JFK Tower: Our Favorite ATC Audio Clips

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Written by: Jason Rabinowitz
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The air traffic control radio waves can be hectic at times, and New York’s JFK Airport has more than its fair share of interesting ATC recordings. From tower controllers playing comedian, to foreign pilots not quite understanding their directions perfectly, the frequencies at JFK can be quite entertaining and at times, scary. Here is a selection of our favorite recordings:

The first video might be the funniest transmission ever at JFK, with the controller predicting the transmission would end up on YouTube. He was right.

Next up, we have a series of communications between the JFK Tower and an Air China flight on its way to the gate. The Air China pilots seem to have some trouble understanding a few directions and questions.

During rush hour, the runways and taxiways at JFK become extremely busy. While the ground controllers do the best they can, sometimes things get a little crazy. “You can’t just do….you can’t just do that!”

In September of 2012, a bomb threat was phoned in, concerning an American and Finnair flight. This is the communications between the JFK tower and the American pilot as the pilot tries to figure out what is going on.

On occasion, aircraft movements don’t happen quite as quickly as the controllers would like, and things get a little heated! “Exit the runway!”

A JFK tower controller tells a pilot why he thinks some pilots have trouble with instructoons after landing.

Every now and again, JFK is invaded by the local wilflife. Pilots and controllers make the best of the situation, and sometimes a funny line or two ends up on the radio.

Do you have any other favorites? Chime in with a comment below! All of the preceding videos, and many many more, can be found on the YouTube page of Daniel Mori.


This article was originally posted in July 2013.

About the Author

Jason Rabinowitz



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