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Spanish ATC

Old 20th May 2007, 01:10
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Sorry guy's, I was reading the thread that TE RANGI post #10 reffered to and i was getting a bit pissed off with some of the posts.

Or more with FACTO's response that it is all in our heads that Spanish carriers get a preferential treatment. I do hope he reads this thread also because i have proof that it's not in our head. As most of you probably agree on.

Facto,

I am really sorry but its not all in our head that Spanish carriers get a preferential treatment. And if you don't believe me than please read the following example:

Not so song ago the following happened in Alicante. Two aircraft parked on the ramp, an Iberia and ourselves. We were ready for push and start while the Iberia has its cargo doors open, airbridge attached and no push back truck. We request push and start in English. Controller responds with 'standby' and than starts talking in Spanish to the Iberia aircraft. Asking him how long it will take to be ready for push and start. Iberia responds (in Spanish) that it will take them at least 3 to 5 minutes before ready for push and start. Controller calls us and tells us to hold push and start as the Iberia aircraft is number one for push and start.

Unfortunately for this controller my collegue on the flightdeck does speak Spanish. So he told the controller in Spanish that we were ready for push and start now. The controller than apologised and push/start clearance was given. When we lined up for take-off the Iberia aircraft was still on stand!!

So please don't come on this forum to tell all of us thats it in our heads

Sorry for being off-topic.
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Old 20th May 2007, 09:13
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Angel Plus Ca Change!

About 35 years ago Flight Intl published my letter on this very subject. Since then nothing has changed and nothing will change.

I now anticipate these cockups, listen to other a/c and try to get a mental picture of what is going on and adapt our flying accordingly. Makes me chuckle every time.

Filing reports there or at home does not resolve the issues; it only shows authorities what compliant crews we are.

Soon I shall be retiring there and will be travelling with some of you to and fro. Please remain alert. Thanks in advance.
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Old 20th May 2007, 09:28
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Worth double-checking every descent clearance on the minimum altitude chart while on radar vectors. Been given lower twice in the last 4 months on approach to AGP. They didn't seem to understand why I was not pleased about it either.

P
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Old 20th May 2007, 10:48
  #24 (permalink)  

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How bout those missed approaches?

Reading this thread I was reminded of my experience with Spanish ATC about 6 months ago. Did some trips from Madrid to Tenerife and back. And yes, I agree, the ATC there was pretty poor. And it was downright annoying that most of the time they were speaking in Spanish during busy approach time into the airport.

But the most interesting thing to me was the published missed approach procedures for Madrid. I can't remember the specific one but it was for a landing to the north and I defy any human (non FMS) to actually fly it, LOL.

The taxi routes in Madrid are also a mind twister - maybe I am just getting too old.

Last edited by Flying Guy; 20th May 2007 at 10:49. Reason: spelling
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Old 20th May 2007, 17:28
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Flying Guy:

If you do find any procedures that you feel are un-flyable please report it to air traffic and get your company to report it to Aena, there are some really poor procedures around.


As for Madrid's taxi pattern it's no worse than a lot of major airports, what makes it so much harder is the lack of clear instructions from ATC and the fact that so much of it is done in Spanish.
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Old 20th May 2007, 17:48
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h

Madrids taxiways are in my eyes a big pain.....

Anything else ATC wise ...well everything is there from worse in zaragoza to fantastic in Vigo....

And yes i think its not safe to still speak spanish on the frequency ..specially around big airports like madrid...

Just my opinion .....
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Old 21st May 2007, 01:48
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I have two points to add.

First, at least this proves to the management that pilots still have value

Second, try coming to China.
-One or two RAs per pilot per year is the norm
-90 degree vectors onto final are not uncommon
-Frequent banter in Chinese on 121.5
-Being told to hold short, and watch local aircraft take an intersection departure right in front of you
-being told to hold en-route for 2 hours (ie go back)
-being told to descend to FL157 250 miles from destination
-the controllers only understand standard ICAO words, making non-standard situations impossible to communicate (either way)
-and my favourite, the Korean junior controllers that cannot actually say some numbers

At least we dont get vectored into the mountains anymore.

