Goose, It’s time to buzz the tower

March 21, 2008 by Bruce Landsberg

So said Maverick in Top Gun when he took an F-14 on a famous low-altitude, high-speed pass that landed him in Commander Viper’s office. The tower chief’s comments to Viper went something like, “One of your snot-nosed jet jockeys blew by my tower at over 400 knots. I want some butts.”

Last month a newly delivered Boeing 777 made a low pass at the Boeing factory airport in Renton,Wash. The aircraft was less than 30 feet agl and clocked above 270 knots. It was a sight to behold. Big noise, big dust, big wind, massive power—awesome! Truly a spectacle! A video immediately appeared on YouTube, and the story goes that the senior captain at the controls was fired shortly afterward. Sounds like somebody got some butts! It’s also rumored that the airline bought the video to have it removed.

Bruce Landsberg
Senior Safety Advisor, Air Safety Institute

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