Episode #186

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Cavebear42
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Re: Episode #186

Postby Cavebear42 » Tue May 25, 2010 4:49 pm

OK, I'll put my opinion in here (that's what the internet was made for, right?)

I think that this whole controller thing is like any number of business meetings I have sat in this week where we are each trying our best to get our own goals accomplished. We don't know for sure but I would venture to guess the reason why 22R was not in use is because that would give the controller only 1 runway to work with rather than 2. His goal is not to make landings easy in the face of cross winds, his job is to put them in a line and bring them in.
The pilot's job is to bring the flight into the destination airport safely, on time, and with as much fuel left over as possible. They both have jobs to do and they were doing them.

The pilot attempted a negotiation. He said that the cross wind was too strong and he wanted 22R. The control didn't want to play. He threatened an emergency, and the controller still didn't want to play. I imagine at this point in time the controller was thinking "I'm in charge here and I choose where you land." The pilot then said (paraphrasing), "I'm in charge here and I'll decide where I land." Don't think that someone is to blame for the actions. They both had the same attitude and were in a power struggle.

If I was to "place blame", I would say that the blame should be held by the guy not willing to come to the negotiation table. If the controller told him, "OK, hold at XYZ and I'll sequence you for 22R in just a minute" don't you think he would have happily done it?

Jack, if you want to view as a weather minimums issue, consider what you would do if 18L was in a fog bank (next to a river or something) but 18R was clear as a bell. The controller tells you to take 18L. Do you divert to another airport or tell him to stop being pig-headed and give you 18R (which is CLEARLY the runway he should have given you in the first place)?

Cavebear42
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Re: Episode #186

Postby Cavebear42 » Tue May 25, 2010 4:52 pm

Oh, and if you have never landed night with no lights (flaps up). Get an instructor who is comfortable with it and go do it. You don't want a power failure at night to be the first time you ever try it.

I have landed on an unlit runway (don't turn on pilot controlled lighting) with lights on as well as a lit runway with my lights off. Both were interesting and educational.

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baswell
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Batteries

Postby baswell » Tue May 25, 2010 8:39 pm

You guys talk about switching to rechargables. There is one problem with rechargables: they lose their charge even when not in use! Charge a NiMh battery now and want to put it in your GPS a month later? You'll be out of luck.

Use rechargables to save some dough and the environment, but alos keep some alkalines in your bag for those times you find your rechangables flat.

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lucaberta
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Re: Batteries

Postby lucaberta » Wed May 26, 2010 6:20 am

baswell wrote:Use rechargables to save some dough and the environment, but alos keep some alkalines in your bag for those times you find your rechangables flat.

amen, brother! :)

Not everyone is lucky to fly as often as Dave does... :lol:

Ciao, Luca
Luca Bertagnolio, CPL/ASEL/AMEL/ASES/IR

US States I've overflown or flown in:
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Greg Bockelman
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Re: Episode #186

Postby Greg Bockelman » Thu May 27, 2010 2:49 pm

Ok, now that I have actually listened to the episode, I have further comments. Let me preface them by stating that I fly for a major airline. I am based out of Chicago O'Hare. I have flown out of the NE corridor airports in the past. I think I am qualified to comment, however what follows is my OPINION. So much for the caveats.

Jack, I agree with you that this did not rise to the level of an emergency. But not necessarily for the reasons you listed. All the crew had to do was state that they were unable to land on 22L for operational reasons and needed 31R. That is no big deal. It happens on a semi regular basis. There was no NEED to go to an alternate. (In fact, I doubt the crew even considered that option. There wasn't a reason to, at that point, IMO.) All that was needed was for the crew to make it known that they needed 31L. Which they did. But they have to let the controller control. There was nothing in the recording that indicated they needed PRIORITY handling, which is what declaring an emergency really does for you. In that regard, I agree that this was an abuse of the emergency authority. One other point. It wasn't a matter of whether or not it was safe to go to Newark or any other alternate. It was just that at that point it was unnecessary.

David, it wasn't until after the crew got handed over to the tower controller that the issue was made known. The tower controller was more than willing to give the crew the runway they wanted. It wasn't that the controller refused to give the crew the runway they wanted, it was a matter of sequencing. My point. The tower controller made the statement that he would pass the request on. Who was he going to pass the request on TO? He was the end of the line. Who he was going to pass the request on to was the APPROACH controller so HE could sequence the flight into the traffic for the runway the crew wanted. The flight crew never let the tower controller get that far.

