Monday, September 14, 2009

COA128 Follow Up

I ruffled some feathers with this blog (as I knew I would.) I find it’s the only way to get the attention of some -- and to get them to change. Let’s take a look at an old picture (that doesn’t have anything to do with the incident in question) to make my point shall we ?

(Mouse Over and Click to Enlarge)

If AAL875 (in the SE corner) reports severe turbulence with injuries, what is the order of priorities for the controller ? Here’s what I see -- as a controller.

1) Render assistance to AAL875.

2) Warn N2303F of the severe turbulence. He is at the same altitude (I think both datablocks say FL280. Sorry for the poor quality.) and will soon pass close to the same vicinity.

3) Find out if there is another aircraft behind the AAL875 (there’s something just outside of the picture frame, you can see the vector length) and warn that aircraft of the turbulence. That may involve talking to another controller at the previous sector.

In no circumstances (that I can imagine) would the controller’s priorities include answering questions from DAL745 (on the southern edge of the thunderstorm) about the reported turbulence. Nor questions from UAL531 (in the SW corner). I understand that they would be concerned about any such report. I understand the only way they can know for sure is to ask. Actually asking, though, just interrupts the controller’s priorities. It doesn’t change them. It just makes them harder to accomplish and endangers the other aircraft that actually are flying towards the area of turbulence.

Don Brown
September 14, 2009

(Sorry. Forgot Facebook again.)


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