Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

Unable to contact ATC over Africa

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

Unable to contact ATC over Africa

Old 3rd Mar 2007, 00:23
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 1,691
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by 411A
Put on more fuel, flight plan for a lower altitude, and let the low fuel guys duke it out for the cruise altitudes desired.
Works for me...
Doesn't work in an airline where you'll be offloading cargo and pax in order to add that extra fuel, just in case you couldn't contact ATC.
Carnage Matey! is offline  
Old 3rd Mar 2007, 09:52
  #22 (permalink)  
Pegase Driver
 
Join Date: May 1997
Location: Europe
Age: 74
Posts: 3,681
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
" Expecting a lot from nothing is generally a frustrating experience.."
(Oscar Wilde I believe )

A bit of ( central ) African ATC explanations for those that still believe there is a " lot" down there. ( These are bits from existing facts , taken from various African countries )

Average salary of a Controller 150 USD / month , with lows a far as 45 USD/month.
Everyone has a second job to pay the bills,.
Often the second job is more important (i.e brings more money)
The only ATC training received is often the initial one, sometimes 30 years ago.
Civil war or political unstability change some priorities in life.(e.g. if someone is shooting with real bullets on your street at night, you might skip going to do the night shift )
Salaries are sometimes not paid for up to 6 months .
Controllers that do complain about either social of technical issues are simply fired.
Technical equipment fails, and there is no spares or no technician to repair it.
When air condition fails, most electronic equipment fails. Sometimes remain inop for years.

I can go on for a page more , but you get the picture.

Now your Airlines pays a lot of $$$ to overfly those countries . Maybe they should put pressure and ask where the money goes. Because it is certainly not going to ATC .
The only things IATA has done visibly so far , was to establish the Broadcast procedure and the lateral offset.
An attempt to cure the symptoms , but leaving the main desease untouched : corruption .

Flying above Africa today , is a bit like buying a diamond : enjoy the magic moment but do not ask too many questions.
ATC Watcher is online now  
Old 3rd Mar 2007, 18:12
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: A few degrees South
Posts: 809
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you cruise that long without comms, surely you had 126,9 in your second box, you must have heard traffic. Did you quiry any broadcasting station if they experienced the same problem? If yes, that would mean a black-out of black africa
latetonite is offline  
Old 3rd Mar 2007, 21:38
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: The West
Posts: 76
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just arrived in Capetown(bit wet & cold) no problems with coms all the way.........
islandhopper is offline  
Old 3rd Mar 2007, 22:06
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Cambridge
Posts: 78
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nicked Antennas

It's not just in Africa that antennas get nicked. When I was a junior engineer working for Decca many years ago I rolled up at our development DVOR transmitter at Biggin one morning to find it shut down. Some cretin had shinned up the mast for the nearfield monitor anntena, hacksawed through the U bolts and made off with the antenna and about 20 metres of cable. Luckily it wasn't the official transmitter for the field. The same mast held one end of a back up NDB antenna which has this been running and they grabbed hold of it would have given them something to remember.
lowlypax is offline  
Old 4th Mar 2007, 14:17
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: North Wales
Posts: 330
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I hate to confirm a stereotype, but it happened to me as well at Liverpool in 1982. Somebody stole the receiving antenna off the roof of a building on the perimeter. It was late at night and quiet. First we knew was Manch on the phone saying that the Air Bridge Merchantman was calling tower and getting no response. He was, by the way, out of sight on the north airport, then still in use for cargo and pax handling.
Atcham Tower is offline  
Old 4th Mar 2007, 14:42
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: It wasn't me, I wasn't there, wrong country ;-)
Age: 78
Posts: 1,757
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
ATC Africa

Many years ago a very good chum of mine, and a Regional (Africa) Lead for the largest BIZAV association (NBAA) was one of my speakers at our NBAA Int'l Operators Conferences. He started by saying

"Ladies and Gentlement, Africa and Air Traffic, it's not all the Dark Continent, we have airways, we have airports, we have navaids, we have radar, we have radio, they may not work, but we have them!.

I have been in and out of the Dark Continent since 1969, and diddly squat has changed, just more folks airborne talking to more folks. Even ASECNA can't seem to get thier act together.

IATA will do nothing. Just look at the mess (bottomless) pit of money that is MMA in DNMM
merlinxx is offline  
Old 4th Mar 2007, 22:53
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: A oneworld lounge near you
Posts: 145
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
on the ground

I was in a tower in a well known oil rich nation in Africa doing an inspection on behalf of a well known airline who wanted an opinion of the airport that they had just started operating to.

I wanted to check the conformance with an Annex 10 requirement for ATC monitoring of the navaids as one part of the inspection. Did they do it? Yes of course, er, well can I hear the tones please. Lots of dust on the switch and in the off position made me suspect that it had not been used for some time.

When the radio gave a great big flash, and the cables caught fire down the main cable duct in the tower, I concluded that sometimes it is best left in the off position.

