I hadn’t heard before. He also requested a change from “Visual Flight Rules,” under which we flew whatever course we chose, to an Instrument Flight Rules plan, in which ATC would guide us to the destination. The ATC responded without a breath’s delay. “November 435SR is cleared to the Portland airport via direct, maintain 3,000 feet. Let us know if you require assistance.” (Read it here.)

ITAWT ITAWA PUDYE TTATT: The Secret Language of the Skies

ITAWT ITAWA PUDYE TTATT: The Secret Language of the SkiesWooly
by Deborah Fallows
Aviation has a lot of special language, like sailing or gymnastics.  Its brief, even curt efficiency and orderly templates keep planes on course and out of each other’s way.  Short. To the point. Unambiguous. No small talk to clog up the frequency. But there is one special set of aviation jargon, more alien than the concocted vocabulary of Esperanto and more bizarre than patterned wordplay of Pig Latin or Id.  This is the lexicon of waypoints, which are the road markers in the sky for directing planes on a course. (Read it here.)