Friday, May 30, 2008

Big Brass Balls

From Short Final

Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

While on a trip in a Grumman Cheetah from Marathon, Florida Keys to Exuma in the Bahamas, I ran into a large area of clouds hanging over Andros Island. They'd been classified as benign when I'd received my weather briefing about an hour and a half earlier. I penetrated with a warning from Miami Center:

Miami Center: "Grumman XXXXX, I show a large area of weather ahead of you. How would you like to proceed?"

Grumman: "My Stormscope shows it's not active. I'll continue on course."

[a few minutes later]
Miami Center: "Grumman XXXXX, say flight conditions."

Grumman: "It's a little bumpy, but other than that it's fine."

[a few minutes later, after it suddenly turned active]
Grumman: "Miami Center, Grumman XXXXX, experiencing ... severe ... turbulence. Request ... lower."
[I went up and down at about 2000 feet per minute. The Stormscope lit up all around us. We were tossed on our side.]

Miami Center: "Grumman XXXXX, unable lower at this time. I'll have to call Nassau to get lower."
I righted the airplane. Everything flew around the cockpit. I saw a hole and aimed for it.

[a few minutes later]
Grumman: "Miami Center, Grumman XXXXX, we're out of the weather now. Sorry about the deviation, but I could not hold altitude or course."

Miami Center: "Not a problem, I understand."

A passing airliner overheard this ...
Airliner: "Miami, Airliner XXXX, that guy that penetrated the weather over Andros — what kind of airplane did he say he was flying?"

Miami Center: "A Grumman."

Airliner: "Like a big Grumman?"

Miami Center: "No, like a little Grumman Cheetah.

Airliner: "A Cheetah? Wow, he's got a lot of balls."

Miami Center: "Airliner XXXX, I'm sorry, sir, you broke up. Say again?"

Airliner: "I said, he's got a lot of balls."

Miami Center: "Airliner XXXX, I'm sorry, sir, you are coming in broken up again. I believe you said (ahem) that he was a very brave man?"

Bob Brayman - Marathon, Florida Keys

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