Declaration of Emergency

dustoff17

Well-Known Member
@NovemberEcho, I want to ask a few questions but thought it best to come here rather than cloud the Atlas accident thread.

That’s when you turn around. If I said you can’t go there cause of departures, it means there’s already planes in the hole and in this case probably opposite direction. If you don’t have an option in front, left or right of you, then the way you came is the option. Even during an emergency I’m not going to let you occupy the same space another plane currently is, and if you choose to do it on your own you’ll be putting a lot more lives at risk. It takes time to coordinate stopping departures and clearing the way when the airspace becomes as narrowed and cluttered as it does during a weather day.
I understand what your stating here but when you write, "Even during an emergency I’m not going to let you occupy the same space another plane currently is, and if you choose to do it on your own you’ll be putting a lot more lives at risk.", I have to ask how you will be able to stop the turn that I HAVE to take in order to avoid a serious storm in front of me? If I have declared an emergency and turn towards "the same space another plane currently is", then wouldn't you move the non-emergency aircraft?

The job you all do is impressive. I am still in amazement of how you are able to thread the needle with the thousands of aircraft that pass in a day. That having been stated, there are some situations that can't be handled with a simple, "Sorry, I can't let you do that..."

This has come in to play a few times over the last year. Last Jul, I had a Forward Baggage Compartment FIRE indication while at FL310 flying north out of FL. I declared an emergency, advised I was descending and told JAX I was flying direct to KJAX. The controller acknowledged then came back a few seconds later and told me to "level off at 17,000 due to northbound departure out of Miami" Ummm...….NO!
I told him "unable".
"Your unable to level off?"
"OK, let me rephrase, UNWILLING. I have a potential fire here, if there's a conflict, move the Miami outbound traffic!"
"Umm...….OK, can you fly a vector?"
"Sure, as long as that vector is keeping me on my current heading, direct to JAX"
"Umm...….standby"
15 sec...….
Different voice "N** continue"
"Roger"

THEN about two months later while flying into Wichita, IND Center told me to descend from 430 to 240. [There was a HUGE line of thunderstorms crossing my path]
I said, "Request discretion on that descent due to this line of thunderstorms at my 12. If I can stay high until I get past this, I'll accept a slam-dunk on the other side."
"No, I have to bring you down now. Descend and maintain FL240"
"Roger, departing 430 descending 240" [I gave him a solid 500fpm rate and started down]
He starts this tirade about a "Letter of Agreement with Kansas City.....blah, blah, blah and I need to give him at least 3,000fpm"
"Unable due to the large storm at my 12"
"Our Letter of Agreement is that you will be at a certain altitude at a certain point....."
"Your agreement was written with consideration of a perfect day in a perfect world by people sitting at a desk and NOT by a pilot facing a storm this size. If I need to declare an emergency in order to absolve you of something written on a stupid piece of paper please advise" "I can take a SW heading for 100 miles to fly around this thing if that works for you"
"Disregard, contact KC...."

KC "Descent is your discretion. Descend and maintain 15,000 when able"

I just don't understand situations like this. It is my hope that nothing about the Atlas request and subsequent denial comes into play here. That would be reminiscent of the ATL incident years ago.

I'm positive there are just as many stories of non-cooperation by pilots. Probably more than the other way around. Thanks for your input here......
 

ppragman

Direct BATTY
@NovemberEcho, I want to ask a few questions but thought it best to come here rather than cloud the Atlas accident thread.


I understand what your stating here but when you write, "Even during an emergency I’m not going to let you occupy the same space another plane currently is, and if you choose to do it on your own you’ll be putting a lot more lives at risk.", I have to ask how you will be able to stop the turn that I HAVE to take in order to avoid a serious storm in front of me? If I have declared an emergency and turn towards "the same space another plane currently is", then wouldn't you move the non-emergency aircraft?

The job you all do is impressive. I am still in amazement of how you are able to thread the needle with the thousands of aircraft that pass in a day. That having been stated, there are some situations that can't be handled with a simple, "Sorry, I can't let you do that..."

