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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, 22:41
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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My point always has been and always will be that pilots do not have to consult with ATC immediately after an emergency occurs, I think we all agree on that.

I was bewildered when a trainee that had came through the modular route last year in the sim thought he can't do any flying in an emergency until he got ATC's permission. I threw the biggest manual I could find in the bloody building at him!!
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Old 9th May 2010, 23:32
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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Regs state that pilots may deviate from any rule to the “extent required” to meet that emergency!
And while operating the aircraft the PIC and not the controller gets to determine to what degree they are going to deviate. Not to say there isn't going to be a day of reckoning for the PIC, but that happens after the fact.
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Old 10th May 2010, 06:27
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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West Coast and SHG,

I (and I would like to hope all of my fellow controllers!) realise that you are ultimately responsible for the safety of your aircraft. To me, that means at any time, you can choose to disobey us (not just an emergency) but you had better had a damned good reason for doing so!

The thing that is getting most of us controllers 'uppity' about this is that the pilot sprouts off about declaring an emergency three times, tells the controller to move all other traffic for him, etc. but does not take 5 seconds to add that in addition to the excessive cross-wind on 22, they are also in a fuel emergency. If, when the tower controller initially told him to maintain runway heading, the pilot had responded with something like 'we need to turn now as we are minimum fuel/fuel emergency/whatever you want to call it', (while the book may call for the word perfect PAN or MAYDAY, let's be realistic about the workload facing the crew!) the controller would have gotten the FULL picture and probably been able to do something about it right away. By not having that full picture, the controller thought there was more time available to sort things out than there was.

By all means, do whatever you need to to keep your @rse safe but while under control, instead of demanding the same thing three times, make sure we have the full picture and then we will be able to get the situation resolved in a much safer manner.
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Old 10th May 2010, 07:11
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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the other point of view.....

ATC welcomes visits from Pilots, in my experience. Although they may be safe in their bunkers, I think controllers have a more uncomfortable seat than the pilot! (quoting PUSHING TIN, you do everything right for twenty years, one little mid-air and they never let you forget it.....!)

Pilots should as part of the basic training in airmanship, VISIT controllers, both enroute and tower, if only to appreciate that they are human beings too, not the voice of a deity above you.....

As I mentioned in my post over on the other thread, when the controller asked me to descend approaching Tallahassee, I declined, as if I was going to run out of fuel I preferred maximum possible height for the final glide.....! Having met and talked to real live controllers face to face, one feels a lot happier about their help in time of need.

New York controllers are famous for their sang froid, skill and expedition.
Dealing with that particular airspace, they've got to be good! Nevertheless it does seem that they should be able to change runways on their own, without consulting management......
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Old 10th May 2010, 12:06
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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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.
True. Using the same logic, the pilot(s) have little or no idea what is going on OUTSIDE their cockpit. ATC's priority is to keep the emergency acft and every other acft in the airspace safe.

Recent example in my neck of the woods demonstrated how far from reality the pilot's version of events can actually be:

Acft RTB with a PAN. Once back on the ground he emailed his boss (who emailed mine, who emailed me) saying he was not at all happy with ATC's handling of his emergency, for the following reasons:

1) He said he was "vectored all over the sky for separation" (untrue, and yes, tapes confirm, he was vectored twice, both in response to his request for a "SW heading" and then an "E heading to remain close to the airfield" - never for separation, which was applied vertically at this stage).

2) He said he was delayed on descent. (He was given intial descent to F130 (from F200) with a MED 1 acft passing beneath at F110 - the A020 ft was used because the pilot was cleared to dump fuel and had not advised fuel dump complete and A020 is required for the vapour zone. The pilot called visual with the MED 1 acft and was told "further descent available in 2 mins due fuel dump". He then advised that he had "delayed" the fuel dump and was given further descent).

3) He said he was never given an area of ops and a block level clearance for him to trouble shoot. (Wrong again, once clear of other traffic he was issued "operate within 20nm radius of xxxx block A050-A100). He then asked for a futher heading (NE this time) and the controller confirmed "heading available if required, but you are cleared to manouvre as required within 20nm of xxxx")

4) He said he had to ask for another acft to be vectored out of his way when he decided to do a dirty dart on to final. (Wrong again, he reported sighting the other acft and asked for a VSA in front, which he was given, the other acft was then broken off the ILS and vectored back out to the north - not required for separation purposes, but better for sequencing).

At the time of the emergency, including the MED 1 acft, there were 12 other acft within 20nm, of these a further 3 were either in conflict, or heading towards conflict with the emergency acft (vertical solved this initially) and the controller had to get them out of the way as well as process the remainder of the traffic on frequency.

I have a great deal of sympathy for the cockpit workload of a pilot trying to troubleshoot several different warnings/alerts, however, I can not make all the other acft simply disappear immediately from your preferred area of ops.

Have to say my smpathy waned somewhat after both reading the initial email (which was rather nasty in tone) and then the deafening silence which followed after we sent them the transcript of what really happened along with an invitation to come over and review the tapes...

But the real eye-opener, to me, was that the pilot's perception of what actually occurred could be so far removed from reality and that he seemed to suggest that ATC deliberately "stuffed him around"?!!!

The sky is not so big in TMA....
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Old 10th May 2010, 12:48
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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More controllers should visit cockpits on black hairy congested nights as part of their training (not the morning jam runs).

As for barging through airspace with other aircraft in it, I know it's difficult for the scope dopes to get a grip on this, but aircraft still have windows.....

dohnut
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Old 10th May 2010, 13:07
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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More controllers should visit cockpits on black hairy congested nights as part of their training (not the morning jam runs).

As for barging through airspace with other aircraft in it, I know it's difficult for the scope dopes to get a grip on this, but aircraft still have windows.....

dohnut
Ah, but my "scope" works in full IMC - how about those windows?

As for your first, I've been lucky enough to have done jump seat rides (pre 9/11 when all it required was a request and ATC ID) in very interesting conditions, heavy icing, landing during thunderstorms with reported windshear, vis at minimas etc..

Also lucky enough to score a back seat ride in an F18 - 45 mins of aeros, went supersonic, pulled 7.3G in the climb out - awesome. At the end I watched the pilot stride off to brief for his next sortie while I staggered to my car and sat there for 20 mins trying to get the "jelly" out of my limbs!!!

So I have tremendous respect for cockpit workload, and the mental and physical stressors that pilots handle so well. But I have yet to meet the pilot whose SA can compete with that provided by radar.

Cockpit field of vision is limited (how's your rear-view mirror working for you?) and, particularly in an emergency situation, I expect the pilot will be mostly focussed on his own issues rather than trying to keep track of all the other traffic in the zone/sector. Hence, my job.

You can help me out by clearly stating your intentions/requests/requirements and updating your situation when able, I will help you out by affording appropriate priority (yours may not be the only emergency in progress) and facilitating those intentions/requests/requirements whilst also keeping you away from other airborne metal objects and terrain..... you're welcome.
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Old 10th May 2010, 13:21
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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Rokape

More controllers should visit cockpits on black hairy congested nights as part of their training (not the morning jam runs).
I fully agree - however, in the current political climate, this is much easier said than done. Like RAAFASA, I have often jump seated, whenever available, be it as slf or on training/mail flights/sim checks and always find it fruitful.

In the same vane, I believe it should be compulsory for CPL holders to visit a busy ATC unit on occasion - again not during the regular lulls in traffic but when it's busy. I believe that this would be a huge eye-opener for many. Going by your monotonously regular derogatory comments, I assume that you are one of those that considers this completely unnecessary, as you appear to know it all already!
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Old 10th May 2010, 13:53
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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Have had a fascinating tour around ATC bunkers and shared a pint with a few afterwards! It is more than ridiculous that it isn't as easy as it should be for ATCO's to sit in my jumpseat for a few flights .... I'd have every bloody ATCO flying with me at least once if I could...!

On the little occassions I've been lucky enough to have an ATCO in the cockpit, they often have fascinating stories to tell and can have a laugh (best of all they know when it's time to shut up!)
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Old 10th May 2010, 15:21
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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I fully agree that pilots should visit an ACC at a busy time to see what the other half have to do. Equally, surely it should still be possible to arrange for ATCOs to ride on the jump seat to see what the pilots do. Back in the 1990s BA had a programme with NATS for doing exactly that. I have long since retired, but surely even after 9/11 it must be possible for the powers that be to arrange an official programme. Too many commonsense things like this have been sacrificed in the name of security.
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Old 10th May 2010, 15:23
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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Just my 2 cents as a New York based pilot:

1. In the US, under FAA regs, the declaration of an emergency does NOT require use of "Mayday", i.e. it is a non-ICAO standard, in fact it's discouraged (obviously doesn't apply to non-US pilots who must comply with their own ICAO-compliant standards). We are required to state "declaring an emergency" and that's it. (Of course for international destinations we must comply with the ICAO standard etc etc, we're talking here about a US airline in the US).

2. Also under US regs you may declare "Min fuel" as a heads up to ATC that any "undue delay" will result in a fuel emergency, frequently used in New York airspace. It is a non-emergency call and one still typically follows the flow of aircraft to the airport. It would be a surprise for a US controller to suddenly receive a fuel emergency from a US airline without first receiving the "min fuel" call. (that's in defence of the controller)

3. However, the controller was told that they would declare an emerg. if they didn't get the required runway. To me that sounds like a sort of "min fuel" call. The controller's mistake, in my view, was to say that he would "pass on the request" or something to that effect, that showed an undue concern that would have transmitted to the pilots that they were about to get sent out 50 miles to join the end of the line. Under those circumstances the pilots subsequent emergency call seems not only reasonable but required.

4. After receiving the emergency call, rather than ask what they intended, the controller's reaction was to issue an instruction (runway heading for the moment), this would have transmitted to the crew that "this guy just doesn't get it". If they have an emergency that absolutely allowed them to tell the controller what they were doing and it was the controllers job to get traffic out of their way.

5. I have had to go-around in New York and immediately declare min fuel, the controllers reaction was to FIRST say, "Ok, I'll get you right back in after the three on final, turn to XXX heading ...". That reassured me that this controller "gets it" and wont force me to declare an emergency. If the controller had said "I'll pass that on blah blah .." I would have done precisely what this crew did. All pilots think of Avianca Flight 52 when put in this situation, the pilots were not clear or decisive and let themselves get intimidated by the NY controllers, it got them killed along with scores of passengers.

6. I would say that the post-emergency investigatory interview with the pilots would have two questions, 1) were you low on fuel? 2) Why didn't you declare min fuel earlier? If those questions can be answered reasonably their interview would probably be no more than 5 minutes. I'd think the controller will have many more questions to answer.

Last edited by IRISHinUS; 10th May 2010 at 16:13.
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Old 10th May 2010, 18:13
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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B1

Fam flights are slowly creeping back into the system - however, the logistics of arranging one are often near impossible.

At my location, the sectors that are "available" are very often used for training flights - when that doesn't happen fam flights are still often refused because "the captain does not want a controler n the cockpit". I kid you not.

It really can be mission impossible, especially for some nationalities that often require visas but still do not know 3 days before "flight" if they will be going.
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Old 11th May 2010, 06:15
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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Guy D'a

I am glad to hear that fam flights are creeping back in again. However, I would like someone to take some positive action to re-instate them and make the system work. It always greatly saddened me the way people sat in their various boxes without trying to understand the complexities of the whole system and the problems other people had to face.

I used to spend some time at West Drayton in the old days seeing what the approach controllers had to do. And I used to take some of them on the simulator to see what we did. Only good came out of it. We really do need to know much more about how to help each other.

Is there anyone in authority who reads these posts who can do something about it?
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Old 11th May 2010, 08:07
  #54 (permalink)  
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I think maybe its time for USA to follow ICAO rules and recommendations...

Then the pilot would (should) have used the terms MAYDAY in the emergency call...

The pilot should have had enough fuel to make it to its alternate aerodrome plus a missed approach at alternate (what are the FAA requirements?)

From an ICAO perspective, the pilots decided to continue without following ATC instructions (which is all good and well if he was in dire need and the plane was in critical danger if he followed ATC instructions - but this doesnt seem the case?), so how low on fuel was he?

I think the biggest concern is not pilot vs ATC, but FAA vs ICAO.
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Old 11th May 2010, 09:31
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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Just my 2 cents as a New York based pilot:
Nice job.

3. To me that sounds like a sort of "min fuel" call.
Ah... the post modern emergency call. This pilot did a lot of talking but not much communicating.

4. After receiving the emergency call, rather than ask what they intended, the controller's reaction was to issue an instruction
He issued the only thing he could without coordinating with the APR controller. It was after all just a go around due crosswind.

this would have transmitted to the crew that "this guy just doesn't get it".
Of course he didn't get it. They didn't communicate.