That's not saying the situation in Spain is acceptable. Its just normal in other parts of the world
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Old 21st May 2007, 07:53
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Spanish conversation always starts with the pilot calling in in Spanish. It is not the controller who selects a language. Once all your pilot collegues had the same awareness as here they would not use Spanish. Start there, too.
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Old 21st May 2007, 07:58
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We all know that ATC in Spain is not the best. However, ATC in Italy is 100 times worst, and the greek one is 100 times worst than the Italian, and so on.

But, I might add that I have had two investigated ASR's down to aircraft separation. One of them made it onto to the local newspaper. The separation between aircraft got to 300' one was descending and my one climbing. Both reports concluded it was down to ATC error. Where did they occur? The light one was between Carlile and Newcastle. The serious one was between Southampton and Compton. Both on UK airspace, in English language and English ATC.

Regarding ATC giving priority to the Spanish airlines well it is true for the most part. Funnilly enough over in Madrid they are pretty good at it. I have seen, quite a few times, Iberia, Spanair and Air Europa holding for me. Nevertheless, in Malaga or Alicante is ussually the opposite. Almeria is a world o their own.
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Old 21st May 2007, 08:03
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Hi there,
being spanish and an atco -but not working in spain, so lower your guns and save some ammo for later- would like to share some with you. The first and I think very important thing to know is that it's not all AENA in Spain -this is so you know where to shoot- as some airports are actually military airfields open to civilian traffic. Now, the guys in green have been getting the same level of frustration as you guys do as they have been saying for a good while things ain't right and nobody seems to listen. Reason being AENA spends good money for their services but, being them low in the ranks, they see none of it -neither training, personnel nor equipment. Also they cannot get union-ised as it is against the spanish constitution and therefore ilegal -because they hold guns they're not allowed any kind of political tools-. So they have very little to do against all of it but to swallow and pray. This, of course, has nothing to do with the major international airports and most of the small ones but there are quite a few who are in this situation. If you need to check you'll know where to look.
I don't know that many atco's from down there myself but the ones I have met try to keep good standards -again I can only take their word-. But as mentioned before the service there may be as good/bad as in many other places around the globe. I am not trying to give anybody any kind of slack here, but quite recently EUROCONTROL published last year's performance report for european ATSP's. Here's an insight on how the study was made and how to better do it in the future -if anybody cares- http://www.eurocontrol.int/care-inno...inalreport.pdf . The report itself http://www.eurocontrol.int/prc/galle...s/PRR_2006.pdf .
Now it doesn't addres specifically any country in regards of safety but it asesses safety as a whole european matter(chapter 3 of the document, page 29 onwards). The only thing it does reflect at a national level is the fact that the legislation is not up to date and neither is the culture but just as many other countries. For those of you who think reporting goes to waste this is the living proof that it does get somewhere -the lack of specifics in the report is intentional in accordance with the just culture philosophy-. In fact the only specific about Spain and or its controllers that I have seen -didn't fully read it though- is the fact that the ratio between controller's salaries and traffic increase is unbalanced -thus affecting route charges. However charges still being lower than other european countries if you look in the bigger scope of things.
Anyway, in short, keep trying, keep reporting and making noise as one report will do nothing but ten or hundred will. And give specifics when you write them so the investigators can track down what's up and try and change it.
Safe flying,
A.
PD: pages 106 and 116 of the report may be of interest also.
Edited to add post data.

Last edited by andrijander; 21st May 2007 at 10:05.
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Old 21st May 2007, 10:48
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A Spanish Civil Aviation Authority "wise man" decided about 3 months ago that the B737-800 and 900 meet the criteria to be treated as a heavy aircraft, and this brand new aircraft classification comes to light . On what scientific test this decision was taken is an information I am waiting to know.
could be some spanish company own decisions and rules that put pressure on the spanish authorities?
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Old 21st May 2007, 11:28
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Spanish conversation always starts with the pilot calling in in Spanish. It is not the controller who selects a language.
That's all very well. Nothing to stop the controller responding in English though!
Take the Netherlands as an example, ATC is of a very high standard, particularly around AMS. If a pilot does make a call in Dutch the response from ATC is always in English. However, we shouldn't single the Spanish out here, the French are bad for it as well.
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Old 21st May 2007, 11:42
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"Spanish conversation always starts with the pilot calling in Spanish. It is not the controller who selects the language".

