The first time I saw Airplane!, I was confused why Joey found a basketball in the cockpit, and thought it was to spoof the "young boy innocence" aspect. When watching again, I realized it was yet another reference to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar being the co-pilot. - Westing1992
The "spear" gag is a hard one. McCrosky says Ted was a hotshot pilot "a long time ago". The spear means that "The War" where Ted flew really was that long ago.
I thought it was a Call Back from when Kramer was being chased by Indians on the drive over.
McCrosky is addicted to smoking, drinking, amphetamines and glue. Remember he is an air traffic controller.
Was addicted. He decided to go cold turkey on everything at once, which actually does make a certain amount of sense in terms of willpower, even if it is, when you think about it, an absolute nightmare of withdrawl symptoms.