View Full Version : Greasing the ATC wheel, QF-style

24th Nov 2002, 11:08
Can it be true?

QF executive have directed that there shall be no money over the bar at a certain ATC xmas drinks function as payback for industrial action taken by Civil Air members this year.

I wonder if that means they are cancelling xmas functions for their own staff who took industrial action this year?

What a silly, silly, thing to do.

I guess it's a great opportunity for VIRGIN BLUE to take over where QF left off (psst... it only takes a couple of rounds) :D

message me for details ;)

24th Nov 2002, 21:18

Last time I saw, Qantas wasn't the employer of ATC's. I think monies donated to an ATC Christmas bash should come from the employer, but knowing ASA Management, you would have more chance of hell freezing over. They seem to take great delight in having their own bash's with their admin staff rather than a company Christmas party. They wonder why there is such an US vs Them mentality.

Going Boeing
25th Nov 2002, 00:12
Not only do QF have to trade in a fair and honest manner, they must be seen to trade in a fair and honest manner. If they were to put money over the bar it would appear that they are reciprocating for services rendered.

I had heard numerous rumours about AN giving FOC tickets to Air Traffic Controllers and about six months before AN's collapse, I had an ATC person visit the flight deck on a flight to SIN. At one stage of the conversation he lamented the fact that AN were no longer giving them FOC tickets. It explains why AN used to get "right of way" whilst taxying at Australian airports (& HKG).

25th Nov 2002, 02:52
Or what about when the FAs of an unnamed airline emptied every bar down the drain at every port over a similar issue?

25th Nov 2002, 03:48
Talking of Xmas goodwill, the QF shorthaul pilots will shortly celebrate with a recently ex management pilot to wish him well for xmas and new year back on the line, and thank him for a job well done. They will be paying themselves.

Suggest ATC do likewise.

25th Nov 2002, 04:43
What we are talking about here is a token sum, enough to shout a couple of drinks only. We're talking less than an economy return SY-ML! It's a goodwill gesture, a thankyou. It isn't graft or payola. It isn't even drinks-for-trackshortening.

The function referred to is an informal Christmas drinks (a tradition of some 20 years in this port) typically funded by newly rated ATC's and some operators. ASA doesn't officially contribute, as they put on an official Christmas party as a separate function.

ATCs don't favour one operator over another, what a rediculous presumption. MATS gives a list of traffic priorities that we must obey, followed by whatever makes our own job easiest.

Removal of goodwill simply removes opportunities for ATCs to "go the extra mile" for the customer when we have no requirement or incentive to do so.

25th Nov 2002, 05:04
Christmas Function for QF staff, since when? i cant remeber any!

25th Nov 2002, 19:43
"If they were to put money over the bar it would appear that they are reciprocating for services rendered."

So, Going Boeing, is that like giving ID flights to staff? Or travel agents?!?

I'll be brutally honest, 375ml - I separate QF aircraft - I give a service to the others.


P.S. So can anyone tell me how much ten extra miles on a Jumbo flight costs?

25th Nov 2002, 22:26
" I'll be brutally honest, 375ml - I separate QF aircraft - I give a service to the others. "


Having experienced ATC in all different parts of the world, I can assure you that Australian ATC has a long way to go. Before you start deciding who you separate and who you give a service to, I suggest you have a long, hard think about what it means to be a 'professional'. :mad:


26th Nov 2002, 02:13
Yes Longhauler, I'll be thinking of you and your mates as I apply those wonderful Jeddah or Tehran control restrictions;)

Pettiness is an art-form around here.

Going Boeing
26th Nov 2002, 02:37

I posted what was told to me by a then current Air Trafficker and have no reason to suspect that he was lying.

Also, your reference to anger about QF's non payment of double Xmas allowances is incorrect - the rumour that many captains uplifted additional fuel to penalise QF was told to the media by a member of the Flight Attendants Union's Committee. As far as I'm aware, not one pilot uplifted additional fuel for this reason. I guess that individual wanted the pilots to look unprofessional in the eyes of the public rather than Flight attendants.

Back to the original topic - Personally, I would not expect another company to provide funds for drinks and nibblies at a function for staff of my company. It really is up to Air Services to motivate their own staff, not companies that they do business with. GB

26th Nov 2002, 05:36

oooh..Your playing with fire there my friend.

26th Nov 2002, 08:33

I’ve also experienced pilots from many places in the world, and I can REALLY assure you that Qantas home attitudes have a long way to go. The Qantas pilot outside of Australia is a completely different animal to the one in domestic airspace.

Going Boeing…

Your mate was winding you up…Ansett and Qantas were the same , never give the ATC anything! Obviously to your management, we are below floor sweepers and travel agents, and are not in the “Industry”.

A couple of “for instances”…

The guys that used to run the Westwinds out of Perth to Telfer used to put on a bash each year and invite the ATC’s. Great party, good to meet the drivers face to face etc etc. The upshot was that they received direct tracking more than anybody else, saved them about 2-3 minutes per leg…at least 6 legs per day, 365 days per year…do the sums.

A British Airways pilot having just been tracked from Karatha direct to a 6 mile final RWY21 in Perth asked me if any other airlines gave us free or discounted travel…no I said. He replied with “I thought we got a particularly good service in this country”

Now put thinking caps on….BA and QF arrive at the edge of the screen at the same time…who is going to land first? Hmmm? I wonder.

Channel 7 used to throw parties that ATC’s were invited to as well (can’t say if it still happens, haven’t been in Perth for a long while), and they only had one helicopter, but they appreciated the amount of work that they caused and were happy to a bit of PR. But then again they have competition don’t they?

Just my 100 baisas worth…

No Further Requirements
26th Nov 2002, 10:24
Geeze Adamastor, you sure know what customer service is. I honestly hope that post was a wind up. You just lost ATC many, many brownie points with our customers. I doubt QF will ever offer drinks again, or anything else for that matter. Again, well done. Check MATS mate, and tell me where QF is written in "Priorities".

