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Overheard ATC Conversations
The following are accounts of actual exchanges between pilots and ATC from around the world:


While taxiing at LaGuardia the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727.

The irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming: "US Air 2771, where 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's and D's, but get it right!"

Continuing her tirade 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 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 frequency went terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to engage the irate ground controller in her current state. Tension in every cockpit at LGA was running high.

Then an unknown pilot broke the silence and asked, "Wasn't I married to you once?"


The controller working a busy pattern told the 727 on downwind to make a three-sixty--do a complete circle, a move normally used to provide spacing between aircraft.

The pilot of the 727 complained, "Don't you know it costs us two thousand dollars to make even a one-eighty in this airplane?"

Without missing a beat the controller replied, "Roger, give me four thousand dollars' worth."


A DC-10 had an exceedingly long rollout after landing with his approach speed a little high.

San Jose Tower: "American 751 heavy, turn right at the end of the runway, if able. If not able, take the Guadalupe exit off 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 (in a thick southern drawl, after a long pause): "Well...I've got something down there. Can't quite tell if it's a Malibu or a Chevelle."


Unknown aircraft: "I'm f...ing bored!"

Air Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!"

Unknown aircraft: "I said I wa! s 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 that report from Eastern?"

Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern and we've already notified our caterers."


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 Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign "Speedbird 206":

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 taxiway and slowed to a stop.

Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"

Speedbird 206: "Stand by a moment, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now."

Ground (with arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, haff you never flown to Frankfurt before?"

Speedbird 206 (coolly): Yes, I have, actually, in 1944. In another type of Boeing, but just to drop something off. I didn't stop."


O'Hare Approach Control: "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 that Fokker in sight."


A Pan Am 727 flight engineer 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 English."

Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?"

Unknown voice (in a beautiful British accent): "Because you lost the bloody war!"


Lots of commercial aircraft are stacked up waiting for approach to O'Hare Int'l, ATC has inflicted numerous delays, and some planes are already 1-2 hours late. The WX is good, it's just that there is a traffic bottleneck somewhere. Pilots, passengers, crew are all getting quite frustrated and angry.

ATC: "All aircraft holding, expect 20 minutes additional delay."

Unknown A/C: "Ahhh . . . bullsh*t!"

ATC: "Aircraft making last transmission, identify yourself."

(silence)

ATC: "Aircraft making last transmission, identify yourself immediately!"

(silence)

ATC: "Aircraft using 'bullshit' in last transmission, identify yourself.
American 411, was that you?"

American 411: "Approach, American 411: negative on the 'bullshit,' sir."

NW 202: "Approach, NW 202: negative on the 'bullshit.'"

Delta 55: "Approach, Delta 55: negative on the 'bullshit.'"

NW 33: "Approach, NW 33: we have a negative on that 'bullshit.'"

. . . and so on, right through the entire pattern.

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