Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Ground & Other Ops Forums > ATC Issues
Reload this Page >

Prestwick: Controllers' bomb flights unease

ATC Issues A place where pilots may enter the 'lions den' that is Air Traffic Control in complete safety and find out the answers to all those obscure topics which you always wanted to know the answer to but were afraid to ask.

Prestwick: Controllers' bomb flights unease

Old 28th Jul 2006, 18:51
  #1 (permalink)  
Paxing All Over The World
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hertfordshire, UK.
Age: 63
Posts: 8,944
Post Prestwick: Controllers' bomb flights unease

BBC 28th July 2006
Some air traffic controllers at Prestwick have raised concerns about handling flights carrying bombs destined for Israel.

BBC Scotland has learned that staff were unhappy about dealing with the US planes because flight plans appeared to mention that there were bombs on board. Some of the 200 air traffic controllers said they were "very uncomfortable" handling certain aircraft. Unions have considered an approach to the management as a result.

One air traffic controller, who did not want to be identified, said: "We usually don't know the cargo that is on board but for some reason this one's flight plan was brazenly advertising it was carrying bombs. "People are very uncomfortable with that."

the article continues
PAXboy is offline  
Old 28th Jul 2006, 20:43
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 243
So what does the nature of the freight have to do with ATC? I smell journos....

Last edited by Smudger; 28th Jul 2006 at 21:18.
Smudger is offline  
Old 28th Jul 2006, 20:54
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Cheshire
Posts: 183
Doesn't it come down to procedures?
There was a suggestion in the media that the flight was reclassified from civil to military en route.
I suppose the US don't mind 'fessing to bombs but not detainees.
Nov71 is offline  
Old 28th Jul 2006, 20:56
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 127
Smile

I agree. It's nothing to do with ATC what and who's on board. But I don't think PIK ATC are really taking action over this. Daily Mirror alert!
easyprison is offline  
Old 28th Jul 2006, 21:26
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 1,796
Originally Posted by easyprison
I agree. It's nothing to do with ATC what and who's on board.
If ATC are aware that an aircraft with an emergency is carrying any dangerous cargo, then CAP 493 requires that the Rescue services are informed - not unreasonable!

Originally Posted by easyprison
But I don't think PIK ATC are really taking action over this. Daily Mirror alert!
As the BBC report mentions 200 ATCOs, that suggests to me that it is referring to Prestwick (Scottish) Centre, and not PIK ATC, who employ a somewhat smaller number of controllers!
spekesoftly is online now  
Old 28th Jul 2006, 22:34
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: The World
Posts: 283
I remember the B1/B-52 bombers arriving at Fairford with 'dangerous cargo' on the flight plan. You don't say!!!
Number2 is offline  
Old 28th Jul 2006, 23:56
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Cheshire, California, Geneva, and Paris
Age: 62
Posts: 822
I wondered if it is that they have moral reservations about handling flights carrying munitions which are to be dropped on defenceless civilians (such as I have)
DC10RealMan is offline  
Old 29th Jul 2006, 02:00
  #8 (permalink)  
Paxing All Over The World
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hertfordshire, UK.
Age: 63
Posts: 8,944
Update from the BBC
Saturday, 29 July 2006, 00:19 GMT 01:19 UK

US President George Bush has apologised to Tony Blair for using Prestwick Airport to refuel planes carrying bombs to Israel, Mr Blair's spokesman says.

The spokesman said Mr Bush gave a "one-line" apology for the fact that proper procedures were not followed.

