TBM Crash May Implicate ATC

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by CTLSi, Sep 9, 2014.

  1. CTLSi

    CTLSi Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Atlanta Center:

    "Nine Hundred Kilo November, we need to descend to about 180," the pilot informed the controller, sounding coherent and calm. "We have an indication that’s not correct in the plane."

    The controller at that point told Glazer to stand by, and moments later cleared N900KN to descend to FL 250, to which the pilot responded more emphatically, "250, and we need to get lower, Nine Hundred Kilo November."

    ATC next informed the TBM of opposite traffic ahead at FL 240 and instructed the pilot to turn left 30 degrees, which the pilot acknowledged. Nearly two minutes elapsed before ATC appears to clear the flight to FL 200. Glazer, slurring his speech, appears to acknowledge the instruction.

    Moments later the controller cleared the TBM to the Taylor intersection, which the pilot also acknowledged. Another two minutes elapsed before the controller asked the pilot to confirm receiving an instruction to descend to FL 200, to which the pilot, badly slurring his speech, responded with, "Kilo November [sic] Nine Hundred Kilo November."

    That was the last call from the TBM before contact was lost. Atlanta Center repeatedly tried contacting the flight with no response.

    Read more at http://www.flyingmag.com/technique/...wice-asked-lower-altitude#HEISX786kKujp8z5.99
     
  2. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    I don't know if this has any impact but I think the determining factor would be that the pilot did not declare an emergency.
     
    Kiddo's Driver and PilotRPI like this.
  3. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    ATC did nothing wrong here. Had the pilot said the magic words "Nine Hundred Kilo November we are declaring an emergency at this time and need a descent due to pressurization loss" he would have been cleared down immediately and the controller would have cleared airspace.
     
  4. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    Nowhere in that exchange was "emergency" mentioned, or an indication of the type of problem. I'd say it's 99% on the pilot.
     
  5. airdale

    airdale Pattern Altitude

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    Hindsight is 20:20. I think the word "implicate" has negative connotations that are not appropriate here.

    The unfortunate fact is that the pilot did not declare an emergency. Should the controller have recognized the problem? Judge not.
     
  6. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It appears some pilots are a bit skittish of declaring an emergency.

    I've been told that if as PIC, I have any inkling that the situation may grow out of hand, declare, aviate to safety, and then deal with the fall out later.... when you're on the ground and alive.
     
  7. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    :thumbsup:
     
  8. timwinters

    timwinters Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  9. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    Over 800 posts in two months. He's on track to surpass Henning!:D
     
  10. JoeFromKS

    JoeFromKS Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sure, the controller didn't technicality do anything wrong, but I would sure hate to be him now and have that in my conscience.
    Here's a question: if you were on frequency and heard that exchange, would you speak up?
     
  11. Pedals2Paddles

    Pedals2Paddles Cleared for Takeoff

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    These recordings implicate the pilot, and only the pilot. It is very sad, but it is entirely his fault for failing to react to the problem. Frankly, we're lucky it didn't kamikaze into a bus load of nuns, and drifted harmlessly out to sea.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
  12. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    Speak up and say what? Are you going to try to second guess another pilot? Or controller? Or are you going to add confusion to the situation?
     
  13. Pedals2Paddles

    Pedals2Paddles Cleared for Takeoff

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    If I were on the frequency, and I heard his voice clearly deteriorating like that, I would probably say something. Between understanding hypoxia in aviation, and being an EMT, I'd like to think it would click for me what I was hearing. I would say something because I can recognize that and put 2+2 together. It might be too late by the time symptoms are audibly noticeable on the radio though.

    Thinking about it, if it was obvious enough to me, I would probably declare and emergency on his behalf due to his incapacitation. Then repeatedly try telling him to set the AP for 8000ft hoping that it sinks in and he hits the button before lights out. But again, by the time symptoms are audibly obvious on the radio to someone who can recognize it, it may be too late to help him.

    I wouldn't expect a controller to be able to do that. Last time I checked, they're not pilots or medical professionals. They have no idea why he wants lower or that he requires lower immediately. This is why it is the pilot's fault. The pilot is in command, not ATC.

    All that said, yes it is going to suck to be that controller. It wasn't his fault, he knows it wasn't his fault. Everyone tells him it isn't his fault. But it's like running over someone in your car that just walks out in front of you. You still feel like you killed them.
     
  14. asechrest

    asechrest En-Route

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    The most you can say about the controller is: "I wish he could have known". We cannot ask controllers to be mind readers, nor can we ask them to be voice analysts while they're performing a very busy and very important job. If I were the dead pilot and I could speak from the grave, I would demand that the controller not be "implicated" in anything.

    This is not to say I would have made a better choice. But I can tell you that this incident has made me endeavor to do what I need to do for the safety of the flight without thought to whose permission I need.
     
  15. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    Without knowing the details of the situation, no, I would've broadcasted anything.

    The pilot made two major errors. The first is that he didn't convey the seriousness of his situation by declaring an emergency. He was aware and coherent enough to request 180, when in reality he should've set 10,000 on the autopilot and declared an emergency descent. Second, he didn't even give the controller a specific reason for the descent. Just informing him he had a pressurization issue I think the controller might have handled it as an emergency situation.
     
  16. cirrusmx

    cirrusmx Line Up and Wait

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    whats the big freaking deal of declaring an emergency?????:mad2::mad2::mad2::mad2:
    specially, when your life is in danger?


    paper work, suspension, scrutinizing from the FAA. at least you are still alive to go through that.
     
  17. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    Really?



    Some controllers do hold a pilots certificate.
     
  18. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    Bingo!
     
  19. Norman

    Norman En-Route Gone West

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    Or if he had told the controller it was a pressurization problem it would likely have been dealt with posthaste.
     
