Thursday, February 23, 2006

Monday, February 20, 2006

Funny air traffic controllers quotes

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

“TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees.” “Centre, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?” “Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?”

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!”

Control tower to a 747: “United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o’clock, three miles, Eastbound.” United 239: “Approach, I’ve always wanted to say this…. I’ve got the little Fokker in sight.”

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

A military pilot called for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter was running “a bit peaked.” Air Traffic Control told the fighter pilot that he was number two, behind a B-52 that had one engine shut down. “Ah,” the fighter pilot remarked, “The dreaded seven-engine approach.”

Allegedly, 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.”

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?” Continental 635: “Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern… we’ve already notified our caterers.”

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.”

Allegedly the German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They, it is alleged, 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.”

Allegedly, 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?” 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?”

Saturday, February 18, 2006

One-Armed Man Fined For Taking Too Long To Unload Luggage At Airport

AUSTRALIA-- A one-armed man who took too long to unload luggage at Melbourne airport was given a parking ticket.

Now the airport authority has threatened to take him to court if he doesn't pay the fine.

Stephen McKenzie-McHarg was told by an airport parking officer he could park in a bus zone to help his family with their bags if he was quick.

But while his motor was still running, and he was struggling with the luggage, another parking inspector wrote him a ticket.

"I've been without an arm since I was 21. (Now) I'm 54 and used to physical work, but I knew I was in trouble," he said this week.

"I said to the first inspector, 'I've travelled five hours from the country and I've got two women to pick up with six big suitcases'. The head man said, 'Be quick'."

"I wasn't 30 seconds, but the next little fella threw the book at me."

Mr McKenzie-McHarg said the car was never out of his sight while he helped with his wife and daughter's bags.

His family had just returned from America.

"He's saying, 'Get going, get going'. I said, 'Why don't you give me a hand?' Then he said, 'I'm going to book you'."

Mr McKenzie-McHarg wrote a letter challenging the $66 fine, but without success. Melbourne airport then threatened to take him to court.

Mr McKenzie-McHarg has vowed to fight his case in court.

"I'm fighting it on principle. I feel very much discriminated against," he said.

"Australians are supposed to be compassionate, helpful people and the ones I know are.

"I'd like them to apologise and change their ways. Next time the fellow might have just one leg."

The fine fiasco follows outrage over Qantas's treatment of disabled passengers wanting to use their wheelchairs outside terminals.

Melbourne airport spokeswoman Brooke Lord said a strict policy was necessary because of terrorism fears and Federal Government requirements.

Their legal department was looking at Mr McKenzie-McHarg's case, but she could not say whether the charges would be pursued.

The incident occurred on June 1 last year.

Mr McKenzie-McHarg has hired a solicitor but is in a legal limbo after receiving contradictory advice from the airport on whether the fine is being taken to court.
Two years probation for laser prank on US jet

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New Jersey man was sentenced to two years probation on Friday after he pleaded guilty to interfering with pilots of an aircraft by shining a hand-held laser into the cockpit of a private jet.

David Banach, 39, had originally blamed the prank on his 7-year-old daughter before pleading guilt to the charge of interference with pilots of a passenger aircraft -- a Patriot Act offense that carries a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Banach, a married father of three young daughters, aimed a green laser beam at a chartered Cessna jet carrying six passengers from Boca Raton, Fla., to New Jersey's Teterboro Airport on December 29, 2004.

The laser flashes distracted the pilot and co-pilot, causing a temporary loss of vision, according to prosecutors.

U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie said he had not opposed the defense's request for a sentence that did not include prison time.

"At no time did we believe that Mr. Banach was involved in terrorism or that he should face a maximum penalty of 20 years in a federal prison," Christie said in a statement.

"Nonetheless, his conduct posed an immediate threat to innocent lives on an aircraft landing at Teterboro Airport."

Two days after the incident, the pilot of the plane joined law enforcement agents in a helicopter to identify the general location of the laser incident.

While circling the area, the helicopter was struck with a laser beam similar to the one in the first incident.

Agents turned a power spotlight onto the house where the laser beam emanated from and law enforcement officers on the ground moved in on Banach's house.

At first he blamed his daughter but after a lie detector test and further questioning, Banach admitted he had directed the laser at both the helicopter and the plane.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Drug Smuggling Air Marshals?

