View Full Version : practice pan

14th Aug 2008, 21:53
Hi Gents,

With the risk of dredging up a thoroughly discussed and beaten to death subject.... the UK practice pan call. I understand, it's here, it's not going away(annoying as it is) and I even have to admit, it's a great service to have for private pilots I just wish there was a discrete frequency for the practice calls

Having said that, I do place ? marks at the practice pan I overheard yesterday. Flying to ABZ I heard the familiar "practice pan, 3 times.
Immediately started tuning it out. However moments later, overhearing the controller ask for the altitude of the caller, the answer was: FL160 or something like that. I thought I misheard. Moments later the controller asked for POB, the answer was 21. ????? Either this was an exceptionally large private airplane or it was a small regional airplane.

There's probably lot's of guys that can defend this, but in my book that's overly anal and cluttering radiowaves.

Any commercial passenger carrying/transport type airplane in the EU has multiple redundancy for navigation, is flying in a IFR environment, in constant contact with ATC with properly trained aircrew that even in the most remote chance that you would ever have to lose all navigation, lose your transponder...but still have a radio is already trained in the use of the practice pan.

What possible reason could there be for a commercially operated A/C to do a practice pan? seriously?

14th Aug 2008, 22:30
Scotttish (Military) D&D were training yesterday morning; I heard them too and thought they were doing an excellent job. How else do you propose they get trained ?

14th Aug 2008, 22:42
Okay, that's a valid answer.

I though that they get trained enough by all the pratice calls from Private pilots.

If the call was on request from atc I can understand, Thanks for the explanation

Btw, I didn't say they weren't doing a great job, I even said it was a great service. I just placed question marks at a commercial (what I assumed) airline doing the the call.

14th Aug 2008, 22:56
dont always assume that the things you hear are just inane chatter, at scacc the d & d boss sometimes asks for civil a/c , with the pilots agreement to act lost , to add realism

14th Aug 2008, 22:58
Clear as a bell, just as the old practice ASR app :ok: I admit, I didn't think about that.

15th Aug 2008, 06:30
With more and more pilots turning down the volume or completely turning off 121.5 perhaps ATC should get some SELCAL equipment so they can get someone's attention.

15th Aug 2008, 06:46
"How else do you propose they get trained ?"

The same way as the rest of the world: turn to the person in the other seat and say "I would press the PTT switch and say, 'PANPAN ... etc'!" :ugh:

Tuning out....

Out Of Trim
15th Aug 2008, 07:31
A to B safely - You didn't read the above properly! :ugh:

"How else do you propose they get trained ?"

The same way as the rest of the world: turn to the person in the other seat and say "I would press the PTT switch and say, 'PANPAN ... etc'!"

It was for D & D Controller training..

ie. Using the DF equipment and aids to locate the practice pan and then deal with it.

sispanys ria
15th Aug 2008, 07:54
It was for D & D Controller training..

ie. Using the DF equipment and aids to locate the practice pan and then deal with it.The thing is that it is seriously annoying, especially at FL160. 121.5 is supposed to be an emergency frequency that crews shouldn't have to tune out...

I guess they first should train to find another training frequency that is not monitored by thousands of aircrafts around :}. I do believe people are trained as well in other countries but obviously not on 121.5...

Of course I don't see any obligation and it's probably just a question of good manners just like not farting loud in a 5 stars restaurant.

The Nr Fairy
15th Aug 2008, 08:35
Was the a/c asked to participate in D&D training by the unit controlling it ?

15th Aug 2008, 09:19
Usually Scottish will ask if you are willing to help out with controller training, if OK they will ask you to call Scottish mil on 121.5 with a simulated emergency. Helps us sharpen up our practice pans as well. If it's that much of a problem turn it down a bit. After all, the Guard Police will be listening anyway and who's actually monitoring your volume control? And before anyone leaps in with "we are monitoring it to save lives etc etc." it ain't the middle of the Atlantic we're talking about here.

sispanys ria
15th Aug 2008, 10:07
The purpose is not to lower the volume. Beside interfering with some communications, these trainings could absolutely be performed on other frequencies.

