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Warped Factor
19th May 2006, 17:27
Fairly often see complaints here about the "misuse" of 121.5 for practice pans and position fixes by light aircraft.

Well, seems like the worst offenders for actually misusing the frequency are the people that are doing the complaining...

FODCOM 8/2006 (http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/fod200608.pdf)

WF.

niknak
19th May 2006, 19:11
If D & D had the resources, it would be good to see a list published on a monthly basis of those companies and flight no.s who thoughtlessly abuse the system.

I wonder if it would be possible?

Sleeve Wing
19th May 2006, 19:18
Agreed, Warped Factor.
It was already acknowledged among instructors, particularly those operating close to the London TMA, that the use of 121.5 for training fixes was invaluable.
Just preventing minor nav. discrepancies becoming major emergencies or infringments by ensuring that students should have no fear of contacting D&D is small cost.
The fact that an early solo student still has help available and is not afraid to use it should things go awry can only be a major contribution to Flight Safety.

As a previous airline pilot with some "time" in, it has always amused me that the selection of Guard on Box #2 was not really of any real use except maybe over expanses of sea.
Perhaps the occasional reception of someone else's EMC ( or even an accidently-tripped EPIRB on a shore-bound dinghy) helped to relieve the boredom for a short while ?
As for accidently transmitting on COMM 2, by said devotees because of finger trouble, tune into the next ATIS instead, eh.

Airbubba
19th May 2006, 19:23
Yep, 121.5 should be strictly reserved for passing ride reports and baseball scores at 30W.

30W
19th May 2006, 21:32
Yep, 121.5 should be strictly reserved for passing ride reports and baseball scores at 30W.

Sadly, yes, you folk from West of the Pond do seem rather caught up in what seems no more than an oversupported game of rounders........:sad:

30W!

captjns
19th May 2006, 21:52
That's why god invented 123.45.

SectorSafe
19th May 2006, 21:56
What's more of an annoyance -- a Practice Pan or following a Nigel for a couple of hours screeching "You're On Guard !!!" to anyone who dares tx on 121.5 ??

golfyankeesierra
19th May 2006, 22:23
It's not (only) the annoyance of having to listen to some practice pan or whatever, it's about missing atc-calls because of it.
And you end up turning the volume down on 121.5....

I think guard-misuse over Germany is bad, but over the UK it's the worst

DFC
19th May 2006, 23:28
The abuse of 121.50 in he UK as a general training frequency needs to stop.

Do people have to make an actual call just to see that the system works?

No.

Just like people don't have to actually get lost during training before completing the lost procedure.

Most instructors I have come across who insist on students making a training call have no idea exactly what D+D can do or how they do it!.....They simply follow tradition!!

What percentage of pilots who after getting lost and using 121.50 had done a practice previously?

What percentage of pilots requesting a "training fix" or "practice" pan are actually lost?

Stop practice calls. Visit D+D insted. Then students can be briefed by a person who knows exactly what the service can and can't do as well as seeing the system in operation...........not a flight instructor who only knows what their instructor told them.

Regards,

DFC

Pigsfly
19th May 2006, 23:44
121.5 should be for genuine Emergency use only, forget all this .....practice......crap. If its deemed so important, give them a practice frequency.

PPRuNe Radar
20th May 2006, 00:10
121.5 should be for genuine Emergency use only, forget all this .....practice......crap. If its deemed so important, give them a practice frequency.

So how do we tackle the 75% of wasted air time made by commercial pilots then ?? No point tackling the small percentage of practice calls (1% of the air time) when there is a HUGE problem which would have a lot more benefit overall if addressed and solved.

The 'little guys' ain't the problem really .... the professional industry needs to look in its own backyard first and tackle its own thorny issue before it starts pontificating.

overstress
20th May 2006, 00:30
So how do we tackle the 75% of wasted air time made by commercial pilots then ??
Cut down on what we say!
Think..formulate..speak!
Read back only what is required. Don't use un-necessary words.
eg "the speedpig/midbird etc" - pompous, not required
"radar heading" -what's wrong with "heading"
etc

PP Radar: some of your colleagues favour the verbose, incorrect & ugly "make your heading a radar heading" instead of the shorter & correct "maintain present heading" so ATC are sometimes their own worst enemies!

ATB

PPRuNe Radar
20th May 2006, 00:40
overstress

Listen out ;) :p

We're talking about the use of 121.5 for practice calls, etc, ;)

It's all in the FODCOM in the link on post 1 :ok:

Day to day operational RT use is a different kettle of fish.

Ndicho Moja
20th May 2006, 02:40
Try listening or better yet ignoring 121.5 over S.E. Asia. I used to think that 121.5 was 'sacred'. Has it become 'just another frequency'?

The Nr Fairy
20th May 2006, 05:24
So let me see - airline pilots complain when GA pilots use 121.5 for practice (among other uses). I bet they also complain when they're re-vectored because some low-time PPL has blundered into the controlled airspace they're just about to occupy. Which would you rather ? Or should we train PPL to ATPL standard coz then they wouldn't make nav mistakes, would they ? :)

80 calls a month = just short of 3 a day, for a minute. And prior to appearing on 121.5, the instructor with the stude will have asked London Info if it's ok to make the practice call.

My lowly opinion, FWIW - live with it.

Ghostflyer
20th May 2006, 06:20
Its valid training for the student pilots and the controllers alike. Many eons ago when I was learning to fly in a JP, it was incredibly comforting to have some one available to help you out and avoid blundering into shark infested custard (controlled airspace). For gods sake, I could have got lost for about 3 months in my back garden.

I know of guys that are afraid to do a PA; let alone talk to someone in an emergency. Guess what, a training fix could actually be a swiss cheese stiopper. For those and the other tyros out there have some humility and remember we all had to start somewhere.

Oh, and you can get the footy scores on HF.

Ghost

BYMONEK
20th May 2006, 06:25
Flying for a major carrier in the Gulf, the monitoring of this frequency is a requirment for not only D&D but to save our own ass should we happen to stray off course and end up being 'threatened' by some nervous warship in the area. If the Iranian Airbus had done the same, almost 300 people would still be around today.

This frequency should be used for the purpose for which it was intended.

Use it, DON'T abuse it. Save the chat for 123.45!

View From The Ground
20th May 2006, 08:05
Before I start I want to say I am not a pilot of any description...Surely the message of the report here is very clear. The problem with 121.5 is NOT training for GA pilot it IS misuse by commercial pilots (whether by accident or not is immaterial). I assume these results are good for the UK only. However I would suggest that once the commercial guys have got their misuse sorted they can start having a go at the 1% misuse (or genuinely useful) use that is GA practise calling . Ask yourselves gentlemen and ladies is it the 3 minutes of day of GA practise that causes you to turn the frequency down or the finger trouble of your colleagues?

Final 3 Greens
20th May 2006, 08:23
In the 12 years I have held a PPL, I have used the training fix facility once.

At the time, I was very low houred and couldn't establish a precise visual fix in haze over featureless terrain near controlled airspace near Stansted.

30 seconds later, my position was confirmed, allowing me to make sure that I avoided a transgression that could have caused airline flights to be sent around and/or held.

It also helped me to learn safely about one of the pitfall of visual navigation and I took a couple of lessons in beacon tracking (this being before reliable GPS was available as a backup.)

IMHO the service is worth its weight in gold, a position the CAA seem to share.

klink
20th May 2006, 08:44
Last week I happened to pass the UK on a Saturdaymorning.
After listening to all this "you are now 5NM east of xxx" for over 15 minutes I actually had to turn down the volume.
In Holland I used to make use of "Dutch Mil" when flying SE.
No need to occupy the 121.5

There are hardly no intentional calls from Professional pilots on guard. And yes, sometimes you make a mistake. But that is already contaminating the frequeny enough.
btw what do the Spanish pilots mean when they yell "auwa" the whole bloody time on 121.5 ?

WorkingHard
20th May 2006, 09:03
Just a few "Professional" pilots here with a holier than thou attitude. Such attitude such not exist.
E.g, "There are hardly no intentional calls from Professional pilots on guard. And yes, sometimes you make a mistake. But that is already contaminating the frequeny enough." from KLINK. If that is the case then the number of UNINTENTIONAL calls suggests a very serious training problem exists. Like a lot of things in aviation the CAT people (only just a few of course) seems to think everything is there for their exclusive use and benefit. IT JUST AINT SO. Get off your high horses and accept it.

klink
20th May 2006, 09:16
Hey!:eek:
Don't attack me like that!
I simply got taught 121.5 was holy. point.
I know plenty people say hi or whatever, but certainly airline pilots should know better. With proffessional I meant "serious" pilots, i.e. serious ppl pilots as well of course.
This was not intended at all to say airline pilots are better than ppl; the only thing I mean is that in my opinion 121.5 should only be used in actual cases of distress.
Not for training and not to tell the other company aircraft to call his operations.

PENKO
20th May 2006, 09:18
The D&D repport is slightly misleading us all by stating that practice PANS take up only 1% of AIR TIME, whereas 75% of CALLS are mistakes by commercial pilots. This is comparing apples with oranges. Why?


This is how a tippical commercial pilot sounds on 121.5
com pilot 1:Maintanance good day, it's the XXX215.
com pilot 2: You are on GUAAAAAAARD
com pilot 1: ...
or
controller: XXX215, if you hear me call London on 129.000

Very simple stuff, easily filtered out of your mind.


Now the practice pan.
student: uuuhhh..Pra...uhhh, PPPractice PAN, P-ractice PAN, PRACTice PAN!
......GOLF....

ALFA
.....CH...uuuh...BRAVO...

DELTA,
.....
CHARLIE
...............................from BLABLABLABLABLA, YEPYEP uuuhh....to YEPYEPYEP, BLABLAYEP...uuhhh.. Cessnah Etcetera, etcetera. Temporary unawhere of my position

This stuff is pervasive, even with the best selective attention you cannot filter this out! So by this time every single pilot is poking at the volume knobs or even deselecting 121.500 completely. And the controller hasn't even begun to speak yet.

So, yes, it may well be just 1% of AIR TIME, but a very distracting one at that.

And to be clear, I am honestly not trying to make fun of student pilots. All commercial pilots have been there at some point in their life. But it is only in the UK where PANS are being practiced live for everyone to hear. Why not put more effort into an afternoon lesson in basic VOR fixes?

RoyHudd
20th May 2006, 09:34
Agreed, no place for lost PPL's....sorry but they should have other freq's for that already dialled up.

Adding to the thread, what about the French mis-use of 121.5? They are a notorious nationality for R/T in aviation. So I guess this is just another minor offence to add to the list of French mis-demeanours, but I do find it worrying that I keep having to de-select 121.5 when routing through l'Hexagon, just to silence the chat that blocks the emergency frequency.

yeoman
20th May 2006, 09:42
As an instructor a few years back it was a part of the syllabus to do a practice PAN. To a degree, it was also a bit of an a##e covering exercise prior to signing the guy out on his/her first solo cross country!:eek:

The stuttering call alluded to above was avoided by thorough briefing, getting him/her to practice it in a little room away from sniggering idiots, a demo from me on a flight and then let them try it. It dug at least two of my students out of the brown and smelly (guess I wasn't too hot on teaching Nav).:{

Let's get away from GA bad, Commercial good. Yes, it's a minor distraction but IMHO the benefits far outweigh the loss. Also, FWIW, could Le CAA Francais please publicise the use of 123.45? The abuse of 121.5 is rampant there. As for Commercial Finger Trouble? Who hasn't done it?

So it's only me then. I'll get my coat.:ugh:

yeoman
20th May 2006, 09:48
Roy just beat me to it re the French!

As for a separate frequency or using the one you are on, 121.5 has much wider coverage and is linked to all the gear for locating these guys by triangulation. A normal ATS frequency could only give a bearing and not fix you on that line. Neck fully extended here, any expert able to elaborate?

There are also several well documented cases of light aircraft ever descending to stay out of cloud and their cries for help only being heard by Big Metal Drivers who could relay. The common frequency possibly saved lives, GA pilot or not is irrelevant at that point in time.

WorkingHard
20th May 2006, 09:50
KLINK - it was not meant to be personal. My sincere apologies if you felt it so. Penko, can we please remember that if we wish to use statitics then LESS than 10% of ALL aircraft movements in the UK is commercial air transport and yet it accounts for 75% of all call on 121.50. What does that say about professionalism? It is as someone said earlier like comparing apples with oranges but when one section of the aviation community (the minority one by the way) starts to "have a go" at another then expect a robust defence. I am a GA pilot using the skies of Europe for mostly business. I take criticism seriously and try and learn from it not just respond in kind.

Final 3 Greens
20th May 2006, 09:50
Roy Hudd

Agreed, no place for lost PPL's....sorry but they should have other freq's for that already dialled up.

Sorry, but that is the most idiotic comment I have read for a long time.

Please the FDCOM on the first post and note the CAA conclusion.

If you aren't professional enough to accept the rules/guidance of the UK authority, maybe its time to retrain for a different career.

yeoman
20th May 2006, 09:53
If security is the concern then maybe the time has come for a stand alone Security Guard frequency? We can all listen to the calls to CircusAir and Maintrol on that as well.:hmm:

Final 3 Greens
20th May 2006, 10:00
Yeoman

I believe that the real issue here is the difference filed by the UK authority, which clearly causes irritation to the CAT world and I can understand why this is the case, especially for commercial pilots who did not train in the UK and do not experience practice pans and training fixes in other air space.

Unfortunately (and the FDCOM is clear about this), there is no great probability of a discrete frequency being made available for GA pilots to practice fixes.

So we are uncomfortable bed fellows on the same frequency and this is a constraint for both heavy iron and bug smashers, since commercial pilots understandably do not like the distraction and we, in the GA community, feel under attack for using a facility that our national authority actively encourages us to use and which has a real utility to GA pilots and controllers.

Until a discrete frequency can be found, I guess that we will both have to do our best to co-exist.

underread east
20th May 2006, 10:44
Guys,

During my training, my flight schoool organised a trip to visit LATCC and D&D, where they (D&D) actively enchoraged us to call them - even for a practice - so that we wouldn't feel nervous about using them for real. Having been warned about abusing 121.5 by our intructors, their words were indeed comforting. Castigating trainee airmen and women for their use of 121.5 is unfair. I now sit RHS of a jet, and on the few occasions that I hear practice Pans on guard remind of the presence and value of D&D for all. We were all down there once and I am sure we ALL made use of this service, and called a Practice to hide the fact we really were lost, sorry, temporarilly(sp?!) unsure of position. Give em a break.

xetroV
20th May 2006, 11:09
Penko, can we please remember that if we wish to use statitics then LESS than 10% of ALL aircraft movements in the UK is commercial air transport and yet it accounts for 75% of all call on 121.50. What does that say about professionalism?
Not much, actually. It does say much about the design of radio control panels, though, and of operational practices. The most common mistake by airline pilots when it comes to 121.5 is transmitting company communications on this channel (as said earlier, this usually isn't half as distracting as the practice calls, since such mistakes are usually quickly discovered and corrected), and that's simply because guard monitoring and company communications are done with the same radio box, and because guard, company, ATIS, PA, intercom (cabin, ground crew), and ATC (perhaps even multiple VHF and HF channels simultaneously) are all controlled by the same radio panel with identical buttons for all these tasks.

Now how many PA calls do you think a PPL driver will commonly make during a flight? How many company calls? Cabin attendant calls via the intercom? How many HF clearances will he need to read back? How often will a PPL pilot operate on multiple frequencies simultaneously? Will he ever need to talk to a ground engineer by intercom? If I were you, I'd be a lot more careful before accusing others from comparing apples with oranges. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to conclude that if on average 0.1% of all transmissions by all pilots go wrong, this is obviously much more likely to happen to an airline pilot than a PPLer. That's got nothing to do with professionalism or training deficiencies, it's purely a matter of us (you too, I presume?) being human.

Mistakes are enough of a problem already, but that's what they are: mistakes. Intentional misuse of the guard frequency is an altogether different story, and there we can talk about professionalism, by PPL and professional pilots alike. I'd say asking other traffic to switch to a company channel or 123.45 doesn't fall into this category, but chattering over channel 121.5 directly surely does. Some general aviation areas are notorious for this kind of behaviour, but so are some airline pilots.

I won't call practice pan calls 'misuse' of the guard frequency, but I do think the system is flawed. Since this system only exists in the UK, perhaps it's time to take a look at how the rest of the world deals with the issue of assisting VFR traffic. Someone already mentioned Dutch Mil; I can only confirm that they do provide an excellent service, without the need to 'pollute' 121.5 with practice calls.

Changing well-established practices isn't easy, but the problem of aircrews being distracted by non-essential communications on guard is very real. Many cases of lost communications could have been prevented if pilots had not turned down the volume on their radio box because of such distractions. This is a serious issue, and just asking pilots to be more vigilent when transmitting and to always listen out on guard is not going to solve the problem. Any real solutions that could help, such as designating a discrete frequency for practice pans, should be considered seriously.

Unfortunately, that FOD 2006/08 article does nothing to solve the issue, other than repeating the obvious:
3 Recommendation 3.1: Operators should ensure that their crews are reminded of the proper use of frequency 121.5 MHz.
Like, duh!

overstress
20th May 2006, 11:19
overstress

Listen out

D'oh! Sorry, Radar, was v 'tired' when I posted that!

FMPOV, chatter on 121.5 forces me to turn down 'box 2' so I don't miss anything on 1.

Faire d'income
20th May 2006, 11:22
When I read the title of this thread I thought great finally something might be done about this.

Then I read the report and am bitterly disappointed with it. Inevitably the thread then became a GA v Commercial feud. The analysis is misleading and smacks of a vested interest.

Firstly there is a serious problem with using the emergency frequency as a practice facility whether or not the report acknowledges it. Can you imagine an ER or an A&E allowing first aid courses to be carried out in an operating emergency room?

Secondly this is not merely a UK problem as the practise pans can be picked up by our high flying friends well outside UK airspace. This also helps to tilt the stats against the Commercial outfits as a crew in french airsace accidentally transmitting on guard can be picked up in the UK.

No other country allows this ridiculous practise. Why not? Commercial crews should of course be more vigilant to prevent accidental use but some errors are inevitable. That is no justification for allowing the frequency to be blocked by trainees.

