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BBJ emergengy landing in Riyadh

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BBJ emergengy landing in Riyadh

Old 24th Apr 2010, 17:27
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BBJ emergengy landing in Riyadh

At about 1220 utc today, a US-registered BBJ (sounded like 'N4HE') called in mayday on the tower-frequency at OERK/RUH, reguesting emergency vectors for an immediate landing on any runway. The tower controller failed to offer any help but instructed the crew to contact 120,0 (departure radar) instead. The pilot of the BBJ, sounding clearly overwhelmed and occupied by the apparent workload, asked if they could not stay on tower-frequency instead - but the tower controller insisted...
They switched to the departure frequency. There they reported problems with both engines and that they desperately needed vectors to the nearest runway since they could 'barely maintain altitude'. The controller did not seem to be very oriented, gave some vectors and asked repeatedly, whether they had the field in sight. The crew said 'yes', but then asked again for vectors. Then they reported to be on final and were switched to the tower again (...). They checked in (Tower replied: 'go ahead' - as if he had never heard of an airplane with problems...) and were cleared to land. They came in very fast on 33R in what looked like a zero-flap configuration. Coming to a stop at the far end of the runway, they asked several times if the fire crew could confirm that there was no fire - no reply for long seconds. Asking the tower didn't help either, the controller asked them to switch to GND. In desperation, the pilot asked if anybody could see if there was fire coming from the engines or the wheels... Then they said that they would shut down on the runway, since they apparently had blown a few tires and that the brakes were very hot.

For me, as bystander, the following thoughts:
  • Not knowing what their problem was, I am glad that they made it back safely - that's all what counts. All 9 souls on board probably appreciated this.
  • When a crew like these BBJ-pilots apparently has a massive problem at hands, resulting in a high workload, it needs all the help it can get. Being in Saudi Arabia's capital apparently was not fortunate today. ATC was totally out of the loop, incompetent or maybe didn't care - I don't know.
  • The crew requested the fire crew to be available on the ground - we saw them start moving when the BBJ already had touched down...
  • Asking ATC or the fire crew for confirmation about any fire was important for them in their asessment of the situation outside. But they never received a timely and qualified reply.
  • Excellent job by the crew! They found 'home' to the runway themselves. Had the weather been worse, the outcome might not have been so positive...
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Old 24th Apr 2010, 17:42
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Sadly, the emergency services in RUH, both at the old airport and the 'new'...are third rate, at best.
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Old 24th Apr 2010, 18:59
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Regarding handoff to Departure - if they requested vectors, handing off to a radar controllers seems sensible...
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Old 24th Apr 2010, 19:53
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criss.... Not necessarily. The two controllers would (should) be in immediate telephone or intercom contact. To save the crew some work the tower man should have been able to get instructions from radar to pass on his frequency. I've been there, done that - at Heathrow. However some places may not have good comms between units I guess.
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Old 24th Apr 2010, 20:06
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HD,
Don't for a moment compare LHR/LATCC with the rest of the world.
Years ago, I'd an engine fire in a twin inbound LHR.
When I said 'mayday' I could have sworn from the response that the controller had known all day that my little problem was due and exactly when - respec man (as they say)
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Old 24th Apr 2010, 20:09
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Reason's here

http://www.pprune.org/middle-east/41...-disaster.html
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Old 24th Apr 2010, 20:19
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Aahh, right.
Bit worse than my little do
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Old 24th Apr 2010, 22:43
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Agree 100% with HD: controller coordination to reduce crew workload should be well within the capabilities of an airfield such as RUH. From jetopa's post, it seems there was a wholly uncoordinated response to the emergency from RUH. Smacks of poor procedures, CRM or both.. The investigation should reveal...

[thread creep]
As Basil says, comparison with NATS controlled airspace is not really possible, in part due to NATS initiatives such as MCRM, which combines Airlines' Crew Resource Management with ATM's Team Resource Management. A one day workshop described as "frank discussion between the pilot/ATCO communities, creating better synergies", MCRM will most likely challenge your perception of the 'other side', whatever 'side' you're on
[/thread creep]

theWings
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Old 24th Apr 2010, 22:48
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To continue with "The Wings" thread creep, if you can, doing the MCRM 1 day work shop is well worth it.
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Old 25th Apr 2010, 01:03
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On the subject of ATC in Riyadh, one thing I found they did that was dangerous and very annoying was they'd transmit to you to call departures on such-and-such a frequency .... but during rotation on takeoff!
I'd just ignore them and when we had the initial procedures out of the way if they hadn't called again and I had time I'd call them to ask if they wanted us on departures.
Very amateurish from ATC to do that.
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Old 1st May 2010, 19:40
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Possibly the same event although type here is a 733.
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Old 1st May 2010, 20:14
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All and the same events. Guys did a great job. Never, ever rely on Saudi ATC for any support. Do what you need to & keep them posted. Jeddah is the worst, The tower cannot see the threshold of the primary runway 34C - no line of sight. One of the few places in the world where you still cross an active runway on ground frequency. Be careful out there.
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Old 1st May 2010, 23:27
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JetPhotos.Net Photo » N444HE (CN: 23800) Private Boeing 737-39A by Emirhan Köksal

its has winglets hence the reference to BBJ.

Mutt
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Old 1st May 2010, 23:46
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Never, ever rely on Saudi ATC for any support
ATC staff is only as good as the instruction they get which seems very UK orientated I'm sorry to say.
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Old 2nd May 2010, 00:37
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Lon, i would have thought that personal temperament plays a role..... Saudi ATC may have UK styled training, but some still have arab temperaments.... the yelling and abuse directed at flight crews has to be heard to be believed...

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Old 2nd May 2010, 02:14
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I've been astonished at how inept some Saudi ATCOs are.
Verbal abuse is common there, especially when something "out of the norm" happens.

This abuse is usually their way of saving face. Handoffs are the same.

"If I do not understand, I will save face by transferring him to someone and I will also shout to gain back the face I have lost."


Farrell
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Old 2nd May 2010, 10:00
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That's assuming that they bother to reply to your call in the first place! A common theme in that part of the world seems to be that if they don't know immediately what to do with your call (which is most of the time) they will ignore it and hope you'll go away ...
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Old 2nd May 2010, 10:49
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An ex-colleague, almost a professional tree-hugger, spent a year instructing there. He came back a changed person with a complete aversion to all things Arabic!. Let's say the most important part of the selection process was not what you knew, but who you knew.
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Old 2nd May 2010, 11:15
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Sounds like the best procedure over there would be to just tell them what you are going to do and not waste any time in an emergency trying to communicate with these idiots.
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Old 2nd May 2010, 11:53
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Had one of those ATCO's in a jumpseat decade+ ago with a previous employer, when I announced we had to return to OERK because of a door unsafe, he began screaming and shouting shaking me by the shoulder saying he had to be in JED for his shift..etc etc..that "program" ended that day...strange attitude some of them.
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