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LX015
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Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:57 am

I came across this incident while searching youtube. Could not believe the attitude of the controller towards the pilot in this circumstance. I'm curious if any pilot here have dealt with this controller? Is he still working in this position? While reading the comments I came across one that was able to give more info on the flight. Pretty shocking that an individual with this type of indifference towards a pilot in a difficult position would have even been considered for this job.

https://youtu.be/2YstAqRy9A8
 
CATIIIevery5yrs
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 3:12 am

I’ll play. I don’t think the controller was ‘disturbing’. Both the pilot and controller are under a lot of stress in this scenario. The controller can’t fly the plane (“get me out of this!!!) for the pilot. I felt the controller was just keeping up with what was being reported by the pilot. When the pilot made it more clear what he needed the controller would change his instructions accordingly.
 
Whiteguy
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:17 am

Pretty straight forward, he called the field in sight and the controller cleared him for the visual.....I don’t think there was any issue with the controller at all.
 
flyiguy
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:46 am

I don’t know how old the video is but that plane, a Cessna 172P crashed ( prop struck the runway ) in Maui on June 6, 2018!

Fly
Last edited by flyiguy on Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MaxTrimm
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:49 am

I saw this video a while ago. While maybe coming off as inattentive, he did his job correctly and did what he was capable of doing given the nature of the situation. Sure, it’s easy to be angry at the controller when you’re in an emergency, but he did not do anything necessarily wrong as far as I can tell. I am no controller.
 
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atcsundevil
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:50 am

LX015 wrote:
I came across this incident while searching youtube. Could not believe the attitude of the controller towards the pilot in this circumstance. I'm curious if any pilot here have dealt with this controller? Is he still working in this position? While reading the comments I came across one that was able to give more info on the flight. Pretty shocking that an individual with this type of indifference towards a pilot in a difficult position would have even been considered for this job.

https://youtu.be/2YstAqRy9A8

What attitude do you expect from a controller handling an emergency? I mean that as a serious question, not rhetorical. Certainly it wouldn't have helped if he freaked out, and it doesn't really help to be sympathetic. Could he have been more helpful? Perhaps, but given the way these clips are parsed, we may not have the full story. It's unfair to draw those conclusions based on an incomplete version of events, so it's unreasonable to pass too much judgment.

Based on what I observed in the clip, the pilot asked for direct, the controller was unable to approve the request, so the pilot declared an emergency. The pilot stated that he was in a spiraling decent, but that doesn't indicate the nature of the emergency; a spiraling decent could have been commanded to avoid severe weather. When the controller inquired further, the pilot refused to state the nature of the emergency, and his PIREP didn't jive with a situation that might have caused a loss of flight control. If a pilot declares an emergency with me and states he is descending for light turbulence and light rain, I am likely to be far more confused than I am concerned. We start listening when we hear the word "moderate", and our ears perk up when we hear "severe" or "extreme". The word "light" is only relevant to us if there's icing.

It seems clear that the pilot declared an emergency to deviate as required for severe weather, which he should have clearly stated. The pilot then requested a visual, stated he had the field in sight, then demanded vectors — that literally makes no sense. If you have the field, then it's your job to land. If you require vectors, then you don't have the field, and I'm giving you a different approach clearance. The pilot seemed to argue with the controller about the need for vectors, and the controller was rightly confused/annoyed by the pilot's request after accepting a visual approach clearance. If the pilot was unable to conduct a visual approach without the need for radar vectors, then he cannot accept a visual approach clearance. The controller initially offered the ILS (which the pilot refused), likely knowing that the weather would complicate a visual clearance.

Maybe the controller sounded somewhat apathetic, but I would not agree that he was unhelpful or unprofessional. Keep in mind that this clip edits out other traffic, so the controller wasn't working this one aircraft in a vacuum. We have other things going on, and an emergency increases our workload. This was clearly a stressful situation for the pilot, but based on what I listened to in that clip, he was not doing himself many favors. It appears to me that his failure to clearly communicate with the controller hindered the controller's ability to assist. We aren't mind readers...we shouldn't have to play the 20 questions game to figure out what's going on, nor should we be expected to provide vectors after a pilot has declared the field in sight.
 
ordpark
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:51 am

Possibly a lack of understanding of what the pilot was experiencing...An emergency was declared, I'm not in a position to judge if that was necessary, but I believe the controller could have been more professional and empathetic.
 
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atcsundevil
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 5:04 am

ordpark wrote:
Possibly a lack of understanding of what the pilot was experiencing...An emergency was declared, I'm not in a position to judge if that was necessary, but I believe the controller could have been more professional and empathetic.