On another note, Darwin (yes, go ahead and have a go at us) ATC put on an at least annual Tower Party. Here, all the GA and major operators at the airport are invited to ATC (pre S11, now at the 'stute) for a BBQ paid for by the ATC social club (not the RAAF, by the controllers themselves). Also, a couple of hundred bucks go into grog. Great night, excellent opporunities for meeting people and a valuable tool for customer relations (not to mention a super p!ssup!!!). Now, who is greasing who?

QF have the right to do with their money what they will, including purchasing some flying sheep shares. It is the theory behind it - social events where ATC and aircrew get together are a great forum for swapping professional opinion, getting to know names/faces & not just voices, and for general comraderie. Perhaps there could be another event organised without management input just for the hell of it. Anyway, enough ranting. Take care y'all. Cheers,


26th Nov 2002, 11:47
I never have been an apologist but I'd like to address some of the replies to my earlier comment.

Longhauler, I too have experienced ATC in many different countries - from BOTH sides of the radar screen. I will not judge the expediency or professionalism of any one ATC based on one sector into or out of a particular aerodrome on any given day. What I will do is make an assessment of workload issues, regulatory constraints, airspace design, weather, and about a hundred other criteria before I leap in and declare one air trafficer better than another. The first aircraft I spoke to today was an abrupt - no dammit, he was downright rude - pilot from an unnamed airline. I certainly am not so petty as to taint the whole airline with that brush, but it IS human nature to remember such unpleasantness, and perhaps, subconsciously or not, fail to go the extra yard to conduct four extra pieces of coordination that you really don't have time to comfortably do the next time he comes along. Unprofessional, I don't think so, but I respect your opinion.

Going Boeing, you don't expect another company to contribute to your drinks and nibblies, but you do expect your company to fund subsidised travel for persons not employed by your airline? Again, an opinion only, but that strikes me as a dire double standard.

imnomaverick, Pyro is my middle name!

No Further Requirements, if you truly believe that ATC holds ANY brownie points whatsoever in Australia, you are sadly, sadly mistaken. And I can't deteriorate a non-existent relationship. Take a look at the other similar threads in here over the last three years. I would love to see this us and them mentality rectified, so in one regard we arguing the same thing. I also believe that socialising has a very important part to play in harmony. I'm not asking for a handout (though I think the token sum that 375ml is talking about would promote said harmony, and should certainly be reciprocated in kind), but an act of friendship that can be pointed at as an example of a worthwhile effort being made. Rest assured that I'll be raising this within ASA as well.

Reading back it's all a bit of airy-fairy drivel but I think you all get the picture. To reiterate (more for my own personal sake than yours!), the point I was trying to make (however ineloquently, and maybe with just a hint of windup in it), is that it appears to me that the aviation industry in Australia is so concerned with how ATC is trying to screw airlines and vice versa that no good relationship can ever be formed. At least not until the two parties BOTH take a step forwards to meet somewhere in the middle.


26th Nov 2002, 12:34
As an ATC not connected to the golden triangle, all I can say is "how embarrassing". You should all be ashamed.

26th Nov 2002, 16:56

"Rest assured that I'll be raising this within ASA as well."

Good Luck matey, don't get too disheartened by the deafly silence and the internal laughter being done by ASA Managers. I have been down that path, through another forum, they only have their own agenda's and personal perks they worry about. The only reason they would donate any monies is for personal gain ie. To gain higher profile within the company by impressing upper level management. But you'll hear the old tried and tested " I don't have the budgetary monies to contribute to this, it's not in the interests of Airservices."

26th Nov 2002, 21:54
OMG I had no idea this thread would bring forth such vitriol and cultural cringe. In the words of Kath, "we've got to talk, we have issues."

If you know where to go, come along to the ground floor (http://www.lorddudley.com/) bar late afternoon on 10/12. Let the ATC's buy you a beer. Yes, even redtails are still welcome ;)

Chief galah
27th Nov 2002, 07:40
It's about time some ATC's realised they're not a subsection of the CFMEU.
Any controller that doesn't put in his best, each shift, each day etc etc is not deserving of the reasonable reward they are receiving for their services.
Apart from your fortnightly paycheck, nobody owes you nothin'. Put your egos behind you and let your unique skills do the talking.
That's what you've been selected and trained to do, over a lot of other people.
The camaraderie between pilots and controllers has diminished over time as our respective employers' strive to create a "safe" and "sterile" flying environment.
The downside is, of course, that we just don't know each other any more.
And for those flying folk waiting to partake in a chop at the Airservices barby -
good luck and fat chance - they can't even put one on for their own people!
Merry Xmas from CG.

27th Nov 2002, 09:49
I'm with you, Binoculars.

The thread title alone is offensive, and it went downhill from there.


Four Seven Eleven
27th Nov 2002, 12:59
In just about any other industry, the client is the one who receives a 'token' for their custom during the year. Why is it that some ATCs 'expect' to receive gifts from our clients - who already pay our salaries? Sounds embarrassingly like the old 'public service' mentality. (Anyone remember the six-pack we used to leave for the garbo?)

I am all for increased social interaction between all parts of the industry, but rather than complain about how tight-fisted the next bloke is, how about looking at our own organisation?

For example: Until recently, team leaders had a small budget to organise 'team days' for their staff. How about arranging to meet with QF, DJ etc. and buying them a drink? You may be surprised.

27th Nov 2002, 22:58
I have sat back and watched this thread sink lower and lower into the mud...
Can I say that as a mainly East Coast 76 driver they standard of ATC, especially enroute, has improved considerably in he last 6 months- especially with regads to reports of turbulence, winds at different altitudes, and EARLY application of speed control (in the cruise) and sequencing/ high speed. As usual with all things in life, ther is a VERY SMALL minority that make it hard- one of my mates flew into Syd on Tuesday with a 76rr, 38 degrees outside, near max landing weight, one reverser inop, and a 40 minute transit.(think Brake temp) He REQUIRED roll through to Golf on 34L through approach. This should not have been a problem. Tower gave him a very hard time about it, sarcasm was VERY evident, even when the guys said thanks as they exited the RWY. What is the problem?? The 767 are very flexible, we don't need attitude.
Ps I hope the Company has made ATC aware of new company speed restrictions- 250 kts B050 and 210 kts at 12 n.m.