The arrest of a pair of agents on possible cocaine charges raises new concerns about the aviation security program...

For a law enforcement agency that works hard to be invisible, the Federal Air Marshals have been generating a lot of attention lately. On Thursday, two of the agency's several thousand highly trained traveling armed guards were taken into custody in Houston. Although the US Attorney's office would not comment beyond acknowledging that the Air Marshals were arrested by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General's office, Government sources tell TIME that the two Air Marshals, are allegedly involved with the possession or transportation of cocaine, and may have been paid several thousand dollars to move the drugs.

The marshals, one of whom is a former agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration, will likely appear in court to face criminal charges next week, and will almost certainly be suspended.

The incident comes only two months after two marshals shot and killed a man who claimed—falsely, as it turned out—to have a bomb while boarding an airplane in Miami. Although the official results of an investigation will not be complete until late spring, it is expected to conclude that the agents acted appropriately in their dealings with the passenger.

The arrest in Houston is a shock to an agency that plays an important role in aviation security. Although there have been air marshals flying for decades, on Sept. 11, 2001, the numbers had dwindled to only three dozen agents. After the attacks, the agency was drastically increased in size and many agents were drafted from other law enforcement agencies and local police departments.

New agents were-and are—subject to security screening and background checks similar to other federal law enforcement agencies, which are required to be updated only every five years.

Critics said the rush to expand allowed too many inexperienced men and women into the service, and there were reports of marshals clashing with airline personnel or other law enforcement agents. Aviation sources say the agency has spent the last few years weeding out poor performers, but the arrest of the two agents in Houston is sure to further stoke those concerns.

US pilot suspected of drinking, arrested in Britain

An American Airlines pilot was arrested in Britain on Saturday on suspicion of being drunk before a scheduled flight to Chicago, the airline said.

A statement by the world's No. 1 airline said the crew member was a relief pilot on the Boeing 767-300 with 198 passengers, meaning he was a backup to the captain and first officer. The crew member was not identified.

He was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol after reporting for duty at Manchester airport, the carrier said. A court appearance was scheduled for Monday.

American said in a statement it was investigating and would not provide additional details.

"Our primary concern is for the safety and comfort of our passengers and crews," the airline said. "American Airlines has strict policies on alcohol and substance abuse and holds its employees to the highest standards."

Flight 55 was due to arrive in Chicago shortly after 4 p.m. local time, three hours late. The plane was scheduled to stop in New York to supplement the crew.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Woman Carrying Human Head Arrested in Fla.

Airport baggage screeners found a human head with teeth, hair and skin in the luggage of a woman who said she intended to ward off evil spirits with it, authorities said Friday.

Myrlene Severe, 30, a Haitian-born permanent U.S. resident, was charged Friday with smuggling a human head into the U.S. without proper documentation.

Customs and Border Protection officials found the head Thursday, after Severe arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on a Lynx International Airlines flight from Cap Haitien, Haiti, said Barbara Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Miami.

"It still had teeth, hair and bits of skin and lots of dirt," Gonzalez said.

Severe told authorities she had obtained the package in Haiti for "use as a part of her voodoo beliefs," ICE Special Agent Erick Hernandez wrote in an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint.

"Severe also stated that the purpose of the package was to ward off evil spirits," Hernandez wrote.

Severe, who also was charged with failing to declare the head and transporting hazardous material in air commerce, faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted of all charges, prosecutors said.

Severe remained held Friday in lieu of a $100,000 bond. She is due back in federal court March 2.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Man Apparently Kills Himself on Plane

A man apparently hanged himself in an airplane lavatory during a flight that was diverted to Denver after his body was discovered, police said.

Denver medical examiner's spokeswoman Michelle Weiss-Samaras said an autopsy was planned for the body of Gerald Georgettis, 56, of Miami, which was found Wednesday on a United Airlines flight from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles.

"Right now, everything leads us to believe the male involved did commit suicide," police Detective Virginia Lopez said. No other passengers were ever in danger, she added.

A man with the same name and age was charged with arson and felony criminal mischief in Miami after a fire caused nearly $1 million in damage at a Ford dealership on Saturday. Weiss-Samaras and Miami-Dade County police could not confirm it was the same man.

The arson suspect was accused of driving his new Ford through the dealership showroom, pouring gasoline on it and lighting it. Police have said he was upset about the price.