Interesting ATC conversations


What are some interesting conversations you have heard while listening into ATC???


Some of my favorite involve foreign carriers that have very broken English, and having the controllers yell at them. The JFK controllers are especially vicious, and you should hear them when the weather gets bad and the delays stack up. Those foreign carriers get ripped new ones. :slight_smile:

My favorite is when Air Jamaica checks in. It usually sounds like a stereotypical Rastafarian is flying the plane. :wink:


Those controllers likely haven’t attempted to conduct business in a foreign country using a second language. In the recordings that I’ve heard (like you describe), the controllers have made no attempt to articulate more clearly or speak any slower for the benefit of the foreign pilots. Even with a solid grasp of practical english, there’s the added confusion of low quality VHF radios that could make it very difficult. Welcome to America.


The NY controllers are for the most part professional and the best out there. But when there is a blizzard with 25 planes are in line to take off, you can’t wait for the Iberia or Air China pilot to take 10 minutes attempting to read back the instructions. The fact is, as long as English is the official language of international flight, the pilots MUST be able to communicate quickly and clearly in English. Throw in some rough English, stress, and some NY attitudes, and you have some good listening. But from what I have heard, the NY controllers do a great job working with the international pilots, usually having more patience than I would have had.

Sorry for the rant, I don’t intend to hijack the thread.


Agreed, that always gives me a smile.
I love listening to the international flights, each accent is as you’d expect for that airline: Aer Lingus sounds like a beer swillin’ Irishman, Speedbird flights always sound so dignified, Mexicana and Aeromexico…well… pass, and Air France always sounds like the crazy Frenchman from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, "now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!"
AlItalia is always trying to figure out whose cellphone caused the engines to fall off.


So true on all your observations. I just love hearing BA, “Speedbird,” and VS to a lesser degree, because it just sounds so professional and regal. I can just imagine the pilots up there with their monocles, pipes, and top hats.


Yea, while drinking tea.

“I DO declare, that was quite a good takeoff my good man.”


“Yah mon, Air Jamaica 69 rollin’ one wit you at one-five tousand, mon! Irie!”




Anybody see the play The Foreigner? If you did then you would know that if someone doesn’t speak or as a poor command of the English language then he will be able to understand it better if shouted at.


I bet you’re upset that you can’t yell over the internet. :wink:





It just doesn’t have the same effect as a frustrated New Yorker yelling at a confused Asian pilot. :slight_smile:


Can’t argue with that.


HAHAHHAHA! Air Jamacia that would be hilarious to hear!



[Brooklyn accent]That’s cuz ya gots to ad [frustrated New Yorker] to the beginning and [/frustrated New Yorker] to the end of the statement.[/Brooklyn accent]


LOL…And I suppose all the English controllers wear bowler hats reading the Financial Times whilst having a spiffing good day on the radar??

Big respect to US controllers (especially the NY Tracon guys) but the rapid fire delivery and listen-good-cos-this comes-only-once attitude sometimes overwhelms my trained ear and confuses the proverbial out of me - here in dear old blighty we have a huge range of accents at our big aerodromes (nice word) and it really pays to say it once slowly but clearly. Boy, it does get frustrating at times…“Say again London?”

As an aside, one of the big low cost carriers in Europe (no names but a big 738 operator bent on world domination - for a price) seems to employ ex Mig fighter jocks with a very BASIC command of any language - words twice Hoskins!!


Was listening to the JFK TOWER on, and Air France was told’‘cleared for takeoff’’ he readback, and the jfk controller started yelling at him for not repeating it right!!! HAHA


Japan Air Lines trains their pilots from zero flight experience at Napa Airport (KAPC). You can imagine what it is like to have a bunch of pilots who speak little or no English and also have little or no flying experience all in the pattern at once. The controllers there get pretty testy. Once I heard them tell everyone on the ground to just shut up and they would call them when they were ready to have them do something.

I also heard one of the Japanese pilots nearby on an IFR flight plan and he couldn’t read back any of the controllers instructions correctly. The controller finally gave up and just told him to call a phone number when he landed. At that point, the pilot professed not to understand what the controller was saying.


CAflier - how scary!

I heard a super funny tonight. ROFLOL!!! I SWEAR THIS IS ALMOST EXACTLY WHAT WAS SAID:

I believe it was this guy, a 747!

TOWER: Alpha has no taxi lights but you can take it.
TOWER: Doing construction over the past couple weeks and taxi lights should be up soon.
PILOT: Hope I don’t run over anything.
TOWER: Uh, you shouldn’t.