Having worked many emergencies, I can't recall a time when a pilot seemingly desired empathy from me. I can be empathetic, but it's wasted breath during potentially stressful and critical moments. Pilots expect professionalism, a collected demeanor, and options/information. We expect to know what's going on, and what's needed from us. The smoothest emergencies involve pilots who set aside emotion, and communicate with us clearly and concisely. We generally know how to take over from there.

The pilot in this case was certainly within his right to declare an emergency if he felt an unsafe situation existed, but his inability to articulate the nature of his emergency or what he required from the controller made a potentially uncomplicated situation into a complicated one.
 
Max Q
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 5:17 am

Well,

Still don’t quite understand what precipitated the declaration of an emergency in the first place


Sounds a bit like a very rattled pilot having issues with aircraft control though

A scared pilot isn’t always going to make the best or most logical decisions and should be given a lot of leeway by controllers


He obviously thought things were serious enough to declare an emergency and from that point he should have been treated very carefully. I could hear the fear in his voice so I can’t really understand the controllers hard line, outright indignation with whether or not he had the airport in sight


Save that for later as this pilot suggested. It’s very easy to judge a pilot when you’re sitting safely on the ground with no jeopardy if you make a mistake


The pilot here didn’t make the best decision regarding being able to see the airport and communicating that but that’s a very minor issue in the context of handling an emergency and the controller was extremely combative and unprofessional, he should have kept his cool and calmly assisted until the aircraft and pilot was on the ground then dealt with any issues over the phone if necessary
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
cedarjet
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 5:18 am

Pilot is the prima donna here, not the atco
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
Antarius
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 5:36 am

Max Q wrote:
He obviously thought things were serious enough to declare an emergency and from that point he should have been treated very carefully. I could hear the fear in his voice so I can’t really understand the controllers hard line, outright indignation with whether or not he had the airport in sight


If you can't articulate something basic for ATC to help you, then how would ATC help you? It's not like the controller was asking for something esoteric or unknown - you either do or do not have the airfield in sight and the answer to that changes what Air Traffic needs to do.

There are other aircraft in the airspace that need to be handled, so communication is helpful in all directions.
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speedbird52
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 5:44 am

Max Q wrote:
Well,

Still don’t quite understand what precipitated the declaration of an emergency in the first place


Sounds a bit like a very rattled pilot having issues with aircraft control though

A scared pilot isn’t always going to make the best or most logical decisions and should be given a lot of leeway by controllers


He obviously thought things were serious enough to declare an emergency and from that point he should have been treated very carefully. I could hear the fear in his voice so I can’t really understand the controllers hard line, outright indignation with whether or not he had the airport in sight


Save that for later as this pilot suggested. It’s very easy to judge a pilot when you’re sitting safely on the ground with no jeopardy if you make a mistake


The pilot here didn’t make the best decision regarding being able to see the airport and communicating that but that’s a very minor issue in the context of handling an emergency and the controller was extremely combative and unprofessional, he should have kept his cool and calmly assisted until the aircraft and pilot was on the ground then dealt with any issues over the phone if necessary

VFR pilot in IMC conditions. A gust of wind sent the aircraft into a spiral so he declared an emergency.
 
Max Q
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:45 am

Point is being missed here


This pilot got into a situation that was so alarming for him he declared an emergency, aircraft control was clearly an issue


His communications were not ideal but he was obviously under great stress, scared in fact


The controller was professional at first but then decided to give this pilot a ‘piece of his mind’ after he realized he didn’t have the field in sight and couldn’t continue with a visual approach, he made far too big a deal over that, completely unnecessary.


The time for recriminations / angry words etc is after the aircraft and pilot is safely on the ground not before, the controller made this situation worse in the end after a good beginning


Aggressively going after a pilot who is already rattled after making a simple mistake is extremely unprofessional, I hope the controller is disciplined for his immaturity and very poor judgment
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
VSMUT
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 10:42 am

Really poor job by ATC here. It was obvious from the callsign that he was dealing with an inexperienced GA pilot, not a professional commercial pilot. Chances are that this pilot will hesitate about calling mayday next time he has an issue.


Antarius wrote:
If you can't articulate something basic for ATC to help you, then how would ATC help you?


That's not how things work. A pilot in an emergency can't be expected to have the time to deal with that. The pilot says what he needs, ATC answers with what he needs. Knowing what happened and why is a secondary and completely unnecessary point, the controllers job is to support, not overburden the pilot. The controller shouldn't be second-guessing the pilot, for all we know the pilot could also be dealing with other issues like unreliable, unfamiliar or failed equipment.


cedarjet wrote:
Pilot is the prima donna here, not the atco


The pilot is the one with his life on the line.
 
smw757
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 12:05 pm

Finding yourself in IMC when not under an IFR clearance, especially if you’re not IFR rated, is usually a good enough reason to declare an emergency. If I declare an emergency, I’d at least expect ATC to be proactive if the workload enables (maybe offer to read me the ATIS, don’t add to my task saturation by passive aggressively asking if I have it). What really did it for me was when the controller called him out for the altitude deviation. If that’s an aircraft with an EP in progress, I’d expect ATC to ask for the wellbeing of the pilot (who, again, if stuck in IMC, may be experiencing some sort of spatial disorientation). Of course, these are all thoughts that come to mind without knowing the full picture.
 
