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Author Topic: NY air traffic controllers are getting out of control  (Read 31657 times)
cessna157
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« on: September 07, 2008, 12:55:12 PM »

Been doing quite a lot of NY flying the other day and I heard several examples of NY controllers doing whatever they want, not being polite and professional, all knowing they will never be punished for their actions.

Was taxiing out of JFK the other day, they were on single runway departure ops, and they had an odd taxi flow going.  A JBU pilot asked the tower what their sequence was for their planning purposes (whether or not to shut down engine(s), update passengers on progress, etc.  Keep in mind, if a JBU is confused at the JFK flow, then it must be odd, as they are regulars there.  Tower's reply was "You should know better than to ask me that question.  Don't you know my voice?  I don't answer stupid questions like that.  Never ask me that."  It was a completely uncalled for remark.  As aircraft, we are the customers to the air traffic controllers, even the controllers will tell you that.  There is absolutely no reason to have such a harsh answer and completely avoid the question.  It wasn't as if it were busy.  This controller was just working 1 runway departures.

Then, after taxiing for 2 hours and finally getting airborne, I heard an N90 controller give an aircraft a clearance to a point that wasn't on his flight plan.  The aircraft quiered the controller about the clearance to get another fix that was on his FP.  The controller said something like "I don't care, just go direct Sparta anyway" which is an illegal clearance.  The aircraft then said that they could not do that without further instructions on where to go after that point. The controller ignored the request (again, it wasn't that busy).  The aircraft asked about the routing again, and the controller said "well then you shouldn't have filed that route then should you."  The aircraft (it was a larger charter outfit) said "Sir, I didn't file the flight plan, you're talking to the wrong person here, now what do you want me to do?"  The controllers response was "I want you to fly the airplane like I tell you to" and then finished up with "That is how we do it here in the New York airspace."

Anyone that knows the slightest bit about the NAS knows that the last statement could not be any more incorrect.  There are FAA procedures, not just unwritten procedures special for New York.
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2008, 01:59:37 PM »

The aircraft (it was a larger charter outfit) said "Sir, I didn't file the flight plan, you're talking to the wrong person here, now what do you want me to do?"  The controllers response was "I want you to fly the airplane like I tell you to" and then finished up with "That is how we do it here in the New York airspace."

I am not a professional like you all are but what about simply answering, "Unable," to the illegal clearance?

edit:  Oh, and I am in full agreement with you that their tone is completely unnecessary and bordering on unsafe if it went down as you describe.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2008, 02:01:11 PM by KSYR-pjr » Logged

Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
glencar
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2008, 03:18:40 PM »

Well, that wasn't me working that day. I'm not quite sure what day this was but it doesn't seem like there's any excuse for that sort of behavior.
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cessna157
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2008, 09:25:38 PM »


I am not a professional like you all are but what about simply answering, "Unable," to the illegal clearance?

That's an option, but it wasn't that he was unable to fly there, he just needed a specific instruction.  If there is a point that is not on your route, you must be cleared to that point then receive further instructions.  What happens when you get to that fix and do not hear anything else from ATC?  You're in a bit of lala land there.  Its kind of like some arrival routes around the country that end at a certain fix and the instructions are to expect vectors to the final approach course.  Except as you're flying along and reach that point, you don't get anything else from ATC. 

When it comes to the NY airspace subject, it would be a little more expected if that were the case nationwide.  But it seems that it is just a localized problem, except for the ORD ground problem which someone mentioned a few weeks ago.
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The shape of things to come.


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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2008, 11:54:47 PM »

You've gotta' be talking about Captain Havoc...

He's surly, sarcastic and as you've said, rude and unprofessional, and gives us New Yorkers a bad name  cheesy.I was listening to JFK last night and he unloaded on some poor jetblue guy for shutting down one of his engines when "He wasn't told to do that".

Shortly after that the "Good Flight, Great Day" guy took over.
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eastern tristar
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2008, 12:09:07 PM »

I also heard the JetBlue pilot get unloaded on and couldn't believe it.  I heard him ask a question only to be told "you weren't paying attention to what I said already and then he said, "shut it down, your not going anywhere now"  I later heard the controller say, "no one ask me anything, I don't want to hear anyone on the radio"  He sounded totally stressed out but if this type of situation is to much for him, maybe he should be working a post that is less stressful.  This was Saturday afternoon when they were dealing with the rain and wind from tropical storm Hannah but I have been listening during worse weather (massive thunderstorms during the weekday evening rush a few weeks ago) and no one was losing their cool like this.  I don't know if this is the same guy, but I think it was Friday night when I heard a controller say "I don't do numbers" when I pilot ask where they were in line to take off.  I agree, this kind of attitude gives New Yorkers a bad rep.
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soffs
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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2008, 10:34:14 AM »

Indeed, sounds bad. After all, hardly any pilot contacts the ATC unless they really need advice, help, etc. I would believe, as a mere passenger, that pilots ask questions only to make sure that things run smoothly and that traffic runs safely, not to annoy the ATCs.
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2008, 10:48:26 AM »

What happens when you get to that fix and do not hear anything else from ATC?  You're in a bit of lala land there.

