Why Planes Get Water Salutes And Other Pilot Traditions Explained

Date: 2020-01-13 11:00:11


Ever seen an airplane going through an arch of water between two fire trucks at the airport? I’d assume the aircraft is just getting a nice cleaning. But wait, why would they use firetrucks to wash an airplane? The short answer is, they don’t!

Sometimes, on very special occasions, a usually even number of firetrucks equipped with water cannons line up at the airport to greet an airplane that just landed. This “water salute” is quite a beautiful display. Let’s find out why it’s organized every now and then.

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The history of the tradition 0:45
On what occasions do they do it 1:32
Who organizes it 2:30
Other aviation traditions: cutting the shirttail after the first solo flight 3:29
Grabbing a “$100 hamburger” 4:26
Pancake breakfast fly-ins 5:10
Pre-flight rituals 5:35
No pictures outside of the plane before the flight 6:13
Never pointing at the sky before take-off 6:52
Touching the nose of the plane 7:34
Rubbing the seatbelt light before turning it on 8:03

#pilottraditions #watersalute #brightside

-Many years ago, ocean liners setting off on their first trip overseas would get showered with water cannons from fireboats and tugs.
-Water salutes are arranged to say good-bye to retiring pilots, to celebrate a new destination in the route network, to welcome a new airline to a certain airport, and to greet a plane carrying the winning national team during major sporting events like the Olympics.
-To organize a water salute, the rescue department works together with air traffic control, which gives them the exact landing time and taxiway for the flight.
-After the first solo flight, the new pilot taxies to the ramp, where their instructor is waiting to cut the tail out of their shirt.
-In pilot slang, a “hundred-dollar hamburger” means an excuse to fly somewhere for the thrill of it.
-Pilots get together at fly-ins to discuss their air adventures, fly around together, and compete in spot landing.
-Personal rituals might include listening to the same music or having the same meal. Comfort food works the same for pilots as it does for the rest of us.
-Many pilots would rather give the journalist their cap and let them take their seat for a picture than actually be in that picture themselves before the flight.
-Many pilots never point at the sky before going up since they believe it can bring bad weather.
-Not only pilots but also passengers touch the plane’s nose as a little “thank you” or “please get us there safely” ritual.
-Before they turn on the Fasten Seatbelts sign, pilots secretly rub it a little in hopes that the turbulence will pass and there will be no need to push the button.

Music by Epidemic Sound

Preview photo credit:
Deicing of the Lufthansa plane before take off on December 6, 2011 in Hamburg, Germany: By Travelview/Shutterstock.com,
Animation is created by Bright Side.

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