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Old 6th Apr 2012, 21:41   #1 (permalink)
 
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Air controller during emergency landing: 'I know that's BS'

Air controller during emergency landing: 'I know that's BS' | 9news.com

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Plane makes emergency landing at DIA

NTSB finishes inquiry of DIA air controllers during emergency landing
DENVER - NTSB investigators and Federal Aviation Administration officials are inquiring about air traffic controllers' actions at Denver International Airport's main control tower Tuesday morning during an emergency landing.

Investigators are looking at whether controllers' confusion delayed first responders as the plane was on its final approach, 9NEWS Aviation Analyst Greg Feith, a former NTSB investigator, said.

Only one of the 21 people on board the plane was taken to the hospital after the incident.

Tuesday morning around 8:30, United Express Flight 5912, operated by ExpressJet, declared an emergency landing during its final approach to DIA after being cleared to land, according to a control-tower recording provided by an FAA source. The emergency landing was because of smoke in the cockpit.

On the recording, a voice from the cockpit, either the co-pilot or pilot, is heard saying, "Emergency, smoke in the cockpit, roll trucks, please."

A controller in the tower responds, asking, "Who was that?"

The voice responded, "5912."

The controller responds, after about 10 seconds, asking, "United 12, what's your position?"

After no response, more time elapses and the controller asks someone, "Did you hear that? I know that's BS. I know it is."

Another controller responds, "That's what?"

The first controller responds, "United 12. You know of United 12 anywhere?"

Feith says the controller may have been distracted, only hearing the last part of the flight number.

"So when they hear an oddball number," Feith said, "whether it's real or perceived, like in this case United 12. That's a bogus number so all of a sudden now you're spring-loaded towards, 'That's a phantom call.'"

Although rare, Feith says phantom or fake calls can originate from someone near the airport on the same frequency as the control tower.

"It's very complex because we've had these bogus calls in the past," Feith said.

"It sounded like somebody just (sic) on a handheld somewhere to me," the controller said later in the recording. "Did you hear that though?"

Another controller responds, "Yeah, I did."

"That didn't sound good," the first controller said.

"I know," responded the other controller.

The controllers then direct other traffic for another 30 seconds when the pilot makes another emergency call saying the plane had landed and was evacuating on the runway.

The controller tries to verify with the pilot, but after no response, he tells another pilot, "I apologize if you probably heard [something] there. That's not real. They're what we're hearing on the frequency."

Ultimately, nearly five minutes passed before the controller confirms to the pilot help is on the way, according to the recording.

According to his sources, Feith, said fire trucks did not deploy until after the plane had landed on the runway.

A passenger on flight 5912, Linda Irwin, says she saw smoke in the cabin during the landing, and said the pilot and co-pilot landed the plane extremely well, considering snowy conditions and smoke in the cockpit.

She also says the flight attendant remained calm during the evacuation from the front of the plane.

Irwin learned of the control tower recordings Thursday.

"One would hope that with all of the investigations that go on after any incident, one would hope that those communications would be checked out because when there are lives at stake," she said. "You don't want to make assumptions about what's real, what's not real. What's serious and what's not serious, you want to go with the worst case scenario and make sure you've addressed it."

Feith says NTSB investigators are looking at whether the Embraer 145 regional jet's right engine failed during final approach.

An FAA report says firefighters extinguished a fire in the instrument panel.

UPDATE: An NTSB spokesman says the Safety Board has not launched an "official" investigation into the incident.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corp
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Old 6th Apr 2012, 23:33   #2 (permalink)
 
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I know its easy to point fingers from the comfort of my hotel room but this emphasizes the importance of standard phraseology....

If correct,

Quote:
Emergency, smoke in the cockpit, roll trucks, please
is pretty far away from standard phraseology.
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 00:20   #3 (permalink)
 
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......... +1.
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 00:31   #4 (permalink)
 
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Completely agree with captain prop. It seems that the lack of professionalism and radio discipline caused the problem, if it had been a routine pan call then the message would have been conveyed first time. All the controllers can do now is learn from it!

R
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 00:41   #5 (permalink)
 
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All the controllers can do now is learn from it!
Pilots more likely!
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 00:45   #6 (permalink)
 
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We use key alerting words for a reason... UAL5912, emergency conditions in the cockpit or not - problem exacerbated by not using correct words; when the controller said "who was that" you still failed to get it right...
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 01:06   #7 (permalink)
 
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Poor r/t phraseology by the Expressjet pilot, although all too common in the USA. This guy can´t even get the attention (understandably so) of the tower and that is basically on his home turf. Would not work anywhere in the world either.

