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MAYDAY over the Bay of Biscay

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MAYDAY over the Bay of Biscay

Old 29th Jun 2006, 09:03
  #81 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: flightdeck/earlyhours commute
Posts: 198
I'll chip in with a few bits.

I always (at least intend) monitor 121.5, or try if we only have 2 boxes available. I find I regularly have to reselect 121.5 after my colleague has taken the weather.
Very recently, with Brest, we were contacted on 121.5 due lack of contact. We weren't immediately aware of the silence(?) on box 1 due to a stupidly high amount of chatter and rubbish going on 121.5. Box 1 had failed, but as mentioned, there was so much chatter on 121.5 (PA's, handling agent calls, hello Bob are you there?) that the problem was masked.
When we heard our callsign on 121.5, the transmission was stepped on by another aircraft. I called the Brest channel, found a problem. realised 121.5 were calling, called them, by which time the skipper had made contact on box 1 with ATC. Between us, 2 flightdeck + ATC, we were out of contact less than 3 minutes. 121.5 seems particularly active down that way sometimes, or Is it me?
Our Box 1 had a recurring fault, cleared in the tech log.

The point I am almost making is...

Situations will still arise were people are out of contact. In todays hightened alert, the results are more costly.
Communications failures will still arise. ATC will forget to transfer. we will select the wrong freq, radios will fail. monitoring 121.5 won't always help the problem immediately.
Shiny side down is offline  
Old 29th Jun 2006, 11:31
  #82 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 53
The use of 121.5 in the UK for "practice pans" and "random chat" is distracting and does, in my experience, lead to guys continously turning down the volume or de-selecting the frequency. How feasible is it to have a "sim-guard" frequency to be used (with D and D) for Practice Emergency calls?

Also, are there any radio fits that allow simultaneous monitoring of the active ATC frequency and VHF guard on the same box? Most military UHF boxes have this facility for listening to 243MHz.

SixDelta is offline  
Old 29th Jun 2006, 13:19
  #83 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 563

Don't you guys ever use what we call "winchester" for goof off calls? Winchester being: 123.45mhz?

named such (I didn't make this up) for the quick firing lever action winchester rifle shooting : 12345 shots (5)

we also use EARL SCHIEB: 129.95 mhz (this named after a southern california car painting place which used to advertise painting any car for $29.95)

Also, "top of the FM dial" 135.975mhz (highest vhf frequency on most radio sets/aviation band).

I also appreciate that flying in the USA might be much easier than the multiple airspace /national boundries flying in europe you all contend with. We won't get shot down for flying between california and nevada with lost com...maybe over DC, but not the many states (at least not yet)

jondc9 is offline  
Old 29th Jun 2006, 16:06
  #84 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 53

123.45 is an "assigned" freq in the UK i believe, in other words somebody "owns it" (was Bristows at one time). More to the point, why bother with the "hey Bob" calls at all unless you've a company "chat" frequency assigned.

SixDelta is offline  
Old 29th Jun 2006, 17:03
  #85 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 563

of course you are right, why bother with "hey bob" calls...but at least they should not be on the emergency frequency anyway.

as for practice df steers, some in the us are available on FSS 122.2, others do require 121.5.

in the US, in addition to the unofficial freqs I mentioned above, there is a plane to plane frequency 122.750, 122.850, 123.025, 123.3, 123.5, some used for planes, others gliders, copters and so forth.

also a number of UNICOM frequencies for use to call for fuel or rental car etc.

I do think 123.45 is also used on transatlantic trips to gab it up a bit.

certainly I bow to the knowledge you have of UK frequency allocation.


I recall one incident where one flight crew (that was severely punished) found out the company frequency of a competitor called "WESTAIR". THE PILOTS were poorly treated at westair including poor pay ( back in 1985 or so) .

while flying over a westair airport which was known to have a loud radio so that ticket agents could hear while helping passengers, a devilish crew sang the following:

(to the tune of "I wish I were an oscar mayer weiner)

I wish I were a westair pilot

that is what I would truly like to bee ee ee

'cuz if I were a westair pilot

they would not have to pay meeee.

said crew was found out by the other company (after a phone call from the chief pilot of westair). the crew was told to remain grounded for 1 week ( with pay ;-) ) as punishment.

this crew was heroic in the eyes of their mates, and the chief pilot was even more beloved!

jondc9 is offline  
Old 30th Jun 2006, 23:24
  #86 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: third rock from the sun
Posts: 111
Hi there,

I find it rather worrying that not only is Jon posting quite some strong statements here, but he is also finding support from a number of people. Are these opinions really widespread among the pilot community?