15th Aug 2008, 10:26
They could not or they would be. Mil have their own PETF as there is space in the UHF band - but not in VHF. There may be interference with 'some communications' however the D&D cell manages the scenario; if 'some communications' is more important the practice is halted, if on the other hand it's the Guard Police or some football scores they are told to sod off so yes it may interfere with that.

15th Aug 2008, 10:37
Anyone who says "these could be performed on another frequency" doesn't really understand the 121.5 system: As well as training the (D&D) controller involved there's a whole set of sub-systems available for checking and being checked... DF triangulation, coverage checks, COSPAS/SARSAT (for the moment) and a whole host of other things.

15th Aug 2008, 11:09
dontdoit old chap, please don't make it more complicated than it really is, a DF steer and any "subsystem" (:confused:) can also work on an additional frequency, a practice PAN on the emergency frequency is ridiculous IMO. :ugh:
By the way the DF has the comm panel as any other controller position, select the frequency you want and bingo. :ok:

15th Aug 2008, 12:12
I'd be interested to know just how many of the practice PAN calls there are - anyone at D&D got a figure?

It's just I always hear on these threads how much of a nuisance they are and how they constantly clog up the airwaves and how they only serve to distract people who can hear them from their primary task.

I then wonder why professional pilots are unable to have 121.5 selected but are unable to use their brain to filter calls? Maybe they are not so professional?

Only curious seeing as I'm an ex-military aviator who used to have to listen to several frequencies at once, tactical and otherwise (including HF), whilst low level, over the sea, often in crap weather in the middle of the night, working to min fuel reserves, hundreds of miles from land.

Never seemed to have a problem from listening to the frequencies and filterting what I needed and didn't, neither did any of my colleagues.

Working as a Civvy ATCO now, I do sometimes question the staus 'professional' - both some flight crews and some ATCOs.

sispanys ria
15th Aug 2008, 12:14
For those who believes such trainings cannot be performed on other frequencies, I would not recommend to fly abroad since most of the European neighbors are not performing such trainings... which means it's probably extremely unsafe to fly over there.

15th Aug 2008, 13:52
In 4 years flying up north I must have done maybe 6-7 practise pans after being asked to by scottish area on 121.5.

In that time I have heard numerious beacons going off.

Getting on for hundreds of trans atlantic chit chat.

4 real emergencys

and more than 10 less than 20 (or thirty if you included the ones i was doing) practise pans.

Working further south now I really can't understand where all these practise pans which are meant to be occuring all the time are. I go for days with out hearing a single one. The same cannot be said for ops calls, chit chat, music, farting noises and some prat who was making a noise like a donkey having a particularly difficult poo (although this could have been a french pilot with a nasal problem)

Il Duce
18th Aug 2008, 13:30
As the aircraft's altitude is not always passed on the initial call, the D&D controller will always say, "You are responsible for your own terrain separation." prior to providing a heading for wherever the pilot wants to go. The controller will subsequently advise of possible dangers between the aircraft's indicated position and destination unless, of course, it is patently obvious that the danger exists from the outset.

The first pan I dealt with after becoming qualified as a D&D controller concerned a student pilot who had become lost in Wales and required a steer back to Shobdon. I opened with, "Your position indicates ......., you are responsible for your own terrain separation, your steer for Shobdon is ....., range .... miles." After the pilot read that back I followed with the standard call, "Do you require any further assistance?"
He did because the steer I'd given him was accurate enough but he was at 1800' and between him and Shobdon was a hill of about 2000' with the cloudbase slightly below the peak.
Until I had asked him about requiring further assistance, I had no information about his altitude nor his flight conditions and therefore, no idea about any dangers in the way of his route. Fortunately, the student didn't panic, provided me with the information I needed to help keep him safe and the emergency was brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
To those who moan about practice pans on 121.5, if he hadn't practised being "unsure of his position" and utilising the D&D DF equipment on 121.5 in the past, this may not have had the favourable outcome described. I agree that a discrete VHF frequency should be provided for training in the same way as the military UHF does. Until that time ....... well, you know the rest.

