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AA crew fed up with JFK ATC - declares emergency.

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AA crew fed up with JFK ATC - declares emergency.

Old 9th May 2010, 05:08
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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The pilot must comply with ATC instructions.
Actually no. That is one of the byproducts of declaring an emergency.

The reg's allow me to do as I need. Most of the time during an emergency ATC is one helluva an asset to have. Sometimes it's a detriment and the PIC does what is necessary. He or she will have to answer for it and others will pass judgement (and not the type passed here)

My speakers are deferred right now so I cant listen to the tapes, as such I'm talking in general terms.

While most of the time we're all on the same page of music, there's situations where ATC's priorities and the crews differ.
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Old 9th May 2010, 08:26
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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My 2c, with 20/20 hindsight and with all the stress of driving a laptop, instead of a B767 in what appears to have been a very sticky situation, also having listened to the tape, but without claiming to know the full background on the situation:

1. As has already been mentioned, using the correct phraseology "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday" to declare the emergency would have gotten the immediate attention of the controller and all others on the frequency. It seems to me that the controller did not pick up the full meaning of "OK we've declared an emergency, we're going to land 31 Right."

Stick the magic word repeated three times in instead of "OK we've declared an emergency" and everyone would have been on the same page.

2. After declaring the emergency, the crew could have been a lot clearer regarding their urgent requirement for 31R. Something along the lines of "require runway 31R immediately" might have been better. Also, when given a heading instruction by the controller, a quick "negative, unable" might have been beneficial.

However, having said this, the crew Aviated, Navigated, and got the punters on the ground safely. Having the comms in a pressure cooker situation spot on is just icing on the cake. Good job.
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Old 9th May 2010, 08:48
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Actually no.
Actually YES. If you can't comply then you say so and an alternate clearance will be issued. You are not the only aircraft in the sky and you can't keep your aircraft safe if your actions place it in conflict with other aircraft.

This crews communications skills were lacking. Any of these would have worked.

'we can't accept the crosswind, require runway 31 L'
'mayday mayday mayday, emergency fuel, require 31L'
'unable runway heading, require immediate turn for runway 31L'
'pan pan x3, require 31L due crosswind'

Give ATC half a chance.

Last edited by Pera; 9th May 2010 at 09:02.
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Old 9th May 2010, 11:11
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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This and the similar thread in R&N is very sad indeed and demonstrates a severe breakdown in professional relations between the crew and ATC. I can well imagine a controller issuing an initial instruction to stay on a heading whilst he sorts out the situation; the pilot has no idea what other traffic maybe very close at hand. Unless the aeroplane was on fire or in imminent danger of crashing - neither of which appears to fit this scenario - it is somewhat unorthodox for the pilot to say he is going to so something, or demand another runway at a busy place like JFK. For one thing, he has no idea of what might happening on that runway and could be placing his aircraft in considerable danger.

There are a number of pilots in these threads who I hope never to fly behind. ATCOs and pilots know who is ultimately responsible, just as I am ultimately responsible for the safety of my car and passengers but I don't go barging down the wrong side of a motorway because there's a jam on my side.

I never came across a situation like this in my career and I hope this matter is thoroughly investigated and the crew be required to account fully for their actions.

Last edited by HEATHROW DIRECTOR; 9th May 2010 at 12:23.
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Old 9th May 2010, 12:30
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Sir Herbert wrote: [QUOTEI don't understand these young ones that seem to think absoloutely everything they do in an emergency has to be confirmed by an ATCO before they actually do it][/QUOTE]

I hope the reference to "young ones" was directed at me ...if it was, I wasn't suggesting that everything has to be confirmed by an ATCO...however, self positioning in very busy airspace onto a Runway that isn't in use for landing without giving ATC a chance to sort it out shows a huge lack of Airmanship in my opinion.

Ultimately it's the Captains responsability...yes, it's up to the Captain what he does with his a/c in an Emergency...yes, is it sensible that he should inform ATC of his intentions prior to actioning them...yes.

