Funniest Thing You’ve Heard On the Radio

12 Nov 21 7 Comments

I’ve been struggling this week and was just panicking that I would not have a post finished in time for you for today when I discovered that Reddit had saved the day. Juicybradpit posted to r/flying to ask: What is the funniest thing you’ve heard on the radio?

The answers are fantastic! Here are my favourites:

Cessna: “Tower, why weren’t you at hockey last night?”

Tower: “I tore my groin. I’ll be out for 6 weeks.”

Cessna: “Sorry to hear that man.”

SKW: “Tower, SKYWEST1234 visual RWY 30, sorry to hear about your groin.”

Tower: xxx, what’s your intentions?

Confused student: I would like to become a pilot

These two were linked to via the Pilots of America forum

En route from West Memphis to Knoxville on Sunday, I heard some young sounding person ask ATC “Can I change my call sign today?” ATC paused a second or two, and then asked what his # was, and he replied “This is NXXXXX, but today I’d like my call sign to be the Millennium Falcon, please”. There was total silence for a few seconds and then I heard an airline pilot say “well i’ve been flying for 20 years, and that is the first time i’ve heard that one”. The ATC person just never responded.

Flying the route from LGA-LEB the other day, heard this with BOS Center after a Cherokee pilot (rather sheepishly) called up and asked for flight following and a vector over or around Bruswick airspace (good airspace to avoid).

BOS: Roger, have your request. Climb and maintain 4,500, I’ll have a hand off for you in a minute.

Long pause.

BOS: Cherokee XXX, did you copy Boston?

Short pause.

BOS: I said climb to it, not squawk it!

One early morning full of nasty weather. All the airliners are trying to find a smooth ride. I’m getting my ass kicked down low by wind sheer. ATC is pulling their hair out trying to squeeze way too many jets through what few gaps there are.

Finally it got quiet for a second and someone said “God, I wish I worked in a cubicle.”

This one made me cringe but I 100% blame the instructor who let her go out there on her own:

I fly out of a class delta controlled airport and we have VFR arrival and departure procedures. I was on my way back from a XC following the arrival procedure which takes you over the west shore of a lake. A helicopter was looking to transition the zone from the South to an uncontrolled aerodrome about 10nm North of the zone. After his initial call up tower asked if he could follow the East shore and the helicopter pilot seemed a little confused so tower asked if he knew where this lake was and if he had it in sight. Helicopter responded saying he had it in sight and asked for direct to the uncontrolled aerodrome. Tower told him “Negative, follow the East shore.” About 3 minutes later this is what I heard.

Twr: Helicopter you are 1.5 miles from the shore, follow the East shoreline.

A couple minutes later

Twr: Helicopter are you going direct to the field? You are now over the west shore. Follow the Ea… you know what never mind go 3 miles to the West and leave my airspace. Just get out.

Helicopter: Roger leaving the airspace.

On my solo cross-country, I guess the nerves or something made my voice crack. After making my initial call to tower, they replied:

Tower: “Enter left downwind for Runway 28, nice job champ. Can’t believe your kid is handling the radios all by himself.”

Me: “Enter left downwind Runway 28… by the way I’m a solo student.”

Needless to say, as a 17 year-old, it took a long time for me to recover from that one.

Center: “[Callsign], 20 degrees left for social distancing.”

Middle of nowhere, Nevada.

ATC: “Bonanza 123AB climb and maintain 16 thousand.”

Bonanza: “Really? The winds are pretty bad up there.“

ATC: “Well, the terrain at your altitude is worse.”

Finally, there was a quote from the comment know as The King of Slow, one of my favourite parodies ever. If you are familiar with Brian Shul’s story about asking for a speed check then I recommend you read the version written by user howfastisgodspeed.

There were a lot of things we couldn’t do in an Cessna 172, but we were some of the slowest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to fly the 172. Fun would not be the first word I would use to describe flying this plane. Mundane, maybe. Even boring at times. But there was one day in our Cessna experience when we would have to say that it was pure fun to be some of the slowest guys out there, at least for a moment.

All I can say is thank goodness for the Reddit flying forums. You can read the whole thread if you need a bit more aviation humour.

Or even better, tell us a story about the funniest thing you ever heard on the radio. Leave it in the comments for everyone to share, please!