27th Nov 2002, 23:39
Invertedlandings, anybody who has flown jets domestically in Australia is well aware of Qantas 767 speed restrictions, whether company imposed or whatever.

May I have a further little bitch about some QF 767 drivers?

Wasn't uncommon for some of you blokes a few years ago to query and almost backchat ATC over issues such as why are we holding? Why are we being radar vectored off the STAR and not the slower preceding? And one joker had the hubris or unprofessionalism to attempt to organise his own flow into Sydney on a busy night!

Not isolated incidents, alarmingly regular.

Professional courtesy. The QF lack of it brought up in many quarters.

And on your last, I will just wipe the coffee I have sprayed over the keyboard due laughter. QF 767s flexible? Well you have improved. Your habit of crying wolf and always demanding, sorry requiring, the longest runway had us all thinking ( with knowledge of the very sound 767 landing performance ) are these guys men or mice?

And to be told at a briefing from ATC that QF 767s manage to lose a few minutes when instructed to make a high speed descent so ATC doesn't bother requesting them.

Don't kid yourself about flexibility.

28th Nov 2002, 04:51
I guess I'll stick with being a "mouse"

28th Nov 2002, 12:04
4711, see my earlier post above yours - I've already offered to shout any pilots some drinks, no problemo.

Too many people have misread this post and finding room for spleen venting. As usual it call comes down to none of us knowing the other's jobs. Unfortunately our managers don't like to do much about that.

Go back to the original message (and my followup) before commenting further, thanks.

Capn Bloggs
28th Nov 2002, 12:48

After a piece of particularly inept controlling, the controller said to me on the phone (I rang him) that he had to look after QF coz he had shares in them!!

Good one...

28th Nov 2002, 21:20
I am starting to wonder if some of the spleen venting going on here is symptomatic of a general lessening of understanding of the relative pressures and even the mechanics of each job.

As a QF 767 pilot I have been on the receiving end of my share of poor vectors and impossible requests (lose 8 minutes in 120 track miles, for instance.... sorry that is not possible, but I do my best and let the system sort itself out).

If I do get a substandard vector or such, I don't go blaming the entire ATC community of incompetence or lack of flexibility, and I would ask that ATC realise that in the 500 or so QF 767 pilots you encounter, you will find a variance of operational experience and personality and therefore I expect the same courtesy.

As we pilots see only a fraction of your job, so you see only a fraction of ours.

I recently was presented with an aircraft with an anti-skid problem. This meant that I was required to use the full length of 16 in Melbourne. The aircraft was a light domestic load but I was also required to use full rated thrust.

Consequently, after requiring the full length of the longest runway, I was airborne before the intersection. I recieved a semi-sarcastic comment from the tower before transferring to departures but I was to busy to explain the situation to him and frankly all he was exhibiting was an ignorance of some of the operations of his "customers".

My point is that either we become aware that the two jobs have different operation constraints accept this and try to make the effort to learn what makes the other job tick, or we can indulge in some of the pointless name calling going on here.

28th Nov 2002, 23:29
Back to the topic at hand...

There may be some discussion about a Qantas donation here but the real shame is... How much does Airservices put in? sfa.

In years past I attended 2 Ansett crissy parties for nix. Thanks very much. Those same years at Airservces (under a previous name) we , got , nothing.

Arguing amongst ourselves about flow instructions and required runway length as opposed to actual usage here is futile as the relationships between ATC and the Airlies must be forged at higher levels and continued down the chain to the console operator and line pilot. With the disdain shown by Airservices to its employees I am fairly safe to say that the industry from which we operate is shunned as well.

A couple of drinks at a party attended by the back scratchers and fanboys donated by an arline will not help this. I can just see the idiots drinking their shandys and gawfawing amongst themselves as to how the enemies beers are so sweet. Until a group of 12 or so in middle to upper middle management are culled from the heap these things will not change (2 down so far).

:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

Four Seven Eleven
29th Nov 2002, 10:31
Perhaps the 'misreading' of the post has a lot to do with the title - which has been mentioned by other ATCs. 'Greasing the wheel' smacks of quid pro quo. If that is the way that these gestures have been seen in the past, then perhaps it is time fix that view.

My points were not specifically addressed to you, but also to some of the offensive and unprofessional comments about only providing a 'service' to airlines which provide free beer, flights etc. One can only hope that some were misguided attempts at humour.

29th Nov 2002, 11:56
I tend to agree with Binoculars and AusATCO but NFR has a good point too.

I remember the good old days at Bankstown where ATC would put on a Christmas Party to which ALL pilots and flying organisations at the field were invited without fear or favour.

I also remember having slabs of liquid goodies left at the Briefing Office and the TWR in the spirit of Christmas and in NO WAY intending to "Grease the ATC wheel".

The Media in particular were very good to us - who could forget the red chopper alighting in the ATC car park to personally deliver the Christmas Cheer one year! :)

Anyway, I don't remember AusATCO refusing to partake of the refreshments at the time - right, mate? :D :D:)

29th Nov 2002, 22:14
Borg and QF others.

Yes, I'm sure ATC make a few mistakes. Regrettably, one factor consistant, you rarely,if ever, see exAN, Virgin Blue, Impulse drivers slagging of on Pprune or worse still, airborne backchat. That is a trait that seems to have been introduced by QF 767 Domestic.

Can not believe your management has not stamped down. Airborne backchat is discourteous, unprofessional and dangerous. Though having been professionally associated with a former QF 767 fleet manager at AN, I understand this Sky Pig attitude to some degree.

Borg, the sarcastic comment re rwy use stems from a long and unprofessional QF 767 domestic history. ATC and other professional pilots noted for years the common QF 767 practice of requiring the longest runway. Sydney the classic. Air NZ, Ansett, Air Canada and every other 767 operator would be landing on 07/25, but the QF 767s would require 34.

