...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

May 05, 2005

Aircraft Humour

This may be apocryphal, but it's funny.

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 didn't land."

Thanks to Shelly for that one.

Posted by annika, May. 5, 2005 |
Rubric: Science & Technology



Posted by: Ted on May. 5, 2005

In the early days of Beatlemania, when John Lennon's image was still being protected (i.e. before the summer of 1966), he is reputed to have said, "It's good to fly Lufthansa to London. All the pilots know the way."

Posted by: Ontario Emperor on May. 5, 2005

That story may be apocryphal, but I have it on very good authority that a similar exchange really did take place during a post-war visit by an American(?) to the Krupp Works. I'll try to remember to ask the guy who knows the guy, and get you the full account.

My boss, whose grandfather was in the Luftwaffe ground forces (a signal troop) in the East during WWII, tells a similar story regarding his mother's visit to Russia many years later. Apparently, a tour guide asked whether anyone had been to Russia before, or knew anyone who had. I consider that one apocryphal, though; my boss's stories have been known to change over time, always in ways that make them either more amusing, or more flattering to him.

Posted by: Matt on May. 5, 2005

There is a similar story of a NATO meeting of high ranking officers and a German General was complaining to the group and asking why everyone always insisted on speaking English.

A British Admiral then remarked dryly "Because you lost the bloody war".

Posted by: shelly on May. 5, 2005

It's a testament to our occupation strategy that we were able to turn 12 generations of Prussian military tradition into a bunch of weaklings in 50 years.

Posted by: Jason O. on May. 6, 2005

---While of course retaining the engineering/technical competence for BMWs and Audis, et al.

Posted by: Jason O. on May. 6, 2005