Aviation History

Did you know Chuck Yeager is the reason why airline pilots sound so bored when talking to passengers through PA system?

Chuck Yeager’s laconic, folksy drawl was admired and copied by pilots since the late ‘40s.

An all-too-familiar voice greeted you any time you’ve sat on a plane as you travel for the holidays.

As We Are the Mighty reports, the PA system hisses to life and you hear, “ladies and gentlemen, ehhh, good morning. Welcome aboard. This is, ehh, your, uhhh, captain speaking…” before the rest of the relevant travel information is droningly rattled off.

Every single one of the 850,000 plus pilots out there take on the exact same speech pattern and pseudo-West Virginian accent – It doesn’t matter who the pilot is, where you’re taking off from, or what the country of destination is.

Why do airline pilots sound so bored when talking to passengers through the plane’s intercom?

‘It’s mainly because of this guy,’ Tim Hibbetts, airline pilot, explains on Quora.

‘That’s Chuck Yeager, famous sound barrier pioneer. His laconic, folksy drawl was admired and copied by pilots since the late ‘40s. Before long, it became the standard pilot radio voice. Only the coolest characters could toss in a, “well… things seem to be shakin’ ‘round… lemme see what’s goin’ on a minute” and really sell it. That’s just about how things came across from Jim Lovell when his spaceship blew up!

‘Ever since he made it famous, pilots all over have taken it up (certainly others were talking on the radio like this long before and I imagine the whole panoply of RAF transmissions during the Battle of Britain was a series of mild statements of amazement). The feeling behind it for the PAs from the flight deck amount to, “if I sound bored, things must be normal and you should be very confident things are going just fine.”’

Hibbetts concludes;

‘That’s how we like it to sound, anyway.’

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force and Steve Jurvetson via Wikipedia

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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