Another common QF 767 trait was to go to extreme measures to fly under preceding opposition traffic, to take number one position for arrival. The merit in this debatable, but a previous Pprune thread established this common practice. Trouble being, it is real easy to wind on Mach, a lot harder to manage speed efficiently on descent, in the case of QF 767s.

With aircraft seperation becoming a problem, QF would be asked to make a high speed descent or keep the speed on for as long as possible. Again, by the admission of members of the QF 767 community on another thread, not uncommon to see a QF 767 driver commencing speed reduction, in this high speed/best speed scenario, at 30 miles!

We all realise that being a S/O may not be the best preparation for being an efficient, domestic airline pilot. It takes a few years to cut your teeth.

What makes this all abhorrent is the Sky Pig attitude of bagging others(ATC especially), without looking in your own backyard and realising what a pain in the ass your community can be in a professional environment.

Never had a real problem with Aussie ATC. The odd minor hiccup, but then my odd mistake provided ATC with minor hiccups on occassion too. Professional courtesy!

30th Nov 2002, 10:27
Ahhh, Zarg, memories of good times past.

They were, weren't they? A simpler life in simpler times when everyone just got the job done the best way ...

... with no @#$%^&* paper trails, accountants, lawyers, and all that c r a p. Just professional skill and expertise exercised by all.

Including the odd pint expertly and skillfully quaffed :D


1st Dec 2002, 09:30
Dear Oh Dear, My Mailbag Is Full!

It would seem many in the profession concur with my observations of the Sky Pig attitude of all too many in the QF 767 community.

The professional courtesy and positions of some of these Ppruners prevents them from making comment here, but they are all united in their disbelief that QF Flight Management has not stamped down on the unprofessional practice of backchat.

I feel, for the benefit of some QF 767 drivers, a seperate thread warranted. Aviation etiquette maybe an appropriate title.

OK, speed management is tough, there are them that can and them that can't, but if you are going to wind on Mach and go underneath people, show some manners. Don't slow down at 30 miles and mess up seperation and other professionals' day!

And on back chat, pull your head in fellows. This gives us real insight into your situation awareness; skypigs act and think they are the only airlines in the sky.

Keg are you on leave? Usually the voice of reason for QF.

1st Dec 2002, 11:06
Obviously I am in the minority here as as Qf 767 driver- but as I said in an earlier post, the 30 nm speed reduction will be typical now for the 767 with 250kts B050 restriction- a typical gate for the 767 ( I know that you probably already know this) is 250 kts at 5000 at 20 nm. If we are doing a high speed descent say 340 kts, it will take around 1.5- 2minutes to slow at 500 fpm( typical VANV slowdown). 1.5-2 minutes at around an average of 300 kts is 10 miles.
As for backchat, there must be only a small minority out there doing it - I have done around 350 domestic sectors this year and not heard it.
AS for winding up Mach at lower levels- one of the few things mangagement has been on our back for in the last 6 months (other than rushed approaches which is huge at the moment) is schedule, which is our No 1 complaint at the moment from the pax. Guys are trying to do thier best at the moment with regards to this flying around Fl280, we now have 1 hr 25minute block SYD-MEL (up from 1.20) which has made a big difference, especially if it 34L.

Anyway, as for beers with you guys, love to- I spent 3 hours in Mel Tower with a guy I knew from a regional tower- those guys would love to, but I'm not holding my breath for money from QF mangement - all Qf pilots got their Christmas bonus on Friday- a 2003 diary worth about 20 cents! YIPPEE
And as for the ex 767 fleet manger you met at AN- there was a reason he didn't fly at AN...

1st Dec 2002, 21:44
IVL, are you saying that QF go to those low levels to meet ontime performance? 1.20-25 is made quite easily no matter what runway you get into Sy, and now that there are about 50 less aircraft into Sy (post AN) there's not that much holding or slowing down. I can only imagine the amount of extra fuel that you must be consuming. Can anyone tell me how much fuel is used on a QF 737 fro Mel to Syd at low levels?

1st Dec 2002, 22:06
Gnadenburg, you are obviously coming from a point of view that sees Reds under the bed everywhere.

Backchat: I am with invertedlandings. As a veteran of many years of domestic flying now, I have never heard it. Maybe you heard it once and extrapolated that to better suit your own bias.

Inverted also mentions the use of the lower level cruise to get back on schedule. If the use of that technique gets you ahead of the VB 737 hanging itself up in the gale at FL390, so be it. I am sure our passengers appreciate it. I once took off about 15 minutes after a AN 767 heading for Perth and was in the crew bus heading for the hotel by the time AN landed.

Requiring the longest runway: AIPA has a directive current that requires, when a runway such as 07 in SYD is being used for noise abatement and the crosswind is more than 15 knots and another longer runway has less crosswind, that we must require the use of the more in to wind runway. This is a safety issue. If you blithely accept 25 knots of crosswind and 5 knots of downwind on a short runway on the basis that of "professionalism", then I must disagree.

Speed control: Inverted has mentioned the blanket speed control regime now being implemented. Once again, it is a safety issue designed to prevent rushed approaches. I agree with it, but in any case, it is QF policy and is unlikely to change.

In short, I would ask that perhaps you examine your current bias re QF767 drivers in the light of the above. Cheers

1st Dec 2002, 23:38
I am surprised anybody agrees with the new descent restrictions really. Flying 250/5000 and 210/12 isnt how you should fly a jet. You should fly it efficiently and comfortable to intercept the third degree.

The restrictions aren't going to stop people being 250/5000 at 10nm or 210kts at 12 nm at 5000' leading to rushed approaches.

