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Axon loses the plot at Newcastle?

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Axon loses the plot at Newcastle?

Old 15th Jul 2001, 22:53
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Unhappy Axon loses the plot at Newcastle?

Reports of an Axon flight diverting to Manchester, after failing to land at Newcastle, appeared briefly during week. This then flared up into a half-page in the Mail on Sunday.

I will spare you the pax tales of woe, but apparently three attempts were made to land 737 at Newcastle last Friday night/Saturday morning(7/8 July) on flight XN9169 from Heraklion. Following this, the pilot diverted to Manchester.

On landing he refused to disembark the pax, saying that he was going to re-fuel and go back to Newcastle for another go. Allegedly one of the pax telephoned the police from a mobile, and the police arrived and let everyone off.

Axon say it was a "new" pilot, and they are investigating. Newcastle airport say they suspect either pilot error, or fault on plane.

Anyone really know what happened?

[ 15 July 2001: Message edited by: newswatcher ]
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Old 15th Jul 2001, 23:03
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Yes, the crew concerned.
Not meant to be flippant.
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Old 15th Jul 2001, 23:10
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HL, to borrow your theme, it will be all Greek to them!
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Old 15th Jul 2001, 23:15
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Wink

Before the perfect police hammer the crew, what was the metar for Newcastle?
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Old 16th Jul 2001, 01:46
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Red face

Having read the article I reckon its the Mail on Sunday which has lost the plot. Such as...

...250 holidaymakers...
on a 737???

"Then he claimed he would try a different runway, but Newcastle only has one...I thought he was going to hit the control tower"
an expert, obviously!

One of the girls [cabin crew] was shaking and I gave her a sweet to calm her nerves.
I'm not having a go at the punters who were obviously distressed, but at the Mail on Sunday which feels it has to publish such sensationalist ramblings to compete with the other Sunday rags.
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Old 16th Jul 2001, 03:45
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LVPs were in force, I believe the aircraft reported it kept losing the ILS signal - made two approaches to r/w07 and one to 25. Next aircraft in had no problems - an ATR cat 2 approach.
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Old 16th Jul 2001, 11:58
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You can get 250 pax on a 737. They were all Geordies - so there were 50 on each wing.

"We're hard oop here, mon!"
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Old 16th Jul 2001, 12:27
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Angry

I have to say that this article made my blood boil!

Not only from the sensationalist nature of the journalism, but for the complete inability of this crew to cummunicate matters clearly with the passengers.

Firstly, if the Captain conducted two or three ILS approaches with go arounds, then diverted to MAN, then he's not that incompetent. Going around in a 737 is a difficult and dangerous manouvre as it is not practised often, and is easily messed up.

The sole reason for this mess was the Captains inability to explain the reason for the missed approaches. Using the phrase 'I missed the runway' is fine in the crew room where we may all understand what he means, but 'Mrs Trouble' with mobile down the back gets on her high horse at such language and the stage is set for the article we all read.

Nought out of ten for 'Public communication'!!

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Old 16th Jul 2001, 13:53
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In pursuit of "the facts":

1. How unusual is it to make three attempts to land? Are the number of attempts limited in any way, or is it at the Captain's discretion? There has been some previous criticism of landings going ahead when perhaps they shouldn't, for example the Thai Airways Airbus at Surat Thani in 1998. I guess there are commercial pressures on the crew to complete.
2. If no other aircraft was affected on the night, is it more likely to be a fault with the aircraft's equipment in receiving LOC and GS signals?
3. With such a small airline, is it possible that neither crew members had ever landed at Newcastle before, or should one member of the crew have previous experience?
4. How concerned should pax be when expected to travel with a company of which they have never heard? What safeguards are in place in the UK to ensure that the holiday company has met with minimum standards when procuring additional aircraft, in relation to aircraft condition, maintenance and crew training?
5. Do pax have any rights in refusing to travel? Why did the police attend merely on the request of one person with a mobile?
6. Could that person be charged with using a mobile when prohibited from doing so?