This has come in to play a few times over the last year. Last Jul, I had a Forward Baggage Compartment FIRE indication while at FL310 flying north out of FL. I declared an emergency, advised I was descending and told JAX I was flying direct to KJAX. The controller acknowledged then came back a few seconds later and told me to "level off at 17,000 due to northbound departure out of Miami" Ummm...….NO!
I told him "unable".
"Your unable to level off?"
"OK, let me rephrase, UNWILLING. I have a potential fire here, if there's a conflict, move the Miami outbound traffic!"
"Umm...….OK, can you fly a vector?"
"Sure, as long as that vector is keeping me on my current heading, direct to JAX"
"Umm...….standby"
15 sec...….
Different voice "N** continue"
"Roger"

THEN about two months later while flying into Wichita, IND Center told me to descend from 430 to 240. [There was a HUGE line of thunderstorms crossing my path]
I said, "Request discretion on that descent due to this line of thunderstorms at my 12. If I can stay high until I get past this, I'll accept a slam-dunk on the other side."
"No, I have to bring you down now. Descend and maintain FL240"
"Roger, departing 430 descending 240" [I gave him a solid 500fpm rate and started down]
He starts this tirade about a "Letter of Agreement with Kansas City.....blah, blah, blah and I need to give him at least 3,000fpm"
"Unable due to the large storm at my 12"
"Our Letter of Agreement is that you will be at a certain altitude at a certain point....."
"Your agreement was written with consideration of a perfect day in a perfect world by people sitting at a desk and NOT by a pilot facing a storm this size. If I need to declare an emergency in order to absolve you of something written on a stupid piece of paper please advise" "I can take a SW heading for 100 miles to fly around this thing if that works for you"
"Disregard, contact KC...."

KC "Descent is your discretion. Descend and maintain 15,000 when able"

I just don't understand situations like this. It is my hope that nothing about the Atlas request and subsequent denial comes into play here. That would be reminiscent of the ATL incident years ago.

I'm positive there are just as many stories of non-cooperation by pilots. Probably more than the other way around. Thanks for your input here......
This reminds me exactly of flying in Hawaii.

I had a patient code on us as we put the gear in the wells.

I'd been notified by my medics that this one could go critical at any time. I'd even called HCF in advance, "hey, I'm going to be leaving KOA going to HNL here soon, my medics say this one could be a doozie, I'll probably be getting direct at least and I could end up asking for priority handling."

As soon as I checked on, unfortunately due to how sick this person was it was immediate priority handling and it was still "can you fly this heading?" "Nope, my medics are giving chest compressions in the back - I'm going direct the numbers from present position."
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
If I have declared an emergency and turn towards "the same space another plane currently is", then wouldn't you move the non-emergency aircraft?
That’s easy to do if I’m talking to both aircraft, and at a place like Houston you wouldn’t be talking to arrivals and departures unless it’s slow. If I’m not talking to them, I have to figure out who is talking to them, explain to them what’s up, wait for them to relay instructions to that aircraft, and then wait for that aircraft to act on those instructions. And what if he says he can’t turn left or right because of the same weather you’re trying to avoid? All that coordination takes time. Even it’s only 20-30 seconds, with a 500kt closure rate that’s a lot of airspace covered.


Your Indianapolis scenario sounds like it was poor service. Probably a busy controller (possibly new as well) who didn’t want to take the time to do coordination. LOA’s go out the window during abnormal circumstances including wx imo.
 
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DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
I think with weather, there has to be some give and take. If I got fuel to go the wrong way then that's fine. It would be pretty extreme, and there would some explaining to do, but I suppose I could even land somewhere else besides where I was going if I needed to.

With a fire warning, I declare an emergency, and I'm landing at the nearest suitable. Period. I will be descending as necessary and I'll be landing on whatever runway I deem best. ATC needs to do the best they can to move people, point out those they can't move, and let TCAS do it's thing. The emergency declaration allows the PIC to what he needs to do. I don't know from the ATC end if a deal isn't a deal when the plane is on fire but it should be. Do the best you can to separate but if you can't...then do the best you can. Fire has brought down a few big jets over the years and getting it on the ground ASAP is your only recourse.
 
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NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
I think with weather, there has to be some give and take. If I got fuel to go the wrong way then that's fine. It would be pretty extreme, and there would some explaining to do, but I suppose I could even land somewhere else besides where I was going if I needed to.

