Author Topic: Weird JFK Emergency Yesterday around 5:10 PM "give me 31R or I'll declare"  (Read 136021 times)

Offline VampyreGTX

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 63
    • The Aspiring Pilot
Story is up on ABC 7 new york:

http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/investigators&id=7425425

The pilot declared the emergency due to the crosswind component.  This is directly from the head of the JFK controller's union.  

Offline jpwilde

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 7

I'm afraid I have to disagree here.  Declaration of an emergency IS a big deal
No, not always.



I have to disagree with the sentiment of that, at least.  I'm not a pro, but I like to get my feet off the ground a fair bit, and I consider myself a student of the system.

First, I don't think anybody is questioning the decision to declare an emergency in and of itself. We have no evidence one way or another whether it was necessary, so give the crew the benefit of the doubt.  If he had declared an emergency and landed normally, or gone around as instructed, we wouldn't be talking about this.  The emergency, by itself isn't what's so questionable about this.

It's the deviation from the controllers instructions that's so odd.  Declaring an emergency kicks you to the front of the line, nothing more.  It doesn't automatically bestow the right to do whatever you want, safety be damned.  You have the same right to deviate under an emergency as you do normally: only when immediate action is required for the safety of the flight.  One out of four engines running rough enough that you want to turn around might be a good reason to declare an emergency, but it's a terrible reason to fly within 50 feet of six other planes at 600 kts on your way back, for example.

And that's where we have enough evidence to at least begin to monday-morning-quarterback this.  Looking at the radar track, listening to tower race to clear the runway, it's almost impossible to imagine a scenario where this course of action increased the safety of the flight in any way.   Worse, it put two other flights by my count at least somewhat at risk.  He had a runway right in front of him and enough power/control to climb 1200 ft. and make a steep turn.  The closest thing to an explanation I can imagine would be low fuel. But even if you have 5 minutes fuel remaining (which would be a huge screw up by itself), just tell the controller and he'll get you down in 4 on the runway of your choice, or die trying, all while making sure you don't hit anybody.

That's my two cents after mulling it over for a day, anyway.  Like I said, I'm no pro.

Update: Just read the ABC story.  They miss the point, IMO.  An emergency may have been (but probably wasn't) necessary.  The immediate and radical deviation was not.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2010, 12:58:08 AM by jpwilde »

Offline BrianCLT

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Story is up on ABC 7 new york:

http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/investigators&id=7425425

The pilot declared the emergency due to the crosswind component.  This is directly from the head of the JFK controller's union.  

What I don't understand is why he didn't just declare missed and get re sequenced. Why did he need to land at that moment. He didn't say anything about low fuel.

Offline bbatsell

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Story is up on ABC 7 new york:

http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/investigators&id=7425425

The pilot declared the emergency due to the crosswind component.  This is directly from the head of the JFK controller's union.  

What I don't understand is why he didn't just declare missed and get re sequenced. Why did he need to land at that moment. He didn't say anything about low fuel.
The article does say at the end that he was low on fuel, though it's a mystery to me why he didn't declare it if he really was.  I found it interesting that it's the controllers' union that's making a fuss about JFK and doing its best to portray the captain in a favorable light.

jpwilde, your post is pretty much exactly how I feel about the incident.  Well said.

Offline SASD209

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 65
Couldn't something simple as "the crosswind component is above our allowed maximums; please head us for the 31R visual landing" have been said? I know people are speculating about a minimum fuel situation, but I've not heard a single word to that effect. Even so, I'm quite sure had fuel AND the crosswind been an issue, the controllers would have given him the 31R approach....I mean, the controllers are professionals after all!!!  

Offline rekno13

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 186
Sigh, news coverage, always making controllers look bad. They played the clip with the pilot saying I've declared 3 times, but not the clip where the controller did an excellent job handling all the traffic. The phrasing of "if you don't get us to 31R, we're going to declare emergency" is weird. I see how it can be misunderstood by the controller. Glad everyone was safe.