This practise may cause a serious problem one day when some unfortunate crew go silent for whatever reason and have 121.5 turned down in the UK ( as I usually do ). Throw in a few unforseen circumstances and .......

Again I state this is not about GA v anyone else. It is about safety and security and both groups have their responsibilities.

WorkingHard
20th May 2006, 11:25
XtroV - I cant disagree with anything you say. I was really "defending my corner" against what i perceive to be unwarranted slurs. As Faire d'income and others have said we all need to learn from the survey and stop the them and us attitudes that seem to prevail.

Kiltie
20th May 2006, 11:31
There still seems to be an age-old misconception here that 123.45 is a "chat" frequency. This may be the case Oceanic, but over the UK this frequency is allocated to an offshore helicopter company's ops.

ShyTorque
20th May 2006, 11:42
Not at all surprised to see the stats found during the investigation into perceived "misuse" of 121.5 for training fixes.

Had an argument with a certain moderator a while back, who said he was going to complain and campaign the CAA about this very subject. I notice he's keeping a low profile at the moment.......

Final 3 Greens
20th May 2006, 11:44
Faire D'income

No other country allows this ridiculous practise. Why not?

Perhaps because every country has its own favorite ridiculous practices? ;)

Again I state this is not about GA v anyone else. It is about safety and security and both groups have their responsibilities.

Fair point, but I can imagine a student or low hour PPL having tea and biccies with the CAA enforcement branch about why s/he busted controlled airspace and being asked to justify not calling for a training fix - difficult to answer that one.

A discrete frequency for GA practice pans and training fixes would seem to be the answer, but the mood music doesn't sound promising.

mad_jock
20th May 2006, 11:46
Well I have a had 3 requests to do practise pans from Scottish area to use 121.5.

They asked if we would help then told us that our transponder was knackard when we were asked to squawk by the controller.

Went onto 121.5 and played the game. To be honest it was quite good training for us as well. Only had one "your on guard" which was instantly answered by a gruff sounding bloke from D&D thanking him for interupting a controller training exercise.

And although using commercial pilots for there training exercises it still can't give the controller the full experence of trying to deal with an inexperenced pilot who is pooing themselves. And I should imagine that a student on a nav ex with an instructor forcing them to do a practise Pan will simulate the situation quite nicely.

Its up to D&D to decide whats acceptable or unacceptable for the emergency frequency to be used for. The fact that they request aircraft via other agencys to give practise pans seems to suggest that there isn't enough calls to satisfy there training requirements. Its a two way thing D&D proberly get as much out of the practise as the pilot. It also allows them to see any black spots in the coverage. And the moan about we won't be able to hear a intercept call from the mil is quite frankly bollocks. A 5 watt transmitter 2 miles away you won't even know that there is a practise pan is going on. They will know you are being intercepted though.

Anyway if the new ideas come to pass about having a constant cycle of RT testing for everyone, D&D can maybe get there point across through the examiners for CAT to accept that its the way D&D want it.

edited to add

Faire d'income actually you are incorrect to say that first aid courses arn't taught in A&E departments and OR's. The diving medics and also army combat medics all go through a course of ground school followed by a period of on the job training. Which is done live on civ's in A&E deptments around the UK under supervision. A bit like you guessed it A practise pan with an instructor sitting next to them. There are many storys about people kicking off on saturday nights in A&E deptments trying to get drugs etc and suddenly being confronted by some hairy arsed beast who has a secondary qualification in battlefield medic after their primary qualification of being one of auntie Betty's finest SF troopers.

PENKO
20th May 2006, 11:49
XtroV - I cant disagree with anything you say. I was really "defending my corner" against what i perceive to be unwarranted slurs. As Faire d'income and others have said we all need to learn from the survey and stop the them and us attitudes that seem to prevail.

Working hard, as I tried to explain in my post, it is not my intention to air 'unwarranted slurs'. I was just showing how utterly distracting these PAN calls can be compared to erroneous calls to operations. If it makes you feel better...if a superduper commercial pilot would do his PA on 121.5 it would be the same kind of distraction. However they usually do this on the active fequency, and we all have a laugh. :) (mind you, this only takes up about 0,000005% of air time)

demobcurious
20th May 2006, 11:57
The mil introduced a 'Practice Emergency Training Frequency' (PETF) to reduce the loading on UHF 243.0. The main reasons were to prevent Pilots 'tuning out' from 243, but also to ensure the 243.0 frequency was available for a genuine emergency when it was really required.

Frequencies are scarce in the UK, but if D+D training is considered to hold such a high Flight Safety benefit then a VHF one could and should be made available. Both the reasons that caused the Mil to create a PETF are equally valid for 121.5

mad_jock
20th May 2006, 12:23
Its proberly going to come down to money as usual.

All the 121.5 transmiters / DF receivers upgraded to work on 2 freq's, a extra set of boxes in D&D all the cabling "stuff" to pipe the extra about the country.

The Mil got there system years ago when the cold war was on and money wasn't as much of an issue as it is today. I wonder if they decided today that they required a freq networked for the whole of the UK if they would get it.

Out Of Trim
20th May 2006, 12:25
It would appear to be too difficult for the CAA to either fund another frequency for training fixes in the UK or, indeed, cannot find one that is not in use already. D&D are already monitoring two frequencies 243.0 mhz (Mil) and 121.5 mhz (Civ).

Mind you, even if Guard was left for Actual Emergencies only, They would still be distracting to those not involved.

Perhaps, the only other solution is to have a 3rd person in CAT aircraft to monitor 121.5. I guess in the old days; a Flight Engineer or Third pilot could have done so leaving the other pilots to concentrate on box one.

Can't see the bean counters liking that one though!


(Edited to say I was unaware of a mil training fix freq. I left the RAF in 1991 - so obviously out of date now!)

Andu
20th May 2006, 12:37
Are all London (and let's face it, damn near all UK) ATC terminal frequencies sometimes very busy indeed much if not most of the time?
- Yes

Does even the most professional pilot sometimes get a frequency transfer wrong and end up 'in limbo', even if only for a few minutes?
- Certainly

Is this an ideal situation, particularly in a really busy TMA?
-Certainly not

Is the procedure that most, (but, from reading some posts here, certainly not all) pilots and airlines employ, to have one radio always tuned to 121.5 not a safe and sure way to ensure that ATC can immediately contact any such an aircraft with minimum delay and therefore minimum disruption?
- Well I would have thought so.

Would any pilot in his right mind object to a low time PPL (or Chuck *** Yeager!) who is is unsure of his position calling in a PAN on 121.5?
- N-O!!!

But....
Do Practice Pans unnecessarily clutter up an - the - emergency frequency, causing many people within range to switch the frequency off or lower the volume to the point where its facility would be lost should ATC need to contact any one of those many aircraft?
- Yer darn tootin' they do.

The D&D triangulation facility is a fantastic aid for anyone unfortunate enough to get caught short in the UK's sometimes very changeable weather. But if it is as important as many here insist it is, surely a dedicated (or, given the shortage of frequencies, a not often used or not so critical) frequency can be found for practice PANS so that 121.5 can be kept solely for actual emergencies or critical re-establishment of comms with 'in limbo' aircraft.

Wee Weasley Welshman
20th May 2006, 12:38
Shytorque - that would be me then.

On the one hand all airline pilots are told that they must monitor 121.5 at all times on pain of being shot at by the Military.

On the other hand trying to monitor 121.5 at all times is WHILST using another radio is rendered near impossible on a nice sunny Sunday over the UK due to the near constant stream of GA use of 121.5.

That's the nub of the issue. It is not a fault or blame issue. Its simply flight safety.

Cheers

WWW

punkalouver
20th May 2006, 12:53
Did hear a couple of Korean Air pilots babbling in Korean on 121.5 a couple of months ago. One called the other in english and I figured they would then go to a different frequency but then the Korean started.

mad_jock
20th May 2006, 13:13
WWW with the stats given in that report there are 160 calls for training a month which works out at about 6 a day.

As the report says each call lasts a Min. This isn't a number that they made up its a fact which has proberly cost 1000's of pounds to prove.

So on Sunday you might get 40 mins of calls in the space of 10 hours.

The percieved constant stream proberly isn't. If it wasn't for the fact that most of the calls were using cringing RT you would have tuned them out. A bit like if you hear a poor bookin on box one. If the other aircraft had given a standard call eg callsign, passing level, level cleared and sid. You hardly even registered it was made but if you hear callsign ,err um, sid ,er um, something which isn't required. Your attention is drawn to it with a proffesional tut tut.

Anyway even if they did get a seperate frq and all the flashy stuff. 2 weeks later the next moan would start. To much background noise on on 121.5 its not squelched on the standard settings. Have to turn the box down so it doesn't distract me, or something else equally problomatic solving. Or something that the CAA really can't do anything about eg none G reg aircraft using it for anything other than emergency.

It keeps the equipment working and as we all know elecy stuff doesn't like being left on standby for long periods. It train's the low hour pilots, it trains the controllers, and I have a suspision as well that the fact it annoys BA captains to frothing point it will been seen as another good reason to keep it as it is.

SRG are proberly quite happy to let this run and run. They have a good safety case for maintaining it as it is. And at least it deflects and keeps the moans away from subjects they wouldn't have as strong case and would be technically and more expensive to solve.

demobcurious
20th May 2006, 13:40
The MoD introduced a PETF (Practice Emergency Training Frequency) in the early 90's (1993 I think), which was just after the 'Options for Change' and 'Front Line First' rounds of spending cuts, when money certainly wasn't around in abundance (compulsory redundancies in several tranches were run).

As far as I'm aware, the receivers etc don't need to be upgraded or need more pipework, but an extra radio box at the other end is required and the ability to transfer the new DF onto their 'big picture' of the UK would need to be installed - hardly bank breaking I'd like to think. The difficult bit would be getting a common freq UK wide.

PENKO
20th May 2006, 14:12
A lot has been said..

Yet I still cannot understand the safety aspect of this whole homing business. Chaps, the Great War is over! We are not flying Lancasters anymore eventhough I am sure they had better navigational solutions!

Teach your students some basic VOR navigation, let them buy a handheld GPS, even an ordinary PDA with a TomTom moving map will do. Even more, it will prevent you getting lost in the first place.

This homing is a thing of the past.

demobcurious
20th May 2006, 14:21
Mike,

I think you're missing the point perhaps?

The issue isn't about ways of getting through to company ops - and if you're making an approach in a busy TMA, perhaps the priority should be to turn UP 121.5 as that may be the only available frequency for ATC to get through to you on due frequency congestion?

Just my tuppence worth.

Regards.

mad_jock
20th May 2006, 14:54
Good points from both sides of the argument.

With the transfer of the CAA "power" to europe. Is this ICAO opt out one of the issues which will fall under their remit?

JW411
20th May 2006, 16:02
Am I out of step here? Am I the only guy who turns 121.5 right down or even off when I am in a busy ATC environment?

fmgc
20th May 2006, 16:55
In the 12 years I have held a PPL, I have used the training fix facility once.

At the time, I was very low houred and couldn't establish a precise visual fix in haze over featureless terrain near controlled airspace near Stansted.

3 Greens, surley that is not a traiing fix but a "real" fix.

I think that everybody is overreacting to this, sometimes it is neccessary to turn 121.5 down for a few moments, then you turn it up again.

It's not rocket science.

chevvron
20th May 2006, 18:01
PETF 243.8 was in use from the early '70's. Few if any civil ATC units can Tx/Rx on 121.5 so arguments that ATC can 'easily' contact an aircraft listening on it are pointless; the ATC unit involved would need to phone D & D to establish contact with the aircraft first and that would take time, especially if they were busy.

ShyTorque
20th May 2006, 18:29
3 Greens, surley that is not a traiing fix but a "real" fix.

I think that everybody is overreacting to this, sometimes it is neccessary to turn 121.5 down for a few moments, then you turn it up again.

It's not rocket science.

Exactly. If calls on a secondary radio make a crew distracted enough for this to become the major issue some seem to think it is, it smacks of poor training, mis-management of radios or poor in-flight procedures. If a pilot turns down the volume of 121.5 a little for a while, so what? Surely a crew can cope with something as minor as that, for goodness' sake?

If a call on 121.5 is interfering with calls on the other radio, surely there is no flight safety issue with regard to "lost contact" because the aircraft is already in contact with ATC on the other box. It's a CRM issue, not a fault of the UK system.

I look upon the regular "distractions" on 121.5 (mainly inattentive airline pilots, exactly as the FODCOM says) as a positive thing - I know the radio is tuned and ready for use. If we turn the volume down if necessary - then we turn it up again, shortly afterwards.

BTW, What happened to "Select, Tune and Identify"?

HEATHROW DIRECTOR
20th May 2006, 18:30
<<turn UP 121.5 as that may be the only available frequency for ATC to get through to you on due frequency congestion?>>

With the usual proviso that I've been retired a while and procedures may have changed... During my 31 years in UK ATC I was never trained to, and never trained anyone, to even think of using 121.5 to contact an aircraft when the normal frequency was busy, or for any other reason. In the event of a radio failure we would ask the company if they had contact, but never ever use 121.5. 121.5 is an EMERGENCY frequency, plain and simple.

M.Mouse
20th May 2006, 18:33
The arrogance and pomposity in this thread is truly astounding.

Did all you sky gods become perfect from day one? Do none of you recall nervousness using the unfamiliar radio while being taught to fly?

I used to teach PPLs and have also been lost when I was a PPL. The feeling of terror that it invokes in a low houred newbie out of his depth should not be forgotten. A small familiarisation with D & D procedures has no doubt saved small problems becoming more serious.

I find the ceaseless inane chat on the Atlantic on 123.45 far more irritating than a newbie practising what one day may save his or her life.

BDiONU
20th May 2006, 18:37
The MoD introduced a PETF (Practice Emergency Training Frequency) in the early 90's (1993 I think), which was just after the 'Options for Change' and 'Front Line First' rounds of spending cuts, when money certainly wasn't around in abundance (compulsory redundancies in several tranches were run).
The PETF is no currently available in the Scottish FIR but the MoD have requested it and will get it.
As far as I'm aware, the receivers etc don't need to be upgraded or need more pipework, but an extra radio box at the other end is required and the ability to transfer the new DF onto their 'big picture' of the UK would need to be installed - hardly bank breaking I'd like to think.
If there was to be a requirement for a civilian PETF then there would be enormous expense in new transmitters and receivers plus the connections to the two area control centres. Plus fitting them into the D&D (or as it will be called A&FC) fixing facility.
Who would pay for this??
The difficult bit would be getting a common freq UK wide.
Actually thats quite simple.

This has recently been discussed in the ATC forum here (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=218227&highlight=PETF)

BD

klink
20th May 2006, 18:37
the ATC unit involved would need to phone D & D to establish contact with the aircraft first and that would take time, especially if they were busy.
..And with what would they be busy then?:hmm:
I whitnessed once a landing clearance being issued on the 121.5 (in Porto) to an aircraft on finals.
Just before that he was told to switch over from approach to tower, and from that moment on, he was unreachable. So instead of letting the aircraft go in the Missed Approach, someone got creative and made the call on 121.5. So somehow this switching/requesting to make calls on 121.5 doesn't take all ATC units a long time.

Edited for chevvron. If still unclear, I'll edit again! :)

BDiONU
20th May 2006, 18:43
Well I have a had 3 requests to do practise pans from Scottish area to use 121.5.
They asked if we would help then told us that our transponder was knackard when we were asked to squawk by the controller.
Until 1998 I had a Scottish D&D ATCO licence and its the only way they can train staff on using 121.5 for real. London D&D has auto-triangulation on 121.5 with it displayed on a PC type screen which has detailed overlay maps. Scottish D&D has to rely on airfields and (mainly) the coastguard giving the DF reading, which is then plotted manually on a map. Thats why it takes so long.
Its up to D&D to decide whats acceptable or unacceptable for the emergency frequency to be used for.
Nah, they are the operators. Emergency frequency usage is decided MUCH higher up the food chain :)

BD

RoyHudd
20th May 2006, 19:09
Hey Final 3 Greens, you better get out more often!


Granted some may agree and some may disagree with the line I wrote, and I am prepared to accept that I can be wrong. But there is really no need to shout.

If my contribution was the most idiotic thing you have read for a while, pray why not check out some other threads or even, for example, the BBC website? Or CNN for that matter.

Idiocy is a bit of an offensive label, and I feel you were being more than rude there.

chevvron
20th May 2006, 19:24
Anyone understand what klink is talking about 'cos I don't.

Final 3 Greens
20th May 2006, 19:34
fmgc
3 Greens, surley that is not a traiing fix but a "real" fix.

I tend to agree with you. I wasn't totally lost, but unsure enough of where the zone boundary was. There was heavy haze and bright sunshine and although it was about 8Km viz, I just couldn't see my waypoint - that was a real lesson learned :uhoh:

It just happened that the training fix procedure was the most expeditious method under the circumstances ... "London D&D, G-ABCD training fix training fix training fix", receiving a rapid bearing and distance in response.

All over in seconds and a potential zone bust avoided. And a couple of hours invested afterwards in learning how to track navaids with an instructor made sure it never happened again.

BDiONU
20th May 2006, 19:41
A lot has been said..
Yet I still cannot understand the safety aspect of this whole homing business. Chaps, the Great War is over! We are not flying Lancasters anymore eventhough I am sure they had better navigational solutions!
Teach your students some basic VOR navigation, let them buy a handheld GPS, even an ordinary PDA with a TomTom moving map will do. Even more, it will prevent you getting lost in the first place.
This homing is a thing of the past.
Hhhhmmm. As a previously licensed D&D controller I can assure you that aircraft (almost invariably GA) still get lost with monotonous regularity in the UK. Your technological solution is ideal but not utilised in the UK. Use of a transponder squawking 7700 or 0023 would assist as well but a lot of aircraft aren't suitably equipped nor the pilots trained to operate them.

The 'safety' aspect has two parts to it really:
1) If you're lost and IMC then its quite possible that you'll suffer a CFIT.

2) If you're lost and blundering around inside controlled airspace then identification, with position fixing will get the previously lost aircraft out of the way before some metal gets welded. Controllers are legally entitled to assume that non squawking aircraft are not within controlled airspace and they will direct their own aircraft right through a non squawking radar target.

