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Illustrated technical information covering Vol 2 Over 800 multi-choice systems questions Study notes and technical information Close up photos of internal and external components A compilation of links to major 737 news stories with a downloadable archive Illustrated history and description of all variants of 737 Detailed tech specs of every series of 737 Databases and reports of all the major 737 accidents & incidents General flightdeck views of each generation of 737's Description & news reports of Advanced Blended Winglets Press reports of orders and deliveries Articles from the press and official sources following the troubled history of the rudder PCU Details about 737 production methods A compilation of links to other sites with useful 737 content Get the book of the website A quick concise overview of the pages on this site

Enjoy...

 

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*** Updated 15 Oct 2014 ***

 

A plane was taking off from Kennedy Airport. After it reached a comfortable cruising altitude, the captain made an announcement over the intercom, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking.  Welcome to Flight Number 293, nonstop from New York to Los Angeles. The weather ahead is good and therefore we should have a smooth and uneventful flight. Now sit back and relax -- OH MY GOD!" Silence followed and after a few minutes, the Captain came back on the intercom and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm so sorry if I scared you earlier, but while I was talking, the flight attendant brought me a cup of coffee and spilt it in my lap. You should see the front of my pants! A passenger in Coach said, "That's nothing, he should see the back of mine!"

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Basic Flying Rules:
1. Try to stay in the middle of the air.
2. Do not go near the edges of it.
3. The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea, trees and interstellar space. It is much more difficult to fly there.

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A welcome to a new co-pilot from an old captain:
Son, your wife's legs have more time in the air than you do.

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Unknown landing signal officer to carrier pilot after his 6th unsuccessful landing (bolter): You've got to land here, son. This is where the food is.

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LH741: "Tower, give me a rough time-check!"
Tower: "It's Tuesday, Sir."

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Tower: Have you got enough fuel or not?
Pilot: Yes.
Tower: Yes what??
Pilot: Yes, SIR!

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Pilot: "...Tower, please call me a fuel truck."
Tower: "Roger. You are a fuel truck."

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Tower: "Phantom-Formation crossing control zone without clearance, state your call-sign !"
Pilot: "I'm not silly..."

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Tower (in Stuttgart): "Lufthansa 5680, reduce to 170knots."
Pilot: "This is here like Frankfurt. There is also only 210 and170 knots...But we are flexible."
Tower: "We too. Reduce to 173 knots."

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Pilot: "Ground, XY-line 195, requesting start-up."
Tower: "Sorry, XY-line 195, we don't have your flight plan. What is your destination ?"
Pilot: "To Leipzig, like every Monday."
Tower: "But today is Tuesday!"
Pilot: "WHAT? But Tuesday we are off !"

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Tower: "Hawk 20, is this the same aircraft declaring emergency about two hours ago ?"
Pilot: "Negative, Sir. It's only the same pilot."

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Tower: "Delta Fox Alpha, hold position, Marshall will park you."
Pilot: "Roger. Looking out for John Wayne."

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Tower: You have traffic at 10 o'clock,6 miles!
Pilot: Give us another hint, we have digital watches!

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Tower: Mission 123, do you have problems?
Pilot: I think, I have lost my compass.
Tower: Judging the way you are flying, you lost the whole instrument panel!

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Pilot: Good morning, Frankfurt ground, KLM 242 request start up and push back, please.
Tower: KLM 242 expect start up in two hours.
Pilot: Please confirm: two hours delay?
Tower: Affirmative.
Pilot: In that case, cancel the good morning!

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Eggenfelden Info : D-EXXX please report persons aboard.
D-EXXX (C-172) : Pilot and two pax and one dog.
Eggenfelden Info (after Cessna finally bounced to stop): Assume the Pilot in Command was the dog ?

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Tower: "Height and position?"
Pilot: "I am 1,80 m and I'm sitting.