R/t phraeology in the Hudson River ditching was similar, and it also took a couple of calls before ATC realised what was going on.

Lessons for anyone?
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 01:15   #8 (permalink)

 
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A lot of them learn their R/T from Smokey and the Bandit .....
Which works ok most of the time and makes them sound cool like Chuck Yeager!! Except for this time.....
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 01:42   #9 (permalink)
 
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Oceancrosser is raising a very valid point here, this was in the US!! How about if it was in France, Spain or China?!
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 01:48   #10 (permalink)
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Oceancrosser is raising a very valid point here, this was in the US!! How about if it was in France, Spain or China?!
Possible it would have been smoother. Possible the ATC would have understood "emergency, smoke in the cockpit, roll the trucks". In fact I cannot recall that the sentence "emergency, smoke in the cockpit" was once not understood by the French, for example, ATC.
So if the ICAO language is english and if basic simple sentences are not understood in the US, maybe that's time to change language

A good old MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY would have worked, funny when you know that it directly comes from the french M'AIDER M'AIDER M'AIDER wich means in french HELP HELP HELP.
To be understood, speak french my friend!


The Mayday callsign was originated in 1923 by Frederick Stanley Mockford (1897–1962).[4] A senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London, Mockford was asked to think of a word that would indicate distress and would easily be understood by all pilots and ground staff in an emergency. Since much of the traffic at the time was between Croydon and Le Bourget Airport in Paris, he proposed the word "Mayday" from the French m’aider. "Venez m'aider" means "come help me."


And honestly, they are very lucky on that one, this mistake could have cost a lot in human life if the fire had been more serious.
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 02:26   #11 (permalink)
 
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More Rubbish from European pilots who work so hard to sound Veddy Veddy British with their Kings English. Maybe if they spent more time on safe aircraft operation then radio pedantry, they could one day equal the safety record of US 121 carriers.....

The pilot said "smoke in the cockpit" and then gave his flight number. What part of that did the controller not understand.
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 02:35   #12 (permalink)
 
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if it had been a routine pan call then the message would have been conveyed first time.
Not in the USA it wouldn't... it would just add the the confusion...
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 03:43   #13 (permalink)
 
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Hmmm, let's see. Smoke in the cockpit to the extent passengers can see smoke in the cabin during the landing. High workload environment in snowy conditions. Recall items most likely include donning masks/goggles first and foremost, establishing interphone comm, etc. Got the aircraft on the ground with a subsequent evacuation.

Made the emergency call that was possibly fainter, broken, or odder-sounding due to a mask mic instead of a boom, which led the controller to suspect a phantom transmission. I'm not aware of any "Smoke in Cockpit" Emergency checklist that first doesn't begin with donning masks immediately, so all intercrew communication is also rendered more difficult.

Sorry it doesn't work this way in dummy America...

PM: "Excuse me Commander, whilst you may want or need my assistance during the last few moments of final approach and landing this aircraft we can barely see out of, I must at once divest myself of my duties coordinating with you or executing procedures that remain of favor of placing an absolutely correct radiotelephone transmission."

PF: I told you already, I have the aircraft and the radios and the emergency call has been made. Are the Phase 1 items complete? Has the cabin been advised we'll be evacuating and unless otherwise advised, through the main door? Before Landing Checklist please."

PM: Excuse me Suh, but I couldn't help but notice your R/T phraseology was NOT ICAO-standahd and it is imcumbent upon me to call this to your attention.

PF: Help me fly this plane to get it on the ground and stopped. Standard callouts please, and be ready with the Evacuation Checklist. Man, there's a lot of smoke here. Jeezuz, where's your mask?

PM: (cough, hack) But SUH, the R/TEEEE!

Funny how this crew was dealt a last minute emergency that detrimentally affects both the ability to see to fly and to communication between crewmembers and controllers, in less than optimum weather conditions, landed the aircraft safely with a subsequent evacuation, but are dogpiled on by armchair nitpickers who probably never got closer to a real emergency than their last sim session....

Insctr: Well done lads. There were problems but it was more than made of for by your brilliant R/T. In the event your CVR is ever extracted from a smoking hole, that, combined with the ATC tapes will render your reputations intact and even somewhat burnished on PPRuNe. I dare say, that Pan you issued was spot on it. Sterling!