Offline SASD209

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 65
Well, I think anyone who heard the whole thing will see how the controller faced a really strange situation and then RAPIDLY re-routed the planes and cleared the area for AA2's landing. Really, I don't blame the controller for being confused for a very short time in the beginning...the AA2 pilot gave him NOTHING to go on and basically demanded his course of action. That cannot be an easy thing to adjust to, esp with no reason given and nothing to work with. I'm just glad the A/C landed safely. I truly hope the NTSB and the FAA can review this situation and perhaps next time it can be handled by both parties in a better manner.

Offline tyketto

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1111
Story is up on ABC 7 new york:

http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/investigators&id=7425425

The pilot declared the emergency due to the crosswind component.  This is directly from the head of the JFK controller's union.  

Well.. if the controller needs some evidence to back him on the pilot's declaration being wrong..

Something similar happened at KLAS today. Wind shear alerts all day (winds were around the 22022G47 range, with gains/losses up to 20kts on final). FDX526 ended up getting the visual to 25L, called in about 10 miles out, concerned about the gains and crosswind component on final. Tower circled them to 19L. No cancelled approach clearance, just a circle north of the field, report the field in sight, reduce to final approach speed to follow traffic, and contact the other tower. No emergency declared.

Just based on that alone, AAL2 was in serious error.

BL.

Cap747

  • Guest
Well, I think anyone who heard the whole thing will see how the controller faced a really strange situation and then RAPIDLY re-routed the planes and cleared the area for AA2's landing. Really, I don't blame the controller for being confused for a very short time in the beginning...the AA2 pilot gave him NOTHING to go on and basically demanded his course of action. That cannot be an easy thing to adjust to, esp with no reason given and nothing to work with. I'm just glad the A/C landed safely. I truly hope the NTSB and the FAA can review this situation and perhaps next time it can be handled by both parties in a better manner.

The controller was lucky, he only had to re-route  one airplane according to the airport monitor, but that flight (AWE12) had to go-around for 20 mins because of this...to line up in sequence again....

Offline jrmyl

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Story is up on ABC 7 new york:

http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/investigators&id=7425425

The pilot declared the emergency due to the crosswind component.  This is directly from the head of the JFK controller's union.  

Well.. if the controller needs some evidence to back him on the pilot's declaration being wrong..

Something similar happened at KLAS today. Wind shear alerts all day (winds were around the 22022G47 range, with gains/losses up to 20kts on final). FDX526 ended up getting the visual to 25L, called in about 10 miles out, concerned about the gains and crosswind component on final. Tower circled them to 19L. No cancelled approach clearance, just a circle north of the field, report the field in sight, reduce to final approach speed to follow traffic, and contact the other tower. No emergency declared.

Just based on that alone, AAL2 was in serious error.

BL.


I would say that is a completely different situation.  That wind direction would have been a 30 degree x-wind on either of those runways.  Plus, the last 4 times I've flown into LAS I have been cleared for the visual to 25L and then circled north for the landing on 19L.  It is a completely normal situation that happens quite often due to terrain and airspace considerations.

Now as to whether AA2 was in error, that is something that we on here have no way of knowing what all was going on inside the cockpit.  We don't know what his exact fuel situation was.  All we do know is that the wind was right at the limits or exceeding it with the gusts.  Let the FAA decide if he was in error or not.

Offline VampyreGTX

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 63
    • The Aspiring Pilot

Now as to whether AA2 was in error, that is something that we on here have no way of knowing what all was going on inside the cockpit.  We don't know what his exact fuel situation was.  All we do know is that the wind was right at the limits or exceeding it with the gusts.  Let the FAA decide if he was in error or not.


Actually, being a pilot myself, I can see this being a pilot error.  A crosswind component exceeding your limits in itself  is not an emergency.  I've experienced it myself a few times and never declared an emergency.  I was cleared for a visual approach, as we descended, I could tell the fight to keep the center line was a lot more difficult than expected.  A wind check call proved that the gusts were exceeding the crosswind component max so I just contacted tower stating 'unable visual 9L, crosswinds exceed limits.'  I was immediately brought back to pattern altitude and brought around for a runway more in line with the winds. 