18th Aug 2008, 13:45
I had to demonstrate a 'practice pan' call on the 14th (date of original post) in order to be able to continue to solo nav. Could have heard me on one of the three occasions :(

sispanys ria
18th Aug 2008, 13:51
As long as only one country is broadcasting such training calls it's still fine (even if this mean they don't have consideration for neighbors), but how do you think it would be if all the countries were transmitting practice pan calls on 121.5 ? (it's not unusual to hear such calls as far as Paris)

Please keep in mind that the main benefit of 121.5 is to be dedicated to emergency calls and to remain relatively quiet, which would be seriously compromised if every country was performing such trainings. Hopefully most countries are refraining from abusing this frequency... except those who put themselves above others.

Locked door
18th Aug 2008, 14:22
The CAA did a survey last year to see where most transmissions originate from on 121.5 in UK airspace. They found that over 90%, I repeat, 90% of transmissions were from commercial aircraft accidentally transmitting on guard followed by the resulting guard police shouting ' you're on guard'. Less than 5% of transmissions were of a practice nature and less than 1% were genuine emergencies.

If the commercial fraternity (of which I am one) got their house in order 121.5 would be significantly quieter (I hear a practice pan less than once a month on a full roster).

I for one think practice pans are essential for encouraging inexperienced aviators to use the frequency when it is needed to enhance safety, and also help the operators on the other end of the line stay sharp.

As a previous contributor stated, if you don't like it stay out of UK airspace.

Just my two pennies' worth.


18th Aug 2008, 15:17
It's quite simple to state "if you don't like it stay out of the UK airspace"
How about if my company sends me there, should i refuse the flight, report sick ????

No, there's a much simpler solution to this:
1. stop the practice pan calls
2. Move the whole island to a remote location

You chaps decide which one to choose !

sispanys ria
18th Aug 2008, 15:26
If you don't like it stay out of UK airspace.

This is a very very smart answer that will help a lot ! :D:D
For your information, those calls are transmitted far beyond the UK airspace...

Even if I absolutely agree with you regarding the nescessity of training, I don't see any need at all to use this specific frequency... as I said, it would be a huge mess if every country was doing the same.

When you are at your doctor's waiting room you appreciate to have some magazines to read. Some people sometimes choose to bring some of the magazines home and it's fine as long as it is occasional. If everybody was doing the same it would become an inconvenience for everyone.

18th Aug 2008, 16:03
I recall the CAA survey as quoted by Locked Door was also mentioned the last time practice pans were discussed but I somehow missed the response from the "no practice pans brigade". I look forward to the elimination of practice pans so "mistakes" by the commercial fraternity can be in excess of 99% of the traffic on 121.5.


Locked door
18th Aug 2008, 17:14
OK so my last comment may have been a little strong, it wasn't intended to be.

Suggestion. Why don't those of you who get so irritated by practice pans simply tune the frequency but deselect the receiver? You don't need to listen to guard, there's no way a genuine call can be missed in UK or European airspace so why listen to it? You can turn it on again in seconds if you need to but in UK and Europe the first frequency you should declare your own distress to is the ATC unit you are already working on box 1. Any other commercial traffic in trouble will do the same so the only genuine emergencies you'll hear on guard are low level vfr aircraft that have no relevence to your operation anyway. You can always reselect guard if you start to operate outside of controlled airspace and feel the need to be able to contact other aircraft.

As a light single driver in my spart time I can tell you my toy only has one radio and it's very rarely tuned to guard as I'll be working local frequecies so if you try to call me on 121.5 I won't hear you.

Bottom line. Practice pans are a good thing and should continue. Most r/t on guard is inadvertant commercial rubbish and if you don't want to listen to it don't.


18th Aug 2008, 18:38
You are not required to monitor 121.5 in UK airspace, but you are specifically required to monitor it in most EU states, like France. Most Ops manuals also require you to monitor 121.5 in flight.

CarltonBrowne the FO
18th Aug 2008, 19:12
I am intrigued by reference to the "discrete UHF frequency available to the military for practice pan calls."
My last visit to a military ATC facility was a long time ago, so either my memory may be faulty, or things may have changed since then... however, at that time, the UHF autotriangulation was available on 243.0 MHz. This was not a "training" frequency- this was the UHF Guard frequency, and subject to the same restrictions as 121.5. Having a UHF Guard channel was necessary because many military aircraft had no VHF radios.
The introduction of autotriangulation to the VHF distress frequency is a huge improvement in safety for light aircraft. Adding autotiagulation to another frequency for training would be hugely expensive, as it is not a simple steer, but involves feeds from receivers over a wide area.
For those listening outside the UK, it would actually be better if MORE light a/c made practice calls, as this would allow controller training to be done without asking transport aircraft (at much higher levels, and thus transmitting over a larger area) to make such calls.

