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The most dramatic thing about a Harrier—its ability to hover and to make vertical take-offs and landings—isn’t something ever seen by radar controllers. To us, it’s just another airplane. They had only recently been introduced to the fleet and we didn’t know much about them, except the designator for it was AV-8 (they’re built by Avro, hence the AV).

Our recent ZID refugee, Big Al, came in one day and dropped this question on us: “do you know what they call Harrier pilots?” And of course none of us did, although we had a vague notion of being led down some sort of path.

“AV-8ers,” was his answer.

Hilarious then, hilarious now, if you haven’t heard it before.

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Last updated: 17 July 2009