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French ATC Slammed By Newspaper!  
User currently offlineAirlittoral From France, joined Sep 2006, 108 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 12 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6859 times:

For those of you who read french, an article in Le Figaro, the French newspaper, investigates the "dangerous" work practices that are in place within ATC throughout France.
To cut a long story short, the french ATC administration is accused of having implemented an illegal work shifts system, ironically called "clearance", whereby controllers work only half of the time they're supposed to work. The result of this is recurrent understaffing which is a very dangerous situation especially in busy hubs such as CDG.

The DGAC (French Air Transport Administration) has immediately launched an investigation by Government order.

Below is the article and a link to a very heated argument between an AF pilot and CDG ATC. Enjoy! (I hope a translation will come out soon).

http://www.lefigaro.fr/actualite-fra...0090923ARTFIG00054-vous-ne-foutez-
rien-.php

http://www.lefigaro.fr/actualite-fra...iques-des-aiguilleurs-du-ciel-.php

18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineFlySSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7412 posts, RR: 57
Reply 1, posted (4 years 12 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6616 times:

The real question is why, precisely, all this "story" is now getting out in the newspaper and put on the public place when these "arrangements" exist for years and years and this situation is not a secret for anybody in the French Aviation world, including the DGAC ...

I still can remember pilots talking about this when we were given ATC slots on certain days back in 1987 when I was beginning my "career" as a young F/A


User currently offlineKL911 From Czech Republic, joined Jul 2003, 5141 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (4 years 12 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6447 times:

It was real fun listening to it, haha. Happens all the time though.. Try JKF. - Smile

User currently offlineThenoflyzone From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 2494 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (4 years 12 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 6213 times:

If they are actually combining sectors, and other controllers are leaving to go home early, this is a problem and needs to be looked at seriously.

if however, they are understaffed, and the sectors are combined due to staffing, that is another matter. Management should hire more controllers.

After reading the article, it is unclear which of the two scenarios is happening, as the article mentions that currently, the hiring rate isn't enough to cover the retirement of older controllers.

Thenoflyzone



us Air Traffic Controllers have a good record, we haven't left one up there yet !!
User currently offlineKingFriday013 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1300 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5788 times:

I was listening to the audio, and I was just thinking... what happened to speaking in ICAO English? I mean forget slang, this is just completely in French.

Luckily, I'm currently taking French and have been for over six years now, but if I hadn't been taking French and if I were a pilot, I don't think I'd understand a word of it. As it is, I had some trouble just keeping up with this conversation.

-J.



Tho' I've belted you an' flayed you, By the livin' Gawd that made you, You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
User currently offlineAffirmative From France, joined Jul 2009, 352 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 4908 times:



Quoting KingFriday013 (Reply 4):

I agree fully. But I have heard several french ATC controllers using french as main language. It must be quite confusing for non french speaking pilots entering french airspace. I know I would like to know what's being said to other planes around me just in case the controller is not paying full attention.. But, the french have always been a bit.. ehem, French..  duck 



I love the smell of Jet-A1 in the morning...
User currently offlineExcalibur From France, joined Dec 2007, 56 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4738 times:



Quoting KingFriday013 (Reply 4):



Quoting Affirmative (Reply 5):

Actually, French IS an ICAO language... And I can testify that french ATC controllers speak ICAO english as good as any non-english controllers when they have to.

Alex



McDonnell-Douglas MD11 - Boeing 747-400
User currently offlineKaiarahi From Canada, joined Jul 2009, 3005 posts, RR: 27
Reply 7, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4495 times:



Quoting KingFriday013 (Reply 4):
what happened to speaking in ICAO English

The official ICAO languages are English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.

Quoting Excalibur (Reply 6):
French IS an ICAO language... And I can testify that french ATC controllers speak ICAO english as good as any non-english controllers when they have to.

 checkmark 



Empty vessels make the most noise.
User currently offlineLevent From France, joined Sep 2004, 1718 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4428 times:

In Spain the controllers very often speak in Spanish to Spanish pilots, which can be quite daunting to any non-Spanish pilots being in the vicinity of large airports with heavy traffic such as Madrid and Barcelona. I've witnessed many times that controllers would switch to English to improve the awareness of other crews, but Spanish pilots would simply refuse to respond in English.

User currently offlineYYZatcboy From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 1083 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 3344 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
CUSTOMER SERVICE & SUPPORT

Even here in Canada, controllers in Montreal FIR speak French and English. As long as it does not create an unsafe situation I don't see what the problem is.


DHC1/3/4 MD11/88 L1011 A319/20/21/30 B727 735/6/7/8/9 762/3 E175/90 CRJ/700/705 CC150. J/S DH8D 736/7/8
User currently offlineOzGlobal From France, joined Nov 2004, 2721 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3012 times:



Quoting Affirmative (Reply 5):
But, the french have always been a bit.. ehem, French..   

