It was a March afternoon and all was quiet in the clear Midwestern skies. It was too early in the season for thunderstorms to be a problem, and traffic was light. The Gulfstream passing through the controller's sector was still more than 100 miles from its destination, but soon the pilot would begin his descent. ``Gulfstream eight-five-Sierra,'' came the controller's call. ``Descend at pilot's discretion, maintain FL 310.'' ``Roger, FL 310 at pilot's discretion.'' Apparently the ...

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