2nd Dec 2002, 00:32
Have to agree with GTR that especially 210 kts at 12nm is not going to stop anyone do a rushed approach- the example of the 767 at 16 MEL where it was flaps 1, 1500ft at around 200kts is an example that management are showing at the LOSA briefings at the moment....
betedete- 1.25 SYD-MEL is better than it was, but if you depart 34R ( about a 15 minute taxi) and then fly the full Marub Departure (passport required) it makes it fairly tight.
Extra fuel for a 767 SYD_MEL at FL280 compared with 380- around 600kg, depending on wind- Mangement think schedule is more important than fuel efficiency so they are happy for us to do it. As for less traffic SYD-MEL-SYD, VB are now every 1/2 hour during peak- I would say approx 1 in 8 of my flights have speed/ time/ vector restrictions, a lot better than it was.
Have fun

2nd Dec 2002, 00:48
Yes, I agree that the speed restrictions cater for the lowest common denominator. Unfortunately that is what you have to do these days.

2nd Dec 2002, 00:56

I believe professional courtesy to be lacking in your community. I raised the issue and to my surprise, my Pprune mailbag filled with industry people in concurrence. As I mentioned, their professional courtesy prevents a slanging match on pprune. But not me, and with their encouragement, I will procede.

You are a veteran of many years? I can safely assume you were on the scene when QF 767s blasted into Australian domestic aviation, for my "bias" begins here.

On airborne backchat, I have witnessed it on numerous occassions. My mailbag indicates others in the industry disappointed your management has not quashed this practice.

On recent "possible" backchat, go back a few threads to the SY ATIS thread. The response to a QF 767 querying the ATIS was a supposed terse ATC response and offer of a phone number. I feel the tone of this thread, and others, not unlike the airbone tone and discourtesy evident over many years from your community. Can I quickly add, why not brief the ILS? Bases covered. And on the remark that "main reason QF 1" and proceding to blame Asian ATC, a professional failing with few lessons learnt?

On winding on Mach. I feel from day one, a little more than just company policy. Not unlike the tarmac aggression the QF pilot community have displayed at airports Australia wide. That is a daily event!

By the very admission of the QF 767 community on previous threads, speed control not standard in the terminal area. The green band of some, very thin! Infuriating to have all the drama( making ATCs job hard) and aggressive positioning (consistantly attempting to fly underneath opposition traffic) only to have a QF 767s prematurely commence speed reduction.

Are these new speed reductions borne of management realising speed management a lost art, possibly due long haul-short haul cross pollination, or a technical issue?

On requiring 34/16 when the duty rwy 07/25. A little patronising but I do respect the AIPA directive. It was very common in the early days, light winds clear skies, for QF 767s to require 16/34. It was reprehensible and a Skypig attitude. Probably due professional laziness or an amatuer commercial factors mindset.

I realise I am hanging on like a Blue Healer, but some very basic professional courtesy,human factors and CRM in the above. Rembering the aforementioned extend beyond your own Flight Deck!

From Gnadenburg's Mailbag-"You are spot on. QF domestic management would be well advised to recognise and correct the reasons why their fleet is held in such disregard by such a cross section of the industry"

and "Thanks for stating the obvious to all but the QF 767 drivers. Watch them wriggle and squirm. Instead of taking the well proven civil approach".

Three Bars
2nd Dec 2002, 05:32

One thing I remember from my RAAF Writing Skills Course is that an argument should never be based around generalisations. You refer repeatedly to the "QF767 community" - you really should be saying "some in the QF 767 community". By broad-brushing all 767 drivers, you leave yourself open to biased replies about the sins of the "ATC community".

I too, have never heard discoureous backchat during my time in the domestic skies. I have, however, heard stories of aircraft being asked to reduce speed to lose 5 minutes on a 10 minute leg. Similarly, I have heard of aircraft being given a slow-speed descent at TOD and then being asked to maintain maximum speed at lower levels. While these requirements undoubtedly stem from a grander plan of which we are not aware, they do tend to be somewhat annoying.

When combined with working three or four sector domestic days with 40 minute turnarounds and (maybe) an aircraft change at each stop, I can certainly understand why some pilot's sense of bonhomie may be compromised. I also try to give the benefit of the doubt to some ATCs who can at times be terse and abrupt. When I have a grievance, I might mention it in the flightdeck - I do not mention it over the radio. In this age of doing more with less, we all work in a very demanding environment - we should all try to be as professional as possible at all times.

Two final points. Firstly, the requirement for a longer runway or the current emphasis on speed reduction points should not be brought into question when safety is a factor. Safe operation of an aircraft should always be the utmost consideration for pilots and ATC, and hopefully, we are all aware of our own limitations. Secondly, the QF Chief Pilot will shortly begin meetings with ATC where any grievances (such as yours Gnadenburg) will hopefully be aired and dealt with.

As Keg has said on another thread, we are all in this business together. All QF767 pilots are not the same, and neither are all ATCs. We should all be trying to do everyting that we can to get rid of this "us and them" mentality. I think you do yourself and your colleagues an injustice.

2nd Dec 2002, 10:16
Good Day Captain Three Bars,

Forgive the affects of Bannockburn Shiraz but maybe the RAAF should have taught you, know your enemy!

I am a professional airline pilot, not ATC!

I find it professionally embarrassing the antics of some of your community. I am not Robinson Crusoe!

You have a good speed brake, can number crunch I'm sure, have a proud domestic tradition, so pick up your game.

2nd Dec 2002, 10:22
Gnadenburg is a pilot, not a controller, and is having a swipe at QF 76 drivers (obviously he is not one)(and speaking of patronising tones-why does that have to be pointed out?)

I see he beat me to it. Computer must have sand in the gears.

Three Bars
3rd Dec 2002, 02:55

Sorry - didn't read the full thread, just skimmed it and assumed you must have been ATC. Nevertheless, I'll stand by my point that you should not tar everyone with the same brush.

Also, I meant to add that it has not been my experience that anyone stays low and speeds up just to get underneath someone else. If we do stay low it is to get under the wind (or get maximum TAS) - in my experience it is always us against the clock and no-one else.

