A Flight Simulator Odyssey

by Charles Gulick

Line Is Busy

Chart: Miami
En Route Coordinates:
   Aircraft: N11086, E19545
   Tower: N10743.370, E19658.265
   Aircraft: 1500
   Tower: 24
Heading: 159
Time: Dawn (06:00)
Special Requirements: Set Cloud Tops 8000, Bottoms 5000

This flight will have some extra touches of realism. (The overcast is one of them, and notice, if you have a color monitor, how it affects the dawn lighting, making it seem more like that of a dark day, and indeed, in my opinion, more like dawn than the regular dawn.)

Our destination is a big and busy airport, Palm Beach International, West Palm Beach, Florida--about a half hour from where you are now, given an airspeed of about 120 knots.

As you fly, you'll simulate using your radio, and you'll "hear" other pilots and the PBI tower. (You'll even pass where I live and am writing this at the moment. I'll point out that hallowed ground to you from the air.)

For the purposes of this flight your aircraft identification number is N1407S. After you first identify yourself, it is abbreviated "Zero Seven Sierra."

Intermixed, below, with conversation between you and the PBI tower are just parts of typical communications between other pilots and the tower, as you would hear them during an actual flight. You are YOU, other pilots are MIX, and PBI is Palm Beach Approach Control (North). Information in brackets is me talking to you. Unpause now and read as you fly. Don't simply respond to, but do what the tower instructs you to do. But be sure it's you the tower is talking to, not somebody else. (You might even try saying your part out loud.)

You are approximately over Stuart, Florida, at St. Lucie Inlet, which you can see to the left of your course. This is the point at which pilots approaching from the north typically make first contact with the PBI tower. You are picking up your microphone and doing that now.

YOU: Palm Beach Approach, this is Cessna One Four Zero Seven Sierra.

FBI: Zero Seven Sierra, Palm Beach. [Contact established.] YOU: Zero Seven Sierra is on the shoreline at Stuart, inbound for full-stop landing.

FBI: One Four Uncle contact Palm Beach Approach on one two five point two. He'll keep you advised on your traffic. [125.2 is Palm Beach Approach (South). Aircraft One Four Uncle has traffic: an aircraft in its vicinity that poses a potential collision hazard.]

MIX: Two five point two, One Four Uncle.

PBI: Zero Seven Sierra, squawk zero two two one.

YOU: (Setting your transponder to squawk 0221) Zero Seven Sierra squawking zero two two one.

FBI: Zero Seven Sierra, radar contact. Continue your approach. Report Jupiter Inlet. [Tower has identified you on radar.]

YOU: Report Jupiter Inlet. Zero Seven Sierra. [You will be at Jupiter Inlet when your DME reads 35.8, so keep an eye peeled.]

MIX: Palm Beach Approach, Cherokee Eight Two Five Five Alpha.

FBI: Northwest Fourteen Eighty Four contact Miami Center one three two four five. Good day. [Northwest 1484 was just passing through the PBIA airspace.]

MIX: Thirty-two forty-five now, Northwest Fourteen Eighty Four. [The "1" is sometimes dropped in repeating a frequency, since all aircraft communications frequencies begin with a 1, for example 132.45.]

FBI: Five Five Alpha, radar contact. Turn right heading two two zero.

MIX: Five Five Alpha two two zero.

PBI: Five Five Alpha descend to two thousand five hundred for vectors to the ILS, niner left. [55A will fly a practice ILS approach.]

MIX: Five Five Alpha to twenty-five hundred for vectors ILS nine left.

FBI: Four Two X-Ray, traffic twelve o'clock six miles south bound, five thousand three hundred unknown. [42X's traffic has not made contact with the tower, thus is "unknown."]

MIX: Four Two X-Ray is looking. [Looking for the "unknown."]

FBI: Five One Six, check your transponder on again please, squawk zero two four zero, and what's your destination?

MIX: Vero Beach and squawking zero two four zero.

PBI: Four Two X-Ray, traffic's passing off your right--no factor.