And the Americans much more so. Just read the thread on JFK ATC!  Yeah sure



When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
User currently offlineThenoflyzone From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 2494 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2830 times:



Quoting Levent (Reply 8):
In Spain
the controllers very often speak in Spanish to Spanish pilots, which can be quite daunting to any non-Spanish pilots being in the vicinity of large airports
with heavy traffic such as Madrid and Barcelona

There is nothing unsafe in controlling planes in both french and english on the same frequency. Happens every day in Montreal Center and everywhere in France as well. Same thing with Dutch and English in Holland, and German and English in Germany, or spanish and english in Spain.

All the arguments about pilots not having situational awareness due to several languages on the frequency is totally absurd. There can be an aircraft 1000 feet above another one, and each one can be in another sector, i.e talking to two different controllers. the pilots in this scenario will not have situational awareness there either.

Please lets not make this a language issue. Myself being a controller in Montreal FIR, i can assure all of you that bilingualism doesn't compromise safety in ATC. We have the picture, we have the situational awareness, and pilots should rely on our judgement and separation skills to navigate safely through our airspace. That's all.

Thenoflyzone



us Air Traffic Controllers have a good record, we haven't left one up there yet !!
User currently offlineBlueFlyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4006 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 2771 times:
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Quoting Thenoflyzone (Reply 3):
After reading the article, it is unclear which of the two scenarios is happening, as the article mentions that currently, the hiring rate isn't enough to cover the retirement of older controllers.

What's happening is the two scenarios back-to-back, according to the article. Starting in 1999, French ATC used to be overstaffed, at which point this "clearance" system was devised to allow unneeded controllers to stay home while being paid for their full duty hours.

Through retirements and a slower hiring pace, French ATC reached a point where it wasn't overstaffed anymore, but the "clearance" system was maintained nevertheless, leading us to the point where it is alleged it is effectively understaffed.

The other interesting issue this article raises is that fresh graduates of the French ATC school prefer, when given a choice, a career path that takes them to smaller airports in Southern France or overseas territories, as opposed to the CDG tower, and that CDG ends up being staffed, in part, by controllers who did not score high enough to get their first choice of post.

[Edited 2009-09-25 00:11:35]


I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlineSebolino From France, joined May 2001, 3681 posts, RR: 4
Reply 13, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days ago) and read 2708 times:

To sum up the heated argument between the ATC and the pilot, for the non-French speakers:

The pilot is furious to have been said he should reduce his speed and let other planes pass. The ATC justify it by the fact that there are only 2 runways.
The pilot starts then to insult the controller, saying that "they" (the controllers) don't do their job.

The same day, an article states that controllers in France are only working part time (but illegally) ...


User currently offlineBreiz From France, joined Mar 2005, 1917 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2543 times:



Quoting Sebolino (Reply 13):
The pilot is furious to have been said he should reduce his speed and let other planes pass.

The reason of the pilot's reaction is that, during the transatlantic flight, he had managed to get back the time lost on departure, and he was hoping to be on time on arrival for passengers connections.
The decision of the controller ruined his efforts.


User currently offlineAmerican 767 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3798 posts, RR: 12
Reply 15, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 2456 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

Here is the translation of the conversation, for those who don't understand French.

ATC: Air France 735 descend to FL 360 and reduce speed Mach .75

Pilot: And why do you penalize us at this point while letting other aircraft behind us go, Air France 735?

ATC: There are only two runways in Roissy.

Pilot: There are only two runways and two controllers, you are doing nothing! We had caught up our delay, it's my last flight and I'm going to retire in a very bad mood.

ATC: I don't care.

Pilot: Idiot ! You are stupid, you work like idiots.



Ben Soriano
User currently offlineElite From Hong Kong, joined Jun 2006, 2808 posts, RR: 10
Reply 16, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 2407 times:



Quoting American 767 (Reply 16):
Pilot: Idiot ! You are stupid, you work like idiots.

Wow, that's... not the behavior of a professional pilot...


User currently offlineThenoflyzone From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 2494 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 2281 times:



Quoting Elite (Reply 16):
.. not the behavior of a professional pilot...

Considering it was his last flight, It's pretty obvious he doesn't really care about being professional. What is AF going to do, fire him ! That bad mouthing was probably the result of the build up of years of anger at the way French ATC has been handling his flights. I am not condoning his behavior, but i sure as hell understand it.

Thenoflyzone



us Air Traffic Controllers have a good record, we haven't left one up there yet !!
User currently offlineLegacy135 From Switzerland, joined May 2005, 1052 posts, RR: 26
Reply 18, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 2069 times:

Yes, they do speak English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese etc. etc. But it is dangerous! The only way to keep a safe airspace is common situational awareness. This is only given if EVERYBODY does speak in one common language. This is unfortunately not the case yet in so many countries and it is nothing than a fact, that the best and most professional ATC we do get in those countries, using one langauge only and this is English, if you like it or not.

What for doing ICAO language proficiency checks and all this stuff, created with a good intention but simply helping nothing if everybody goes on in it's own language.

Cheers

Legacy135  Wink


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