With a fire warning, I declare an emergency, and I'm landing at the nearest suitable. Period. I will be descending as necessary and I'll be landing on whatever runway I deem best. ATC needs to do the best they can to move people, point out those they can't move, and let TCAS do it's thing. The emergency declaration allows the PIC to what he needs to do. I don't know from the ATC end if a deal isn't a deal when the plane is on fire but it should be. Do the best you can to separate but if you can't...then do the best you can. Fire has brought down a few big jets over the years and getting it on the ground ASAP is your only recourse.
A fire is an entirely different situation than declaring emergency so you can fly through a gap in the wx instead of turning around.

But even with a fire I’ll let you know if there’s traffic and if I’m talking to them or not. We treat smoke in the cockpit same way as if it’s a fire too.
 

dustoff17

Well-Known Member
That’s easy to do if I’m talking to both aircraft, and at a place like Houston you wouldn’t be talking to arrivals and departures unless it’s slow. If I’m not talking to them, I have to figure out who is talking to them, explain to them what’s up, wait for them to relay instructions to that aircraft, and then wait for that aircraft to act on those instructions. And what if he says he can’t turn left or right because of the same weather you’re trying to avoid? All that coordination takes time. Even it’s only 20-30 seconds, with a 500kt closure rate that’s a lot of airspace covered.


Your Indianapolis scenario sounds like it was poor service. Probably a busy controller (possibly new as well) who didn’t want to take the time to do coordination. LOA’s go out the window during abnormal circumstances including wx imo.
Ah, you bring up an excellent point here: didn't consider the multiple controllers that might be involved with something like this. On the other hand, when headed directly into some bad weather, those 20-30 seconds at even half of that speed (250kts), it can get real ugly, real fast!

Thank you for your input; it does provide a little better understanding of how these things progress.....

P.S. No argument from me on your IND assessment!
 

Prino

Well-Known Member
Ah, you bring up an excellent point here: didn't consider the multiple controllers that might be involved with something like this. On the other hand, when headed directly into some bad weather, those 20-30 seconds at even half of that speed (250kts), it can get real ugly, real fast!

Thank you for your input; it does provide a little better understanding of how these things progress.....

P.S. No argument from me on your IND assessment!
You should really try to go tour a center or a busy facility.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
IND Center has to deal with a lot of stuff. Give them a break.....

(even though it's actually ZLA)


 

dustoff17

Well-Known Member
You should really try to go tour a center or a busy facility.
You should really try to deal with a potential in-flight fire...…..:confused2:

I took a day tour of Miami Center (and MIA Tower on a different day) a few years back. Very interesting. I know there is a lot going on; I gained a lot of respect for what happens behind the speaker.

However, when I'm headed towards a large storm or at 31,000' with a potential fire, my concern about their "standard" procedures or Letters of Agreement or courtesy between controllers goes WAY down! Just because I don't feel it safe to follow their instructions at that particular moment, doesn't mean I don't love them all. I'll pass out the hugs AFTER I'm on the ground!
 

Prino

Well-Known Member
You should really try to deal with a potential in-flight fire...…..:confused2:

I took a day tour of Miami Center (and MIA Tower on a different day) a few years back. Very interesting. I know there is a lot going on; I gained a lot of respect for what happens behind the speaker.

However, when I'm headed towards a large storm or at 31,000' with a potential fire, my concern about their "standard" procedures or Letters of Agreement or courtesy between controllers goes WAY down! Just because I don't feel it safe to follow their instructions at that particular moment, doesn't mean I don't love them all. I'll pass out the hugs AFTER I'm on the ground!
Relaaaaax. I get it man. You (rightfully so) expected a quality of service that unfortunately didn’t happen when it should have happened. Should the centers have had mutuals with each other?

As far as dealing with a potential In flight fire I think we both know how that would go so I’ll have to politely decline your offer. I’ll happily take a ride in a jump seat even if it’s a round robin mx flight
 

dustoff17

Well-Known Member
Relaaaaax. I get it man. You (rightfully so) expected a quality of service that unfortunately didn’t happen when it should have happened. Should the centers have had mutuals with each other?

As far as dealing with a potential In flight fire I think we both know how that would go so I’ll have to politely decline your offer. I’ll happily take a ride in a jump seat even if it’s a round robin mx flight
Where are you based? Stranger things have happened...….
 
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