Understatements/coolness under pressure

Just came across this on"Air Crash Investigations" (Nat Geo)

Captain Eric Moody, British Airways Flight 009 to Australia (Boeing 747): Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have failed. We are doing our damnedest to start them again. We hope you are not too distressed.

They got them all restarted and landed safely. Cause was apparently volcanic ash. Any similar stories?

“Huston, we have a problem.”

The United Airlines Flight 232 that had a catastrophic tail engine failure and knocked out all hydraulic controls. They made an emergency landing at Sioux City (not their destination), steering with just throttle adjustments and unable to slow down, etc. They knew this was a grave situation. A flight trainer (Fitch) from United was on board by pure chance and assisting, and never faced anything this dire, yet…

From the cockpit recorder…

Haynes kept his sense of humor during the emergency, as recorded on the plane’s cockpit voice recorder (CVR):

Fitch: I’ll tell you what, we’ll have a beer when this is all done."[7]
Haynes: Well I don’t drink, but I’ll sure as hell have one."[7]
and later:

Sioux City Approach: United Two Thirty-Two Heavy, the wind’s currently three six zero at one one; three sixty at eleven. You’re cleared to land on any runway.[7]
Haynes: [laughter] Roger. [laughter] You want to be particular and make it a runway, huh?[7] (Haynes was alluding to the extreme difficulty in controlling the aircraft and their extremely low chances of making it to the airport at all.)[8]
A more serious remark often quoted from Haynes was made when ATC asked the crew to make a left turn to keep them clear of the city:

Haynes: Whatever you do, keep us away from the city.


Over 100 people died, but the crews efforts saved almost 200.

There was Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger of US Airways Flight 1549, who had bird strikes to both engines, simply replied that he was “unable” to divert to alternate runways, and ended his transmission to the tower with, “We’ll be in the Hudson.” If you’ve ever listened to the recordings, he’s all very matter-of-fact and cool with his responses.

Total hijack but, my grandmother was supposed to be on that flight. She stayed in Denver to hear my uncle give a sermon. You will never convince her there is no God.

Never mind.

God must have really hated those 100 people.

Quoth Emperor Hirohito, announcing Japan’s surrender in WW2: “The war situation has developed, not necessarily to Japan’s advantage”. You don’t say, old boy.


He is the first person I thought of when I saw this thread. Listen to the radio exchanges on YouTube. You’re more than 3000 feet in the air, engines have died and won’t restart, over a dense urban area, and he’s calmer than people during their morning drive! He methodically rejects suggestions of places to land, and finally chooses the river.

Said during the making of The Maltese Falcon?

Awesome username/post combo.

The problem was that they were ONLY about 3000 feet in the air.

I don’t seem to have a link to the clip any longer (YouTube? or somewhere else?), but I saw a recording from a police dash-cam that went something like this:
[Police officer is speaking to the driver of the car he’s just pulled over, who is standing behind her vehicle and in front of the police car.]
Officer: “Ma’am, I’d appreciate it if you’d move farther onto the shoulder here. I’d hate to see you get hurt if someone drifted off the road right here.”
[They keep talking, the driver has stepped a bit farther to the right, but is still between the vehicles.]
Officer: “Really ma’am, you need to move all the way over. Thank you.”
[They move fully to the right of both vehicles. As they do, a box truck drifts out of the right lane and hits the police car from behind, slamming it into the other vehicle, which is launched past the driver and the officer and on into the ditch. The driver spins and stares at the carnage, open mouthed.]
Officer (in a totally matter-of-fact tone): “See, that’s exactly what I was talking about.”

Good ones. Thanks!