The following are accounts of actual exchanges between airline pilots and control towers around the world.
“TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees.”
“Centre, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?”
“Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?”
From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long take-off queue: “I’m f…ing bored!”
Ground Traffic Control: “Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!”
Unknown aircraft: “I said I was f…ing bored, not f…ing stupid!”
O’Hare Approach Control to a 747: “United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o’clock, three miles, Eastbound.”
United 239: “Approach, I’ve always wanted to say this… I’ve got the Little Fokker in sight.”
A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight.
While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked, “What was your last known position?”
Student: “When I was number one for take-off.”
A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down.
San Jose Tower Noted: “American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able.
If you are not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport.”
There’s a story about the military pilot calling for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter was running “a bit peaked.”
Air Traffic Control told the fighter jock that he was number two, behind a B-52 that had one engine shut down.
“Ah,” the fighter pilot remarked,
“The dreaded seven-engine approach.”
Taxiing down the Tarmac, a DC-10 abruptly stopped, turned around and returned to the gate. After an hour-long wait, it finally took off.
A concerned passenger asked the flight attendant, “What, exactly, was the problem?”
“The pilot was bothered by a noise he heard in the engine,” explained the flight attendant. “It took us a while to find a new pilot.”
Tower: “Eastern 702, cleared for take-off, contact Departure on frequency 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 take-off behind Eastern 702, contact Departure on frequency 124.7. Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?”
Continental 635: “Continental 635, cleared for take-off, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern… we’ve already notified our caterers.”
One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed.
The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee.
Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said, “What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?”
The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with a real zinger:
“I made it out of DC-8 parts. Another landing like yours and I’ll have enough parts for another one.”
The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as 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: “Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of active runway.”
Ground: “Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven.” The BA 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, Ground, I’m looking up our gate location now.”
Ground (with quite arrogant impatience): “Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?”
Speedbird 206 (coolly): “Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark, and I didn’t land.”
While taxiing at London’s Gatwick Airport, the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727.
An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming: “US Air 2771, where the hell 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 and D, but get it right!”
Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically:
“God! Now 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 communications frequency fell terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771.
Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller in her current state of mind. Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was definitely running high. Just then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone, asking: “Wasn’t I married to you once?”