When it comes to flying, there are those who love it and those who hate it. More than likely, you have your own opinion on the matter. Some of us form that opinion when we fly because of good or bad experiences. Others tend to have an opinion because of what they hear others say or perhaps what they see on the news. In any case, most people tend to be on one side of the line or the other.
Regardless of which side of the line you happen to be on, however, you have to admit that it is a modern day miracle. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes see planes lumbering down the runway and wonder how they are ever going to get off of the ground. The thing is, they always do and it is amazing to watch. It is also one of the safest ways to travel. In fact, when you compare the safety of flight with all other forms of transportation, regardless of whether it is a train, bus or driving in your own car, flying is always going to come out on top. It may be safe, but you might just begin to question that when you read these actual exchanges. They are not only hilarious, they are rather telling.
When we take off in a plane, we are convinced in our mind that the person flying the plane is a professional. Although that may be true, people will be people so you shouldn’t be surprised when you read what some of them had to say. They are quite funny but in the end, they understand the responsibility that they have. That is why we can laugh at these true exchanges between control towers and pilots.
1. From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue: “I’m bored!”
Ground Traffic Control: “Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!”
Unknown aircraft: “I said I was bored, not stupid!”
O’Hare Approach Control to a 747: “United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o’clock, three miles, Eastbound.”
United 329: “Approach, I’ve always wanted to say this… I’ve got the little Fokker in sight.”
2. Tower: “TWA 2341, for noise reduction turn right 45 Degrees.”
TWA 2341: “Center, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?”
Tower: “Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?
3. A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long rollout 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 Guadelupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport.”
4. A Pan Am 727 flight, waiting for start clearance in Munich, overheard the following:
Lufthansa (in German): “Ground, what is our start clearance time?”
Ground (in English): “If you want an answer you must speak in English.”
Lufthansa (in English): “I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?”
Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): “Because you lost the bloody war!”
5. Tower: “Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, 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 takeoff behind Eastern 702, contact Departure on frequency 124.7. Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?”
BR Continental 635: “Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern… we’ve already notified our caterers.”
6. 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.”
7. 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 heck 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?”