3rd Dec 2002, 17:36
Three bars- Who do you think you are kidding?
Getting ahead of the other guy = saving time. It's just that it always seemed to be a game; "number 2 is the loser", with the added benefit that you do save time if you win.

Once attended a pilot/controller forum where the question from the QF rep was "why do you always favour Ansett?". The first question from the AN rep was "why do you always favour Qantas?" What does that tell you?

3rd Dec 2002, 21:25
Gnadenburg, yes you do appear like a dog with a bone. As I previously stated, I have not observed the traits, particularly backchat and "aggressive tarmac operations" that you claim are a daily event.

However, let it not be said that I am overly sensitive or blind to criticism.

So why don't we let the umpires sort this out? I invite ATC comment on Gnadenburg's claims. Do you hear QF 767's pilots constantly backchatting you? Do you see aggressive tarmac operations on a daily basis by said pilots. Give us your opinions and keep it fair please. Over to you.

3rd Dec 2002, 22:31

" I invite ATC to comment"- what hubris. What makes you think ATC Pruners have the discourtesy of the likes of Ramjager to comment on the sensitive QF 767 issues?

And to again quote from Gnadenburg's mailbag- "There is enough pilot/ATC venom on Pprune without me....."

On airborne backchat- a half a dozen occassions I have heard this unprofessional practice. May not seem like a great number over the years but it is accentuated by the electric shock effect of hearing such blatant unprofessionalism.

On tarmac aggression-has a ring to it and I stand by my accusation that QF is guilty of this. If this not uncommon jockying becomes culture, a break in the chain in the future? And if you can't be trusted to fly fast, maybe you shouldn't be trusted to taxi fast.

On poor and inconsistant pilot speed management inside the terminal area- Qantas management has coldly vindicated my bane in this area. Yet, even when this problem was evident, Ppruners from your community still had their blinkers on by posting their denials in this area. Your community has destroyed a proud domestic tradition( sound jet speed management ) in just a few years. How low is your lowest common denominator?

On my last point, certainly hope the 89ers are instilling a culture of good speed management at Virgin Blue.

Three Bars
3rd Dec 2002, 22:41

I can only tell you my observations. You obviously don't want to believe it so just keep pushing your own barrow mate!

3rd Dec 2002, 22:51
Hmmmm .. so now it is half a dozen occasions over the years? How many years? Eight? 10?. Less than one a year spread over 500 or so QF 767 pilots?

How many emails constitute the full inbox of Gnadenburg? Two?...Three?

Is it any wonder why I am asking for unbiased ATC comment?

3rd Dec 2002, 23:21

You are going into denial!

Similar to when the issue of poor QF speed managent arose some time ago. The denial was swift and in numbers. It was a problem though, it was noted with regularity throughout the industry. Other pilots and ATC, then admissions from within your community( Keg ) that there was little consistancy. The speed spread at 30 DME 110KTS on a high speed! Some guys at 340 and others winding her back to 250. Big problems for ATC and following.

Now, your own management has indicated a confidence in your communities speed management on par with the confidence, we, the rest of the industry have always known.

On backchat. Six occassions a lot for me but imagine if you were an ATC controller! Explains why my mailbag filled over a day or two. Seven respones, one from Keg I accidently deleted and another I can't count cause I think a wannabee. So five from within the industry, telling I would think.

On tarmac aggression. I stand by this as I did in my accusations that QF 767s were poorly speed managed inside the terminal area.

Management has played it's hand on the 767s and I feel, that in the worst example of a 747 doing at least 40kts+, management will have to play a hand in your tarmac aggression!

I do realise your sensitivity of being tarred with the same brush if not guilty of the above. However, this is how your community is perceived by the industry, and I agree, like your recent speed restrictions, is probably due the Lowest Common Denominator.

But how low is low?

4th Dec 2002, 00:23

So five responses is a full inbox?

You sure it is me that is in denial?

Now will you kindly let our ATC Ppruners adjudicate this?

The questions to ATC are simple. Do you agree with Gnadenburgs assertion that QF 767 pilots are routinely backchatting you? Do you agree that QF 767 pilots exhibit "taxiway aggression" on a daily basis?

I really want to know if Gnadenburg has a reasonable point. His opinion does not gell with my own experience, and despite his attempts to derail my query, I would really appreciate open answers to the above questions.

Thank you.

4th Dec 2002, 01:03

And you forgot "Are QF 767s woefully slow and inconsistant in the terminal area, contrary to the tradition of domestic jet operations in this country?"

QF Management care to comment? I doubt if ATC about to comment, other than privately!

Some of the cutting remarks made by QF pilots to ATC controllers on these forums, may have some biting their tongues as indicated by what I thought a substantial number of mailbag responses over a one or two day period.

Stuck by my guns with the slow QF 767s. Seem to recall you jumping to the defence Borg. Now your management has vindicated that once and for all!

Will stick by my accussations of tarmac aggression and airborne backchat. You seem to be inferring that infrequent or occassional backchat OK, I beg to differ. It is an unacceptable practice for a variety of safety issues that most professional pilots recognise!

Expect to see QARs with reduced taxi speed flags and head office meetings for offenders of airborne backchat. My guess as to the eventual reaction of your management. Gday TJ.

You asking professional ATC to comment on this forum about as unbiased and as realistic a conclusion to my argument as me starting a poll " Do QF pilots display Skypig manners and courtesies to the rest of their industry colleagues?"

Oh yeah Borg, note Captain Three Bar's response to Ferris. Why would ATC bother to comment?

If all I have done is made some in your community realise their professional discourtesy, it is spilt all over the pages of Pprune, I am at peace with my maker( for a little while ).

On dragging up speed management. An aversion to poor professional manners coupled with unwarranted egos and poor flying skills.

4th Dec 2002, 03:00
Gnad, why don't you let other people answer? We know your point of view.

Btw, the 767 was NOT the target of QF management when it introduced blanket speed control, but never let the facts get in the way of your view.

Ref your assertations of large speed differences on descent. We fly standard descent speeds. If we are faster or slower than those it is because ATC told us to do so.

