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Spanish ATC

Old 22nd Jul 2003, 04:49
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NUMBER 2361 IN AVMAN’S “THE GOOD OLD DAYS” SERIES

Many many years ago, when life was just a little less hectic than now, whenever possible we would go out of our way to arrange a shortcut from KOK direct to the approach fix at BSL for a well known Swiss operator. Although it did require some considerable coordination we did this because they were the only carrier flying that particular route through our airspace and so it only needed to be done a few times per day. On one occasion as the aircraft was being transferred to Reims and the crew thanked us for the direct route, one of our guys jokingly replied, “don’t forget to send the chocolates”. They duly arrived a few days later! As time went by it became known as the chocolate route and we would clear them as such, “XXX123 climb flight level two niner zero, chocolate route approved”. For many years we were treated to a regular supply of the finest Swiss chocolates. Ah, the good old days.
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Old 22nd Jul 2003, 06:22
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A bit like 'chug-a-lug'!
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Old 22nd Jul 2003, 06:33
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Ah the chug-a-lug days.........brings tears to my eyes
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Old 22nd Jul 2003, 07:35
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BOAC makes an intersting point. I always (as a joke) put up the cry of "QANTAS number 1" when it comes in when I'm on. And I am alway treated with the appropriate response (which can't be mentioned in this PG time slot!)

But I would like to see at Heathrow the guys try and sequence Blighty carriers ahead of ANYBODY else on a regular basis. Our wake vortex order on final often is the major determining factor of the sequence, and this may mean bringing stuff off the holds a little ahead of others already there, but it usually is only by 1 minute or two. And I always give and explanation.
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Old 22nd Jul 2003, 23:36
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Wink

I totally agree with BOAC. We would have no problems at all if the british carriers were treated better than anybody else back home. But the fact is that everyone is equal in uk atc (more or less) .
I want to ask a simple question. No need to refer to speeds and headings and number in sequence. HAS ANY OF YOU NON SPANISH PILOTS EVER LANDED ON 24R IN PALMA??? unless 24L was closed.
I have done once , flying subcharter for a spanish carrier!!!
24R is meant to be a take off runway. Still, for the spanish aircraft to avoid speed restrictions and funny headings , 24R is always there for them!
Last note. I don't know about Spain but in Greece i know for sure that air traffic controllers and their families enjoyed in the past HUGE discounts on olympic flights . Is that the case in Spain as well? I can understand the air traffic controllers attitude against their local airlines with that in mind , wouldn't you all?
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Old 23rd Jul 2003, 02:44
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Dicksynormous,
I work in Marseille field and we don't have so much traffic and always have good weather...We (ATC) are not allowed to propose a visual approach to pilots, they have to ask for it......
standard approaches are made for bad weather conditions and I don't think it's nonsense to perform a visual approach in good conditions...it is sometimes more difficult for ATC because they don't know the kind of circuit the aircraft is going to perform, but , as I said before, you can have an idea of it (depends on the company :-) )
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Old 23rd Jul 2003, 03:33
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Use of 24R at LEPA

Re use of 24R, Air Berlin, KLM, European, Easjet, Luftha, BM have used 24R regularly, esp late in the day to go straight to park off stand at R6,7,ad 8.

Air berlin now have year round hub from PMI and seem to get whichever they ask for, but yes it is mostly ESP carriers, especially from shortcutting vectors via NW entry to a short approach onto 24R. I've come in on a Spanair MD83 so tight onto finals I could have sworn we used a slip to get it onto the glideslope.
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Old 23rd Jul 2003, 21:22
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stilljustanothernumber
 
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"I could have sworn we used a slip to get it onto the glideslope"

How does that work then?
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Old 24th Jul 2003, 03:30
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unwise owl

It wasn't that well worded so excuse me. We came in from Valldamossa, which lies north of the airport over the mountains, and ended up making a late sharp turn onto finals, certainly high on the glideslope. My memory is a reasonably lowbank turn but high side loading to the inside (stb side), and I assumed he was slipping in the turn to loose the excess height. I'm not sure how likely that was to be in an aircraft of the size, but the g-loading pointed that way. The reason I mentioned it was that there was a late change to 24R from 24L at the request of the skipper, which was in relation to another gentlemans post above.
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Old 27th Jul 2003, 08:04
  #30 (permalink)  
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Arrow ATC

Just flew to Malaga about 4 hours ago. Controllers where not only spoke good english but did a good job. As far as it comes to me I cant say that I would have had any problems with Spanish ATC worthwhile mentioning (yet). Other than being kept high up for AGP ILS 14.

