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BCN again...

Old 15th Nov 2012, 10:33
  #61 (permalink)  
A4

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I agree with captps. I always "adjust" my taxi speed to make sure that there is no chance of me being in the firing line when taxiing through the undershoot of 07L. Likewise I always look to see what's occurring on 25R before entering the runoff area.

It similar at AMS. When taxiing for 36L (which is about 4-5km the long way) I was sent around the northern end of 36C (i.e. 18C threshold) which was being used for departures. For a departing aircraft off 36C it must have looked quite alarming to see an aircraft "entering" the far end of the runway as it crossed on the taxiway, beyond the runway end.

Let's all be careful out there.
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Old 15th Nov 2012, 12:06
  #62 (permalink)  
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Haven't yet been cleared to taxy that way with a "heavy" using the longer 25L to take-off, that is one clearance I will refuse, as I don't fancy becoming an aluminium RESA.
I don't think you will get that clearance. Have always been held at S141 when there is traffic departing 25R.
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Old 15th Nov 2012, 13:09
  #63 (permalink)  
 
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My mistake I meant " longer 25R", anyway, glad to hear they draw the line at that, as 35ft hedge height may result in some interesting tech-log entries & a lot of paperwork.
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Old 15th Nov 2012, 13:32
  #64 (permalink)  
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I didn't even notice the typo. Anyway, they will not allow you to go around the end of 25R with departing traffic, they will hold you at S141.

Being based in BCN, my impression is that GND/TWR are usually doing a pretty good job (especially compared to the rest of Spain), and they are service-minded too. In APP and ACC, it really depends on the controller. Some are absolute rubbish. It seems there is little coordination between the sectors. You can be told by the first sector to leave the IAF on one heading only to be told something completely different by the next sector. Speed control is unpredictable at best, but the situation is not improved by many pilots flying their own speeds, often without telling ATC.
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Old 15th Nov 2012, 13:38
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Funny thing that no-one seems to be discussing the actual incident, namely an Argentinian aircraft that is told to visually follow the Iberia (number 2) but follows the easyJet (number 1) instead causing a conflict with the Iberia. I'm sure it was all in Spanish, but that should not be a factor here. I always thought it was dangerous in dense civil airspace to be told by ATC to follow or maintain own separation with other aircraft.


With regards to AMS, we tend to give them far more credit than they deserve. Their operation is slick and honestly they seem to do a good job, but sometimes they are too slick and hence not so good. Funny enough I have never had any major trouble in Spain, but in Amsterdam I have had my share of interesting events (vectored into the parallel arrivals, total ATC breakdown due to a single CB)!
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Old 15th Nov 2012, 13:52
  #66 (permalink)  
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Speed control is unpredictable at best, but the situation is not improved by many pilots flying their own speeds, often without telling ATC.
That may be so....but a pilot initiated reduction is normally because there is a lack of,or breakdown of SA, on the part of the controller so the pilot errs on the side of caution to prevent a GA. This is the exact scenario I described a few posts back - it was obvious to us that "maintain 180 knots" whilst approx 2.5-3D behind the preceding at 6 miles from touchdown was not going to work. Even with our proactive slowing and then instruction to reduce to minimum on handover to tower only just worked out with clearance to land at 100'.

All totally avoidable with some less "sporty" vectoring and a bit of coordination between APP/TWR. The question is why Approach control so variable at BCN? At most other major European hubs it is consistent, logical and (mostly) works.
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Old 15th Nov 2012, 14:05
  #67 (permalink)  
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What I meant regarding speed control is that if we are assigned a speed and then self-adjust, it might give the controller a false impression that his/her speed control worked flawlessly. Of course having to go around just to prove a point to ATC doesn't really help either...

I have seen some captains being a bit too "proactive" with their self speed control though, to the point of having to retract flaps and increase speed on final, just because they "felt" that we were too close to the preceding (but in fact were being caught up by the next aircraft instead). Why not at least give ATC a chance to do their job, and if it's obvious that they are not, then intervene.
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Old 15th Nov 2012, 17:56
  #68 (permalink)  
 
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Records of the comms from that day
Denuncian que un avión de Aerolíneas estuvo muy cerca de chocar en el aire

I would say that is pretty clear that the ARG has messed up....

He is complaining initially that he is too high and cannot slow down/descent at the same time
ATC says "you only descended 1000ft in 3 minutes"

ATC give vector hdg 1 south, then headig 70
After a while the ARG reports "Iberia on final in sight, can we follow him?"
ATC answer "the traffic is your 10 o'clock, 7 miles, if this is the traffic, follow him"
ARG says "turning"
after a while ATC "the traffic is yours 1 o'clock, 3 miles"
ARG "in sight on the TCAS"
Iberia then complains
ARG "turning left" then... "i was following ATC instruction sir"
again on heading 70 (in the meanwhile you can hear a masterwarning)
then on the end the ATC tries to clarify "i believe you were referring to the EZY instead of the IBE"
as the ARG says "we told you that we had the "Iberia on final" insight and to follow him... you never said that we had another traffic on the right side..."
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Old 15th Nov 2012, 18:40
  #69 (permalink)  
 
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I've always assumed that Spanish Controllers will not correct an incorrect clearance read-back because in my experience for some perverse reason they don't.

