BUT IT'S STILL SAFER THAN DRIVING!
The following are accounts of actual exchanges between airline pilots and
control towers from around the world:
While taxiing at New York's LaGuardia, the crew of a US Air flight departing
for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United
An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming:
"US Air 2771, where the h*** 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 Cs and Ds, 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
A DC-10 had an exceedingly long roll out 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, make a right at the lights and return to the airport."
Unknown aircraft: "I'm d***** bored!"
Air Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!"
Unknown aircraft: "I said I was d***** bored, not d***** 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 on 124.7. Did
you copy that report from Eastern 702?"
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 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 vere you are goink?"
Speedbird 206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now."
Ground (with arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, haff you not been to
Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944; but 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 (icily, in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in
Germany. Why must I speak English?"
Unknown voice (in businesslike British accent): "Because you lost the bloody
Airline Pilots and Control