Box vectors and lost comm

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by Chip Sylverne, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    What I'm more concerned about is whether there is any history of enforcing this interpretation (and the previous interpretations that it affirms).
     
  2. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Yeah. No doubt about that. Another thing that was addressed was getting held, getting an EFC or EAC and then when getting cleared beyond the fix, getting cleared to another fix down the road and getting more holding. Kinda messed up fuel planning. EAC was done away with and everything became EFC and Controllers were required to advise of any additional holding anticipated.
     
  3. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    I don't know of any. But there have been incidents of people failing an Instrument Checkride because the DE was confused.
     
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  4. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Dunno. There would likely have to be an uncommon "pure" lost comm plus a separation problem for ATC before any enforcement action would be considered.
     
  5. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I think the likelihood of that is also reduced by the fact that, based on what controllers have said online, the vast majority of them would find the Chief Counsel's version of what pilots should do quite unpalatable. Doing things the way ATC apparently wants them done seems unlikely to motivate them to ask for a FSDO to get involved.
     
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  6. IK04

    IK04 Line Up and Wait

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    Once you lose commo and squawk 7600, you are in a MAYDAY situation. ATC will clear the airspace between you and your FAF, and expect you to continue in to the aerodrome you are filed to.

    If the runway is fouled for any reason and I break out, I'm landing on the most suitable taxiway!
     
  7. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

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    I don't see any of that in 91.185 nor in the amplification of 91.185 in the AIM.
     
  8. IK04

    IK04 Line Up and Wait

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    14 CFR part 91.3 (b).
     
  9. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

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    That is not supposed to be used except when the provisions of 91.185 cannot be applied. 14CFR 91.3 (b) is a double-edge sword. So long as 91.185 can be complied with, the pilot does not have an in-flight emergency.
     
  10. IK04

    IK04 Line Up and Wait

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    As the PIC, I decide when I have an emergency.
     
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  11. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    FAA is an insufferable Monday morning quarterback!
     
  12. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    I don't think that's true. First, an emergency is in the eye of the beholder. The FAA of course, reserves the ability to take the position to take the position that "emergency" is an after-the-fact excuse or created by the pilot, but the cases in which it has been done have, for the most part, have two out of three components: (1) pretty obvious as an excuse or (2) failure to take timely corrective action; and (3) caused a problem.

    If I have lost comm and am legitimately concerned (but wrong) that it is an impending electrical failure, it is an emergency.
     
  13. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

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    I agree but that isn't the hypothetical set forth by the other poster. You know you will probably have to justify your action to an aviation inspector.
     
  14. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Speaking of the AIM:

    "Whether two-way communications failure
    constitutes an emergency depends on the circumstances,
    and in any event, it is a determination made
    by the pilot."

     
  15. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In the scenario he posed, the alternative to landing on a taxiway would be to climb back up into the clouds while NORDO. Sounds like it would be quite easy to justify exercising emergency authority to avoid doing that.
     
  16. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Assuming the failure didn't affect your transponder, of course.
     
  17. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

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    Non-specific. That does nothing that other than place the pilot on notice that his circumstances will be subject to Monday-morning quarterbacking. As always, those circumstances will vary with the level of issues created by the declaration and subsequent actions, such as landing on a taxiway.
     
  18. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Skin, tin, ticket.

    By the way, a declaration is probably not going to be possible if it's a total loss of communications. Also, I would think that climbing back into the clouds while NORDO would be even more likely to result in Monday-morning quarterbacking.
     
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  19. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    The issue of declaring with lost com aside...

    I have an enormous amount of respect for Wally. He knows that. But disregard this statement.

    It is exactly the type of sentiment which has unfortunately led pilots through the decades to avoid declaring emergencies when they should. Fear of nonexistent challenges to pilot emergency decisions.

    The reality is quite different. Those very few cases of bogus emergencies and those created by a series of very stupid, almost intentional bad decisions aside, declaring an emergency is more likely to avoid Monday morning quarterbacking than cause it.

