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Author Topic: ABC story on AAL Emergency Landing at DFW  (Read 10387 times)
davolijj
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« on: February 24, 2007, 04:46:09 AM »

Quite provocative....

http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=2893887

An AAL flight declared an emergency for low fuel and according to ABC the flight was denied their requested runway by approach control.

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JD
Ronski
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2007, 12:03:29 PM »

That was unforgivable...the guy should be busted. angry
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digger
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2007, 12:23:03 PM »

From what I've been told, and perhaps some of the real world controllers can verify this--the center supervisor called the TRACON and informed the supervisor there of the emergency status of the AAL flight, and the TRACON supervisor replied, "We're not turning around a major airport for one aircraft."

Essentially, the approach controller was directed not to clear AAL for the runway they'd requested.
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ogogog
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2007, 05:17:09 PM »

thats probely how it happened, thats the new FAA for you. iam glad controllers no longer have a say in the operation, thats less i have to worry about. all i have to do is what iam ordered to do.
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rpd
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2007, 10:27:57 PM »

Anyone who thinks the controller on the radio made that call on what runway to use is out of their mind.  That guy had an area supervisor, ops manager and Traffic Management (TMU) supervisor all telling him what to do.  A controller at a major TRACON like D10 does not make a decision like that.  He is simply relaying what the many layers of management told him to say.

So I guess what Ronski is saying, fire the managers.  Good call Ronski!!!   
« Last Edit: February 24, 2007, 10:30:09 PM by rpd » Logged
PHL Approach
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2007, 04:19:44 PM »

A different video

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/VideoPlayer/videoPlayer.php?vidId=122817&catId=104
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penguin44
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2007, 06:32:17 PM »

I completely agree with the guy in the video above. You give the plane top priority no matter what it may do to your aircraft on the ground.
I was flying at buttonville one day last year, in a 172M. Yes, before you all jump on me, it's a smaller airport but still the 4th busiest in Canada based on aircraft movements, and that day was busy! It was clear, about 15sm vis, and about 20 degrees celcuis. I was inbound for landing when I noticed my oil temp was high and pressure was zip. I was close enough to the airport to make it regardless if the engine died. I declared an emergency, requested runway 15, as it was right in front of me, as opposed to runway 21 that was being used. I was given priority landing, and heard the tower call the current plane on 21 about to take off to hold. I landed and exited quick and shut down.
That is the way to handle things as we all know. It delayed 4 planes in the queue but rather than diverting me around and possibly causing me to lose power and land somewhere in the houses, i got the runway. As I should. This AA flight should have been given 17 center. I don't care who told whom to do what, the tower should have given it to them.
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davolijj
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2007, 11:22:54 PM »

Here's a story from a Dallas area paper asserting that the controller denied AAL the runway because he had been ordered to.

http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/16756559.htm

FAA retrains air controllers
By DAVID WETHE
STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER

The Federal Aviation Administration has retrained its North Texas supervisors and air traffic controllers after the improper denial of an American Airlines pilot's request to land at the nearest runway because he thought his plane was dangerously low on fuel.

On the morning of Aug. 30, Flight 489 reported that it was having a low-fuel emergency and needed to land on the closest runway it could reach, which was D/FW's 17C. But that meant it would be landing headed south, the opposite direction of that day's traffic.

The controller was ordered not to disrupt the airport flow. The plane was forced to land on Runway 31R, meaning its crew had to burn more fuel by flying around to the south and landing in the same direction as other planes.

The FAA admits it was wrong. "We know that we did something that we should have done differently," spokesman Roland Herwig said. "We should have given the aircraft the closest runway as opposed to routing him in."

In the end, American discovered that a malfunctioning gauge prompted the emergency and that the plane had plenty of fuel. But that didn't take away from the FAA's mistake, said John Hotard, a spokesman for the Fort Worth-based carrier.

"Our pilots have to feel comfortable that they'll receive appropriate help if they ever encounter an emergency such as this one," Hotard said. "It is a serious matter because the pilots didn't know what the situation was at the time when they declared the fuel emergency."

American has talked with the FAA and believes that everything has been resolved, he said.

The FAA held a training session for its local controllers and supervisors, Herwig said. It has already paid off, he said. On Feb. 1, when another incident occurred, the plane was allowed to land on a different runway than normal, temporarily suspending all other flights.

Mike Conely, president of the local air traffic controllers union, said the blame for the Aug. 30 incident lies with the FAA supervisor that day.

"A controller doesn't have at his capability the power to completely shut everything," he said. "It would have been up to the supervisor to do that."


Conely also questioned the training. The FAA mentioned the incident in a memo last year and talked about it during a 30-minute weekly meeting, he said.

"They don't put a lot of emphasis on it," he said. "They don't put a lot of emphasis on people attending, simply because of the shortage of controllers."

Herwig begged to differ.

"We had the emphasis," he said, "and we discussed the different things that needed to be going on."
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JD
digger
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2007, 12:40:06 PM »

The discussion of this incident, here and elsewhere, has caused me to wonder if the AA captain got any sort of "talking to" from his superiors. "You declared an emergrency and then let ATC second guess you about the severity of the situation??"

