Who says pilots and controllers have no sense of humor?
Following are accounts of actual exchanges between airline and control towers from around the world:
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 f...ing bored!" Air Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!!"
Unknown Aircraft: "I said I was f...ing bored, not f...ing 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 runway."
Tower: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on 124.7; did you copy the report from Eastern?"
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 now 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 vill 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 vare you are going?"
Speedbird 206: "Stand by a moment ground, I'm looking up our gate location now."
Ground (with some arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, haff you never flown to Frankfurt before?"
Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, I have, in 1944. In another type of Boeing, but just to drop something off, 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:
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?"
Before ground could answer someone replied in a beautiful British accent: "Because you lost the bloody war!"
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, USAir 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?"