Still, After having lived in Spain for close to 4 years (On and Off) I find Spanish remarkably reluctant to accept any critique about anything they do. Spanish just do not do any mistakes or do anything wrong. If you bring things up, like the ATC issue, you step on their toes and they get offended.

Worst ATC I have experienced has been Luanda. It is hard to tell if it is just the equipment they have or their attitude as well. On numerous occasions during holidays and weekends they are "Unavailable" on HF or VHF.Presumably busy being "Entertained".
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Old 31st Jul 2003, 04:51
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ATC Favoritism

Come on Guys/Girls.
Stop putting down Spanish ATC for a practice that is apllied throughout Europe...
We are frequently allowed 24R because it gets us to our gate in the shortest time ( PMI )
If we parked habitually on the Southside of PMI then hunky-dory,but we don´t, and I also have to say that many times we are NOT ALLOWED 24R, so there you have it.
I find the disqualifying comments anything but helpful. I have many professional ATC friends that are as sharp as anyone elsewhere around Europe, so cool off!
Yes, Mahon has it´s off days but TAKE IT EASY

Signed: Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
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Old 31st Jul 2003, 15:28
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Well, my 2 cents worth; Spanish ATC is merely a reflection of Spanish society , where it is seen as "cool" or "clever" to get one over on your neighbour or any kind of authority. They do it to each other and to the "giuris" . I don´t think it is deliberate. They believe that every other countries ATC is doing the same to them. Hence the widespread EU frauds re: fishing quotas, farm quotas,structural funds.
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Old 1st Aug 2003, 08:20
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Take my advice :

Ask your start up clearance with "boanas dias", and you will by-pass all the Air Berlin's and TUI's
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Old 5th Aug 2003, 21:06
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Saturday morning in MAD. We received takeoff clearance 2 minutes prior to the start of our CTOT, passing 1 Iberia and an Spanair holding short of 36L.

:-)
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Old 7th Aug 2003, 06:40
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Thumbs down

You couldn’t make it up!

Just the other evening in an almost identical situation to MachineMan at LPA, except that there was no one ahead of us and we were cleared to 3000’ on a fairly wide downwind (just over 6 miles). As ADFS would probably say, I failed to plan ahead and had configured to flap 5 as we reached 6 miles downwind, stupidly expecting to be turned onto base any moment.

Just as we were about to ask for a turn in, the controller asked our speed? He was told 165 kts (and as I was thinking to myself that the turn must definitely come now, as he realises we are set up for base, I realised that the “dreaded” extended exchange in Spanish was taking place. Just as I said to my colleague “I don’t believe it – they are going to do it again,” our next instruction arrived. “Expect a turn in 5 miles.”

As we continued heading away from the airfield – there it was on TCAS, approx 5 miles behind, initially 1000’ above us shortly before starting it’s turn onto finals. (Ooops there I go again “playing ATCO with my TCAS”).

We finally received a turn towards the localiser about 12 miles out. I had glanced at our fuel when we were abeam the threshold and from the difference after we had landed, I would conservatively estimate we burned well in excess of an extra 600kgs to allow that Air Europa 737 get in ahead of us. (Obviously my fault because I should have planned to get dicked about and stayed in clean config.)

A couple of observations here:
It is easy to see that controllers from other countries, particularly the UK simply cannot comprehend, that what a few of us are bothering to describe here, could possibly happen anywhere. It is beyond belief to think of anything remotely similar happening at any UK airport, that’s for certain. But it really does happen with monotonous regularity in Spanish airspace.

When I think back over the worst examples of this type of controlling I have observed, it is always after a more lengthy exchange than normal, between the pilot and the controller. I can only come to the conclusion alluded to by Crackerjack, that most of this is “driven” by the pilots involved, but it is the controllers that are either “caving in” to their demands or are quite happy to go along with them.

The controllers, presumably, are unaware that this way of doing things is not the norm elsewhere, but the pilots for sure, know damn well that it is not!
(Well, maybe not the Binter pilots........)
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Old 11th Aug 2003, 19:17
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Angel

Hmmm, I wonder if it has anything to do with the great perks Spanish ATCOs receive from the Spanish independents? Not that perks on British carriers will make any difference mind you. After all, I can't see many of them wanting to take a family holiday to the average UK city (especially at UK prices)!
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Old 12th Aug 2003, 07:48
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We had "one of those days" recently; it all started with Spanish ATC giving priority to one of their turboprops. We managed to keep all the balls in the air, but it was all so unnecessary. I have to agree with those who've posted here about "some" Spanish ATC. Something similar happened to a colleague during the last week. He took the time to go and speak to the controller concerned in the tower during the turnround. The UK controllers would no doubt find it hard to believe - their standards are as required - amongst the highest.
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