Background Noise
18th Aug 2008, 19:52
There is a designated UHF training frequency, for use in the London FIR, for pilot and controller training in practice urgency calls, thus freeing up 243.0.

18th Aug 2008, 22:50
As long as only one country is broadcasting such training calls... Let's get the facts right.

It's not "... only one country broadcasting such training calls".

It seems from the discussion that only the UK provides such a high-quality VHF direction finding and location service on 121.5.

So to me the question is rather: "Why does the rest of Europe not provide the same service, does not encourage the same level of practice calls, and does not sanction more severely the twits that use 121.5 for the latest football scores and donkey noises?".

See the previous posts. Practice PANs constitute about 5% of the traffic. Most of that practice comes in useful in the 1% of real emergencies (as also described).

Maybe the remaining 94% should be made to shut up, rather than the genuine practice transmissions?

Please keep in mind that the main benefit of 121.5 is to be dedicated to emergency calls and to remain relatively quietExactly!

....which would be seriously compromised if every country was performing such trainings.I BEG YOUR PARDON? Statistics clearly show this is not the case. Again, please get your facts right....


CarltonBrowne the FO
18th Aug 2008, 23:09
Background Noise, thanks for that clarification. Does the UHF training frequency have the autotriangulation facility?

DX Wombat
18th Aug 2008, 23:26
It seems from the discussion that only the UK provides such a high-quality VHF direction finding and location service on 121.5Not just that; they also have specially trained staff. ATCOs specifically chosen and trained to deal with the emergencies. We are most fortunate here in that we have this excellent service and will not have to talk to some poor, recently validated ATCO who may be equally, or more frightened than the pilot with the problem.
I have a funny feeling that many of the complainants who whinge about practice Pan Calls do so out of sheer jealousy because their home country does not have the excellent, dedicated service which we are priviledged to have here in the UK.
I have never made a practice Pan call but have had to call D&D twice with genuine problems. They are simply the BEST. :ok:

18th Aug 2008, 23:45
There is a designated UHF training frequency, for use in the London FIR, for pilot and controller training in practice urgency calls, thus freeing up 243.0.I may be totally wrong, but maybe you put your finger on it?
"...for use in the London FIR ..."
Only? You're saying it does not exist elsewhere?

Apart from requiring a separate and unique frequency allocation (difficult today on VHF), a VHF DF and auto-triangulation system such as D&D requires quite a major infrastructure. Duplicating that infrastructure for practice calls only (and then seeing the frequency abused also for football scores...) is not realistic.

Severely sanctioning the abuse of 121.5 for non-emergency and non-practice calls seems to be the only answer. D&D usually has the means to identify the culprits. So when?


19th Aug 2008, 00:45
just a thought, but if these practice pan's are such a ball ache, or other body part ache for any of the lady pilots out there :E, and you consider them to be a big problem, then why just moan here. Thats like shouting at the tv :ugh:.
why not put your report in an MOR ,or observation. i'm sure if it is such a big concern and they receive enough complaints, the CAA will consider the problem and allocate funds so that a practice frequency could be set up and promulgated, and the system upgraded.

Personally the idea of a practice pan freq sounds like a sensible idea, however, I dont think the problem happens enough to warrant the expense. If it was 50 times a day , ok i see your point. however, from the sounds of it it doesnt happen 50 times a year!

Background Noise
19th Aug 2008, 07:13
Background Noise, thanks for that clarification. Does the UHF training frequency have the autotriangulation facility?

Yes, we get the same service, from the same people. As for requests for PPs, the controllers obviously need practice as much as the pilots. I suppose that actual emergencies, or actual PPs, don't always occur at convenient training or examining times so other 'academic PPs' are occasionally asked for. The system itself needs checking and calibrating for accuracy every now and again. We do feedback observations about the service when necessary.

Agaricus bisporus
19th Aug 2008, 16:41
I am surprised that no-one has suggested another possibility.

