We were approaching Bhopal, when an Air India A321 bound for Mumbai requested pushback from ATC. A few minutes later, Bhopal cleared us to land, as we left our hold near the right base, for finals.
Even before we could turn into finals for Runway 30, the commander of the Air India 321 started “complaining” of how the aircraft was pushed-back facing south-east, and the winds blowing into the rear of the engine stalled the engine-start process. He ranted on, and on, about how the ground crew wouldn’t push him facing the wind, as they needed permission from ATC, and that the ATC must advice the company handling ground crew to push them back facing the wind.
The Air Traffic Controller, shot back a long, lengthy reply on why it was not possible, and the sorts. The argument of each was right, and the discussion just short of breaking into a fight, and for the rest of us, enlightening and amusing. When the debate was over, we were on terra firma.
But it is hardly amusing when you’re on finals in a small airplane, and you can neither transmit nor request for the surface winds. It gets even less amusing when, let’s say, you witness an airplane incursion, and neither the ATC can transmit, nor can you state you intention to go around. And when you go, around, you will have to bank hard to avoid that Bell 429 that is flying toward its helipad. Or even worse, you suffer an engine fire and you are forced to land, but there is some inattentive bloke in that Piaggio Avanti, who is on the active. Or you execute a go-around, and the Piaggio pilot, so fed up with the controller that he thinks the coast is clear and applies power for takeoff, will find two airplanes, one executing a missed approach, and himself on a high speed departure, with no TCAS on board one of the airplanes. Thankfully, none of those happened that day.
The Air India commander is at fault. With a minimum of 5000 hours under his belt, he started “talking” on a frequency when there were multiple approaches. The ATCo worsened the situation, by choosing not to a) ask the captain to switch to another frequency where the issue may be resolved or b) request the captain to hold as there were multiple aircraft inbound into the field and one on finals.
Instead, the ATCo chipped in, and held the PTT button pressed till he was satisfied with his own reply.
It’s not an FRTOL or RTR-A that makes you a better person. Neither is it hours of manning the ATC or flying a jet that matter. You just need a bit of common-sense. Awareness. And Radio Etiquette. All part of good airmanship.
It’s funny how these things keep happening.
We were flying x-cty from Fursatganj , had planned a touch and go at Khajuraho and were to return back to Fursat in our DA-42.
While we established ourselves on the glideslope, a Kingfisher (they flew back then) A320 asked for taxi.
Just as soon as we went visual, the ATCo (rightfully) came on air and got really angry at the Kingfisher pilots because they had taxied past the hold short point even after being repeatedly instructed not to. The pilots were left embarrassed and apologised but the ATCo kept repeating how they had grossly violated safety and hadn’t paid attention to his instructions.
We, on the other hand were asked to waive off.
Not exactly RT etiquette related, but I figured its somewhere along the same lines.
Airbus driver said:
Most of these creatures are in air india and jet…..
A Sagi said:
It’s a common occurrence these days. I found such habits to be practically absent to a point of being negligible abroad. My flying in European airspace and under expats alike has given me a new outlook on how to maintain RT finasse be it around LHR or BOM or even VTZ.
I found that our road manners carry on to our flying jobs too. Not with all but it shows up every damn day. You make a call to the ATC and most probably someone is going to carelessly step on and make his own fancy call. This just starts at the groin/ground 😉 level. Airline pilots following RT courtesy is nothing but a myth straight out of a comic book.
To an extent, I’ve observed ATCos follow relatively better RT procedures in terms of calling “descend altitude 3600 feet”, “xx reduce speed 220 knots”. Some very cool sounding fellow country men and women respond, “3600”, “speed 220” or maybe even “220”.
It’s not a life threatening situation but these habits just go on and on like a 1000 anacondas busy in a mating ball deep inside the amazon.
Sometimes, they keep asking for other traffic information, enquire why their sequence is #3 instead of #2. It would be an honour to know what in the world would it make a damn difference to. As long as you have fuel in the tanks, a pilot who maintains his cool, listens to ATC calmly, responds and follows instructions, is non existent!
It, simply, never gets better and every time people argue on RT, step on others calls, use non standard phraseology we only seem to be making a bigger mockery of ourselves -> all of us included! Since I’m yet to see a fellow Indian being cool enough to ask for pushback only when the doors are closed. On-time is not always a wonderful thing since pilots take all sorts of shortcuts and I’m very well baking sure that my family or myself never travel with one of those 22yr olds at the controls!
Hoping for Indian aviation to see better days with some finasse in pilots and not just bookish knowledge!
Well that is true, learning basics of flying on a conventional 737 sim, I am really scared of flying now, most of the “Adults” in the cockpits now nothing if there is an emergency, they mere use autopilots for everything and the bookish knowledge with no skill.
If you ask them something after landing, they change the topic or choose to not respond. Recently a couple of days back, flying to BLR from DEL on VT-SPL, I asked the pilot why he chose flaps ten for takeoff he had no answer. I wonder what would happen in an emergency when they have minimal gadgets available and it’s a game of skill.
And as for RT finesse is concerned i have been listening to the VIBL & VOBG for some time for work related stuff.. The etiquettes change around 2300 hours…. it’s fun to listen to them… concise precise and like a gentlemen…. and then at 0600 when domestic starts…. it’s a chaos…. people yelling and cursing…… almost on a regular basis….