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practice pan

Old 14th Aug 2008, 20:53
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practice pan

Hi Gents,

With the risk of dredging up a thoroughly discussed and beaten to death subject.... the UK practice pan call. I understand, it's here, it's not going away(annoying as it is) and I even have to admit, it's a great service to have for private pilots I just wish there was a discrete frequency for the practice calls

Having said that, I do place ? marks at the practice pan I overheard yesterday. Flying to ABZ I heard the familiar "practice pan, 3 times.
Immediately started tuning it out. However moments later, overhearing the controller ask for the altitude of the caller, the answer was: FL160 or something like that. I thought I misheard. Moments later the controller asked for POB, the answer was 21. ????? Either this was an exceptionally large private airplane or it was a small regional airplane.

There's probably lot's of guys that can defend this, but in my book that's overly anal and cluttering radiowaves.

Any commercial passenger carrying/transport type airplane in the EU has multiple redundancy for navigation, is flying in a IFR environment, in constant contact with ATC with properly trained aircrew that even in the most remote chance that you would ever have to lose all navigation, lose your transponder...but still have a radio is already trained in the use of the practice pan.

What possible reason could there be for a commercially operated A/C to do a practice pan? seriously?
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Old 14th Aug 2008, 21:30
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Scotttish (Military) D&D were training yesterday morning; I heard them too and thought they were doing an excellent job. How else do you propose they get trained ?
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Old 14th Aug 2008, 21:42
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Okay, that's a valid answer.

I though that they get trained enough by all the pratice calls from Private pilots.

If the call was on request from atc I can understand, Thanks for the explanation

Btw, I didn't say they weren't doing a great job, I even said it was a great service. I just placed question marks at a commercial (what I assumed) airline doing the the call.
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Old 14th Aug 2008, 21:56
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dont always assume that the things you hear are just inane chatter, at scacc the d & d boss sometimes asks for civil a/c , with the pilots agreement to act lost , to add realism
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Old 14th Aug 2008, 21:58
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Clear as a bell, just as the old practice ASR app I admit, I didn't think about that.
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 05:30
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Selcal

With more and more pilots turning down the volume or completely turning off 121.5 perhaps ATC should get some SELCAL equipment so they can get someone's attention.
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 05:46
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"How else do you propose they get trained ?"

The same way as the rest of the world: turn to the person in the other seat and say "I would press the PTT switch and say, 'PANPAN ... etc'!"

Tuning out....
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 06:31
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A to B safely - You didn't read the above properly!

"How else do you propose they get trained ?"

The same way as the rest of the world: turn to the person in the other seat and say "I would press the PTT switch and say, 'PANPAN ... etc'!"
It was for D & D Controller training..

ie. Using the DF equipment and aids to locate the practice pan and then deal with it.
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 06:54
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It was for D & D Controller training..

ie. Using the DF equipment and aids to locate the practice pan and then deal with it.
The thing is that it is seriously annoying, especially at FL160. 121.5 is supposed to be an emergency frequency that crews shouldn't have to tune out...

I guess they first should train to find another training frequency that is not monitored by thousands of aircrafts around . I do believe people are trained as well in other countries but obviously not on 121.5...