    Even if one discounts the assistance ATC can provide and those situations in which treating something as an emergency or not can make the difference between life and death, declaring alerts ATC there is a problem and that they need to clear area for you to take some kind of action. That means they can avoid the loss of separation which leads to problems ATC headaches, and enforcement actions.

    That's based on my read of a number of emergency cases and In my limited experience of 4 emergency situations I'm personally acquainted with. In two an emergency was declared. One resulted in zero inquiry. One, which a Monday morning quarterback could easily argue the pilot created, resulted in a very pleasant discussion with an ASI who was dotting a few i's and crossing a few t's.

    One non-declaration was VFR lost com and a landing at a busy Class D with no light signals on the opposite runway. In that one, a discussion of the event with an ASI led the ASI to describe the event as an emergency although the pilot didn't. In the final one, the pilot had an engine problem in Class B, had comm, did not declare, caused a loss of separation before the pilot recovered, and had to deal with a formal investigation and the start of an enforcement action, and hired a lawyer. The case was fortunately resolved favorably at the attorney conference stage, but dealing with a formal enforcement action is no fun at all.
     
  20. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

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    I'd be the first to say there are many, many cases in GA where the pilot's failure to declare had a bad outcome. The relatively recent crash of a Cessna (340?) into a parking lot while approaching KSNA comes to mind.

    But, this thread is about lost comm in IMC where the hypothetical as I understand it is "steady state" lost com (nav and electrical system normal), the pilot is IMC and has not arrived at the destination airport. How often do single-engine airplanes experience IFR/IMC lost comm and are steady-state with nav and electrical in the real world? Probably not very often. And, how well equipped is the airplane? There are folks still out there flying en route IMC with one nav/com.
     
  21. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    If it's not an emergency it's not an emergency. But there is a long, long history of posts since the early days of AvSIG on CompuServ with pilots telling pilot to avoid declaring an emergency for fear of the FAA smiting them, and worse, other pilots believing it happens all the time. The most similar threads are those telling pilots not to report ice accumulation with the message, better to crash with a load of ice than report the need to get out of it.

    So, sorry, but it's a rant item for me.

    And, as we both have said, "stead state" or "pure" lost comm is a rarity, and, as many have said, if you do what ATC wants and expects you to do, there's no one to report a violation. Between the two the discussion is mostly academic.
     
  22. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

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    I didn't know that! :)
     
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  23. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Nothing says you need to "Declare" in 91.3. To emphasize the need for it, in my opinion, puts an undo pressure on the PIC. My advice is to be in charge and meet the situation as best you can. Argue about what it was later. I'd let ATC know what you're doing, squawk 7700, ask for any help you need, but don't dwell on "declaring". Get er done. If ATC asks, tell 'em call it what you want, but I need to do this (whatever it is) now. You can't train somebody to "declare" when the very utterance of the word is an admission of weakness at a time when they need to be strong. Forget it. Fly the damn plane. Ask for (no, demand) the help you need. If ATC wants to know if you're declaring an emergency, go ahead if that's what they need to hear, but don't put yourself through the mental anguish of deciding whether you need to "declare" or not. In My Opinion.
     
  24. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Now that you mention it, if the transponder is working, squawking 7700 is an emergency declaration.

    The times I have declared, I have found it very liberating, in the sense that it frees up the mind to concentrate on what's important. It felt like suddenly having the wind at my back, metaphorically speaking.
     
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  25. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Horse hockey. Plain and simple. (I said it was a rant topic)

    The only "undue pressure" and "mental anguish" is the repetition of posts that something bad will happen if you do declare. It rarely does. To the contrary, there are way too many fatal accident reports where a pilot was having a full-fledged emergency, even describes what is going on, and ATC had no clue it was serious.

    What we need is not foo-foo excuses for not saying a simple phrase, but better education beginning early in pilot training, that PIC responsibility to oneself and ones loved ones includes having the strength, not the weakness, of informing ATC in clear and unmistakable terms that we are having a problem and are taking control of the situation.
     
