Flying back from Oswego County airport on Saturday afternoon, the radio chatter on Albany approach was very light, and having not much to do other than keep the plane reasonably straight and level in the afternoon bumps I paid more attention to the calls than usual.
What struck me dumbfounded was a conversation from a couple in a Cirrus that wanted flight follwing. Their transponder was not giving a good reading, so the controller asked for their position to confirm who they were on his scope. Believe it or not they could not tell him either their position on a radial, or nearest landmark. The conversation went on for about 15 minutes as they went back and forth trying to pin down where they were.
The reason I said it struck me dumbfounded is that I have seen the cockpits of a couple of Cirrus, and they have avionics way beyound what the 1980s vintage I was tooling around with. Heck with my handheld GPS and a chart, even if were above the clouds, I could tell you where I was.
Lets suppose that this couple had bought the plane on the cheap and didn't put in anything other than a nav/com and transponder. It is still almost criminal that someone flying an airplane with that kind of performance cannot tell a controller where they are. Heck you should be able to do that with an ultralight. It seems to be case of direct to syndrome. Punch the destination hit direct to button and then just fly the heading the computer tells you, never mind where they heck you are.