We all know that some people (presumably light aircraft) use the Practice Pan system to actually find where they are when "temporarily unsure of position" - one was recently heard from a joker who said he was on a "navigation exercise", and when asked pob said, "one"...Yeah! Right!

Couldn't really have been someone lost at Fl160 with 21pob - could it???


CarltonBrowne the FO
19th Aug 2008, 17:18
Agaricus, the one at FL160 was almost certainly a transport aircraft, working another freq, who was asked to make the call for controller training.

19th Aug 2008, 23:41
I know any Brit readers won't like this analogy, but it's true: practice pans are a bit like tobacco. If someone tried to introduce tobacco as a recreational drug today, it would stand less chace of getting through than heroin. Similarly, if we (or you, and you only, the UK) didn't already have Practice Pans and someone attempted to introduce them today, they wouldn't be allowed.

Fact: the UK has an extremely good DF system in place that can be very handy to a lost pilot. Unfortunately, it uses 121.5 and 121.5 only.

Fact: with so many aircraft now on 121.5 at any one time, (and many more of them, a long way from the UK now within range thanks to their high altitude than would have been in the days when this system was introduced) this very handy system is a total pain in the proverbial for everyone else apart from the hapless lost pilot (and others who fear they may wish to use the service one day).

20th Aug 2008, 00:29
Good one, MTOW, I agree with you.

Practice Pans can be practiced at home, in the car to the aerodrome, or wherever. If it is practice, the only value is in getting the text correct and in the right order. Standard R/T. No need to involve ATC surely?

Real Pans should be used when the PPL/SPL is uncertain of his/her location, or is well and truly lost. (Or radio receiver failure, engine failure, etc, etc).

I heard a "Practice Pan" on 121.5 last week over Southern England, and the guy was clearly lost. So not "practice" then. Valid enough, but should have been a Pan call.

Final thought. Any place for Practice Maydays?

20th Aug 2008, 02:21
Fact: the UK has an extremely good DF system in place that can be very handy to a lost pilot. Unfortunately, it uses 121.5 and 121.5 only.
Oops, I stand corrected. :ouch:

Yuri Gagarin
20th Aug 2008, 10:09
21 on board at FL160 can only be a helicopter with a full load of passengers operating on the North Sea for the offshore industry (19 PAX + 2 CREW).

IMHO "Practice PAN" calls are useful to both crews and ATC and we are being often asked to help controllers during their training, hence the calls.

Il Duce
20th Aug 2008, 13:52
"...can only be a helicopter.."

How about a Jetstream inbound to Aberdeen?

Stand by for more possibilities.

Agaricus bisporus
20th Aug 2008, 14:00
Yuri, you're letting your imagination run away, I fear! What sort of helo (sans colostomy bag) do you imagine flies at FL160, with or without pax???

No, not a helo.

20th Aug 2008, 20:47
helibus my arse.

It will be a J41 outa Newcastle or somewhere further south is there is a pants headwind.

It really is relatively common they usually do it after you transfer to scottish.

It really is a none event transiting up the east coast or for that matter coming down from Shetland.

Cracking service, long may it continue and until the rest of the prats don't sort out the rest of the 95% of none allowed traffic. I for one will be doing pratices pans just to annoy the guard police.

20th Aug 2008, 21:24
It's about time to file an ASR every time you miss a call on VHF1 because of some #@$ who just wants to exercise his right to clutter 121.5
And the worst thing is: over the years it just seems to increase. It should be stopped.

20th Aug 2008, 22:00
Here's an idea

Two crew transport, listening on 121.5 misses a call on comm1 because of someone "nattering" on 121.5 - as PNF is dealing with comms, why not have PF listen on comm 1 and 121.5, and PNF just listen on comm1?

Apart from that, most calls on 121.5 (apart from the afore mentioned burps, farts etc) seem to be ATC trying to find aircraft which are not answering on the correct ATC frequency. So what are these guys doing - they change frequency and get no answer so they just keep on trucking without going back to the previous sector to check - or it goes quite (which rarely happens except late at night) - and after ten minutes they think "this is nice and quiet happy days" rather than "gone a bit quiet I'll just check the squelch/volume control/ASP/ ATC are still there?". Coming back from ALC recently I heard Spanish air defence, Bordeaux and Brest all trying to find missing airliners on 121.5. - Surely 121.5 is designated as a distress frequency. perhaps we actually need a designated calling frequency for ATC, it shouldn't be neccessary to listen on the distress frequency over continental Europe to avoid being intercepted when we can't get in touch with ATC.

