Air force logbook anecdotes

Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by US Air Force pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews. Pilots generally leave maintenance crews to fix problems before the next flight.

(Problem) = Problem logged by pilots.

(Solution) = Solution written in log by maintenance crew.


(Problem) Left inside main tire almost needs replacement. (Solution) Almost replaced left inside main tire.

(Problem) Test flight OK, except autoland very rough. (Solution) Autoland not installed on this aircraft.

(Problem) No.2 propeller seeping prop fluid. (Solution) No.2 propeller seepage normal - No.1, No.3 and No.4 propellers lack normal seepage.

(Problem) Something loose in cockpit. (Solution) Something tightened in cockpit.

(Problem) Evidence of leak on right main landing gear. (Solution) Evidence removed.

(Problem) DME volume unbelievably loud. (Solution) Volume set to more believable level.

(Problem) Dead bugs on windshield. (Solution) Live bugs on order.

(Problem) Autopilot in altitude hold mode produces a 200fpm descent. (Solution) Cannot reproduce problem on the ground.

(Problem) Transponder inoperative. (Solution) Transponder always inoperative in 'OFF' mode.

(Problem) Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick. (Solution) That's what they're there for.

(Problem) Number three engine missing. (Solution) Engine found on right wing after brief search.

(Problem) Aircraft handles FUNNY. (Solution) Aircraft warned to straighten up, "fly right" and be serious.

(Problem) Target radar hums. (Solution) Reprogrammed Target Radar with the words.

Overheard aircraft communications humour

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


Control Tower: "TWA 2341, for noise abatement, turn right 45 degrees." "Control, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?" Tower: "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 bored!" Ground Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!" Unknown aircraft: "I said I was bored, not stupid!"


O'Hare Approach Control 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 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."


A DC-10 came in a little fast 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 traffic lights and return to the airport."


There's a story about the military pilot calling for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter was running "a bit peaked." Air Traffic Control told the fighter jock that he was number two, behind a B-52 bomber that had one engine shut down. "Ah," the fighter pilot remarked, "The dreaded seven-engine approach."


Taxiing down the tarmac, a DC-10 abruptly stopped, turned around and returned to the gate. After an hour-long wait, it finally took off. A concerned passenger asked the flight attendant, "What, exactly, was the problem?" "The pilot was bothered by a noise he heard in an engine," explained the flight attendant. "It took us a while to find a new pilot."


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."


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 gat! e 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."


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?"


About 40 years ago, when I was learning to fly at Christchurch International in New Zealand, I was holding for take-off on the grass when I heard this exchange from the tower with a visiting farmer who was heading back to the farm.

Tower: "You're cleared for take-off - runway 29." Farmer: "Cleared for take-off; 29. Tower (a little while later) : "Bravo Chalie Alpha, nice take-off." Farmer: "Uh, thank you, tower." Tower: "Just one small thing: Next time, can you use the runway instead of the taxiway?"

I heard this on a recent trip into New York's JFK Airport: Air Carrier: "Kennedy tower, how do you read?" Kennedy Tower: "Usually from left to right."

I heard this going into Los Angeles International Airport on SoCal approach frequency:

Approach: "Airliner 123, turn right, heading 180, for spacing." Airliner 123: "Right turn, 180. Airliner 123. What's up?" Approach: "Well, our computers have the ability to suggest a specific vector to help us get the required spacing. So the computer says you gotta go south for a while." Airliner 123: "Oh. Well, our computer says that direct to the airport for the visual will work." Approach (laughing) : "Yeah, but my computer trumps your computer."

Inbound to Kennedy in the early '60s. Canarsie approach. Aircraft lined up on the inbound radial to keep 210 knots.

Controller: "American 123, what's your speed?" American 123: "210." Controller: "Scandinavian 456, what's your speed?" Scandinavian 456: "210." Controller: "Air France 789, what's your speed?" Air France 789: "210."

[Silence for a while. Then ...] Controller: "One of you is a #*@! liar!"

Heard this at John Wayne Airport recently. The airliners often like to take off from runway 1L if the wind is within their take-off limits to save fuel.

United 123: "John Wayne ground, say winds please." John Wayne Ground: "Winds are variable between 110 and 120 at 6 knots." John Wayne Ground (after a pause) : "Actually, I guess they aren't that variable, are they?"

Some of these are reproduced from Aviation Web "Short Final"