Why are aircraft served or fired at airports?
Frequently, we see two firefighting rigs spraying arcs of water over an arriving or departing Flight while at an airport or on the news.
Why are certain airplanes celebrated with such great joy? In principle, the water salute is a cheerful airport tradition to honor military veterans or a senior pilot on his or her last flight before retiring. On such occasions, two firefighting rigs expel plumes of water forming an arch, and the airplane goes under it. Symbolically, this ceremony is similar to a bridal party walking under a wedding arch or the saber arch formed to honor infantry or navy officers. More often than not, however, the water salute marks the arrival of the first or last flight of an airline to an airport.
It is said that this tradition – which has no practical purpose – originated between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century during the golden age of transatlantic shipping. When those colossal vessels reached port, they were welcomed with water arches from fireboats to mark their happy and safe arrival. Even though it is not clear when this tradition started, it is believed that it must have been shortly after the invention of fireboats containing powerful water cannons. Later, this ceremony extended to airports to honor senior pilots as well as the first or the last flight of an airline. For instance, on its last flight from New York to Paris, the celebrated Concorde was honored with blue, white and red colored plumes of water expelled by firefighting rigs. If you are at the airport and see an airplane going under an arch of water, don’t panic! It is just a water salute.
South American Jets