I don't understand how the pilot got himself into a low fuel situation.  If he was that seriously low on fuel there was some serious mis calculation.  Listening to approach, it appears that the holds the planes were in were roughly 20 minutes prior to landing.  Yet, minimum fuel reserve requirements mean that there should be enough fuel on board, after reaching the destination to climb back up to cruise altitude, fly to the alternate airport, descend and land, and THEN an additional 45 minutes of fuel on top of that.  Am I missing something here?  Add that up and you're talking well in excess of an hour of extra fuel, so add in the 20 minuted hold, you still have more than 40 minutes. 

Anyway, this has led to some interesting discussions, and even though it's seems to get a tad heated at times, at least it's stayed civil. Let's keep the discussion going.

Cap747

  • Guest
"Demonstrated wind components" mean: actual weather Boeing's test pilots went through during their test phases?

It's their perfect storm they went trough?

But does this mean the maximum an airplane can handle? (I personally don't think so, but who knows)

Offline iskyfly

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 179
"Demonstrated wind components" mean: actual weather Boeing's test pilots went through during their test phases?

It's their perfect storm they went trough?

But does this mean the maximum an airplane can handle? (I personally don't think so, but who knows)

The AFM "demonstrated" value is simply the highest crosswind conditions that were encountered during the airplane flight test program. The recommended crosswind limits were determined by analysis and piloted simulator evaluation, not by flight test.

Offline VampyreGTX

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 63
    • The Aspiring Pilot
"Demonstrated wind components" mean: actual weather Boeing's test pilots went through during their test phases?

It's their perfect storm they went trough?

But does this mean the maximum an airplane can handle? (I personally don't think so, but who knows)


No, it's not the maximum a plane can handle, I've known one person (I wouldn't do it) who brought in a C-172 in 32 knot crosswinds.... it was a interesting landing to see from the ground, can't imagine what it was like in the plane.  :P  The crosswind is only the 'demonstrated' value.  Airlines probably have their own limits as well.  In larger, low wing planes, pushing it too much and you risk scraping the engines when adjusting for a strong crosswind (just look at some of the KaiTak videos and pictures of crosswind landings.)

Offline davalos08

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Of course there was no accident or incident, but because an emergency was declared ATC of this particular airport has the right to request a report, I'm very positive ATC will ask for one, to clarify things.

Good god all these conspiracy theories as to what happened puts X-Files to shame.

I suggest everyone read the FAR's on fuel reserves as it pertains to this operation.

There is no "investigation" because there was no incident or accident.
And yes, those two words are defined by the FAA. Read up on that as well.

The minute a PIC decision to declare is second guessed by any authority, be it airline management or a governing body, safety will be compromised. Nobody wants that.

If this was indeed the mountain you are all making this out to be it would have made the news by now. You can also bet that by now the unions would be putting their spin on things.

Emergencies are just like go-arounds. To the lay person and / or the pax on the flight it is "a a near total airdisaster." To the crew and controllers it is another day at the office.

Move on.





Offline Flipr1Arrival

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Just registered and this is my first post.

I've read probably a thousand threads on accidents and incidents on public boards and typically the majority of the posts tend to be worthless conjecture by those who, although well meaning and interested in the subject, really don't have a clue to what really happened, nor have any valuable information to add on the subject.

This thread, 5 pages so far, contains the most uninformed useless and condescending drivel that I have ever read going back as far as the Compuserve BBS boards 15 years ago. While I appreciate the aviation interest and the few posters who have inquired as to what happened, most have ended up going farther by condemming the crews actions based on an internet tape.

To those who have honestly asked questions with genuine interest, my apologies, my post does not apply to you.

Thank you










Offline tarheels167

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Well, I think anyone who heard the whole thing will see how the controller faced a really strange situation and then RAPIDLY re-routed the planes and cleared the area for AA2's landing. Really, I don't blame the controller for being confused for a very short time in the beginning...the AA2 pilot gave him NOTHING to go on and basically demanded his course of action. That cannot be an easy thing to adjust to, esp with no reason given and nothing to work with. I'm just glad the A/C landed safely. I truly hope the NTSB and the FAA can review this situation and perhaps next time it can be handled by both parties in a better manner.

