Pilot to Tower

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.

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.” “Centre, 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
f…ing bored!” Ground Traffic Control: “Last aircraft transmitting,
identify yourself immediately!” 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 airport.”

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 problem?”
“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 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.”

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?”
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 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 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?”

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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