BD

mr ripley
20th May 2006, 19:51
Are we in danger of mis reading the stats here in the FODCOM?

BTW I have no axe to grind as a GA FI and an airline pilot.

training fixes wereless than 1% of total ‘air time’

75% of all callswere erroneous or inadvertent calls by commercial pilots.

From neither statement can we deduce how much airtime is taken up by these erroneous calls nor what percentage of calls were training fixes.

The FODCOM is probably trying to make a valid point but I would not have written it that way.

SirToppamHat
20th May 2006, 20:24
Am I out of step here? Am I the only guy who turns 121.5 right down or even off when I am in a busy ATC environment?
Please don't do this in the UK. Unless you want to fly in formation to an unscheduled destination.

STH

CaptAirProx
20th May 2006, 22:19
With all this chatter, I'm lost!


My company which spends half its time flying through TMA's has no policy about listening to 121.50. If you receive no R/T for a bit we do radio check or revert to previous freq...Simply as. We have no time to monitor another frequency.

As an instructor of PPL, come on commercial pilots. Do you remember the first time you picked up the mike to do a PA???? All very well talking about it but doing it is another kettle of fish. Now think back to your PPL if you can? Again yeah, we can use GPS blah blah blah. But when the **** hits the fan and you are lost and totally out your depth, you have a hand on the stick and no further mental capacity.......dial 121.50 and call "Help".

You professional guys forget. Its exactly because of comments and attitudes of clever wits that stops PPL's having the ordacity to press the PTT on 121.50 for "fear" of sounding a dick. So why not (as an FI) ask the D&D controller if its a good moment - to then prove to the stude that actually, when you really need the service - stuff protocol and sounding "correct" - just talk to the fella and ask for help......

Jesus, one day this pilot is going to need it. Whether it be 121.50 or an active radar frequency. On the basis most normal frequnecies are max'd out all the time, why not do it when the D&D can accept.

As a student or new PPL, its grand to know that in reality, when you need help on whatever freqency, it doesn't matter what you say aslong as you talk and obtain help. Cos then - LIFE IS SAVED.

Same with boating - most boats have a GPS etc - when its rough and sea pouring over the open deck - we have to resort to belt n braces. Compass et al. SAme with flying - try fart arsing around with a GPS when you don't know your arse from your elbow?

I find it very sad that people are reluctant to use a distress frequency because of fear of reprisal. If true professional's can't deal with a facet of learning the ropes then I am ashamed to be part of this profession.

Final 3 Greens
20th May 2006, 22:45
Hear Hear Capt Airprox

sjm
21st May 2006, 11:02
there cant be that many trianing calls wasting time on the D&D, several occasions I've been asked whilst travelling north to scotland, to call them for thier practice .

Incidentally I now fly commercially into europe on a daily basis and commercial pilots are definately the worst offenders of misuse of the frequency.

Nothing worse than trying to listen to a controller pass a freq change/heading/alt just to have 121.5 blast into life with some **** talking to his mate. As said early normally results in turning the thing down to a level where you can only just hear voices, so could be anything going on.

Wee Weasley Welshman
21st May 2006, 11:12
I have every sympathy with both the student and GA pilot using 121.5 to save their lives. I have trained many to use it without hesitation. I taught PPLs at EGCW and we refered to 121.5 as "EGCW Radar" - being hard to find anyway and churning out 60 PPLs a year we were one of their biggest customers!

And yet. The current situation is that on many days many airliners are turning 121.5 down to nothing because of the high levels of GA use. They then forget to turn them up again 5 minutes later. There are several ways of tackling this flight safety hazard. My preferance would be to invest in a 121.4 solely for GA use in the UK airspace offering a dedicated D&D service.

Cheers

WWW

BDiONU
21st May 2006, 11:25
My preferance would be to invest in a 121.4 solely for GA use in the UK airspace offering a dedicated D&D service.
Who is going to pay for the infrastructure for this service bearing in mind that GA don't pay for emergency services provided by D&D? (I'm assuming here that the military controllers who man D&D would be providing this service as currently).
NATS currently provide the infrastructure for 121.5 and the RAF are paid to provide the trained manpower. The current provision is a part of the licensing requirements of the CAA. Provision of another service would have to be negotiated and, as NATS are a privately owned company and its not a part of their licensing agreement, paid for.

BD

WorkingHard
21st May 2006, 11:33
BDiONU said "GA don't pay for emergency services provided by D&D? " By this are you inferring that others do? If that is not the case then why single out GA as not paying. Can we please be clear on something. GA PAYS IN MANY WAYS THAT CAT DOES NOT.

JW411
21st May 2006, 11:41
SirToppamHat:

"Please don't do this in the UK. Unless you want to fly in formation to an unscheduled destination".

I question your priorities, old son. Are you really telling me that you have 121.5 turned up fully whilst going round the Lambourne hold? Are you really telling me that you have 121.5 turned fully up when you are on finals at Heathrow? If so, then I suggest you pay more attention to the radio that really matters at the time.

I agree with Mike Jenvey, turn it down or off below 10,000 feet.

I have been flying around UK for almost half a century now with no problems. You are only likely to get visitors when things have gone deathly quiet for no good reason.

The only times that I have ever been intercepted have been when we invited them to do so by "embellishing".

BDiONU
21st May 2006, 11:43
BDiONU said "GA don't pay for emergency services provided by D&D? " By this are you inferring that others do? If that is not the case then why single out GA as not paying. Can we please be clear on something. GA PAYS IN MANY WAYS THAT CAT DOES NOT.
Those who pay route charges pay NATS and it is NATS who fund the civil element of D&D and the associated infrastructure.
Whilst I recognise that this may seem contentious to you WorkingHard GA do get a 'free ride' in a sense. It could be argued that provision of D&D should be considered to be like that of the Police, Fire, Ambulance and Coastguard. The difference being that they're publically funded bodies, NATS is a privately owned company which needs revenue to continue to stay in business. The current provision of Alerting & Fixing services is a part of NATS license to operate and I have no difficulty with that, where I see a problem is in provision of a new service.

Regards
BD

SirToppamHat
21st May 2006, 12:13
Mike Jenvey/JW411

I don't disagree with the basic principle you state. And as long as you are in good 2-way comm with ATC you should be fine.

I merely wish to make the point that many of the transmissions on VHF Guard are made by ATC/D&D attempting to make contact with crews who are, at best, careless and at worst negligent when switching between agencies/countries. We have all heard these calls, and it wouldn't surprise me if they average out about the same, in terms of time, as the GA use. How many times does traffic entering the UK go to Oceanic to get clearance (which can be a lengthy process!) without telling ATC first? How can you be in receipt of a Radar Control Service if you aren't in contact with ATC? The professional approach espoused by so many in this forum doesn't seem to apply to all in this respect. It also seems to me that there are one or 2 carriers to whom calls are made more often than most others.

STH

Edited for bod spilling

Andu
21st May 2006, 12:51
Heathrow Director says on page 3During my 31 years in UK ATC I was never trained to, and never trained anyone, to even think of using 121.5 to contact an aircraft when the normal frequency was busy, or for any other reason.I'd say that on one on four flights through western European airspace, I hear Rhine or some other ATC agency calling up on 121.5 to some errant aircraft, instructing him to call them on xxx.xx.

Back to the main nub of the argument: no one is complaining about a GA (or any) pilot calling up on 121.5 if he's unsure of his position. However, it's the "Practice Pans" on that same emergency frequency that most non-UK pilots find a bit unusual.

I think I would be pretty safe in saying that this use of an emergency frequency as a training aid is something that happens nowhere else but in the UK. People trained in the UK grew up with it and don't find it a problem because it's what they've always been used to.

And yes, I leave 121.5 on and up in the Lambourne hold and on finals into Heathrow, (as per company SOP, it's always selected, except briefly, when that radio is used to contact the company or perhaps get an ATIS).

Did I say 'always'? That should be amended to "...except on Sunday afternoons in mid summer going ointo London, when the frequency is usually aclutter with "Practice *** PANs"!!!"

chevvron
21st May 2006, 14:19
Andu:the number of calls on 121.5 in Rhine airspace could be because the crew have omitted to either select or de-select 8.33kz on their radio, thus when changing to/from an 8.33 channel, they actually dial up the incorrect frequency

JW411
21st May 2006, 16:57
Andu:

"And yes, I leave 121.5 on and up in the Lambourne hold and on finals into Heathrow, (as per company SOP, it's always selected, except briefly, when that radio is used to contact the company or perhaps get an ATIS).....except on Sunday afternoons in UK ........".

I am totally fascinated by this. I have never ever flown for a company that insisted in its SOPs that I have to have 121.5 turned on and up in a high traffic environment. What would such an SOP be trying to achieve? There is a very good D & D organisation in the UK and the likelihood of you getting involved in relaying a Mayday whilst on finals at Heathrow is, quite frankly, risable.

Furthermore, are you seriously suggesting that your No.2 box would not be on the ATIS whilst LVPs were in force or do you REALLY switch back and forth to Guard? What does your SOP say about that?

Does it really say in your SOPs that you can ignore your SOPs on a Sunday afternoon in UK or are you admitting that you don't really follow SOPs that you (and I) think are pointless?

Max Angle
21st May 2006, 16:59
Andu:the number of calls on 121.5 in Rhine airspace could be because the crew have omitted to either select or de-select 8.33kz on their radio, thus when changing to/from an 8.33 channel, they actually dial up the incorrect frequencyNot on the airline style radios I have seen, you do it all with the rotary selector, no 8.33 button.

In the big scheme of things I guess it's not a major problem but every time someone does a practice PAN or uses 121.5 to call a mate upwards of a hundred airliners are having to turn the radio down to avoid missing ATC calls, you hear practice pans from the UK well down into France, and in Holland and Belgium so it's not just a problem confined to UK airspace. I used the service once when I got lost with about 60 hours in my logbook so I know it's great and you need to have some sort of practice at it but now that we are all encouraged (required really) to monitor 121.5 whenever possible it seems that perhaps another frequency, either for them or for us, would be very useful.

FullWings
21st May 2006, 19:09
I have to say I turn off 121.5 when close to UK airspace during the day as there seems to be a lot more than 1% of the time taken up by practice calls (maybe I'm just unlucky). Having missed several clearances in the LTMA/Daventry area because someone fired off on the other frequency just at the wrong moment, I think I'm better concentrating on ATC. I don't do this anywhere else in the world as at least there is no official use of this channel.

The statistics may be in favour of the GA pilot but I think this misses the point in terms of distraction. With experience, you get to be able to monitor two, maybe three ATC frequencies simultaneously because you develop the ability to filter out communication not of interest to yourself. A 'company call' on 121.5 by mistake is short-lived and easy to disregard but I haven't yet acquired the knack of blocking out minutes of amateur RT. (Not meant to cause offence!) Somehow you find yourself giving attention to it when you don't want to.

Maybe we should ban all practice calls except for during NOTAM'd periods. 2-3pm on Sunday afternoons should suit those concerned. ;)

Saab Dastard
21st May 2006, 19:37
Perhaps it should be a requirement for GA pilots to have passed their R/T test before being allowed to make a practice call? Won't eliminate all the poor R/T referred to, but might help.

Having fairly recently visited D&D (on a Sunday, good WX), I was surprised at how very very little R/T of any kind came through on 121.5.

On the same visit to West Drayton I was able to sit next to a controller who was having to juggle heavy metal around a serious CAS infringement at Stanstead. While it was ably and professionally dealt with it, so wasn't an "emergency", but a training fix or practice PAN on 121.5 might have avoided the situation entirely.

SD

ShyTorque
21st May 2006, 19:38
I continue to be amazed by the attitude of some so-called professional pilots who claim they can't cope with the authorised correct use of the distress frequency. They complain about those who are correctly using the frequency and want things changed to their benefit - to save them forgetting to check and adjust a radio volume! Come on guys, get with it!! (Do these folk also forget to en-route check their fuel or get the next ATIS etc? :ugh: )

Rather than try to change the use of the frequency, why not change the company SOPs and/or checklists? (Remember FREDA?).

BTW, I think that's what the comment about reminding crews about the correct use of 121.5 at the end of the FODCOM was getting at.....

172driver
21st May 2006, 19:57
A practice emergency sounds a bit like being a little pregnant, doesn't it ?:E

Seriously - none of this would be necessary if the UK had a proper countrywide FIS available to VFR flights like all other countries I've ever flown in. Anywhere else you can call up xxxinfo (center, radar), request FIS / Flight Following, get a squawk and are on your way. Should you then blunder into CAS (or appear to be on your merry way doing so), you'll get a call XXXX be aware XYZ airspace is 5 miles ahead. And please don't tell me the usual 'It's too busy here', there are other places at least as busy (Southern California comes to mind), where this is not a problem at all.

121.5 should be reserved for real emergencies - only.

ShyTorque
21st May 2006, 20:39
But it's not going to happen, so as the FODCOM says, instead of wingeing about it, we merely have to find a professional way of dealing with it.

Allocating another frequency STILL won't prevent all those mistaken transmissions from pilots who aren't in the habit of "checking their means" before transmitting and if no reply is forthcoming should think why, before making repeated calls on 121.5 (poor training, poor SOPs, or just :8 ?).

Why can't some pilots cope with a reduced volume on 121.5 for short while? Beats me!

BTW, 172driver, what you describe with regard to avoidance of airspace etc sounds exactly like a RIS rather than a FIS service.

CaptAirProx
21st May 2006, 20:48
Again I will admit that our company actively discourage via SOP to not use the other box at all when in a busy ATC environment. Turn the bloody thing off and concentrate on the order of owns own house first.

Why do we need to listen to 121.50 over places such as Europe? So you hear an aircraft in distress, are we all meant to become AWACS fighting for the chance to be hero and sort the fella out. Let the authorities sort it, and if they need a passing airliners help, they can get the sector controller to ask a pilot to listen to a discreet frequency etc. So maybe just maybe with all this "innane" chatter by amateurs is stopping 70% of airliners from listening, the other 30% will keep watch nicely. EPIRB/ELT thingies stop using 121.50 to transmit soon anyway so thats that device off the frequency. So other than a lost rookie or a crashed aircraft calling from the Welsh hillside in fog (unlikely), there ain't much in my mind that we can assist with. Unless of course, you are over the Pond and such places - thats different.


To add weight to my argument, I may have an ATPL, but since allowing many PPL's to have a go, I have learnt many of the attributes and limitations of the D&D system.

I am getting hacked off with the amount of missed calls on a busy sector frequency whilst the controller gets heated and I await to press the tit. Maybe its cos all these boys n girls are to busy trying to do too many things at once. Look after yourself first chaps, then think of others, as I think we are getting our priorities mixed up here.

RoyHudd
21st May 2006, 21:07
Most PPL/SPL's do not have a good understanding of the nature of work when operating up to 300 or more tons of jet aircraft safely, expeditiously, quietly, and fuel-efficiently, within crowded airspace. And, to be fair, how could they comprehend this without practical experience? (Let's forget computer games please.)

Conversely, all airline crews are constituted of people who have been at the low end of the learning curve on their way upwards in their chosen PROFESSION. We do understand, and simply ask for a means whereby our concentration is not distracted at a critical period of the flight by insistent and often poor R/T from a relatively inexperienced and overloaded single pilot.

As we have an obligation to monitor 121.5 on our 3rd set, for good reason, a separate frequency such as 121.4, also monitored by the same agencies, could provide the basis for a service for lost non-professional pilots. Or indeed the unusual and UK-specific "Practice PAN".

I agree, the threat of a PA-28/C172 blundering into packed controlled airspace around EGSS/EGCC/EGLL/EGKK/EGPF or other places is a real one. These people should be helped if uncertain of their position, to avoid a serious accident.

Ultimately, my personal belief is that good aviation practice must dictate that even learning to fly a small aircraft in the UK should require basic radio-nav, visual nav, met and R/T skills at an early stage. Whoever said flying should be easy or cheap?

No doubt someone will find my considered contribution as condescending, hyper-critical, or whatsoever.

DFC
21st May 2006, 21:24
So the UK has filed a difference with ICAO. Very nice. However, it is the responsibility of the UK to ensure that their local difference does not in any way affect aircraft operating in airspace outside the UK. Since radio waves don't simply stop at the FIR boundary, many aircraft who are not at any time in UK airspace have to suffer the practice pan waffle.

So practice pan calls are to provide the student with essential practice and many agree that the calls are rambling with the inexperienced student unsure of what to say.

That in itself is much of the problem;

The student is so worried that they may not use the correct R/T words in the correct sequence that they eh and am and pause to think making the whole thing a shambles. This perception that some ATC person whill require exact wording in an emergency call to say that they are lost would indeed discourage inexperienced pilots for making a real call.

"Centre GABCD is unsure of position request assistance" / "Centre GABCD, I am lost request assistance" are two calls that should have no problem being understod in 99% of the world. No special words, phrases or secret codes to remember there eh?

So that is the R/T waffle out of the way. How about the practice. The instructor can act as D+D (unless they are lost as well) and make the appropriate responses to the students calls. They can even extend or adjust the simulated situation to a far better degree than they could with D+D.

Again I say that a visit to D+D can help.

Some of the comments on here only reinforce my opinion that most of the instructors who use the training on 121.50 do not know what they are doing...eg "I always ask on the FIR frequency first to see if it is OK" perhaps a visit to D+D at LTCC followed by a drive to LACC to visit the FIR would enable that person to see why that is a overall waste of time.

Oh, and did I say that many pilots who call for a training fix are actuall in a real state of being lost.......and straight away we get an example!

What is even more crazy about this whole thing is that instructors will take students off a LARS frequency onto 121.50 to do the practice pan! Why not simply tell the LARS or Approach or Tower or the FIR or whoever one is in contact with that one is lost. The FIR FISOs have a procedure that they folow to find lost aircraft and render assistance.

Regards,

DFC

BDiONU
21st May 2006, 21:29
Seriously - none of this would be necessary if the UK had a proper countrywide FIS available to VFR flights like all other countries I've ever flown in. Anywhere else you can call up xxxinfo (center, radar), request FIS / Flight Following, get a squawk and are on your way.
You misunderstand the type of service you're requesting. In the UK (There is no such service as flight following) a Flight Information Service is not a radar service, you will not normally be given a squawk. If you want a radar service then you need to ask for one, either Radar Information or Radar Advisory of the appropriate unit.

