It’s funny to hear a pilot and an air traffic control have it out‚ÄĒit’s an window into a world we don’t get to see, happening behind the scenes while we sit back in coach. It’s even funnier when the two fighting parties have great accents.
This tiff happened this past weekend, when an Aer Lingus flight (called “Shamrock 104 Heavy” in the clip) bound for Dublin took off from New York’s JFK airport. The Irish pilot was supposed to peel off to his left after takeoff and head over the ocean, but saw a storm he didn’t want to fly through and asked ATC if we could maintain his runway heading (go straight).
This is where things get interesting. The controller, through his thick New Yawk accent, basically chides the pilot for being a baby. “I have six categories of weather here. That is the lightest category,” he says, adding that nobody else has had any trouble here. But the pilot won’t budge.
Eventually, ATC allows the Aer Lingus flight to take a right. But that’s problematic. The plane can’t just take off in another direction and fly across New York City. The airspace is tightly controlled, and going roughly west or north would send the aircraft toward the region’s other two airports, Newark and Laguardia. So the Irish plane just flies circles in a holding pattern over JFK for a while.
Eventually, after more back-and-forth over the radio, the controller allows the pilot to follow some other planes on a course toward GREKI, a waypoint over Connecticut. Shamrock 104 Heavy departs, but not before signing off ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not my first day in an aircraft. I did what I had to do. Good day.‚ÄĚ