The controllers should be put on probation and possibly lose their job - there is no excuse for this type of attitude. What if they had been fully engulfed by the time the pilots stopped the plane?
The controllers' jobs should be on the line at least to the same extent that the lives are on the line of those who they control.
the controller and the supervisor should both be suspended. the pilot reported an emergency, the controller should have taken it seriously. if he couldnt find United 12 on his screen he certainly could find united 5912 and should have figured it out. then when he sees the plane on the runway, instead of asking the plane to leave the rinway, a light should have gone off in his head and put 2 and 2 together and come up with fire in teh cockpit, real emergency, instead he orders teh plane off the runway. where is the supervisor.
The pilot may not have kept his composure because his emergency went ignored. He sounded pissed and I don't blame him one bit. The controller could have figured out who was calling.
Under no circumstances should a distress call be considered a hoax until proven otherwise. I wouldn't want this guy in the tower when I call for help.
I'm a center controller and a majority of my co-controllers think a turbo prop is a plane with a "turbo" on the engine. Some beleive a C130 is a cessna. Less than 10 percent even begin to know what a VOR is led alone a VORTAC. Procedure turn? Please. You wanna shoot a GPS approach, you better ask for the initial you want cause they'll let you fly right past it while your thinking they know whats best for you. Soup, no idea what your talking about. Icing, you better "maintain 6800, thats my lowest altitude". Theres a new breed out there and they know even less the previous generation. I could go on for hours... "what do you mean a new C172 costs 300 grand, they only go 80 mph". Just got that response the other day. This controller in the tower is the new typical. Theres some pretty sharp ones coming along, but were few and far between. DEMANDIT
If it is a potential emergency, treat it as an emergency. Controller sounds distracted. Ignore the union rhetoric, and put a camera on that controller while he is working a control position. This is a safety issue and the only way the controller can be held accountable for his actions. It's the only way to be sure what happened in any incident. How can problems be corrected, if we don't really know what happened? (LEX)
First no one knows how they are going to respond in an emergency like smoke in the cockpit. I am sure that is a very scary scenario. What I can't understand is that there has to be several aircraft on frequency and why didn't another aircraft correct the controller when he called out for "United 12" when I'm sure other pilots heard the correct call sign 5912. But as typical of a "screw up" it is a combination of factors that become a problem and the chain wasn't broken. Thank goodness no one was injured according to the report.
Can we see a picture of the controller so we can all see what STUPID really looks like?!?!
This is indeed a bizarre story. Has the mainstream media picked up on the air traffic controller angle yet? That's something they could really sink their teeth into. Great reporting, as usual, from Flying.
I agree that the controllers should have further probed into the origin of the emergency call and not just dismiss it as a prank but the pilot needs a little chat with his chief pilot about maintaining some composure to help the matter. Compare the way this pilot communicated his emergency to that of the way Sullenberger communicated the emergency when he had both engines flame out after a bird strike and landed in the Hudson. If you have heard that audio it is textbook on how to maintain composure in a cockpit during an emergency.
No-one is blameless in this situation, however both parties could seek to improve their performances.
If you want to get the controller's attention nothing beats "MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, United 5912. Smoke in cockpit. " Don't try telling the controller his/her job just communicate the problem. They will "roll trucks" or whatever the appropriate action is.
Controllers often have more than one voice coming over the speaker in tower environments and so transmissions can be missed( 20 Years' experience has allowed me to experience this.) but if you think there is an emergency declare it and take the appropriate action. Hunt down pranksters later.
Blaming individuals and demanding job losses will not help anyone. Do you think that controller, or anyone else involved, will ever take a potential emergency lightly again?
Learn and move on.
I agree with Bruce B.
Why oh why are so many aviation 'professionals' so willing to constantly ignore the ICAO standard phraseology that was brought in for just this kind of event?
A Pan or Mayday followed by the FULL callsign might have helped a bit too.
I get sick of hearing this so frequently, particularly in my field as an aviation English teacher in the CIS.
These guys here are going to leave you guys behind, as they are more than willing to follow the rules. particularly given their often undeserved reputation.
It's time everybody sung off the same hymn sheet and leave the Hollywood-speak to the likes of Charlie Sheen!