Jump to content
Admin

Sydney Airport triggers 'full emergency response' after United Airlines mayday call

Recommended Posts

As far as I can see at a bit of a glance at the ICAO references is that a declaration of" fuel emergency" is supposed to be in the form we are discussing and that's been the case back to 2012. Not using standard phraseology is likely to cause confusion. There are instances where this has happened. These Phrases have agreed uniform meaning and bring into play extra use of discretions not normally available which are advantageous to the pilot.. Nev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nope. It clearly says when the pilot calculates that the fuel that will be left on landing is below the fixed reserve NOT when you reach the reserve. So in theory this could be quite some time and distance from the landing.

 

“ 5) The pilot in command must declare a situation of emergency fuel when the calculated usable fuel predicted to be available upon landing at the nearest aerodrome where a safe landing can be made is less than the fixed fuel reserve for the flight. The pilot in command must declare an emergency fuel state by broadcasting MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY FUEL.

 

Note The emergency fuel declaration is a distress message.”

 

 

 

Well not quite.

And clearly says “MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY (3 times) FUEL”. Not “Mayday fuel “.

And given that a real Mayday call is then repeated 3 times -ie 9 MAYDAYS then odds on that the same pattern will get followed for this call.

 

Which in the real world means that by them time the listener gets to the second or third “Mayday” they are likely to be thinking “emergency”, brain in go-fast mode, miss the fuel bit completely and be off on a tangent of a real emergency management not just thinking “Ho Hum, OK let’s see if we can expedite the entry”.

I apologise; while the term "Mayday Fuel" has been used by CASA and a number of others, which confused me, the following appears to be the correct interpretation, and ICAO have an explanation for the term "MAYDAY FUEL"

 

CASA draft CAAP 234-1(2)

7.5.2 The pilot in command must declare 11 an emergency fuel situation by broadcasting "MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY FUEL"

 

This originates from:

 

ICAO Amendment 36 to Annex 6 Part 1

4.3.7.2.3 "The pilot in command shall declare a situation of fuel emergency by broadcasting "MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY FUEL"

Note 2 The words "MAYDAY FUEL" describe the nature of the distress conditions as required in Annex 10, Volume II, 5.3.2.1, b) 3.

Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One only needs to reflect on the recent Air Crash Investigation series regarding the Columbian Air Bianca disaster that crashed when it ran out of fuel when they were put in a holding pattern by ATC.The pilots did a great job in this case,putting peoples lives first.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's what the pilot must do under LAW. It over -rides all other laws You operate the plane in the most safe way in the circumstances you find your self in if it's an external factor you couldn't be expected to have had to cover in "normal" circumstances it may be a new ball game involving the contravention of some rule. These are MY words and perhaps could be better expressed, but there you are. AT Controllers are there to manage traffic that behaves in a prescribed manner. If you are covered in ice or have lost a motor you cannot maintain an "assigned " level but there are proper ways of leaving your level and minimise risks to other airspace users under those circumstances, You and the controller should manage the safest way of doing what your REQUIRE. A lower cruising level. but can't stay where you are at all. You then leave and inform what you have done IF you don't descend you will fall out of the level out of control which HAS to be avoided.. Nev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We can only hope that someone in CASA realises from this debabacle that the response to a “real Mayday ” which involves off-airport closure of suburbs, roads and infrastructure is completely inappropriate for a “Mayday fuel” where there is still adequate fuel available to make a normal safe landing (albeit with expeditious routing).

 

Hopefully this same CASA person who has the epiphany will then move to separate the “fuel concern” calls to something more appropriate and then either tells ICAO to do the same or to shove their rules.

 

Is it likely to happen? I’m not going to hold my breath!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The obvious way to handle the situation, was the way it has been handled for years. If you are in strife, talk to ATC and they will say "Are you declaring an emergency?" Then it is up to the pilot, but if he had any sense he would have started off telling ATC he was declaring an emergency.