  26. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Yes, but you don't have to enunciate the words. And you don't have to squawk 7700 at all if you aren't breaking rules and maybe not even if you're too busy to think of it.
    That makes my point. Prior to "declaring", you were fraught with a decision to "declare" or not to, thus the wind change after you did. I'm saying not to stress out over whether to "declare" or not, just notify ATC what you're doing.
     
  27. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    The guy who spent money for a lawyer to defend the certificate action was far more fraught with worry over the outcome than he would have been by declaring an emergency.

    That's a huge assumption of what was in his mind, isn't it? Personally, my two emergency declarations were not fraught with anything except how to handle the situation. It wasn't even a "decision" in the sense of any contemplation. Lost power, quick troubleshoot, didn't work, declared. It was almost automatic.
     
  28. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    See? They couldn't bring themselves to "declare". It's a psychological thing. Screw it, forget "declaring", just take charge and demand priority. Make ATC say the words if they need to. I never saw so much discussion over a formal verbalization that changes nothing--you're still on fire, losing pressurization or lost 90% of your climb performance, etc. You are dealing with it either way. It seems like your worst fear is you might have to hire a lawyer after the situation is over.

    I'm saying you don't NEED the phrase to do the latter. Why erect a hurdle that needs to be jumped in the first place.
     
  29. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In the 27 years I've been flying, I don't recall ever experiencing stress over whether to declare. I suspect that's because I don't agonize over it. For me, the situation either seems serious enough to be an emergency or it doesn't, and if it does, I don't waste time wondering whether I should declare or not, I just do it.
     
  30. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    No my worst fear is that I won't have ATC understand the seriousness of the situation. It's partly about getting people out of my way and perhaps even not getting some good resource management help. I can guarantee that in my bigger emergency, the consequences if we lived were the very last things on my mind.

    I'm saying we need to educate people that there is no hurdle, except for the one you are arguing should be there. You really think someone who is afraid of saying the 'E" word is or even has the ability to take charge?

    But I guess we'll need to agree to disagree on this.
     
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  31. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    I suppose a double engine flameout right after takeoff would be pretty obvious, but then you'd be too busy trying to light one off to say the magic words. Almost everything else can be somewhere on a graduated scale from white through gray to black. You're running low on fuel, but you think you know where you are. Emergency? Your door seal is leaking, but hasn't yet dumped the cabin. Emergency? Your captain locked himself in the loo. Emergency? I could go on. In all those situations you can do the same things whether or not you "declare", so why make a big deal out of saying the words.
     
  32. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's very similar to what happened with my one-and-only total power loss. I tried carb heat, and when that didn't work, I noticed that I was about 1400 AGL on downwind (in a Skycatcher), and that my one-and-only focus from that point on should be to not screw up a perfect forced-landing setup. From that point on, it was an immediate "mayday, mayday, mayday," followed by a brief description of where I was and the nature of the emergency.

    For me, I think the wind-at-my back feeling comes from the knowledge that everyone on frequency now knows my situation, and that I'm likely to get whatever help and cooperation I need.
     
  33. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Oh, you'll get help alright, "Say souls onboard," and "How many minutes of fuel do have remaining." I think ATC can understand the seriousness if your engine quit, you're low on fuel and lost or there's smoke in the cabin. Punting the problem to them, though, isn't what we should be teaching, we should be teaching how to handle those problems and securing assistance from ATC in the degree we need.


    "Afraid"? Not at all. I'm saying, by definition "declaring an emergency" means you have a serious problem. So, now you have to decide when, exactly, you've crossed the Rubicon. My way, you don't have to think about it.

    Ok. :)
     
  34. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The important thing is to assess the seriousness of the situation. THAT's a big deal, and needs to be done whether you declare or not. Once that assessment is done, whether it warrants an emergency declaration has always seemed pretty obvious to me.

    Generally speaking, my gut tells me whether I'm in distress or not. If I am, and if there is anyone who is in a position where their actions could either help or hinder my dealing with it, I like the clarity of an unambiguous communication about the seriousness of my situation.

    Emergency declarations have always come easy for me, but if they seem like a big deal for you and if what you do works for you, I'm not trying to talk you out of it; I'm just explaining what I do.
     