Not the biggest issue in the inspection, the usual stuff of keeping the bovines off the runway, trying to get the ILS at the right end of the runway in the AIP, requesting that they did not use yesterday's QNH and so on.
discountinvestigator is offline  
Old 5th Mar 2007, 05:58
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: It wasn't me, I wasn't there, wrong country ;-)
Age: 78
Posts: 1,757
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Enjoy

Hope you enjoyed your stay DNMM
merlinxx is offline  
Old 5th Mar 2007, 19:07
  #30 (permalink)  
Sir Osis of the river
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
126.9

On a recent flight "into Africa", I was told by my collegue the captain, that IFBP on 126.9 was quote" for the olden days, before TCAS". (This is a guy who is a Cpt on a long haul scheduled airline.) I mentioned the amount of traffic over HSSS and did the calls myself. ( We listened to and watched on TCAS a near miss that day over Port Sudan.

The moral of the story is don't think that everybody is going to make 126.9 calls, even your five star airlines, and don't trust African controllers.
 
Old 5th Mar 2007, 21:14
  #31 (permalink)  
Pegase Driver
 
Join Date: May 1997
Location: Europe
Age: 74
Posts: 3,681
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I was told by my collegue the captain, that IFBP on 126.9 was quote" for the olden days, before TCAS".
...and you can tell your Capt that he he thinks that TCAS is fool proof he should perhaps read again the manual. A disabled or out of tolerance xponder, (like the many Russians types flying over Africa today often have ) will cancel your protection.
Look at the recent 737NG Collision in Brazil, or the Hawker jet collision last August over California.
The "Good old days" are in fact exactly what you have today over large parts of Africa....
ATC Watcher is online now  
Old 6th Mar 2007, 20:48
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Where the Quaboag River flows, USA
Age: 71
Posts: 3,411
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Last fall, inbound to Brazza, overhead and talking to Kinshasha Control, I counted 8 flights on frequency and nary a TCAS symbol. At FL100 and TCAS looking BELOW! No transponder, no TCAS, and the locals seem not to like transponders. Or cannot get them fixed.

That said, we had no problems with contacting various control agencies, not that it mattered, IMHO.

GF
galaxy flyer is offline  
Old 7th Mar 2007, 11:29
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: uk
Posts: 121
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wink

No ATC over Africa.....And your point is?
screwdriver is offline  
Old 5th Apr 2007, 09:21
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: South Africa
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Afi Rvsm

We certainly know of "agencies" pushing for the introduction of RVSM in this region, however, IFALPA are insisting on the full compliance of ICAO Docs 9574 and 7003 before it will accept this being implemented here. One requirement of "reliable two-way comms" we know will take ages to sort out in this region so I doubt whether we'll see it implemented here too soon.
Billy
Billy Preston is offline  
Old 5th Apr 2007, 12:41
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Far flung shores
Posts: 202
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Always makes me laugh when certain African ATC want to know your aircraft's registration... I suppose that's so that they can send your company the bill for the fine service they've been providing to you ?!
Puritan is offline  
Old 5th Apr 2007, 17:05
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: The Heart of Darkness
Posts: 186
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
1300 miles and lucky enough not to talk to ATC... believe me.. that's as safe as it gets... stay a couple of hundred feet high/low... a mile or two right of tack.. broadcast on 126.9... avoid the build ups... you have TCAS... if ATC start giving you cr#p about what to do...talk to the Russian a/c directly... don't believe anything he tells you... and work around him... welcome to the dark continent...
poorwanderingwun is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2007, 04:12
  #37 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Europe
Posts: 716
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Surprises me that someone would want to solely rely on TCAS or solely rely on ATC, for that matter. Use everything you have - your own common sense, a pair of good ears on the right frequency, tcas and ATC, and most importantly your eyes. Isn't that pretty basic airmanship? No matter how fancy the equipment or stringent the procedures, let's never forget the basics...
bfisk is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2007, 17:20
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Kyalami
Posts: 33
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Situational awareness over Africa (while in cruise) is something that dog-tired crew sometimes let slip. ATC will be of little assistance at the best of times, and will have NO idea if anything non-standard occurs as the language barrier is huge. We all duck around weather without (sometimes) even informing the irritation on HF that we loosely refer to as ATC, and thus have to have a firm picture of weather, traffic, adjacent airways, terrain etc.

We frequently end up talking to no-one except ourselves, and as Billy says, thank goodness for the requirements for the introduction of RVSM...

Review collision avoidance procedures in the IFBP area as detailed in the Jepp text pages (different to that detailed for oceanic areas), drink lots of coffee and make the 126.9 events part of the crew's IFE. Play a game called "I know who's lights those are that's approaching" as opposed to "who the hell is that?"
Alternate Law is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2007, 19:11
  #39 (permalink)  
Per Ardua ad Astraeus
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 18,579
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
...............and then you get the French speaker who communicates in French to ATC and does not broadcast on 126.90

Where do they find these people?
BOAC is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2007, 19:20
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Surrounding the localizer
Posts: 2,200
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 1 Post
Where do they find these people?
I used to find them getting radar vectored infront onto a 6 mile final at CDG.... infront of us
haughtney1 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.