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Worst ATC Services In The World  
User currently offlineGonzalo From Chile, joined Aug 2005, 1992 posts, RR: 2
Posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 6671 times:

Hello All, I didn't find a previous thread, if there is any, please post the link.

Before start, I want to express my respect to all the air traffic controllers, they certainly do a job that deserves a huts off, and with this thread I only expect we all know where is required a better training, or more staff, equipment, radars...
With some recent incidents where the ATC has played a role, and knowing of some cases really hard to believe, I want to know your opinion about where is located, in your opinion, the worst ATC service, specially regarding reliability ( I know the JFK guys are not very sweet in the Monday mornings, but you can trust in them ).

One case that I consider memorable is the flight of Air France ( Boeing 777 ) trying to land in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2005 IIRC. The controller barely speak some English words, and he didn't know that the ILS for the Rwy 35 was out of service. He gave to the T7 crew clearance for the ILS approach ( in Night / Instrumental Meteorological Conditions ), and the AF crew made two missed approaches, they requested confirmation about the ILS, and the controller screwed up again. After a lot of unintelligible responses from the controller, the AF crew requested to talk with the airport authorities after landing. The aircraft declared LOW FUEL and finally landed in the third attempt.
The same ATC of Buenos Aires "forgot" to issue a NOTAM for the launch of a small experimental ballistic rocket, and the thing passed roaring at the right hand of a Lufthansa Cargo MD-11, only a few miles away. The Lufthansa crew called for an explanation, but, obviously, "nobody knows nothing about ".

Have you any experience like this ? Where do you go and pray before for a good ( or at least reliable ) ATC service ?

Rgds.

G.


80 Knots...V1...Rotate...Gear Up...DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20 / B732 / B763
17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently onlinecedarjet From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 8142 posts, RR: 54
Reply 1, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 6646 times:

Argentina sounds bad, I thought they ran a tighter ship than that, esp compared to Brazil next door, who's culpability in the Gol 1907 crash grows balder every day.

How about this ATIS.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bDOZooUUNE



fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
User currently offlinebj87 From Netherlands, joined Jun 2009, 448 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 6569 times:

What I can never get about ATC is that in certain countries they speak English to foreign aircraft and their own language to their own aircraft. Technically this is completely legal.

What I don't get is that a bilingual ATC system has led to several fatal accidents in the past. Yet some countries are to damn proud to give up on their own language.

As for countries with bad ATC, don't know I am not a pilot. However when I hear some of the Language disasters that attempt communication from a cockpit I get really concerned. I often listen to the AMS ATC and some airlines have some serious problems getting their message across.


User currently offlineblueflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4069 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 6514 times:
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ATC in some parts of Africa is a notorious joke. It isn't so much that one cannot understand them, but more an issue of no one being "home" to take the "call." That there hasn't been any accident yet is due to the professionalism of the pilots, whether it is sharing their position with other aircraft within "earshot" on a common frequency, one aircraft acting as relay for another to a more distant center that does work as intended, or simply flying the intended route with an offset in case two aircraft are on the same route.

Dig around a little if you want details and you'll find tons of stories of pilots going hundreds of miles without any radio contact through no fault of their own.



I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlineGonzalo From Chile, joined Aug 2005, 1992 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 6488 times:

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 1):
How about this ATIS.

Good One !  
Quoting bj87 (Reply 2):
What I don't get is that a bilingual ATC system has led to several fatal accidents in the past. Yet some countries are to damn proud to give up on their own language.

I remember in the case of France, the ATC and regulatory entities tried to impose an only English policy in the major airports, but the AF Pilots and other citizen organisations made a big scandal about their national proud and the beautiful language they had.... If you land today in Charles De Gaulle, you have two options : Learn some French, or pray for a good visibility out of the cockpit window to catch where all the french speaking pilots are and what are they doing.

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 3):
Dig around a little if you want details and you'll find tons of stories of pilots going hundreds of miles without any radio contact through no fault of their own.

For what I know Nigeria and D.R. of Congo have a very bad reputation regarding ATC service... but probably they are not the only two in the continent.

Rgds.

G.



80 Knots...V1...Rotate...Gear Up...DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20 / B732 / B763
User currently offlineFlySSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7415 posts, RR: 57
Reply 5, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week ago) and read 6466 times:

Quoting Gonzalo (Reply 4):
I remember in the case of France, the ATC and regulatory entities tried to impose an only English policy in the major airports, but the AF Pilots and other citizen organisations made a big scandal about their national proud and the beautiful language they had.... If you land today in Charles De Gaulle, you have two options : Learn some French, or pray for a good visibility out of the cockpit window to catch where all the french speaking pilots are and what are they doing.

I was wondering how many posts we would have to wait before we could read this ...  


User currently offlineGonzalo From Chile, joined Aug 2005, 1992 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week ago) and read 6464 times:

Quoting FlySSC (Reply 5):
I was wondering how many posts we would have to wait before we could read this ...

If you have information about the situation, and you can show to me that I'm wrong, I'm listening.
The reality can be annoying, but is not less real for that.