  35. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In the mayday situation I described above, I didn't get any of that. It was just "Cleared to land," and once I was safely on the ground, it was "Do you need assistance?" I didn't even get a number to call. I don't think I got those questions after any of my other emergency declarations either. :dunno:

    Nobody ever taught me that declaring an emergency constituted punting the problem to ATC. To the contrary, I understand it as being part of taking charge of the situation. In an emergency requiring immediate action, I have the authority to take whatever action is required to deal with that emergency, and an emergency declaration lets everyone on frequency know that I am exercising that authority.

    The FAA definition of emergency (distress or urgency condition) is pretty broad, so it appears to me that hair-splitting is not needed. My attitude: "Worry less, declare more," but also, "Your mileage may vary." :) If you find that declaring causes a net detriment to dealing with the situation, then obviously you should do whatever works best for you. The fact that it doesn't seem to work that way for me doesn't mean that others' experience can't differ from mine.

    I think (hope) that we're in agreement that the decision about whether to declare an emergency in any given situation is not worth agonizing over.
     
  36. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    @midlifeflyer and @dtuuri et al. FWIW and to add to the discussion, a pilot does not need to declare an emergency for an emergency to be declared.

    10−2−5. EMERGENCY SITUATIONS
    Consider that an aircraft emergency exists and inform the RCC or ARTCC when any of the following exist:
    NOTE−
    USAF facilities are only required to notify the ARTCC.
    a. An emergency is declared by either:
    1. The pilot.
    2. Facility personnel.
    3. Officials responsible for the operation of the aircraft.

    I have declared emergencies as a controller when it was obvious one existed even though the pilot did not "declare." When doing it I did not always tell the pilot that an emergency had been declared. I figured why add to his stress level with such a harsh word. I just obtained the information required for emergencies, much of which was already known.

    10−2−1. INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS
    a. Start assistance as soon as enough information has been obtained upon which to act. Information requirements will vary, depending on the existing situation. Minimum required information for inflight emergencies is:
    NOTE−
    In the event of an ELT signal see para 10−2−10, Emergency
    Locator Transmitter (ELT) Signals.
    1. Aircraft identification and type.
    2. Nature of the emergency.
    3. Pilot’s desires.
    b. After initiating action, obtain the following
    items or any other pertinent information from the
    pilot or aircraft operator, as necessary:
    NOTE−
    Normally, do not request this information from military
    fighter-type aircraft that are at low altitudes (i.e., on
    approach, immediately after departure, on a low level
    route, etc.). However, request the position of an aircraft
    that is not visually sighted or displayed on radar if the
    location is not given by the pilot.
    1. Aircraft altitude.
    2. Fuel remaining in time.
    3. Pilot reported weather.
    4. Pilot capability for IFR flight.
    5. Time and place of last known position.
    6. Heading since last known position.
    7. Airspeed.
    8. Navigation equipment capability.
    9. NAVAID signals received.
    10. Visible landmarks.
    11. Aircraft color.
    12. Number of people on board.
    13. Point of departure and destination.
    14. Emergency equipment on board.
     
  37. IK04

    IK04 Line Up and Wait

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    Squawk 7700 for a minute, then 7600 to make the situation clearly understood by ATC, if the transponder is working. If approach has primary RADAR on you, they will figure it out really fast when you don't respond to radio calls...
     
  38. IK04

    IK04 Line Up and Wait

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    Oh, and p.s.

    There is no way to announce PAN PAN PAN if your radio doesn't work.
     
  39. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In the scenario brought up earlier, in which a NORDO aircraft finds the runway fouled upon breaking out of the clouds, that would probably not be a good time to fiddle with the transponder.
     
  40. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Absolutely correct. That's not the problem. The potential problem is when ATC doesn't understand an emergency condition exists. Read NTSB reports, especially more recent ones, where ATC re-vectors aircraft reporting "vacuum failure" right back into the clouds after the pilot enters visual conditions, and there is no pilot to interview later.

    The NTSB often says it's an ATC education problem. Sure, but it's also a very basic pilot problem.
     
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