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On a very quiet night:
Pilot: "Fark I'm bored"
Tower: "Would the aircraft reporting boredom please identify your self"
Pilot: "I said I was farking bored, not farking stupid"

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I over heard this while on ground control in MIA.
VIRGIN Flt: "Every time I come to MIA you women controllers give us a hard time."
ATC: "For the nine years I have been a controller, I have never had a problem handling a VIRGIN."

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A young and stupid pilot wanted to sound cool on the aviation frequencies.
So, this one time he was approaching a field during the night time.
Instead of making any official requests to the tower, he said: "Guess who?"
The controller switched the field lights off and replied: "Guess where!"

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Ground Control: "123DG, bear to the left, disabled aircraft on the right."
Pilot: "123DG, Roger, I have the disabled aircraft in sight, but I don't see the bear yet."

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A female pilot at Sydney's Bankstown airport was in a hurry to get airborne, she made the following request: "Bankstown Tower Cessna ABC requests an intersexual departure runway 29R."
Almost straight away ATC reply: "ABC, The full length is available."

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ATC: Piper N 4444D, traffic at your 2o'clock, 500 ft below you.
Piper N4444D: Well, we see a light coming towards us ... ATC: Look again - there's probably a plane behind that light.

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ATC: "N123YZ, say altitude."
N123YZ: "ALTITUDE!"
ATC: "N123YZ, say airspeed."
N123YZ: "AIRSPEED!"
ATC: "N123YZ, say cancel IFR."
N123YZ: "Eight thousand feet, one hundred fifty knots indicated."

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Lady Radar Controller: "Can I turn you on at 7 miles?"
Airline Captain: "Madam, you can try."

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Tower: "Airline XXX, it looks like one of your baggage doors is open."
Captain (after quickly scanning the FE panel): "Ah, thanks tower, but you must be looking at our APU door."
Tower: "Okay, Airline XXX, cleared for takeoff."
Captain: "Cleared for takeoff, Airline XXX."
Tower, during the takeoff roll: "Airline XXX, ahh ... it appears that your APU is leaking luggage..."

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The crew of a US airliner made a wrong turn during taxi and came nose to nose with another aircraft, the furious ground controller (a female) screamed: "[Callsign] where are you going? I told you to turn right on 'Charlie' taxiway; you turned right on 'Delta'. Stop right there" Continuing her verbal lashing of the embarrassed crew, she shouted: "You've screwed everything up. It'll take forever to sort this out. You stay right there and don't move until I tell you to. You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about a half hour and I want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you. You got that?"
Naturally, the frequency went very quiet until an unknown male pilot broke the silence and asked: "Wasn't I married to you once?"

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A DC-10 had an exceedingly long roll out after landing with his approach speed just a little too high.

 San Jose Tower: "American 751 heavy, turn right at the end, if able. If not able, take the Guadeloupe exit off of Highway 101 and make a right at the light to return to the airport."

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It was a really nice day, right about dusk, and a Piper Malibu was being vectored into a long line of airliners in order to land at Kansas City.

 KC Approach: "Malibu three-two-Charlie, you're following a 727, one o'clock and three miles."

 Three-two-Charlie: "We've got him.  We'll follow  him."

 KC Approach: "Delta 105, your traffic to follow is a Malibu, eleven o'clock and three miles.  Do you have that traffic?"

 Delta 105 (long pause and then in a thick southern drawl): "Well...we've got something down there.  Can't quite tell if it's a Malibu or a Chevelle, though."

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Tower: "Eastern 702, contact  Departure on 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 take-off; did you copy the report from Eastern?"

 Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff roger; and roger, we copied Eastern and we've already notified our caterers."

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O'Hare Approach Control:  "United 329 Heavy, your traffic is a Fokker F-27, one o'clock,3 miles, eastbound."

 United 329: "Approach, I've always wanted to say  this...  I've got that Fokker in sight."

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The German air controllers at  Frankfurt Airport are 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") after landing:

 Speedbird 206: "Top of the morning Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of the active runway."