HTH
BD

172driver
21st May 2006, 22:25
You misunderstand the type of service you're requesting. In the UK (There is no such service as flight following) a Flight Information Service is not a radar service, you will not normally be given a squawk. If you want a radar service then you need to ask for one, either Radar Information or Radar Advisory of the appropriate unit.
HTH
BD

Not really. I'm aware of FIS/RIS/RAS, but again, RIS/RAS are UK only (RAS IFR only, anyway). Why not provide a comprehensive FIS (for want of a better acronym) as is the norm on the continent? Just to add, I'm aware of the 'workload permitting' disclaimer in the US (and indeed Europe), but that has, aside of one or two occurences in the LAX area, never been an issue for me.

Any service like that would actually solve two problems:
a) it would make PPL / VFR traffic more attuned to flying in the system
b) it would eliminate the (perceived) need to use 121.5 for practive calls

CaptAirProx
21st May 2006, 23:36
DFC - I like your theme. Infact I particularly like the promotion of a practice pan type call with the LARS freq. in use. Much more likely to be practical in the real event.

I still feel that by the instructor pretending to be the D&D so as a practice call can be made from stude to instructor will get the whole "procedure" across, it still doesn't allow the stude to realise in 'reality' it is simply a matter of talking to the controller who is really there to help and formal speak is not really required.

When doing the VHF Marine licence, we were told and trained that all callsigns are spoken three times and such like. But once I had gone and actually used the system for real, it became blindingly obvious this is not the case! It is far more relaxed but still professional. Now that I know this, I am more forthcoming in using the radio as it did sound rather pompous in training.

Benix
22nd May 2006, 00:01
talking with my FI hat on, personally I do feel that doing a practice is of use to a new student before he goes off on his first solo nav. As others have said would you rather he get lost and carry on blundering into SS/GW or know what D&D could do for him and give them a call? Though I do have to admit that the idea of having a separate frequency for practices is a very good one so leaving 121.5 for genuine calls. I've was lucky enough to do a TC visit not long ago and sat with D&D for the best part of an hour seeing how their end works and asking lots of questions. Obviously the topic of whether or not they get fed up with GA calling practices all the time came up and I was emphatically told that they positively welcome all they calls they get. The RAF staff get rotated around the different mil units in TC every few months so they always have someone in training at all times so need the traffic. The day I was there I arrived around 1pm and they hadn't had any calls all morning (admitibly a rainy weekday)! Yes ok that doesn't particularly help you guys monitoring 121.5 in the air, but if the controllers can't train due lack of live traffic there wouldn't be anyone validated on the position...

Andu
22nd May 2006, 05:55
I know I'm comparing apples with oranges here, but for those who turn 121.5 off below 10,000', it might be instructional to remember that the Iranian A300 was climbing through 14,000' out of Bandr Abass when the US Navy missile hit it. The USS Vincennes radio operator had been calling them for some time before that, but they didn't have the frequency selected.

It's not well known, but only a year or so after that terrible incident, the USN went within seconds of shooting down a Gulf Air A320 in very similar circumstances. The crew of the 320 that was approaching the US ship had a squark code of something like 7235 and neither pilot was listening out on 121.5. When the US Navy ship made its first call, another Gulf Air A320 at the same level and on a parallel course about 20 NM away and with a squark code of 7325 replied and made the turn away as demanded by the US ship. When the blip on the radar continued heading straight at the ship despite the pilot saying he had turned away, I understand that things got rather exciting in the ship's fire control centre.

It was only when the pilot of the 320 who had answered realised that he was over land and couldn't be the target the USN ship was tracking that he was able to convince the Americans he wasn't part of some ruse to attack them.

I understand the US ship got to within 30 seconds of launching a missile.

Meanwhile, the crew of the 'offending' A320 flew on oblivious.

I know this scenario isn't likely over London, but it might give some an idea why some people like to have 121.5 selected at all times.

JW411
22nd May 2006, 18:52
Andu:

This thread is all about the use or the misuse of 121.5 in the United Kingdom. It is not about the use of 121.5 at Bushire, Shiraz, Esfahan, Bandar Abbas or Ras al Khaima.

So, you tell us that you fly around the hold at Lambourne and down finals at Heathrow with 121.5 turned fully up just because the US Navy shot down an A300 years ago in the Arabian Gulf (which I do admit is close to Essex) and all of this because your SOPs say so.

Well then, I think your SOPs or your understanding of them is sadly lacking.
As a TRI/TRE I thought I had better make sure that I hadn't forgotten what MY SOPs say so I looked them up.

The only reference made to monitoring 121.5 appears in the Part B/2.5.2:

2.5.2 En-route

"During longer sectors, in cruise, if no other communication is required, crews should monitor Frequency 121.5 on Box 2."

There is absolutely no mention of monitoring 121.5 during any other phase of flight except for cruise.

Perhaps you would be so kind as to tell us EXACTLY what your SOPs state?

egbt
22nd May 2006, 20:51
What is even more crazy about this whole thing is that instructors will take students off a LARS frequency onto 121.50 to do the practice pan! Why not simply tell the LARS or Approach or Tower or the FIR or whoever one is in contact with that one is lost.

To give the student confidence that they will be heard (almost) anywhere in the country, that auto-triangulation works and that D&D will not bite his or her head off (they don't - they are quite happy to do the 6 or so a day and encourage the practice).

I don't however see the need to do a practice once someone has a PPL or better.

verticalhold
23rd May 2006, 11:23
Recently heard a low time PPL in an R22 get caught out in un-forecast bad wx. He asked the local airfield for help which they couldn't give (no VDF let alone radar or service higher than AFIS) They advised him to call 121.5. They then asked me to listen out on 121.5 and advise what was happenning. He called but was too low for local stations to get a fix (In the London area!!) two airliners came up and tried to help. Unfortunately they couldn't hear D&D because they were too far away and interrupted the relay D&D asked me to give.

Luckily the pilot had enough sense to land the aircraft as soon as he saw a clear area. The arcraft spent the night in a wet field but the pilot and passenger were safe. Unfortunately the pilots who tried to help caused confusion by not understanding a situation which was happening several hundred miles away in a country they weren't native to.

The confusion could have made things worse. A chat with the D&D controller later revealed his frustration with the situation especially as the AC in distress and myself were no more than 15 miles away from LATCC:ugh:

Arrowhead
23rd May 2006, 13:24
In my airline training (2 places), both said all distress communications should be initiated on the frequency already in use, and only then should 121.5 be used if no joy obtained. So in the UK, unless you believe there is a chance of getting shot down by the miliatary with no visual warning first (ie unlikley), then 121.5 should be virtually redundant for commercial pilots.

Meanwhile, you have UK guys on their first cross country VFR NAV exercise potentially getting lost, unaware of any available radar coverage, and risking IMC conditions or fuel starvation. SURELY these people should actually get priority, when there is no-one else with a radar for them to call?

Over the Middle East, or Africa, or elsewhere I can understand its a different story. But not in the UK.....

IMHO

PENKO
23rd May 2006, 16:01
Arrowhead, that is not the point! It is really not that difficult to understand what we are complaining about. Really!
IF a VFR pilot is actually really lost, NO ONE would hold it against him/her calling 121.5 saying: guys, help, I am lost.Why practice this? Do we practice calling 112? Try that and they'll send real cops after you!

The point is the countless dress rehersals on a frequency that should be reserved for the real thing.



And yes, there is a place for 121.5 in commercial aviation. ATC loses contact with aircraft countless times every day, for reasons other people have already explained. Think about it...

Flybywyre
23rd May 2006, 16:09
The point is the countless dress rehersals on a frequency that should be reserved for the real thing.
Actually they are not countless and they should not be reserved for the real thing as you would find out if you visited D & D at West Drayton.
D & D are quite happy with practice pan calls, as one of them pointed out to me the other day it is also practice for them as well.
FBW
PS However chatting on 121.5 is extremely frowned upon :=

PENKO
23rd May 2006, 16:33
Really, the point is not D&D who need practice.
I am sure they are very nice people, happy to help and extremely useful in an emergency.

But once again, does your 4 year old son practice calling 112?
If your 4 year old son does not need to practice calling 112, would it not be enough for a mature person (a pilot), just to know that when sh!t hits the fan, there is a lot of help available worldwide, on 121.5.
All they have to say is: HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELP!! (long enough for a fix)

PS. For every chat on 121.5, there are 20 practice pans. (figures derived using D&D logic :))

Flybywyre
23rd May 2006, 16:50
The point is.....................there is nothing wrong in making practice pan calls on 121.5
As you would be informed if you took the trouble to visit D & D at West Drayton.
FBW

PENKO
23rd May 2006, 17:06
Ok. It is good to ignore all the concerns raised here.
All rubbish. Clog up 121.5

Guys, are you bored up there during the cruise? Can't get your mind around another sudoku? Give them boys at D&D a call on 121.5. Practice those PANS! It's all right by them. Let's see just how far they can triangulate. Maybe we'll raise the total airtime to 2%. Get them some overtime pay.

Final 3 Greens
23rd May 2006, 17:19
Do we practice calling 112? Try that and they'll send real cops after you!

No we don't (the equivalent number in the UK is 999) and they send the cops because its illegal, because they don't want you to do it.

We practice training fixes and pans on 121.5, because (a) it's legal and (b) they want us to. So no cops, because it is a different scenario.

Each national authority tends to take different views and as pilots, we have to respect that, even if we disagree.

I don't like the ways the US uses land and hold short clearances, but if I choose to fly there, then I have to accept it as a constraint.

If you choose to fly in the UK, you must accept our national authorities procedures.

OpenCirrus619
23rd May 2006, 17:23
F3G,

HEAR HEAR :D

OC619

PENKO
23rd May 2006, 17:38
112/999, the whole of Europe agreed on 112...what is it with you guys in the UK? ;)

I give up.

If you do not sense that calling 999 is similar to using 121.5, then there is not much to discuss.

Gerry Mobbs
23rd May 2006, 18:27
1957/58 I served my National Service as an Operations Clerk in Air traffic Control at a number of Fighter Command stations.The worse job allocated to us would have been sat in aroom on our own listening out to 121.5.In all that time I only recall one transmission and that was an emergency(a Hunter with undercarraige failure.He banged out)The point I am making is that it was drummed into us that 121.5 was REAL emergency only:sad:

klink
23rd May 2006, 18:44
Ah, so since D&D doesn't mind every airliner up to CDG can listen to triangulations of a not-really-lost single engine aircraft somewhere in the UK.
Nice.
121.5 doesn't stop at the edge of the island.:E

Flybywyre
23rd May 2006, 19:32
Ah, so since D&D doesn't mind every airliner up to CDG can listen to triangulations of a not-really-lost single engine aircraft somewhere in the UK.

Yes........so get used to it.
(until they dispense with 121.5.....but I won't go into that)
FBW

WorkingHard
23rd May 2006, 19:33
May I ask those "professional" pilots who are complaining (not too many I see BTW), what is it that is raising such ire? Is it because it is something which you know you cannot get exclusive use of? Cannot exclude GA and so forth. You already have exclusivity in a lot of airspace in your oft half empty tubes so please don't make such a fuss about a little radio frequency that we all might need to use sometime.

172driver
23rd May 2006, 19:36
The point I am making is that it was drummed into us that 121.5 was REAL emergency only:sad:

Exactly :ok: !

Flybywyre
23rd May 2006, 19:43
Except for practice pan calls :ok:

klink
23rd May 2006, 20:02
:ugh:
I'm sorry I can't explain properly the inconvenience caused and the potential problems it might cause one day, so I'll leave it here.
Have fun with practising!:}

Final 3 Greens
23rd May 2006, 20:24
klink


I'm sorry I can't explain properly the inconvenience caused and the potential problems it might cause one day, so I'll leave it here.

Maybe it would be best if you no longer fly in UK airspace? Because our national authority do not agree with you.

And they make the rules.

And you must comply.

Have a nice life.

chrisbl
23rd May 2006, 20:31
D & D is unique in that it is a dedicated service one of the few in the world.

The UK authorities deem that it is acceptable for UK pilots to practice calling D & D in simulated emergencies.

In my 18 years as a PPL I have made one practice call whilst on my own and one position uncertain call a year or two later.

In the real case, I had no hesitation in putting in the call to D & D knowing what the response is like in both style and TONE.

Within 3 minutes I was sorted. I have never had to call again but would not hesitate to do if I had to.

This is in contrast to some ATS units where nothing in the world would make me chose to talk to some of the condesending and smug t*ats who operate them.

Anyway to ensure we retain D & D they need to show they perform a useful service and GA calls underpin the demand. Of course, the airlines do not fund D&D so do not control it like they do with NATS.

I am sure the D & D guys would rather be helping GA pilots and real emergencies that listening to some ignorant foreign pilots discussing who they slept with previous night when they use 121.5 incorrectly.

PENKO
23rd May 2006, 20:36
...would rather be helping GA pilots and real emergencies that listening to some ignorant foreign pilots discussing who they slept with previous night when they use 121.5 incorrectly.

What on earth are you talking about.

DFC
23rd May 2006, 23:01
If the practice calls are so important then how come a large number of UK training organisations are not in a position to make such calls. It is only the SE 1/5 of the UK airspace thas has any decent VHF autotriangulation. Thus only a very limited number of organisations do this poractice rubbish.

One of the earlier comments sums up the problem. .......I got lost doing visual nav so I asked for a training fix to find out where I was (hiding the fact of being lost) and then learned how to use VOR etc.......

How about corectly learning how to navigate visually.

Let me see........the UK needs a super dooper fixer service on 121.50 with lots of practice calls because pilots are always getting lost and infringing some critical airspace or the other but only in the south east of the country.

They also love flying into cloud and killing themselves so a special IMC rating is required which mixes public ransport operations with non-qualified pilots flying in IMC who are not trained or tested to fly a hold and are very limited in what they can actually do in IMC.

Those than can't obtain an aviation medical can go to their GP provided they are fit enought to drive a car, they too can mix it with public transport operations in controlled airspace in an aircraft with uncertified and unchecked essential equipment such as altimeters

Is it me or is there a sense of crutches being handed out to toppling patients?

Why does no where else practice on 121.50, why does nowhere else have an IMC rating, why does no where else allow pilots to fly with only the medical standard of as typical aged car driver?

Cause they are all wrong. The UK is always right. That why they always do it their way!

Regards,

DFC

slam_dunk
23rd May 2006, 23:07
The UK has a long-standing Difference filed with ICAO for the use of 121.5 MHz as a Practice Emergency Training Frequency (PETF)

so, the rest of the world is wrong, and your practice in the UK is right :ugh:

sure.

keep driving on the wrong side of the road:ok:

Flybywyre
23rd May 2006, 23:10
[It is only the SE 1/5 of the UK airspace thas has any decent VHF autotriangulation. Thus only a very limited number of organisations do this poractice rubbish
Complete rubbish, as you would find out if you visited D & D at West Drayton.
FBW

Final 3 Greens
24th May 2006, 07:04
DFC

I can only say that your last post takes the art of polemic to rabid levels, as well as misrepresenting the facts of my post.

1 - I didn't get lost, I was unable to satisfactorily confirm ded reckoning by pilotage at a waypoint due to sun/haze - could only see one line feature and could not triangulate - if you cannot understand the difference between being unable to confirm your exact position and being lost, you are a fool

2 - Even at 70 hours, I had enough airmanship to realise that an airspace bust was a possibility, without further action

2 - My training fix call was an appropriate use of the service

3 - I acted within the ANO and didn't bust controlled airspace

4 - I learned that visual nav and sun/haze was not a good combination and took extra training to ensure I was better prepared

So, in conclusion, I didn't break any laws, didn't cause any flights to take avoiding action, used the service as recommended by the national authority and then topped up my knowledge to avoid a repetition in the next 12 years.

And you have the temerity and arrogance to make your last post.

Capt Airprox and others take a far more sensible line

BDiONU
24th May 2006, 07:07
D & D is unique in that it is a dedicated service one of the few in the world.
Anyway to ensure we retain D & D they need to show they perform a useful service and GA calls underpin the demand. Of course, the airlines do not fund D&D so do not control it like they do with NATS.
I am sure the D & D guys would rather be helping GA pilots and real emergencies that listening to some ignorant foreign pilots discussing who they slept with previous night when they use 121.5 incorrectly.
Retention of D&D is a licensing requirement on NATS. The airlines do, in a roundabout manner, fund D&D whereas GA do not in any sense. The airlines do not control NATS and I wonder why you have that impression?

As a former holder of a D&D licence I can say with authority that 95% of the time the dedicated D&D controllers sit around twiddling their thumbs bored to tears. So any sort of 'action' is welcome but you have to be careful what you wish for ;)

My 'worst' incorrect use of 121.5 was of a flight heading West across the ocean where they transmitted the usual 'Welcome on board, our flight time blah blah', took about 2 minutes.

BD

BDiONU
24th May 2006, 07:13
If the practice calls are so important then how come a large number of UK training organisations are not in a position to make such calls. It is only the SE 1/5 of the UK airspace thas has any decent VHF autotriangulation. Thus only a very limited number of organisations do this poractice rubbish.

Let me see........the UK needs a super dooper fixer service on 121.50 with lots of practice calls because pilots are always getting lost and infringing some critical airspace or the other but only in the south east of the country.

They also love flying into cloud and killing themselves so a special IMC rating is required which mixes public ransport operations with non-qualified pilots flying in IMC who are not trained or tested to fly a hold and are very limited in what they can actually do in IMC.

Those than can't obtain an aviation medical can go to their GP provided they are fit enought to drive a car, they too can mix it with public transport operations in controlled airspace in an aircraft with uncertified and unchecked essential equipment such as altimeters
DFC When are you going to come off the fence and say what you really mean? ;)

BTW Auto-Triang is available in the whole of the London FIR. Its only not available in the Scottish FIR. The original reason was cost. There are very few 121.5 receivers in Scotland and it covers a very large area. Coverage in the London FIR is much better AND its where the vast majority of 'Practice Pans' occur.

BD

B Fraser
24th May 2006, 11:07
The point is.....................there is nothing wrong in making practice pan calls on 121.5
As you would be informed if you took the trouble to visit D & D at West Drayton.
FBW

Well said !