If I were cleared to a fix that was not in my IFR flightplan I would be querying ATC long before arriving there as to what to do beyond that point.

Coincidentally I heard this scenario happen last Monday while flying down to White Plains.  A pilot checked in and stated that he was previously cleared to a point that was not on the flight plan.  The controller (I believe it was Boston Center in airspace somewhere over the Catskills) was quick to recognize the problem and excellent in getting the aircraft back onto his filed route.

It is very discouraging to hear stories like the JetBlue being told to shut down as if it were some type of kindergarten "time-out" for asking a legitimate question.  Talk about an abuse of power by an out-of-control controller.  

Normally I am all for the controller's plight against the FAA but something like this doesn't make compassionate friends on the yoke side of the mike.  IMO a supervisor should have stepped in and relieved the controller.
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Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
laylow
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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2008, 05:32:09 PM »

Any one have clips of these incidents?
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djmodifyd
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2008, 08:30:12 PM »

wow..that is HORRIBLE

they are just going to run off pilots....which is not very good job security
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dave
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« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2008, 03:46:08 AM »

they are just going to run off pilots....which is not very good job security

How does that work?  Neither one of them (controller or pilot) has much of a choice about being there.  smiley
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Glavata
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« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2008, 03:24:41 AM »

The pilot should have said "And don't you know my voice? You don't reply to me that way, now what is my sequence" hehe... Indeed truly unprofessional though.

PS. Anyway we can get these transmissions if they were recorded here ?
« Last Edit: September 19, 2008, 03:26:35 AM by Glavata » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2008, 06:24:46 AM »

In response to the N90 controller. Before you leave the airport and you get your clearance you should have to route. I have heard pilots complain about a route, saying it was not stating when clearly it was stated earlier they weren't listening. When you file a route especially in the direction of the northeast, if the route not exactly correct (according to the center) the fdio will kick out what is known as a plus routing. A plus routing is the preferred route. Depending on what he filed it cold be completely different. I had a plus routing kick out the other day and sent a guy 100 miles northwest before allowing him to go the direction he wanted to go which was southest. All it took was an amendment to his altitude and off he went southeast. So not uncommon for the N90 controller to clear that, happens all over the NAS.

The controller at Kennedy, that JFK what can i say. They are just rude their oh well...  Would not hurt my feelings if less aircraft flew in there, they have to many as it is already
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bogman
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« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2008, 09:53:41 AM »

Why doesn't anyone report these "BULLIES"  if they wanted to report you they wouldn't even think twice about it.

As Cessna said the airlines are the customers and the customer is always right ........If you know what I mean.


Bogman
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2008, 11:27:56 AM »

Why doesn't anyone report these "BULLIES"  if they wanted to report you they wouldn't even think twice about it.

From my vantage point it's not worth the time or the energy unless there was a safety of flight issue as a result of a controller's tirade.
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Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
ishtar
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« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2008, 02:09:00 PM »

"As Cessna said the airlines are the customers..."

The airlines are not the customers.  angry
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cessna157
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« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2008, 02:59:34 PM »

Well you can't just say that without a statement of opinion backing your viewpoint.

Do tell, why aren't the airlines, charters, fractionals, corporates, and GA flyers the customers?  And, if that's the case, who is?
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« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2008, 03:34:17 PM »

Aviation Safety Enhancement Act of 2008. Passed through the House by roll call vote (392-0-42). Awaiting action by the Senate.

Quote
(b) Modification of Initiative- Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall modify the customer service initiative, mission and vision statements, and other statements of policy of the Agency--

      (1) to remove any reference to air carriers or other entities regulated by the Agency as 'customers';
      (2) to clarify that in regulating safety the only customers of the Agency are individuals traveling on aircraft; and
      (3) to clarify that air carriers and other entities regulated by the Agency do not have the right to select the employees of the Agency who will inspect their operations.

(c) Safety Priority- In carrying out the Administrator's responsibilities, the Administrator shall ensure that safety is given a higher priority than preventing the dissatisfaction of an air carrier or other entity regulated by the Agency with an employee of the Agency.
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tyketto
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« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2008, 03:37:42 PM »

Aviation Safety Enhancement Act of 2008. Passed through the House by roll call vote (392-0-42). Awaiting action by the Senate.

Wow.. I wonder who wasn't present? IIRC, there are still 435 seats in the House of Representatives. I assume 392 voted yes, 0 voted no, 42 abstained? That's 434. Who missed out (not that it matters)?

BL.
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cessna157
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« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2008, 07:31:03 PM »

Ha, oh come on.  That wording is legaleze stemmed from the buddy system the examiners were having with some of the airlines.