If he was soooo short of fuel that he couldn't afford to be vectored for 31R shouldn't he have diverted already?!
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Old 9th May 2010, 13:07
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ComJam... take a look at Sir Herbert's profile and you'll realise he isn't worth debating with.
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Old 9th May 2010, 14:48
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ComJam View Post
I hope the reference to "young ones" was directed at me ...if it was, I wasn't suggesting that everything has to be confirmed by an ATCO...however, self positioning in very busy airspace onto a Runway that isn't in use for landing without giving ATC a chance to sort it out shows a huge lack of Airmanship in my opinion.

Ultimately it's the Captains responsability...yes, it's up to the Captain what he does with his a/c in an Emergency...yes, is it sensible that he should inform ATC of his intentions prior to actioning them...yes.

If he was soooo short of fuel that he couldn't afford to be vectored for 31R shouldn't he have diverted already?!
It was not aimed at you, no... I just have a habit of going along a completely different topic with little warning!

HEATHROW DIRECTOR I'm glad you don't consider me being "worth debating". I've just looked at your profile and say this to you: I'm still in the industry and I hope to hell that when I leave I'll be enjoying retirement enough that I don't find it compulsory to log onto bloody PPRuNe to try and keep my neck in! Take your outdated perspective and plotter off to happy retirement.
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Old 9th May 2010, 15:50
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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I think this thread is moving into Ego zones.
I completely agree with Heathrow Director, and the car example he gave explains it perfectly.
In a busy air traffic areas, we do need ATC services not only for your own safety but also for the safety of others.
Come on let's not break the professional relationship between Pilots and ATCO's - it's a very symbiotic relation

Happy landings.
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Old 9th May 2010, 16:56
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Actually YES
Actually no.

My speakers have taken an early retirement so I haven't listened to the communications between American and JFK ATC so I'm not passing any judgement on this situation, speaking in general terms.



Sec. 91.3

Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.

(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.
(b) In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency.
(c) Each pilot in command who deviates from a rule under paragraph (b) of this section shall, upon the request of the Administrator, send a written report of that deviation to the Administrator.
The above is FAR 91.3. It is the regulation I fly under. I would be very surprised if in your country pilots aren't given the same latitude.

The regulations are very clear, I'm provided the latitude to do I as I need to keep the aircraft safe. I may have to answer and receive judgement from others on the ground but I don't need squat from the controller at the moment if the situation is that dire. I don't know if it's an ego thing for the controllers, but that's just the way it is. If time permits I fully acknowledge that working with the controller is in the best interests of all involved and that almost all emergencies allow time to receive "amended clearances", but somewhere someday there's going to be a situation in which the PIC must make an immediate decision.

Yeah, just what I want to do, wait on a congested frequency not able to get a word in, or dealing with a controller who may not fully grasp the magnitude of the emergency, a controller who denies something because of a perceived conflict with traffic, etc, etc as I wait for my "amended" clearance.

I'll amend my own clearance if it's dire enough thank you very much.

You can retort all you want, it won't change the authority I have to do as I need to. Might make you feel better, but that's it.
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Old 9th May 2010, 17:15
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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I'm agreeing here with West Coast - and I hope all others will!
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Old 9th May 2010, 17:39
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Too bad then he haven't used all his authority earlier on...
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Old 9th May 2010, 17:58
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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ATC provides a service from the air-conditioned, dohnut and tea room bunker
I don't know if it's an ego thing for the controllers, but that's just the way it is.
Notwithstanding the fact that a (supposedly) highly qualified pilot is unable to spell the word "doughnut" the above goes a long way in explaining the mindset of the posters (none of whom, I am sure, have ever bothered their ar$es visiting a busy ATC unit to see the chaos they cause).

As long as "sky gods" such as these take to the air in the misplaced belief that they have carte blanche to do as they wish and to hell with everyone else, such incidents will continue unabated.

I have news for you guys - YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY AIRCRAFT IN THE SKY!!!!

When will that ever sink in?

Yes, we all know that you are ultimately responsible for YOUR aircraft - what you fail to understand is that WE are responsible for ALL OF THEM - AND WILL BE HELD TO ACCOUNT FOR IT!! If you have any doubt of that, get off of your sheepskin lined pedestal and have a look around these forums for examples....try starting with a few recent Italian cases.

