Box vectors and lost comm

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

  1. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    The Avianca crash comes to mind. The crew said they're low on fuel or something like that, but continued to accept ATC vectors. They were pilloried for not declaring an emergency and out of the accident came the silly "minimum fuel" concept. The crew should have been pilloried for not getting the damn thing on the ground before they ran out of gas. "Declaring" an emergency would only have punted the outcome to ATC. IMO, the emphasis in teaching should be to DO what's required, not SAY what really isn't.
     
  2. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Declaring an emergency doesn't "punt" it to ATC; it lets them know that the pilot is invoking the PIC authority described in 14 CFR 91.3(b).
     
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  3. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Well it does if you keep taking vectors, like Avianca. They could have "Let them know" they were heading straight for the outer marker (or middle marker) because they were on fumes.
     
  4. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Very true. The archives are full of accident reports where a more knowledgeable and experienced controller may have made the difference. Someday maybe Pilot Certificates with advanced ratings may become a requirement to be a controller but I doubt it very much. Pilots gotta know themselves, their limitations, what to ask for and when to say no.
     
  5. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I think we're in agreement that the pilot needs to take charge when an emergency exists. There's nothing about declaring an emergency that prevents him or her from doing that.
     
  6. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Minimum fuel was not new after Avianca 52. Long before that, Minimum Fuel meant there was not an emergency but undue delay may cause an 'emergency low fuel' situation. After Avianca there were bulletins, education programs, maybe even an Advisory Circular, I'm not sure. Mandatory briefings were done throughout the ATC field reminding controllers that Minimum Fuel was not an emergency. Although it was already a requirement to pass important information from controller to controller concerning a flight, it became 'specifically' required to relay Minimum Fuel reports.

    2−1−8. MINIMUM FUEL
    If an aircraft declares a state of “minimum fuel,”
    inform any facility to whom control jurisdiction is
    transferred of the minimum fuel problem and be alert
    for any occurrence which might delay the aircraft
    en route.
    NOTE−
    Use of the term “minimum fuel” indicates recognition by
    a pilot that his/her fuel supply has reached a state where,
    upon reaching destination, he/she cannot accept any undue
    delay. This is not an emergency situation but merely an
    advisory that indicates an emergency situation is possible
    should any undue delay occur. A minimum fuel advisory
    does not imply a need for traffic priority. Common sense
    and good judgment will determine the extent of assistance
    to be given in minimum fuel situations. If, at any time, the
    remaining usable fuel supply suggests the need for traffic
    priority to ensure a safe landing, the pilot should declare
    an emergency and report fuel remaining in minutes.
     
  7. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Declaring an emergency would have eliminated 3 holds and a 360 turn for Avianca, allowing them a few attempts at getting it on the ground. “I think we need priority” was a waste of a transmission. Just say you’re emergency fuel, or do the traditional “mayday” / “pan pan”.

    By communicating clearly to ATC that you’re an emergency, will eliminate the confusion on their end as to whether or not to provide you with service that an emergency affords.
     
  8. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

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    On a one-engine approach in the 727, once the gear and 5 flaps were extended a go-around was not possible. (Can't remember about the L1011.) The company did not teach to declare an emergency before starting the one-engine approach, which I thought to be foolish on the part of Boeing, the company, and the FAA.

    I don't know whether anyone ever had to make such an approach, other than in the simulator.