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The term "Souls on board"

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The term "Souls on board"

Old 27th Jan 2009, 18:39
  #21 (permalink)  
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As the Information Assistant at Shawbury, I once asked the pilot of a Hercules what his pob was; to be told "11 plus an orangutan". I was dying to ask if he always called the loadie that....!

The Hercules was transporting the orangutan from Dudley Zoo to Jersey Zoo.
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Old 27th Jan 2009, 20:58
  #22 (permalink)  
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"Roots Radical": "Unfortunately I've heard the term souls and persons used together.
An RAF Herc was repatriating the bodies of a downed RN Heli, I asked for his POB and he replied " 7 persons, 11 souls"

Excactly! I also heard it at Kabul. For the firemen to sort out the bits after a crash. Grim - but practical!
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Old 27th Jan 2009, 21:43
  #23 (permalink)  
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In the situation you quote (smoke in cockpit), unfortunately POB is something the Airport Fire Service do need to know, and it might literally be a matter of life and death. There have been too many tragic accidents over the years, when the aircraft has landed and stopped intact, yet people have died in the ensuing/continuing fire. As much as we all hope it never happens again, the AFS have to know how many they're looking for if they have to go in.
I've yet to work at an airport when I could be confident that the handling company could be contacted and give me, within a couple of minutes, the exact and final POB figure.
I know nothing of the DUB incident, but strongly doubt the controller was either trying to p*** the crew off or make idle conversation!
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Old 27th Jan 2009, 22:00
  #24 (permalink)  
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I know nothing of the DUB incident, but strongly doubt the controller was either trying to p*** the crew off or make idle conversation!

Of course he wasn't, I never meant that he was. It was just this incident that got me wondering how can it be that in such a professional field like aviation, where every i has to be dotted and every t crossed, an ambiguous term like soul can make it in there as an industry-wide term, when its only real meaning takes its origins from religion......which we all know is THE root of all confusion in the world! why even the replies to this thread can't agree on when its meaning and when/if it should be used.....7 persons/11 souls on board....wtf does that mean???! The flightplan form only has a space for POB...why not SOB then too?
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Old 27th Jan 2009, 22:35
  #25 (permalink)  
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If you carefully read the replies, you wouldn't have made your last post

Last edited by Rule3; 27th Jan 2009 at 22:37. Reason: Mistake
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Old 28th Jan 2009, 09:52
  #26 (permalink)  
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I'm surprised nobody's mentioned the old joke:
Q:How many souls on board?
A:None, we're atheists!
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Old 28th Jan 2009, 19:14
  #27 (permalink)  
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Don"t like it either!I"d rather say Persons on Board."Souls"sounds like everyone "s gonna be dead in a moment.
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Old 30th Jan 2009, 21:20
  #28 (permalink)  
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Otto Nove Due

For an aircraft that has a deceased person in the hold being repatriated, then Souls on Board will differ to Persons on Board.

The deceased is still a person but one could argue that their soul has departed. So in this case, Souls on Board is the correct term since if the correct Persons on Board figure was given, then the fire and rescue crew would be waiting a very long time at the bottom of the slide for the last 'Pax' to be accounted for!

Its a simple and long standing tradition and one that was drummed into me during my early PPL days.
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Old 31st Jan 2009, 11:01
  #29 (permalink)  
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I believe it's the reason that a NOTOC has to declare HUM (Human remains) on it. That said, I've known of people put ashes down as HUM. Would take a quick skipper to spot that one !!!

Not actually sure what ICAO have to say on that one.
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Old 31st Jan 2009, 21:47
  #30 (permalink)  
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Otto - I'm with you. It's a load of crap. This thread proves that there is confusion over whether it includes corpses. And just from a personal point of view the use of the word annoys me a bit - me and my main man Richard Dawkins think is sucks.
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Old 1st Feb 2009, 08:09
  #31 (permalink)  
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Many moons ago, I had an pilot report that his aircraft had "120+1+1 POB", I subsequently asked the Fire Section to explain. The immediate reply was "120 people plus one infant plus one corpse". Having said that, I've never seen the breakdown of POB in the manuals.

I always understood SOB to be an Americanism.
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Old 2nd Feb 2009, 21:28
  #32 (permalink)  
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How about "15 POB and 1 coffin". Would that not make it easier for everyone to understand?
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Old 3rd Feb 2009, 05:46
  #33 (permalink)  
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I understood "Souls onboard" to originally have come from seagoing... e.g. "Sunk all souls lost"... OK, its use today may have some religious overtones(?) but cannot see why this fuss about terminology.

The issues around asking for POB (or souls) are equally diverse. I was told under training that it was so the Crash Teams knew how many to rescue... going back into the blazing inferno etc. Logical, except if you've ever witnessed a crash, tell me if the passengers stand around waiting to be counted... I don't think so? If POB is more than twenty the chances of this working IMHO are slim.

HOWEVER... there is a very sad story of a Dutch military transport catching fire. There was confusion over the numbers onboard and it was assumed to be carrying cargo so no efforts were made to check the back of the aircraft until it was too late and the large number of passengers - who might have been rescued - perished (there's another word to debate if you like?) SO... whether you ask for POB, Souls, check with the Operator... I guess its always going to be better to have that information than not... it might save someone's life. (and to my mind asking the pilot is he best option... OK (s)he might be busy, but the lives of their passengers are THEIR responsibility so I wouldn't expect a professional to mind that question)
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Old 3rd Feb 2009, 08:00
  #34 (permalink)  
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Just another twist

PAX on Board or Persons on Board??

Always prefered Souls on Board

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Old 3rd Feb 2009, 08:14
  #35 (permalink)  
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Correct. All flights carrying deceased NEED to record and pass persons and souls; the reason being, if you stack it off the end of the runway and the fire trucks come to cut you out, its only fair to them to pass the number of living souls on the aircraft. No point of them entering a burning aircraft if the only people on the aircraft were dead when the frame rolled.
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Old 3rd Feb 2009, 08:54
  #36 (permalink)  
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IMHO Vin Rouge has got it right, as has Roots radical.

If the AFS needs to enter an aircraft to rescue people, they will do so until impractical, often risking their own lives. Obviously if they know there are 3 living people on board and 2 dead bodies, they will stop putting their lives at risk once they have the 3 living people rescued!


POB is Persons, not PAX - there are many aircraft round that do not carry pax!
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Old 3rd Feb 2009, 16:34
  #37 (permalink)  
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by all means let's tie up frequencies with

"well there's 15 pax, 5 crew, 1 monkey, a corpse oh....and 3 atheists"

sob so much easier and quicker even if a bit morbid
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Old 3rd Feb 2009, 21:22
  #38 (permalink)  
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If atheists don't believe in God, why should they think they have a soul. Don't agree with you at all. The crash crews go into the wreckage to try and rescue the number of living people that were reported to be on the ac. Would you risk your life to save to save a bird or pull a coffin from the crash site when there are higher priorities. P(persons not PAX)OB is the proper way to descibe the number of people that is aboard the ac.
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Old 3rd Feb 2009, 21:34
  #39 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Pierre Argh
and to my mind asking the pilot is he best option... OK (s)he might be busy, but the lives of their passengers are THEIR responsibility so I wouldn't expect a professional to mind that question
Old 4th Feb 2009, 14:50
  #40 (permalink)  
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This is what can happen when there is confusion regarding the number of persons on board:

SUMMARY of the reports compiled after the air crash involving the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, registration number CH-06 at Eindhoven Air Base on 15 July 1996
(The Hague, 25 September 1996)

NBDC - Summary of the Hercules Crash
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