Every controller that I have ever met will, without exception, do all in their power to aid and assist each and every aircraft under their control - whether it be in normal circumstances or in an emergency. Clearly, any aircraft having declared an emergency WILL have priority.

We are not, however, either mind readers or magicians. If you have not previously indicated a problem and/or actually declared an emergency (hopefully, using the unambiguous phraseology developed for the purpose), it is highly unlikely that the fact will be known outside of your immediate vicinity. (for the septics amongst you, think fart range). As an aviator friend would say -" I may have a pair of balls but neither of them is crystal"!

By all means aviate, navigate, communicate - that's what we would expect - do not, however, assume that all surrounding aircraft can be magically made to disappear with a sweep of the radar to accommodate your whims. Same goes for unilaterally deciding to help yourself to an out-of-use runway. It may or may not be in useable condition, full of vehicles, etc.

For the reasonable amongst you, please do not take this as an out-and-out attack on the piloting community - my wish is to highlight the idiocy of the few, not to alienate those professionals who still understand the meaning of the term "airmanship".

Rant mode off, enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Guy.
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Old 9th May 2010, 18:11
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Not knowing the full story behind this particular instance makes it easy to make false assumptions. in the lead up to this, if the pilots had said to ATC the situation they were in with their fuel (and by that i mean that they didnt just say we're tight on fuel or the usual we need direct stuff we all hear, but in the we have enough fuel for one approach and then we will have to declare an emergency kind of way)then i would hope the controller would then have understood the severity and reacted accordingly.
If, however the first time the pilot had even mentioned emergency is when he actually declared, thats a different story and , completely out of order.
From my point of view, and the rules in the us may differ, once the pilot says we're declaring an emergency, all bets are off. the rule book gets thrown out the window and that aircraft gets to route its most expeditious route to its runway of choice. seperation responsibilities be it 3 miles/5miles etc become less imperative and we should provide all help. we rely on the fact that the captain will not make that call lightly and should not 2nd guess. squawk 7700 so everyone knows and go about your business, coordinating when possible.
If the captain made the call for less than genuine reasons then, in the subsequent investigation he/she should be rightly called on that, and punished accordingly if found guilty of wrong.
some people are saying the pilot should have worked with the controller by just maintaining the heading as asked, but again , he has made the decision to declare. swear under your breath, think that he's being an asshole to yourself, but as they say in the military , honour the threat, and let the investigators seek out the truth afterwards. do all you can to assist and worry about it later.
just my 2 pennies worth
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Old 9th May 2010, 18:31
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Most points are valid, however if the a/c was that low on fuel then an emergency, at the very least a pan call, should have been declared a lot sooner. The pilot stating that they needed 31R or they would declare an emergency is not the same as actually declaring an emergency there and then. I as an ATCO would have probably done the same thing (depending on the traffic situation of course) while co-ordinating with the approach controller. This seems to be a common trait amongst pilots in failing to declare an emergency with the correct phraseology, the most famous being Houston we have a problem.

I can see the point of the pilots, however using ambiguous RT did not help the controller understand the urgency of their situation and maybe a refresher would be in order.

A better call may have been,

May-Day May-Day May-Day (Callsign) unable to accept RWY 22 due crosswind, request immediate vectors for 31R due (insert emergency of choice)

I'm pretty sure that would get the immediate attention and understanding of the controller to which it is directed.
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Old 9th May 2010, 18:42
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Guy


in the misplaced belief that they have carte blanche to do as they wish
It's not a misplaced belief, it's a regulation written about as clear and as unambiguous as anything can be. It's likely written in the blood of pilots and passengers past. Can you offer up any regulation stating or even inferring that I DON'T have the right to do as I need if I invoke my emergency authority and the nature of the emergency requires drastic action?

I trust your rant was cathartic, but it doesn't change that I can do as I see fit if the situation dictates it, clearance, amended clearance or no clearance.

