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JFK ATC- Controllers Or Auctioneers?  
User currently offlinecaleb1 From United States of America, joined Nov 2008, 364 posts, RR: 3
Posted (2 years 1 week 1 day ago) and read 10829 times:
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I was on a UA P.S. flight from LAX to JFK a couple of weeks ago and was listening to Channel 9 on approach to JFK. I was both blown away by, and in awe of, the rapid-fire speed at which the JFK controllers issued instructions to pilots both in the air and on the ground. I have a Private Pilot's license and although I haven't flown in years, I am still familiar with the language and terminology of ATC. The exchanges I heard at JFK between controllers and pilots, however, was practically indecipherable to me due to their speed. Granted, I have neither the experience nor the expertise of a commericial pilot, but is ATC miscomunication by expericed pilots common at JFK? Also, it must be an absolute nightmare for pilots to respond to and execute these instructions if they are not completely comfortable speaking English. I can only imagine how much worse it gets when the weather is really bad in the New York metro area. Any thoughts or comments?

[Edited 2012-09-10 13:31:11]

54 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently onlinefcogafa From United Kingdom, joined May 2008, 803 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 1 week 1 day ago) and read 10846 times:

It has always struck me that American controllers say a lot more, much faster and are more agressive than is necessary. Then they are surprised when foreign pilots do not understand them.

Compare that to Heathrow controllers who manage to move more aircraft in a smaller space than JFK with just as complex a taxiway system and many more foreign pilots, whilst remaining calm, polite and saying less.

Chill out guys!


User currently offlinecaTIII From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 3031 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (2 years 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 10847 times:

Cue the quarterly "let's bash JFK controllers for being rude/having NYC accents/speaking too fast" thread...  

User currently offlineN62NA From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4469 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (2 years 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 10854 times:

There was a topic a few years ago that included a link to a recording of JFK ATC and a huge mess caused by one of the foreign pilots. He wasn't where he was supposed to be and the controller's handling of the situation was, er, quite interesting.  

On a related note - I was on an AA flight PHL-MIA a few years ago and a few seconds after takeoff this "strange" announcement came over the PA system, something like: "American 382 124.4 Good day." I of course knew what that was but there was some confused looks on the faces of some of the passengers!


User currently offlinekhpn From United States of America, joined Sep 2010, 157 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 10849 times:

a few thoughts..

1) think about JFK during prime time rush hour with flights being cleared for take off and landing as frequently as possible, imagine the amount of metal moving around from 8-10am on a summer day, in ideal weather conditions, the amount of planes that are trying to get up or get down is mind blowing.. with such fast paced traffic it seems natural that the controllers issue commands as quickly as they can.

2) the fact that they do this all day every day as a career leads me to believe that they will get pretty good at saying something like "jetBlue XXX rwy XX cleared to land" or clearing a plane for the breezy point climb, or directing a plane to switch to a departure frequency.. they probably say such things hundreds of times to the point where it is second nature.

now couple those two points with the fact that they are some of, if not THE best controllers in the country and have gone through extensive training and simulation, they're pretty much prepared for any situation and already know exactly what to say before they even need to say it..

do they speak fast? yes
do they have an edge in their voices in moments of stress? OF COURSE! THEY'RE NEW YORKERS!!
are they professionals? certainly.

as for the pilot aspect of things, if you watch any footage of a landing or departure from JFK you'll see the crew working very closely together, flying into JFK really requires one pilot to aviate and the other to communicate. the smoothest approaches are those where the PIC only has to focus on flying the plane, while the 2nd in command's responsibility is to communicate with controllers while guiding the pilot/plane to follow ATC's instruction.


JFK = ATC at its best.


User currently offlineMGASJO From Nicaragua, joined Feb 2005, 464 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 10853 times:

Quoting N62NA (Reply 3):

There was a topic a few years ago that included a link to a recording of JFK ATC and a huge mess caused by one of the foreign pilots. He wasn't where he was supposed to be and the controller's handling of the situation was, er, quite interesting.

You mean this one?

http://youtu.be/Ru8IbRaHC2g



C208B
User currently offlineN62NA From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4469 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (2 years 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 10649 times:

Quoting MGASJO (Reply 5):

You mean this one?

http://youtu.be/Ru8IbRaHC2g

Nope, not that one. The one I'm thinking about had the guy go onto the wrong taxiway and then the controller had to route a whole bunch of planes around him. I'll try finding it now.


