The ATC Report

"In Control" - Vol. XI, No. 7

First off, Steve is officially back this week. It's a good thing, too, since this week was a...SPECIAL 2-HOUR EPISODE!!! We had trouble telling the difference between the two-hour version and two one-hour versions pasted together, but that's just us. In honor of the special two-hour show, we've decided to do a special column as well. That's right, this column is...TWO TIMES SHORTER!!!

We were quite proud of the racers and their reactions during the visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. What a truly moving experience that must have been. No jokes here, folks. Don't ever forget what the mania of one individual in a position of authority can do. Never forget, and never allow it to happen again.

Now let's talk about what really perplexed us this week. Exactly what did Joe hope to accomplish by standing outside and waving a bell (?) at a DC-10, while screaming, "Come back, come back...we have tickets"? As anyone who has ever attended the "Steve & Dave School of Airplane Hailing" will tell you, Joe was so badly out of position that there was no hope of being seen by the pilot. And unless the pilot can see you, the aircraft won't be stopping to pick you up. Even assuming that the pilot had miraculously seen him, why would Joe dancing around and shaking a bell have caused the pilot to think, "Hmmmmm...I'll bet he's trying to get me to let him board"?

This is where our school can help. Look at this gentleman:

If a pilot were to see this guy, he would definitely know that the gentleman wanted him to stop the plane and let him on. Unfortunately, the man in the picture seems to be standing in the middle of a field, so it is highly unlikely that any 747s will be passing by anytime soon. This brings us to a critical point - if you are trying to hail an airplane, you will have far greater luck at an airport.

Here's an example of what we mean. Look at the guy in this next picture (lower left-hand corner):

He has remembered the first rule of plane-hailing: when attempting to hail an airplane, you will have far better luck if you go where the airplanes are rather than expecting them to come to you. All students at the ‘Steve & Dave School of Airplane Hailing' have this rule drilled into them from day one. If you will notice above, the man attempting to hail the Southwest jet is obviously a first-year student. You can tell this by the fact that he is still wearing his ‘Steve & Dave Official First-Year Airplane Hailing Protective Mask'. He is also nowhere near the airplane he is attempting to hail - a technique not learned until year 2 or later. Because of this lack of proximity to the airplane, he's most likely going to fail in this effort to stop the 737.

Here are some students practicing their hailing techniques in one of our special ‘group hailing' classes:

Group hailing can be a particularly effective method of getting that Airbus to stop and let you aboard, but it can sometimes be difficult to get a large enough group.

Here are two of our students using an actual radio to attempt to hail their aircraft of choice. (This is a method taught in our advanced ‘Steve & Dave's Advanced Airplane Hailing' class. You can tell that it is an advanced class because it has the word ‘Advanced' in the title.)

To even the most casual observer, it should be quite obvious that these two have forgotten rule number two when hailing airplanes: ensure that what you are hailing actually is an airplane capable of carrying people - and not a deadly fish or something. They are attempting to hail an RC aircraft, which probably won't get them to where they want to go, no matter how successful they are in getting it to stop.

The fact that the two students above are in their last year at ‘Steve & Dave's School of Airplane Hailing' and are still making boneheaded mistakes, can only mean that they are probably related to this guy (our worst failure ever):

Yep, that's the President. He's demonstrating his, "If I think really hard, maybe I can get that plane to stop" technique. It hasn't worked yet.