This was really interesting handling of a 'low fuel' declaration (I'll assume the pilot meant 'minimum fuel').
Normally I would post this edited but there is so much good stuff here, and I am really tight for time right now.
Action starts at 9:20 and goes, pretty much non-stop until the 24min mark.
Sequence (this is not complete, but contains the bulk of the learning material!)
9:50 how much flying time..
10:38 ATC asks pilot if he plans to continue to TEB, and ATC offers diversion to Caldwell (better ceiling at the time, less chance of a missed), no response from pilot yet
10:54 ATC issues a transmission to another aircraft
11:00 pilot accepts CDW but ATC does NOT hear it because they start a transmission 1/2 sec later (that we don't hear)
11:02 we hear the tail end of ATC's transmission to someone else...
11:15 thinking that the pilot is either ignoring the Caldwell suggestion, or still considering it...ATC lays down the law. I think it's the most interesting thing I've ever heard over the radio since I started listening many years ago.
19:43 how many souls... (now it's a controller-declared emergency, presumably)
22:40 ATC complaining about relative speeds of 2 jets, one of which came out of holding
24:00 hand off to tower.
This was a Mooney going from Florida to NJ (about 5hr 15mins enroute), IFR into TEB. He checks in with minimum fuel. ATC suggests CDW would be a better choice with the slightly better weather. ATC gets testy when he senses indecision/defiance from the pilot regarding a possible diversion. After a weather updated, TEB becomes the better call, and the pilot is vectored for the ILS 19 over there.http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N2139K/history/20110515/1250Z/KFPR/KTEB
- use your callsign on the radio. The pilot basically stopped using his, which might have added to the controller workload (the controller was working a busy sector with a healthy number of aircraft going into various fields)
- respond to transmissions ASAP in a busy terminal environment. A TON of radio time was wasted because of a chain of events that began with the pilot not responding to a query from ATC, that ultimately lead to a block.
- "ok we'll go to Caldwell" without a callsign, a long time after the question was asked, is just asking for a block. The pilot also started his transmission IMMEDIATELY after another pilot finished transmitting. It's a problem in cases where ATC might be making a series of back to back transmissions (pretty common in a busy sector). Controllers have a cadence when they're working a busy freq. Until you have reason to believe that the controller is 'done' (it only needs a 1 sec pause to work that out, generally), hitting the PTT is just begging for a block. Doing it without your callsign has the effect of shortening your transmission, too, making things even worse (in this case, an undetected block which lead to the diatribe).
- "what's the symbol for CDW?" "say again..." "what airport are we going to now?" results in a completely different answer than he would've gotten from his original question. Ultimately, they never do provide him with the code for the airport. Have confidence in the question you're asking. If they say, "say again..." then he should've just said it again just like he did, and he would've gotten the answer he was after.
Alright, I'm done quarterbacking. This was fascinating to listen to (I heard parts of it live in the car while driving to EWR to pick someone up and made a mental note to download the archive the next day). Tensions were running high here, and some subtle mistakes with inefficient comms lead to a lot more stress on BOTH sides than would've otherwise resulted was it not for the misunderstanding.
Sometimes I think I care too much about working on my radio proficiency...but this scenario has just reminded me why you can never try too hard to make your comms just right when it comes to busy terminal airspace.