During the late 1970s, a Royal Air Force "Belfast" strategic freighter approached on final to Chicago O'Hare. (What's a Belfast? Read on!) Callsign: "Ascot 1234."
"Chicago tower, Ascot 1234."
"Ascot, say your aircraft type."
"Ascot 1234 is a Belfast."
"Uhhh, what in heck's a Belfast, Ascot?"
"It's a big 4-turboprop freighter — bit like a pretty C-132."
"O.K., Ascot, you're cleared to continue behind the landing 737. Do you have that visual?"
"Ascot 1234, affirmative to continue."
"Chicago Tower, this is United 123."
"United 123 Chicago, you're cleared to continue behind the landing Belfast."
"The landing what?"
"United 123, don't you know a Belfast when you see one?"
Chicago (and United) could be forgiven for not knowing what in heck a Belfast was: Only 10 were ever built. But we (53 Squadron, Royal Air Force) flew them all round the world, and we loved 'em ... .
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