 Ground: "Guten morgen!  You will taxi to your  gate!"

 The big British Airways 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 a moment ground, I'm looking up our gate location now."

 Ground (with some arrogant  impatience): "Speedbird 206, you have never flown to Frankfurt before?!?"

 Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, I have, in 1944. In  another type of Boeing... but I didn't stop."

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I was a Pan Am 727 Flight Engineer waiting for start clearance in Munich, Germany. I was listening to the radio since I was the  junior crew member.  This was the conversation I overheard:
 Lufthansa (In German):  "Ground, what is our start clearance time?"

Ground (In English):  "If you want an answer you must speak English."

Lufthansa (In English):  "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak  English?"

Beautiful English Accent (before ground could answer):  "Because you lost the bloody war!"


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More from our "Don't get wise with us" file:

A United Airlines 747 captain tries to make light banter with Sydney, Australia, Approach Control ...

Captain: "Good morning, Sydney, this is United XXX, we're 50 miles out and have your island in sight ..."

Approach: "Roger, United ... you're cleared to circle the island twice, then it's okay to land."


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A man is sitting in a plane which is about to takeoff, when another man with a dog occupies the empty seats alongside.  The dog is sat in the middle, and the first man is looking quizzically at the dog when the second man explains that they work for the airline.

The airline rep said "Don't mind Rover, he is a sniffer dog, the best there is, I'll show you once we get airborne and I set him to work."

The plane takes off and levels out when the handler says to the first man, "Watch this." He tells the dog, "Rover, search." The dog jumps down, walks along the aisle and sits next to a woman for a few seconds. It then returns to its seat and puts one paw on the handler's arm. He says "Good boy." He turns to the first man and says, "That woman is in possession of marijuana, so I'm making a note of this, and the seat number, for the police who will apprehend her upon arrival." "Fantastic!" replies the first man.

Once again he sends the dog to search the aisles. The dog sniffs about, sits down beside a man for a few seconds, returns to its seat and places both paws on the handler's arm. The airline rep says, "That man is carrying cocaine, so again, I'm making a note of this, and the seat number." "I like it!" says the first man.

Once again he sends the dog to search the aisles. Rover goes up and down the plane aisle, and after a while sits down next to someone, and then comes racing back and jumps up onto the seat and craps all over the place. The first man is surprised and disgusted by this, and asks "What the heck is going on?" The handler nervously replies "He just found a bomb!"

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A beautiful young blonde woman boards a plane to New York with a ticket for the economy section. She looks at the seats in economy and then looks into the forward cabin at the first-class seats. Seeing that the first-class seats appear to be much larger and more comfortable, she moves forward to the last empty seat in first class. The flight attendant checks her ticket and tells the woman that her the seat is in economy. The blonde replies, "I'm young and beautiful, and have never had this problem before. I'm going to sit here all the way, until we get to New York." Flustered, the flight attendant goes to the cockpit and informs the Captain of the blonde problem. The captain goes back and tells the woman that her assigned seat is in economy. Again, the blonde replies, in exactly the same way.The captain doesn't want to cause a commotion, and so returns to the cockpit to discuss the blonde problem with the Co-pilot. The Co-pilot says that he has a blonde girlfriend, and that he can take care of the problem. He then goes back and briefly whispers something in the blonde's ear. She immediately gets up, says "Thank you so much, now I understand". She hugs the Co-pilot, and rushes back to her seat in the economy section. The pilot and flight attendant, who were watching with rapt attention, asked  the Co-pilot what he had said to the woman. He replies, "I just told her that the first class section isn't going to New York."

