View Full Version : Diversion to Madrid

old fart
24th May 2006, 07:00
Diverted to Mad the other night.
The lady controller on the high level freq totally blocked. Had to make the Pan call twice and then, when nothing was happening, except for a lot of Spanish between the controller and another aircraft who I think was trying to translate for her, had to ask for a controller who spoke English.
On the ground, asked for a jetty to disembark the pax. Was put on a hard stand. When asked why, the initial answer was that we were regarded as a security threat as we were not a planned arrival. On further investigation it also transpired that the ground controller did not understand the word jetty. apparently I should have said "finger".
Makes you think.

Few Cloudy
24th May 2006, 07:31
Next time, give them the finger then!

More to the point and this has been mentioned before, the word PAN ought to be recognised world wide.

Also has some relevance to the debate about practice PANs on the other thread,


24th May 2006, 09:34
Hi old fart,

First of all, that they did not acknowledge your pan straight away is unforgivable. The conditions surrounding a pan should be well known with all controllers.

Having said that I was just wandering who your were talking to before then. Were you just handed over to this non english speaking controller? It all sounds a bit strange to me. I have been flying in Spain for four years, speaking in English, and I never had a controller who did not speak English at all.

It would be good to realize though that we do not all speak English as well as somebody who is born with it. And for the Spanish it is not as easy as for some other countries. English was not mandatory in schools until very recently, so English with limitations can be expected. Which is why we should stay away from any slang and use the standard r/t. Personally I have never heard of the word jetty myself, and I have quite a fair level of English. Yes the Spanish seem to use finger, but the icao approved word GATE will do the trick for sure.

I have had a number of chats on R/T in the UK where I just coudn't understand a word of what the controller was saying, just because of accent and non standard r/t. The issue of standard phraseology was recently raised again in a safety publication from NATS and as it appears quite rightly. Please don't point the finger only to the Spanish, they try and give it there best.

I do am sorry you did not get a warmer welcome in my fine home city. Hope you enjoyed the night downtown though...:ok:

24th May 2006, 09:44
Think a lot of our colleaugues on the forum will remember the old days when all flying boats docked at jetties........

Much of the world still has jetties in the minds and vocabularies - except our American friends who always have gates.........

In the east it is also a JetWay..........

Try saying the finger in the far east........... you may get a very odd reaction.


24th May 2006, 10:03
I tried a pan call in spain before, it does'nt work. However when we called Mayday that got things moving along nicely!:rolleyes:

24th May 2006, 10:48
How about the word "aerobridge"? Isn't that simple enough to be understood worldwide?

24th May 2006, 10:51
Curious - why did you have to divert ? I fly a lot in Spain and en-route talk to the same controllers you would. So far never had a problem with English (some tower controllers are a different matter, though).

24th May 2006, 19:25
Pan Pan if translated to spanish means BREAD BREAD, ha ha
Come on, ATC in Spain is fine. Congested, yes, in the Madrid area, but the level of english is HIGH, not at all lacking in professonalism.
Letīs not start again against Spanish ATC performance.

old fart
24th May 2006, 20:04
Don't know about previous complaints. Just reported the facts as they happened. Have I touched a sore point? Is there something wrong with posting facts on this web site?