Worst pilot in America?

Many pilot-enthusiast forums (including my favorite, the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association site) are buzzing about this audio file, which indeed is quite incredible, plus incredibly embarrassing.

Basic plotline: at Sanford airport, just north of Orlando, a commercial jetliner tells air traffic control that it has a problem. The plane is coming in for a landing, with 100+ people aboard, and the pilots can't be sure whether the nose wheel has come down.

This is not a disaster, but it is a challenge. If the wheel has in fact not extended, the pilots must land on the rear (or "main") wheels, as they normally would, but then hold the nose off as long as possible before it finally comes down and the bare metal scrapes against the runway.

The wheels did not ever come down, and the plane ground to a stop "in a cloud of smoke and sparks," according to a local news report.

The safe landing is to the credit of the pilots from Allegiant Air (a specialty line that mainly takes vacationers from small towns to the resort centers of Las Vegas and Orlando). But that's not what the fuss is about.

Instead it's about the unbelievably selfish, obtuse, wordy, and incompetent- sounding pilot of a seaplane who is furious because controllers want him to detour around their airspace while they concentrate on getting the jet on the ground, rather than taking the shortcut he wants.

The clip is six-and-a-half minutes long. The first two minutes are mainly controllers talking with the airliner ("Seven-five-eight"), trying to figure out how bad its problem is. The miscreant seaplane pilot ("three-six-eight Foxtrot Sierra") introduces himself at 1:30 and goes nuts starting around 4:00. Through the magic of the internets, plus searchable online listings of airline registration, it is less than a minute's work to figure out not just the name but also the address, home phone number, and email of the man whose voice we hear.

It Would Be Wrong to publicize that info, but it is interesting to see what airline pilots say about the episode.