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The Balair charter flight home had been a long one.  The passengers had got a bit bored over the second half and cockpit visits were taking place.After a while the crew were getting tired of this, so when the steward asked for "just one more", the captain told him to show  the passenger the cockpit himself and then they were going to descend.As they went through the plates, the crew heard something like, "So this is the captain on the left - the sexual adviser on the right and the flight engineer here behind.  Now, these instruments in the middle are.." "excuse me, what did you say the man on the right was?" asked the passenger. "The sexual adviser." answered the steward "Now - these levers here are......" "I am sorry to interrupt again" said the pax but do mean to tell me that you carry a sexual adviser on your crews?"  The steward looked blankly at him. "Well I presumed so!" he answered - "At least, every time he opens his mouth, the captain says 'When I need your Fucking Advice, I'll ask you for it!

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Once upon a time BA and Virgin decided to have a boat race on the Thames. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach peak performance. On the big day they were as ready as could be and Virgin won by a length. BA were discouraged and senior management set up a project to investigate the problem. Its conclusion was that the Virgin team had 8 people rowing and one person steering. The BA team had one person rowing and eight people steering. Senior management immediately hired consultants to study team performance. Millions of pounds were spent and several months later they concluded that there were too many people steering and not enough rowing. The following year the team structure was changed to 4 steering managers, 3 senior steering managers and one executive steering manager. A performance/appraisal system was set up to give the rower more incentive to work harder and become a key performer. They concluded he must be given empowerment and enrichment. The next year the big day arrived and Virgin duly won. BA laid off the rower for poor performance, sold off the paddles, cancelled capital investment and halted development of the new boat. Then they gave high performance awards to the consultants and distributed the money saved among senior management.

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Royalty

The plane's cabin was being served by an obviously gay flight attendant, who was just as obviously enjoying himself.

He came swishing down the aisle and said to the man and the woman seated beside him, "Captain Marvey has asked me to announce that he'll be landing the big scary plane shortly, lovely people, so if you could just put up your trays that would be super."

On his trip back up the aisle, he noticed that the woman hadn't moved a muscle. "Perhaps you didn't hear me over those big brute engines.  I asked you to raise your trazy-poo so the main man can pitty-pat us on the ground."

She calmly turned her head and said, "In my country, I am called a Princess. I take orders from no one!"

"Well, sweet cheeks, in my country, I'm called a Queen so I outrank you. Put up the tray, bitch!"


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Hear the one about the new hostie who didn't socialise and failed to turn up for transport after her first night stop? The purser went to her room and found her in floods of tears. She explained that she had been trapped in her room all night. How come? Of the three doors in her room, one led to the bathroom, one led to the wardrobe and the third had a sign on the handle saying "Do not disturb"

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Q. How do you stop a Flight Attendant from having an orgasm?

A. Press the F/A Call Button - She'll never come.

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Bud and Jim were a couple of drinking buddies who worked as airplane mechanics in Atlanta. One day the airport was fogged in and they were stuck in the hangar with nothing to do. Bud said, "Man, I wish we had
something to drink!" Jim says, "Me too. Y'know, I've heard you can drink jet fuel and get a buzz. You wanna try it?" So they pour themselves a couple of glasses of high octane hooch and get completely smashed. The next morning Bud wakes up and is surprised at how good he feels, in fact he feels GREAT! NO hangover! NO bad side effects. Nothing! Then The phone rings... It's Jim. Jim says, "Hey, how do you feel this morning?" Bud says, "I feel great. How about you?" Jim says, "I feel great, too. You don't have a hangover?" Bud says, "No, that jet fuel is great stuff - no hangover, nothing. We ought to do this more often." "Yeah, well there's just one thing..." "What's that?" "Have you farted yet?" "No..."

"Well, DON'T, 'cause I'm in PHOENIX!

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A hosti was out golfing one day off when she hit her ball into the woods.

