In an emergency...

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Victor Bravo

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I have rehearsed similar situations (smaller airplanes of course) in my mind many times.

My response would have been "Las Vegas Unicom, North American XYZ has an engine out and we're making an emergency straight-in approach for 19 right, all traffic please remain clear, will advise when clear of the runway."

(some of you youngsters will have to look up Unicom in the history books) :)
 

TFF

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There is a teamwork between pilot and controller, but pilot can overrule controllers. Technically controllers give educated suggestions. Pilots get to decide if good or bad. If you agree, they expect compliance. If you don’t they have to deal with you. You might mess up some controller’s easy day, but you can say no. It’s just a good idea to be more right if you do.
 

Daleandee

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If it's a true emergency and I've declared it as such the sky is mine. I'll worry about the questions, answers, fines, and paperwork later. This is especially true if I have anyone else in the airplane with me. My duty is to get them down safely and that I will endeavor to do. Assist me if you like or be ignored.
 

blane.c

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91.3 Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.
§ 91.3 Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.
(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

(b) In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency.

(c) Each pilot in command who deviates from a rule under paragraph (b) of this section shall, upon the request of the Administrator, send a written report of that deviation to the Administrator.
 

Vigilant1

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I'll bet he regretted complying with the controller's direction to reduce altitude to get under the Class B airspace restriction. It's not clear if the pilot had declared an emergency at that point, but if he hadn't done it already, that would probably have been a reminder to play that card. As he said, in that plane on one engine and modern (lower octane) fuel, climb might not be available.
The blue circles around the airport are just lines on a chart and somebody's good idea. The terrain contour lines symbolize real dirt and rocks.
 

Pops

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I have had 3 controller's that I would fire on the spot. All the rest of the controllers have been great. One saved my life when a Lear almost hit me.

Added-- Have had an engine crankshaft break and and also an electrical failure going into a large airport. No problems with any controllers.
Almost forgot-- Ferrying an airplane and over Minnesota in winter at dark and lost everything except one radio receiving about 30 seconds for every 4 or 5 minutes The transponder was the only other thing that worked. Center got me to La Crosse.
 
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BBerson

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Not sure why any approach controller would ask anyone with emergency or not to stay clear of class B?
I guess he could go below class B and contact the tower directly with his emergency.
 

Victor Bravo

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I stand by my previous comment about the pilot having the final authority, and ATC not creating any more stress for the pilot than he or she already has. BUT:

I am also GUESSING that the FAA might have issued some sort of "guidance" to ATC previous to this event, for them to try and send warbirds away from populated areas during an emergency. There have been significant incidents in recent years; the B-17 that landed and burned up between (thankfully between passenger flights) is one of the more recent. The FAA has a mandate to prioritize public safety... passengers and people on the ground... over everything else. I love warbirds every bit as much as the rest of you, but an 80 year old airplane, on low-grade fuel, without the original infrastructure (whole squadron full of military mechanics and unlimited free spare parts a phone call away) is not exactly a low-risk proposition.

So although PIC is PIC, I can also understand why a controller might want to use whatever influence they had top get the airplane away from the city. A full-fuel B-25 crash into the wrong part of Vegas (bottom of a hotel) could cause thousands and thousands of civilian fatalities.

Another issue I have is that (unless someone can convince me otherwise) there is no reason whatsoever for that airplane to have been at full fuel load, on a hot day, with low-octane fuel, on a passenger flight. Flights to the canyon and back will require X gallons, and then you add VFR or perhaps even IFR reserve, and you can lighten the load on the engines, increase flight safety, and reduce maintenance costs on the airplane. Four or five hours of fuel is a convenience that became a high risk on that flight.

So the big question to me is... was that traffic controller subject to disciplinary action after this incident? If he was not subject to discipline, after clearly putting the safety of everyone in jeopardy, then that would tell me the controller was in fact following some mandate or effort coming from higher up (to herd warbirds away from the city at the first sign of any mechanical trouble).
 