This is complete rubbish I'm afraid. My last company used to fly subservices for a Spanish airline and we were required to use their callsign.

We always checked in using English but a hell of a lot of controllers always came back with a torrent of Spanish as soon as they heard the callsign.

It took me three attempts one day to get the lady on Ground in Madrid to talk to me in English. I finally got through to her by stating that I was a gringo and would she please use English.

That did the trick!
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Old 21st May 2007, 11:55
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This is complete rubbish I'm afraid. My last company used to fly subservices for a Spanish airline and we were required to use their callsign.
This may be rubbish for the current situation, but what do you think, how long it will last that even the last Spanish controllers would reply in English, if only all Spanish IFR pilots would speak English to them?
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Old 21st May 2007, 13:58
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Quote:
Spanish conversation always starts with the pilot calling in in Spanish. It is not the controller who selects a language.

That's all very well. Nothing to stop the controller responding in English though!


hi all again,

unfortunately I think it doesn't quite work like that. As I understand it -been told, so not 100% on it- if the pilot initiating the call uses spanish the controllers have to reply in spanish. Something to do with their legal rights. The dutch example is good but not legally acceptable as dutch is not ICAO accepted-thus better don't be caught using it or else (fill in with whatever would happen if any). Please remember that it is part of the rules and it is covered and agreed -from that chicago convention back in the day when ICAO itself was born, probably before most of us were born-. You don't like it go ahead but if you want to change it go to ICAO.

Letting aside the language debate (should/shouldn't, is/isn't) please focus in the name of the thread -is it unsafe to fly there or not? Prove when possible, please.
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Old 21st May 2007, 14:27
  #36 (permalink)  
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It's no good whinging and whining here, if you have no confidence in the official regulatory route, do something about it elsewhere.

What does BALPA have to say on the subject?
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Old 21st May 2007, 14:36
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Spanish as a second language

Given that, from your point of view, Spanish ATCs do not speak/understand English very well and therefore you receive the wrong information when flying over Spain, why don't you learn Spanish properly and try to communicate in this language??

It's very easy for you to complain about this but you've never tried to understand the ATC's whose mother tongue is other than English. Have a look at all English tourists who come to Spain to spend their holidays and don't utter a word properly even after having spent spent more than 10 years in this country!!

Come on! I would like to see you working in Spanish or in any other language other than English!! You are the first ones who cannot adapt to an international workplace!

Thank you.
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Old 21st May 2007, 16:31
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Controlador, thank you for your input! To think that the solution was right there in front of us and we just didn't see it! I really look forward to learning Spanish, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Polish, Hungarian,...



P
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Old 21st May 2007, 17:09
  #39 (permalink)  
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Quote from Bomber Harris :

Genuinly nothing personal ATC watcher, but you did make your comment sound like that reporting the problem over pprune to you will have more of an affect to change things, rather than my previous course of action. I know you most likely didn't mean it that way....it's just my cynical mind
Well, sorry to have sounded pedantic to you, no, I certainly did not meant it that way. What I meant, and was afraid of , is excatly what followed : bashing Spanish ATC as a whole, and adding the language issue to it .

Complaining about ATC is a bit like complaining about women : you meet a few bad ones and the whole gender has to pay.

I am also a firm believer , like you it seems, of discussing and arranging things behind the " official " lines or offices . In Latin countries , such as Spain, an extended lunch with someone is certainly far more productive than mailing dozens of " official reports" .

No, PPRuNe will probably not change much, and certainly will not remove the legal requirement to use the language of the county overflown on the R/T ( whether it is an ICAO language or not, this is totally unconnected )

But having personally seen and lived though Spanish ATC and Spanish regulation before Franco, I can assure you that the situation has considerably improved , and still is improving . Perhaps not at the top level yet , but slowly getting there .

P.S. : For the Junior ones on this Forum that doubt what I say, just have a look at how an airline like Spantax was operating in 1970-80 and compare with today's. .




(
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Old 21st May 2007, 17:30
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I think Controlador's first post is a clear indication of the mentality of Spanish ATC. Well, at least he admits their level of English.

I think his input is not worth any replies. No further comments.
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