================
The point seems to be involving civilians in the trade of war materials between two 'third party' countries. Since the USAAAF have military bases, they could have used them for staging and, of course, not then have to declare the cargo. But, given the recent information on the way that the USA transported individuals on 'civilian' flights through UK airspace, it was probably time for some to protest. Especially since Blair won't.
PAXboy is offline  
Old 29th Jul 2006, 02:41
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: UK
Age: 41
Posts: 121
Four innocent UN observers were killed by an errant Israeli missile the other day. You can't be happy working flights that have an itemised cargo of bombs on the flight plan heading out to Israel,regardless of what political viewpoint you may have on the situation.
rolaaand is offline  
Old 29th Jul 2006, 08:17
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: River Thames & Surrey
Age: 71
Posts: 8,319
Why not use Mildenhall or Lakenheath rather than a civil airfield?
chevvron is offline  
Old 29th Jul 2006, 12:03
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Jockland
Posts: 70
I saw a copy of the flight plan for the flight in question and was quite shocked by the blatantness of the admission in the 'remarks' section.

It doesn't give you a particularly nice feeling thinking that the direct routing you may have given a certain flight, helped speed the 'bomb' (as quoted in 'remarks') on its merry way towards some innocent child.

I believe the Irish refused passage of the flight through their airspace.

Last edited by Pheasant Plucker; 29th Jul 2006 at 13:58.
Pheasant Plucker is offline  
Old 29th Jul 2006, 12:42
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: South of England
Posts: 1,066
If the press reports are correct - I repeat IF - are not some people at some ATCUs getting a little precious? Part of the job is handling military as well as civil flights - are they going to make some moral crusade out of the purpose behind every military flight? Or is "bringing home our brave boys from Iraq" acceptable, whereas carrying munitions is naughty?
2 sheds is offline  
Old 29th Jul 2006, 13:39
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Jockland
Posts: 70
2 Sheds - no not precious, this is just the gut reaction of myself and others.

From sitting in the restroom one moment, watching reports of what is happening in Lebanon, to then reading the flight plan information; as described, the next, leaves you with an uneasy feeling.

It's true that we do deal with a large number of military flights day in, day out. It is rare however to be faced with the indirect consequences of working one of these flights, especially when these consequences can be so brutal.

Whatever your views on the conflict in Lebanon, it doesn't take a great leap of the imagination to picture where one of these bombs could land up, and thus, not be adversley affected by this.
Pheasant Plucker is offline  
Old 29th Jul 2006, 14:18
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: planet igloo
Posts: 294
Whatever your views on the conflict in Lebanon, it doesn't take a great leap of the imagination to picture where one of these bombs could land up, and thus, not be adversley affected by this.
So I take it you would also feel equally ill at ease should an Iranian aircraft travel through your sector, or come to that..anything from Syria. After all the Israeli's are losing innocent civilians as well. Before anyone tries to flame me..one innocent death on either side is too many. It does however seem rather precious from some of you...given that we never hear any of this in defense of Israel when they lose people

I write this as someone who has been there and seen BOTH sides of it, and knows enough about the region, and its politics to realize that this guilt-ridden hand wringing angst..would'nt amount to a hill of beans if it was your house being flattened by a bomb/rocket from either side
757manipulator is offline  
Old 29th Jul 2006, 14:58
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Jockland
Posts: 70
757manipulator - correct!

I would feel equally ill at ease if the flight was Syrian, Iranian or indeed a Hezbollah holiday charter.

I didn't and won't give my views on the wider issues of the area, and I don't have your first hand experience that comes from having been there. And thankfully, not having had such experience, I haven't become inured to violent actions, therefore I am still able to express shock when confronted with the information that I read.
I will only say that I believe that any violent actions, from which ever party, only inflame a terrible situation even further.

This is not an anti-Israeli rant.

The conflict can only be resolved by dialogue, and any further lives lost; on either side, are just more lives wasted.

My comments and feelings to do with the flight plan 'remarks' relate soley to that and nothing else.

Last edited by Pheasant Plucker; 29th Jul 2006 at 16:08.
Pheasant Plucker is offline  
Old 29th Jul 2006, 17:17
  #16 (permalink)  
Beady Eye
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 1,519
Originally Posted by Pheasant Plucker
My comments and feelings to do with the flight plan 'remarks' relate soley to that and nothing else.
So, bearing in mind that there have been thousands upon thousands of flights over the years into the UK carrying bombs, is it just that you 'knew' what was on that particular aircraft? If you didn't know (as usually these flights are annotated DAC (Dangerous Air Cargo, as are tins of paint!)) then ignorance is bliss and you wouldn't concern yourself?