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zeke
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 12:29 pm

atcsundevil wrote:
What attitude do you expect from a controller handling an emergency? I mean that as a serious question, not rhetorical. Certainly it wouldn't have helped if he freaked out, and it doesn't really help to be sympathetic. Could he have been more helpful? Perhaps, but given the way these clips are parsed, we may not have the full story. It's unfair to draw those conclusions based on an incomplete version of events, so it's unreasonable to pass too much judgment.


The start of the clip states the time as 0604Z which makes it 2004 local, when they declared an emergency they stated they were in descending spiral dive with rain and turbulence. The position there were at the time was over water to the north of OGG, they wanted to return to OGG. For context OGG is between two hills, the one to the west rises to above 5000’, the one to the east over 10,000 ft.

Image

I would hope that a controller would recognize that whilst being over water at night, with cloud and rain there is no visual references.

atcsundevil wrote:
Based on what I observed in the clip, the pilot asked for direct, the controller was unable to approve the request, so the pilot declared an emergency.


So you are suggesting he is making this up because he could not get direct to the end of the airway he was instructed to intercept ?

atcsundevil wrote:
The pilot stated that he was in a spiraling decent, but that doesn't indicate the nature of the emergency;


The emergency could simply be unable to maintain the last clearance, the reason for an emergency is somewhat irrelevant.

atcsundevil wrote:
When the controller inquired further, the pilot refused to state the nature of the emergency, and his PIREP didn't jive with a situation that might have caused a loss of flight control.


It does jive if you put it in the context of being over water without visual reference at night. I know it’s probably in the ATC training manual to ask for further information so additional resources can be organized, however instead of being a box ticking exercise if the controller would say “when able can you provide any further information or if you require rescue services” and leave it up to the pilot to respond when they have time.

I suspect the pilot was VFR only, the give away to me was when the controller asked what were you experiencing, they replied “IMC, light turbulence, light rain” and they declined the ILS.

atcsundevil wrote:
If a pilot declares an emergency with me and states he is descending for light turbulence and light rain, I am likely to be far more confused than I am concerned.


I think the best analogy I could give you is to put ear plugs in your ears, and to blindfold you, and then tell you to cross a highway, btw the traffic on the highway is only light. When deprived of sensory information the fear of the unknown, will they hit the water, will they hit a hill would be running through their mind.

atcsundevil wrote:
The pilot then requested a visual, stated he had the field in sight, then demanded vectors — that literally makes no sense.


Actually ATC said they assume they wanted the pilot to shoot the 02ILS, the pilot replied “negative I need vectors for a visual”, the pilot could not see the airport 10 nm away at night, the pilot stated “negative contact”.

He stated he had the airport in sight intermittently, could sometimes see the beacon, with cloud layers between him and the airport. That may or may not be enough to complete a landing, it describes what is between him and the runway, not the conditions of base and final. This is a fixed wing aircraft not a helicopter.

atcsundevil wrote:
If you have the field, then it's your job to land. If you require vectors, then you don't have the field, and I'm giving you a different approach clearance.


Have a good listen to it again, every time he says he has the part of field or beacon he qualifies that to say there is clouds about. I don’t think he was an IFR pilot, so your option of a approach clearance would not have been there. What it seems he was after was radar vectors and descent to final.

atcsundevil wrote:
If the pilot was unable to conduct a visual approach without the need for radar vectors, then he cannot accept a visual approach clearance.


He didn’t initially accept a visual clearance, when given the visual clearance initially he responded with “That is not helping me much, give me altitude, give me a vector, and I will fly it”, he was still well outside the circling area at that time, over 7nm from the airport at night over water with cloud layers above and below him.

atcsundevil wrote:
Maybe the controller sounded somewhat apathetic, but I would not agree that he was unhelpful or unprofessional. Keep in mind that this clip edits out other traffic, so the controller wasn't working this one aircraft in a vacuum.


I agree that I think this controller was probably working more traffic than this single aircraft, maybe multiple frequencies. Many of the subtle things the pilot said didn’t seem to mean much to the controller.

atcsundevil wrote:
nor should we be expected to provide vectors after a pilot has declared the field in sight.