21st Aug 2008, 01:02
golfy please do so we can put this shite to bed.

But you must also include reports on the none practise pans as well.Which is of course the 95% of the other traffic on 121.5.

Other than that your report will be treated in the moaning **** allocation.

ie why didn't he moan about the rounders scores from the yank at 10w . The spanish geezer talking asbout something. The frog having an issue with his roster. And the speed bird wanting to know his gate at LHR but one of the Gatwick crew thinking they are funny saying go ahead.

Practise pans are nothing in the grand scope of things.

Btw thats 3 days now without hearing single practise pan.

Background Noise
21st Aug 2008, 07:47
Fact: the UK has an extremely good DF system in place that can be very handy to a lost pilot. Unfortunately, it uses 121.5 and 121.5 only.

The UK DF (autotriangulation) system is available on 243.0 and the PETF as well.

Practice Pans can be practiced at home, in the car to the aerodrome, or wherever. If it is practice, the only value is in getting the text correct and in the right order. Standard R/T. No need to involve ATC surely?

ATC needs practice too and the kit needs testing/checking every now and again.

Final thought. Any place for Practice Maydays?

The PP covers all practice emergencies including those which for real would be maydays.

As for the aircraft at FL160, you may know who this particular one was, but it could be anyone - we are asked to do them just as often whilst transitting - can be multi crew or single seat, it matters not. Usually they just get the system going, ie position, nearest airfield, etc but don't actually fly the diversion - they are mainly for ground training. We do a few with students, but on UHF, and take the drill to the touchdown stage at a suitable airfield, if that is the appropriate action.

I don't know the RT setup of all of your aircraft, but if any extraneous chatter on either 'guard' freq is getting in the way, it should be easy to de-select listening to guard for a while. The trick is obviously remembering to re-select.

21st Aug 2008, 09:11
An other analogy the Brits won't like.

Every day there are accidents on the road because people drive way to fast.
But one off-duty UK police officer who was caught (severely) speeding in the M25 successfuly used the excuse that he had to practice his police pursuit skills...

He's like the practice pan lovers: everyone else is doing it, so shut up.

Only in the UK!:}

Final 3 Greens
21st Aug 2008, 09:40

I can see that logic is not a strong point.

A police officer was charged with a criminal offence (speeding) and was found not guilty.

A practice pan is not a criminal offence.

Can you recognise that there is a difference between the two?

Maybe you should engaga brain before posting :ugh:

21st Aug 2008, 09:50
I told you you wouldn't like it!

A policeman isn't a pilot either. A car isn't a plane and the M25 you will not find in Jepp. But engage your noodle sir,

The analogy stands!:ok:

Diddley Dee
21st Aug 2008, 19:07
London Centre D&D controllers each have to handle 3 practice pans or actual emergencies every month to maintain currency iaw their orders. Take away practice calls and all D&D controllers would very quickly become out of currency and unable to fulfil their function.

However, perhaps instead of handling emergencies, how about if they were able to retain currency just by going out on guard and trying to contact CAT pilots on 121.5 who were not listening out on their control frequency on which they are under a radar contol service

Whaddya think? The guys certainly would have no problems maintaining currency as they spend far more time doing that on 121.5 than talking to pilots conducting practice pans!!!!


Final 3 Greens
21st Aug 2008, 19:28
I told you you wouldn't like it!

No, you said Brits wouldn't like it.

Look at my location.

Your analogy is rubbish, because it is based on a false premise.

21st Aug 2008, 19:42
Touche on your nationality.

You should have cought me on the really glaring mistake in my analogy, not the fact that practie pans are legal. Think deep enough and you'll see what I mean anyway.


21st Aug 2008, 23:08
The UK DF (autotriangulation) system is available on 243.0 and the PETF as well.Fer Gawd's sake.... OK, so I'll add "...on VHF" to my little rant. Civil airliners don't carry UHF - or not the ones I, and the vast majority of readers here, fly.