Nobody wants to attract the spotlight, but sometimes it necessary. I have given a Mayday call once in the past and there were no repercussions, just a lot of help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While you may not like it, (not you Yenn) standard phraseology is best. Minimises confusion. That HAS to be a worthy aim. Having this apply to OUR ops doesn't seem to fit as we CAN outland and do a few things a B 747 can't.. WE don't figure large in their considerations., so they don't write stuff especially for US, but our RT could improve (just in passing.) Nev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
While you may not like it, (not you Yenn) standard phraseology is best. Minimises confusion. That HAS to be a worthy aim. Having this apply to OUR ops doesn't seem to fit as we CAN outland and do a few things a B 747 can't.. WE don't figure large in their considerations., so they don't write stuff especially for US, but our RT could improve (just in passing.) Nev

If people flight plan for fuel, the chances of having to make this call will be very rare, so there’s no need for people to start to weep. A Mayday Mayday Mayday Fuel call will immediately change your status with a controlled aero drone. Remember a few years ago Moorabbin closed due to bad weather. A pilot who couldn’t return to his own airfield due to low cloud headed for Moorabbin, and although he could see the runways he was told to go away, the airport was closed. He tried to get to an alternate but it was covered in cloud too, so by now low on fuel he headed back to Moorabbin where he could still see the runways and after a verbal fight with the tower controller said he was coming in and landed without clearance. The final statement in the subsequent report said that if the pilot had called a Mayday on the initial approach that would have triggered the tower controller to give him immediate access. This phrase would have avoided that situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The point, TP, is that we don't fly from/to controlled aerodromes. (With a few rare exceptions)

 

When I fly from one grass strip to the next, making a 'mayday fuel' transmission makes no improvement to my safety.

Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreeing with Pete. For most of our ops, it's not very relevant. Fly the thing first (aviate ) If you haven't been" talking" ( position reporting on a flight plan) no one knows where you are and how to help you even if you are say 40 minutes before you get an "imminent" problem. If it was fuel (lack of) or weather or sick you would be looking for a place to land. even off aerodrome depending on your individual circumstances. IF you are going to have to land somewhere in a remote area particularly you might be concerned about being found if the landing doesn't come off well. In this case relaying through a commercial aircraft might be a good idea as VHF is line of sight. and is less useful the lower you are, if using a ground station.. Advance knowledge of the frequencies in use is needed for that. Nev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If people flight plan for fuel, the chances of having to make this call will be very rare, so there’s no need for people to start to weep. A Mayday Mayday Mayday Fuel call will immediately change your status with a controlled aero drone. Remember a few years ago Moorabbin closed due to bad weather. A pilot who couldn’t return to his own airfield due to low cloud headed for Moorabbin, and although he could see the runways he was told to go away, the airport was closed. He tried to get to an alternate but it was covered in cloud too, so by now low on fuel he headed back to Moorabbin where he could still see the runways and after a verbal fight with the tower controller said he was coming in and landed without clearance. The final statement in the subsequent report said that if the pilot had called a Mayday on the initial approach that would have triggered the tower controller to give him immediate access. This phrase would have avoided that situation.

 

Sort of disturbing to think that despite adequate transmission of concern and information it requires the uttering of specific words to have people act in a reasonable manner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sort of disturbing to think that despite adequate transmission of concern and information it requires the uttering of specific words to have people act in a reasonable manner.

I shortened the story down a lot, but essentially you're right. A lot of people simply cannot bring themselves to believe they are at imminent risk also.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I shortened the story down a lot, but essentially you're right. A lot of people simply cannot bring themselves to believe they are at imminent risk also.

I'm more concerned that controller could not see the problem and would not allow or try to block a pilot from coming in.

I can understand in a stressful situation the pilot has tried to explain a bad situation but because in the stress of the moment he doesn't think to utter the words he is blocked out.

Of course the pilot could override the controller ( as it seems he finally did) but it sounds like he felt he could be pushed around by the controller.