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Hawkertech

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I stand by my previous comment about the pilot having the final authority, and ATC not creating any more stress for the pilot than he or she already has. BUT:

I am also GUESSING that the FAA might have issued some sort of "guidance" to ATC previous to this event, for them to try and send warbirds away from populated areas during an emergency. There have been significant incidents in recent years; the B-17 that landed and burned up between (thankfully between passenger flights) is one of the more recent. The FAA has a mandate to prioritize public safety... passengers and people on the ground... over everything else. I love warbirds every bit as much as the rest of you, but an 80 year old airplane, on low-grade fuel, without the original infrastructure (whole squadron full of military mechanics and unlimited free spare parts a phone call away) is not exactly a low-risk proposition.

So although PIC is PIC, I can also understand why a controller might want to use whatever influence they had top get the airplane away from the city. A full-fuel B-25 crash into the wrong part of Vegas (bottom of a hotel) could cause thousands and thousands of civilian fatalities.

Another issue I have is that (unless someone can convince me otherwise) there is no reason whatsoever for that airplane to have been at full fuel load, on a hot day, with low-octane fuel, on a passenger flight. Flights to the canyon and back will require X gallons, and then you add VFR or perhaps even IFR reserve, and you can lighten the load on the engines, increase flight safety, and reduce maintenance costs on the airplane. Four or five hours of fuel is a convenience that became a high risk on that flight.

So the big question to me is... was that traffic controller subject to disciplinary action after this incident? If he was not subject to discipline, after clearly putting the safety of everyone in jeopardy, then that would tell me the controller was in fact following some mandate or effort coming from higher up (to herd warbirds away from the city at the first sign of any mechanical trouble).
But from his position to get to North Las Vegas he had to fly further over the city than he did getting to Mcarren.
 

Kyle Boatright

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I'd bet the controller's only consideration was "I have twenty 7x7's inbound that will need to be re-sequenced if he comes here." The FAA would get crucified if it had instituted a recommendation to send aircraft in distress to airports other than the nearest available.
 

wktaylor

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At an Air Force Base in the 1980s... home to B-52s and host transient F-16s from nearby bases. An F-16 encountered a serious engine control problem during climb out resulting in partial thrust. The Pilot declared an emergency with partial thrust engine failure... only to be told he was #2 behind a B-52 with an engine out. There was a slight pause, then the F-16 driver, with is best voice of sarcasm replied, "Ahhhhh the dreaded 7-engine approach". Another moment passed and the B-52 pilot waived himself-off and cleared the single engine F-16 to land immediately. A few seconds later ATC/Tower concurred.
 

Yellowhammer

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At an Air Force Base in the 1980s... home to B-52s and host transient F-16s from nearby bases. An F-16 encountered a serious engine control problem during climb out resulting in partial thrust. The Pilot declared an emergency with partial thrust engine failure... only to be told he was #2 behind a B-52 with an engine out. There was a slight pause, then the F-16 driver, with is best voice of sarcasm replied, "Ahhhhh the dreaded 7-engine approach". Another moment passed and the B-52 pilot waived himself-off and cleared the single engine F-16 to land immediately. A few seconds later ATC/Tower concurred.

Excellent Story! Love It!
"Dreaded 7 Engine Approach"!!!
 

BJC

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The only issue is that once the pilot in command declared an emergency, decisions about altitude, airspace, airport and runway were entirely his. The controller was obligated to support the pilot’s decisions. A controller who could, and would, provide useful guidance would be a bonus.


BJC
 

robertl

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In the 70's I knew a pilot of a Cessna 150 that lost his radio and had smoke coming from under the instrument panel, he landed at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. He said he was surrounded before he even came to a stop, hauled off to a secure room and questioned for an hour or so. He was then taken back to his plane and told to leave, he said, what about my radio, they again said, LEAVE !
Bob, and no, it wasn't me
 
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