I'll dip my toe in these shark infested waters without hiding behind a "nom de plume" so please don't flame me. I was fortunate to be able to visit D&D a few weeks ago and discuss the impact of student practice PANS. The additional workload is negligible. Practice calls are welcomed in that they de-mystify 121.5 to the point that the student, low-hours PPL or 20,000 hours training captain in his home-built project when caught out in the haze with a failed GPS will resolve the issue quickly when there is a risk of infringing a zone. The calls also give the controllers the opportunity to verify the kit outside of a prescribed test checklist (my view, perhaps not theirs).

If the day comes I am talking to Farnborough and look across to the airfield and wonder why I see lots of Virgin tails, I'll make the call immediately and send the West Drayton boys and girls a few slabs of beer for getting me out of the cr@p.

The main gist of what I have read so far is that the jet drivers object to listening to practice PANS on 121.5. A quick answer is to have a dedicated practice frequency however that is not going to happen for the reasons already given above. Can I suggest that you put up with the occasional practice PAN knowing that if I blunder into the London CTR, I know how to get out PDQ.

Few Cloudy
24th May 2006, 11:33
A few hundred years ago when I was still training in the RAF, we visited Preston Centre as it then was and saw the triangulation sit. room. The controllers there were very keen to get us to do Practise PAN calls and follow up with a complete practice diversion. I did it a couple of times and it worked very well.

As soon as they had me idented, they put me onto a discreet frequency to avoid blocking 121.5, however.

These days any 121.5 call is picked up by sattelite and it may be that the triangulation system is getting overtaken by technology in any case.

FC.

BDiONU
24th May 2006, 11:38
These days any 121.5 call is picked up by sattelite and it may be that the triangulation system is getting overtaken by technology in any case.
LOL!!! You might be surprised at the level of 'discussion' going on about the Auto T solution for the move of D&D from West Drayton to Swanwick next year!

BD

xetroV
24th May 2006, 11:46
klink
Maybe it would be best if you no longer fly in UK airspace? Because our national authority do not agree with you.
And they make the rules.
And you must comply.
Have a nice life.
Uhm, you don't get the point, do you? The rules of your national authority cause annoyance far beyond your national borders. E.g. in France, where continuous monitoring of 121.5 is of the utmost importance, in view of the many interceptions by military aircraft in that particular airspace.

Sure, you should always follow the rules, but not blindly. It is our duty as professional pilots to question questionable rules, and to identify potential safety problems. This is a potential safety problem, and that's not just my opinion, but ICAO's too.

DFC
24th May 2006, 12:00
Fo all of those that think autotriangulation is available in more than about 1/5 of UK airspace, please remamber that below 3000ft, it is only available south of Manch and East of Cardiff. That is what they tell you when you visit.

With the UK weather the average VFR PPL will train in the 1500 to 3000ft band for most of the time. Thus according to D+D's own information, autotriangulation is not available.

Isn't it ironic that the best safety service is not available over the most inhospitable areas of the UK while it is most available in the SE corner where the land is low lying, lots of emergency services available, relatively flat open terrain and plenty of navigation aids and radars with low level coverage!

-------------

Final 3 Greens,

if you cannot understand the difference between being unable to confirm your exact position and being lost, you are a fool

Ah the old "I have not left planet Earth so I am not lost because I know that is planet earth down there. I haven't got a clue which bit but I am not lost because I know that is planet earth". :D Other wise known as denial.

I have been lost, I have been temporarily unsure of position, I have been unable to confirm my exact position. However, I describe all those as simply not knowing where I am.

The big problem I have with your "training fix" is that;

a) It was not a training fix. You could have been told to standby while some other pilot who was slightly lost was given their full attention. During that time by your own admission you could have infringed that controlled airspace you were close to; and

b) Your call is recorded as a training call. That means that it is added to the list of nusance calls as far as other's who monitor 121.50 are concerned (Commercial pilots, towers, approach units, ACCs, Military units). It is also not on the list of flights who were helped by D+D. If everyone who needed help called for a practice, the evidence would show that no one really needed help and the service could be deemed surplus to requirments.

D+D is there to serve a miltary purpose - military D+D. That is why they have a lovely board with the latest info on all the military fields but little or no up to date info on the common civil GA ones up on their board. Since they are there anyway, and they can make some money out of it, the military traditionally have provided a service on 121.50. Make no mistake about it, if the military get into a muddle and are using D+D to sort it out, civil emergencies will have to wait. All the eggs in one basket system.

-------

If the day comes I am talking to Farnborough and look across to the airfield and wonder why I see lots of Virgin tails, I'll make the call immediately and send the West Drayton boys and girls a few slabs of beer for getting me out of the cr@p.

Why oh why whould you leave a frequency that has excellent radar coverage in that area, has probably given you a squawk and even if not is aware of you to talk to a unit that knows nothing about you and will take a little bit of time to sort you out?

If I was in that situation I would ask Farnborough for help or failing that, call the appropriate approach radar frequency.

I am sure that 1 radio call works better than;

4 or 5 radio calls, a telephone call, a discussion regarding what to do and then perhaps another frequency change and the whole identification process all over again!

Is 121.50 so popular because pilots for example flying in the vicinity of Heathrow are afraid to call Heathrow if they think thay are by accident within the Heathrow zone?

If this is the case or the case is that Heathrow would not welcome the call is there anywhere else on the world that this also happens?

Regards,

DFC

RoyHudd
24th May 2006, 12:09
Xetrov and others, no need to respond to the pompous outpourings from Final 3 Greens. (Even his handle suggests amatuer status)


He gives bona fide evidence of why professional pilots are again seeking their own dedicated website, uncontaminated by non-professional cling-ons.

Which is another thread started by Danny.

AS for 121.5, I was distracted by a practice pan while dodging cb's and bumpy rainclouds on my way out of EGKK yesterday. Box 3 de-selected...shame. Probably my capacity management could come into question, but believe me, a normal morning departure from LGW can be busy enough to keep 2 folks fully occupied.

BDiONU
24th May 2006, 12:28
Fo all of those that think autotriangulation is available in more than about 1/5 of UK airspace, please remamber that below 3000ft, it is only available south of Manch and East of Cardiff. That is what they tell you when you visit.
So your assertion about Auto Triang availability (should actually be coverage) is in factual error. It is available throughout the whole of the London FIR but coverage varies due to terrain. I think you'll find the wording is guaranteed coverage above the levels, some days its much better.
Isn't it ironic that the best safety service is not available over the most inhospitable areas of the UK while it is most available in the SE corner where the land is low lying, lots of emergency services available, relatively flat open terrain and plenty of navigation aids and radars with low level coverage!
Low lying land means better coverage with fewer aerials. If there was a stated requirement then coverage down to lower levels over more hilly terrain could be provided. This means more aerials and more equipment.
D+D is there to serve a miltary purpose - military D+D. That is why they have a lovely board with the latest info on all the military fields but little or no up to date info on the common civil GA ones up on their board. Since they are there anyway, and they can make some money out of it, the military traditionally have provided a service on 121.50. Make no mistake about it, if the military get into a muddle and are using D+D to sort it out, civil emergencies will have to wait. All the eggs in one basket system.

Your assertion is incorrect. D&D provide both a military and a civil service, it is not the case that they 'traditionally' provide a service on 121.5. NATS has a licensing requirement to provide a fixing and alerting service, they pay the MoD to provide the manpower because it makes considerable sense to have people who are both trained and dedicated to providing an emergency service provide it to both. It is a dreadful mistake to suppose that D&D controllers will ignore a civil one in preference to a military, they will deal with both as they arise. From personal experience I have handled more than a single emergency at one time. London D&D have 2 controllers on duty 24/7 because its much busier airspace than that in Scotland, so its even less likely they'd be unable to cope with multiple emergencies.

DFC I suggest you gather some facts before pushing the send button because you're making yourself look a bit of an @rse.

BD

Wide-Body
24th May 2006, 12:51
Hi All

A lot of people getting hot under the collar on this one. I think the CAA missive sums it up. I spend most of my flying with 121.5 (or Mirage FM :E if flying over France) on box 2. The amount in reality that a practice pan makes is negligable compared to the other chat.

Is it a valuable service? it is. One can ask the question if it saves one life then its worth it. People are still flying into cumulo granite.

http://www.aaib.dft.gov.uk/cms_resources/PZL-Koliber%20160A,%20G-BZAJ%202-06.pdf

As for state differences there are hundreds, us pro boys live with it. It is a fact of life. Live with it.

Getting distacted by practice pan on 121.5, then review your capacity management. It may be a good trigger to indicate overload. BASIC human factors stuff.

I also live in the GA world. Instuctors, have you prepaired you student well enough. At Waltham last week, pilot on student solo landed in 6k vis. For the previous 10 mins he had stopped lhr departures. Perhaps a call to D&D may have saved the airlines a few pounds. But I do not blame the student, The instructor however?

DFC, some good comments, but the 121.5 system works. For one % of airtime it;s worth it

If a guy is lost, I would doubt if capacity is at a state to find frequencies of an airfield he may be near.

Enough from me, I'm off to listen to Mirage FM this afternoon.

Regards and respect to all aviation people

Wide

Roffa
24th May 2006, 13:26
Why does no where else practice on 121.50, why does nowhere else have an IMC rating, why does no where else allow pilots to fly with only the medical standard of as typical aged car driver?

Cause they are all wrong. The UK is always right. That why they always do it their way!

Regards,

DFC

At least one other country, take the USA for example, does allow pilots to fly without formal medical certification in the same manner as NPPLs do in the UK.

Just one innacuracy amongst many on this thread and others that you post so authoritatively on :rolleyes:

B Fraser
24th May 2006, 13:34
DFC - Why oh why whould you leave a frequency that has excellent radar coverage in that area, has probably given you a squawk and even if not is aware of you to talk to a unit that knows nothing about you and will take a little bit of time to sort you out?

Because trying to get a call in at the weekend can be nigh on impossible. The D&D chaps will be able to pinpoint me and give the (nil wind) heading to fly in the shortest possible time. If a GA muppet has brought an airport to a halt then according to many of the other postings, the jet boys will be able to hear the problem being resolved.

Please can an instructor PM me if 121.5 is not the correct course of action so we do not clutter up this emergency thread with training issues ;)

rustle
24th May 2006, 15:23
Retention of D&D is a licensing requirement on NATS. The airlines do, in a roundabout manner, fund D&D whereas GA do not in any sense.

BD

NATS provide the infrastrucure but the MOD provide the personnel and I believe all UK taxpayers pay toward the MOD.

Some GA (> 2T) pay a lot in route charges, thanks.

Use some of the cash raised when we're (> 2T) OCAS at night to offset the infrastructure costs -- it isn't used for anything else... ;)

BDiONU
24th May 2006, 15:46
NATS provide the infrastrucure but the MOD provide the personnel and I believe all UK taxpayers pay toward the MOD.
The MoD are providing the service for the military. NATS pay the MoD to run the service on behalf of civil. So NATS (private company) are offsetting the cost to the taxpayer of providing the MoD emergency Alerting & Fixing service whilst at the same time meeting its licensing obligations :) Hope thats clearer.

BD

rustle
24th May 2006, 15:49
Hope thats clearer.

BD

Yep. Ta. :ok:

...but some of us in GA do still pay :8

mad_jock
24th May 2006, 21:23
As a matter of interest.

I presume that using 121.50 for CAT contact is seen as an adnormal procedure.
And as such will be logged as an "emergency" I also presume that such activitys by D&D are logged. How many times a year is this function used in the UK?

How many ATC units have access to transmit on 121.5?
How many of them can recieve it?

Personally I think that its a perception thing. One side who presume its a mission critical service. And another side, who the SRG agree with, who reckon the safety case of GA being D&D scared is a greater risk to safety than all CAT not having box 2 selected to 121.5.

I presume its all down to risk assement as usual. If the numbers of CAT which were required to be contacted by 121.5 to restablish contact are high enough to cause it to be a primary service it would have priority. I suspect though it is used very infrequently if at all in the UK, the number crunchers and have done there magic and reasoned that this multi million pound service is better served by being used by GA by giving fixes to, to avoid controlled airspace.

I would also presume that if such a contact freq is required it would be far cheaper to create a seperate "missed coms" freq for CAT which doesn't require the VDF infrastructure or training. Every AtC unit in the land could access it and transmit only. You could proberly pipe it through 4 telly masts through the UK or gawd forbid the classic FM masts. You can pick that up everywhere even if you don't want it.

Sporran
24th May 2006, 22:49
Having scanned my way through 7 pages of this thread I am rather bemused at how some people are getting SSSOOOOO uptight about this issue. :hmm:

In the UK a 'practice pan' is a totally acceptable part of aviation. The resultant RT exchange is therefore totally acceptable.

What is not acceptable in any country is the non-stop 'wittering' on 121.5. If you want to chat - use 123.45. As a professional pilot I try to maintain a listening watch on 121.5 on the spare box (just in case), but am forever hearing chatter and complaints.

For those of us who call ourselves professional pilots all it needs on this matter is for us to behave like professional pilots.:ok:

B Fraser
24th May 2006, 23:22
If you want to chat, use the balloon frequency of 122.475

The weather is so crap at the moment, none of them are flying. :ok:

DFC
24th May 2006, 23:34
It is true that the UK has assigned 123.45 to ATS services.

Only the UK has done that and because it is the international chat frequency, it has published NOTAM and AIC to let pilots know.
The CAA say that the frequency is monitored!

Of course the Shannon FIR and the Paris FIR, Brest FIR, Amsterdam FIR etc have no such restriction that I am aware of and of course pilots can chat on that frequency just on the other side of the FIR boundary.

No doubt the CAA would complain about the interference from aircraft outside the UK to UK ATS facilities.

Bit of a reversal of fortunes!!!

No doubt the CAA have consulted far and wide regarding this and it will never be the case that the 121.50 speaker at Dublin ACC or Dublin Tower is turned down because of an on-going practice pan over anglsey? But is was! :(

Regards,

DFC

Diddley Dee
25th May 2006, 12:06
Hi all

As a controller who works in London Centre (D&D) I felt I had to register with Pprune after reading through this thread. Whilst reading it I found myself shaking my head in disbelief at some of the attitudes displayed. I am sure that there are student PPLs out there who will have been following this thread & will now be positively terrified of using 121.5 for its legitimate use in the UK FIRs of practice or emergency calls.

Some of the facts thrown around this thread about D&D are wholey inaccurate, As an example, yes the stated coverage for DF fixing is outside the LTMA is 3000 & above up to the humber estuary, over to Liverpool & then down to the south coast. Those figures are the guaranteed coverage, it can work very well beyond those horizontal or vertical limits.....

As for the comment about us as Mil controllers giving a service to Mil ac in emergency over GA in emergency, what planet are you on? As trained expierienced professionals we would prioritise and act accordingley! And as for not having the info any civil airfields.... wrong, its just displayed differently. Its on the VDF PC and we have access to details even of a large number of farm strips

Regarding the percetage of tx by PP calls versus those made by CAT etc, I can tell you from first hand expeirience that time in D&D can (& usually does) go very slowly I have never had a shift where 121.5 has been cluttered up with PP calls......It just does not happen. We do however hear lots of calls on 121.5 from CAT to other agencies etc, we do on a regular basis go out on 121.5 to get ac to go to the correct freq and might I add that this happens when there have been no "interferring" calls made on 121.5 by practice or emergency traffic. We have at least once to my certain knowledge, been sworn at by a Airline pilot!!!

As for the controller training side of it, yes we do usually have a trainee in D&D & if we relied on emergency traffic alone, we would never be able to endorse a controller because of the paucity of traffic.

Do all you Airline chaps maintain currency when you fly? Yes... well we need to as well. When PPLs get lost often they are not just lost but in a dangerous situation eg stuck at low level with a lowering cloudbase & poor viz. In order to resolve situations like that successfully we as controllers need to be up to speed instantly, be familiar with our kit and know what will work at the position / level the guy is at. If we sat on our butts all day & just handled actual emergencies you could go for weeks without talking to an ac. Would you trust me to get someone out of the poo having not dealt with any traffic for some considerable time..... No neither would I.

I agree whole heartedly the system inplace is not ideal, but its not changing anytime soon. Instead of challenging it on here and berating those who chose to use it for practice, wouldnt it be better to file the appropriate reports catalogeing events that have caused problems in an attempt to change policy?

Diddley Dee Out

Flybywyre
25th May 2006, 12:30
An excellent post that should go some way to dampening down a lot of the nonsense and "pompous outbursts" made by some of the so called professionals.
FBW

Flying Microphone
25th May 2006, 13:53
As a UK based PPL, this has proved a very interseting thread and shows, amongst other things, a lack of understanding between two halves of the same coin... commercial and GA.

I made one practice pan call to D&D whilst training for my PPL out of Rochester many years ago and it proved to me that the D&D guys were spot and and very helpful. I don't feel any great compulsion to make them everytime I fly, but will, almost certainly make another at some point soon, just to shake off the rust.

A very good friend of mine ran the D&D cell for a few years before being posted onwards within the RAF. One thing I remember him telling me about was the amount of "cramming" he was required to do on small GA airfields and farm strips to enable him to point 121.5 callers in the right direction if needed (maybe Diddley dee can confirm this?).

For any GA pilots reading this, don't be afraid to make that call, practice or for real. Usual radio etiquette applies... listen out and if no one else is on channel, make that call.

If it's a genuine one, send the boys and girls a slab or two:ok: ... they do a bloody good job for all who fly.

Happy flying

DeeCee
25th May 2006, 14:47
Whew, common sense at last. Well done the last two chaps.

DeeCee
25th May 2006, 14:48
oops, sorry. I include Diddly Dee obviously, someone posted too quickly!

omnidirectional737
25th May 2006, 20:49
Heard some one today doing a PA on 121.5, may be they were practising:} . Obviously wrong box selected,:O very funny for every one else listening though, think it was air berlin.