She went into the woods to look for it and found a frog in a trap. The frog said to her, "If you release me from this trap, I will grant you 3 wishes." The hosti freed the frog and the frog said, "Thank you, but I failed to mention that there was a condition to your wishes-that whatever you wish for, your captain will get 10 times more or better!" The hosti said, "That would be okay," and for her first wish, she wanted to be the most beautiful hosti in the world - beautiful enough to make people stop flying SQ. The frog warned her, "You do realize that this wish will also make your captain the most handsome pilot in the world, an Adonis, that other hosties will flock to." The hosti replied, "That will be okay because I will be the most beautiful hosti and he will only have eyes for me." So, KAZAM - she's the most beautiful hosti in the world! For her second wish, she wanted to be the richest hosti in the world. The frog said, "That will make your captain the richest pilot in the world and he will be ten times richer than you." The hosti said, "That will be okay because I'm such a devoted hosti that what is mine is my captain's and what is my captain's is mine." So, KAZAM she's the richest hosti in the world! The frog then inquired about her third wish, and she answered, I'd like a mild heart attack." Moral of the story : Hosties are clever bitches. Don't **** with them

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Did you hear about the Australian Capt.. and his British FO who arrived at the pearly gates ? St Peter processed them in and told them to go to the next room along and pick up their clocks. "Clocks ?" asked the FO - "Yes, you get a nice carriage clock as a souvenir of your time on Earth" replied St Peter. So they go into the clock room, and the FO picks up the clock with his name on it, which has stopped at the time he died. He notices that other clocks are still going, and the hands on some occasionally jump 15 minutes at a time. He asks St Peter why, and is told a little known fact, that when someone masturbates, it actually takes 15 minutes off their life so the hands of the clock move round accordingly. The Capt. is having a hard time locating his clock when St. Peter slaps his head and says "I'm sorry, I should have told you we keep Australian's clocks in a different room - we find they make excellent ceiling fans.."

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So the BirdSeed 747 is inbound to LHR after a looooong all-nighter. The effoh is rubbing his neck and looking miserable. The ever so senior Captain asks what the matter is. The effoh reports that his neck is hurting after such a long time in the seat. The Captain obviously related to this, and said "Ah yes my boy - I often get the same trouble. I have my own way of dealing with it - works every time." Effoh - "Pray sire - tell me your cure" Captain - "Well lad, I get in the Beemer, and while I am driving home I call the old girl, tell her to get the hot-tub ready, and fix me a huge Bloody Mary, and to get in the best lingerie that I have bought her. Then I get home, wallow in the tub, have my drink, and then I get out and bonk her rotten, then sleeping with my head using her huge bosoms for a pillow. You should try that!" A couple of weeks later they are flying again, and the Captain remembers the conversation. "Well lad - did you try my cure for neck pain?" Effoh - "Yes sir!" Captain - "And what did you think?" Effoh - "Well sir, everything went just as you suggested. I have to say you have a lovely hot-tub!"

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Okay then, a new one. Well, new to me anyway. This unemployed CPL is looking for work when he gets a call from the Malaysian government. "We've got a problem with fires and smoke and stuff, hows about you come out and fly our Pawnees? All the flying you want, loads of free food and beer, good girls and best of all, money!!". So the chap thinks it over and then jumps on the nearest Virgin and off he goes. Time passes. About three weeks later he's told to take the Pawnee away for a break and a 500 hour check (500 hours in 3 weeks being about right there). On the way he is overcome with tiredness and has to land in a field of grass. Except that's it's rice and rather wet. He gets out of the plane and lies on the wing, oblivious to his surroundings. Suddenly, out of the distance comes a big white Toyota land Cruiser, and in it is an 18 year old beauty. Blonde hair, blue eyes, nice white clothes etc. fantasy etc. The girl insists our hero join her in the farm house, away from the field and the snakes etc. On the way she tells him her dad is away and she's alone on her own in the house. At length, hero goes to bed, only to be disturbed a while later by a knock on the door. "it's me " the girl squeals, "I'm lonely" Our hero says to go away - he being a brave pilot type and scared of her dad. "No, let me in " she insists "My dad would want it". Our boy has to relent and he lets her in - she is wearing very little, nice see through nighty, good body etc. fantasy etc. She gets in beside him and he turns away, as a gesture of gentlemanliness. "Come here" she pleads "I haven't seen a naked man before". "No" he insists "go to sleep, I'm a professional and I'm tired" "Please" she says, "if you don't I'll tell dad you made me!" so, in deference to a failed situation, our hero rolls over the girl... and falls off the wing of the Pawnee and into the paddy field!