User currently offlinekhpn From United States of America, joined Sep 2010, 157 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 10650 times:

Quoting N62NA (Reply 6):
Nope, not that one. The one I'm thinking about had the guy go onto the wrong taxiway and then the controller had to route a whole bunch of planes around him. I'll try finding it now.

this one?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyO-bWGxWBU


User currently offlineN62NA From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4469 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (2 years 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 10641 times:

Quoting khpn (Reply 7):
this one?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyO-b...GxWBU

Yes!


User currently onlineflyby519 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 1142 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 10594 times:

The NYC controllers are some of the best in the business. If you can't handle it then you better turn your plane around and go home. Things in NYC get even faster paced once you're off airport property.


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User currently offlineRobK From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2004, 3947 posts, RR: 18
Reply 10, posted (2 years 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 10408 times:

Quoting flyby519 (Reply 9):
The NYC controllers are some of the best in the business

..but they have the worst attitudes ever. I spend a lot of time listening the WATRS area (basically the Atlantic west of 60W) which is controlled by New York ARINC and it nearly makes my blood boil hearing how those male operators speak to the pilots. If you make the slightest mistake reading back an oceanic clearance or a re-route, out come all the snide remarks and heavy sighing and basically speak to you like you're some inept idiot. And god help you if your native language isn't English. How the Transoviet pilots manage to restrain themselves from giving them a mouthful back is astonishing.

I should also mention in fairness that the vast majority of the NYC ARINC female operators are absolutely lovely and very patient.


User currently offlineN243NW From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1632 posts, RR: 20
Reply 11, posted (2 years 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 10403 times:

I may take some flak for saying it here, but I've said it multiple times before after listening to the recordings of JFK controllers dealing with foreign pilots. I find that often the pilots are the first to make a mistake, but many of these audio recordings reveal terrible phraseology on the part of ATC. Being the best and most professional controllers out there means speaking in clear, concise, approved phraseology, not speaking like a machine gun in an attempt to sound cool or smart.

Proper communication means not throwing words like "interrogative" around on the frequency (the Air China 981 link above). Do the controllers honestly think that using this kind of verbiage will get them the result they want? It seems that the more frustrated the controller gets, the more nonstandard his transmissions become. Granted, that Air China pilot was pretty bad, but there's blame to go around on both sides here.

Of course, I'm sure that many foreign airlines try to send their most proficient English speaking pilots to airports like JFK, for this reason.



B-52s don't take off. They scare the ground away.
User currently offlinePHX787 From Japan, joined Mar 2012, 7560 posts, RR: 18
Reply 12, posted (2 years 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 10355 times:

Quoting caTIII (Reply 2):
Cue the quarterly "let's bash JFK controllers for being rude/having NYC accents/speaking too fast" thread...

But they're so funny! Why bash them?

Quoting N62NA (Reply 6):
Nope, not that one. The one I'm thinking about had the guy go onto the wrong taxiway and then the controller had to route a whole bunch of planes around him. I'll try finding it now.

It's hilarious nonetheless!

Quoting N62NA (Reply 8):
Quoting khpn (Reply 7):
this one?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyO-b...GxWBU

Yes!

This one is the classic. I heard that guy was fired and got re-hired at Islip?


What about Boston John  



次は、渋谷、渋谷。出口は、右側です。電車とホームの間は広く開いておりますので、足元に注意下さい。
User currently offlineairportugal310 From Tokelau, joined Apr 2004, 3637 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (2 years 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 10258 times:

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 12):
What about Boston John  

Last I heard, Boston John was doing ATC in Puerto Rico...so I heard, anyways

too bad!



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User currently offlinenycdave From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 547 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (2 years 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 10230 times:

Hey, if ya don't want things movin' fast, and some no-BS guys givin' ya the business, ehhh maybe fly inta some UDDA city, okay?

User currently offlineN62NA From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4469 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (2 years 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 10206 times:

Quoting airportugal310 (Reply 13):
Last I heard, Boston John was doing ATC in Puerto Rico.

