ACTUAL Statements by
Airline Flight Crews, pilots and control towers
The following are accounts of actual exchanges between airline pilots and
control towers from around the world:
While taxiing the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made
a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727. The irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming: "US Air 2771,
where are you going? I told you to turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right there. I know it's
difficult for you to tell the difference between C's and D's, but get it right! " Continuing her tirade to the embarrassed crew, she was now
shouting hysterically: "God, you've screwed everything up! It'll take forever to sort this out! You stay right there and don't move till I tell
you to! You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour
and I want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you! You got that, US Air 2771?"
"Yes ma'am," the humbled crew responded.
Naturally the ground control frequency went terribly silent after the verbal
bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to engage the irate ground controller
in her current state. Tension in every cockpit at LGA was running high. Then an unknown pilot broke the silence and asked, "Wasn't
I married to you once?"
The controller working a busy pattern told the 727 on downwind to make a
three-sixty -- do a complete circle, a move normally used to provide spacing
between aircraft. The pilot of the 727 complained, "Don't you know it costs
us two thousand dollars to make even a one-eighty in this airplane?"
Without missing a beat the controller replied, "Roger, give me four thousand
A DC-10 had an exceedingly long rollout after landing with his approach speed a little high.
San Jose Tower: "American 751 heavy, turn right at the end of the runway, if
able. If not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101 and make a right
at the light to return to the airport."
It was a really nice day, right about dusk, and a Piper Malibu was being vectored into a long line of airliners in order to land at Kansas City. KC
Approach: "Malibu three-two Charlie, you're following a 727, one o'clock and
Three-two Charlie: "We've got him. We'll follow him." KC Approach: "Delta 105, your traffic to follow is a Malibu, eleven o'clock
and three miles. Do you have that traffic?"
Delta 105 (in a thick southern drawl, after a long pause): "Well...I've got
something down there. Can't quite tell if it's a Malibu or a Chevelle."
Unknown aircraft: "I'm #*&%$ bored!"
Air Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!"
Unknown aircraft: "I said I was #*&%$ bored, not #&*%$ stupid!"
Tower: "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on 124.7."
Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way, after
we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway."
Tower: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on124.7. Did
you copy that report from Eastern?" Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we
copied Eastern and we've already notified our caterers."
The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get
there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that
we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign
"Speedbird 206": Speedbird 206:
"Top of the morning, Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of the active runway."
Ground: "Guten Morgen. You vill taxi to your gate."
The big British Airways 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.
Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"
Speedbird 206: "Stand by a moment, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location
Ground (with arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, haff you never flown to
Speedbird 206 (coolly): Yes, in 1944. In another type of Boeing, but just
to drop something off. I didn't stop."
A Pan Am 727 flight engineer waiting for start clearance in Munich overheard
Lufthansa (in German): Ground, what is our start clearance time?"
Ground (in English): "If you want an answer you must speak English."
Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?"
Unknown voice (in a beautiful British accent): "Because you lost the bloody
~~ ON TAKE-OFFS:
Occasionally, airline attendants make an effort to make
the "in-flight safety lecture" a bit more entertaining. Here are some real
examples that have been heard or reported:
* "There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this
* "Your seat cushions can be used for flotation, and in the event of an emergency
water landing, please take them with our compliments."
* "We do feature a smoking section on this flight; if you must smoke, contact a
member of the flight crew and we will escort you to the wing of the airplane."
* "Smoking in the lavatories is prohibited. Any person caught smoking in the
lavatories will be asked to leave the plane immediately."
* "Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area.
Please place the bag over your own mouth and nose before assisting children or adults
acting like children."
* From a Southwest Airlines employee.... "Welcome aboard Southwest Flight XXX, to
YYY. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It
works just like every other seat belt, and if you don't know how to operate one, you
probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised. In the event of a sudden loss of cabin
pressure, oxygen masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and
pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask
before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with two small children, decide now
which one you love more. Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds,
but they'll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves
you, or your money, more than Southwest Airlines."