However every time he said he had part of the field in sight, he qualified it by saying there were clouds between him and the airport as well.
“Don't be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” E. Hamilton Lee, 1949
 
Antarius
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:48 pm

VSMUT wrote:
l
Antarius wrote:
If you can't articulate something basic for ATC to help you, then how would ATC help you?


That's not how things work. A pilot in an emergency can't be expected to have the time to deal with that. The pilot says what he needs, ATC answers with what he needs. Knowing what happened and why is a secondary and completely unnecessary point, the controllers job is to support, not overburden the pilot. The controller shouldn't be second-guessing the pilot, for all we know the pilot could also be dealing with other issues like unreliable, unfamiliar or failed equipment.


Either the pilot had the airfield in sight or didn't. This isn't anything more complicated like instrument failure or something else. It's not like there was an airspeed issue and they were arguing about that - either you can see the runway and area asking for VFR or you need vectors. ATC needs to understand the issue to handle everything else going on. Unless they should divert all aircraft and clear the airspace so this guy can do whatever he feels like.

As for whether the pilot is commercial or GA, IMO, that's irrelevant. If they aren't capable of handling the radio, they maybe should consider a different hobby.
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113312
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 3:45 pm

I don't know the background or experience of this ATC controller. In the past, most had some experience as a pilot especially GA types. However, in the past couple of decades, more personnel were hired with zero prior aviation experience. Clearly this person was not capable of appreciating the perspective and situation of the pilot he was working with.
 
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 3:49 pm

zeke wrote:

Instead of breaking down everything you said line by line, I'll just say that it's pretty obvious that you're only viewing this from one angle, and you're making a hell of a lot of assumptions. I at least attempted to view it from both sides and be objective, despite the fact that my experience primarily lies on the ATC side. I'm sure you think you know what it is that we do about as much as I think I know what you do.

Antarius wrote:
Either the pilot had the airfield in sight or didn't. This isn't anything more complicated like instrument failure or something else. It's not like there was an airspeed issue and they were arguing about that - either you can see the runway and area asking for VFR or you need vectors. ATC needs to understand the issue to handle everything else going on. Unless they should divert all aircraft and clear the airspace so this guy can do whatever he feels like.

As for whether the pilot is commercial or GA, IMO, that's irrelevant. If they aren't capable of handling the radio, they maybe should consider a different hobby.

:checkmark: spot on

smw757 wrote:
I’d at least expect ATC to be proactive if the workload enables (maybe offer to read me the ATIS, don’t add to my task saturation by passive aggressively asking if I have it).

This is certainly one thing I noted. Like I mentioned in a post above, it's difficult to know what his workload was like when other traffic isn't included in the playback. Assuming his workload permitted, he should have provided the weather to the pilot rather than advised him to listen to the ATIS. It's difficult for me to "Monday Morning Quarterback" that without more details, but it's a relevant observation.

smw757 wrote:
What really did it for me was when the controller called him out for the altitude deviation.

It's difficult to speculate, but I'm guessing it's either annoyance from the controller after the pilot accepted a visual approach without being able to execute the approach visually, the controller needed it for separation, or some combination of the two. Either way, it probably wasn't helpful. I believe he said the pilot was 300 feet below his assigned, so it seemed like a rather harsh reaction. If I reacted that way every time a pilot busted an altitude, my blood pressure would be a lot higher. Again, the controller may have had his reasons, but it's difficult to interpret based on incomplete information.

VSMUT wrote:
It was obvious from the callsign that he was dealing with an inexperienced GA pilot, not a professional commercial pilot.

How do you figure that? I talk to N registered aircraft all day long — I have no idea if the pilot is on his first solo or if he's got 10,000 hours. A callsign doesn't tell you anything about pilot experience.

VSMUT wrote:
That's not how things work. A pilot in an emergency can't be expected to have the time to deal with that. The pilot says what he needs, ATC answers with what he needs. Knowing what happened and why is a secondary and completely unnecessary point, the controllers job is to support, not overburden the pilot. The controller shouldn't be second-guessing the pilot, for all we know the pilot could also be dealing with other issues like unreliable, unfamiliar or failed equipment.

I have worked a wide range of emergencies, from GA to commercial to military. Yes, a pilot needs to aviate, navigate, and communicate, in that order. However, we can't be expected to know how to assist unless the pilot articulates the nature of the problem, and what assistance they require to a safe end. Knowing what happened is 100% relevant, because we need to know what resources need to be deployed. Pilots sometimes don't even know exactly what resources they need (or should have), so we can't make that determination without being informed. We don't need every detail, but we need the relevant ones. There's absolutely nothing wrong with second-guessing a pilot if, in the judgement of the controller, a better option exists. Our job is to provide options, and let the pilot make the decision they feel is best. But, we need information to know how to assist properly.
 
sadde
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:02 pm

Actually pretty surprised by everyone defending the pilot here. Controller really wasn’t that apathetic, it sounded like more of a “help me help you” kind of frustration. The pilot was totally contradictory. Sounds like he hit some turbulence, entered a spiral, made it out, and the emergency was essentially over. Being freaked out and wanting to land asap is not a reason to forgo taking the ILS for example. Demanding a visual and then stating there are clouds between you and the airport makes literally no sense.
 
