Forgot to post this last week – I was on UA892 from SFO-DEN, and due to runway construction on 1L at SFO, we trudged out to 28R in the middle of a long line of departures. For some reason 1R was not in use, even though there was no weather and wind was calm. (I take that flight often, and we practically always depart on 1R). Anyway, a couple of questions from listening to ATC on Ch. 9:
(1) An arriving aircraft used the call sign “American 539 Quebec”. I hadn’t heard that suffix before, only “Heavy” and “Lifeguard”, maybe a couple of others. What’s “-Q”?
(2) Everything stopped at one point when the tower said, “uh… looks like we’ve got a flight check and they’ve turned off our departures. Hopefully just a few minutes here.” There were a couple of audible groans on the channel and one guy quipped “hey, can’t you do that at 2 AM?” All departures were held up for about 5 or 6 minutes. So, uh, just what is a “flight check”, and why would it cause departures to be held up?