Sunday, May 5, 2013

Happy Landing, Roger Roger, Over

Let's go back to the Tacloban Airport for an interesting "phenomenon" hehe. Have you had a chance to hear how airplane pilots and those control tower folks talk to each other? In the movies, right? The radio communications system, right? With all those "roger roger, over  over" terminologies, right? Well, if you want to hear that, not in the movies but live, head to the Happy Landing Canteen at the DZR Airport in Tacloban!

Happy Landing is the middle of three eateries over at the far end of the airport's parking area vicinity near the communications tower. Yep, towards the entrance of that military (police?) camp. Their FM Radio is always on, and merrily blaring out the usual FM songs and jokes and... interference from the Tacloban Airport's communication tower. Many folks eating there and the eatery's crews do not at all mind, for they probably don't even know what the "phenomenon" is!

How did I know? Well, I was at the canteen, to have lunch. Just enough lazy time prior to check-in for my 330PM airbus flight to Cebu. A happy after-lunch hour, listening to the Tagalog speaking DJs of an FM station (I think it is a Manila-based FM radio being relayed in this place by their sister station). Suddenly, while a song was being played, I heard a voice that said "Tacloban, this is 660"! In the sound and tone of 'ham-radio'.

I stopped sipping my delectable "tinolang yellow fin tuna" and froze a bit there with the bewildered chinky eyes opened widest. Yep, that radio call came from the same speaker that was blaring the FM signal. Oh my geewheez! So I listened more intently, enough to recognize that the radio conversation overlapping with the FM radio music was between a Cebu Pacific flight ready to depart for Manila and Tacloban's control tower. Whoah! Flight 660 about to go! Whohoa indeed! I found that really cool hehe!

When a waitress came by, I pretended to 'not know' and asked what that conversation was that came with the radio music. Her casual reply was "ah, static ito sir"! That's how most Filipinos call "interference" btw - "static"!

Now what?

Ah well, for the mere roamer curious of everything like I am, this thing is one of many interesting encounters while traveling. Something unusual, therefore worth a note or two. But for the discerning citizen like the other "I am", that thing could pose a little issue. Doesn't that breach security or privacy of communications? This especially being an air-to-ground or vice versa type of info exchange? Let me NOT elaborate, but that little a thing called "static" by the waitress could actually prove to be a problem to some folks flying airplanes.

Proof? Here's a picture I saw while boarding my flight...

Do you recognize that 'other' plane in the background?

Here it is:
The color and the words "REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES" should tell you and me whose plane that is, right? And the general public at a restaurant can hear its pilot talking?

What dya think?


  1. hahahaha! good luck hearing confidential exchanges between pilot and air controller. sheesh, i hope they don't talk about something kinky as side jokes hahahaha...

  2. or magmurahan kaya haha

  3. thank you for your well-written and insightful article. thank you for your patronage of happy landing canteen. it is managed by my wife's family. my sister-in-law was pleased with the way you described her "delectable "tinolang yellow fin tuna." she takes pride in the quality of her cooking. she asked me to relay her thanks for your article and your appreciation of her cooking. regarding the radio interference, she noticed it after you mentioned it in your write up, yes, it happened, but they never paid attention to it, until you did. the canteen was washed out by the supertyphoon yolanda, and totally destroyed it. they hope to rebuild and reopen it soon. they are also thankful that everybody there survived and was able to evacuate before the tragedy. thank you and more power to you.