BD
BDiONU is offline  
Old 29th Jul 2006, 17:55
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Jockland
Posts: 70
BDiONU - To a large extent - Yes.

I am quite aware that bad stuff happens all over the world every day, some of which is done in my name, by my government.

I am also fully aware that the aircraft that I control carry all manner of cargo and people (I am sure that there have been plenty of murderers, rapists and other equally unpleasant characters aboard many of the flights that have passed through my sectors), but you are very rarely confronted so directly with the potential consequences of this.

This is the point that I was making.

What you subsequently do with this information is your business. If you wish to make a strong moral point and refuse to work such traffic good luck to you (and good luck searching for further employment I don't doubt).

Personally, for better or worse, my own line in the moral sand is probably a bit further on and I wouldn't refuse to work such traffic, some of my colleagues obviously feel differently though.

To call this post 'hand wringing' is probably correct, but to casually dismiss the original information without thought, I think, is far worse.

Last edited by Pheasant Plucker; 29th Jul 2006 at 18:47.
Pheasant Plucker is offline  
Old 29th Jul 2006, 19:29
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: -
Posts: 503
Video of latest suspected flights c/o BBC - see other thread below:

http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthr...18#post2746718
rab-k is offline  
Old 29th Jul 2006, 21:07
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Everywhere and nowhere
Posts: 8
Don't know if the said controllers are reputed to be PIK or Atlantic House but either regularly control UK and other national military aircraft including combat and cargo. Most who know PIK will recall the massive US deployments in 1999 for the Kosovo campaign (C5's especially). These a/c were no doubt carrying munitions. Did the controllers think then that the bombs dropped on Kosovo didn't or couldn't kill children or does it depend whose 'side' we are on?

Doesn't anybody remember that rather than defending ourselves from incoming missiles, the UK invaded Iraq, a sovereign country (not a political statement but a legal one!). The logical extension of any 'unease' about handling military munition-bearing flights would be to refuse to deal with any military, including RAF and those training the pilots to drop the bombs (i'm sure the RAF's bombs hurt just as much!).

Let's not get carried away with the C4 News 'Arab good-Israel bad' line.

Anyway, here's a theory...

Why did the US military use civilian cargo flights, routed through civilian airports? They have military airlift capability and military airfields where a zero 'footprint' can be maintained.

Why were the flight plans visible (CFMU etc) and explicit in terms of content (I have seen similar plans and exemptions (not these particular ones) and they are generally vague)?

Why did the route necessitate a fuel stop in PIK? Could they not have routed thru Bangor and direct to Tel Aviv or tech stop in KEF with lower visibility?

Answer:

Either they were simply put out to civilian contractor and none of this was anticipated or

They had every intention of the world knowing what was being supplied and they could rely on the reactionary British Press to do the publicity for them.

If the intention was to send a message, then who to?

Hezbullah....maybe? Israel is hitting their underground bunkers and 'we want you to know that there are plenty where they came from'!

but who else has installations hidden underground?

Iran! Having learned from the Iraq raid in the '80's, their nuclear installations are underground.

Maybe the message is to Iran?; 'we have bombs that can reach you underground and we are giving them to the guys who are prepared and capable of using them'!

I usually assume that these things (the publicity) don't happen by accident.
LeftatRomeoOne is offline  
Old 29th Jul 2006, 21:51
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 3
Safety is an issue

Leaving aside the politics - I think one fundamental aspect is being missed here. Were the flights handled in accordance with the airport's protocols for handling dangerous goods? And just what are those protocols? Should such cargos be parked on a ramp that is in close proximity to a passenger terminal?

Just maybe the concern of the ATCOs is for their PERSONAL safety. Many of them must live fairly close by and they certainly work within what might be regarded as an uncomfortably close distance.

Last edited by OLDBOOT; 29th Jul 2006 at 22:05.
OLDBOOT is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.