Some love it, some hate it, but we've all heard it - that's right, pilots meowing on guard frequency (121.5).

When did it start? Does (or did) it represent something?

Does ATC ever do it?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Don't know if that is better or worse than "guuuuuaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrddddddddddd"... $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 1:19
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ We've all heard it? Not so. Indeed, I don't really know what you mean by "on guard". $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 17:26
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This problem seems to be specific to CONUS (which may also be a clue toward its origins), so not everyone will have heard it. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 19:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @randomhead: I've never seen 121.5 called "guard frequency", it's always been emergency or distress frequency. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 5:51
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Do I look like a cat to you boy? Am I jumpin' around all nimbly bimbly from tree to tree? Am I drinking milk from a saucer? DO YOU SEE ME EATING MICE? $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 5:27

1 Answer 1


“Meow” is a reference to a well known movie trope from the US mindless 2001 comedy from the improvisational comedy troupe, Broken Lizard Production, called Super Troopers. In the film, the main characters are Vermont State Highway Patrol law enforcement officers who play games and pranks to break up the monotony of patrolling a very rural area. The same trope is repeated in the 2018 sequel, Super Troopers 2.

After the movie premiered, law enforcement officers would often mimic the characters in the movie amongst themselves. It is extremely rare that a police officer would do this with the general public. It would be a matter of professionalism.

I would hazard a guess that ATC controllers conduct themselves according to a similar professional standard and decorum. Any utterance of “meow” on frequency is more likely to come from a General Aviation pilot.

The Cat Game

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I would +1 for the origin if you had stopped there, but the article linked by @DeltaLima suggests it is airline rather than GA pilots. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Commented Jul 3, 2021 at 17:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I postulate that the ATC includes, just as any cohort, a wide range of personal traits. There are asshats among them too. $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Commented Jul 14, 2021 at 7:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .