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Barcelona Runway TO/Ground Close call

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Barcelona Runway TO/Ground Close call

Old 1st Feb 2007, 23:54
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Barcelona Runway TO/Ground Close call

Anyone know more about an incident two days ago in Barcelona on the morning of the 31st Jan.

A Clickair 320 cleared for Take Off and a Vueling 320 cleared to cross 25 R.
Apparently a close call.
With the Vueling slamming on the brakes avoiding collision with the Clickair!

There seems to be a lot of Errors by the Barcelona controllers.
We all make Errors and are human but what concerns me is that ATC is not admitting they making this many in Barcelona. The Error management.

Barcelona is not alone, of course.

A lot to be said for the " Clear left and right calls".
ATC will have to improve as they expand. It is a training location for ATC but..
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Old 2nd Feb 2007, 09:52
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Although I haven't heard about the incident you mention, I must say I fully agree with your comments regarding Barcelona ATC.

A high increase in traffic with such a poor quality ATC should raise some flags. Both Barcelona and Madrid are time bombs unless a corrective action is taken immediately. This is a view shared by many colleagues, from different outfits.

So a word of caution, guys. Be extremely careful in those places, an do report your incidents. A crash waiting for a chance. Hope time proves me wrong, but not very sure about it.
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Old 2nd Feb 2007, 10:09
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I've always found it alarming that ATC frequently speak in Spanish and issue clearances in it. Much like France and Italy except of course they don't do it in Spanish.

It really cuts down on SA especially in LVPs. Why have the regulators allowed it to continue after bitter and tragic experience with ground collisions.
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Old 2nd Feb 2007, 10:24
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I whole heartedly agree Barcelona is the next big European Accident scene. I was nearly involved in an accident there last year almost got landed on by a TU154 on taxiway S. The SA of the controllers is not helped by their poor qaulity English combined with their insistence on speaking Spanish to spanish carriers even if the crew is not Spanish. Its high time that IALPA declared Barcelona and Madrid as black star airspace!
I'm sure glad I do not operate in there as often as I used to!

It would help the situation as well if they did not give such obvious preferance to Iberia and other Spanish carriers!
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Old 2nd Feb 2007, 10:32
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I whole heartedly agree Barcelona is the next big European Accident scene.

Yes, that's what I think too.

Last year I was three times subject of poor separation on approach. No speed control by ATC at all! One ended in a go-around.

ATC is very strange there, sorry girls/guys.
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Old 2nd Feb 2007, 11:35
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I have to operate into both these places at least once a week and the ATC is shocking. I agree, it would not suprise me if the next big one in Europe will probably be Madrid or Barcelona!
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Old 2nd Feb 2007, 16:40
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European ATC

I totally agree with you guys.

Are there any ATC types out there who could these guys in Barcelona.

It seems as though there's some serious ATC training issues. As the standards seem different to say Amsterdam.

Perhaps there are some cross cultural issues with AENA ( Spanish airports )
related to Spanish pride and unions.

On the good side, Spanish controllers are easy going, adaptable and not vindictive when you make an error.

We are in the EU but not it seems with ATC. This is why you never a British, German or Dutch voice in Spain and visa versa.

Has it got to the point where National pride and the Unions are interfering with safety ?
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Old 2nd Feb 2007, 18:47
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Mach Trim,

I don't have the answers to all your questions, but I'm sure some Spanish cultural traits do play a role here.

OK, Barcelona ATC may be just a huge training facility for ATCOs. Problem is, judging by their poor standards, what's the level of the trainers themselves? Blind leading the blind? And while they are at it, we play for real, real planes, live pax.

And likewise for Madrid, very complex airspace and procedures, poor level of English, non adherence to ICAO phraseology standards, simultaneous use of Spanish and English and often appalling ATC standards they all combine to make those places downright dangerous.

TCAS is my most important instrument in those places and so I brief my F/Os.
About time the regulators, IFALPA and the airline associations took action. Before someone (maybe one of us) gets killed.

Last edited by TE RANGI; 2nd Feb 2007 at 19:04.
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Old 2nd Feb 2007, 20:16
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Question

I'm only SLF but some of the comments above really worry me, as a pax.
If the next "big one" is in Barcelona, or Madrid, then any journo reading this thread will have a field day.
"Pilots knew of ATC errors" and "Pilots too scared to speak out, months/years before accident" You can just see the headlines.
Hasn't anybody flagged this up the chain? ( If indeed there is a chain? )
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Old 2nd Feb 2007, 22:01
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In relation to the language problems in Spain and other countries around the world.....this situation is presently being addressed by ICAO and the aviation authorities in each ICAO state.

By March of next year, certain standards will have to be met. ICAO has set out six levels of proficiency and both pilots and ATCOs will need to reach Level 4 in a number of different areas.

There is a big drive on at the moment to help airlines and authorities to bring their employees up to standard. I am not sure yet what not reaching the required standard on time will mean though.

For now, I'm just concentrating on teaching pilots and some ATCOs......


(Jerricho.....I'll be able to fit you in soon!)
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Old 2nd Feb 2007, 22:19
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I am based in barcelona and you are right about ATC, poor preparation, controllers union is a real mafia, AENA is a disaster, CAA donīt care about safety only about airports with many stores so pax can spend there money. We are tired about incompetence on Spain ATC and CAA. I can tell you hundreds of stories about Spain, but lately this is a disaster.
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Old 2nd Feb 2007, 22:30
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Folks,

I'm flying into Barcelona later this year with my young son and you've worried me. Surely as a group you can express your concerns to the authorities? With so many of you expressing concern this is ridiculous. After all, as I've read here before, safety costs, but not as much as an accident.

Tim
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Old 2nd Feb 2007, 22:33
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Is it only Madrid and Barcelona that give you guys the willies ?
How do the really bust holiday places like Alicante and Malaga rate.
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Old 2nd Feb 2007, 22:37
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Sorry
Should have been "really busy airports", not really bust
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Old 2nd Feb 2007, 22:51
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Although Malaga and Alicante present issue's with ATC both are single runway airfields and are less complex. Personaly I enjoy flying into them.

On good weather days I enjoy Barcelona and Madrid too as I can see whats going on around me. In poor weather it is a concern as its complex airspace and half the transmissions are in spanish. Barcelona is worse from my point of view as at Madrid I don't have to cross an active runway during taxi. Now they've switched to the inboard at Barcelona on most occasions things are a touch better there.

Tim we have raised it on many occasions. The regualtors are well aware of the crews views. I guess there are a few too many vested interests in the corporate world and in government. I am gobsmacked that after so many major incidents that speaking anything other than english is still allowed.

Good news what Farrell says though, I hadn't heard about that. As he points out though, what will happen if they don't come up to scratch.
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Old 3rd Feb 2007, 00:05
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By March of next year, certain standards will have to be met. ICAO has set out six levels of proficiency and both pilots and ATCOs will need to reach Level 4 in a number of different areas.
Not sure that'll help. Doesn't matter how good the level of english is if the controller chooses to speak to local pilots in the national language.
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Old 3rd Feb 2007, 09:46
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Exclamation Close Call

I am the Capt. of the Vueling flight in question. Since having started with Vueling I have had an almost daily "situation" with ATC in Madrid and Barcelona. Non standard phraseology is the norm and the insistence on many controllers to speak Spanish causes a loss of situational awareness. The fact that both myself and the F/O were fresh in on our shift, vigilant in our cross checks and extra careful when operating in LEBL meant that despite having an awkward viewing angle from taxiway "D" across R20, and being on Ground Frequency, we had enough time to stop before Click could have potentially hit us.

My initial feeling about this situation was, "oh, good grief not another unprofessional situation where pilots have to cover for poor ATC performance". I see no benefit in over analysing this matter. A revamp of the entire system is needed here and this matter should serve as a BIG wakeup call. I bear no malice nor harbor ill will to any one at ATC in Barcelona and only want a lesson to be learned here before another Tenerife type of disaster occurs.

Lets all keep the vigilence going and our heads up. I hope that once the investigation is done we will all see and benefit from a more professional approach to aviation in this part of the world.

Flytelaws
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Old 3rd Feb 2007, 10:04
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The problem with not speaking Spanish is that I often do not know when the controller and whoever they are speaking to, have finished their conversation. It must get quite irritating when I cut in on top of them. Should I learn Spanish?

I also find it quite useful on occasions with lengthy delays (Madrid in snow for example), to get a Spanish speaking member of the crew to listen on the P3 headset to exactly what is going on and who is getting what. It is always a revelation. Maybe it's me, but I think if you speak the lingo, you might be at a commercial advantage.

Safe flying everyone....
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Old 3rd Feb 2007, 10:45
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From reading this thread it would seem that there is geniune concern over the saftey of this airport / ATC in much the same way as there were concerns over the runway in Bristol. Why don't you vote with your feet / wings and boycot this airport until your concerns are addressed?
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Old 3rd Feb 2007, 10:49
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I am no apologist for spanish controlers, far from it, however it has to be said that Spanish is an ICAO aproved language and as such both pilots and controlers are perfectly entitled to use it. You may not like it but that is the way it is, you can lobby to have the rules changed. The rules are that if either party changes to english the other must also respond in english.

The language issue, that has been debated here soooo many times, I think is quite separate from poor discipline.
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