Rgds.
G.



80 Knots...V1...Rotate...Gear Up...DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20 / B732 / B763
User currently offlinesandroZRH From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week ago) and read 6460 times:

in Europe it's Spain, hands down.

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 1):
How about this ATIS.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bDOZ...oUUNE

  

Quoting FlySSC (Reply 5):
I was wondering how many posts we would have to wait before we could read this ...

But he's spot on indeed. it's not that Paris (or french) ATC is bad at all, but in a dense traffic environment like CDG, it should be English and English only.


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25754 posts, RR: 50
Reply 8, posted (3 years 5 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 6435 times:

I'd say its portions of Africa where you never know if ATC will even have the electrical power to talk to you, and where radar is still quite a novel device to own.

Both overflight and terminal area operations in Africa can be quite challenging with sometimes a total lack of control.


Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):
The same ATC of Buenos Aires "forgot" to issue a NOTAM

Why should ATC issue a notam for a rocket launch ??

ATC is not in the business of issuing NOTAMS. That belongs to the individual entities involved such as the airport authority, national regulatory incase or AIP changes, or in this case sounds more like Fuerza Aerea Argentina failed.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineGonzalo From Chile, joined Aug 2005, 1992 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (3 years 5 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 6433 times:

Quoting sandroZRH (Reply 7):
But he's spot on indeed. it's not that Paris (or french) ATC is bad at all, but in a dense traffic environment like CDG, it should be English and English only.

Thank you, I think this accident can be a good example of the problem :

http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20000525-0

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 8):
Why should ATC issue a notam for a rocket launch ??

ATC is not in the business of issuing NOTAMS. That belongs to the individual entities involved such as the airport authority, national regulatory incase or AIP changes, or in this case sounds more like Fuerza Aerea Argentina failed.

You're totally right, I didn't explain the case correctly.
There were two problems that day, the first one was that the authority responsible of the NOTAM never issued one, and only informed by a TELEX to the ATC services of Argentina and Uruguay, and the second problem was that the ATC, knowing about the launch, never checked the exact hour of the launch and cleared the Lufthansa flight along the path of the rocket.

Rgds.

G.



80 Knots...V1...Rotate...Gear Up...DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20 / B732 / B763
User currently offlineFlySSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7415 posts, RR: 57
Reply 10, posted (3 years 5 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 6401 times:

Quoting Gonzalo (Reply 6):
If you have information about the situation, and you can show to me that I'm wrong, I'm listening.
The reality can be annoying, but is not less real for that.
Quoting sandroZRH (Reply 7):
But he's spot on indeed. it's not that Paris (or french) ATC is bad at all, but in a dense traffic environment like CDG, it should be English and English only.

There is nothing annoying ...

It's just that the same "complain" about French ATC speaking French to French airlines comes back into that kind of discussion over and over again and it seems to be a problem only in France ... as the Spanish ATC speaks Spanish with Spanish airlines/pilots in Spain and nobody seems to complain, same thing with the Italian ATC in Italian with Italian pilots/airlines, also in Russian bewteen the Rssian controllers and Russian pilots and even in Germany I sometimes hear conversations in German between the ATC and German pilots.
So what's the point with the French ATC speaking French to French speaking pilots ? (FYI, that's also the case in French speaking countries like Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Switzerlang (GVA), Canada (YUL) ).

ATC in YUL :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlT-UMLJSlQ



Now the subject on ATC efficiency and skills is interesting and important as we all know that ATC can sometimes be a "danger" in certain airports and/or towers.

It is "notorious" in the pilots world that ATC in EZE, or ATH, or MOW, just to name a few, are not "easy" sometimes and not the most efficient.
It is also notorious that ATC in the U.S can sometimes be difficult for foreign pilots as controllers don't make any effort with their strong "accent" or to speak slowly.

[Edited 2011-05-20 21:23:15]

User currently offlinesandroZRH From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (3 years 5 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 6348 times:

Quoting FlySSC (Reply 10):
It's just that the same "complain" about French ATC speaking French to French airlines comes back into that kind of discussion over and over again and it seems to be a problem only in France

Nobody said that it's only a problem with the French. It's just as much of a problem in Spain, Russia and indeed Geneva. However I've never heard italian ATC issuing clearances in Italian, neither have I heard German ATC do so. There may be some irrelevant chatter in the respective languages but that's a whole different story.

Quoting FlySSC (Reply 10):
So what's the point with the French ATC speaking French to French speaking pilots ?

That's what I'd like to know aswell. There really is nothing to gain from it, all it does is impairing non-French speaking pilots' situational awareness.

Anyway, back on topic: Anyone else with me on the Spanish being the worst? The funny thing is that they're supposedly the best paid in Europe, what a joke.


User currently offlineFlySSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7415 posts, RR: 57
Reply 12, posted (3 years 5 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 6330 times:

Quoting sandroZRH (Reply 11):
I've never heard italian ATC issuing clearances in Italian, neither have I heard German ATC do so.

I did !
Only once in Germany (approaching STR)
Several time in Italy, particularly between ATC and domestic AZ flights (heard it personnaly on AZ FCO-CAG / LIN-CAG).

