Since Roost-Air is rapidly approaching their 15 year anniversary, we thought we would show you a classic strip “from back in the day” every now and then with a little background information mixed in. Some of those are from pre-website days and are otherwise only available in our first book.
I was flying off-shore at the time and transitioning to an oil-rig off the coast of California which had me transition through Santa Barbara’s airspace. The easiest route was to transition along the shoreline but the tower preferred us to be low so he can route approaching fixed wing traffic on top of us. Well, there is a little hill on the shore between Santa Barbara and Goleta where the airport is, so radio reception and radar coverage wasn’t the best. Yet the tower always made us fly low and squawk a code, but then turn around and complain he wasn’t picking us up. We tried flying further offshore and as high as we could without busting the given ceiling but it never worked quite right. So since they always gave us a really low number to squawk (maybe that is what was assigned to them, not sure how that works), the joke was born inside the aircraft about trying to get a higher number. Of course in the real world we didn’t transmit this part (even though we probably should have just for the fun of it, but I was flying for the government and we all know how much fun can be had while doing that).
This is also one of the first strips ever to use the “Chuck, is that you?” line. It was around this time we decided to just make this a permanent thing. The original idea was to always have Chuck park his pick-up in front of the hangar and Julio complaining about it with the standard line “Move the truck, Chuck!” which is based on a true story. But we could never really fit that in the strips as much and once the radio issue idea came to be we felt it was a much better fit and quite frankly, way funnier. One of my personal biggest wins was the first time I sat around a air tanker base with a bunch of pilots I had never met before a few years later. Somebody messed up on the frequency and a pilot in the ready room yelled out “Chuck, is that you?” which got everybody laughing. I knew then we were on the right track with this punchline and that is why you still see it. The next goal is to achieve notoriety similar to “I’ll be back”, HAHA!