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View Full Version : When to ignore ATC?


rfw22
07-05-2018, 03:59 AM
Good morning!

I fly a part 91 business jet and I had a discussion with the other pilot I was flying with. We were landing at a class D airport that was not at all busy. He was the pilot flying, and as soon as our mains hit, nose still in the air, tower transmitted "say parking". Our last callout for TRs is at 60 knots. I did not respond to the tower, and he asked again as we were hitting 60. The pilot I was flying with, many more years of jet experience than me, said "Why didn't you answer"?

My response was that until I make my last call-out on the landing rollout, as far as I'm concerned, it's sterile cockpit and a critical phase of flight and it has been my understanding that ATC should not talking to you until you get to taxi speed. That said, me responding to him at 60 knots should give the tower adequate time to know we're going to make a right turn.

Is there anything regulatory about this or something in the controller's handbook? What are your thoughts on this? Practical vs. textbook?


TiredSoul
07-05-2018, 04:38 AM
Aviation
Navigate
Communicate

Some TWR controllers will start blabbering as soon as your mains touch down.
Ignore till YOU are ready to talk.
I havenít bothered to look anything up but Iím sure thereís a blurp somewhere and also in his Controllers handbook.

USMCFLYR
07-05-2018, 05:01 AM
You can coordinate that prior to landing if you are that far ahead.

I wouldn't debrief your actions. Sounds pretty good.


RI830
07-05-2018, 07:26 AM
I say good call by you! Fly the plane first at all costs.
Donít let ATC rush you. Another feared thing is using the word ďunableĒ. Donít allow yourself to get pushed into a place you donít want to be.

WesternSkies
07-05-2018, 07:35 AM
Communicate when you are able but your idea on sterile cockpit isnít standard.

rickair7777
07-05-2018, 09:05 AM
Yeah they do this to airliners too, just ignore them until the plane is clearly able to stop and make the turnoff, and callouts and urgent flows are complete.

rfw22
07-05-2018, 09:09 AM
Communicate when you are able but your idea on sterile cockpit isnít standard.

The Air Force pilot controller handbook does specify (as far as I recall) not to communicate with the landing aircraft during the landing rollout. To me, it's no different than they talking to you on the takeoff roll. Me answering them at 60 (in this aircraft) or another at 80 once all the calls are complete seems to prioritize focus on a critical phase of flight, in my eyes. I'm just wondering if it's in the FAA controller's handbook.

Thanks for the replies

Adlerdriver
07-05-2018, 09:29 AM
Your point is valid. Landing roll is not the time to be requesting information, issuing taxi instructions, etc. If tower wanted your parking spot or to request you exit the runway on a specific taxiway, they could have communicated that with your landing clearance.
But, trying to link the tower's poor comm practices with sterile cockpit is a bit strange. Sterile cockpit is an internal measure. When SC applies, you refrain from non-essential activities in the cockpit. It has nothing to do with ATC.

JohnBurke
07-05-2018, 06:22 PM
I've had this on occasion. If I'm completely occupied, silence. Otherwise, I may key the mike and say "landing." That generally suffices.

Parking is non-essential conversation in the middle of a landing.

rfw22
07-05-2018, 06:50 PM
Your point is valid. Landing roll is not the time to be requesting information, issuing taxi instructions, etc. If tower wanted your parking spot or to request you exit the runway on a specific taxiway, they could have communicated that with your landing clearance.
But, trying to link the tower's poor comm practices with sterile cockpit is a bit strange. Sterile cockpit is an internal measure. When SC applies, you refrain from non-essential activities in the cockpit. It has nothing to do with ATC.

Sterile cockpit refers to only essential communication because it's a critical phase of flight. Why would you think it would not apply? Is it more a semantics/wording issue?

Adlerdriver
07-05-2018, 07:52 PM
Sterile cockpit refers to only essential communication because it's a critical phase of flight. Why would you think it would not apply? Is it more a semantics/wording issue?
In your first post, you gave me the impression that you expected ATC to adhere to the sterile cockpit FAR. That's why I said it wouldn't apply. ATC is not restricted by 121.542. I think at times, they could be better about when they choose to communicate with us, for sure. When and how we choose to respond is always up to us. They may have other guidance that applies, but it's not specifically 121.542.

