The Aviation Race

Aviation Race

Aviation is a very leveling profession.

I want to quote a friend recently:
“There is no Race here except the Aviator Race”

I started out as a minority in the industry, and sometimes felt like I had to work much harder to prove myself, to ensure no one could point a finger, which they liked doing to the other minorities for anything at all that could be made to stick.

And well, when you worked hard enough to ensure you didn’t put a foot wrong, normally no one did. I don’t know if others had the same experience, and it wasn’t so much what I had to put up with but what I overheard in the bar. Black pilots can’t fly. So an so is only getting a promotion because she is sleeping with the Chief Pilot…etc etc. It was pretty bad. It also tended to put a chip on my shoulder which lasted until I felt I really had proven myself, after a successful career as a freelance charter pilot, flight instructor and examiner, and then joining the airline as a captain, training captain on domestic, and finally getting my first wide body rating. I finally then felt I had actually proved that I could fly.

I think it has changed considerably in most cultures now, but I do feel there is still prejudice out there, in a still predominantly white male orientated industry.

So I just want to say, whatever cultural background you have, despite the few idiots out there that aren’t worth wiping your feet on, most people will judge you by how well you fly the aeroplane – and if you do this to the best of you’re ability and achieve the required standards, you will find quickly prejudices are overlooked and you are not considered Black, Female, Hindu, Chinese, or Russian but you are considered a pilot (and Ditto for other aviation careers).

So I just want to say, whatever cultural background you have, despite the few idiots out there that aren’t worth wiping your feet on, most people will judge you by how well you fly the aeroplane – and if you do this to the best of your ability and achieve the required standards, you will find quickly prejudices are overlooked and you are not considered Black, Female, Hindu, Chinese, or Russian but you are considered a pilot (and Ditto for other aviation careers).

So let us move on, stop from this race card pulling and get the job done.

African Airline PA Announcement

Here’s a fun poke at my home continent. Let me first say my African colleagues at the African Airline I used to work for were mostly awesome (yes there were the odd few, but every airline has them, even the one who markets themselves as the

Disclaimer: Let me first say my African colleagues at the African Airline I used to work for and train with, were mostly awesome (yes there were the odd few, but every airline has them, even the one who markets themselves as the Best Airline in the World….But in general my African colleagues were some of the best guys (and girls) I’ve ever flown with. Hehe, but it’s still Africa. There has to be things you love and hate, and it’ll take us a while to get completely on track to first world standards.

Heard on the PA of an African Airline (PS it was definitely NOT SAA, or Air Namibia…)

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain welcoming you on board Air Nambabwe.

This is flight 123 to Timbuktu. Landing in Timbuktu is not guaranteed, but we will end up somewhere in the North. It is with pleasure, I announce that starting this year over 50% of our passengers have reached their destination. We apologize for the four-day delay in taking off, it was due to bad weather and some overtime I had to put in at the bakery.

If our engines are too noisy for you, on passenger request, we can arrange to turn them off!. To make your free fall to earth pleasant and memorable, we serve complimentary Bongo tea and Okin biscuits. For our not-so-religious passengers, we are the only airline who can help you find out if there really is a God.

We regret to inform you, that today’s in-flight movie will not be shown as we forgot to record it from the television. But for our movie buffs, we will be flying right next to South African Airways, where their movie will be visible from the right side cabin windows.

There is no smoking allowed in this airplane. Any smoke you see in the cabin is only the early warning system on the engines telling us to slow down, or the cabin crew have your food ready. You’ll soon know which one it is by the behaviour of the cabin staff, if you see them begin to panic we suggest you put your oxygen masks on and you probably won’t be getting the in-flight meal anytime soon.

Kindly be seated, keep your seat in an upright position for take-off and fasten your set-belt. For those of you who can’t find a seat-belt, kindly fasten your own belt to the arm of your seat … and for those of you who can’t find a seat, do not hesitate to get in touch with a stewardess who will explain how to fasten yourself to your suitcase.”

ENJOY your stay in Africa!

ATC Humour Blog Posts

As Heard on the Frequency

ATC Humour Blog PostsActual exchanges between pilots and control towers

Tower: ‘Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o’clock, 6 miles!’
Delta 351: ‘Give us another hint! We have digital watches!’

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From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue: ‘I’m f…ing bored!’
Ground Traffic Control: ‘Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!’
Unknown aircraft: ‘I said I was f…ing bored, not f…ing stupid!’

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O’Hare Approach Control to a 747: ‘United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o’clock, three miles, Eastbound.’
United 329: ‘Approach, I’ve always wanted to say this..I’ve got the little Fokker in sight.’

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A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight. While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked, ‘What was your last known position?’
Student: ‘When I was number one for takeoff.’

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A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down.
San JoseTowerNoted: ‘American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are not able, take the Guadeloupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport.’

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A Pan Am 727 flight, 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 in English.’
Lufthansa (in English):’I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany Why must I speak English?’
Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): ‘Because you lost the bloody war!’

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Tower: ‘Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on frequency 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 behind Eastern 702, contact Departure on frequency 124.7. Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?’
BR Continental 635: ‘Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern… we’ve already notified our caterers.’

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One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee. Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said, ‘What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?’
The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with a real zinger: ‘I made it out of DC-8 parts. Another landing like yours and I’ll have enough parts for another one.’

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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 I didn’t land.’

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While taxiing at London ‘s Gatwick Airport , the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727. An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming:
‘US Air 2771, where the hell 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 and D, but get it right!’

Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically:
‘God! Now 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 communications frequency fell terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller in her current state of mind. Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was definitely running high. Just then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone, asking:
‘Wasn’t I married to you once?’