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LX015
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:39 pm

Max Q wrote:
Point is being missed here


This pilot got into a situation that was so alarming for him he declared an emergency, aircraft control was clearly an issue


His communications were not ideal but he was obviously under great stress, scared in fact


The controller was professional at first but then decided to give this pilot a ‘piece of his mind’ after he realized he didn’t have the field in sight and couldn’t continue with a visual approach, he made far too big a deal over that, completely unnecessary.


The time for recriminations / angry words etc is after the aircraft and pilot is safely on the ground not before, the controller made this situation worse in the end after a good beginning


Aggressively going after a pilot who is already rattled after making a simple mistake is extremely unprofessional, I hope the controller is disciplined for his immaturity and very poor judgment


This pretty much sums up why I chose to post this interaction. I'm neither a pilot nor ATC, but my understanding is that if a pilot finds him/herself in a potentially dangerous situation where they feel assistance is needed, ATC should be there to help. I'll agree that the dialog started off fine, but when it go to the point where the controller decided to raise his voice and bacame combative, IMHO, I find it disturbing. It's clear that the pilot is in an uncomfortable situation, being scolded like a 5 year old by ATC probably isn't the best way for this to be handled. Leave the attitudes for later when the aircraft is on the ground.
 
MSJYOP28Apilot
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 5:17 pm

From the various threads on this situation including the link in the OP, it seems the pilot is a CFI/CFII. If that is true, he needs to have his certification yanked immediately! How does a CFII turn down an ILS approach? How does a CFI not know the difference between a visual approach and asking for vectors?

If it is true that the pilot was a local CFI/CFII it tells me that there is a history between the pilot and controller. The controller had been through this guys antics before and was calling him out on what he knew to be BS. A CFI/CFII should NEVER be asking ATC which way to turn to fly a heading. A CFI/CFII should NEVER be refusing instrument approaches and not know the difference between a visual and vectored approach.
 
Antarius
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 5:27 pm

LX015 wrote:
This pretty much sums up why I chose to post this interaction. I'm neither a pilot nor ATC, but my understanding is that if a pilot finds him/herself in a potentially dangerous situation where they feel assistance is needed, ATC should be there to help. I'll agree that the dialog started off fine, but when it go to the point where the controller decided to raise his voice and bacame combative, IMHO, I find it disturbing. It's clear that the pilot is in an uncomfortable situation, being scolded like a 5 year old by ATC probably isn't the best way for this to be handled. Leave the attitudes for later when the aircraft is on the ground.


The nuance beyond declaring the emergency is the issue. I cannot just call 911, declare a fire and not provide any information, the responder needs to know where, how bad etc. in order to respond appropriately.

ATC have other aircraft to handle as well. They need to understand the issue enough to help and handle everyone else too. They simply cannot divert all aircraft and give carte blanche to one pilot for declaring a nondescript emergency.
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LX015
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 6:23 pm

Antarius wrote:
LX015 wrote:
This pretty much sums up why I chose to post this interaction. I'm neither a pilot nor ATC, but my understanding is that if a pilot finds him/herself in a potentially dangerous situation where they feel assistance is needed, ATC should be there to help. I'll agree that the dialog started off fine, but when it go to the point where the controller decided to raise his voice and bacame combative, IMHO, I find it disturbing. It's clear that the pilot is in an uncomfortable situation, being scolded like a 5 year old by ATC probably isn't the best way for this to be handled. Leave the attitudes for later when the aircraft is on the ground.


The nuance beyond declaring the emergency is the issue. I cannot just call 911, declare a fire and not provide any information, the responder needs to know where, how bad etc. in order to respond appropriately.

ATC have other aircraft to handle as well. They need to understand the issue enough to help and handle everyone else too. They simply cannot divert all aircraft and give carte blanche to one pilot for declaring a nondescript emergency.



Points taken, but when the controller decided to dress down the pilot, I think he's stepped over the line. No matter what level this pilot has attained, if he finds himself in a tense situation, being yelled at by this controller is uncalled for. Just assist the pilot as best as you can and maintain your composure. Save the attitude for later. For all we know, this could cause more unnecessary problems with other aircraft.
 
F9Animal
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:45 pm

When an aircraft declares an emergency, I would think the controller would have been a little more understanding and willing to offer the information without question. The last few transmissions were a bit uncalled for. Hopefully the controller was coached on this. It was obvious the pilot was under alot of stress too.

