varig767
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"How Many Souls?"

Sun Aug 07, 2005 9:26 pm

Hello everyone,

Lately this was asked to the pilots of KL691 when they declared a fuel emergency due to the AF358 accident. A few years ago I've seen a movie about ATC and when there was a plane in trouble this was also asked.

I understand that it is about persons aboard, but with what exact intention this is being asked by ATC?

With regards,

Martijn
 
Matt72033
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Sun Aug 07, 2005 9:32 pm

in case of a rescue attempt?
emergency services would probably like to know how many people are on board so they dont leave anyone behind!

just a guess!
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Sun Aug 07, 2005 10:30 pm

Makes sense.But In an Emergency I dont think theres time for counting.
Maybe later.
It could be to inform Fire & Medical dept so that they can bring in the No of Emergency Vehicles needed.
regds
MEL
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goinv
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Sun Aug 07, 2005 10:33 pm

During a recent visit to the Control Tower at Inverness airport I witnessed a small freighter take off for Edinburgh (about 100 miles away). The Captain of the cargo plane stated that he had a 'Supplementary' of "Three Souls on Board, endurance 180 minutes".

The Air Traffic Controller advised me that this was told to ATC as the terminal in Inverness would be closed when the flight was due land in Edinburgh.

Should the flight not make it to Edinburgh it would be known that there were three people on board and that the aircraft had enough fuel for 3 hours of flying.

As the ATC tower at Inverness closes at 22:00 (before arrival in Edinburgh), this 'Supplementary' information was passed on to en-route ATC.
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air2gxs
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Sun Aug 07, 2005 10:43 pm

It's just an efficient way of saying how many people onboard. This number would inlude crew, passengers and jumpseaters. I imagine in the past (pre-9/11 or even pre-hijackings) that there was a possibility that deadheading crews, jumpseating crews and employees hitching a ride weren't listed on the official manifest.
 
airmech
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Mon Aug 08, 2005 12:19 am

They use the term "souls" to denote how many live humans are on board. To avoid confusion if a aircraft is hauling cadavors, animals, pets and such.
 
wilco737
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Mon Aug 08, 2005 1:08 am

Hi,

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 2):
Makes sense.But In an Emergency I dont think theres time for counting.

Sure you dont have time to count! But before you took off you have an information on your loadsheet which will tell you how many F, C, Y class passengers, Jumpseats, infants! So, just look on the Loadsheet and then you have the souls on board!

ATC wants to know the souls on board, fuel on board and if there are any dangerous good on board. So the rescue units know what they have to deal with and how many injured/dead people they have to look for. Fire fighters would be really interested in the amount of fuel on board upon touchdown. High risk of fire. And dangerous goods is a helpful information for everybody because of maybe biological, flammable, toxic etc substances on board.

WILCO737
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citationjet
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Mon Aug 08, 2005 2:08 am

They use the term "souls on board" to include infants that may not be occupying a seat, and to make it clear that it is the total number of living people on board. Otherwise there may confusion over whether the number includes both passengers and crew members.

They don't have to count the people before landing. That number is known before they takeoff. It has to be known to do the weight and balance calculations, for one thing.
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PlainSmart
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Mon Aug 08, 2005 2:29 am

I have heard that in emergency situations when you are asked how many people are on the plane frequently the pilot will not include himself and sometimes the crew. I think it is a mental thing when asked souls vs. people.
 
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Jetlagged
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Mon Aug 08, 2005 4:56 am

Surely it's more about prioritising the emergency? If it was just about counting bodies after an accident the loadsheet from the operator would do the job just as well.
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AsstChiefMark
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Mon Aug 08, 2005 5:24 am

Of course, we shouldn't assume all living people have souls.  Wink

Wouldn't it be better to say, "There are 243 living humans on board."

Mark

[Edited 2005-08-07 22:25:51]
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320tech
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:38 am

Even on engine runs, we tell the ground controller how many souls on board, and how much fuel. When the thing torches itself, and the CFR (Crash Fire Rescue) arrives, they want to know if everyone is off. Just because there are three people running away doesn't mean that there's not three more trapped inside.

As mentioned, "souls" differentiates between live people and cargo (cadavers).
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AGM114L
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:42 am

Just don't ask this question to an Athiest pilot. "Atlanta Center, Zero souls aboard"
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Bjones
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Mon Aug 08, 2005 1:47 pm

It has nothing to do with prioritizing the emergency and everything to do with the responders knowing how many people to look for. If an emergency crew showed up and saw five people standing near a 737 that just crashed they would be likely to think that there are more people still on board. However if word was passed to them that this there were only five people they would not unnecesariily risk there lives searching for additional people and could focus on helping those people and preventing a fire etc.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Mon Aug 08, 2005 1:58 pm

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 10):
Wouldn't it be better to say, "There are 243 living humans on board."

Out here the term used is also ...eg 140 + 7 thru Security.Normally used prior to Start up.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
dw747400
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Sat Jul 28, 2007 3:00 pm

Quoting Airmech (Reply 5):
They use the term "souls" to denote how many live humans are on board. To avoid confusion if a aircraft is hauling cadavors, animals, pets and such.

In theory. Once saw a CJ pilot get a thorough tongue lashing from the owner when they told flight service the number of souls onboard "4 souls and a dog". Needless to say, the ensuing argument over if Dogs have souls was entertaining.
CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
 
jhooper
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Sat Jul 28, 2007 5:07 pm

They ask about fuel because they want a better idea of your endurance.
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57AZ
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Sat Jul 28, 2007 6:05 pm

Quoting Jhooper (Reply 16):
They ask about fuel because they want a better idea of your endurance.

