Why do PLANES get WATER SALUTES? Explained by CAPTAIN JOE
100 Comments


Dear friends and followers, welcome back to my channel and to a quick video about why do you sometimes see airplanes taxiing through water fountains at airports. And how does that relate to ships and Salt Lake City International Airport and what is so different in this video right here? So let’s fire up those water pumps and let’s get started. Now maybe you’ve seen such a rare event whilst waiting at the airport terminal and an airplane is taxiing towards or from the gate in between two fire trucks which suddenly start spraying water and create an arch for the plane to taxi through. What’s up with that? In the earlier days when ocean liners were inaugurated for their first trip overseas, fire boats would line up and use their water cannons to spray an arch over or near the boat to signalize and congratulate its maiden voyage. Now the same ceremony was then performed when they arrived at ports for the first time, adding the new destination to their route network. So you see the water salute is not unique to airplanes, it’s actually the mariners who started at all. So in the 1990s, Salt Lake City International Airport started saluting retiring Delta airline pilots with a farewell water salute which then became common practice. So rumors say that’s where all the water spraying started. But there’s a little more to than just a beautiful water arch followed by a rainbow. Now to create the arch you need two very powerful aircraft rescue firefighting trucks, a taxiway wide enough to place a truck on either side of the plane, consider wind speed and direction as you do not want to drench boarding passengers at a nearby parked low-cost airline and obviously everything needs to be coordinated with ATC. Now once everything is set up, the firefighters wait for the arriving plane and listen via ATC for their signal to shoot roughly 3,000 gallons of water over the plane. Now you immediately think what a waste of water. Well, you have to see the benefit of this action now luckily firefighters only rarely have to use the water cannons of their rescue trucks and therefore it’s good practice to test the equipment now and then to ensure everything is working properly. Now all this excitement, but what for? Now, there are many occasions for a water salute or a so-called shower of affection. Now for example airlines which have added a new destination to their route network get welcomed by the airport with a water salute. Now here you can hear the KLM captain of an Airbus A330 addressing his passengers that they will be greeted by the fire brigade as this is their first flight to Edmonton, Canada. This is our first arrival in Edmonton airport, we will be greeted by the fire brigade with a so called ‘shower of affection’ *passengers lightly cheer* In dutch: Ladies en gentlemen, once again, from the cockpit… It’s good practice by the captain announcing the rare welcoming otherwise seeing fire trucks that lining up with all their lights on and spraying water onto the plane could cause panic among the passengers. Now in this example, Etihad has been flying to Casablanca for the past years. But now operates this route with a new Boeing 787-900, so the airport congratulated a new addition to their fleet and welcomed the passengers and crew upon arrival. And this example here shows the arrival of a Boeing 777 by Qatar Airways performing the longest commercial flight from Doha to Auckland New Zealand in 2017. Now, a little contest. How much fuel and how many passengers were on board that flight? Comment below and the correct answer gets pinned. A more seldom event can be seen when airlines officially shut down their operations and get a water salute at the destination for the final and last flight ever. I’ve been there and done that and I do not need to see that again. And then there is the honorary tradition, to farewell a retiring captain with a water salute on his or her last flight. Now this obviously needs to be planned in advance by the airline as airports don’t know when pilots retire but I’ve heard the funniest stories that co-pilots contacted the airport authorities via ATC ordering the water salute whilst the captain was on the toilet. Now, so everyone was waiting on the ground as the captain came in for his last landing. I personally haven’t had the experience to join a captain on his last flight, but I’ve heard from other colleagues that the cockpit becomes unusually quiet as this is a very emotional way of saying goodbye to his airline and especially to the plane he has flown for the past years. And this is how it could sound on ATC. And by the way, that’s Kennedy Steve. Ever heard of him? Just type in Kennedy Steve and you’ll find the most interesting and funniest ATC conversations from JFK ever. And by the way, Steve if you’re watching please contact me. I would love to have an interview with you. So, what you see here is not a water salute and often gets mistaken. This is actually a plane getting washed. A lot of military and search rescue aircrafts, which fly low or hover over salt water get a proper wash now and then to prevent corrosion. So nowadays these water salutes are a total eye catcher for plane spotters and waiting passengers. So what started as an unofficial gesture in the 1990s by Salt Lake City Airport officials is now a common practice all over the world. Luckily, I have many more years to fly until my final water salute. By the way, if you have seen any other traditions at airports, please comment below, I’ll be happy to read about your experiences. That’s it for today, thank you very much for your time. Don’t forget to hit the subscribe button plus the notification bell so you won’t miss out on upcoming videos and don’t forget, a good pilot is always learning. Wishing you all the best, see you next week. Your Captain Joe. I am not even a subscriber, putting in this effort, but feels good to help.

100 thoughts on “Why do PLANES get WATER SALUTES? Explained by CAPTAIN JOE

  1. 138 tonnes of fuel and 259 passengers. And Joe a massive congratulations for your type rating to fly the Queen. Her majesty must be honoured to have you.