ATC are big boys and girls. They don't need you to patronise them by alluding that they are cowed into submission by QF bully boy tactics.

No, I do not believe backchat is acceptable, but your half a dozen alledged instances over god knows how many years does not a trend make.

Perhaps there is a career for you as a spin doctor.

4th Dec 2002, 03:31

I must clarify one point, "we fly standard descent speeds, ATC speeds us up or slows us down". You could not have missed the point I have alluded to, it is where you slow down or how early ie speed management in the terminal area. QF 767 are and always have been woeful.

We had a proud domestic culture before QF long haul wallowed onto the scene.

4th Dec 2002, 03:55
OK I'll bite.

THe backchat thing is not something new with QF.

I cannot comment on what has been occurring lately, but if it has worsened since I left for browner pastures (aprx 5 years ago) it must have reached hair pulling stage.

If Gnadenburg says he has cringed in the cockpit (or words to that effect) he would have only heard a small fraction of what used to occur.

I have personally had so much backchat from one 767 driver (WSSS-YSSY) that another QF pilot told him to shut up and stop whinging!!

In the procedural world it was always "why me"? When asked to descend climb etc prior to entering a conflict area.
Standard response was because the other traffic is ahead therefore has priority...then would start...

who is the conflicting traffic (many times this required coord with another unit to find out)

what is his departure point? (again requiring coord)

What is his aircraft type? (like that matters)

What was his departure time? ( I kid you not, you can imagine what would occur if they had been in the sky longer..)

What time does he enter the area of conflict? (just about had enough of this conversation)

If i speed up i can get there first so he can descend (after all that, not while your a$$ points to the ground will that happen)

This was not an isolated incident...it happened all the time.
When it occurred with an experienced controller there was no real worries...BUT when they start to harrass trainees or inexperienced ones...problems, they are meant to be looking after the big picture, not getting bogged down in one area.

It got so bad around 1993-4 that BASI had to issue an ultimatum to QF..knock it off or else. You guys that fly for QF can tell me if the message was passed along, we were instructed to put in an incident report every time it occured after that...strangely it then rarely occurred.

Strangely it was ONLY the QF pilots that gave us this hard time, no one else seemed to think that they had some God given right to have that level/track to the exclusion of all others.

I should now reiterate that in International airspace, the QF drivers are a completely different kettle of fish. they comply with restrictions, requirements, level and route changes without a murmur...perhaps a bit of cross pollination might be in order?

I will say again, I have no experience in Oz for the past 5 years so can't comment on what is occurring now, my post may be seen as a historical epistle.

cheers all.

PS regarding ATI's..over here they are recorded off the METAR from inside a darkened room (although this is changing soon), no one that looks out the tower window gets much say about it other than the duty runway.

Three Bars
5th Dec 2002, 04:21
Forgive us Gnads - we're not worthy! we're not worthy!

5th Dec 2002, 06:23
Captain Three Bars

More your style to take a dig at the bloke above isn't it?

Thought somebody who had been through the RAAF's gruelling writing skills course would have been more creative than your last!

It is all about professional courtesy. Good Luck!

5th Dec 2002, 06:50
Now now kiddies, somebody is going to get an eye poked out soon.:D

Very interesting thread.:cool: but can we keep to the subject and not the person. There is much here that we can learn from each other.:cool:

BTW & FYI we have set the PPRuNe member Inbox to maximum 5 emails to keep the bandwidth and disk space under control.

Which is why you will get the "inbox is full message" when there are 5 mails "in". Capiche.

5th Dec 2002, 20:41
Can't I play the man just once PLEASE, Woomera???

I had my "Capn Gnads-Domestic Legend!!! (More culture than a penicillin factory)", skit all raring to go?

(I even had it critiqued by the good admino's of RAAF Staff college.. they dacked themselves.... sigh..)

5th Dec 2002, 22:25

If that is your idea of playing the man can we shoot some baskets together? For money?

It would be a pleasure to read your skit, especially considering the trouble you have gone to, so post below or if of questionable humour and to save yourself embarrassment, fire it off to my mailbag.

Professional Courtesy.

I must say the politeness and subtlety, in which the issues were cooberated by members of the industry, brings professional courtesy to a new level.

A lack of professional courtesy has significant Human Factors considerations that some pilots may not have been aware of ( thank you Diving Duck for pointing out some of the painfully obvious pressures on your side ).

Crewmembers who display poor CRM skills are usually unaware of their faults. Hence the training for all crewmembers to cover these lowest common denominators. Similarily, an obviously arrogant Skypig, may not be aware of his lack of professional courtesy and the Human Factors problems it can create.

A CRM chapter on professional courtesies, although stating the obvious to most, maybe a useful supplement to communities that are known offenders, thereby again covering aviations lowest common denomiator. TJ- a project for you?

The Touchy Subject Of Speed Management.

Could teach a Grandma speed management on a PC Flight Simulator.

An efficient way to fly a jet and a Domestic tradition that seems to be on the wane.

Perhaps it is a professional courtesy too. Especially if you go to extraordinary lengths to fly under preceding traffic.

Feather #3
5th Dec 2002, 22:52
Coral actually had the key to this a couple of pages ago; know [or at least have a working knowledge of] the other man's job!

Having spent a bit of time observing and dealing with ATC, I've many times queried my colleagues intended course of action in the TMA due to its potential to affect the ATC environment. They have always had no idea of the 'knock-on' effect of their intended action. EG; if asked to hold a speed to a DME distance and its' not working TELL ATC that you have to slow early, don't just do it!

As to professionalism; while many attempts have been made over the years to get QF pilots to go to ATC liaison events, the usual answer is "How much are they paying me; is it a training day?" or "They're there to serve us; why do I need to know anything about them?" Sad :rolleyes:

Conversely, apart from chaps going to the US to look at CPDLC with the FAA [comment after landing and taxying at LAX: "There are a few people in Oz who should see this!!"], I haven't seen or heard of an ATCO on a QF flightdeck for years.