Actually. Both could have handled it better in terms of communication.
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intrance
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:11 pm

As a pilot I’d be quite happy with this controller in an emergency. Sounded calm, gave clear instructions, handled the pilot as he requested...

On the other side, in the shoes of the controller I’d be confused about what was going on as well. Pilot declares emergency without stating real nature of the emergency. Is seemingly clear of emergency but does not mention this. Rejects ILS approach, asks for visual, then demands vectors when cleared visual. Like what do you actually want? You got everything you asked for except for your initial request of a direct routing.

Yes, we don’t know the full story but I’d rather describe this as rude pilot then rude controller.
 
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airportugal310
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Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:50 pm

Pilot needs a 709 ride stat...
“They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash.”
 
Cactusjuba
Posts: 283
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:06 am

Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:22 pm

If I declare an emergency, and the issue is task saturating, I'm going to tune out ATC, tell them to "standby" or straight up say "unable". Many times the communications are absolutely low/no priority given the clear and present danger (example: asking for souls/fuel, asking if I have ATIS, asking for a PIREP). If I have time, I'll get there, or maybe I never will depending on the nature of the emergency. I expect ATC to understand that, and standby to help do whatever is needed to get my plane on the ground safely.
So this pilot was dealing with inadvertent entry into convective weather and associated loss of control, in the dark, in IMC, over the ocean, with high terrain in the vicinity, and a student at the controls to coordinate with/keep an eye on... wow that's a full plate. When declaring an emergency he states he's in a spiraling descent, and wants help pointing the airplane back to the airport aka vectors for a visual. I got the impression ATC was second guessing the pilot's judgement, like he wasn't in true duress. Both got annoyed with each other.

Why is the pilot annoyed? He asks for vector, given ILS fix, then asks again, given direct VORTAC, asks again, finally a heading. Yes, giving turn direction reduces mentally latency, so that've been nice, but no biggie. Then he's asked for ATIS code? Why wouldn't just offer to say the weather for him? Is this guy an emergency aircraft or not? Asks for PIREP, then another PIREP of when you declared earlier was turning into a non-critical and distracting chat which is why the pilot wanted to talk about it on the ground. When he was cleared a Visual 7 miles out to enter a downwind for RWY 2, the pilot appeared to feel it was marginal VFR, and without underlying approach guidance, wanted full ATC vectors to the final approach course. Getting compelled to "let me know ASAP" when you see the field, then quickly dumping him off to fly south of the field between the mountains would be fine under normal conditions. But in and out of IMC with an aircraft that declared an emergency? The pilot clearly felt disregarded and like the controller wanted to be done with him, and asked for better PRIORITY handling until he felt fully in the clear. The controller's emotions come out, and gets cought up in FAR legalese of who's responsibility it is to do what, instead of just saying "OK. Cnx clearance. Turn right HDG XXX". This followed by a vindictive attempt to intimidate the pilot about 3,700ft, to an emergency aircraft! How petty. And the tone thereafter..if I used that tone to my Mama, Dad would be taking off his belt. :lol:

For what it's worth, the pilot could have been clearer as to the nature of the emergency. Why are you in a spiraling descent? And he could have not called the field (beacon) in sight until he was ready to hear the words "cleared the visual".. that's all the controller wants to tell you. Trying to give him a play-by-play about how things are coming in view is just confusing him. Both could have done better, but I'm gonna side with the pilot here. When the magic words "Emergency" are declared, give the pilot the benefit of the doubt and assist in what he needs. Don't make yourself a threat by arguing or by attempting to short-cut services. If you have your doubts about how serious this really is, or if it's still necessary to be an emergency, talk on the ground. Until then, be an asset not a liability.
 
maps4ltd
Posts: 926
Joined: Tue May 08, 2018 4:48 pm

Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:05 am

I think the ATC is at fault from this, questions him on semantics, though the pilot could have been clearer. Here's a comment from the video:

VASAviation - I am the pilot’s close friend and I thought it would be prudent to give some context on this video since it seems to be very much left out...

First, the pilot who I will not name is an excellent, experienced pilot. I own an aircraft and he flys with me often. We also work together at a local flight school. He’s a CFI/CFII/MEI and was on a training flight with a student when the event occurred.

It’s important to know that the weather in Hawaii is very unique. You can get a weather briefing and it ends up completely different once you are in the air. Hawai’i has its famous towering cumulous clouds and that’s what he most likely encountered. Weather in Hawaii develops FAST, and often doesn’t show on ADSB or ATC radar because it doesn’t always have precipitation associated with it. All resources were actively in use on the flight by way of an iPad, stratus receiver & flight service / ATC. It’s also important to note how dark the pacific ocean is at night - you can’t see a thing - complete darkness. Like being in outer space. You can’t see anything and that includes clouds.

