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'Uncontrolled Rest' again? Virgin 206

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'Uncontrolled Rest' again? Virgin 206

Old 7th Mar 2016, 03:30
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'Uncontrolled Rest' again? Virgin 206

VIRGIN 206 lost or never made contact with Ulaanbatur control Mongolia for at least 30 minutes from around 0315 UTC on 5th March flying eastwards on B330 between Nigor and Silus. Perhaps, for some time previously on the Russian sector. Multiple attempts by ULaanbatur ATC and another aircraft ahead on the route, which was requested to contact them on control frequencies, the Emergency guard and the air to air frequencies failed. There was genuine concern that if they entered Chinese airspace without regaining contact that there would be an unfortunate response from the PLA AF. Luckily, probably due to the intervention of their cabin crew, they responded about 40 minutes prior to the handover. Another more wide awake voice later took over the R/T duties.

Is this another case of reduced manning on late night Long Haul flights resulting in insufficient in flight rest on back of the clock sectors? Are Virgin operating Four or only Three man crew to the Far East?

Had this continued or happened thirty minutes later, it could have been much more interesting - in the Chinese way..........
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Old 7th Mar 2016, 04:58
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Yup, welcome to my world
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Old 7th Mar 2016, 07:20
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(ATC) looks up SELCAL code of concerned flight (field 18 of ATC flight plan)
(ATC) passes SELCAL code to a suitable relaying aircraft
(Relaying aircraft) SELCAL-pages lost comm aircraft on last known frequency and 121.5

Problem solved, isn't it?
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Old 7th Mar 2016, 07:29
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That's a cracking example of problem solving you've got yourself there Safelife
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Old 7th Mar 2016, 07:48
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Won't work; aircraft can only receive, not send selcal.
How about a telephone call from ATC to the company and they just call them via Satcom?
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Old 7th Mar 2016, 08:13
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Surely a simple solution to alert the aircraft would be to install a light and a bell in the Cabin Services Director's station which could be called in the same way as SELCAL should the cockpit fail to respond to repeated voice calls on VHF/HF and to SELCAL. Acknowledgement of the call from the cabin by a cancelling system would need to be followed by contact from the cockpit to confirm all is well.
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Old 7th Mar 2016, 08:27
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If it was uncontrolled why don't the cabin crew call periodically? It's every 20 mins in my airline. If it was controlled rest then the pilot not sleeping should ring the cabin periodically. If that wasn't done then why?
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Old 7th Mar 2016, 08:42
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Originally Posted by HeartyMeatballs View Post
If it was uncontrolled why don't the cabin crew call periodically? It's every 20 mins in my airline. If it was controlled rest then the pilot not sleeping should ring the cabin periodically. If that wasn't done then why?
True, though I guess on occasions the cabin crew can get a bit busy and forget to check their watches.. Anyhow some types have a "pilot intervention" alert or similar if no button pressing/switch selection is done for a set period of time..

Might have been "fatigue", could just a likely been volumes on the ACP turned down for some reason....
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Old 7th Mar 2016, 13:44
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Who says an aircraft can't SELCAL another. Many ways exist, SELCAL tone coders for Windows, iOS, android are available.
In fact I have retrieved at least two "lost souls" over the Atlantic (one with Iceland, one with Gander, both were happy to provide the code) exactly like that.
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Old 8th Mar 2016, 01:28
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..time for vibrate function in the seats..
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Old 8th Mar 2016, 04:42
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Who says an aircraft can't SELCAL another. Many ways exist, SELCAL tone coders for Windows, iOS, android are available.
Well, I say none of the four commercial types (Boeing) I've flown can SELCAL another. You may have an app installed on your phone and you may have access to the internet in flight; well done you. Normal pilots do not have a SELCAL app on their phone and not so many have internet access, so your solution is crucially flawed.
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Old 8th Mar 2016, 06:20
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Must not have been a triple 7.
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Old 8th Mar 2016, 06:26
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Originally Posted by Pontius View Post
Well, I say none of the four commercial types (Boeing) I've flown can SELCAL another. You may have an app installed on your phone and you may have access to the internet in flight; well done you. Normal pilots do not have a SELCAL app on their phone and not so many have internet access, so your solution is crucially flawed.
Sigh. Thank goodness for microphones. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phreaking
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Old 8th Mar 2016, 07:35
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SELCAL App for Android. This SELCAL app is a tone encoder which sounds SELCAL selective calling tones. The tones are produced in accordance with ICAO Annex 10 Volume II, ARINC Characteristic 714-6 Mark 3, ARINC 714A Mark 4 and ASRI SELCAL specifications.
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Old 8th Mar 2016, 07:47
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Thanks, ion, thanks,Marc. No internet connection required either (why should it... you just have to sound those magic tones )
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Old 8th Mar 2016, 08:36
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Originally Posted by safelife View Post
Thanks, ion, thanks,Marc. No internet connection required either (why should it... you just have to sound those magic tones )
Technically, if you didn't install the app before-hand, you would require an internet connection.
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Old 8th Mar 2016, 08:42
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And technically it's not an aircraft SELCALing another aircraft either.
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Old 8th Mar 2016, 09:31
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Before we castigate the crew, could this be another case of sleeping receivers? We’ve had quite a few incidences of this in our airline...
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Old 8th Mar 2016, 12:27
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Originally Posted by safelife View Post
Who says an aircraft can't SELCAL another. Many ways exist, SELCAL tone coders for Windows, iOS, android are available.
In fact I have retrieved at least two "lost souls" over the Atlantic (one with Iceland, one with Gander, both were happy to provide the code) exactly like that.
While it may have worked for you, the combination of the frequency response of the iPhone's speaker and that of the aircraft microphone would mean that it could not be relied upon for any more than marginal reliability. Therefore not designed-in to procedures. Real encoders are wired directly into the modulator.

I wouldn't mind betting that aircraft modulation circuits have frequency response shaping to roll off the high frequencies of white noise found on the flight deck, thus causing more of a 'twist' between the two tones. Did you guys really believe that macho voice was all yours without artificial help?
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Old 8th Mar 2016, 19:02
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How may pilots on this flight?
We should put enough crew on longhaul flights to enable them to get proper inflight rest. Then maybe we would not have this discussion.
It's not about finding ways to wake up pilots, it's about stopping pilots from falling asleep in the first place.
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