Strange Note Brings Plane Back to Gate at Reagan

SJFLYER

Well-Known Member
This is classic.

Strange Note Brings Plane Back to Gate at Reagan
Updated: Thursday, Feb. 6, 2003 - 6:17 PM EST.


WASHINGTON - A bizarre note a passenger gave to a flight attendant forced a plane to return to the gate at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Thursday.
ATA Flight 295 to Chicago's Midway Airport had just pushed back and was taxiing toward the runway when a man passed the note - written on a napkin - which contained three words: fast, neat, average.

ATA spokeswoman Angela Thomas said the man asked that the note be given to the pilot, and it was. But the pilot had no idea what it meant, and a decision was made to return the plane with its 90 passengers and crew of six to the gate.

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police were waiting and took the unidentified man into custody. After several hours of questioning and background checks, he was released, an MWAA spokeswoman said.

According to Thomas, the man claims to be an Air Force Academy cadet, and said the message on his note would have been understood by an Air Force pilot. The ATA pilot does not have military experience.

Several retired and current Air Force officers, including some with experience at the Air Force Academy, said they were unfamiliar with the term or its significance.

The flight eventually left one hour 15 minutes late, and arrived in Chicago without further incident.

Because of its proximity to the nation's capital, National was the last major airport to reopen following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Although commercial service was gradually restored, general aviation remains suspended.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Note: This guy wasn't really a cadet. Just a cadet's neightbor.
 

A320_DUDE

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Yep. That's how my wife describes me in bed!


[/ QUOTE ]

Again..........Too much infomation!


Seriously.....why go back to the gate and take a hour delay for that? Just strap him in,tell the other passengers and keep going.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
I saw the same thing on the Delta ALPA forums and all of the academy grads got a kick out of it, but the rest of us didn't understand.

Inside joke, perhaps.
 

SJFLYER

Well-Known Member
"fast-neat-average" isn't a Chair Force-wide thing. Being a Navy type I asked a couple of my Chair Force pilot buddies but they had no clue. It turns out that It's an AF Academy thing. Did I mention that most academy grads are dorks.

Strange note forces Washington, D.C. plane back to gate

WASHINGTON (AP) — A cryptic note a passenger gave to a flight attendant led the pilot to return to the gate at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Thursday.

ATA Flight 295 to Chicago's Midway Airport was taxiing toward the runway when a man passed the note — written on a napkin — which contained three words: "fast, neat, average."

Airline spokeswoman Angela Thomas said the man asked that the note be given to the pilot. But the pilot had no idea what it meant.

Airport police took the man into custody, but after several hours of questioning and background checks he was released, an airport spokeswoman said. The man was not identified. The flight left one hour 15 minutes late, and arrived in Chicago without further incident.

According to Thomas, the man initially claimed to be an Air Force Academy cadet, and said the message on his note would have been understood by an Air Force pilot. The ATA pilot did not have military experience.

Air Force Academy spokesman Lt. Greg Hignite said airline officials told him the man later said he was a neighbor of a cadet who attends the academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Air Force spokesman Capt. Peter Kerr said the expression is, in fact, part of academy lore and originates from a form that cadets must fill out to rate the quality of food and service at the campus dining hall. If the meal and service are adequate, the standard responses are "fast-neat-average, friendly-good-good."

According to legend, Kerr said, the same words were used during the Vietnam War as a challenge and response during rescue attempts in which a downed pilot was an academy graduate.

Before Sept. 11, 2001, cadets and graduates on commercial flights would sometimes write "fast-neat-average" on a napkin and ask a flight attendant to give it to the cockpit crew. The code words often brought an invitation to tour the cockpit or ride in the jump seat, Kerr said.

"It's certainly a regrettable misunderstanding, but it's something that cadets would normally do," Kerr said. "It is a common practice, or at least it was."
 
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