Upon takeoff, again on an IFR flight plan at night, he encountered an extreme downdraft that violently thrust his left wing down over 50°. Immediately he countered with full right aileron in order to stabilize the aircraft. Even with full power and full opposite aileron he was not able to overcome the descending spiral that was created and declared his emergency per his training.

He was not descending in a spiral by choice and was doing everything in his power to keep himself and his student alive. He didn’t have time to talk to ATC, yet somehow - being a professional pilot - he still managed to get a few calls in to try and fix the dire situation they faced.

In terms of calling the visual approach. Hawai’i is very dark. He had just departed the airport and knew below 3000ft that he could attempt a visual approach. Knowing this and that the approach end of PHOG is notorious for incredibly violent winds, he didn’t want to jeopardize himself or his passengers life by crossing all the way over the island to intercept the approach in the event more of the same cloud buildups existed.

He he had the beacon in sight and called it, but then again the clouds that you cannot see again appeared and blocked his view after being cleared for the visual. He was very clear about this with the controller. Also, the light rain and turbulence were what he experienced after the event, not during it.

In terms of the attitude of the controller, I will not comment on it. I think it speaks for itself. I will say, though that I have personally filed numerous complaints about this controllers behavior in the past and I know many pilots in Hawai’i have a really hard time with him on a daily basis. Every time he comes on the radio you let out a sigh and say “oh great... here we go with this guy.” It’s not right. The majority of the controllers at HCF are excellent professionals and he does not represent them well.

The irony is that I had the EXACT same thing happen to me the day before during day IFR conditions off the coast of Lanai with the same controller. I regained control after a brief course departure and asked for an immediate descent to get out of IMC because I knew it ended about 1000 feet below me where smoother air persisted. Because I was unable to control my altitude in severe turbulence I really had no choice in the matter. I asked for lower and he actually denied it even though I explained my situation to him very very clearly. Another controller, probably a supervisor, intervened and asked if I was declaring an emergency. I told her only if that other controller continues to act that way and doesn’t help me immediately I would have to. She immediately vectored me away from terrain and allowed me lower and boom problem solved about 20 seconds later. It’s shocking that I almost had to declare simply because the attitude of the controller prevented me from getting to a place that allowed me to fly safer. Unreal.

I think it’s incredible that my friend was able to land both himself and his student safely during this event. I’m positive that in the same circumstances a less professional and less experienced pilot would have not lived through this.
All opinions expressed herein are mine and do not represent the views of Cape Air
 
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sturmovik
Posts: 715
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 12:05 am

Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:35 am

MSJYOP28Apilot wrote:
From the various threads on this situation including the link in the OP, it seems the pilot is a CFI/CFII. If that is true, he needs to have his certification yanked immediately! How does a CFII turn down an ILS approach? How does a CFI not know the difference between a visual approach and asking for vectors?

If it is true that the pilot was a local CFI/CFII it tells me that there is a history between the pilot and controller. The controller had been through this guys antics before and was calling him out on what he knew to be BS. A CFI/CFII should NEVER be asking ATC which way to turn to fly a heading. A CFI/CFII should NEVER be refusing instrument approaches and not know the difference between a visual and vectored approach.


If you look at the comments under that video, several people - including someone who says he is a friend of the pilot - have posted the opposite, that the controller in question is well know among local pilots for his poor attitude.

Edit - just saw that the pilot's friend's comment has been copied and posted above.
'What's it doing now?'
 
Max Q
Posts: 8983
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:11 am

Priorities in an emergency

Land the aircraft safely using all available resources

After landing with the aircraft secure and pilots and passengers safe any issues the controller had with the pilots actions can be discussed over the phone


This controllers aggressive attitude made a bad situation worse


I’m glad this pilot and passenger made a safe landing despite that
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
User avatar
zeke
Posts: 16106
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:54 am

maps4ltd wrote:
I think the ATC is at fault from this, questions him on semantics, though the pilot could have been clearer. Here's a comment from the video:

VASAviation - I am the pilot’s close friend and I thought it would be prudent to give some context on this video since it seems to be very much left out...

First, the pilot who I will not name is an excellent, experienced pilot. I own an aircraft and he flys with me often. We also work together at a local flight school. He’s a CFI/CFII/MEI and was on a training flight with a student when the event occurred.

It’s important to know that the weather in Hawaii is very unique. You can get a weather briefing and it ends up completely different once you are in the air. Hawai’i has its famous towering cumulous clouds and that’s what he most likely encountered. Weather in Hawaii develops FAST, and often doesn’t show on ADSB or ATC radar because it doesn’t always have precipitation associated with it. All resources were actively in use on the flight by way of an iPad, stratus receiver & flight service / ATC. It’s also important to note how dark the pacific ocean is at night - you can’t see a thing - complete darkness. Like being in outer space. You can’t see anything and that includes clouds.

