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I recently received a note from a former coworker and good friend. He asked why his favorite “LRod Story” hadn’t made the “cut” for inclusion in these pages. I informed him that the threshold for inclusion here isn’t based so much on merit as it is actually remembering the story. Moreover, believe it or not, it’s generally not my inclination to post stories for the purpose of massaging my own enormous ego. In response, he reminded me of the story, and having now satisfied criterion A, I’ll post it in his words (more or less), which will sort of get past criterion 2.

(note: sectors are usually named for a fix within the sector)

It was a dark and stormy night. No wait, it wasn’t. It was one of those mids you and I worked together—I at BDF High, you at PLANO, some unnamed/un-remembered person(s) on the low sectors. I took a handoff from ZMP on four ORD arrivals way out west and south of DSM. They were in a perfect diamond formation, with the lead aircraft 10-15 miles in front of the trail, and the two middle aircraft paralleling each other about ten miles wingtip to wingtip.

Now back then (as you remember), we were pretty loose on the mids and in-trail between two aircraft was more of an option than the requirement it would be on days or swings. In fact, if a person working PLANO asked the BDF High guy for in-trail we called him ’weak’ or some other pejorative to convey our disdain. But, even I couldn’t just pass you four that could have been covered with a half dollar without some effort, so I started to slow the trail aircraft and dumped/slowed one of the middle two to give you something (it might not have been the required, but it would have been something).

You heard me doing this and told me not to bother—just give them all direct and you would get ORD to buy off on it. I began to point out that I had a moral obligation to do something, and you pointed out that I had no morals to begin with (or something along those lines). In any event, I quickly gave up my argument and cleared them all direct ORD and eventually shipped them to you, descending to 24 (Flight Level Two Four Zero—24,000'). Moments later, as the flight got within ORD's radar range, I heard ORD yelling over the line, “hey PLANO, you have some kind of plan?”

And that’s where I stop the story when I tell it, generally to much laughter. The continuation of the story isn't nearly as funny, since you (effortlessly, ed.) issued a couple of vectors and ORD bought them a couple miles later—reasonably in-trail. I think you might have called the ORD controller ’weak’ as well.

There was aperfectly good reason for me accepting that flight that way and it should have been apparent to ORD, as well. Unfortunately, the ORD guy wasn’t the visionary I had anticipated, so he was a little off put. Nevertheless, the solution was relatively painless, so we all got most of what we wanted out of it. And I got a story…

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