I'm not saying it's an official designation or anything.  What I was trying to indicate was that, in the service industry (which I would include ATC as), there is always a customer.  I do disagree with bogman in saying "the customer is always right."  Yes yes, I know, its our job to make them think they're always right.  But when you have some moronic passenger who says "You're lying about New York being on a ground stop due to weather, I just talked to my friend's cousin's mother's husband's sister's former roommate and they said it was bring and sunny out.

What I'm saying is the controllers are providing a service, and we, the aircraft commanders, are the customers.
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« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2008, 08:23:59 PM »

What I'm saying is the controllers are providing a service, and we, the aircraft commanders, are the customers.

I get what you're saying... pilots are not literal, paying customers, but they are direct receivers of the air traffic control service...
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« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2008, 11:59:20 AM »

I do disagree with bogman in saying "the customer is always right." 


What I'm saying is the controllers are providing a service, and we, the aircraft commanders, are the customers.

My phrasing was all wrong there ,sorry about that ,but Cessna you just cleared up what I was trying to say.What would happen to you if you turned around to a passanger and told him/her what to do and where to go.

You would be FIRED and I don't think these BULLISH controllers should be let get away with it.If a request is put in by a pilot like the guy from Jetblue,he should be treated with some respect,if there is a problem explain it, not jump down your neck over it.That is what you would do as a professional pilot...OK in your own mind you can call them every name on the sun,but you still have to be professional.

That is just my thought on the subject, why should they get away with it "Put them in there place now". Ask yourself if that was you who was the Jetblue pilot what would you do?.....and be honest with yourself.

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ishtar
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« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2008, 04:46:49 PM »

What I'm saying is the controllers are providing a service, and we, the aircraft commanders, are the customers.

I disagree. If you were operating under part 91, I would agree with you. But I read your comment as a pilot operating under part 121 or part 135, and am forced to disagree. The true customers are sitting behind you. It is because of them that there is a need for the FAA and ATC. They have all agreed to go from point A to point B, and they are expecting to get there as fast, cheap, and safely as possible. The fastest and cheapest way to get from point A to point B is direct. By its very nature, ATC services makes air travel slower and more expensive, but in doing so makes it safer.

I'm not in the aviation business (just a private pilot); I'm in the education business. I've witnessed the effects of running the education system as a business and treating the students as consumers. It doesn't work. Oh, the students say it works just fine. They all get their As and get pushed out the door with their degrees, but not actually learning anything.

The US national airspace system is a lot like the US education system. They both do provide a service. However, in both cases, it is not the service that a business would undertake. [Removed rant about the state of education in the US; you don't want to read that] In the case of ATC, their job is to provide safety. In a business-sense, their service is to waste the money of their "customers". If the airlines are treated as customers, then the service they provide (safety) may be compromised. But in compromising safety, it will be more profitable to both the airlines and the FAA, which presents a huge conflict of interest.

I'm not saying that the controller was right or wrong in this case - just commenting on treating airlines as customers.
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drfinal
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« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2008, 06:55:47 AM »

The men and women that comprise the workforce of 'NY Air Traffic Control' are some of the finest controllers and people I have ever had the pleasure to know.

We controllers take pride in the job we do to get you and your passengers to your destinations 'safely, orderly, and expeditiously.' We always strive to do our best despite hundreds of veteran controllers retiring and hundreds more resigning leaving our work force decimated and exhausted.

We constantly worked short staffed with record traffic increases all summer. We don't come on this board and complain every time a pilot makes a mistake we just deal with the aftermath in the few seconds we have--for in the end air traffic controllers tell pilots where to go.

That my friends is professionalism.

« Last Edit: September 24, 2008, 09:01:34 AM by drFinal » Logged
KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2008, 09:02:21 AM »

We don't come on this board and complain every time a pilot makes a mistake we just deal with the aftermath in the few seconds we have--for in the end air traffic controllers tell pilots where to go.

Personally I would enjoy reading more pilot mistakes, as it provides a learning experience for the rest of us and also serves to knock down the level of arrogance sometimes displayed by pilots of all levels.   You should have seen the discussion here and in other pilot forums surrounding one pilot's very poor attempt to arrive at Oshkosh back in 2006.

There is no argument from me against the fact that the number of bonehead pilot moves far outweighs mistakes made on the controllers' side.   Overall, you controllers have my sincerest respect for continuing to perform at such a high level given your ever-declining work conditions.   Perhaps it is this consistently high professionalism that makes the occasional slip so discussion-worthy?

edit:  Oh, and I'll be the first to admit that I have made my share of mistakes and at least two resulted in a justified chewing out by the controller.  Happily there was no LiveATC feed at the time or at least one of them would have ended up in the clips forum here.  smiley   
« Last Edit: September 24, 2008, 09:10:14 AM by KSYR-pjr » Logged

Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
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