I never heard of "Boston Bob" - but if he used to work in Boston and now is in Puerto Rico, I would consider that a much better assignment!  


User currently offlineN766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8269 posts, RR: 23
Reply 16, posted (2 years 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 10163 times:

I've never thought JFK controllers speak any faster than anyone else, they just tend speak more frequently.

Quoting airportugal310 (Reply 13):
Last I heard, Boston John was doing ATC in Puerto Rico...so I heard, anyways

That's a shame! John was a lot of fun to watch work. He'd actually wave to every airplane as it took off while saying his trademark "hasta lavista."



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User currently onlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21629 posts, RR: 55
Reply 17, posted (2 years 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 10152 times:

Quoting N243NW (Reply 11):
I find that often the pilots are the first to make a mistake, but many of these audio recordings reveal terrible phraseology on the part of ATC.

ATC phraseology in the US is poor, no doubt about it. When I was flying from Mexico to the US, there was a noticeable difference when one passed from Mexican airspace into Houston Center's airspace - the english became harder to understand.

But that's a cultural thing, and it will not change overnight, only when the current generation moves out of their jobs and a newer generation (hopefully instilled with a better appreciation of how to do things properly) moves in.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineN766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8269 posts, RR: 23
Reply 18, posted (2 years 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 10133 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 17):
But that's a cultural thing, and it will not change overnight, only when the current generation moves out of their jobs and a newer generation (hopefully instilled with a better appreciation of how to do things properly) moves in.

Just FYI, the newer generation of controllers appreciates their job FAR less than the "old timers." There are a lot of good new guys, don't get me wrong, but the culture shift is enormous. I wouldn't bank on anything you just said.

I suppose that's not surprising, though. Take a look anywhere in our society- would you say the younger generations are more or less considerate, thoughtful, careful, interested, interesting, or driven?

[Edited 2012-09-10 20:01:49]


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User currently offlineairportugal310 From Tokelau, joined Apr 2004, 3637 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (2 years 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 10123 times:

Quoting N62NA (Reply 15):
I never heard of "Boston Bob" - but if he used to work in Boston and now is in Puerto Rico, I would consider that a much better assignment!

I can't access youtube at the moment, but if you search for "Boston John" you should find a few clips. Very enthusiastic guy, was very polite, and just had a certain way of saying things that you couldn't forget



I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
User currently offlineN766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8269 posts, RR: 23
Reply 20, posted (2 years 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 10111 times:

Quoting airportugal310 (Reply 19):
Very enthusiastic guy, was very polite, and just had a certain way of saying things that you couldn't forget

And he was damn good at his job. The way he spoke also made his instructions easier to understand, and I've found myself incorporating them into my radio calls as well. For example, John would draw out "hold short" as "…hooold short…" so you knew to slow down and hold up just based on his tone.



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User currently offlineairportugal310 From Tokelau, joined Apr 2004, 3637 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (2 years 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 10111 times:

Quoting N766UA (Reply 16):
That's a shame! John was a lot of fun to watch work. He'd actually wave to every airplane as it took off while saying his trademark "hasta lavista."

Yup! Or the ubiquitous "Mocha Hagotdi" to the 9K's  



I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
User currently offlineN766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8269 posts, RR: 23
Reply 22, posted (2 years 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 10109 times:

Quoting airportugal310 (Reply 21):
Yup! Or the ubiquitous "Mocha Hagotdi" to the 9K's

And is it just me or did "seeeeyuhhh" catch on nationwide? I had a controller in South Bend say that to me the other week it reminded me of Boston.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMhZkNwOzA8

[Edited 2012-09-10 20:07:59]


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User currently offlineCCA From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2002, 836 posts, RR: 14
Reply 23, posted (2 years 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 10063 times:

What's better, having to say it 3 times fast and slightly different each time or once slowly?

The point being I like NY ATC it's slick if English is your first language but it's a joke trying to be slick with foreign carries but it could be if they just slowed it down when it's obvious from the first transmission they guys not familiar with NY.

Things to consider.

Crews may go there once a year.
They could be at their circadian low.
It could be the end of a 12,13,14hr trip.

I've even heard a US carrier with a Texan accent tell NY to slow down.