Upon takeoff, again on an IFR flight plan at night, he encountered an extreme downdraft that violently thrust his left wing down over 50°. Immediately he countered with full right aileron in order to stabilize the aircraft. Even with full power and full opposite aileron he was not able to overcome the descending spiral that was created and declared his emergency per his training.

He was not descending in a spiral by choice and was doing everything in his power to keep himself and his student alive. He didn’t have time to talk to ATC, yet somehow - being a professional pilot - he still managed to get a few calls in to try and fix the dire situation they faced.

In terms of calling the visual approach. Hawai’i is very dark. He had just departed the airport and knew below 3000ft that he could attempt a visual approach. Knowing this and that the approach end of PHOG is notorious for incredibly violent winds, he didn’t want to jeopardize himself or his passengers life by crossing all the way over the island to intercept the approach in the event more of the same cloud buildups existed.

He he had the beacon in sight and called it, but then again the clouds that you cannot see again appeared and blocked his view after being cleared for the visual. He was very clear about this with the controller. Also, the light rain and turbulence were what he experienced after the event, not during it.

In terms of the attitude of the controller, I will not comment on it. I think it speaks for itself. I will say, though that I have personally filed numerous complaints about this controllers behavior in the past and I know many pilots in Hawai’i have a really hard time with him on a daily basis. Every time he comes on the radio you let out a sigh and say “oh great... here we go with this guy.” It’s not right. The majority of the controllers at HCF are excellent professionals and he does not represent them well.
U
The irony is that I had the EXACT same thing happen to me the day before during day IFR conditions off the coast of Lanai with the same controller. I regained control after a brief course departure and asked for an immediate descent to get out of IMC because I knew it ended about 1000 feet below me where smoother air persisted. Because I was unable to control my altitude in severe turbulence I really had no choice in the matter. I asked for lower and he actually denied it even though I explained my situation to him very very clearly. Another controller, probably a supervisor, intervened and asked if I was declaring an emergency. I told her only if that other controller continues to act that way and doesn’t help me immediately I would have to. She immediately vectored me away from terrain and allowed me lower and boom problem solved about 20 seconds later. It’s shocking that I almost had to declare simply because the attitude of the controller prevented me from getting to a place that allowed me to fly safer. Unreal.

I think it’s incredible that my friend was able to land both himself and his student safely during this event. I’m positive that in the same circumstances a less professional and less experienced pilot would have not lived through this.


Thank you for posting that, it added a lot of context to the OP. I saw the timestamp on the video being 0604Z and therefore concluded the event occurred at night.

They were very lucky to get out of that, a significant downdraft has caused wings to fail in the past with similar events. I have been in the same helpless position before in a light single with full power and best angle and still descending.

Good judgement by the pilot to declare an emergency, if they encountered another downdraft from a cloud they cannot see at night that could have been the end of them.
“Don't be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” E. Hamilton Lee, 1949
 
User avatar
zeke
Posts: 16106
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:25 pm

This looks the flight track in question https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N39 ... /PHOG/PHOG
“Don't be a show-off. Never be too proud to turn back. There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.” E. Hamilton Lee, 1949
 
N1120A
Posts: 26724
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 5:40 pm

Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Wed Dec 02, 2020 4:08 am

This was from quite a while ago. The ATC guy was completely in the wrong here.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
Sokes
Posts: 2775
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm

Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Wed Dec 02, 2020 6:09 am

In an emergency does a hobby pilot and a commercial pilot profit most from different type of controllers?
I speak of the psychology of the controller.
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
KingOrGod
Posts: 191
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:19 pm

Re: Very disturbing interaction between ATC & Pilot...

Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:34 am

VSMUT wrote:
Really poor job by ATC here. It was obvious from the callsign that he was dealing with an inexperienced GA pilot, not a professional commercial pilot. Chances are that this pilot will hesitate about calling mayday next time he has an issue.


Antarius wrote:
If you can't articulate something basic for ATC to help you, then how would ATC help you?


That's not how things work. A pilot in an emergency can't be expected to have the time to deal with that. The pilot says what he needs, ATC answers with what he needs. Knowing what happened and why is a secondary and completely unnecessary point, the controllers job is to support, not overburden the pilot. The controller shouldn't be second-guessing the pilot, for all we know the pilot could also be dealing with other issues like unreliable, unfamiliar or failed equipment.


cedarjet wrote:
Pilot is the prima donna here, not the atco


The pilot is the one with his life on the line.


See highlighted text. If I didn't second guess pilots I'd have a lot more dead people on my watch than those I have already experienced.........

Video won't play where I live, did he declare a mayday?

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