Recourse if ATC is out of line?

Discussion in 'Change to my Frequency...' started by \__[Ô]__/, Sep 11, 2016.

  1. Minshall

    Minshall Pre-Flight

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    TedM
    I've been chastised on-air twice (that I'll confess to) ... both were actually positive experiences in the end.

    1) Center controller got irritated that I had multiple approaches/airports on a single flight plan (as is customary for Approach controllers in the area). I kept my cool and he finished his venting, but I later called Center to ask for clarification/education. It turns out that Center and Approach didn't know they were doing things differently between them, and they spent several days investigating to improve their service/understanding. My only regret is that I flippantly said he "chewed me out", which set a conversation-tone I hadn't intended.

    2) Departing IFR, tower gave me a clearance amendment just before I took off. I complied, but then got chewed out for failing to follow the original clearance. I simply told them what my instructions were and didn't worry. When they handed me off, I asked if I did anything wrong, to which they replied, "nope, our mistake".

    I'm still pretty impressed with the US air-traffic system ... 99.9% of the time it works without issue, and for that 0.1% of issues, they're quickly/reasonably resolved 99.9% of that fraction too.
     
    denverpilot and starglider like this.
  2. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou En-Route

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    As others have pointed out, this should be no big deal but (politely) reporting such events can go a long way and help improve the system.
    Afterall, it is a two-way conversation between pilots and controllers. Nobody owns nobody, we all need to work together to make the system work for us.

    Simple example:
    Just a few days ago, I was departing my home field IFR and when handed off to departure, made my call but with no answer.
    Was the controller too busy to talk to me? Was he ignoring me? Did he leave his post and frequency unattended? Those sure are options, right? So I could make my calls again in a ****y tone, right?
    But what if the controller didn't hear me since I was still pretty low? Or what if he replied and I didn't hear him instead? Again, all possible options.
    Eventually, I finally heard a controller's voice. So afterwards, I keyed the mike and said: "Departure, N12345, how do you read?" and got an immediate "N12345, radar contact, climb and maintain X,000, cleared direct FUBAR ... and hi Lou". :) It was a friend controller whom I probably failed to hear the first time over squelch since I was pretty low. So had I been an a-hat and become ****y with him, that would have been awkward. :)
    Instead of getting emotions and anger involved, I used my head and tried to resolve the situation to both parties' satisfaction.

    Again, this is a bi-directional communication system and we gotta work together to make it click perfectly. And when it works well, it works wonders. :)
     
    azure likes this.
  3. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It works both ways. I can remember only one time a controller got snippy with me over a missed call. I knew I hadn't heard him call me but had heard him talking to other folks. I assumed it was a bad button push on his part and just let it go. No need to escalate and best to just stick with procedure.
     
  4. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    There are many reasons controllers don't answer right away.
    1. They're on the phone with another sector.
    2. They're talking to another controller on the intercom.
    3. The supervisor is talking to them telling them that their wife called and to call back as soon as relieved.
    4. Two aircraft are calling at the same time.
    5. They're giving a relief brief to the next controller.
    6. They're listening to someone else on another radio.
    7. If they're the only controller there (been there, done that many times) they had to go potty.
    8. Your radio sucks and they couldn't hear you or you couldn't hear them.
    9. Someone caused a ruckus and the controller turned around to see what all the noise was about.
    10. Headset or jack issues.

    Many reasons - just call again in a normal voice.
     
    Zeldman likes this.
  5. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    Years back I took off VFR with plans to pick up clearance in the air. I called center, and he came back immediately with clearance. I had to ask to repeat, and he did, then I asked to repeat a certain part, and he did but said, "Sir, you need to listen up". I came back with the important parts of the clearance, then said calmly and in my normal voice, "Sir, there is someone on your end that is whistling making it hard to understand you."

    5 seconds of dead silence, then the controller came back with "Radar contact...etc......" but no one whistling. I can imagine what he shouted out in the room to the person whistling....:lol::lol:
     
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  6. HornetDriver

    HornetDriver Filing Flight Plan

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    The important takeaway here is your faulty assumption that just because you think they heard you that means they heard you. They almost certainly did not. Their traffic advisory on you was likely due to radar.

    The other takeaway is that all you have to say is that you did make the report as requested... no stammering required. Unless your call is acknowledged, legally speaking, it did not happen.
     
  7. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    He may not see your post. It's been about a month and a half since he has been on the forum.
     
  8. Paulie

    Paulie Line Up and Wait

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    If that atc guy has a habit of screaming at people he needs a attitude adjustment or another job. I had a real piece of work at TIST go off on me but I wouldn't back down on the radio. A well known douchebag. I think he's in Alaska now, hope he enjoys the weather, quite different than St Thomas.
     
  9. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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    Every ATC facility has a quality control person. Anyone with a question or problem should call the facility, give date, time, and frequency, and ask that the tape be reviewed. There are consequences for controllers who do not follow th rules.