Thought you guys might like this one...
In the low mono-tone I've become accustomed to Gus states, "Northwest17 climb and maintain one-seven thousand."
I'm going out of my mind. My new trainee has one speed...slow. And I can't keep my eyes open or my mind on the operation while we train. That's bad because at any moment it can turn from calm to chaos.
Right now we have three airplanes and I'm sitting back with my feet up.
Gus is mumbling to himself trying to figure out how to get Northwest up and on his way. He kind of sounds like the Rain Man. I fully expect to see him start counting with his fingers.
"Let's see, " he says, pursing his lips. "I've got 17 northbound, he's going northbound, heading 360, climbing, um , climbing to 17."
My head falls to the side and I let out a mock snore.
"Ahh, no one in his way, aimed, um through the gate, ah, through the gate, everyone goes through the gate, the gate."
I roll my eyes and take another look. There's a primary target cutting westbound in front of Northwest. It's moving too fast to be anything we usually see down low.
Gus tells Northwest to change frequencies.
The primary disappears then blinks back with a secondary target and an altitude readout: 125. That's twelve thousand five hundred!
I glance at Northwest. His altitude is 11,000 climbing well. The unknown aircraft is 4 miles in front of him...
I key the mic, "Northwest17 negative. Stop climb, maintain 1-2 thousand turn right heading 0-2-0. Traffic alert, traffic twelve o'clock four miles westbound 1-2 thousand five hundred unverified."
The unknown target starts to blink rapidly. The pilot has triggered the “ident” feature on his transponder. He sees Northwest and wants to make sure we see him.
Northwest breaks 1-2 thousand but stops and descends back down and he squeaks just behind the unknown.
Gus turns around and says, "Oh my. I didn't even see that."
'No shit,' I think.
Time to change my underwear.