That's when the nice controller said, "November 631 Sierra, descend and maintain 2,000, turn right to heading 240." It did sound a bit like my friend Sarah, but I didn't get a cheery, "Hi, Frank" so I don't know.
But at any rate, I smiled. From present position that 240 heading would take me right over Joint Base Andrews (KADW) and onto final for runway 24 at Potomac Field (KVKX). (See the plot at left, courtesy of FlightAware.com.) The wind was fairly strong from the west and 24 was going to be favored, so the shortcut across Andrews easily saved me 10 to 15 minutes. How nice is that? I keyed the mike and said, "31 Sierra hopes you'll pass my thanks along to the folks at Andrews." And that got the response, "We will!"
Visibility was fine, and from over the arrival ends of KADW's runways 1R and 1L I could see KVKX clearly. I reported that, and was cleared for the visual approach and invited to cancel IFR if I chose which I did. The landing was uneventful.
So...an example of "safe, orderly and expeditious" handling on the part of Air Traffic Control (ATC). Just think, though, about what ATC had to do to save me those 15 minutes. The controller had to "have the flick" to the extent that she recognized, while handling the ongoing flow of air carrier aircraft into Washington National (KDCA), that little N631S would need to wind up on runway 24 at KVKX. She took the time to coordinate with Andrews so that I could be cleared to cross the south end of their airspace. And all of that was entirely on the controller's initiative. She could have just followed the path of least resistance by letting me continue to OTT, turn me southwest for a while and then head me in toward KVKX with a quick, "Report the field in sight." But that's not how she works.
I've heard General Aviation pilots complain about getting second-class service relative to the airlines. In my experience it's just not the case. If you bring your "A" game, and show the controller that you can respond competently, you and your "FLIB" will get professional service. Every time.