Sterile cockpit restricts us to required duties for safe operation of the aircraft and prohibits non-essential conversations within the cockpit and between cabin crew and the cockpit. Here's a link if you're interested:
https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/121.542

Responding to parking location requests, taxi instructions, etc. are part of our required duties and are not restricted by the sterile cockpit rule. There isn't any difference between taxi, takeoff or landing roll or operations below 10,000'(except cruise). All those phases of operation are restricted equally by sterile cockpit. So, if you truly felt that parking communication wasn't allowed by sterile cockpit on landing roll, then you couldn't answer after you cleared the runway taxiing or at any point on approach below 10,000'.
You made a wise choice to prioritize your immediate duties during landing role over communication. However, if you had decided to answer while still completing your required tasks, you wouldn't have been in violation of sterile cockpit.

rickair7777
07-05-2018, 09:31 PM
You're allowed to talk to ATC below 10,000, after you aviate and navigate.

JohnBurke
07-05-2018, 11:13 PM
In your first post, you gave me the impression that you expected ATC to adhere to the sterile cockpit FAR. That's why I said it wouldn't apply. ATC is not restricted by 121.542. I think at times, they could be better about when they choose to communicate with us, for sure. When and how we choose to respond is always up to us. They may have other guidance that applies, but it's not specifically 121.542.


He's flying a business jet under Part 91.

121.542 does not apply to him, either.

Adlerdriver
07-06-2018, 05:21 AM
He's flying a business jet under Part 91.

121.542 does not apply to him, either.
Yes John, I understand that. Since many 91 operators choose to apply this rule as a good practice (as the OP indicated with his post), I didnít feel it was necessary to split hairs.

RI830
07-06-2018, 07:53 AM
Just remain silent and then quip back later with “I was on the landline, unable your request....but Southwest, cleared direct destination”

JohnBurke
07-07-2018, 05:49 AM
Yes John, I understand that. Since many 91 operators choose to apply this rule as a good practice (as the OP indicated with his post), I didnít feel it was necessary to split hairs.

The same policy applies under Part 135. You chose Part 121 because you fly Part 121 and it's a familiar regulation...but entirely irrelevant to a Part 91 operator.

Numerous operators, including many government agencies, use sterile cockpit rules in one form or another, which are also irrelevant. If irrelevant to ATC, equally irrelevant to the PIC or SIC.

While sterile cockpit is a good practice and policy, unrelated regulations regarding the practice are not relevant.

Adlerdriver
07-07-2018, 08:13 AM
The same policy applies under Part 135. You chose Part 121 because you fly Part 121 and it's a familiar regulation...but entirely irrelevant to a Part 91 operator.

Numerous operators, including many government agencies, use sterile cockpit rules in one form or another, which are also irrelevant. If irrelevant to ATC, equally irrelevant to the PIC or SIC.

While sterile cockpit is a good practice and policy, unrelated regulations regarding the practice are not relevant.
Again, I understand. Not once did I suggest the OP was restricted by these regulations. But we are having a discussion about them (one that you seem to want to interrupt with trivialities). He asked about sterile cockpit, but didn't appear completely familiar with it. The only place it is officially codified that I'm aware of is 121.542 and 135.100 and those are commonly referred to by "sterile cockpit". They basically say the same thing, so picking one over the other is a coin toss. So, I offered him a link to put us on the same page for the sake of the discussion. This concept and the regulations that resulted from it began in 121 operations. If a 91 operator chooses to follow it as well as refer to it as "sterile cockpit" just as 121 operators do, then the regulation that spawned such procedures is completely relevant to a discussion about those procedures.

Are you really this legalistic or do you have some other agenda?

JohnBurke
07-07-2018, 01:05 PM
I have no agenda.

Neither 135 nor 121 "spawned" the concept of the sterile cockpit, though it's codified in those parts for pilots bound by those regulations, operating under those regulations.

The air traffic controller operates under the ATC handbook JO7110.65W. The original poster is likely not intimately familiar with that guidance, any more than the controller is familiar with the regulation under which the original poster is operating...nor would the controller know which regulatory guidance the original poster is using.

What it really comes down to is flying the airplane first, talking later; if one is busy landing, irrelevant regulations remain irrelevant, as do irrelevant handbooks and controller guidance. What is relevant is focusing on the landing, with or without regulatory constrictions, and then handling communications.