  20. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    Perhaps. I've had pressurization problems at altitude before and requested ATC for lower and told them I had a problem. They would usually ask if it's an emergency and I would respond "Not at this time, we just need to get down to FLxxx and work this out".
     
  21. Pedals2Paddles

    Pedals2Paddles Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes. If I recognize an emergency that the controller doesn't, and that the pilot is too incapacitated to recognize, yes, absolutely. Why not?? I'm not sure how I would word it, but that is not relevant.


    Yep. And some are probably EMTs too. Some are probably both. Doesn't really change the scenario. The point is another pilot recognize a third party's emergency and stepping in to do something about it, or at least try.
     
  22. Jimmy cooper

    Jimmy cooper En-Route

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    Absolutely! no way ATC is wrong here. The pilot knew exactly what to do to get down quickly. The controller bears no responsibility in this as his training does not include mind reading.
     
  23. N801BH

    N801BH Touchdown! Greaser! Gone West

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    Define usually...:dunno:....:confused:...
     
  24. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    Yes, it is relevant. You could really start creating confusion and turn a bad situation worse. You are not in the other airplane, nor are you at the ATC station.

    All fine and dandy, but I can see in certain instances where you could really hose up a situation by trying to second guess another unknown pilot and his situation and/or get a controller confused.
     
  25. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    When I was in a club we had one of our members try to declare an emergency for another member (flying another plane) live on the tower frequency. It was a bit of chaos. Not recommended.
     
  26. Geico266

    Geico266 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You are right, that doesn'tsound like a good idea.
     
  27. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    How could confusion make the situation worse?

    I could easily see it causing a traffic nightmare, but that is not worse than a hypoxia death. Not even close, really.

    So, suppose the "indication" was a gear light. Emergency gets declared by someone else, not really necessary. Controller gets everyone out of the way, in busy airspace. Lots of holding, lots of ****ed off live people.

    Or, third party declares emergency, pilot says no. Either ATC responds to the "emergency" or they don't.

    About the only way you could make it worse would be if the controller thought there was no emergency, but the pilot thought there was and descends. Except for the last part, that's what really happened. And the airplane had a transponder if it was operating in Class A, so the descent would have been indicated.
     
  28. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    Busy ATC frequency, another pilot tries to second guess the problem airplane, gets on the frequency, controller is now trying to coordinate, confusion setting in.

    Many years ago I was approaching STL during a very nasty winter night. Young pilot in a C-208 was picking up ice on departure and started to panic. Another pilot jumped on the radio and tried to take over the situation. The controller after several attempts to break through had to tell the second pilot to shut up......and that didn't stop him. Meanwhile the trouble aircraft now the pilot is really panicked.

    Let the pilot and controller work it out, this is not an emergency by consensus or committee.
     
  29. Direct C51

    Direct C51 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You guys saying it's the pilots responsibility to declare, and not to interject, I disagree. The pilot wasn't coherent enough to make clear decisions, and I believe he either didn't know how bad it was, or was already hypoxic. I don't have the link, but I'm sure you all have seen the video where the guy is hypoxic and another pilot gets on the radio and says just a few words in the line of "he's hypoxic" or "hypoxia". It saved that guys life.
     
  30. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    Sounds like a good prank though.
    Transponder off
    "Tower, this is [insert friends callsign] declaring an emergency"
    "We were trying the mile high thing and I think I broke my junk when we hit a thermal."
     
  31. JoeFromKS

    JoeFromKS Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I wouldn't declare for someone else, or try take over from the controller, but I wouldn't think twice about asking "hey, are you ok?" Might be enough to get the pilot or controller to realize something's not right.
     
  32. RV10flyer

    RV10flyer Pattern Altitude

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    Well, that is two on my ignore list. CTLSi and Insane.
     
  33. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    All of this is an assumption on your part.

    Look, the pilot screwed up by not declaring an emergency. When it began it was unclear (except to the armchair QB's) what was going on. All of this hero "I'll jump in and save him" is mental masturbation at this point.

    Learn a lesson from this event and move on. The lesson is it's always better to declare, get the priority handling and deal with the aftermath on the ground.
     
  34. Direct C51

    Direct C51 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    All of THIS is an assumption on YOUR part. Have you ever been in a chamber? Maybe it went so fast he didn't have time to make a coherent decision. Maybe his mask wasn't working. Maybe he did screw up. EVERYTHING right now is an assumption, your assumptions are not better than anyone else's.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
  35. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    Yes, at CAMI.

    Have you spent much flying time above FL180? In a pressurized aircraft? :rolleyes:

    :rolleyes2:
     
  36. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    You can't declare for someone else. Pilot, controller or those responsibile for the aircraft.
     
  37. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    :thumbsup:
     
  38. Direct C51

    Direct C51 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I agree, you can't declare for someone else. All I'm saying is it has helped in the past. Had someone just said "he's hypoxic", the controller might have questioned it. Why are you so against someone doing something very small that might have saved the flight. I'm not saying to get very involved, but 2 words surely can't hurt, and won't clog the radio, it wasn't very busy. My point is that it has worked before. It's all just hypothetical, like the entire thread, but don't be so crass that you make everyone think the right thing to do is let it happen and shame the pilot.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
  39. narchee

    narchee Line Up and Wait

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    Nah, ATC did everything they could. He asked for lower. They gave him lower. Unfortunately the dumbass didn't put his mask on so when they gave him lower again he was already drunker than a skunk on his own stink. No ATC fault. Dumbass pilot who didn't put his mask on? Yes! :yesnod:
     
  40. N747JB

    N747JB Final Approach

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    Boy that was helpful, you a pilot? :dunno: Spend much time in the flight levels? Or the plane in your avatar your main ride?