Of course I don't see any obligation and it's probably just a question of good manners just like not farting loud in a 5 stars restaurant.
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 07:35
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Was the a/c asked to participate in D&D training by the unit controlling it ?
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 08:19
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Usually Scottish will ask if you are willing to help out with controller training, if OK they will ask you to call Scottish mil on 121.5 with a simulated emergency. Helps us sharpen up our practice pans as well. If it's that much of a problem turn it down a bit. After all, the Guard Police will be listening anyway and who's actually monitoring your volume control? And before anyone leaps in with "we are monitoring it to save lives etc etc." it ain't the middle of the Atlantic we're talking about here.
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 09:07
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The purpose is not to lower the volume. Beside interfering with some communications, these trainings could absolutely be performed on other frequencies.
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 09:26
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They could not or they would be. Mil have their own PETF as there is space in the UHF band - but not in VHF. There may be interference with 'some communications' however the D&D cell manages the scenario; if 'some communications' is more important the practice is halted, if on the other hand it's the Guard Police or some football scores they are told to sod off so yes it may interfere with that.
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 09:37
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Anyone who says "these could be performed on another frequency" doesn't really understand the 121.5 system: As well as training the (D&D) controller involved there's a whole set of sub-systems available for checking and being checked... DF triangulation, coverage checks, COSPAS/SARSAT (for the moment) and a whole host of other things.
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 10:09
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dontdoit old chap, please don't make it more complicated than it really is, a DF steer and any "subsystem" () can also work on an additional frequency, a practice PAN on the emergency frequency is ridiculous IMO.
By the way the DF has the comm panel as any other controller position, select the frequency you want and bingo.
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 11:12
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I'd be interested to know just how many of the practice PAN calls there are - anyone at D&D got a figure?

It's just I always hear on these threads how much of a nuisance they are and how they constantly clog up the airwaves and how they only serve to distract people who can hear them from their primary task.

I then wonder why professional pilots are unable to have 121.5 selected but are unable to use their brain to filter calls? Maybe they are not so professional?

Only curious seeing as I'm an ex-military aviator who used to have to listen to several frequencies at once, tactical and otherwise (including HF), whilst low level, over the sea, often in crap weather in the middle of the night, working to min fuel reserves, hundreds of miles from land.

Never seemed to have a problem from listening to the frequencies and filterting what I needed and didn't, neither did any of my colleagues.

Working as a Civvy ATCO now, I do sometimes question the staus 'professional' - both some flight crews and some ATCOs.
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 11:14
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For those who believes such trainings cannot be performed on other frequencies, I would not recommend to fly abroad since most of the European neighbors are not performing such trainings... which means it's probably extremely unsafe to fly over there.
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Old 15th Aug 2008, 12:52
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In 4 years flying up north I must have done maybe 6-7 practise pans after being asked to by scottish area on 121.5.

In that time I have heard numerious beacons going off.

Getting on for hundreds of trans atlantic chit chat.

4 real emergencys

and more than 10 less than 20 (or thirty if you included the ones i was doing) practise pans.

Working further south now I really can't understand where all these practise pans which are meant to be occuring all the time are. I go for days with out hearing a single one. The same cannot be said for ops calls, chit chat, music, farting noises and some prat who was making a noise like a donkey having a particularly difficult poo (although this could have been a french pilot with a nasal problem)
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Old 18th Aug 2008, 12:30
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FlyingOfficerKite.
As the aircraft's altitude is not always passed on the initial call, the D&D controller will always say, "You are responsible for your own terrain separation." prior to providing a heading for wherever the pilot wants to go. The controller will subsequently advise of possible dangers between the aircraft's indicated position and destination unless, of course, it is patently obvious that the danger exists from the outset.

The first pan I dealt with after becoming qualified as a D&D controller concerned a student pilot who had become lost in Wales and required a steer back to Shobdon. I opened with, "Your position indicates ......., you are responsible for your own terrain separation, your steer for Shobdon is ....., range .... miles." After the pilot read that back I followed with the standard call, "Do you require any further assistance?"
He did because the steer I'd given him was accurate enough but he was at 1800' and between him and Shobdon was a hill of about 2000' with the cloudbase slightly below the peak.
Until I had asked him about requiring further assistance, I had no information about his altitude nor his flight conditions and therefore, no idea about any dangers in the way of his route. Fortunately, the student didn't panic, provided me with the information I needed to help keep him safe and the emergency was brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
To those who moan about practice pans on 121.5, if he hadn't practised being "unsure of his position" and utilising the D&D DF equipment on 121.5 in the past, this may not have had the favourable outcome described. I agree that a discrete VHF frequency should be provided for training in the same way as the military UHF does. Until that time ....... well, you know the rest.
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Old 18th Aug 2008, 12:45
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I had to demonstrate a 'practice pan' call on the 14th (date of original post) in order to be able to continue to solo nav. Could have heard me on one of the three occasions
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