That's what happens when people are reasonable and controllers are allowed to do their jobs. It used to be called "common sense." Qualities like courtesy ruled the day and lobbyists weren't a daily feature in aviation. Then spreadsheets appeared to cure failed airlines' business plans, like reliance on 50 cent-a-gallon fuel, and landing slots and general ownership of airports became a mission for deadly serious lobbyists.
That's why, when I explain to a passenger that my Skyhawk is as important to the tower at MIA as the inbound Airbus, she asks in all seriousness how can that be, us in an aged Cessna being treated as equals with a gleaming new 737? And I have to think, how long will this last, with airlines and their lobbyists trying to end this...
I can say that it happened just like the author said. I was in the left seat of one of the Southwest planes. We were taxing out as he was touching down. We taxied by the Cirrus as he was pulled off on the taxiway and were holding short of the runway when he was cleared for takeoff. We were just to your left when you departed the second time. I do fly with many pilots that get upset when general aviation planes get to land or takeoff in front of us. But as a pilot flying both 737's and general aviation airplanes it doesn't bother me at all. We all get to share the airspace.
Actually, the ICAO term "Line Up" referes to lining up to the centerline of the runway.
The ICAO term "Wait" referes to waiting for (take-off) clearance.
Nice story. It just feels good on those days when the entire aviation world seems like one interconnected and mutually supportive family.
"Line up and wait," which I first encountered in Australia, has always had a quaint and archaic, British colonial flavor, like "circuits and bumps" (touch-and-goes) or "airscrews" (propellers). It's weird, but we'll get used to it eventually. At least it is English, and not pseudo-crypto-French like all the bizarre abbreviations in the METARs we were forced to accept instead of our good old sequence reports.
Now that they've changed the terminology, I wonder if FAA will resume allowing airplanes to "line up and wait" at the many general aviation airports where the practice has been banned for the past four or five years.
I remember being in our Cessna 210 and cleared to land in heavy rain while still downwind for 16L (the longest runway but also closest to all the parking, etc.) at Sea/Tac and noticing a large commercial airliner on final for 16C. Turned and made a short approach to be down before him, and saw him roll out past us on our right, with water spraying up from his wheels, just after we touched down. We turned left off the active of course while he was still rolling out way ahead. Off the active we turned right on our way to park all the way at the south end and it was funny to hear Ground tell him to hold short for us as we taxiied past, the jet towering over our heads. A bit of good-natured ribbing by both the airline pilots followed, but they were very friendly.
Many years ago I was flying our T-210 into Klamath Falls, OR (LMT). Kingsley field is a commercial/military airport and I was on long final to RWY14. I could see two F-15 Eagles holding short and I wondered how much fuel they were dumping out the tailpipes as I crept my way to the ground.
For a minute I thought about offering to break off my approach in order to give the Eagle drivers time to get airborne, but as I was already established on a solid approach, I landed and cleared the active at the first possible intersection.
Aviation is my passion and even when encountering the less than polite controllers, or rude and obnoxious pilots, I love every minute in the air and couldn’t imagine a day without touching some aspect of our industry. In my experience, “airplane people” are an amazing group, and the truly outstanding people far outweigh the few bad apples.
Stories like yours are a testament to those great ATC types who go out of their way to make our lives easier.
For the record, I’ve never flown in the Northeast, where the outlook on controllers may be a little different. Then again, they are under a significantly higher workload than anywhere else in the country.
Why did you ask to depart from taxiway golf? you had 8000 feet of runway left.
Good article! I truly feel that ATC will accomodate any request and treat you just like an airliner if you speak with authority and professionalism. I fly through the busy SFO corridor all the time and I've heard pilots stumble on the air;they are banished outside Class B.
Great story. Regarding Phillip's comment about the northeast controllers, it's generally the same as anywhere else - usually first come first serve. The first time I went to JFK a 747 was held for us to taxi by left to right (I was in a King Air). Other flights in a Seneca/Cherokee 6 to JFK, LGA, and EWR were pretty routine. Coming from Memphis originally I did have to learn to talk much faster!
Bob - congratulations on your landing. One thousand foot turn-off in an SR-22, and after looking at the airport diagram, on a high-speed in the opposite direction! How about an article on short-field landings?
I saw the green circle on Bing maps. Can you fill us in on it's purpose? Thanks.
I remeber vividly when on a solo XC for my Private going into Albany NY. I was flying from an Airport in NH so I hasppend to be lined up for the runway in use even at 20mi out. I was cleared for the straight in approach.
Soon afterward, an American 727 reported in and was told "you're #2 behind the Piper Cherokee. I was nervous and never brought the throttle back until I flared over the numbers. Landed and pulled off the runway and what seemed like seconds later the 727 rolled by.
As I taxied over to the FBO to get my logbook signed (as was custom back then), the tower said "Thanks for keeping your speed up". I replied... "No Problem". That was 31 years ago... wow.