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BA108 intercepted on April 30'th

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BA108 intercepted on April 30'th

Old 2nd May 2016, 09:44
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@Airbubba
Don't Hungary and BA already have CPDLC? I show a requirement on the chart to log on to LHCC 15 minutes prior to entering the Budapest FIR.
Quote from the Hungarian AIP (I quess the last sentence is the main thing here):

"The controller-pilot data link communication (CPDLC) application provides a means of communication between the controller and the pilot, using data link for ATC
communication. CPDLC services are available for ACFT in the entire Hungarian airspace above FL285.The following CPDLC services are provided in this airspace:
•DLIC (data link initiation capability)
•ACL (ATC clearances and instructions)
•ACM (ATC communications management)
•AMC (ATC microphone check)
The use of CPDLC is not mandatory in this airspace and is conducted at the discretion of ATC and at the initiative of the pilots concerned."
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Old 2nd May 2016, 09:56
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I think the problem is that there are so many aircraft airborne these days, and ATC sectors have been combined; that VHF ATC comms are becoming so busy (in Europe) that in some regions there can be near constant chatter on Box 1. Add to this the conversations on 121.5 between old mates and it becomes unmanageable at times.

In just the last week, I missed calls three times from Box 1 because they were 'stepped on' in my headset by stations on 121.5. I think I will have to start putting in ASR's about this.

Sometimes one has to actually turn off 121.5, but then of course how do you remember to switch it back on?

As an ex communications engineer, I like "personfromporlock's" idea of a temporary mute button: A non-locking button that you pressed which would mute box 2 for, say, one minute.
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Old 2nd May 2016, 10:03
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOSZS5EPk_o
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Old 2nd May 2016, 10:43
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Another perhaps easier solution would be if the ECAM memo (or equivalent) would display the message '121.5 NOT MONITORED' in Amber.

This assumes that the software of the ACPs (audio control panels) would be capable of modification to detect if : the box 2 audio buttons were selected, and/or that 121.5 was dialled up in the active channel.

Airbus and Boeing et al can have this idea for free in the interests of better safety.
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Old 2nd May 2016, 12:03
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Originally Posted by Uplinker
Another perhaps easier solution would be if the ECAM memo (or equivalent) would display the message '121.5 NOT MONITORED' in Amber.
Good idea!
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Old 2nd May 2016, 12:42
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Another perhaps easier solution would be if the ECAM memo (or equivalent) would display the message '121.5 NOT MONITORED' in Amber.
EICAS already does it for frequencies given over CPDLC on the 777. Once the correct freq has been dialled in on Box 1 the EICAS message frequency changes from white text to green text.

Wouldn't take too much to add an alert similar to 'Pilot Response' linked to box 2.
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Old 2nd May 2016, 13:55
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The EICAS message/alert might be the way to go but a couple of observations:

1. Are you going to have the alert displayed every time you deliberately go off 121.5 to get ATIS or talk to company et.al (Yes, I know on some types there's the luxury of having 3 VHF Boxes,but it seems some types don't).

2. Will an alert be triggered, if, say, VHR X has 121.5 as the active freq, , the crew have correct audio selected on the ACP but volume(s) is/are turned down.
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Old 2nd May 2016, 14:54
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....it looks like CPDLC is just another system that most controllers will remember with a chuckle.
CPDLC is in use on the North Atlantic (has been for at least 8 years to my knowledge) and is used and welcomed by controllers and pilots alike. It is many times easier and more efficient than passing position reports on HF!

I no longer fly commercially and cannot comment on its use elsewhere.
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Old 2nd May 2016, 15:11
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There was a good suggestion on this thread that ATC and/or the military could have rung up BA Ops and asked them to ACARS the aircraft in question with a frequency to contact. BA 777s have satcom as well, so ground agencies could have made a call, too.

Seems like something that should be set up in the command centres of the various civil/military ATC units. Could save a bit of bother and expense for all.

I donít know the exact frequency of this kind of incident but I think itís quite high - possibly several times a day over the whole of European airspace...
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Old 2nd May 2016, 16:08
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A similar event occurred with an EK crew who were given Final Warning letters and a financial penalty.
I'm guessing a Final Warning letter means that you're on Double Secret Probation.

AirBubba - if you log onto Budapest 15 minutes prior to entry, how does the previous centre contact you using CPDLC? I ask as most of the sectors I control will be crossed by a B777 in less than 10 minutes. If they are already logged on to the next FIR before even entering the sector then doesn't that defeat the object in the first place?
Good point, I'm wondering if that 15 minute prior rule is legacy verbiage from the Cold War ball notes for voice communications on that route.

The use of CPDLC is not mandatory in this airspace and is conducted at the discretion of ATC and at the initiative of the pilots concerned.
So maybe they weren't using CPDLC, it sure would have been nice for the controllers to be able to send up a ding with a frequency.