The controller was lucky, he only had to re-route  one airplane according to the airport monitor, but that flight (AWE12) had to go-around for 20 mins because of this...to line up in sequence again....

Hi all. First post and I'll add the disclaimer that I'm just an air travel-loving civilian with no flight/ATC experience.

However, I was on AWE12 sitting on the left side of the aircraft. It was pretty weird to watch a 767 make an arching turn directly into our flight path. Obviously by that point we'd been held at 2000 with approach clearance cancelled, but as a passenger, it was certainly a bit unnerving. The captain came on just after we climbed to 3000 and explained that AA2 had declared emergency and thus we had to go around, but you could tell he wasn't sure why.

20 minutes later we slammed down onto 22L. Captain apologized for the landing and blamed it on the cross wind. All in all, an exciting end to a boring flight!

Sounds like the controllers did a great job, particularly with AA2243 already across the hold bars on 31R.

Offline iskyfly

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 179
Quote

Like pilots and controllers, FSDO inspectors have rules to live by and technically, an inspector is derelict if he or she ignores a known violation of the FARs. Yet, despite the FAA's recent reputation for zero-tolerance enforcement, FSDO inspectors do have some latitude. One inspector told us that declaring an emergency isn't an "automatic, spring-loaded enforcement action" but he admitted that enforcement pickiness is inspector-specific. "If I really want to find a way to bust a pilot, I can do it," said another, "but what's the point? I'd much rather see compliance than suspend the guy's ticket."


Kinder enforcement policies

In the strict enforcement climate of the 1980s, inspectors were required by policy to recommend certificate action for certain violations. A TCA bust, for example, brought a mandatory 60-day suspension.

 
Declaring an emergency is in itself not a violation but pilots have always worried, whether justifiably or not, that the resulting investigation would turn up something that would be.

These days, however, FSDO inspectors are being encouraged to achieve compliance at the lowest levels (on the ramp, if possible) without resorting to legal action.

An "investigation" may be as simple as a phone call to the tower to make sure the aircraft landed safely.

To do this, they've been given a wider range of administrative and remedial tools, including the option of writing warning letters for violations or requiring a pilot to seek additional training in lieu of certificate action. Furthermore, the FAA amended its enforcement and compliance orders in 1990 to state that "declaring an emergency in an appropriate situation is evidence of good judgment and attitude. Such evidence is to be considered in setting enforcement penalties which might result from a violation attendant to such a declaration."

Declaring an emergency has never exposed pilots to undue risk of enforcement action and now, if anything, doing so may credit for good judgement. And since a potential emergency will probably be investigated anway, you might as well declare it and get all the help that's available.

Offline VampyreGTX

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 63
    • The Aspiring Pilot
Just registered and this is my first post.

I've read probably a thousand threads on accidents and incidents on public boards and typically the majority of the posts tend to be worthless conjecture by those who, although well meaning and interested in the subject, really don't have a clue to what really happened, nor have any valuable information to add on the subject.

This thread, 5 pages so far, contains the most uninformed useless and condescending drivel that I have ever read going back as far as the Compuserve BBS boards 15 years ago. While I appreciate the aviation interest and the few posters who have inquired as to what happened, most have ended up going farther by condemming the crews actions based on an internet tape.

To those who have honestly asked questions with genuine interest, my apologies, my post does not apply to you.

Thank you


Flipr.... right after I post that this thread has been kept civil, you post this... thanks!  :roll: :x

Why don't you explain what parts you consider worthless drivel or provide your expertise to the rest of us uninformed souls?  I'm not decrying the pilot's authority to declare an emergency, but the pilot's AND controller's attitudes in the unraveling of this incident.  There was no need for the tone, anger and hostility that was heard in the tapes.  I've been raised and trained to be professional at all times in my job and I always ensure that I behave as a professional, without resorting to raising my voice and getting flustered.  If that was me behind the controls, depending on the situation, I know that I would not have acted in that manner, especially over a radio that is monitored by the public, even passengers on some airlines.  My main concern here is with the attitudes exhibited by the crews involved.