 

I was flying past williamtown a few years back in an R44 when we got hit by huge westerly winds gusting up to about 60 knots and turbulence was the roughest I've I've ever felt. Couldn't fly nose forward due to left pedal reaching the stops. Pitch was such I still am sure I was near chopping the tail boom off.

Anyway called willy tower advised I needed to enter and land. They responded to confirm I was south of some point and to turn south and depart the area. As it happened I wasn't I was basically coast abeam Willy so said no to which they responded they wanted me to try to go south. My response was " I require entry and landing at Willy immediately. Tracking xxx at yyy ft inbound this time! " and from then on they were really helpful.

Sometimes pilots need to remember that if they consider it justifiable the ATC can be under their direction not just the other way round.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

" Require" is the key word but you better be correctly describing the situation and not just playing the scene.. You might use it if given a tailwind landing that you are not happy with. In the early 90's 3 Jabs did their nosewheels in at Avalon. because they didn't realise they could reject the runway given. It's up to the pilot to notify if the instruction is not appropriate for the Pilot and his plane .. That should have been part of his/her training if you are going in to controlled aerodromes or where ATC operate.. There has to be rules.. or there's chaos. Nev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The mayday call is much more appropriate in a dense traffic controlled environment. There's been planes and lives lost when pilots have failed to "require" expediated landing clearance. Getting people through other people's levels and maintaining separation isn't easy. Much less evident in our operations how relevant itis Regarding pulling a stunt to get in quicker I'm sure the fuel remaining at the terminal will ne assessed in the circumstances AND why the reserves were not there if they should have been.

 

Back in the "Olden Days" when ATC still had an "Ops" section and the pilots used to come in and submit their FPL in person, the SOC (Senior Operations Controller) used to have to give Flight Plan Approval (FPA) for IFR flights.

The fuel required was one of the most intensively scrutinised part of the plan.

Apart from the 45 minutes statutory reserve, there was the fuel required for the actual flight Plus 15% IFR reserve plus any weather related holding - Tempo - 60 minutes, Inter 30 Minutes, plus any traffic holding as specified in ERSA or NOTAM plus fuel required for flight to an alternate field if required.

Once that was all sorted out FPA would be granted, the FPL signed and away they went.

When the airlines decided that they were the best arbiter of what fuel was needed (as they were the operators) and they really didn't like paying for an Op's service that they could do themselves - the briefing offices and ATC op's disappeared.

The rules became a little more rubbery - it became "sufficient fuel to safely complete the flight" a very good catch all phrase for CASA because if you ran out of motion lotion you obviously hadn't complied with the rules!

Progress, you gotta love it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve used “I require”! twice in my twenty years of flying.

The one described at Willy and once when directed to hold and orbit over mountainous country just west of cairns in huge turbulence with only 500 ft clearance between the cloud base and the trees and I asked them to vector me out. They replied I had to hold where I was for some reason and when I got hit with another hammer blow of turbulence I called em and “I require vectors to vacate the area immediately otherwise tracking xxx degrees at tree top height.” Got response I wanted a tracked out of the washing machine.

 

No follow up or problems from CASA on either account so someone else must have agreed with me.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being an ex-ATC I know quite well the difference between "request xxxx" or "require xxx"

One - I would do my best to accommodate, the other it was my mission to make happen!

I would always tell pilots at information sessions that we used to hold that they had to let us know what was happening in the cockpit otherwise we couldn't give them the best service they needed.

I remember one night when I was in a C177 coming into Cooly' (VFR) the tower controller wanted me to hold east of the coast and orbit due to an IFR jet arrival.

Even though it was VMC there was no moon and it was as black as sin - no horizon, I said I REQUIRE to hold over land so I had the lights of the CBD to have as a reference, he got all shirty but when I insisted, he re-issued the clearance.

When we landed I phoned the tower and explained to him why I needed to be there - he wasn't a pilot and he didn't appreciate what he was asking me to do - so after a bit of explaining he was all "sorry about that chief" and we all went away happy.

Similar words - BIG difference!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×