However, in long range flying, it can be extremely advantageous to know who conflicting enroute traffic is and their a/c type. Horse for courses.

G'day ;)

6th Dec 2002, 00:34

I haven't seen or heard of an ATCO on a QF flightdeck for years.

We now require the tricky IDs that pilot people have after certain events in the world of aviation to access a flight deck. Airservices, like a crissy party, will not pay for them.

6th Dec 2002, 01:19
Found this in Aircrew Notices

Lax Terminal Radar (http://www4.passur.com/lax.html)

Go to the home page for Boston, O'Hare and others.

A fair bit of cooperation by all going on here.

6th Dec 2002, 02:01
Feather #3

I well remember an occasion not so long ago in a "Northern Australian Port" when relations between ATC and our flag carrier were deemed to be temporarily less than peachy. There had indeed been certain incidents involving IMC, DME arrivals and LSALTs, the odd aircraft (under the command of a check-captain no less, or so the story goes) helping itself to a takeoff clearance into the teeth of inbound traffic and other occurences of such ilk.

Airline and ATC management, in their infinite wisdom, decided that because so many of the crews of that carrier, both long and short haul, overnighted in the port each evening that it would be of great benefit to both tech crew and ATC alike to gather and enjoy refreshments and have a "group hug".

With the sagacity that comes only with the experience of management, it was deemed appropriate for cool drinks to be taken in the downstairs bar of the Hilton prior to repairing to a conference room upstairs for discussions which would undoubtedly lead to the exchange of Xmas cards and declarations of mutual undying respect and admiration.

With the clarity that only comes with hindsight, the esteemed managers realised too late that they had seriously underestimated the amount of refreshment that a group of pilots and controllers with honest thirsts and a following breeze could indeed consume. The wisdom of the decision to provide an "open tab" was, I thought at the time, unfairly questioned.

When all concerned moved to the aforementioned conference room (some had to be assisted, as they were weary) it was apparent that discussions were going to be both frank and fruitful.

Such was the magnitude of the occasion that the management rocket scientists had forgotten that extra refreshments had been ordered for Part 2 of the "Hug".

The assembled players attacked the new stocks with a remarkable vigour, given their efforts so far. The planned question and answer session seemed to deterioate somewhat, with one controller in particular giving the assembled pilots and in fact all pilots, males and the bloke who brought in more beer a bit of a free character assessment. The controller concerned drew a comment from one of the pilots that "she was definitely punching above her weight.

We took these assessments "on board", as it were, with hardly an interruption to the rate of consumption. The general consensus was that the evening's intercourse (in the intellectual sense of course) had set back Airline/ATC relations definitely no more than about 10 years, and if management cared to put their collective hand in their pocket again, we would gladly attend.

In vino veritas

6th Dec 2002, 03:30
Woomera, for heaven's sake, Save Separator's post and put it in Humour next to the QF letter!
Brilliant :D

6th Dec 2002, 20:13

Priceless. And well told, too. :)

Don't let it be said that POMs can't recognise good humour a nd comedy!!!!:D

7th Dec 2002, 11:46

As an ATC who controls the area (Northern Australia, predominately non-radar) that Divingduck once did I can confirm that backchat does occur. I don't believe that B767 pilots are the worst offenders but unfortunately Qantas pilots appear to be more likely than others to do this. As Duck points out it is not a huge issue for experienced controllers but can make it very difficult for newbies. The chat will normally happen when they are busiest as that is when level restrictions and the like will occur. It is not as bad as it once was but will distract controllers which will lead to a degradation of the service provided. I don't care what company you work for, I apply the priorities as outlined in MATS. The majority of people I work with will work very hard to try and achieve the optimum result for all aircraft transitting the airspace but unfortunately sometimes there has to be a loser. It is just as frustrating to us to be hamstrung by separation standards from a time long gone when the majority of aircraft are smack bang on track. Most pilots are extremely professional and it is dissapointing when they are not. The same for my colleagues.

9th Dec 2002, 01:50
I've been following this fascinating topic since its inception, and as some will know, have already made a "contribution," but since gone somewhat mute. There is a reason.

What I am about to say (and do) is prompted by what I believe to be the single biggest element in making PPRuNe truly worthwhile - it's ability to generate discussion, and more importantly conscious introspective thought, in those who participate.

In the absence of another suitable forum (until the next industry night, anyway) I would like to offer a total and unequivocal apology for what I've come to realise has been my completely unethical and dishonourable manner in occasional dealings with some aircraft. This contrition applies equally to pilots, airlines, and other controllers whom I have incovenienced or disgraced by my words and actions. To offer anything less than my absolute best when controlling is, I now realise, abhorrent and wholly unconscionable. To fall into the trap of being one of those persons who believes that the world owes them a living (or a free Christmas drink for that matter) is one of my greatest shames, and one that I hope I can extinguish forthwith. I cannot take back what I have done (wish as I might) but I can, and will, alter my actions for the future.

I am only one Aussie controller and so this epiphany of mine will probably go unnoticed by all in the industry (and I invite you all to lessen my indignity by not responding to this post), but rest assured it has been very important to me at a personal level. Again, my sincerest apologies and best wishes to ALL in the industry.

Finally, on a lighter note, Separator, damn, can you tell a story!!!

10th Dec 2002, 03:08
Never apologise on the interweb it make you look silly.


blind freddy
18th Dec 2002, 22:52
The subject of the original thread has kind of gone off the tracks.

The aforementioned drinks that started this thread was held last week.

I had a marvellous time, and I believe I saw more than a few pilots, and a couple of QF Managers.


Thanks to the non-ATC staff ( read QF) for putting money on the bar.

I don't think that it changes the world, but dialogue between professionals is always beneficial.

End of story.

Merry Christmas to all;)

tail wheel
9th Apr 2008, 12:13
Post # 69. Classic!

Tail Wheel

BN APP 125.6
9th Apr 2008, 13:39
Resurrection of this thread, and it's reason, should be read in conjuction with [url=http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=321719this post.[/url]