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One fine and glorious morning, Capt. Heavy about to enjoy his days off, leans over his bed and kisses his wife on the cheek. Slapping her firmly on the bottom, he says "I'm off to the Links to play 9 holes." "Promise me you'll only play 9!" she demands. "Absolutely, my love." he assures her. Meeting up with his mates at the local course they head out to the first tee. Just past midday our golfers show up at the clubhouse for a few pints. Things get a little carried away and after a couple of beers this gaggle of buxom young ladies turn up . As luck would have it, our Captain hits it off with this young, blonde-haired, blue-eyed sweetheart and before you know it she's inviting him back to her place for some snoggin'. A wild and passionate afternoon unfolds and they eventually fall asleep in one another's arms. Later, he jumps out of bed and looks at his watch. "Oh my GAWD!!! It's four thirty!!!" "Gotta run love" he tells her and shoots out the door struggling to get dressed. Driving home, he can't quite come up with a believable story' for his wife. "What am I going to tell her?" he asks himself. "Stuff it. We've been married to long for stories. I'll just tell her the truth and hope she understands." Shooting through the front door, his wife immediately demands, "Where have you been?" "Sweetheart, I think you should sit down. At first I thought I'd just make something up but we've been together so long I've decided to simply tell you straight out what happened." "I'm listening" she says. "Well, I met up with the boys for 9 holes and we finished just after midday. After that we went into the clubhouse for a couple of beers where I met this gorgeous young blonde who invited me back to her place for a wild afternoon of lovemaking. After which we fell asleep. It wasn't till late in the day I awoke and realized the time. I'm soooooo sorry my darling. Can you ever forgive me?" She sat back in her chair and looked him straight in the eye and said, "You lying bastard. You played 18 holes. Didn't you?"

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It seems a 727 crew had a bad day out and the poor buggers slogged into a paddy and bit the big one. The Captain F/O and S/O were, subsequent to the crash, walking up to the pearly gates to discuss their fate with the Guardian At the Gate. The Captain, being from the old school and not well versed in CRM told his mates to wait where they were for a blink while he sorted things out with the angel at the gate. The captain, discusses the situation for awhile and comes back to the two and tells them that he's got a little good news and a little bad news. The F/O and S/O both insist on the bad news first. "Well" he says, "the bad news is that any extra marital affairs we have had bar our entry into paradise." The F/O and the S/O start to walk away quite upset and wondering what an eternity in Hades is going to be like. The captain says "wait a minute mates don't you want to hear the good news?" "Layovers, don't count."

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Seems this poor sod Crashes his jet and is sent to hell straight away. Upon reaching Hades he is met by Lucifer himself who places him in a circular room with three doors. Satan tells our poor friend that he has to choose his particular hell from whats behind door 1 or door 2. And being a kind and decent sort the devil says that he may even peek into each door. Well, the first door is continuous SIM for eternity with some crank of an instructor and multiple unrelated emergencies. Behind the second door he sees himself repeating a horrific crash over and over for eternity. Either choice not very appealing. The devil says that he will be right back and our pilot friend has 5 minutes to make up his mind. Curious about door number 3 he takes a peek and sees a 47 captain he once knew engaged in various unnatural sex acts with a bevy of gorgeous women. The devil comes back and asks if he has made up his mind. He replies that he has and that he would like what is behind door number 3. The devil says oh, you can't have that....that's flight attendant hell.

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What does a BA Captains wife do to her arsehole before having sex? - Drop him off at the airport!