Offline glencar

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 176
The report on WABC was all in favor of what the crew did. I wasn't working yet that night; indeed, I landed at LGA around the same time. We have had many days where the crosswinds have been too severe (IMO) and yet we stayed with 22's. A few pilots have requested & gotten 31R but I am surprised more don't ask.

As for the newbie/dolt who posted above: Many of us here are controllers and/or pilots. Thanks for your "input"!

Offline rekno13

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 186
Just registered and this is my first post.

I've read probably a thousand threads on accidents and incidents on public boards and typically the majority of the posts tend to be worthless conjecture by those who, although well meaning and interested in the subject, really don't have a clue to what really happened, nor have any valuable information to add on the subject.

This thread, 5 pages so far, contains the most uninformed useless and condescending drivel that I have ever read going back as far as the Compuserve BBS boards 15 years ago. While I appreciate the aviation interest and the few posters who have inquired as to what happened, most have ended up going farther by condemming the crews actions based on an internet tape.

To those who have honestly asked questions with genuine interest, my apologies, my post does not apply to you.

Thank you
And you're just adding to it by going completely off topic. You can ignore the posts that add nothing to the conversation, just scroll past them. (And now I'm going off topic!)



Hi all. First post and I'll add the disclaimer that I'm just an air travel-loving civilian with no flight/ATC experience.

However, I was on AWE12 sitting on the left side of the aircraft. It was pretty weird to watch a 767 make an arching turn directly into our flight path. Obviously by that point we'd been held at 2000 with approach clearance cancelled, but as a passenger, it was certainly a bit unnerving. The captain came on just after we climbed to 3000 and explained that AA2 had declared emergency and thus we had to go around, but you could tell he wasn't sure why.

20 minutes later we slammed down onto 22L. Captain apologized for the landing and blamed it on the cross wind. All in all, an exciting end to a boring flight!

Sounds like the controllers did a great job, particularly with AA2243 already across the hold bars on 31R.
Welcome to the forum! Thanks for your input, it is interesting to hear about the perspective from one plane back.

Offline davalos08

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Vampyre, you are more than right, you can hear some hostility in the tape.

The pilots declare an emergency, they didn't explain the problem, nor the tower asked for the reason, that is a major deviation of procedures, are there any other emergencies besides these one that either ATC or the aircraft in distress doesn't explain the reason for the declaration??? I think not, for those of us who fly we have heard countless times pilots declaring an emergency, and everytime the same words are said, either by ATC or the crew. Now this tape doesn't contain any part of that, neither the crew informed the particular problem nor ATC, ATC didn't even asked if assitance was necessary! (if they did, and is hidden in some transmission it would be good to hear, and I apologize if that is the case).

shamefully both parts failed, crew and ATC

Offline speedotann

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 154
Lax-Jfk...We do not know how much fuel they burnt on the way..head wind may of been a bitch! landing on 22 with a 35knt xwind=risk missed approach then vectored out for a hold with low fuel... Errors on both ends of the spectrum... Lets get over it :mrgreen:

B

Offline SirIsaac787

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 79
Story is up on ABC 7 new york:

http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/investigators&id=7425425

The pilot declared the emergency due to the crosswind component.  This is directly from the head of the JFK controller's union.  

What I don't understand is why he didn't just declare missed and get re sequenced. Why did he need to land at that moment. He didn't say anything about low fuel.
The article does say at the end that he was low on fuel, though it's a mystery to me why he didn't declare it if he really was.  I found it interesting that it's the controllers' union that's making a fuss about JFK and doing its best to portray the captain in a favorable light.

jpwilde, your post is pretty much exactly how I feel about the incident.  Well said.

Because the controller's union can spin this as an incident only demonstrating that safety at airports, specifically at JFK, is in danger with minimal staff in the Tower and congested airspace with an old ATC system.  Unions are the ultimate spin doctor.

Cap747

  • Guest
Because the controller's union can spin this as an incident only demonstrating that safety at airports, specifically at JFK, is in danger with minimal staff in the Tower and congested airspace with an old ATC system.  Unions are the ultimate spin doctor.

Don't forget that runway 31L is under construction for two months.. It seems to be a factor....