Friday, June 22, 2012

The Salute

One thing you won't see as a passenger sitting in the back that we see up at the pointy end of the jet is the salute. After the jet has been pushed back from the gate (or flagged out if you're not hooked up to a tug as in the video below) and everything is out of the way, you receive a salute from the person on the ground, officially called the "all clear salute" in our manual. This is my cue that we're clear to taxi. Working for an airline as opposed to being in the military, this may come as anything from a very smart salute to some rather inventive delivery, or sometimes a slovenly substitute. It's sort of the marshaller's (that's the Brits' spelling of it) time to manifest his (or occasionally her) personality. It may be a bit non-standard, but I wouldn't mind if the marshaller did as this British marshaller does, as he flags out Royal Air Force Tornado fighter jets. A little more dancing in life might be a good thing.

If you're wondering why the marshaller squats down at the end, that's so he isn't turned into a tumble weed and end up in a blast fence at the end of the tarmac as the twin Turbo-Union RB199 jet engines crank up to get moving.

HT: Chris Johnson

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