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Our heavy Commander on his last flight before retirement was not looking forward to hanging up his hat. Quite depressed upon arriving at the hotel one of the more lovely stews asks him if he would like to end his career with a bang, nudge, nudge. Our Commander wastes no time and joins the young lady in her room. After our intrepid Commander is done the young lady exclaims "Captain that was the best I've ever had, do you think you could manage to do that again?". "Certainly my dear, just hold it with both hands and wake me in 15 min." was his reply. While thinking this is odd she does as requested and 15 min. later they're at it again. Once more our Hostie is amazed by her Captain's performance and asks if he could possibly manage one more go. "Certainly my dear, hold it with both hands and wake me in 15 min.". Again thinking this odd she goes through the same routine. Now after a couple more romps she finally asks," Captain does my holding on to your wedding tackle somehow give you extra energy ?". " No", said the Captain ,"but the last hostie I shagged stole my wallet."

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Heard this one the other day: a BA flight, a gorgeous female pax asks to sit in the jump seat for landing. After arrival, she stands up and leaves.
As soon as the flight deck door closes, the FO takes the cushion from the jump seat, holds it to his nose and inhales deeply.
The captain is outraged. "What the hell do you think you are doing?"
"Sorry sir," says the FO. Hands the cushion to the captain. "You first!"

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Only three things my F/O should ever say:

  1. Yes sir You are right

  2. & I'll take the fat one.

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Back in the days of the 707, a transoceanic flight was well out of sight of land when there was an announcement over the PA system.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain speaking. We've just had to shut down one engine due to a malfunction. There is no reason to be alarmed as we are perfectly capable of continuing the flight on the three remaining engines, although we may be a little late arriving in New York."

There was a slight murmur from the pax, but they remained calm and the flight continued. A few hours later:-

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Captain again. Unfortunately we've had to shut down a second engine which will necessitate us descending to a lower level, and again we will lose some more time meaning we will be somewhat late arriving in New York. Sincere apologies for any inconvenience and would those with connecting flights please inform an air hostess. There is no reason to be alarmed however and we will continue onwards to New York"

There was more mutterings in the pax cabin but mostly people were reasonably calm.

Some minutes later:-

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Captain again...I'm sorry to say but we appear to have lost the third engine and we will be commencing a fairly rapid descent...please fasten your seatbelts and obey all instructions from the cabin staff, thank you."

By now the cabin was fairly noisy as people began asking what was going on. The hostesses went through the cabin checking everyone's seatbelt was fastened. Tension began to mount. Just a few more minutes went by when:-

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Captain speaking yet again...well, we have now lost all four engines and the aircraft is now gliding towards the sea for an emergency landing."
There was a slight pause, then "Passengers on the left side of the aircraft seated at window-seats will observe a small orange liferaft on the surface of the water...and I am speaking to you from that liferaft!"


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Back in the 1970s, automation was creeping into many of the systems associated with large airliners. One day after the boffins and engineers had laboured mightily for many weeks, a fully-loaded Convair 880 took off from Heathrow bound for New York. The cabin crew did the normal safety demonstration and the aircraft taxied out to the active runway, lined up and took off in the usual manner. As the Convair climbed through about 26,000 feet, an announcement came from the flight-deck:-

"Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome onboard this the first fully-automated transatlantic flight from London to New York. So advanced are the automatic systems onboard this specially-equipped Convair 880, there is no actual flight crew onboard in the flight-deck, the door to which is therefore locked. The entire flight-plan, with all imaginable contingencies, has been programmed into quadruplicated flight management computers, all backup systems are duplicated and there is a fifth, entirely separate set of automatic systems in case of any unforeseen problems. So relax, sit back, enjoy the cabin service from our excellent crew, and again we hasten to assure any of you who may feel slightly apprehensive about this flight that nothing, I repeat, absolutely nothing can go wrong...go wrong...go wrong...go wrong...go wrong..."

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