I'm gonna be scared to Sh1te likely from an emergency that dire, also scared that I might prang someone, but sometimes it has to be done. I acknowledge that there are other aircraft out there and I will still exercise due diligence to the degree I can with regard to other aircraft but I sure as hell am not going to let ATC paint me into a corner when I lose a motor on takeoff and need an immediate turn, or when I lose one while at a low CI cruise number at cruise altitude meaning I have to start down NOW because I don't have any excess speed to trade to hold altitude. There are plenty more examples.
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Old 9th May 2010, 18:44
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Guy D - you're spot on there. The only thing I'd add is -

The Captain is untimately responsible for the safety of his a/c and his passengers - granted, and with that in mind: I think he failed to ensure the safety of either by going against ATC instructions.

Other than TCAS, as soon as he decided to manoeuvre away from where ATC needed him to go, he had no way to know if he was going to plough into another a/c.
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Old 9th May 2010, 19:08
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[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.

(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.
(b) In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency.[/FONT]

[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']This regulation does not mean a pilot can blindly career around a controlled area without regard of other aircraft, by definition driving your aircraft up the ass end of another aircraft is unsafe and so your actions would not be covered by the above regulations. Doing what is “safe” and what you “like” are very different scenarios if you can’t differentiate between the two you should not be flying.[/FONT]
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Old 9th May 2010, 19:55
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by emmajoy View Post
[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.

(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.
(b) In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency.[/font]

[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']This regulation does not mean a pilot can blindly career around a controlled area without regard of other aircraft, by definition driving your aircraft up the ass end of another aircraft is unsafe and so your actions would not be covered by the above regulations. Doing what is “safe” and what you “like” are very different scenarios if you can’t differentiate between the two you should not be flying.[/font]
Nobody has suggested - anywhere at all in this thread - that they would "blindly career around a controlled area without regard of other aircraft". You were the first to mention it and so you're ridiculing yourself! Nutter.

What people have said is... IF NEEDED, they would go against an ATCO's instructions to ensure the safety of their flight in an emergency. ATC have no idea what's going on in a cockpit in an emergency situation and it's always our priority to deal with that emergency (by "AVIATING") before we tell them what has happened.
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Old 9th May 2010, 20:21
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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West Coast,

I'm gonna be scared to Sh1te likely from an emergency that dire, also scared that I might prang someone, but sometimes it has to be done.
Please indicate exactly where on the aforementioned tape you noticed any reference to "an emergency that dire". I may only have heard an abridged version - can't be sure - the only problem indicated was a breach of crosswind limits - not, as far as I am aware, a "dire emergency".

I sure as hell am not going to let ATC paint me into a corner when I lose a motor on takeoff and need an immediate turn, or when I lose one while at a low CI cruise number at cruise altitude meaning I have to start down NOW because I don't have any excess speed to trade to hold altitude.
I repeat, each and every controller that I have worked with for the last 20 years would do all they possibly could to help in those situations. I see no indication of such a situation in the tapes provided.

S.H.G.

ATC have no idea what's going on in a cockpit in an emergency situation and it's always our priority to deal with that emergency (by "AVIATING") before we tell them what has happened.
I agree wholeheartedly - however, we cannot provide assistance until a) we know there is a problem and b) we have some indication of what is required. It is in YOUR best interests to let us know ASAP. A lot can be done, but only if/when we know it is necessary.

For the record, most ATC manuals also have a clause stating that controllers can/should do whatever may be deemed necessary in unforeseen circumstances. We can and will do everything possible to help however, I repeat, I have two balls but neither of them are crystal!!!!!
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Old 9th May 2010, 22:35
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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[FONT='Arial','sans-serif']SHG thank you for making my point, contrary to some posters beliefs pilots do not have the authority to do as they like or as needed! Regs state that pilots may deviate from any rule to the “extent required” to meet that emergency! that’s all. “extent required” indicates levels or degrees of action that are logical and within reason. The phrase I can do as ``I need`` is not mentioned in the Regs for a reason, it has no graduating levels and would be abused. Screwing up the JFK traffic pattern because he’s short of fuel indicates poor airmanship, planning and abuse of the Regs, A simple diversion at the correct time would have resolved this issue. [/FONT]
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