Boston John

2 Nov 12 5 Comments

Air Traffic Controller John Melecio, also known as “Boston John,” is one of the most famous ATC controllers today. When he was controlling from Boston Tower, he was always lively and humourous, gathering a following all over the world. Listeners on posted to the forums whenever he was on air so fans could tune in and hear him live.

What do you think of Boston John? |

Boston John is on right now … 1200 hours pacific.

John … if you read this … you are OUTSTANDING!!!!!

He is clearly a very skilled controller and seems to enjoy having fun while keeping the operational calls completely clear and easy to follow. It’s hard not to giggle as I listen to him on air.

One of his catch-phrases is Mocha Hagotdi which I initially presumed was a foreign phrase but a quick search proved me wrong. It’s an acronym of Cape Air’s company slogan: “Make Our Customers Happy and Have a Good Time Doing It” and it seems Boston John only uses it when speaking to Cape Air crew. One effect of his fun phrases and pronunciation is that the pilots always know when they are being addressed. The Urban Dictionary credits Boston John directly for gaining popularity among pilots and ATC. Boston John also has his own Facebook page where his fans continue to discuss his style and wit. However, Boston John takes his role very seriously and if you pay attention, he’s always very careful to ensure that all important instructions are clear and concise, using standard phraseology. As a result, despite his witticisms, he is easier to follow than a lot of controllers who are a lot more “professional”.

Air Traffic Controller, John Melecio – Boston-Logan International Airport — Boston, MA

As an air traffic controller, we are here to provide a service to the flying public. . . as a controller, you have to be able to look at that situation, size it in a matter of seconds, and make a decision as to what you are going to do. There’s also the idea of priorities. What is the most important at this time? Aircraft A, Aircraft B, or Aircraft C? . . . We need to know what are the pilots’ requirements, what are their expectations. And the same way they need to know what are our requirements. What are our expectations and limitations. And by maintaining that open end of communications, we [are] open to new ideas.

Earlier this year, he moved to Puerto Rico to manage the San Juan Tower, so sadly he is no longer broadcasting. But his singing out Air Canada to the tune of the Canadian anthem is not something I will soon forget!

Category: Miscellaneous,


  • Boston John will live forever. He may move to Puerto Rico; he may climb the professional ladder; but I know Boston John will ALWAYS MOCHA HAGOTDI and wish us a pleasant “hasta la vista” — despite one Continental pilot having a stick up his rudder. G-d bless you, Boston John, and happy flying wherever you are.

  • I love John. I never get tired of listening to his clips over and over. I just wish there were more. But he brightens my day when I having a downer, I just play one of the compilation clips and it puts me in a better mood.

  • Some – no, correction: nearly all – ATC controllers are very good, but there are some who are absolutely brilliant.
    I remember a controller at Lagos, Nigeria (DNLL) in the early ‘eighties.
    We were operating a Lear 25D. Great ship to fly but it was a straight jet and needed to cruise at high altitude. In those days, Lagos did not have functioning radar. Yet, this controller always managed to guide us through layers of lower traffic. On departure, we were quickly above FL 250: initially to the south and making a 180 turn after the OM, we always managed to cross the LOS VOR north of the airport at or above FL 250. Even at MTOW in the tropics we could count on a climb rate of 8000 fpm or better.
    Returning was trickier but even so, he managed to get us down from FL 370. Again, faultlessly guiding us through levels occupied below us.
    And the man had courage. It must be noted that in many African countries, if the President travels, everything stops. Even on the road.
    Usually, the early morning around 07:00 was peak time. Arrivals, most of them from the north coincided with departures.
    One morning, again in the morning rush many flights were asking for start-up and given a delay. One aircraft, having called a few times demanding start-up clearance, impatiently added: “We have the President on board”.
    The controller’s reply was: “He is the man we want to delay most” and continued to explain that due to government inaction the brand-new ATC radar had been sitting idle in the crate in which it had been delivered a long time before. And still was awaiting installation.
    I never knew the controller’s name but for me he was one of the most outstanding ATC controllers.
    In the 1970s at Schiphol Amsterdam (EHAM) a particularly excellent controller was a man called Hans Vorhauer. He never lost his patience and did not just deliver, but nearly sang his clearances.
    The controllers at Schiphol Airport, if not every one then certainly a good many, could greet pilots in nearly every language. OK, it did not go much beyond their version of “good morning” or “hello”, but even so…
    I remember a conversation between an arriving KLM flight, probably from somewhere in Scandinavia. It went along the following lines:
    “KLM … may we keep up the speed?”
    ATC: “Speed is all yours”
    KLM: “250 knots okay?”
    ATC: “Can you increase 280?”
    KLM: “What ? to eighty?”
    ATC: “Can you increase to two eight zero knots?”
    KLM: “Affirmative”
    ATC: “Increase two eight zero knots and maintain as long as possible, we will put you number one”.
    KLM: “Thanks, 280 it is”
    ATC: “Fold the ears in the neck, keep up the speed as long as possible, reduce when out of 140 descending, direct to WP, cleared ILS 27, QNH …., report established”.

    The old Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam is just a few miles north of the centreline of runway 27. One bright day there was some activity in the stadium and above it. The activity in the stadium was probably a sporting event, overhead was a swarm of banner-towing aircraft. They were close to the outer marker and all instructed to stay at 1200 feet and no further south than the stadium.
    A very British pilot calls ATC:
    Pilot: “Schiphol, beeline …”
    ATC: “Beeline … Schiphol tower, go ahead”
    Pilot (with a very upper-class accent):
    “Schiphol, beeline … I see quite a few light aircraft quite close to my approach path. Is that normal here?”
    ATC: “Beeline … Schiphol, affirmative, that is quite normal. I know all about them and they are clear to continue”.
    In those days, light aircraft did not have transponders.

    Owner of a brand-new Reims Rocket (French-built version of the C 172) flying into the Schiphol CTR:
    “PH-… I am transponder equipped.”
    ATC: “That is nice”.
    No “squawk” was issued to the Rocket.

    Piper Super Cub on a ferry from Hilversum (EHHV) to Schiphol (EHAM) for maintenance in the Martinair hangar at Schiphol-East. The wind was very strong, over 35 kts on the ground. The aircraft could land but not taxi. Assistance had been asked from Martinair who were supposed to send over a few mechanics to hold the wingtips and tail.
    It took a long time for them to arrive. The pilot held the brakes with the stick full back but every wind gust lifted the aircraft and moved it back a bit. The pilot (me) had to add power to maintain position and decided it was better to extend the flaps and “hover” off the runway.
    The aircraft was airborne a few feet over the taxiway, cautiously “crabbing” sideways when ATC came in:
    “PH-MA. your landing time was ….. call ground on 121.8”
    “MA. I am still airborne”.
    A short silence after which I was ordered in no uncertain terms to put the PA18 on the ground and taxi to the hangar.
    “MA.., unable due to strong wind, I requested ground handling assistance but they did not turn up”.
    I do not know what was said by ATC when they called the hangar, but the ground crew arrived very shortly afterwards.

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