[ 16 July 2001: Message edited by: newswatcher ]
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Old 16th Jul 2001, 16:16
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I read the story, and would have laughed if it hadn`t made me so angry! Its not the first time I have read tabloid reporting like this in the Daily Mail. ANybody read their coverage of the SIA 747 doing a go-around at MAN a few months ago?
Does anybody have a full transcript of the report? I read it while on a positioning flight, but left the paper behind. D`oh!!
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Old 16th Jul 2001, 18:17
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BB, agree with the gist of what you say, but would you be able to communicate adequately with 100 odd(in the polite sense of the word) Greek speaking pax?
I wouldn't.
But then, I wouldn't write a non-story about it either.
I burnt my toast this morning, maybe the Daily Mail wants an exclusive on that?
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Old 16th Jul 2001, 22:16
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The article made me angry too. It seems the biggest problem was the difficulty that most Greek Captains would have in adequately explaining the situation in English at a time of intense pressure and workload, whatever the reasons for the GAs.

My only observation would be that passengers are understandably unsettled by GAs and a third attempt to land was unwise for that reason alone.

We were not there, we did not know the full picture, he did not crash and frankly until proven otherwise I side with the crew.

Newswatcher, in answer to your questions:

<<1. How unusual is it to make three attempts to land? Are the number of attempts limited in any way, or is it at the Captain's discretion? There has been some previous criticism of landings going ahead when perhaps they shouldn't, for example the Thai Airways Airbus at Surat Thani in 1998. I guess there are commercial pressures on the crew to complete.>>

The recommendation in my company is basically that a 3rd approach should only be carried out if the chances of landing have significantly increased. Our advice also mentions that multiple go - arounds can be distressing for passengers. Also in my company I am under no commercial pressure to continue attempting to land at destination.

<<2. If no other aircraft was affected on the night, is it more likely to be a fault with the aircraft's equipment in receiving LOC and GS signals?>>

Quite possibly.

<<3. With such a small airline, is it possible that neither crew members had ever landed at Newcastle before, or should one member of the crew have previous experience?>>

Newcastle is a straightforward airfield with standard and uncomplicated approach procedures with good radar coverage and controllers. The only airfields in my company that require a visit or simulator session are those considered 'difficult' or unusual eg. the old Hong Kong (Kai Tak)or Bogota. Reasons can be many but Newcastle presents nothing unusual and would not normally present a problem to a crew that had not visited before.

<<4. How concerned should pax be when expected to travel with a company of which they have never heard? What safeguards are in place in the UK to ensure that the holiday company has met with minimum standards when procuring additional aircraft, in relation to aircraft condition, maintenance and crew training?>>

A whole can of worms here!! My company do not position us on certain airlines. For personal travel I am particular which airlines I travel with. I imply no criticism of Axon because I have no knowledge of there operation.

<<5. Do pax have any rights in refusing to travel? Why did the police attend merely on the request of one person with a mobile? >>

As I understand it a person can not be compelled to travel. The problem arose at Manchester because the crew wished to return to Newcastle and presumably did not wish to delay the aircraft further by having to remove disembarking passenger's luggage for the obvious security reasons. I believe a passenger telephoned the police because he was being prevented from disembarking against his will.

<<6. Could that person be charged with using a mobile when prohibited from doing so?>>

I can only speak again from my company's policy but we allow use of mobile telephones prior to engine start. I can't fully answer your question.

Hope the above helps.
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Old 17th Jul 2001, 00:35
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Thanks 3xWs, very helpful reply.
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Old 17th Jul 2001, 01:47
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Heavy Landing. Yes of course I would be strapped to do a PA in Greek. However I have worked for five foreign airlines, and on occasions used the First Officer, or even cabin crew to ensure clear communication.