If they have an emergency that absolutely allowed them to tell the controller what they were doing and it was the controllers job to get traffic out of their way.
Which is exactly what he did once he realised what the aircraft was doing... (whatever they wanted regardless of the consequences)

5.
I have had to go-around in New York and immediately declare min fuel
You got a prompt response because you communicated with the controller.

I'd think the controller will have many more questions to answer.
I really don't know how you would come to that conclusion. Are they training controllers in mind reading now!

Despite my responses I enjoyed reading a post from your perspective but this controller should get a medal not a tea and biscuits meeting.

If correct communication had happened the aircraft would have got what they needed and we wouldn't be having this discussion.
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Old 11th May 2010, 09:57
  #56 (permalink)  
 
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Ah, but my "scope" works in full IMC - how about those windows?
RAAFASA touché sir! Valid points taken.

Was it IMC? Bless TCAS, PFD/ND's and two pilots in the cockpit to manage workloads....

Many pilots operate in congested airspace minus RADAR and the services of any form of ATC.
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Old 11th May 2010, 15:18
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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Actually, RAAFASA, I do have a rear view mirror!

And have to operate in very congested airspace without the benefit of ATC, and have to lift my wing to have a look before turning......

BUT became convinced of the merit of radio after the glider behind me once advised that I was in conflict with oncoming traffic.......

Right of way? don't count on it! We all have to look out for each other ....every little helps!
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Old 13th May 2010, 05:47
  #58 (permalink)  
 
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Well isn't this an interesting discussion...

OK, I've checked my FOM for the 757/762/763 and the max crosswind speeds are 30/29/33kts respectively with a max tailwind of 10kts for all a/c. If the winds were 320/23G35, that would have exceeded the aircraft's max crosswind/tailwind component. The pilot would have needed 31R, but what is unclear to me is why the pilot felt he needed to threaten the controller with an emergency if he didn't get 31R? From the ATC tapes I've heard, we don't know if there was previous discussion between AA2 and ZNY approach or the tower about the winds and conditions for 22L or if there was a fuel emergency involved. If there was a potential fuel emergency involved and it was impossible for the aircraft to make an extended orbit, then it would have been useful for the pilot to explain that from the start.

However, once the pilot declared an emergency, for whatever reason, he should have been immediately been given immediate priority for 31R. Things got ugly between the pilot and the controller when the controller didn't immediately give AA2 the left turn. The pilot then informed the tower of his intentions (correctly so) and once this was clear to everyone, the controller cleared him for immediate landing on 31R. Once that exchange was complete, the controller was clearly scrambling to get traffic out of the way.

This is a tough call...I believe in this particular situation, there should have been traffic directed to land on 31R or 22L and in situations in which a landing would have exceeded the crosswind limit, the pilot should indicate his intention to go around and request 31R (and get it) based on his judgment of the conditions. While I recognize this would have created a mess at the airport, better that than a situation in which a pilot declares an emergency simply to get the runway he needs to safely land the aircraft.

BTW, in the USA, I do not believe is not necessary for pilots to declare a mayday to declare an emergency. AFAIK,they only need to state that they are declaring an emergency and that places ATC on notice that an emergency exists and that they must act accordingly. We had an incident at KSEA last year in which an Asiana 777 lost an engine on takeoff and only "declared an emergency" as the aircraft was able to fly on one engine and return (three hrs later after dumping fuel).

If a pilot declares a mayday during an emergency - in US airspace, then the aircraft is in an extremely dire situation.

Dave Lamb/speedbird716
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Old 13th May 2010, 06:52
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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Of course, if someone had the foresight to ascertain the forecast/actual winds and aircraft limits thus designating a sensible runway (rather than sticking with a 'temporary' protocol) we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Alternatively, is the current runway designation protocol so backward that there has to be a number of GAs (with the potential for fuel emergencies etc) before management get off their backsides and decide on designating a runway that is far safer? Of course, safety and business priorities often conflict.
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Old 13th May 2010, 23:56
  #60 (permalink)  
 
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declaring an emergency for no apparent or justified reason is opening a can of worms. If there was no reason for this, I sure hope that the cpt in question gets some kind of "reward". If cpt thinks atc has made an error > there is a way to tell it.
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