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User currently onlineflyby519 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 1142 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (2 years 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 10011 times:

Quoting airportugal310 (Reply 13):
Last I heard, Boston John was doing ATC in Puerto Rico...so I heard, anyways

That was the last I heard as well, but I have flown into SJU several times in the past year and havent heard him. Anyone confirm if he's down there working tower?



These postings or comments are not a company-sponsored source of communication.
25 N766UA : Maybe he took a supe job or something?
26 Post contains links airportugal310 : Yup and yup, I think. I have definitely been hearing the "cyaaaaaa" more Actually, this clip here covers just about everything you and I mentioned ht
27 Post contains images Goldenshield : That's because Texans listen as fast as they talk.
28 modesto2 : While New York controllers have a reputation for speaking quickly and firing orders, I've had nothing but good experiences with them in the several ye
29 Post contains images IAHFLYR : There is complete truth to that......the pilot I am thinking of actually told the controller after a few missed radio transmissions, "do you hear how
30 sjc4me : Sorry but i take exception to that. From what I've heard on the recordings, NY phraseology is awful. You would get made fun of if you brought that cr
31 Post contains images nycdave : True. The best people just happen to live in NY
32 TatTVC : Some things to share: As a pilot myself (PPL and doing the IFR lessons as we speak) with the goal of eventually flying the big toys, some things from
33 Post contains images N766UA : And incredibly diverse. While training for a job once, I was docked points for having "folksy" phraseology, which comes from my pilot background. "Le
34 Jpax : As an EWR based pilot, the only people I see get flustered with this type of communication are foreigners, weekend warriors and new hires. There's the
35 N766UA : Ugh, and they always have to explain that in vivid detail, too! Just file IFR and keep your life story to yourself and you're fine. As for Air france
36 Maverick623 : Rumor has it that controller was a big part of the reason why JFK was a nightmare for ATC delays for a while. Couldn't keep up with it all and was a
37 shufflemoomin : Hard to ignore the racism of saying "foreigners" don't understand ATC and are usually at fault. All foreigners don't speak English well? Is that what
38 Post contains images petrhsr : I'd say it's Americans in general, not just ATC @ JFK...
39 Cubsrule : How is it racist? School doesn't teach you to speak like a native, in English or in any other language. Natives are going to understand natives the b
40 irelayer : This is a common generational refrain. Every generation thinks the next generation is somehow inferior or have lost some vague "notion" that defined
41 N766UA : You're right up to about the year 2002. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc have obliterated that model. People literally care less now. It's all about v
42 JHCRJ700 : Best part of this is when he mumbles to himself "you guys, you can't just do that". I'll listen to this clip then forget about it and come across it
43 Post contains links fcogafa : Although I was referring to JFK airport rather than the airspace, I think you will find that the London TMA is one of the busiest areas of airspace i
44 LONGisland89 : In all fairness, the ARINC radio operators are just that, radio operators. They control nothing. John is the facility manager at SJU, you will rarely
45 N766UA : Nice! Good for John. Nice pay bump, sunny locale, plus that's closer to home for him, no?
46 Rwy04LGA : Plato/Socrates said something similar 2000+ years ago. At 7:11 the controller says the pilots should 'come up here one day...you'd enjoy the show'. L
47 N766UA : Haha they must have been right! We've come a long way from the likes of Plato and Socrates. Now we've got… Washington DC and Hollywood. Blech!
48 IAHFLYR : Pretty much one in the same!
49 GoBoeing : I find EWR controllers to be much more professional and less dramatic than the JFK controllers. The JFK gang sounds like they make their own mess some
50 Alias1024 : I think Great Lakes must include this in their newhire indoc classes. I hear it sporadically from controllers and other airlines, but it's almost a c
51 Post contains images SPREE34 : True. Unfortunately it's a combination of lawyers writting the handbook, and controllers compounding it with added verbiage. Been there, heard it and
52 N766UA : Yep, absolutely. Fortunately they can't get away with that attitude for long on the floor, but many will try. Kids in OKC who haven't even graduated
53 IAHFLYR : The ones who try usually end up with a few different instructors, get extensions in training hours, file grievances and are generally a pain in the b
54 N766UA : Ugh, I know many of those. Fortunately, I know a few who take things very seriously, too, and they understand their place and look up to the guys who
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