~~ DURING THE FLIGHT:
* Pilot - "Folks, we have
reached our cruising altitude now, so I am going to switch the seat belt sign off. Feel
free to move about as you wish, but please stay inside the plane till we land... it's a
bit cold outside, and if you walk on the wings it affects the flight pattern."
* Once on a Southwest flight, the pilot said, "We've reached our cruising altitude
now, and I'm turning off the seat belt sign. I'm switching to autopilot, too, so I can
come back there and visit with all of you for the rest of the flight."
~~ THE LANDING:
* "Thank you for flying Delta
Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking
you for a ride."
* As we waited just off the runway for another airliner to cross in front of us, some
of the passengers were beginning to retrieve luggage from the overhead bins. The head
attendant announced on the intercom, "This aircraft is equipped with a video
surveillance system that monitors the cabin during taxiing. Any passengers not remaining
in their seats until the aircraft comes to a full and complete stop at the gate will be
strip-searched as they leave the aircraft."
* As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Reagan National, a lone voice comes
over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella...WHOA!"
* This is an actual joke heard on Southwest Airlines, just after a very hard landing in
Salt Lake City; one of the most bone jarring ever experienced. The flight attendant came
on the intercom and said, "That was quite a bump and I know what y'all are thinking.
I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't
the flight attendant's fault..... it was the asphalt!"
* Overheard on an American Airlines flight into Amarillo, Texas, on a particularly
windy and bumpy day. During the final approach the Captain was really having to fight it.
After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant came on the PA and announced,
"Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo. Please remain in your seats with your
seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!"
* Another flight Attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing: "We ask you
to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."
~~ AND, OF COURSE, THE EXIT:
* "As you exit the plane,
please make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be
distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or
* "Last one off the plane must clean it."
* An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into
the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand
at the door while the passengers exited, give a smile, and a "Thanks for flying XYZ
airline." He said that in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the
passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone
had gotten off except for this little old lady walking with a cane. She said, "Sonny,
mind if I ask you a question?" "Why no Ma'am," said the pilot, "what
is it?" The little old lady said, "Did we land or were we shot down?"
Here are some tips on the subject of aviation:
* Takeoffs are optional. Landings are mandatory.
* If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger. If you pull the stick back they get smaller. (unless you keep pulling the stick back -- then they get bigger again)
* Flying is not dangerous; crashing is dangerous.
* The propeller is just a big fan in the front of the plane to keep the pilot cool. Want proof? Make it stop; then watch the pilot break out
into a sweat.
* It's best to keep the pointed end going forward as much as possible.
* Every one already knows the definition of a "good landing" is one from which you can walk away. But very few know the definition of a "great
landing." It's one after which you can use the airplane another time.
* The probability of survival is equal to the angle of arrival.
* Those who hoot with the owls by night should not fly with the eagles by day.
* A helicopter is a collection of rotating parts going round and round and reciprocating parts going up and down -- all of them trying to become
random in motion. Helicopters can't really fly -- they're just so ugly
that the earth immediately repels them.
* Trust your captain . . . . but keep your seat belt securely fastened.
* There are three simple rules for making a smooth landing: Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
* A fool and his money are soon flying more airplane than he can handle.
* Try to keep the number of your landings equal to the number of your takeoffs.
* Gravity never loses! The best you can hope for is a draw.
* It's better to be down here wishing you were up there, than up there wishing you were down here.
A mother and her young son were flying Aloha Airlines from Honolulu to Las Vegas. The son (who had been looking
out the window) turned to his mother and asked, "If big dogs have baby dogs and big cats have baby cats, why
don't big planes have baby planes?"
The mother (who couldn't think of an answer that wouldn't lead to items she was not prepared to discuss with her
still-too-young son) told him to ask the stewardess.
So the boy asked the stewardess, "If big dogs have baby dogs and big cats have baby cats, why don't big planes
have baby planes?"
The stewardess responded, "Did your mother tell you to ask me?"
The boy admitted that this was the case.
"Well, then, tell your mother that there are no baby planes because Aloha always pulls out on time. Your
mother can explain it to you."
With People Who Drive You Crazy!"®
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