Hand Solo
25th May 2006, 21:15
It is true that the UK has assigned 123.45 to ATS services.
Only the UK has done that and because it is the international chat frequency, it has published NOTAM and AIC to let pilots know.
The CAA say that the frequency is monitored!
Of course the Shannon FIR and the Paris FIR, Brest FIR, Amsterdam FIR etc have no such restriction that I am aware of and of course pilots can chat on that frequency just on the other side of the FIR boundary
Regards,
DFC

Not so. 123.45 may be 'the international chat frequency' on the Atlantic but elsewehere it gets used by ATC agencies. Try doing some chat on 123.45 in the Guanghzhou FIR and you'll get a b*ll*cking from Macao approach who'll rightly demand to know why your chatting on the NAT air to air frequency when your 7000 miles from the correct location. If you want to know the correct air to air frequency then look on your charts. It certainly isn't 123.45 in Myanmar FIR.

CaptAirProx
25th May 2006, 22:42
Oh Didley D - thankyou thankyou thankyou.

There also seems to be a fascination with the fact that D&D only provide AutoTriangulation and that its not always there where you need it. So bloody what. The times I have called D&D for traing at lowish level and what they do is make you sqawk. They then talk to a local radar unit, who then see you. If that fails they get you to turn. And then they hand you to that controller......My point being, they are there to help in anyway possible whether it be to just sound calming on the R/T to doing all your map reading for you.

When the chips are down, pilots tend to forget even the most easiest tasks such as pick up the map, find who is the nearest radar unit - pick out the frequency and dial it. However we ALL know 121.500.

Use it use it use it folks! If the gods upstairs can't cope with it - it ain't ya problem!

B Fraser
26th May 2006, 09:22
If it's a genuine one, send the boys and girls a slab or two:ok: ... they do a bloody good job for all who fly.
Happy flying

At the end of my club visit to D&D, I asked how much beer they were sent each week by grateful pilots. The answer was the square root of nothing. 10mins of flying costs more than an appropriate gesture of thanks :*

Good post Diddley Dee, I look forward to making a few practice PANS during the summer. Is there anything that PPL students can add to make the exercise more valuable for you ?

Gertrude the Wombat
26th May 2006, 20:56
At the end of my club visit to D&D, I asked how much beer they were sent each week by grateful pilots. The answer was the square root of nothing.
Is that, I wonder, anything to do with the Double Diamond badge on their door?? - any real ale drinker would naturally assume that they had no taste in beer at all, and send them chocolates instead.

Diddley Dee
26th May 2006, 21:25
Is that, I wonder, anything to do with the Double Diamond badge on their door?? - any real ale drinker would naturally assume that they had no taste in beer at all, and send them chocolates instead.

:D :D :D Cant stand bitter anyway:\

As regards what type of practice, from our point of view you are welcome to go for any type of practice emergency you see fit. The facility is there to be used, it doesnt say that you may only use it for a simple training fix. However be prepared to get binned off the freq sharpish if an emergency calls while you are doing your PP. As an aside if the emergency is on UHF 243.0 then you obviously wouldnt necessarily know why we were terminating the PP.

We are also very aware how much prolonged PP calls can antagonise CAT guys so we do try to stike a balance in how long we "allow" a longer PP call to go on for, but by all means please make use of the facility. I am learning to fly, (just did my QXC the other day) & I always try to do one each trip to help the guys training ...............

Regards

Diddley Dee

ShyTorque
27th May 2006, 00:17
So who was the bright spark asking for the toilet emptying service on 121.5 this afternoon then - when someone told him he was on "guard" he continued to repeat the conversation? Don't think it was a PPL....... :ugh:

Never mind, we just turned down the radio volume until he had finished making a complete pillock of himself and then, guess what? We turned up the volume again and continued on our way. ;)

EffohX
27th May 2006, 04:47
However be prepared to get binned off the freq sharpish if an emergency calls while you are doing your PP.I'm reminded of the old Vietnam war era yarn (a true one) of the F100 driver (that's a Super Sabre, not a Fokker, for you young 'uns) who made what can only be caled a classic calll on 243.00, (which was commonly known then as "(US) Army Primary").

Two US Army helo pilots were (as was all too usual) babbling on on Guard when the F100 driver called up and said "When you two gentlemen are quite finished, I'd like to squeeze my Mayday in." ... and proceeded to give his (very cooool) Mayday call.

At the risk of incurring the wrath of what seems to be the majority of posters here, I'm afraid I'm with the naysayers. 121.5 is an emergency frequency and in every other country in the world, isn't used as a practice frequency. No one in his right mind would object to having his peacful Sunday afternoon interrupted by a genuine call for assistance, but even after reading all the posts in their defence, these "practice pan, practice pan" calls quite honestly amaze me.

If this wonderful service you have in the UK is so vital to trainees, why in the world don't you have a dedicated frequency for practice calls, (as the military has with UHF)? All the comments about the necessity of giving a student confidence in using the system don't wash with me. If you take that argument to its logical conclusion, a student would be required to actually experience every emergency in the book right through to its conclusion.

Off to my trunk now to see if I've still got my old tin hat. I fear I'm going to need it.

BDiONU
27th May 2006, 07:00
If this wonderful service you have in the UK is so vital to trainees, why in the world don't you have a dedicated frequency for practice calls, (as the military has with UHF)?
Because no one will pay for it.

BD

Diddley Dee
27th May 2006, 08:00
I think everyone is in agreement on that one........ the ideal solution is a seperate freq but there isnt one at present. Our Mil pilots call PPs frequently on PETF (even whilst undergoing initial flying training operating relatively simple ac) because they recognise a need. Civil pilots do not have a PETF so their choice is use 121.5 as legislated in this country or dont practice...... Many of the ATSUs particulary in the busy SE, just dont have the capacity to offer the pilots of GA ac the oppurtunity to practice emergencies on their discrete ATC freq. Indeed at times when they get a puddle jumper type that has a minor emergency they sometimes dump him across to us as they are stretched to capacity & sometimes cannot offer him the full assistance he needs.
I completely understand reasoned opinions such as those expressed by Effohx, but it is the system that is in place at present and is there to be used.
If anyone has a mate who can provide another VHF freq to be used as a VHF PETF you would have the unreserved support of all those who work In D&D.;)

Diddley Dee

BDiONU
27th May 2006, 08:06
If anyone has a mate who can provide another VHF freq to be used as a VHF PETF you would have the unreserved support of all those who work In D&D.;)
I do but my mates aren't going to pay for the work to identify suitable tx/rx sites, the spectrum analysis to ensure that frequency doesn't interfere with nearby frequencies, the provision, installation and maintenance of the rx/tx masts and equipment, the wiring and connection to the Auto-T, the ongoing maintenance and the annual cost of dedicated lines.
A frequency is the simple (and cheap) bit :E

BD

Skidkid
27th May 2006, 11:24
Use of 123.45 MHz

Please see separate thread:

http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?p=2513869#post2513869

DeeCee
27th May 2006, 11:58
This is not about Vietnam and it is not about flying anywhere else other than the UK. This is about flying in cluttered airspace. I am amazed at the attitudes of some of the supposedly professional pilots. You are just sounding off in an ignorant fashion.

D & D themselves say that there is not a problem. What's the matter, can't you read?

FullWings
27th May 2006, 12:20
D & D themselves say that there is not a problem. What's the matter, can't you read?
I think I see one of the reasons for the differences in opinion. D&Ds primary task is to monitor the emergency frequency then take action should it be required. The commercial pilot, however, is trying to manage the flight, interact with ATC and keep a 'listening ear' on 121.5 as a sub-task, so there is much more opportunity for distraction. The two situations are not directly comparable...

klink
27th May 2006, 13:32
I am amazed at the attitudes of some of the supposedly professional pilots. You are just sounding off in an ignorant fashion.
I'm sorry, I promised to leave the topic but I get these mails the whole time reminding me of replies.

I think what some people still don't get, is that this isn't a pissing contest between GA and Commercial Aviation.
Are commercial pilots not allowed anymore to express their opinion if something really bothers them?
Funny thing is that Diddley Dee acknowledges the problem of using the 121.5, but because of financial constraints there is no alternative. So we as professional (its my profession; hope you don't mind me using the term-I didn't say better-than-GA) pilots just have to row with the punches. Whether we deem it unsafe or not.
That's the bottom line.
:{
klink - out.

RoyHudd
27th May 2006, 14:58
Right on Klink...this is the land of political correctness, where one must respect the opinions of all minorities, no matter how wrong or crass they may be. (e.g 146 crew being breathalysed after firm landing at MAN after a passenger cpmplained to the police about obviously drunk pilots!)

This is PPL's (let's say non-professionals) using their "rights" to hog a Professional Pilot's website, and take the opportunity to slag us off should we dare to write pro-based opinions. Admittedly some of the air-trafficers are PPL holders too, and their points are more clearly valid.

Things ain't going to change quickly around here, I regret to opine. WE have to listen, acknowledge, and shut up.

Better start another website, just to allow us some privacy. Please. Ciao.

Diddley Dee
27th May 2006, 16:24
Roy

These pages arent private so will get read by others and as Humans we all feel the need to react at times as did I. Its the manner in which some people appear to post their opinions that rub people up the wrong way. This thread at times seems to have taken the tone of "if you are GA & you do PP calls on 121.5 then you are an idiot as its not for that.... why? because I say so".

This topic rumbles on & on and the problem has been around for years, Do you have any evidence to show where PPs on 121.5 have contributed to a flight safety critcal incident? The problem (yes I do agree there is one, but not one that is not manageable) with the present system has been around for years, its just the personalities that complain about it that change.

Diddley Dee

DFC
27th May 2006, 20:51
This is not about Vietnam and it is not about flying anywhere else other than the UK. This is about flying in cluttered airspace. I am amazed at the attitudes of some of the supposedly professional pilots. You are just sounding off in an ignorant fashion.
D & D themselves say that there is not a problem. What's the matter, can't you read?

Did you not learn about VHF range or how far away an aircraft at 35,000 has to be so as not to hear a transmission from another aircraft at 4000ft.

The practice pans interfere with aircraft and ground stations outside the UK.

AOPA's latest mag has an article describing how they represented two pilots who were brought to task by the CAA for infringing london's controlled airspace. To quote "Instructors - we're not teaching the use of 121.5 properly. It is not just for use in emergency".

Did that person not think that he should have said instructors were not teaching navigation properly and that pilots must keep sensible margins from the boundary of controlled airspace when planning a flight.

121.50 is most definitely the emergency frequency for use in emergency.

If we sat on our butts all day & just handled actual emergencies you could go for weeks without talking to an ac. Would you trust me to get someone out of the poo having not dealt with any traffic for some considerable time..... No neither would I.

Thank God that the other 1000s of controllers in hundreds of FIRs throughout the world can be relied upon to go for months without an emergency and then be 100% trusted to help get someone out of the poo.

D+D need to get themselves a PC sim and some imaginative instructors who can simulate various scenarios more realistically than some C150 doing a practice pan that will only be brief and will only be done in VDF or radar coverage. Do you do practice pans with aircraft outside VDF and radar coverage?

Your point seems to say that lost of practice in fixing positions of light aircraft operating VFR is required. Heavy types with 400 pax and complicated emergencies and in need of special handling do not require any practice at all?

I do not teach the use of 121.50 other than as an emergency frequency used when no help is available on the current frequency.

Prior Planning Prevents P:oh:ss Poor Performance and the reliance on 121.50 as a navigation crutch.

Regards,

DFC

Diddley Dee
27th May 2006, 21:53
Thank God that the other 1000s of controllers in hundreds of FIRs throughout the world can be relied upon to go for months without an emergency and then be 100% trusted to help get someone out of the poo.

D+D need to get themselves a PC sim and some imaginative instructors who can simulate various scenarios more realistically than some C150 doing a practice pan that will only be brief and will only be done in VDF or radar coverage. Do you do practice pans with aircraft outside VDF and radar coverage?

Your point seems to say that lost of practice in fixing positions of light aircraft operating VFR is required. Heavy types with 400 pax and complicated emergencies and in need of special handling do not require any practice at all?
Regards,

DFC

More heading shaking from me..... I dont profess to know what goes on in your cockpit so refrain from telling you what to do.... hint!

The other 1000s of controllers you refer to dont work in London Centre. I believe the set up in the UK is unique, no other country has as far as I am aware a unit dedicated to monitoring 121.5 & 243.0 .Thats primarily the only controlling we do whilst in D&D. The other controllers you refer to are controllers routinely handling traffic day in day out thus keeping their hand in. Controlling is a profession that like flying is reliant on maintaining currency, we soon go rusty & get behind drag curves if skills are not practised.

We would benefit enormously from having PP calls that are as challenging as the real stuff we deal with but we dont try to elict those sort of calls on 121.5 as it is understood by all D&D staff that there is a repercussion to the CAT flyers and they would invariably lead to longer calls.

Yes we do practice PP calls when ac are outside radar coverage (they often are in reality due to low altitude for wx) Invariably to the tune of CAT moaning about it.

No we dont have the oppurtunity to practice with airliners as we recognise the difficulties that would cause for you therefore we dont ask.

Yes we do understand the principles of radio waves & that you can hear PP calls hundreds of miles away as we hear CAT ac every few minutes during the day on 121.5. Incidentally one of the CAT guys made an excellent job a week or so ago of stuck tx on 121.5 for about 20 mins making it impossible for anyone to tx on 121.5 from the midlands south.

I dont mean to point my finger at CAT but its attitudes like those displayed by DFC that pi$$ me right off. Telling me as an ATCO what my unit should be doing & berating anyone who dares to make use of 121.5 for practice just isnt on. WE ALL KNOW THAT ANOTHER FREQ IS NEEDED! Why wear out your heartbeats moaning at those who are legitimately operating within the system as is ???? Do something about the present system or stop moaning AT us. All that you are doing from my own personal perspectrive is making your profession (one I currently hold in high esteem) look not quite so professional.
Diddley Dee

CaptAirProx
27th May 2006, 23:31
Yeah but no but yeah but.

As has just been stated - Us commercial pilots have to 'manage' the flight. My management head says "Busy airspace, over land, constant R/t on primary frequency - more chance of danger by screwing up a clearance, autopilot changes required due level/heading changes due busy airspace - THEREFORE - Turn off box two with 121.500 and leave it to D&D to monitor or any other less busy crew member flying and use box two ONLY when absolutely necessary"

Isn't this Risk Management?

aw8565
31st May 2006, 21:47
Just thought I'd mention that doing a practice pan is encouraged at my flying school. There's a notice on the noticeboard. South East UK...

RoyHudd
31st May 2006, 22:03
Looks like this thread is heading straight back to where it started.....deep breath....but I would like to advise that if the notice was not written by ATC/CAA, it is not official. Suggest 121.5 is the way to go on a Mayday call, after transmitting on one's current in-use freq. But practice Pans? Well, read all the preceding stuff, mine included, and decide for yourself.

DeeCee
31st May 2006, 22:14
You only have to read the official view as posted by Diddley Dee. He works at D & D and has made his views very clear. I really do not understand why confusion and doubt is once again sowed. Sorry to say this once again, but can't you read?

Art E. Fischler-Reisen
1st Jun 2006, 11:26
Quote: (From CAP 413)
1.8 Training Fix
Pilots who do not wish to carry out a practice emergency but only wish to confirm their position may request a ‘Training Fix’ on 121.5 MHz. This ‘Training Fix’ is secondary in importance to actual emergency calls but takes precedence over practice emergency calls in the event of simultaneous incidents. Unquote.

PENKO
1st Jun 2006, 13:17
To everyone quoting D&D missives, CAP documents and other sources:

Practically no one said that practise PAN's are illegal in the UK.
We are however discussing the potential implications of this practice in today's busy post ATC environment.


So please stop quoting D&D and CAP-rules. It's irrelevant in this.

Final 3 Greens
1st Jun 2006, 14:06
PENKO

The potential implications seem to be that it saves lives, but dont listen to me, look a't Wide Body's post, he's qualified to talk about both perspectives, I'm not.

I would be the first to agree that a discrete frequency for GA use would be ideal, but it seems unlikely to happen.

So perhaps just bear a thought for us GA boys, down in the long grass, with a potential glide time that may be measured seconds following an SEP engine failure, when a CAT jock inadvertently transmits on 121.5, stopping us having access for up to a minute or two.

It's our problem, as well as yours.

Edited to say that I understand your problem too, not being aggressive!

CaptAirProx
2nd Jun 2006, 00:37
Penko - You are quite right that rules depicting what we do doesn't always make it right either. However, we have an issue here that clearly upsets some busy pilots feeling the need to monitor 121.500 and quote that during a busy ATC environment find it difficult. If ATC is that busy it must imply that you are less likely to suffer a loss of comms etc. And when you do, you will be very quick to realise as a busy ATC environment normal means lots of frequency changes along a route - you will suss something is up.

So in my view the only need to listen to 121.500 is for distress of other aircraft in the area. Well if you are that busy, concentrate on your own task and worry about others when you have time - big deal? It is frowned upon within the operation that I fly to listen to two frequencies at once. You either have box one or box two - not both. This is because it is recognised that assessment of risk suggests that if we do not concentrate on the task in hand - a busy ATC environment - a potentially more disastrous incident will happen over any incident we may be able to "capture" by listening to 121.500.
So a practice pan is annoying and distracting. Is it the case that as London give you a very demanding clearance that requires immediate action you will ignore this cos some poor sod has called a mayday? Surely you will get your house in order first by prioritising on your safety before others...Or are you just going to be a saint and ignore London to be the Helping Hand as you crash into the other airliner......hmmm. Dramatic I know but some people are being rather dramatic about a rather easily minimised facet of todays ATC environement which is not wholly the cause of the puddle jumpers.

We can all help the issue as it clearly is apparent that many incidents are avoided by puddle jumpers being more forthright with the use of 121.500. There are most definately two sides to this little gem.

Art E. Fischler-Reisen
2nd Jun 2006, 08:01
To everyone quoting D&D missives, CAP documents and other sources:

Practically no one said that practise PAN's are illegal in the UK.
We are however discussing the potential implications of this practice in today's busy post ATC environment.

So please stop quoting D&D and CAP-rules. It's irrelevant in this.

Not irrelevant at all!
However, it's mainly a CRM and procedural issue. If you can't cope, change your SOPs. Or use the volume control - that's what it's there for.

chevvron
4th Jun 2006, 09:03
Don't know whether they're already in use somewhere, but it would seem to me that a VHF frequency close to 121.5 could be allocated for practice emergencies eg 121.475 or 121.525. It would require international agreement of course, as the frequency could potentially be used anywhere within UK airspace, but it would seem sensible to put an upper limit on its use eg FL100 in order to avoid interference with other users in neighbouring FIR's.