Let's get back to the start here. So Jon is the top ace pilot who never makes a mistake and has to correct his lousy lazy captain on his mistakes. Meanwhile the captain gets paid double the salary for reading the golf magazine. That was the feeling I was getting from his post. hmmmm.

Well, like previously posted, wouldn't it be more sensible to talk to the captain in question first before getting him fired? Also he failed to mention how a mistaken frequency change ended up in loss of situational awareness. That would require two pilots to not know where they are, or one pilot not knowing and the other not telling. Offcourse it could be one pilot not wanting to listen, I am not passing judgement here, but the fact is that if this would happen to me, I would mark it as a black day in my career, try to learn where I could have done it differently and certainly not shout about it on this forum.

If mister Jon thinks that he totally understands aviation, maybe he should concider there are other people out there that are the same dots on his tcas screen but are in a very different seat then him. We have only two comm sets and have to change frequency from 121.5 to something else sometimes to talk to other people. We do not fly the same route very often and have no clue who we are talking to next and when. I did over 200 different airport last year so don't expect me to remember any of the frequencies please (three times guess who I work for, and leave out the first two).

Most of all I am worried about the statement that "we are not as professional as we should be". It is just terrible to think that that is the cause of loosing radio contact. I try my very best to be the best pilot I can be. But I am also human, and humans make mistakes. If you do not believe that then you either did not pay attention in crm class or you are Luitenant Data from Star Trek. Switch the wrong frequency, get a comm failure, miss a call, you name it. It can all happen to the best of us, really. Just deal with the problem and get on with life. But if you really believe it will never happen to you, you are setting yourself up for a mayor problem, because you will not see it when something has gone wrong.

I am a professional pilot Jon and therefore I believe in the power of two pilots working together. CRM is my bible. your attitude belongs in a single seater fighter airplane!
fortuna76 is offline  
Old 30th Jun 2006, 23:49
  #87 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 563
fortuna 76
shame on you for your post and obvious misrepresentation of my words!

YOU state: CRM is your bible! You must not have read it very well.

CRM only works when the captain sets the tone in the cockpit to allow it to work. I've stated this before, see previous posts.

You mention me "getting the captain fired". Shame on you again!

When the captain in question comes on board and says he only has 2 months to retire and "doesn't give a damn" about doing a good job, and ORDERS his copilot to shut up when his copilot trys to make sure that communications are being made correctly with ATC, YOU HAVE THE NERVE TO FAULT ME?

The chief pilot had other complaints besides mine and did not fire the captain, but allowed him to retire early. HE , the captain, could have fought it, the chief pilot could have laughed at what I said and fired me, but he KNEW I was telling the truth.

NO MR> Fortuna, maybe you just haven't seen enough of flying to know where the dust has been swept under the carpet.

Also, I have never said anything about being ACE OF THE BASE. BUT if ace of the base is a pilot who comes to work with current charts, a good night's sleep, a "picture" of the weather and other conditions pertinent to his flight, then call me ACE.

AND if you don't fly somewhere often, have only 2 comm sets, then you must be more careful about all of your communications and quit making excuses.

And fortuna, I've never flown a single seat fighter.

IF you are captain and CRM is your bible, hooray! Set the tone and make sure all of your crew, fa's included, understand...but don't just talk the talk, walk the walk. When one of your f/a crew says, "I hear a funny noise back here" just before takeoff, are you going to go back to the gate and get it checked? Or will you laugh it off and launch with a bad door seal? When your copilot asks "what are you reading" and it is the newspaper instead of an approach chart:THINK OF ME.

Reasons to lose comm:

Electrical Failure
Radio Failure
Speaker Failure
Headset Failure
(by either the aircraft or the ATC facility)
Radio Interferrence , Precip static
Loss of line of sight (vhf)
Failure of audio selector panel and associated amplifier
Stuck Mic
Antenna or lead failure
and of course human failure

You might have seen another post of mine called: Reality Check.
People do fall asleep in the cockpit, even both pilots!

People do forget to properly arrange their audio panel
Stuck Mics do happen.

AND it is my intent to remind all of my brother pilots that we as pilots must be vigilant for the above. And to watch out for ATC errors.

And in the spirit of good CRM, I await your views.

jondc9 is offline  
Old 1st Jul 2006, 07:03
  #88 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 8,575
A broken record...

Jon, you remind me of the late Hubert Humphery, you recall, the Senator who most times started his mouth going, then walked away and left it running...

Calm down son, and enjoy the view, and try not to disrupt your Captain's nap too many times....
411A is offline  

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