Having thought about it a lot, I'm very disappointed in the performance of the supervisor who made the call to disregard the pilot's request, but if I'd been one of the passengers, I'd be questioning the Captian's failure to assert his authority to do what he felt was safest.
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Lincolnshireblue
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2007, 06:02:28 PM »

On the tape, the controller suggested that if the pilot was that low he land at a nearer airport.  Which would that have been?  Were they trying to get to there 'home' base rather than landing at the first available runway?  I remember some years ago a British Midland flight had an engine malfunction and flew past two airports where they could have landed safely before inadvertantly shutting down the wrong engine and crashing short of East Midlands airport with the loss of over 40 lives trying to get to their 'home' base to avoid passengers being inconvenienced.
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digger
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2007, 09:24:16 PM »

Quote
The piloted asked to land on Runway 17 Center.

That's the runway that was in Flight 489's direct path, and it is one of the longest at D/FW. It is also close to the airport's emergency equipment.

But controllers direct the pilots to use another runway. They also suggested the plane use one of the smaller airports in McKinney or Addison. Eventually, Love Field was discussed, but landing at Love Field would have meant flying, in an emergency condition, over the north suburbs and Dallas neighborhoods.


That's quoted from the story as it appears on the website of KVUE TV. http://www.kvue.com/news/state/stories/022107kvueflight489-eh.1fd22190.html
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Scrapper
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2007, 10:19:15 PM »

I gotta add something about what digger said a couple of posts ago... I'm obviously very dissapointed in the controllers and/or their managers as this is absolutely unnaceptable... the pilots in that flight have way more to think about at this point then just flying the plane to even have this argument with the controllers...

But there is a whole other side to this that digger alluded to that we haven't really talked about... why WASN'T the pilot more assertive... now i'm not a pilot but I am a controller... and I don't know what I would do if a supervisor would order me not to give the plane in question priority for the runway of his choice (because that technically goes against the very definition of a plane declaring an emergency...) but notwithstanding the fact that i'm not a pilot, had I been piloting that plane, I would've SERIOUSLY considering making an approach on the runway of my choice despite what the controller was telling me, and having him handle the consequences! haha... (If I had started an approach to 17C, I bet you they would've stopped those takeoffs from 31! haha...)
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Pygmie
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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2007, 12:44:28 AM »

That's exactly the thing.  The pilot has every right to simply say "I'm landing on 17C" and proceed to do it.  The pilots have the final say over the safety of the aircraft, and if they need a certain runway and say that's where they are landing, you can be damn sure we'll be moving everyone else out of the way.
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w0x0f
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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2007, 09:50:52 AM »

It has been difficult for NATCA to find a sympathetic ear among the media on this subject.  This story was misrepresented from the beginning. It seems that the news media and general public is comfortable lumping air traffic controllers in with FAA management with regard to the decision to put the AAL B757 on 31R.  That doesn't sit well at all with the people wearing the headsets.   

NATCA has been working behind the scenes all week to get their voice heard.  They have provided all of the media outlets with copies of the Quality Assurance Review which was conducted at DFW.  This review shows that the FAA was not truthful when it said that it was the controller's decision to deny the pilot request to land on 17C.  This has become standard operating procedure for the FAA to provide inaccurate information to the media to make their own controllers look bad.  They have been doing it since the contract negotiations began. 

AVWeb was the only media outlet to acknowledge the QAR and write a followup article today.  It's too late, the damage is done and nobody cares who made the decision to deny the emergency aircraft's request.  Air traffic controllers do though.

DFW Emergency Handling Redux
According to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, an ABC News story -- cited in Monday's AVwebFlash -- regarding a controller's emergency handling on Aug. 31 of an American Airlines jetliner at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport "left out huge gaps." NATCA Dallas TRACON representative Mike Conely maintains that it was the "operational supervisor in charge's decision," not that of the controller heard on the tapes, to require the low-on-fuel Boeing 757 to land on Runway 31R instead of the requested Runway 17C. An FAA Quality Assurance Review obtained by AVweb states that the supervisor "advised" the controller to clear the airplane to 31R, which corresponded with the general flow of traffic that day. However, Conely says "advised" is code for "required," insisting that if the controller had issued other instructions to the crew then he would have faced actions for insubordination. "Controllers rely on the supervisor to shut down the airport or runways. Despite the supervisor's bad decision," he said, "the on-duty controllers did everything they could to clear the air to get the American Airlines airplane down safely and quickly. Emergencies always take priority – period." Conely admitted that had the airline crew forced the issue, then the supervisor would have had to stop operations at DFW until the jet landed on whatever runway the crew chose.

w0x0f
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digger
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« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2007, 05:26:58 PM »

Quote
AVWeb was the only media outlet to acknowledge the QAR and write a followup article today.  It's too late, the damage is done and nobody cares who made the decision to deny the emergency aircraft's request. 


And AvWeb probably reaches 1/10 of 1% of the people that ABC does.

The only positive thing I can say is that this has not diminished my faith in the news media at all--I already take everything they say with a grain of salt...    rolleyes
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