That and given the possible alternatives, how much of a fireball you might make when you get back down.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
9VSIO
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Sat Jul 28, 2007 11:06 pm

I would have thought that they'd ask the number of souls onboard to prepare the ambulance crews. After all, you wouldn't want one ambulance turning up for a fully loaded 747 in an emergency!
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opso1
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Sun Jul 29, 2007 2:38 am

I've been on several military flights, usually back from the Middle East when we have had "XX persons on board VV (VV = XX minus one or two) souls on board". This is so that, in the event of the crash crews being required, they will keep going until they have all of the "souls" accounted for. If they have all of the "souls" off alive, job done as well as hoped. If they total souls does not equal total persons at any time, they know to keep going...

OPSO1
 
n710ps
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Sun Jul 29, 2007 2:41 am

Because they need a count on how many ghhost protective sheets to put on the bodies when they get to the crash scene. No in all seriousness it is so there is a head count to calculate what magnatude the rescue operation would be, and as morbid as it sounds how many hursts, body bags, or ambulances depending on severity of the situation might be required.
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57AZ
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Sun Jul 29, 2007 5:51 am

Quoting N710PS (Reply 20):
hursts

As a hearse fan, that's hearse-not hurst. Additionally, funeral directors are loathe to put unnecessary wear on hearses due to their expense-$70,000+ for a new coach. Usually they will send out a refitted van or truck that is used as a First Call vehicle. If a hearse is used for First Calls, it will almost always be an older coach that has been retired from use in funeral services.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
smcmac32msn
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:38 pm

Quoting 57AZ (Reply 17):
That and given the possible alternatives, how much of a fireball you might make when you get back down.

Thats hilarious.... welcome to my RR list. The other day I asked a Ops agent of a particular agent when their plane would "hit the ground". She gave me this weird look and said "You mean 'landing'?" I replied smugly with "Sure, however you want to say it."
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HPLASOps
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:05 am

I think infants are the primary reason why the phrase "Souls on Board" is used. Infants account for zero weight when it comes to load planning, and as mentioned earlier, do not officially occupy a seat. A flight could have a trim count of 183 plus crew and jump (we'll say 7 total for this example), meaning that only 190 persons' weight much be accounted for, but if there are say, 3 infants, the SOB becomes 193.

Quoting Dw747400 (Reply 15):
In theory. Once saw a CJ pilot get a thorough tongue lashing from the owner when they told flight service the number of souls onboard "4 souls and a dog". Needless to say, the ensuing argument over if Dogs have souls was entertaining.

I would've paid good money to hear this conversation. To the FAA, a dog is just another 30 lbs piece of cargo, but try explaining that to the dog's owner.
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PlainSmart
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Mon Aug 06, 2007 1:00 pm

I have heard that times the pilots will not count themselves or their crews. When asked how many people are on board they may reply "three" (if it is a small plane). In reality though there is five when the two pilots are counted. Pilots tend to exclude themselves from body counts when asked how many people are on board, hence the word souls.
 
744rules
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Mon Aug 06, 2007 4:55 pm

when the gate agent wants the headcount from the crew, they will use "souls on board" if they included the infants (as they do not occupy a seat). The alternative for the phrasing is "## pax on board plus ## infants"
 
sea2pdx
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:42 am

Quoting PlainSmart (Reply 8):

Although we're not required to use the "souls on board" verbiage, that's the idea when we clear our flights. Most of us (me included) still break the count down: 74, 3 laps and 2 jumps, we're really supposed to say "clear with 79". This of course doesn't count the crew and in the past, I've joked about that. I'll go out to clear the F/A and say "you're clear with 39 souls on board plus three crew members  Wink " Always get a laugh out of that.
 
bsergonomics
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:31 am

Sorry, peeps. I haven't been around for a while.

The term "Souls on board" dates back many centuries to the (not surprisingly) naval world. If you (as the ship's captain) came across a foundering vessel, you would get within shouting range and then scream, "How many souls on board?" This is extremely important information since, if too many people jump on your ship, you end up sinking as well. Also, if you are 2000 miles from land, you have to take stock of the food and water supplies. Therefore, in the classic darwinian sense, you are assessing whether or not your ship can cope with the number of number of people to be rescued and, so, whether you are going to survive this experience.

If the number of people is low enough, you rescue them. If it's not, you do not move your ship close enough that it can be overrun. You take as many survivors as you can and then leave the scene rapidly.

As with a vast number of terms, this has translocated into the aviation world.

As stated above, it now represents valuable information for the rescue services.

In addition, it permits the opportunity for a sweepstake amongst the ATC personnel [joke]...

BSE
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arffdude
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RE: "How Many Souls?"

Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:14 pm

Quoting Opso1 (Reply 19):
This is so that, in the event of the crash crews being required, they will keep going until they have all of the "souls" accounted for. If they have all of the "souls" off alive, job done as well as hoped. If they total souls does not equal total persons at any time, they know to keep going...

OPSO1

Pretty much. If there's a possible crash scenario, we need to know the potential magnitude and scope in order to prepare for it. There may be an airliner in distress coming in, but it's also very important that we know whether it's an empty ferry flight, or has 200 people on board. That'll make a big difference on how we approach the fire, and even what agents we use on the fire.

The most important information fire personell need are aircraft type/location/eta, souls on board, nature of emergency, and fuel on board, not necessarily in that order.

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