Jeb, I am not sure the traffic was ALL going to 22L. IIRC, they were landing on both 22L and 31R. The fact that American was on 22L was luck of the draw. And as I also recall, it wasn't that the tower controller wasn't going to LET American land on 31R, it was that the flight crew never let the controller work out a plan to GET them to 31R. They pulled the emergency trump card first and did whatever the hell they felt like doing from that point forward. There was a 5th choice. He could have waited just a couple of minutes longer before he pulled the E card and let the controller do his job. Jeb, I just heard that you had not listened to the recording. Holy cow. How about listening to the recording first hand. It may give you a better perspective on what happened. Sheesh.

In conclusion. The flight crew MADE this into an emergency. They handled it poorly. They did NOT let the controller do his job. Now having said all that, I was not in the cockpit and I wasn't anywhere near there, so the only information I have is what I have heard on the recording. Now, if there was a fuel issue that was brought up before the tower hand off, that would chance the picture significantly. But there is no evidence of that.

As far as the shout outs go, I don't think the crew deserved a shout out because they did a poor job of managing their emergency. Don't get me wrong. If they felt they had a legit emergency, then they were justified in what they did. But listening to the recording, they created a WHOLE BUNCH of issues for the controller that could have been avoided if they would have just let the controller help them a bit.

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PilotBillFromTexas
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Re: Episode #186

Postby PilotBillFromTexas » Thu May 27, 2010 9:54 pm

Cavebear42 wrote:Oh, and if you have never landed night with no lights (flaps up). Get an instructor who is comfortable with it and go do it. You don't want a power failure at night to be the first time you ever try it.

I have landed on an unlit runway (don't turn on pilot controlled lighting) with lights on as well as a lit runway with my lights off. Both were interesting and educational.


Maybe it's just my poor dumb luck too but, I've flown a few airplanes where you thought everything was fine on pre-flight then on landing at night ... surprise.. no landing light. My training included regular "failure" of the landing light so, no big deal. One benefit of learning to fly after work during the week.

I was flying with a buddy a couple of summers ago. He was PIC in an Arrow and same thing, the landing AND taxi light failed. I had to stick my hand out the only door with a strong flash light to taxi. That wasn't the first time.

I think that the new LED lamps will help a lot with this problem. They are a lot tougher and demand less energy.

Dave Higdon
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Re: Episode #186

Postby Dave Higdon » Fri May 28, 2010 5:45 pm

See your points, Greg...can't quibble...

As for the lighting-and-landing-and-night discussion...the tough part for me was maintaining something akin to currency for that situation; something I tried to do a couple of times a year...and when I had to do night flying to maintain night currency it was pretty easy to throw in a couple of no-lights ops...it was when my night flying happened regularly enough to keep me current that my no-light checks dropped off...sort of like flying enough IFR to maintain currency, there's some stuff you don't really check yourself on outside a BFR or IPC...which is why my Bride liked to know -- encourage, is the word ;) -- that at least once a year I got together with a CFI or safety pilot and worked on the atypical stuff that didn't come up flying IFR or night -- or night IFR... :roll:

She didn't need to encourage me much to get me to go fly... 8-) but always let her feel like it was really something I didn't want to do :?

Dave

koehn
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Re: Episode #186

Postby koehn » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:50 am

Just listened to episode #189 where the guys in the virtual hangar discussed my question about what to do when all the lights go out.

First off, thanks for fielding my question! It's a wonderful service you provide to the pilot community and I appreciate being heard.

Second, thanks for the quality answers! As I guessed, there's no magic answer to to seeing the instruments if you lose the cockpit lights at night, you just need to fly the airplane all the way in and make do with your other senses. And I loved the tips about losing the exterior lights as well. When I did my first night cross country during my primary training (all of two months ago) the landing light in the Warrior I flew had been replaced with a taxi light, which was pretty close to flying without a light at all: it certainly didn't help me during the landing. But at least the interior lights and the radios worked, so I could see the instruments and activate the runway lights. I'll need to try a no-lights landing with my CFI sometime to get the feel for it. Sadly this exercise will need to wait a few months as darkness is hard to come by this time of year (we're at about 15 hours of daylight now).

Last, Koehn is pronounced "Cane," and nobody gets it right.

Thanks again guys!

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jackhodgson
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Re: Episode #186

Postby jackhodgson » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:36 am

Greg,

Thanks for sharing your views on the JFK "emergency" thing. (Of course it helps that you agreed with me a little bit ;) )

But I really do appreciate you adding to the conversation. Thanks.

-- Jack

Greg Bockelman
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Re: Episode #186

Postby Greg Bockelman » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:57 pm

jackhodgson wrote:But I really do appreciate you adding to the conversation. Thanks.

-- Jack


I'm just here to keep you guys honest. :twisted: :D


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