This mess occurred because a passenger with too much attitude reacted badly to poor communication. That is Axion's problem, they should ensure that someone on the crew is fluent in the language of the pax. I know that not all of the British airlines do this, but in my experience most of the passsengers flown in such circumstances have a reasonable command of English. In that respect we are lucky.

Newswatcher. There is no international regulation of flying passengers not fluent in the airline's language. I have flown Bosnians in a Swiss airliner where the only common language was German, with an Irish F/O and French cabin crew.
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Old 17th Jul 2001, 02:02
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Boeingboy, sorry, but you mislead the slf here. Why is a missed approach on a B737 dangerous? It is, if the crew make a bolloxs of it, but it should not be. It should be a natural reaction to every approach that is shot! Try flying into LHR or LGW everyday and that should be your natural expectation.
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Old 17th Jul 2001, 02:56
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Have to agree with Horatio. What is so difficult about pitching up and applying power? Even if you have such complications as raising the gear!

Sorry, a normal go-around is no-brainer. There is nothing difficult OR dangerous about it.
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Old 17th Jul 2001, 03:20
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Just about to make the same point myself. What's either, "Difficult or dangerous" about going round in a 737?

Oh, and the pax were all English.
 
Old 17th Jul 2001, 12:26
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Yet another scare story - '100s escape death horror!' based on the comments of one pax to the media - it would be interesting to hear from the psychologists about people's need to talk to journalists.

Not commenting on this event but if on approach, at the decision height there's no runway but the pilot decides to come down just a little bit more (!), sees the runway and completes the landing ok instead of hitting a building or something all the SLF down the back are happy. But, if he carries out a perfectly safe go around, its '100s seconds from death shock, horror!' I've noted more and more of these none stories in the media and, as far as the punters are concerned, its another near accident and just goes to show how unsafe airlines are nowadays.
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Old 17th Jul 2001, 15:49
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It may be that air travel is the victim of its own success. With many years of relatively trouble-free travelling(UK-based), now accessible to "the masses", there is an expectation that each flight taken will be uneventful.

Turn up at the airport, get on a shiny aircraft, take-off/land without problems.

When a problem does occur, this is unexpected. Many pax feel it worth reporting such an unexpected event, particularly if they think they are going to get some "dosh" by doing so!

Hence the spate of stories recently, which are deemed "sensational" by the industry, but somehow justified by the pax. Since the explanation given on this occasion appears to have been less than helpful, and following the "antics" at MAN, a small percentage felt it necessary to go to the press.

In just over 250 flights taken, I have only experienced a go around once. I would have thought that to have three in one flight, must be unusual. However I guess that there are no statistics kept on this.

Boeingboy, my mention of "regulation" was less on the subject of language, but more one of safety, although the absence of a common language could be deemed to reduce safety levels in an incident.

I believe British people tend to feel more comfortable when they see a "British" logo on an aircraft, because they believe they will be safe, since it will be regulated to UK standards. They are more concerned to see an "unknown" logo and assume the worst if there are any problems.

Say I was in charge of flight operations at Airtours Int, and I have to find an aircraft to take c200 pax to Majorca since no Airtours aircraft are available. Would I be able to lease an aircraft from anywhere in the world to carry my clients, without any restriction?

[ 17 July 2001: Message edited by: newswatcher ]
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Old 17th Jul 2001, 18:56
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Newswatcher

With regard to your last paragraphs, in the case of Axon they are chartered by a Tour operator not replacing a British carrier's flight.

I don't see why other countries' charter companies shouldn't operate into the UK. However, there should be some sort of safety regulation that requires they carry at least one national of the country they are operating to among the cabin crew. We in ATC often notice that although foreign pilots know sufficient English for the standard R/T patter, their linguistic skills soon show their limitations when they are asked even a simple, but non standard, question. A foreign carrier flying a plane load of Brits should at least satisfy the authrities that it can provide a clear safety briefing to its pax prior to and during flight. Pre-recorded messages should not qualify.
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