Real World Encounters with ATC

We’ve all heard the “atc jokes” that have been floating around the Internet. You know, the ones like this:

ATC: He’s at your 3 o’clock

Pilot: Sorry, we only have digital watches.


So here some “real world” ones reported by either controllers or pilots on frequency:

Several planes were running up and waiting to take off, many Cessna’s including a 337. With all the students and several similar call signs, the controllers were getting a tad confused. The controller finally asked: “Cessna 123YZ, are you the Skymaster?”

A slightly confused voice with an indeterminate accent replied, after a moment, “Well, my instructor says that I am very good, but I do not think that I would yet be considered the ‘Skymaster.’

This one actually made me laugh out loud:

A C152 pilot was asked to report his height prior to clearance to enter the zone, replied: “Flight Level Three Thousand, Seven Hundred”, upon which the Controller very smartly replied, “Roger, prepare to fire retro-rockets and re-enter the atmosphere!”

This one is good too:

Pilot “ground, this is challenger N1234 for taxi”

ATC “N1234 taxi delta, bravo call tower holding short RWY 06”

Pilot “tower N1234 ready for take off”

ATC ” N1234 backtrack to position RWY 24″

Pilot after recognizing same voice on both freqs says “you sound like a woman I once knew…she worked all positions”

ATC without skipping a beat replies ” N1234 If she sounded like me, with a deep voice and all, I’d leave the lights on a little longer, you’re clear for take off”

Pilot mic clicks but cojo is laughing too hard to say another word.


ATC: “Delta 1234, say air speed.”

Delta: “Air speed”

ATC: “Delta 1234, say altitude”

Delta: “Altitude”

ATC: “Delta 1234, say Cancel IFR”

Delta: “240 kts, 14000 ft”

The Brits always have a good sense of humour:

“Speedbird (British Airways for those who don’t know) 123 traffic your twelve o’clock, 20 miles, 1000′ above is a Boeing 747, 1000′ below is a Airbus 340 both Air France”

(To this day no-one can figure out why he said the airline, just as a point of interest I suppose)

“Ahh Speedbird123 roger traffic in sight…. center is this what you call a frog sandwich?”

Thankfully I haven’t done this before:

I once heard another student getting furious calling ATIS for a current weather update, couldn’t firgure out why they weren’t responding. They sat in the office listening on the scanner for a good 20 minutes laughing before somebody told him.

Squawk? What’s that?

Tower: ABC, Squawk Ident

ABC: Say again

Tower: ABC… Squawk… Ident

ABC: tower, I don’t know what that means.

Tower: Do you know where your transponder is?

ABC: Yes

Tower: is there a button on there that says “ident”?

ABC: Yes


ABC: Not until you tell me what it does.

Tower: It ejects the wings, now press it.

Do you have a funny ATC encounter to share?

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