Actual exchanges between pilots and control towers:
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 Guadeloupe exit off of
Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport.”
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.
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
Ground (with quite an arrogant and impatient tone): “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
“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?”