Quoting sandroZRH (Reply 11):
back on topic: Anyone else with me on the Spanish being the worst?

Don't know if they are the worst ... but they are not very fair, especially at MAD where ATC is always putting foreign airlines on holding pattern to give way to IB / JK / UX flights in priority.


User currently offlineGonzalo From Chile, joined Aug 2005, 1992 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (3 years 5 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 6300 times:

Quoting FlySSC (Reply 10):
There is nothing annoying ...

It's just that the same "complain" about French ATC speaking French to French airlines comes back into that kind of discussion over and over again and it seems to be a problem only in France

I apologize, because you are right , the problem of multiple language is common to a lot of the countries where English is not the official language. Maybe the reason why all remember and talk always about the French case is because they were among the few countries who officially tried to change that, making the situation even more unfair if you want.

But Sandro hit the nail here :


Quoting sandroZRH (Reply 7):
in a dense traffic environment like CDG, it should be English and English only.

The same apply to MAD, EZE, FRA, PEK, and all airport in the world with this traffic level.

Summarizing a little, we have this candidates :

Europe : MAD
LatAm : EZE
Africa : Almost everywhere


Somebody with a name for Asia, Oceania and North America ?

Rgds.

G.



80 Knots...V1...Rotate...Gear Up...DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20 / B732 / B763
User currently offlineAR385 From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 6357 posts, RR: 31
Reply 14, posted (3 years 5 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 6276 times:
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Quoting Gonzalo (Thread starter):
One case that I consider memorable is the flight of Air France ( Boeing 777 ) trying

This one, the LH one and a third one (in Spanish) involving an AR flight Captain and a female Argentine controller are in you tube.

The AF one Part 1 and part 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvrbMjDvcX8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvrbMjDvcX8


This is an EZE controller arguing awith the captain until the captain is fed up and declares "Priority for Minimum fuel". Notice the ATC controller giving "lessons" to the pilot about fuel management.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyF9lqU6Dh8&feature=related

The one with the LH I can´t find it, but I also watched it once on you tube.


User currently offlineGonzalo From Chile, joined Aug 2005, 1992 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (3 years 5 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 6247 times:

Quoting AR385 (Reply 14):
The one with the LH I can´t find it, but I also watched it once on you tube.


Here it is ( only in Sapnish, sorry. The one with the LH MD 11 is at 2 '50".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IZXRQuqr4w

Also in Youtube :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiSlla9fIG4&feature=related

A LAN Cargo aircraft report a TCAS alert to Argentinian ATC, the LAN crew report that another aircraft passed 700 ft away, at FL 330, and they can not identify the other aircraft. They also tell to ATC that the aircraft was with ALL the lights OFF.

Rgds.

G.



80 Knots...V1...Rotate...Gear Up...DC-3 / EMB-110 / Fairchild-227 / Ab318-19-20 / B732 / B763
User currently offlinesandroZRH From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (3 years 5 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6223 times:

Quoting FlySSC (Reply 12):
I did !
Only once in Germany (approaching STR)
Several time in Italy, particularly between ATC and domestic AZ flights (heard it personnaly on AZ FCO-CAG / LIN-CAG).

Are you sure those were clearance-relevant or just some general chatter? (do you know the result of that football game, do you have any turbulence up there, blablabla...).

I can hardly believe that German ATC would issue clearances in German, not just because I know they're not allowed to do so, but also because it would sound pretty damn stupid 
Quoting FlySSC (Reply 12):
but they are not very fair, especially at MAD where ATC is always putting foreign airlines on holding pattern to give way to IB / JK / UX flights in priority.

Yeah, but that's just one of many things. Sometimes you get the feeling that they are totally overwhelmed, issuing senseless clearances and sending planes to holdings for no apparent reason. Their seperation regulations are ridiculous, they'll never give you anydirect routings even if you'd be the only plane in the sky, their english is borderline and they're also the most unfriendly bunch ive ever come across. These are just some of the reasons why they're the worst in Europe by miles, even worse that the Russians.

The funny thing is that in Spain, it seems the larger the airport, the worse the ATC, which is why:

Quoting Gonzalo (Reply 13):
Europe : MAD

Totally gets my vote.


User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2833 posts, RR: 45
Reply 17, posted (3 years 5 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6199 times:

Quoting Gonzalo (Reply 4):
I remember in the case of France, the ATC and regulatory entities tried to impose an only English policy in the major airports, but the AF Pilots and other citizen organisations made a big scandal about their national proud and the beautiful language they had.... If you land today in Charles De Gaulle, you have two options : Learn some French, or pray for a good visibility out of the cockpit window to catch where all the french speaking pilots are and what are they doing.

I haven't been everywhere in the world, so I am not qualified to make an absolute assessment, but I have flown into CDG a lot and while I have heard French on the radio, I have never thought it was worse than most European airports and was better than many (despite the sometimes stifling complexity involved.) Parts of South America are horrible and as for Europe, Spain gets my vote for perpetually worst, though Italy can be onerous as well.


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