MrBitsy
4th Jun 2006, 11:38
The abuse of 121.50 in he UK as a general training frequency needs to stop.
Do people have to make an actual call just to see that the system works?
No.
DFC

Er, yes.

I am a 34 hour UK PPL who is now very happy to talk to anyone on the radio - very different to when I was at 10 hours who was asked to contact 121.5 for a practice pan. After just talking to AFIS and A/G, actually talking to a "real" controller was quite a scary thought :rolleyes:

A couple of practice Pans later, I was at ease and would use the frequency if I was in any sort of trouble. Without the practice pan calls, I can quite imagine trying to talk myself out of calling them.

RK

Few Cloudy
4th Jun 2006, 17:44
Well we live and learn!

It is funny to see a triangulation thread going in circles.

I have said my piece before but maybe I'm square!

Maybe we should all toe the line, if you get my angle...

And please - no more going off at a tangent!

FC.

spanner the cat
4th Jun 2006, 23:13
When I was instructing full-time 6 years ago, I was told by one of the D+D controllers that they wanted practice pans for training some of their junior controllers.
Recently monitoring 121.5 on box 2 in MAN area. listened to GA aircraft genuinely lost. Poor guy couldn't see his airfield despite being vectored virtually overhead and sounded v unsure of himself. I wonder how he felt to hear the occasional voice say "You're on Guard" (US accents mainly). It was annoying to hear so-called professional pilots not actually listen to the transmissions and keep their gobs shut. It's filed as a difference by the UK and published as such. If operating to HAJ or DUS (and probably plenty of other German airfields) the plates say there is uncontrolled VFR traffic up to FL100. That's not ideal either but you read the relevant notes and take heed.
Regards

DFC
4th Jun 2006, 23:21
Diddley Dee,

You can shake your head all you want. Let me simply say that even if you did cycle between radar and D+D in the MASOR, you would be simply shaking your head at a max of 3 tracks. :p

There is a frequency where you can get all the practice you want - using RAF aircraft and not affecting either the civil or military distress frequencies.

There is also some very expensive sims available to you but under used I think.

What everyone who says this is necessary and one can turn off 121.50 if it is busy fails to see is that nearby ATC units can not turn off 121.50 and while the pilot can turn it off to avoid the distraction, the ATC unit can not and a distracted controller is just as bad as a distracted pilot during a busy period.

There is also the issue that pilots operating in quiet areas of the Brest FIR heading out over the pond should not have to turn off 121.50 because the frequency is being abused hundreds of miles away.

The D+D controller allows the practice pan to continue based on there being no emergencies in progress with them. Do they ask Scottish or all the other adjacent units first? - They should.

They should check with everyone likely to be affected and that would include the B747 miles away who has just started to pick up a real signal.

-------

MrBitsy,

Why not travel a bit and talk to various ATC units enroute for a service. The experience you gain would be more benificial than drilling holes in the sky within 10nm of base chatting "with real controllers" on 121.50.

I never train students to call 121.50 unless in a real emergency and no help available on the current frequency. That works for the 99.9% of pilots so why not the 0.1% that think practice pans are necessary.

If practice pans are such a good thing, and so necessary and every British PPL needs to do one can anyone explain why they can not be done in the Channel Islands?

Not available over the majority of the FIR and not permitted in other parts of airspace. Sounds like a "necessary only in certain areas" type of necessary to me! :rolleyes:

Regards,

DFC

MrBitsy
4th Jun 2006, 23:36
MrBitsy,
Why not travel a bit and talk to various ATC units enroute for a service. The experience you gain would be more benificial than drilling holes in the sky within 10nm of base chatting "with real controllers" on 121.50.
DFC

A little bit difficult with the instructor sitting next to me, telling me to call 121.50 for a practice pan :O

RK.

chevvron
5th Jun 2006, 07:37
DFC: as far as I'm aware, very few civil ATC units have 121.5 installed, hence they can't turn it down or off; oh they may have an ICOM to dial it up, but it's certainly not on their main radio installations.

A330busdriver
5th Jun 2006, 10:54
I'm glad to see that the UK CAA still maintains it's hypocritical attitude to all with such arrogance.

Last year they issued a circular warning aircraft operators and pilots not to use 123.45 for air to air comms within range of UK airspace. So, even if you were outside UK airspace, these effers were trying to tell you what to do.

A few years ago the UK CAA issued a notam stating that the UK MoD were engaged in GPS jamming trials. These trials actually interfered with GPS signal reception in areas beyond the UK. So it's ok for the Brits to interfere with aircraft operations outside of the UK whilst they don't want interference from outsiders to their operations.

Arrogant sheites.

PPRuNe Radar
5th Jun 2006, 12:35
Whilst it's out of character for me to defend the CAA, it seems necessary to do so in the light of the misinformation quoted.

I'm glad to see that the UK CAA still maintains it's hypocritical attitude to all with such arrogance.

Last year they issued a circular warning aircraft operators and pilots not to use 123.45 for air to air comms within range of UK airspace. So, even if you were outside UK airspace, these effers were trying to tell you what to do.

No they didn't. They specifically mentioned that the information was to clarify the situation regarding use of 123.450 within the UK FIR. Not within range of, not outside, but within. It also did not tell pilots to not use the frequency. It merely pointed out it's correct function in UK airspace, the problems it could cause if misused, and then left it to the pilot to make the correct decision (i.e. ''Attention is brought to the fact that the resulting interference from unauthorised use of this channel is potentially detremental to flight safety.'')

A few years ago the UK CAA issued a notam stating that the UK MoD were engaged in GPS jamming trials. These trials actually interfered with GPS signal reception in areas beyond the UK. So it's ok for the Brits to interfere with aircraft operations outside of the UK whilst they don't want interference from outsiders to their operations.

Nothing to do with the CAA being arrogant. GPS is, and always has been, primarily a Military system. Civil use piggy backs it through the generosity of the US Department of Defence (or Defense [sic]). Military authorities worldwide have a legitimate right to either experiment against signals, or conduct training in system degradation and jamming. It's how people train for war or build defensive systems for their own purposes. The UK is a close ally of the US, both are in NATO. Co-ordination of activities and exchange of experience is useful to both sides.

Now, if the constellation was a civil funded system with operators paying for it, you could have a whinge about it. But until the 'still looking for a purpose' Gallileo system comes along, freeloaders will just have to put up with the fact that they have no say over the availability of GPS, especially if the inconvenience is being caused by military users.

Diddley Dee
5th Jun 2006, 13:39
Diddley Dee,

You can shake your head all you want. Let me simply say that even if you did cycle between radar and D+D in the MASOR, you would be simply shaking your head at a max of 3 tracks. :p

There is a frequency where you can get all the practice you want - using RAF aircraft and not affecting either the civil or military distress frequencies.

There is also some very expensive sims available to you but under used I think.

What everyone who says this is necessary and one can turn off 121.50 if it is busy fails to see is that nearby ATC units can not turn off 121.50 and while the pilot can turn it off to avoid the distraction, the ATC unit can not and a distracted controller is just as bad as a distracted pilot during a busy period.

There is also the issue that pilots operating in quiet areas of the Brest FIR heading out over the pond should not have to turn off 121.50 because the frequency is being abused hundreds of miles away.

The D+D controller allows the practice pan to continue based on there being no emergencies in progress with them. Do they ask Scottish or all the other adjacent units first? - They should.

They should check with everyone likely to be affected and that would include the B747 miles away who has just started to pick up a real signal.

Regards,

DFC

DFC you are certainly consistent in your "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" mentality....

1. Max of three tracks. Usually yes but certainly not a max, and for a very good reason, ever tried three FJs in different areas of the the country all wanting different things under Radar Control & trying to route around CAT?Maybe you have I dont know. Three tracks, ever controlled a busy tanker slot with multiple chicks often handed over at V short notice. "oh cant take those two I've already got three ahead"..... Dont think so!

2. The sims are there to train new arrivals before going live as trainees on console.To suggest they could be used to maintain currency on is laughable, we have neither the staff or the time.

3. A frequency we can get all the practice we want on? Oh that will be the Mil PETF will it? The calls we get from GA are totally different to those from Mil ac. Handling Mil emergencies does not keep you up to speed on dealing with some guy who is lost, has no transponder & you cant see him on radar. Or maybe you are suggesting that GA ac fit UHF to their ac & use PETF?

4. Frequency being abused hundreds of miles away.... Where???? PP & TF calls are legitimate use of 121.5 as mandated by the CAA. Now if you are talking of ther abuse on 121.5 made by CAT talking on it....Then yeah okay I see your point.

5. Yes ( yawn ) we do liase with SCATCC

6. Check with B747 before Tx on 121.5. So, let me get this right.... you are now suggesting that we perhaps go out on 121.5 first & say "excuse me does anyone object if we do a PP for a couple of minutes on 121.5..."
In which order do you forsee them replying, alphabetically perhaps?


We are I assume, sitting on opposite sides of the same problem, I dont understand why you feel the solution is to bang on at D&D & the pilots who use 121.5 for practice. If you feel that strongly about it why dont you either ....

A. Adapt like so many of the other CAT guys on here do
B. Lobby to get things changed from within your work environment.

Regards

Diddley Dee

OpenCirrus619
5th Jun 2006, 14:56
Diddley Dee :D :D :D :D :D

I probably should put my hard hat on first but.....

I've followed this thread and finally feel the need to "sound off" myself.

As far as I am concerned I:

Fly 99% with in the area covered by 121.5 tri-angulation
Believe it is totally legal (even encouraged) to use it for "Practice Pans", "Training Fixes" and when I am "Unsure of my position"
WILL use it if I am unsure of my position and am close to controlled airspace or (especially) Cumulo Granitus (thoughnever have and hope never to have to)
Totally agree that a student who has used it during their training is more likely to use it EARLY when they get into doubt - as opposed to getting into real trouble. For me that says: "Continue getting students to practice".


And in a pre-emptive response to some of the things that will be thrown:

I cannot use a Radar service in many of the aircraft I fly as they don't have a transponder (before anyone starts they don't have a starter motor or generator either).
I cannot use another frequency as auto-triangulation will not be available.
I would not be in favour of a "separate" frequency - now the low hours PPL, unsure of their position, scared, .... needs to decide "Is this an emergency". Far better they get straight onto somone who can deal with the full range of eventualities.


As said by many others: "If you don't like it then campaign to get the UK difference withdrawn".

I fly in the UK and will obey the laws that govern me flying there. I will also, at appropriate times, use ALL the LEGAL safety aids provided.

Until the "professionals" can manage to select the correct box the bit about "removing the plank from ones own eye before bothering with the speck in your brothers" springs to mind.

OK - now I really have put my hard hat on.

OC619

DFC
6th Jun 2006, 10:22
3. A frequency we can get all the practice we want on? Oh that will be the Mil PETF will it? The calls we get from GA are totally different to those from Mil ac. Handling Mil emergencies does not keep you up to speed on dealing with some guy who is lost, has no transponder & you cant see him on radar. Or maybe you are suggesting that GA ac fit UHF to their ac & use PETF?

Perhaps the RAF could use the (large) fleet of GA aircraft it has to provide realistic training scenarios for you on the training frequency that has been provided for that purpose.

5. Yes ( yawn ) we do liase with SCATCC

and Amsterdam and Paris and Reims and Brest and Dublin and Shannon and the other agencies that monitor 121.50 outside the UK but within range of practice pans?

6. Check with B747 before Tx on 121.5. So, let me get this right.... you are now suggesting that we perhaps go out on 121.5 first & say "excuse me does anyone object if we do a PP for a couple of minutes on 121.5..."
In which order do you forsee them replying, alphabetically perhaps?

If there was no objection then there would be silence!

If there were so many objections that a list was required then it would be sensible not to proceed.

Should another aircraft tell a practice pan to stop transmitting are you going to counter that by telling the practice pan to proceed?

Regards,

DFC

Aerial Jock
6th Jun 2006, 15:19
I'd just like to say that I once had occasion to use 121.5. First solo, lost and scared and painfully aware that my last known position was quite close to a major regional airport.

I was (a) very glad of the immediate and efficient assistance of D&D
(b) very glad that I had been able to carry out a "real" practice pan in training, so I knew what to do and what to expect.

London Mil
6th Jun 2006, 16:04
Having read through 10 pages of this stuff, I am amazed at some of the 'tosh' being presented. Look at the facts:

The UK has filed a difference with ICAO regarding the use of 121.5. This was not done as a whim.

Nobody ever had a problem until the world started to get twitchy about being shot down. All of a sudden the airliners start monitoring 121.5.

The airline pilots' associations, quite within their rights, made representations to the Regulator (the CAA) about excessive, practice, transmissions from GA pilots on 121.5. The Regulator initiated a fact finding exercise.

Results, collated by D&D demonstrated that by far the most significant amount of use of 121.5 was by airliners who had either checked in on the wrong freq, chose to chat to each other or kept shouting "On Guard".

Now let us speculate:

The risk of being shot down because someone is not monitoring 121.5 is minimal.

If you are on a busy, or even medium intensity, ATC freq then there is no need to monitor Guard. Turn it down. IMHO that you only need to listen-out if things are spookily quiet.

Most professionals in aviation can adeptly manage two or more radio freqs at once. That is why each radio has a volume control.

The CAA will continue to monitor and, if necessary, change UK policy. After all, considering their risk averse nature, they would not want to be party to a flight safety incident.

As long as there are idiots who chose to use Guard for reasons other than those promulgated in National AIPs (including those of other countries), there is no case against sanctioned procedures.

An exchange heard on 121.5 yesterday:

London Centre is broadcasting details of a TDA around a specific incident.

German pilot "You are on Guard"

Other pilot "She is broadcasting an an emergency message, you silly man!"

78deg
9th Jun 2006, 22:22
The DGAC (French CAA ) issued a NOTAM last year requiring A/C that were able to listen on 121.5. This is to stop the number of intercepts that have occured when A/C cross FIR boundaries without radio contact. If commanders do enter French airspace without radio contact and they are intercepted the French have reserved the right to charge the commander with the costs of the interception. This is one of the reasons that CAT now are complaining.

I sugest the following solution.

PF listens to ATC and 121.5 and PNF only ATC or visa versa.

ray cosmic
10th Jun 2006, 09:45
But that goes a bit against procedures of monitoring and confirming clearances with the other crewmember..

ShyTorque
10th Jun 2006, 10:27
But that goes a bit against procedures of monitoring and confirming clearances with the other crewmember..

How is that so, if both are listening to ATC??

I still don't understand why these complainers can't simply listen to 121.5 at a lower volume than the main ATC volume, or turn it down / up again as required!!

IF all practice emergencies and training fixes were stopped and the frequency became totally quiet, how would these pilots (possibly a little paranoid about being intercepted?) be sure that 121.5 was actually "live"? Surely this would result in crews having to do "radio checks" every few minutes?

Actually, the requests on the freq. for toilet emptying and re-rationing, made on the frequency by careless professional operators would negate the requirement, because the major cause of "extraneous r/t chatter" would still be there.....:rolleyes:

timelapse
12th Jun 2006, 19:37
Today I was flying my PPL profile, and on the climbout from Cranfield the tower asked us if we could call D&D, they wanted someone to help with training.

We gave them a call on 121.5 and they asked us to call back in 2 minutes for a training fix, and advised us that it would be a trainee D&D controller(?) working the call.

We call them and within 2 seconds they identified exactly where we were "just east of Northampton".. We thanked him and changed back.

None of my instructors have shown me a training fix before and I had no idea either how fast or accurate it was. Absolutely invaluable lesson was learned.

I don't understand why people here seem so against the idea of using training on this frequency when clearly they are so desperate for people to call and help train them that they are phoning up airfields and asking them for help from departing aircraft.

999 operators don't need practice calls because they get so many real ones to learn from, all the time!

BTSM
12th Jun 2006, 20:32
I'd just like to say that I once had occasion to use 121.5. First solo, lost and scared and painfully aware that my last known position was quite close to a major regional airport.

First Solo?

Lost in the circuit?

DFC
13th Jun 2006, 09:56
None of my instructors have shown me a training fix before and I had no idea either how fast or accurate it was. Absolutely invaluable lesson was learned.

If your instructor had provided you with a full and correct briefing on what services are available and the limitations, would you have still required to actually make a call?

I must wonder if the service was withdrawn, would instructors put more care into teaching and assessing navigation during training since there would not be the simple....."if you get lost, call on 121.50 for a training fix" message to the solo student who probably is not as good at navigation as they should be before being sent solo.

Is 121.50 in the UK being used as a navigation aid? (don't have a VOR or ADF or DME - call 121.50 for a training fix).

Regards,

DFC

timelapse
13th Jun 2006, 10:28
I think experiencing it first hand is an important factor, you can be briefed all you like but demonstration is a much better learning aid.

I was told if ever getting lost to do VOR/DME, ADF, Call current frequency if radar.. I wasn't even told about 121.5 until yesterday. I've read about it but never thought it would really be any good if you were lost apart from telling them that you were.

Tony

Diddley Dee
13th Jun 2006, 16:52
If your instructor had provided you with a full and correct briefing on what services are available and the limitations, would you have still required to actually make a call?

I must wonder if the service was withdrawn, would instructors put more care into teaching and assessing navigation during training since there would not be the simple....."if you get lost, call on 121.50 for a training fix" message to the solo student who probably is not as good at navigation as they should be before being sent solo.

Is 121.50 in the UK being used as a navigation aid? (don't have a VOR or ADF or DME - call 121.50 for a training fix).

Regards,

DFC


DFC

Timelapse kindly made the call because we asked him to in order provide training for one of the D&D assistants.

Where is your evidence for 121.5 being used as safety blanket by instructors in sending out student pilots who arent capable of navigating correctly? Or is that another of your factually incorrect statements that you throw around with such regularity?

And no 121.5 is not being used in the UK as a Nav aid, to suggest so is ridiculous.

As an aside in the couple of minutes I have been typing this there have been 4 inappropriate transmissions on 121.5 (yes I am at work), one guy has even just called for start on 121.5 :ugh: I kid you not.

