Old 21st Apr 2018, 20:11
  #356 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: San Jose, CA
Age: 43
Posts: 0
Originally Posted by Ian W View Post
Oh but there is a reason to declare an emergency and even more importantly squawk 7700.

the controller you are speaking to - who does not have authority for the airspace you have descended into - having to add multiple ground line calls to her/his workload.
Agree on the 7700, but do we have any indication that this was not done as part of the checklist or even memorized items?

Workload on the ground: I could not care less about that. The ground has infinite resources compared to the flight deck. The moment that an emergency becomes apparent, whether explicitly declared or not, that controller will already have help from either his supe or colleagues.

Moving workload from the controller to the flight deck, even if it is reduced by a factor 10, is a big no-no imho.

In the end, it boils down to this: the flight crew made it clear that they had a problem and needed to land immediately. From that point on, it is up to the controller to ensure that they get priority handling and as much air space as they need. And if you listen closely, the controller did warn them about traffic below them which was a factor during the initial descent. There was absolutely nothing unprofessional about either the flight crew or the controller.

And on a side note: ICAO standard phraseology exists for one purpose only: to ensure that flight crews and ATC have an unambiguous understanding of each other's intentions and communications. In many cases, that results in longer than strictly necessary speech to accommodate non-native English speakers. Being a non-native English speaker myself, I do appreciate that. At the same time, I cannot critique a native English speaking crew talking to a native English speaking controller diverting from standard ICAO phraseology in an emergency situation where communications and intent are clear on both ends.

In short: there was no need to explicitly yell "Mayday-Mayday-Mayday" or "we are declaring an emergency". It would only consume much needed brain cycles.
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