Who says pilots and controllers have no sense of
humor?  Following are accounts of actual exchanges
between airline and control towers from around the
During taxi, the crew of a US Air departure flight to
Ft. Lauderdale, made a wrong turn and came nose to
nose with a United 727.  The irate ground controller
(a female) lashed out at the US Air crew screaming,
"US Air 2771, where are you going?  I told you to turn
right on "Charlie" taxi way; you turned right on
"Delta".  Stop right there.  I know it's difficult to
tell the difference between C's and D's but get
it right." Continuing her lashing 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 until I
tell you to.  You can expect progressive taxi
instructions in about a half 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??" The humbled
crew responded: "Yes Ma'am".  Naturally, the "ground
control" frequency went terribly silent after the
verbal bashing of US Air Flight 2771.  No one
wanted to engage the irate ground controller in her
current state. Tension in every cockpit at LGA was
running high.  Shortly after the controller finished
her admonishment of the U.S. Air crew, an unknown
male pilot broke the silence and asked, "Wasn't I
married to you once?"
The controller who was working a busy pattern told the
727 on downwind to make a three-sixty (do a complete
circle, usually to provide spacing between aircraft).
The pilot of the 727 complained, "Do you know it
costs us two thousand dollars to make a three-sixty in
this airplane?  Without missing a beat the controller
replied, "Roger, give me four thousand dollars worth!"
A DC-10 had an exceedingly long roll out after landing
with his approach speed just a little too high.  San
Jose Tower: "American 751 heavy, turn right at the
end, if able.  If not able, take the Guadeloupe exit
off of 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 miles."
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 (long pause and then in a thick southern
drawl): "Well... I've got something down there.  Can't
quite tell if it's a Malibu or a Chevelle, though."
Unknown Aircraft:
"I'm bored!".
Air Traffic Control:
"Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself
Unknown Aircraft:
" 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
Tower:  "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, contact
Departure on 124.7; did you copy the report from
Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff
roger; and yes, we copied Eastern and we've already
notified our caterers."
O'Hare Approach Control:  "United 329 Heavy, your
traffic is a Fokker, one o'clock, 3 miles, eastbound."
United 329: "Approach, I've always wanted to say
this...  I've got that Fokker in sight."
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 PanAm 747) listened to the
following exchange between Frankfurt ground control
and a British Airways 747 (call sign "Speedbird 206")
after landing:
Speedbird 206: "Top of the morning Frankfurt,
Speedbird 206 clear of the active runway."
Ground: "Guten morgen!  You will taxi to your gate!"
The big British Airways 747 pulled onto the main taxi
way and slowed to a stop.
Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are
Speedbird 206: "Stand by a moment ground, I'm looking
up our gate location now."
Ground (with some arrogant impatience): "Speedbird
206, have you never flown to Frankfurt before?!?"
Speedbird 206 (cooly):  "Yes, I have, in 1944.  In
another type of Boeing.  I didn't stop."
I was a Pan Am 727 Flight Engineer waiting for start
clearance in Munich, Germany.  I was listening to the
radio since I was the junior crew member.  This was
the conversation I overheard: (I don't recall
call signs any longer) Lufthansa: (In German) "Ground,
what is our start clearance time?" Ground: (In
English) "If you want an answer you must speak
English." Luft: (In English) "I am a German, flying a
German airplane, in Germany.  Why must I speak
English?" Beautiful English Accent: (before ground
could answer) "Because you lost the bloody war!"

(-Back to home page-)