MIX: Four Two X-Ray. Do not have them in sight. PBI: Roger, but he's no factor.

MIX: Palm Beach, Piedmont Seven Hundred. We're passing one point one for seven thou . . . er . . . five thousand.

PBI: Piedmont Seven Hundred, Departure Control. [Approach is also performing a Departure Control function at the moment.] Good morning. Radar contact. Climb maintain seven thousand. [Climb maintain is an abbreviation for "Climb to and maintain... "]

MIX: Up to seven thousand. Piedmont Seven Hundred. PBI: Piedmont Seven Hundred turn left heading two niner zero.

MIX: Left two nine zero. Piedmont Seven Hundred. [When you reach Jupiter Inlet, about 35.8 DME]:

YOU: Palm Beach Approach, Zero Seven Sierra is over Jupiter Inlet.

PBI: Zero Seven Sierra, roger. Say your airspeed.

YOU: [Say it.]

FBI: Zero Seven Sierra, climb maintain two thousand five hundred.

YOU: Leaving fifteen hundred for twenty five hundred. Zero Seven Sierra. [Pin down that altitude exactly. No "almost" . . . no "more or less" . . . 2500 on the nose.] MIX: Palm Beach, this is Four Two X-Ray, leaving your area. Request disengage.

PBI: Four Two X-Ray, radar service terminated. Squawk one two zero zero frequency change approved.

MIX: Four Two X-Ray. Good day.

[When you reach 19.0 DME, you'll see Lake Worth ahead, a trifle to the right of your course. Point toward the lake, which is actually a continuation of the Intracoastal Waterway. The highway along the shoreline is U.S. 1, and the highway inland is Interstate 95. Notice the road that connects them diagonally. That road virtually points to my pad, which is in a small apartment complex on the west shore of the lake, about a mile north of the Lake Worth Inlet. The inlet should now be visible. If you don't wave as you go by, I shall definitely be offended, as will my parakeet.]

FBI: Zero Seven Sierra, report the airport in sight.

YOU: [When it is] Zero Seven Sierra has the airport.

PBI: Zero Seven Sierra, turn right heading two seven zero. Descend and maintain one thousand five hundred.

YOU: Right heading two seven zero. Descending to one thou-sand five hundred feet. [Well, you won't get a chance to fly directly by my place, but you can wag your wings. I'll see you.]

FBI: Zero Seven Sierra, your traffic is a banner-tower east-bound at a thousand feet. [That's a plane towing a banner, not a banner tower.]

YOU: We have no contact. Zero Seven Sierra. [You don't see him, but he's up there almost every day. He's on his way to the ocean to fly up and down the beach, towing some message or other.]

FBI: Zero Seven Sierra, report over the Turnpike. [The Turnpike? That's a new one! Well, it's Florida's Turn-pike, west of I-95, and will appear momentarily off your left wingtip (you may not see it straight ahead)]

YOU: We're over the Turnpike. Zero Seven Sierra.

PBI: Zero Seven Sierra, turn left heading one eight zero. Expect landing Runway Niner Right.

YOU: Left to one eight zero. Expect niner right. Zero Seven Sierra. [09R/27L is the shortest runway at FBI, 3152 X 75.]

FBI: Zero Seven Sierra, you'll be number two behind a Cessna on a three-mile final. [Meaning another Odyssey reader must be up here! He or she will be landing ahead of you. Or are you the reader on the three-mile final? This gets confusing!)

YOU: [When Runway 09R, the short and southernmost one, is just ahead of your left wingtip] Zero Seven Sierra, request turn final for niner right.

PBI: Zero Seven Sierra, clear to land.

YOU: Zero Seven Sierra. [IS YOUR GEAR DOWN? IS YOUR GEAR DOWN?] Phew! Then, when you're on the ground and in your landing roll:

PBI: Zero Seven Sierra, contact Ground Control on one two one point niner. Good day.

YOU: Two one point nine. Thank you. Good day.

Table of Contents | Previous Section | Next Section