I donít know the exact frequency of this kind of incident but I think itís quite high - possibly several times a day over the whole of European airspace...
Perhaps several incidents of temporary lost comm a day but I don't think that many intercepts would go unnoticed in these times of selfies with the hijacker and social media.
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Old 2nd May 2016, 16:09
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ATC and/or the military could have rung up BA Ops and asked them to ACARS the aircraft in question
I've seen that done in a slightly different way - ATC asked a "same company" aircraft on freq (i.e. us) to contact base to initiate the above string of comms.

I guess doing it that way saved ATC ringing directory enquiries and also the cost of an international call....

Edit to add: Genuine query - as anyone here actually used CPDLC with Budapest?
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Old 2nd May 2016, 17:44
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The EICAS message/alert might be the way to go but a couple of observations:

1. Are you going to have the alert displayed every time you deliberately go off 121.5 to get ATIS or talk to company et.al...........

2. Will an alert be triggered, if, say, VHR X has 121.5 as the active freq, , the crew have correct audio selected on the ACP but volume(s) is/are turned down.
It wouldn't be up to just me obviously. We would have to agree on the best protocol.

1. Could do, or perhaps not until after say 1 minute of non monitoring 121.5, so the caution will not appear straight away when PM is talking to company or getting weather, but will pop up after a time period - to be determined?

2. There is no technical reason why not.


Perhaps an even easier way of doing this would be to monitor the audio output of box 1 downstream of the ACP selector and volume control and trigger an Amber ECAM caution or Memo "Check Comms" after a period of radio silence longer than say a few minutes. This would detect sleeping receivers, un-selected radios and radios turned right down.

Last edited by Uplinker; 2nd May 2016 at 17:58.
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Old 2nd May 2016, 18:13
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At times when I hear my fellow Company "missing" on frequency, I have sent a message to our NOC, Network Operations Center on CPDLC and ask them to tell XYZ to go on 123....45 for ATC (requested ATC freq) and 2 minutes later they on frequency!
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Old 2nd May 2016, 18:55
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Most loss of coms in my experience are America based Airlines coming off the Nat tracks early morning. & orange ones in the BDX fir.
So I wonder if some form of fatigue is involved. Please don't think I am having a go at anyone/airline as it may be just that there are more of those operators in those FIRs.
(numbers game)
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Old 2nd May 2016, 20:05
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Hi Guys,


I just can confirm that the Hungarian ATM system has been fully CPDLC capable for a couple of months now... but only if the aircraft is logged on!
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Old 2nd May 2016, 21:20
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Originally Posted by jimjim1
If armed interceptors are sent to "investigate" airliners often enough, one day the holes in the cheese will so align as to produce a tragic result.
How very nice, a thinly-veiled insult aimed at military pilots. Just being armed won't get anyone killed.
Its going through that whole control/decision bit that has the potential for that, which includes a lot of mugs on the ground these days sine micromanagement of everything being all the rage. In this case, that most odious modern trait, micromanagement, lends a few more layers of "oops" prevention than not.
Do you, or any other air transport pilot, need to be reminded of how innocent a large plane isn't unless you know who's in there and what they're doing? I doubt it. Verification got a hard push towards Ops Normal since a fateful day in 2001. No sir, we don't get to un-write history.

In this case, it's nice to see that comms were eventually established and all ended well -- as it should.
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Old 2nd May 2016, 21:27
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I think you're seeing insults where there are none.

Accidents happen, as I'm sure you know, and you're more likely to be shoot by something that is armed than by something that is not.
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Old 2nd May 2016, 21:39
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Originally Posted by Chesty Morgan
Accidents happen, as I'm sure you know, and you're more likely to be shoot by something that is armed than by something that is not.
We are all aware of KAL 007, among others, on both sides of the equation. What we can't do is pretend that the increased tension in the air is something that can be wished away, and with a finger pointed at those whose profession is handling the armed birds, just as PPRuNe is at it core for those whose profession is handling the unarmed birds, I found it (and Ian W's overwrought follow up) to be indicative of an unfortunate divide between camps.
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Old 2nd May 2016, 23:07
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Most loss of coms in my experience are America based Airlines coming off the Nat tracks early morning. & orange ones in the BDX fir.
I assume these are usually resolved without an intercept? The recent intercepts that come to mind are AB2266 from MUC to AGP, intercepted near Toulouse by the French about 2 months ago, BA108 discussed in this thread and today's AF1558 from CDG to NCL, intercepted by RAF Typhoons.

Quick look elsewhere also shows an Egypt Air flight intercepted by Israeli F15s last month and a Monarch flight intercepted by Croatian MiG21s last year.
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Old 3rd May 2016, 06:28
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balaton

Thanks for the info, the reason I asked is that the Budapest CPDLC facility has not yet made into some company's manuals.
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