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These Air Traffic Controllers Are Having A Bad Day


“Actually, maybe you should switch to decaf”

This video clip catches a rare behind-the-scene look at the dark side of aviation…attitude! Sure, most everyone keeps a running dialogue in the quiet of their own head of what they’d LIKE to say, but they don’t actually say it. Usually. Unfortunately, sometimes an open mic is left on, and that’s when the fun really begins! You just don’t hear pilots and air traffic controllers calling each other dreaded 4-letter words very often these days.  Here are the 3 crazy situations you’ll see in this video.

The job of a pilot and the job of an air traffic controller are both very stressful. Combined with fatigue, parks occasionally fly. In Atlanta, we hear a ground controller attempting to help out a Delta flight that is about to join the wrong taxiway. Delta responds calmly, with a voice reserved for warding off grizzlies.

One pilot complained that he happened to have a lady with him at the moment, and that he found the words of the air traffic controller offensive. The controller replied by announcing that the comments had not been about the lady, but about someone else. Of course the comments were about someone else! Nobody knew the lady was there until the pilot mentioned it. It didn’t make the already bad situation any better.

Every once in a while you get a wiseguy… and I can’t tell if the Saudi pilot ‘just not getting it’ was baiting the controller. I mean, when there are only 9 possibilities and you guess 11 times—INCORRECTLY—that has to be on purpose, right?

Bottom line is that controllers do a hell of a job to keep people safe.  Mistakes and bad days happen.  We’re just glad that these pop-offs are relatively rare.

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