Even in operations which involve a sterile cockpit (eg, 121, 135, etc), the restriction is against unnecessary conversation. It's quite possible that the conversation is germain to the safety of flight and a reply is warranted. Perhaps the controller has something important to say, or perhaps the controller is verifying what should have been verified previously; is the pilot intending to take the high speed to the right, or left? The controller may be asking as he's working traffic that might impinge on one of those exits.

There is no requirement, sterile cockpit (or absence) to reply immediately. One may elect to slow to speed when the reversers are stowing, or when nose steering is resumed, prior to making the call. Whether one makes the call at that point, or prior, or after, does not prevent nor change sterile cockpit operations. It's a judgment call on the part of the pilot responding as to when he can safely make the reply.

ATC's purpose is separation of traffic (prevent collisions) and expediting traffic flow; cockpit priorities include those functions, but on a more immediate level, maintaining control, regardless of the regulation under which the flight is operating.

Some of the agencies with whom I work have very strict guidelines regarding sterile cockpit, but if you were to refer to them to 121, they'd have no clue what you're talking about. 121 is irrelevant.

Adlerdriver
07-07-2018, 01:55 PM
I have no agenda.......various words...........121 is irrelevant.
Noted.....

HIFLYR
07-08-2018, 07:30 AM
Aviation
Navigate
Communicate

Some TWR controllers will start blabbering as soon as your mains touch down.
Ignore till YOU are ready to talk.
I havenít bothered to look anything up but Iím sure thereís a blurp somewhere and also in his Controllers handbook.

This!!! IF it was important to their plan for me to exit in a certain taxiway they should have asked earlier during the approach.

BMEP100
07-08-2018, 02:20 PM
This!!! IF it was important to their plan for me to exit in a certain taxiway they should have asked earlier during the approach.

Right! He made the correct decision imo. Some towers, especially MCO try it often, even when traffic is light. For many of them it's " when they feel like blurting it out", not about communication.

If you happen to mis understand their instructions and then screw up, there is no grace for being tower's boy. Oh ,there might be some mention in the NTSB report critical of the tower procedures, blah, blah, blah. But it's all on you. Even if you read back the wrong instruction and they don't correct you, then make an error, you are still at fault. That ruling was made about 20 years ago.

I'm all for working with ATC when I can, but my flying priorities haven't needed to change in 40 years. Aviate-Navigate-communicate.

So the tactful way to handle it is to call tower after clearing and "say again those instructions, not sure I got em right"!


There is an ATC memo about this floating around on the United iPad from about a month ago. I can't find it.

BMEP100
07-08-2018, 02:32 PM
Okay found the memo. Multiple reports about this issue including a runway incursion.
Actually it's from an CISP discussion sheet from May2018. It references FA order JO7110.65, 3-10-9a. Note.

JamesNoBrakes
07-08-2018, 07:45 PM
Always remember that these guys (ATC) work for you. If you need to verify landing clearance on short final and it's really busy and they yell at you, well that's just tough. If you are not sure of the taxi route and need to stop or ask them for help and they yell at you, that's just tough. Their bad day will never cause me to have a bad day and they can do all the yelling in the world when I'm doing something for the safety of my flight. It's rare for these guys to get heated, but some of them work in very fast settings and according to ones I've interviewed, they sometimes don't realize how "fast" they are trying to push everything around, including their own words. So it's perfectly within the scope of reality that they may ask you to do something that you are unable to do.

A good test for this is always safety of flight. If you are doing something for convenience, such as rolling out to the end to take the taxiway that is closest to where you want to go, that is not for the safety of flight. If they are asking me to turn left at taxiway X and I've just landed...well, that's nice that they have offered an option that I may or may not take depending on my speed and when I feel it's safe to turn off.

This usually doesn't cause any real issues. Most controllers are well aware of the issues above and their own limitations. They usually completely understand when someone doesn't comply with an unrealistic instruction. Many times, feedback is important. Call up the tower after the flight and ask to speak to the manager. These aren't big bad scary people that will bite your head off. If there are repeat problems, ASAP and use the union and other contacts to try and make changes.

