I’ve had my disagreements with ATC. A polite “we will be unable” or “please say again” gets the relationship back to where it needs to be without being a jerk (as this pilot was) or getting violated (as this pilot deserved).
Yup. . . his phraseology needs some improvement, but being rude isn't an FAR violation. It does put him in an awkward position when negotiating his fate with FSDO, as attitude plays a big part in the outcome in my experience.
With regard to his expectations after initial call-up and controller response. . . "expectation bias" is strong within the piloting community--We're taught to do certain actions at certain times, with visual, audio cues. . . to respond to ATC directions with certain reactions and responses, etc., because that's the "way it always happens". . . until it doesn't happen that way, when things fall through the cracks. I've experienced expectation bias, and it's hard to not be surprised by it, even when you're aware of it. The missions I do are almost always two-pilot and we practice CRM and use checklists--most GA pilots don't have the benefit of a copilot. . .I'm glad that I do, as it makes us undeniably safer than single-pilot ops.
So, throw in some cockpit chaos. . . a crying child, barfing all over the place. . . a wife / mother already upset about the rough flight for the last three hours, demanding you "get this thing on the ground, NOW", all the while you're planning a space-shuttle descent profile over the ridges surrounding your destination without shock-cooling your engine, while dealing with the turbulence, running your checklists etc. etc. Single pilot GA ops are extremely busy if you do it right, even when things are going smoothly.
I've gotten soft in my old age I guess. . . . I wouldn't be ready to throw him to the lions. . . just yet anyway.
Astro, you'd be an interesting guy to share a beverage with someday--love your stories. If you're ever stuck in PA, let me know and maybe we can make it happen. --Rob