  2. I live in iran
    The traveling to another countries is so expensive
    I have dream to travel to the londen see the londen
    But i never can,t do it !
    Beacuse my father is bankrupt .
    Our goverment don,t care about us !
    I have dream
    But i can,t reach that beacuse i don,t have any mony
    My dream will be never come true 🥺

  3. Best example for retirement ceremony is this one.

    https://www.facebook.com/beaubees/videos/10210655605140263/

    Captured from Cebu Pacific (PH)

  4. Captain Joe, you did forget to talk about another reason why a plane might get a water salute, and that is when a fallen military person arrives at his or her home town where they are planning to be Barred for their final resting place. ☦️ They will often get a water salute too.

  5. I was able to be on a flight that got a water salute. The flight was carrying a fallen soldier. The captain made an announcement about the fallen soldier after landing, though did not mention anything about the water salute. I think people figured it out though.

  6. I had this experienc… I traveled in frontier airlines to long island from Orlando. That is the first frontier flight to that airport.

  7. This is funny turks do this every time we go on a travel (Flight ) we splash the car with water to symbolise a safe journey to their destination and back lol

  8. I have recently witnessed a water salute, but it was not for a retirement, it was for, what we military and veteran folk like to call, a dignified transfer, what that means is the body of a fallen soldier is brought home to the family to be burried and full military honors.

  9. I can't wait until my final flight while I taxi down to my pad for the last time, and then after that, I'll start clearing out of the army. Only two years left.

  10. Look up some videos of cops doing their final radio sign off to get an idea of what he's talking about when the cockpit gets silent. It's a very emotional thing.

  11. Aaahhh now i understand cuz when i got in a plane to a trip to Honduras for my first time 5 weeks ago, they did this when we arrived to Toncontin Airport (thats in Tegucigalpa city, the capital of Honduras) and i got a but scared. I heard some rain noise and i was like “Wait wtf”

  12. In the United States, there are "Honor Flights," in which an airliner is chartered to fly veterans of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam to Washington D.C. to see their respective war memorials. These flights often receive a water salute when flying into Dulles and Reagan, and occasionally when they return home as well.

  13. Had a water salute when I was a kid. Thankfully I was too young to fully understand that the plain could have been on fire so it was pretty cool.

  14. Captain…we in canada only use the water salute (at least for the 20 yrs I have been a pilot and military service woman) to say farewell and thank you to souls who gave their lives and died in combat.

  15. Thanks Captain Joe! Your videos are beautiful, well done and edited! Really I get moved each time I watch a video of yours thanks to your great and native skill to explain both the simple and the difficult facts. I am sure you are a point of reference or a touchstone for all the people who want to learn to love the aviation world. As I told you on Istagram only men so addictive like you may make this world a better place. A huge hug from Trentino Alto Adige. I long forward to meeting you one day. Alfonso Moser 😊😊😊

  16. Salve, ma lei parla o comprende l' Italiano? Hello you speak/know the italian language? i think it by many titles of your videos.. have a good flight!

  17. Good video. However, why do you wear a First Officer's uniform, captain? Your shoulder boards should have 4 one-inch-sized yellow lines instead of three on each shoulder.

  18. Good cap Joe 👍🏼yr nice friendly pilot most airline pilots arrogant 👻
    They wouldn’t smile or say hi to any member of general public not even a innocent child ..you see that lots around airports , taxi 🚕 ranks ..perhaps issue with security or to proud ?

  19. Thanks, a lovely video. I first heard of this in 1991 when Pan Am flew its final flight from Heathrow, predating the Salt Lake City by a year or two. https://www.joc.com/pan-am-makes-last-heathrow-flight_19910404.html .

  20. Witnessed one of these at LAS for a southwest aircraft a few weeks ago. It was a pretty impressive sight to see

  21. Thank you so much for your work I really enjoy learning with you. I love Air Transport and Planes and also I'm an English Student and this amazing videos help me a lot to improve my listening while I learn so interesting información. God bless you, I really admire your knowledge thank you for share it.

  22. I was on a delta flight from Paris to ATL and the captain was retiring after 45 yrs and we got the water salute it was great

  23. I lived in Salt Lake City, and (facing a water shortage) residents would be very angry if they found out the airport is wasting 5000 gallons of water doing water salutes for retiring planes. Just crash the planes into the lake if you want to do a water salute. It's right there. There's usually plenty of fires nearby to test the equipment on.

  24. Luckily I had a water salute 7 or 8 years ago when my flight arrived at Vancouver and the flight was captain's last flight before his retirement.

  25. My brother organizes water salutes with blue and red colors in any new destination of his company here in southern Europe. Nice video Capt. Joe. See you across the skies, Capt. Marco

  26. Water cannon salutes are also common for planes escorting fallen soldiers. I have been aboard 4-5 flights where this occurred.

  27. (People who aren’t from America) why do you waist so much money going to a range and firing guns? (American) I mean it’s nice to be able to make sure that my firearms is fully functioning and that it’s ready at all times. Also it’s fun. Now translate that to the firefighters

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