Regards
Diddley Dee

timelapse
13th Jun 2006, 17:14
How often do you ask aerodromes to get people to talk to you to do practices?

Maybe you should punish people who call for start etc on the frequency by making them help you do training once they're airborne :p

Diddley Dee
13th Jun 2006, 17:48
TL

Its not something we do very often at all. I rang Cranfield because we could seee on radar there were a few of you about. The only reason we did on this particular occasion was because we would have apprecaited a call there & then for the benefit of one of our trainee assistants. They have to be compotent at being able to handle a freq & know what they are doing up to a point so that if the controller (during the quiet hours when there is only one controller on), nips to the loo they are able to handle the call for the v short period he is out the ops room.

Regards

DD

timelapse
13th Jun 2006, 17:55
Oh so we actually spoke to you? Awesome.

Makes sense with the assistant training, must be a lot that you need to learn and not much opportunity to practice most of it doing that job.

Diddley Dee
13th Jun 2006, 18:33
No you spoke to the trainee assistant, I was the controller on duty at the time.............. watching what he was up to:ooh:

Diddley Dee

DFC
13th Jun 2006, 20:00
And no 121.5 is not being used in the UK as a Nav aid, to suggest so is ridiculous.

Is it?

A pilot who is a bit unsure of their location or who simply wants to confirm it can;

1. Use visual navigation techniques and map reading to resolve position.

2. Use a VOR and co-located DME to obtain a position

3. Use two or more VORs to obtain a fix

4. Use an NDB and DME to obtain a fix

5. Use 2 or more NDBs to plot a fix

6. Obtain a QDM from two or more ATS units and plot position

7. Forget that palavah and call up 121.5 for a training fix.

I have absolutely no doubt that the navigation training in the UK suffers because of the mentality that 121.5 is there to sort it out. The evidence is the high number of airspace infringements compared to other places and the fact that 121.5 detailed fixing on your lovely OS street maps displays is deemed nesessary in the vicinity of the London TMA.....because of the danger of infringements!

How on earth does the Paris TMA ever survive without the same system?

Regards,

DFC

PS glad to see you have toned down your last response!

Diddley Dee
13th Jun 2006, 20:54
DFC

I didnt tame down my last response, must have been the moderators & thats fair enough.

I can only speak from my own expierience as regards 121.5 being used improperly instead of correct navigational procedures.

Once in a while yes we will get someone calling for a training fix that we believe is not owning up to being lost. If that is the case we ask if they are lost and they usually spill the beans and we proceed with them accordingly. The huge majority of the training fixes we get are genuine training fixes.... How do I know, you can just tell.... by the way they comment on the accuracy (or not), by the way they say they are switching back to XXXX radar on 111.11 mhz or by the way the instructor comes on the freq to say TVM.... You can tell.

As for navigation training suffering, well again I can only speak from my own personal expierience. I have just completed my PPL and at no stage did any of my instructors steer me to using 121.5 as an aid to my poor nav. Instead with me, like every other student there, I went through class room sessions on Nav before airborne instruction and only when demonstrated a satisfactory level of navigation was I let loose. There was certainly no ethos of If you get a bit lost call 121.5. It was definately keep you logging up to date, fly accurately, turn back early if the wx looks like worsening etc etc.

Yes in the SE of England particularly there is a risk of airspace infringment, and the system is there to help prevent that when people make mistakes... like tx on 121.5 when they didnt mean to, or perhaps a Eirjet (Ryanair) landing at the wrong airport. We are all human & therefore will all make mistakes at some or other.

If I have been rude I apologise, however I really do not understand your attitude at all. You have a go at those using a facility that whether you like it or not, under the present setup is there to be used for training as well as for real. As I have stated on several occasions, yep I agree another freq would be better all round.... but there isnt one. So why you feel the need to continue berating anyone who uses 121.5 for training fixes or pracice pan calls ( or those on the other end of the call!) is beyond me.

Now your latest tack that TFs are just a means of getting away with poor nav by the student PPLs in the UK ...... That just sounds like a slur on students and instructors alike and has no basis whatsoever in fact! Feel free to offer me some evidence to the contrary.... It is these wild so called statement of "fact" that you post that I find so difficult to accept.
Regards
Diddley Dee

PS could you also state your figures for the "high number of airspace infringements" compared with other countries with simlair airspace congestion.

CaptAirProx
13th Jun 2006, 22:34
DFC - If life was a simple as you suggest.

The JAR PPL syllabus does cover all your suggestions. The NPPL is somewhat more limiting in its scope. Either way - unless the industry can withstand a further burden on its training costs, as depicted by CAA/JAR legislation - why the hell should an instructor ensure his/her students are all trained to your professionalism?

It simply ain't gonna happen. Accept that this ideal world of yours is also occupied by lesser mortals than yourself who when the SH one T hits the fan - all your ideals get chucked out the window.

Remember this is a recreational sport as much as a profession for some.

Can't we just live with each other for once? You have the ultimate skill and cool head to turn the volume down when it gets on ya wick - a low houred PPL is not as good as you.

timelapse
13th Jun 2006, 23:38
No you spoke to the trainee assistant, I was the controller on duty at the time.............. watching what he was up to:ooh:


Excellent. Small world, especially on pprune. *looks around*

Roffa
14th Jun 2006, 18:43
I have absolutely no doubt that the navigation training in the UK suffers because of the mentality that 121.5 is there to sort it out. The evidence is the high number of airspace infringements compared to other places and the fact that 121.5 detailed fixing on your lovely OS street maps displays is deemed nesessary in the vicinity of the London TMA.....because of the danger of infringements!

I'd be interested in your figures for other places as well.

Please provide numbers and references.

DFC
15th Jun 2006, 11:01
Please feel free to read the CAA's regular incident report publications.

You can then check with various other countries safety data units to get the numbers.


To look at it from a practical point of view - NATS has to pay to keep the 121.50 autotriangulation service operated by D+D and one of the reasons for it's use is the high number of airspace infringements in the SE region (this is where the coverage is the best). This charge is passed on in route charges.

No other country requires ATS providers to spend that money becuse they have the same level of safety without it. Yes they have DF and other facilities to assist pilots in emergency. But ask any other authority if there is a need to provide any extra service for pilots who reguluarly get lost and the answer will be no.

Ask any other country if given the choice, would they provide better VDF autotriangulation coverage over flat well populated areas with numerous landing sites and lots of ATS units with good R/T and radar coverage or over sparsely populated areas where the terrain is difficult, the radar coverage is poor and search + rescue difficult.

Again I ask - if other countries can cope very well without it, and other countries do not have the same number of lost pilots, what is lacking in the UK that makes it necessary?

I believe that the availability of autotriangulation is an asset for flights in a state of emergency (mayday) or urgency (pan). I also believe that with nothing else to do, D+D should note any callsigns of non-emergency transmissions on 121.5 and report them to the CAA for further action.

Why spend money on a VOR/DME or even a GPS when one can call 121.50 every so often and let them do the work of fixing your position? After all, they welcome the practice don't they? ;)

Regards,

DFC

BDiONU
15th Jun 2006, 11:13
To look at it from a practical point of view - NATS has to pay to keep the 121.50 autotriangulation service operated by D+D and one of the reasons for it's use is the high number of airspace infringements in the SE region (this is where the coverage is the best). This charge is passed on in route charges.
No other country requires ATS providers to spend that money becuse they have the same level of safety without it. Yes they have DF and other facilities to assist pilots in emergency. But ask any other authority if there is a need to provide any extra service for pilots who reguluarly get lost and the answer will be no.DFC
Ah DFC! You're a troll, go on admit it.

BD

Diddley Dee
15th Jun 2006, 12:31
DFC
So you quote in one post the high number of infringements compared with other countries and when asked for figures you merely offer the reported ones in the UK & a "go look for yourselves" for the other countries stats.... Does that mean that you dont have those figures & have just assumed it is a UK problem only?

How do you know that other countries with a simlairly congested controlled airspace does not have as many lost pilots / airspace infringers?

As for logging unwarranted calls on 121.5............. Did you not see the FODCOM about this very topic stating that the huge majority of calls on 121.5 were by CAT? Well it was London Centre that complied that list at their request. Yes we can do it but we have far better things to do than be the "121.5 CAT Police"

VDF autotriangulation over the SE ot the UK. As mentioned earlier it does work outside its given limitations but it was designed that way because thats where most of the GA airfields are..... there arent too many airfields in the |Welsh mountains.

As for why have VORs when you can call D&D for a position fix.... do you not take any notice of what you read on this forum? It happens, sure but very rarely and again you are implying that GA abuse 121.5 routinely based on your evidence of what exactly?

I am now going to try and abstain from posting on this topic futher as I dont feel it is a problem for all CAT, indeed many other CAT pilots have said that whilst not ideal, they can live with it. It seems to be a particular problem for you & I dont see that you & I batting this back & forth serves any purpose at all. One last time , I would suggest perhaps you could channel your efforts along some other avenue to try to achieve what you want & get off the backs of those who use the system as mandated by the CAA.


Regards
Diddley Dee

Roffa
15th Jun 2006, 16:46
Please feel free to read the CAA's regular incident report publications.

You can then check with various other countries safety data units to get the numbers.

You're the one that's quoting "facts", you provide the statistics to back them up.

SwanFIS
15th Jun 2006, 18:22
Certain European countries are only just waking up to the fact that they have a CAS infringement problem. What has happened in Europe, and until recently in the UK, is that incidents have just not been reported.

Without reports you do not have statistics and without statistics you do not have a problem. Europe does have a problem and they have turned to NATS (specifically the NATS Infringement Group) for assistance and guidance.

ShyTorque
30th Jun 2006, 21:45
So who was guilty of making any of the dozens of calls on 121.5 this evening - asking for football results? :*

The D&D controllers asked at least twice for it to stop - but the calls continued - even after the controller said he was dealing with SAROPS!

The worst offender had a German accent. I have never heard such a stupid, and selfish lack of professionalism in 30 years of flying. Those involved ought to have their R/T licences taken away...... :ugh:

WorkingHard
30th Jun 2006, 22:03
It must have been all those GA pilots who the "professional" pilots so sneer at!!!!! (well at least according to many contributors to this thread). ST - I have taken to listening to 121.50 and find it abominable that so many CAT aircraft use it as a "chat" frequency. Will they be so selfish if they ever need it for a real emergency I wonder.

HGFC1
1st Jul 2006, 00:02
I am not going to go into the details, but recently I needed to use 121.5. Quite apart from the original problem necessitating the call, I also developed a serious communication difficulty - I could hear them talking but it wasn't possible to hear what was being said. (And before some clever clogs decide that I must have had my radio turned down - I didn't) Eventually the radio problem lessened and I was able to hear an Emirates aircraft relaying messages to me. Communication with D&D was eventually restored too and my original problem sorted out. I am fortunate, I had had a visit to ScATCC a couple of years ago - well before I started learning to fly, but it was impressed on all there that we should always call sooner rather than later so I had no hesitation in calling when the need arose. For those of you tempted to turn your radios off 121.5 because you can't cope please think again. Without the help from that Emirates crew I would have had an even worse time of it.Thank you to all who helped me, I really do appreciate what you did.

Il Duce
1st Jul 2006, 15:18
HGFC1, you were lucky not to have had your problem yesterday evening...I doubt anyone would have heard you on 121.5 amongst all the chatter about football results.:bored:

HGFC1
2nd Jul 2006, 22:06
I doubt anyone would have heard you on 121.5 amongst all the chatter about football results.:bored:I find that thought very frightening indeed. :{ If, as I have been taught, 121.5 is for EMERGENCIES ONLY perhaps those who abuse it in this way should be subject to some sort of disciplinary action. Who knows how many people could be killed or injured in similar circumstances because an emergency call could not be made thanks to their selfishness. :mad: Murphy's Law means that they would never be the ones to need to use it under such circumstances.

bigbusdriver06
16th Oct 2006, 10:55
Overheard on 121.5, over France at approx 1800Z yesterday:

Short trivial conversation in English, followed by -

"You're on Guard"
"You f*** off"
"You too, a**hole"
Short pause
"Language, language"
"Idiots"

This is the worst abuse of 121.5 I've heard - or have I lived a sheltered life?

DH121
16th Oct 2006, 11:40
I bet the people who need telling "you're on guard" are the same selfish morons that park in disabled spaces.

F4F
16th Oct 2006, 11:43
Haven't heard that one (was "off" yesterday due being over the 15 day limit regs :E ) but have to agree that the language evo on 21.5 is more and more a poor display of some troubled souls :mad:
Also private talks abound (Italy & France being the European champions), while Britain's specials is "rescuing" some poor lost SEP...

Sad state of affair indeed :uhoh:

Kirstey
16th Oct 2006, 11:50
while Britain's specials is "rescuing" some poor lost SEP...
erm... that's what they're there for???

London Mil
16th Oct 2006, 13:13
while Britain's specials is "rescuing" some poor lost SEP...
erm... that's what they're there for???

Absolutely. But I'm very reliably informed that there is a nice sound bite in D&D where they were handling an actual emergency (ie not a trg fix) whilst being berated by a DLH overflight who was bleating about "You f***ing Brits and your practice pans". In anybody's book that is unprofessional.

Kirstey
16th Oct 2006, 14:18
I agree completely London Mil.

I personally think there is a place for "practice Pans" and "Training Fixes" as well. I assume sensible precautions are taken to make sure that no one else is in a real Pan/Mayday situation.

I was sailing over the weekend.. here the "guard" freq is also used to advice of wx warnings and other relevant "NOTAMS" or whatever they have!! I'd say there freq is more congested as a result than ours is because of practice pans.

CarltonBrowne the FO
16th Oct 2006, 14:56
I've never found practice PAN calls a problem when I'm listening out on 121.5- I do tend to turn box 2 off when I get back into busy airspace, so the risks of distraction are reduced. Usually, when I hear some other extraneous call on Guard, I think "Glad that wasn't me!" then get on with what I was doing.
Occasionally I will transmit "you're on guard"- but only when I have heard the same call twice, and it is obviously someone on the wrong box- even then I am only trying to spare them embarassment!
However, I have also heard some exchanges of swearing on Guard- given that autotriangulation is possible, is it time that the perpetrators are identified, and MOR action is taken? We all make mistakes on the RT, but deliberate abuse is quite another thing...

microlight AV8R
16th Oct 2006, 15:19
I have done one training fix under the guidance of my instructor. I now know how effective the system is should I have need of it.

Anyone abusing the facility with foul language ought to lose their licence:=

I've heard of people being criticised by SkyGods for calling in when they are unsure of their position. If I ever get in such a situation I will call without hesitation rather than risk an unnecessary infringement of CAS.
That seems to me to be good airmanship.

Airbus Unplugged
17th Oct 2006, 08:52
I think this problem is exacerbated by those aviators who fly around with their finger on the button to castigate the first break of static on 121.5 with 'You're on guard'.

I actually heard someone berating ****air the other day who was requesting an ambulance to meet on arrival.

Honestly, I really wonder who we give licences to some days.:yuk:

StudentInDebt
17th Oct 2006, 11:44
Can't say I've ever been distracted by practice pans, training fixes or any other "abuse" of 121.5 whilst monitoring it whether in the UK or anywhere else in the world. What I do get slightly frustrated at is the ear splitting squeal that erupts from my headset when someone is still making their PA, passing their arrival information or calling maintrol and 20 muppets all jump on the transmission to say "You're on guard". If you're one of the self-appointed guardians of 121.5 then perhaps you should go back and revise the operation of airborne transmitting/receiving equipment - if someone is still transmitting they cannot hear you - on a similar note if more than one of you transmits a reminder simultaneously once the original miscreant has finished - you block each other out and they still can't hear you. Keep up the good work :ugh:

A37575
18th Oct 2006, 12:32
Read back only what is required. Don't use un-necessary words.

That also means cut back all this rubbish of "Good morning, afternoon, evening, good-day, many thanks, cheers, Sir, see you later, cheerio, reading you five by five, (and all the above in various languages) Plus superfluous reading back of just about every ATC words - usually in a rushed breathless manner in order to get in before another fellow.:ugh:

isca-isca
26th Oct 2008, 14:07
Guys,

can you help resolve an argument.

I believe I am right in saying distress calls on 121.5 will be picked up on 243 ( 2nd harmonic ?), what about the other way round.

Say a mil flight was crossing pond and put out a distress would a civilian flight hear -carrier only- carrier and voice - or nothing, (assuming they were only monitoring 121.5).

Do civilian flights only monitor 121.5.

The dispute was over the fact that a mil distress call was claimed to have been heard on a 121.5 only beacon

ta

isca-isca

HARRIERPILOTNAS
26th Oct 2008, 17:34
I had a Friend who Once got Lost...... he thought to avoid embrassment he wud use 121.5 and carry out a Practice PAN!! London Centre told him that they were unable to except a Practise PAN at this Time!!! He thought CRAP! So, he ended up declearing a PAN afterall! He got a bit of a Bollocking from our CI!

BelArgUSA
26th Oct 2008, 21:43
isca-isca -
xxx
Civilian airplanes only have VHF 121.5 capability.
We always select 121.5 on our nº 2 VHF radio and monitor.
It really should be on nº 1 in case of partial electrical system loss (favors nº 1).
It goes on nº 1 if on oceanic flights.
Absolutely no UHF equipment... so forget 243.0 for them.
Airplanes with HF also can use 2182 kHz as alternate guard frequency.
But HF is of limited use, and that frequency is bad for daytime.
xxx
:)
Happy contrails

isca-isca
26th Oct 2008, 21:48
BelargUSA,

I thought that was the case, but am I right in saying a call from 121.5 will be picked up on 243 as it is the 2nd harmonic, if I am what about a 243 call being picked up on 121.5 as it is the 1st sub harmonic. Suppose there might also be a problem on voice one might be standard modulation the other ssb , I don't know.

ta

isca-isca

BelArgUSA
26th Oct 2008, 21:56
isca-isca -
xxx
I happen to be (in the past) a radio "Ham" and know about harmonics.
At least for HF frequencies such as in the 10, 20 and 40 meter bands.
Did bothered neighbors around my antenna into their regular receivers.
But I could not say what would be the case if/when on VHF/UHF.
I never practiced with these frequencies.
xxx
:)
Happy contrails