Nigel 1: Thank you Suh, we've worked hard to become so.

Nigel 2: Extremely, Suh, extremely.

Insctr: And remember fellows, Comminicate, comminicate, aviate. Ta ta.
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 04:12   #14 (permalink)
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I must at once divest myself of my duties coordinating with you or executing procedures that remain of favor of placing an absolutely correct radiotelephone transmission."
Silly boy, it should be, radiotelephonic transmission.
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 04:20   #15 (permalink)
 
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PukinDog, the point is to communicate your predicament. If communication conditions are poor then priming the listener by using standard attention grabbing words such as MAYDAY or PAN PAN is a good place to start. Now you've grabbed his full attention & he can listen to your mumblings attentively instead of thinking "what was that?". If you continue to use standard phraseology it is easier for the listener to make out what is being said in poor conditions. He isn't left trying to guess what you're mumbling. FFS it's your arse on the line up there not mine sitting here on the ground.

And FYI - Australia wasn't in Europe last time I checked. Even the guy from Ireland is expat Aussie
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 04:32   #16 (permalink)
 
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Nice one Dog. Unfortunately, your great story-telling doesn't quite match the performance of your compatriots here. Regardless of the order of things ANC CNA NAC, the comms were a c@ckup and the outcome was a c@ckup. Nuff said!
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 05:27   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
The pilot said "smoke in the cockpit" and then gave his flight number. What part of that did the controller not understand.
How freaking hard is it to say 'MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, UNITED 5912, UNITED 5912, UNITED 5912, smoke in cockpit, require emergency services'? It'd take a nano second longer than comms indicated in the OP and would be clear and unambiguous to the ATCO.

I know it's Aviate, navigate, communicate but there are times when the communicate needs to be very clear in order to not further complicate the next bit of aviating and navigating that needs to be accomplished. Communication in this event sounds like it was NOT clear which made subsequent aviating (evacuating the aircraft with emergency services already rolling) much more difficult.

Quote:
but are dogpiled on by armchair nitpickers who probably never got closer to a real emergency than their last sim session....
Lol. You get stuck into those of us who indicate that standard phraseology may have resulted int a much better outcome in these circumstances and accuse us of monday morning quarter backing whilst at the same time presuming that those of us who comment haven't experience emergencies of our own.

If we don't learn from these things then what freaking hope does aviation have?
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 05:34   #18 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
The pilot said "smoke in the cockpit" and then gave his flight number. What part of that did the controller not understand.
Really?! First of all, this is not about "European", US, Asian or whatever pilots. Secondly, going by information provided here, assuming (for now) that its correct, the pilot stated "Emergency, smoke in the cockpit, roll trucks, please" and when the controller questioned "Who was that?" the reply was "5912".

Quote:
Emergency, smoke in the cockpit, roll trucks, please
is not correct, and will never be correct, coming from any pilot, American or European.....

Again, its easy to judge when not being in this crew's situation, regardless of nationality, level of language proficiency etc etc, but no mayday call was made and no (correct) flight number was communicated. Period.

How about "Mayday mayday mayday, ExpressJet 5912 (or whatever their FULL call sign is), we have smoke in the cockpit! Standby!"??
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 05:40   #19 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Big Pistons Forever
The pilot said "smoke in the cockpit" and then gave his flight number. What part of that did the controller not understand.
Evidently, all of it.

Sure, the controller might have been a bit sharper on the uptake, or made a broadcast requesting more info, but the problem began when the pilot in trouble failed to announce he was in trouble clearly.

The controller then assumes (yeah, really bad idea) that it is probably a prank call.

So it seems to me there are fairly serious failings and assumptions on both sides.

A 7700 code might have made things clear to the controller, too, if it was so hard to communicate correctly due to workload or masks.

To the pilots: How long does it take to set that on the transponder?
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Old 7th Apr 2012, 05:56   #20 (permalink)
 
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I have yet to see an emergency that was performed perfectly, always things to learn. Why do you all think your countries somehow have cornered the market on perfect pilots. Being an expat for many years and flying with many different cultures I can say all countries have great, good, bad and awful pilots. These guys got it on the ground without hurting or killing passengers, they did it with little time and probably confusion. Job well done.
if the controller thought it was a fake call, why would saying pans or maydays make him think it was real? The issue is the controller thought this was a fake call, not that he was confused by frasing. You guys need to pull your large over inflated egos out of the skies. I can assure you your emergencies could have been handled better, just like everybody else's who has encountered them.
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