Category: Fun Stuff,


  • Well, when flying for a living one will hear funny things on the R/T:
    On the taxiway to the holding point for departure: An airliner (callsign) is following a Cessna 310: “Hey twin Cessna in front of me, you forgot to remove your steps”. The 310 responds: “They go up with the wheels”.
    Airliner: “Do you have passengers changing their minds that late?”
    A German pilot in a light aircraft, over the city of Amsterdam, is anxiously asking ATC if he has strayed in a restricted or danger area. ATC responds: “Negative, maintain VFR, your heading and altitude are good.”
    The German pilot, still nervous: There is an aircraft towing a target just on my right side.”
    The target concerned was a Piper Super Cub with an ad for Amstel beer. The logo is a roundel, half red, half white.
    In 1928 Amsterdam hosted the Olympics. The old stadium still exists and is used for sports- and other events.
    In the ‘seventies aerial advertising was a very widely used medium.
    An event in the stadium could attract quite a few banner towing aircraft, all circling the venue.
    It also happens to be only a few miles north of the approach into runway 27 of Schiphol Airport, but the relationship between ATC and the banner towing pilots was excellent. They (me included!) always strictly adhered to ATC instructions, and so on one given day when runway 27 was the active runway in use for landing, our instructions were that the Olympic Stadium was the south limit for our activities. We all flew anti-clockwise in one large circle because our assigned altitude was 1200 feet, doing so meant that we were at the correct minimum altitude. Higher would make the text difficult to read to the public on the ground. The banners could only be read from the left, so around and around we went. An airborne merry-go-round.
    The captain of an airliner of then BEA (now part of BA) called the tower and asked in a grating voice: “Beeline xxx I see quite a few light aircraft close to my approach path… is that normal here?” The response came resolutely: “Affirmative, Beeline. That is quite normal, I know all about them and they are cleared to continue.”
    Often, a formation of banner towing aircraft would be allowed to cross the entire control zone in complete radio silence. Prior to entering, we would be cleared to follow the VFR zone, over “point Alpha just east of the airport, overhead the tower, Hoofddorp (a town west of Schiphol) and leave the zone at Zandvoort (a town at the coast)”. Once this was correctly read back the aircraft, not seldom a formation of ten or more, would follow that route and sign off at the coast. It made some airline pilots a bit nervous, but to the best of my knowledge there has never been an incident.
    One day, I believe it was Easter, a formation of 20 banner towers were flying a route that brought them in the vicinity of Rotterdam. We flew four abreast, in waves of four each behind one another.
    It must have attracted attention, not the least from the captain of a Carvair (a converted DC4 with a bulbous nose), which in those days flew a scheduled service between the UK and Rotterdam. The captain must have been a veteran, because he exclaimed (over the radio): “My God, is it war again?”

  • The Bonanza exchange reminded both me and my partner of a reported naval exchange, possibly by Aldiss light:

    ship to unknown: steer clear
    unknown to ship: no, you steer clear.
    ship to unknown: I am an admiral, steer clear
    unknown: I am a lighthouse. Your call.

    (I don’t believe this — all the lighthouses I know of have rotating beacons — but it’s a good story.)

    Rudy: great story. So far I haven’t heard of conflicts between Boston Logan and the light planes that come in from suburban fields to fly around the baseball park — but even though there’s a runway pointing almost directly at the park, there’s enough tallish buildings in between that the heavies don’t use it in that direction.

  • Overheard one day while flying into North Weald:

    ATC: Easyjet XXX this is Gatwick Approach. Descend to 4,000 feet.
    Pilot: Gatwick?
    ATC: I’m sorry, Stansted Approach. Please descend to 4,000 feet.
    Pilot: Sure, anything so long as you’re not at Gatwick.

  • Flying out of Teterboro NJ, we are waiting #2 inline for the active. A pilot with the heaviest Southern drawl contacts the tower. The reply from the tower is a fast talking gal from the Bronx.

    She machine-guns out Noviember9555Juilet Cleared to land Runway One Niner.

    Pilot from down South, Say again,

    She comes back with another rapid fire clearance to which the Pilot replies, Say again.

    This goes on a few more repetitions when another pilot comes up on frequency, “Tower, find somebody that speaks Southern or we’re going to be up here all day.”

    Now a male voice from the tower, No viem ber N 9 5 5 5 Jew Lee Et, P l e a s e land on Runway W O N Nin Er.

    At least a dozen Pilots Came on the radio with various versions of Elvis Presley’s,”Thank you very much”.

  • Supposedly true:

    Aircraft: “Denver Center, what time is it?”
    ATC: “Aircraft calling Denver, please identify”
    Aircraft: “What? I have to identify myself just to find out the time?”
    ATC: “Well, put it this way…. I have 4 flights in my sector. If you’re the Lufthansa, it’s 1610. If you’re the United, it’s 4:10pm. If your the Southwest it’s Tuesday, and if you’re the Spirit the little hand is on the four….”

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