AirlinesWhy do some planes get a water salute

Why do some planes get a water salute

It’s a time-honoured tradition in aviation world the water salute. In this welcoming ritual, also known as a shower of affection, two fire engines parked on either side of the runway use their water cannons to create a giant arc above a plane as it taxies to its gate.

With a little luck and a ray of sunshine, you might even see a rainbow. It’s a fun tradition and an impressive sight to behold but why do we do it?

Water salutes are used to mark special occasions. This can be anything from the inaugural flight of a new airline or the arrival of a new type of plane.

There always comes a time when a new airline or aircraft starts operating commercially. Airports celebrate such milestones with a water salute.

It has already become a touching tradition in the world of aviation although itstradition’s origins are unclear; many believe it comes from the shipping industry.

Before the days of commercial air travel, people travelled the world on immense ocean liners. Before their first sea voyage, these gigantic ships would be inaugurated with a festive arc of water created by fireboats before heading out to open water and disappearing beyond the horizon.

The same ritual would be repeated at the ship’s first port of call. Because the worlds of air and sea travel have long been closely linked, there’s a good chance that plane water salute is derived from this nautical tradition.

Also, aircraft and airlines are saluted when they are departing from the airport for the last time. It is a sign of respect, honourand gratitude for all the years an aircraft or airline has been in service within particular airport.

Additionally, water cannon ceremony is held to mark the retirement of a pilot or an air traffic controller. After number of years in services, a pilot or an air traffic controller is granted a farewell ceremony of water salute on his last day on duty.

This is usually emotionally overwhelming and accompanied with tears of joy.

From safety point of view, it’s not just a matter of sending out two fire engines and turning on the water cannons. The engines need to be positioned carefully, in safe locations, allowing enough space for the plane to pass through.

The wind direction needs to be taken into account as well, and the process must be coordinated together with Air Traffic Control.

It’s also important for the pilot to announce the water salute to the passengers on board the plane otherwise, the sight of fire engines and flashing lights just after landing might cause a panic.

Likewise, firefighters make sure there’s enough water left in the tanks should they actually need their water cannons to put out a fire. As much as the tradition is upheld in aviation world,safety always comes first.

Katatumba Tyson Tommy
Katatumba Tyson Tommy Is an Aerobatic Pilot. Currently Building An Electric Air Race Aircraft. Balloons, Skydiving & Aerobatics.. Big Chances Are In The Air. . Life On the Edge, Worth It Very Passionate about the aviation industry. Here to add a thing or more.
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