Retired GT Mod
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: South FL
I know a lot of these are oldies, but they're presented as I received them in the hopes that someone out there hasn't seen them yet.
Here are some conversations that airline passengers normally will never
hear. The following are accounts of actual exchanges between airline
pilots and control towers around the world.
Pilot: "Albuquerque Center, this is United 372. I have an engine that
just went out and I need to land. No panic, but I need a runway that's
close to my present location."
Tower: "United 372, this is Albuquerque Center. You are cleared to
land at [Name of town I have never heard of] Airport immediately."
Pilot: (Who had obviously never heard of town either) "Hey, I'm not
talking some cropduster airport here, Albuquerque Center."
Tower: "United 372, that runway is 6,700 feet long. Is THAT going to
be enough for you, or do you want me to send someone up to help you
Tower: "Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock, 6 miles!"
Delta 351: "Give us another hint! We have digital watches!"
"TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees."
"Center, 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 takeoff queue: "I'm
Ground Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself
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 takeoff."
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
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
"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."
A Pan Am 727 flight waiting for start clearance in Munich overheard the
following: Lufthansa (in German): "Ground, what is our start clearance
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."
Tower: "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on frequency
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
Tower: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff behind Eastern 702, contact
Departure on frequency 124.7. Did you copy that report from Eastern
Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, 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
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?"