I've also questioned their odd instructions and found them quite happy to completely change their minds when challenged (e.g. an occasion we were asked to orbit at 5d on an ILS, which we declined). Makes you wonder about their situational awareness, no?

On that basis, asking, and gaining agreement, to self position onto an ILS into a notoriously busy airport based on visual/TCAS seems risky.
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Old 15th Nov 2012, 21:13
  #70 (permalink)  
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Don't mistake "cool" phraseology with good controlling - AMS controllers are much too prone to that very mistake. They're average at best (as long as the wx is ok and they're not too busy). If they were even as good as they think they are, and they're a long way off that, they wouldn't come close to London TMA control and the LHR and LGW directors. Best controllers in Europe, the rest are so far behind it's embarrassing.
But of course, the grammar police strikes back. Here to remind us that it does not matter if you bend the aircraft or kill the pax as long as you kept to the correct phraseology. I'll support the earlier post, LHR/LGW do not come close to the AMS controllers, they are without doubt the best controllers in Europe, also when the wx is horrible, thats when they really shine.

Spain however is in a tight race with Italy and Greece to be the absolute worst ATC in Europe.

Last edited by RTO; 15th Nov 2012 at 21:15.
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Old 15th Nov 2012, 22:21
  #71 (permalink)  
 
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But of course, the grammar police strikes back. Here to remind us that it does not matter if you bend the aircraft or kill the pax as long as you kept to the correct phraseology.
You're implying that I don't rate AMS because of their too cool for school phraseology. I don't think that's a causal effect of their poor controlling - apart from perhaps to give the unwary an impression they're better than they are.
Anyway, we shall agree to disagree. I still AMS are poor and don't rate at all alongside London, but hey, each to their own.
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Old 16th Nov 2012, 06:52
  #72 (permalink)  
 
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...well yes, except you would be talking to Madrid if you were direct Pamplona unless you had gotten a DIRECT routing - which they don't give in Spain...
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 09:18
  #73 (permalink)  
 
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My experience of the various ATC units around Europe over the last 15 years or so is that the further north you go, the better and more helpful they get. While I agree that the Dutch are amongst the better controllers, they have their moments - five changes of runway on our way in to AMS because of lack of co-ordination between controllers is a case in point, as was the time they cleared a 737 onto an ice covered taxiway that had no grip at all, so the fire crews couldn't even stand up after said ac slid into a lighting rig. But that is unusual for them. The Scandinavians seem excellent. British controllers make mistakes, and you do have to pay attention, but I find their mistakes far fewer than anywhere else. The Irish are interesting because they have a lot of non-standard and archaic practices (such as only giving departure clearances once you're lined up and not using stop bars in good weather), and DUB seem particularly adept at creating a false sense of security, seeming far more capable than they actually are. The Greeks and Italians have some issues, but are generally workable if you learn to understand their accents, but Europe's worst are without a shadow of doubt the Spanish controllers; while there are some helpful and very competent controllers down there, there is a huge proportion of seemingly belligerent and incompetent controllers way beyond the levels experienced anywhere else in the EU. I have suffered BCN area control walking away from their console when lots of ac were asking for weather avoidance. That just wouldn't happen elsewhere.

None are perfect, of course, but no pilots are perfect either. There are some differences in phraseology, some which is annoying, and the UK has much of the minor stuff - adding "degrees" to headings that end in a "0" is to differentiate between levels and headings, but is not used elsewhere yet. Clearances on to the LOC and then GS are to stop pilots descending before being on the LOC, as otherwise does happen. I don't see the need for reading back "hectopascals" when the QNH is below 1000 - 950 is not going to be a headings, speed or level, after all, so some of it is a bit ill-conceived and very pedantic, but at least it's clear. The comments by LEMG and our Icelandic friend are emotional, not factual.

Last edited by smileandwaveboys; 20th Nov 2012 at 09:26.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 11:47
  #74 (permalink)  
 
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Supposedly (4th hand info though) was that the "hectopascals" below 1000 is because of the similarity between (for example) 994hPa and (2)9.94InHg. Supposedly this resulted in a, non-commercial, airprox due the ensuing differences in altitudes.

I have no way of knowing if that is one of the reasons but it does seem to make sense.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 14:39
  #75 (permalink)  
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I have no way of knowing if that is one of the reasons but it does seem to make sense.
100% correct and it was not just after a non-commercial AIRPROX but following a survey of errors in the London TMA.
 
Old 21st Nov 2012, 11:26
  #76 (permalink)  
 
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Ah, that's interesting and gives a good perspective of the rationale behind what otherwise seems a pointless and pedantic change. There are an awful lot of GA jets in the LTMA, most seemingly flown by US, so the HPa/inHg factor would be strongest there...
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