Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Oh, No! Not More Changes!


There comes a time in life when status quo looks really attractive


Most of us will readily admit that we react badly to illogical change. We may be flexible in most aspects of our lives, but when it comes to words that have been tumbling out of our mouths for so many decades, and suddenly we're asked to change so overseas visitors won't be confused, you wind up with a bunch of unhappy campers. There are already so many changes being made that seem unnecessary that those of us in the cheap seats are having trouble keeping up.

The final straw was broken on the same day Runway Tree showed up. Two straws, actually. The first was when a local King Air was referred to as Two Fife Romeo Sierra. Fife? What the...? Really? Fife? Ground control confirmed that it was an alternate to "five." Apparently, an option that has been around for a while, but I've only heard one controller use it. It has a totally foreign sound, and makes me feel as I should be wearing a kilt or something. However, since there's not a five anywhere in my personal life, I could ignore it. That, however, changed, when another change made this all very personal, and apparently, very permanent.

I had pretty much gotten my head around changing familiar phrases and was calming down, when one of the newer controllers inadvertently hit me right up alongside the head with a change I couldn't stomach. He answered a transmission with "Roger, eight paPA bravo!" WHAT? PaPA, accent on the second syllable? Then I heard it from other controllers. Papa had officially become paPA. I can't adequately describe how I felt, and still feel, about that. Somehow it' as if they've insulted my little airplane's masculinity. Eight paPA bravo! It sounds as if I should be holding the control stick with my pinky finger in the air, as a dandy would hold a cup of tea in high society.

My little red bird is anything but a pinky-finger-in-the-air kind of airplane. And there's little doubt that I'm hard-core old school myself. So, that being the case, the two of us, Papa Bravo and I, have decided that on this one small point, officialdom can go stuff it. There's absolutely no way "paPA" is going to be uttered in that cockpit. Call that my aerial line in the sand. Difference is, this is one line in the sand that I can control, so it'll stand. PaPA bravo? Give me a break!



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