If it's so damn important that UK controllers do three PP's a month, a discrete frequency should be made available. Even military ELBs have a secondary freq so that a rescuer and rescuee can move off GUARD in the latter stages of a rescue if they choose to. (Iknow, I know, not just for that.)

21st Aug 2008, 23:40
Many years ago, before I even started my ATLP course, I was listening to Bournemouth ATC during my factory lunch break. I was totally aghast to hear a BAC111 giving a Mayday, with an engine fire almost overhead. I rushed out to watch but there was no sign of him. Only a dear old Dove flying serenely along and obeying all the instructions to the 111. Finally the penny dropped. No ATC simulators then, just the Hurn Dove going off,hiding behind the cliffs, then popping up and pretending to be all sorts of A/c with all sorts of problems, so trainee controllers could learn their job.

Just to get back on track, I never minded the practise Pans. If just one PPL learnt how to get help, and not be afraid of losing face, before he hit the cumulo-granite then they were all well worth while.
(And to all the controllers who trained at Hurn, Thanks chaps, you’re the best!):ok:

Diddley Dee
22nd Aug 2008, 07:34
I think everyone agrees it would be better for all if there were a second practice freq available... at present there isnt.

You while you are flying you spend only a certain percentage of your time within earshot of the UK, even if that percentage is 95% it is only a few hours at a time.
I am telling you as a person that has spent many many 8 hours shifts in the London D&D centre that the massive majority of transmissions heard in London Centre on 121.5 are made by CAT pilots mistakenly being on guard. The second highest usage would be by D&D calling CAT to go to the freq that they should already be listening out on but patently arent.
I dont have the stats to hand but take it from someone who used to monitor 121.5 continuously whilst on duty not just when i was airbourne within UK radio coverage, that CAT could reduce the amount of noise on 121.5 massively by sorting their own house out.

I fly as a hobby and I am able to operate a radio with no dramas even managing to transmit on the correct freq and listen out on it at all times. Surely if a PPL can manage that, a commercial pilot can.... cant he?

These are the facts PP calls are permitted on 121.5 in the UK, there is no other freq available to the D&D controllers or the pilots who wish to conduct those PP calls, CAT contibute by far the most amout of transmissions on 121.5
What do you think is the simpleist fix? I would go for think before Tx on wrong box & hey presto 121.5 is a helluva lot quieter than present worldwide.

22nd Aug 2008, 09:35

your tobacco analogy is a good one and actually has merit.

If Practice Pans did not currently take place on 121.5 but someone came up with the idea, then chances are it would be binned as a bad idea, because the impact would be thought to be to high.

However that's not the case - PP's do take place and the impact is extremely low compared to the total lack of professionalism and in other cases finger trouble (which happens from time to time).

I'm sorry but I refer to my post way above about cockpit workloads... if a professional pilot (or more likely pilots plural) in a modern day airliner is incapable of tuning out the wheat from the chaff, then they need to get some (lots) more practice/training in.

Agaricus bisporus
22nd Aug 2008, 11:00
95% of the problem would be solved if every gash transmission on Guard was logged and (if identifiable) reported to the operator. If we can triangulate a C150 asking for help we can do the same to a B737 that asks his oppo the footie score, or the guy who repeatedly blows farts into his mike.

We'd soon stop, or dramatically reduce the inadvertent lengthy calls to Ops, and be able to prosecute the imbecile who says "Go ahead" when Numptie calls ops on Guard.

121.5 is becoming far far too busy with gash transmissions in Europe, it is about time the Authorities stepped in and imposed a Bit of Authority.

And if you do feel moved to tell Numptie that he is on the wrong freq, for God's sake DO NOT SAY "Guard". It sounds far too like "Go ahead".
Say "121,5".


22nd Aug 2008, 12:59
What about practice emergency airports for practice engine failures, surely this must be a higher priority than than practicing a practice Pan / DF steer? :}

Agaricus bisporus
22nd Aug 2008, 18:01
Jeez. There's always one, isn't there?

24th Aug 2008, 14:44
If the guard police (always a non UK accent) shut up then that would halve the amount incorrect transmissions from commercial traffic.

Three times today I heard "on guard". It is more irritating the the problem transmission in the first place.