Still, remember that they are always working for you. Sometimes we get led down the road of complying with something that wasn't a great idea in the first place. There may be an illusion that you are working for them, when they ask you to do stuff, but you are flying the plane. :)

galaxy flyer
07-09-2018, 12:51 PM
Or, ďAre you down there because Iím up here or, am I up here because youíre down there?Ē

GF

MrBojangles
07-17-2018, 03:47 PM
You did the right thing. ATC should not be giving instructions during the landing roll. If it was a big deal to see where you needed to turn off they could have had approach ask you.

rickair7777
07-18-2018, 10:38 AM
If it was a big deal to see where you needed to turn off they could have had approach ask you.

That's called LAHSO.

USMCFLYR
07-18-2018, 11:15 AM
That's called LAHSO.
:confused:

In the scenario provided, how are youincorporating LAHSO?

rickair7777
07-18-2018, 12:40 PM
:confused:

In the scenario provided, how are youincorporating LAHSO?

Pointing out that if it's important where you get off the runway, there's a procedure for that, with multiple requirements to meet, and it needs to be assigned well before short final. Tower should not be winging that, there's a reason LAHSO has all those requirements.

USMCFLYR
07-18-2018, 02:41 PM
Pointing out that if it's important where you get off the runway, there's a procedure for that, with multiple requirements to meet, and it needs to be assigned well before short final. Tower should not be winging that, there's a reason LAHSO has all those requirements.

Yeah....that is what I thought you might have meant, but asking where you are parking isnít really th same as LAHSO IMO.

In any case, I think the point has been made about taking your time and not letting ATC rush you, if you are busy doing other important things at the moment.

ATCBob
07-31-2018, 05:35 PM
From what I was taught (and teach), and as far as I can see in the ATC regulations (7110.65), there's no requirement or expectation that you will immediately reply to a question, or need to. You can also always say "standby."

A control instruction is different -- if you're told to go around on short final, and you don't respond, it will be repeated, and if you still don't respond, and land, that would be a problem because of the FAR requirement to monitor ATC. If you do go around but don't read it back, that's fine because you've adhered to ATC instructions.

A question of where you're parking isn't a control instruction, so that wouldn't apply.

The closest 7110.65 regulation I know of would be section 3-10-9 of our regulation 7110.65 (https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/7110.65X_w_CHG_1_3-29-18.pdf) that states "Runway exiting or taxi instructions should not normally be issued to an aircraft prior to, or immediately after, touchdown," and I'd suppose a question of where you're parking would be part of that. So I don't think the controller should have asked you at touchdown. But most controllers, and their instructors, are not pilots and may not know where your workloads are highest.

Also in general, we're taught pilots have the ultimate say in anything to do with safety, and we just have to deal with it. If you're ever called out for not responding right away, bring up the safety issue and ask to talk with their supe if they want to escalate it, because pilot-in-command safety decisions are always deferred to at least in current FAA culture.

Karnak
08-01-2018, 07:27 AM
So, we're quibbling over getting ATC instructions while we're moving and making callouts to each other?

Like what happens during most phases of flight?

If you're busy, don't respond.

To the controller working tower at JFK who saw us slowing to make the high-speed, and advised us to exit farther down than we'd planned...thanks for "interrupting" our crew callouts! Ending up beak-to-beak with Mr WrongTurn (Air China Cargo) would've been a problem.

To the controller working Tower at MDW that transmitted "Abort!" when one of my brethren mis-heard a takeoff clearance....thanks!

FlyingSlowly
08-01-2018, 09:32 PM
... because pilot-in-command safety decisions are always deferred to at least in current FAA culture.

FAR 91.3 is much deeper than current FAA culture.

Adlerdriver
08-01-2018, 10:20 PM
To the controller working tower at JFK who saw us slowing to make the high-speed, and advised us to exit farther down than we'd planned...thanks for "interrupting" our crew callouts! Ending up beak-to-beak with Mr WrongTurn (Air China Cargo) would've been a problem.

To the controller working Tower at MDW that transmitted "Abort!" when one of my brethren mis-heard a takeoff clearance....thanks!Do you really not see the difference between the two safety related scenarios you mention and giving basic taxi instructions or asking for a parking location during rollout?
Sure, a crew can obviously choose not to answer. However, the tower controller can exercise some of that same discipline and pick a better time for his administrative radio call. Itís a pretty simple concept. Safety calls are a completely different matter.

Karnak
08-02-2018, 08:25 AM
Do you really not see the difference between the two safety related scenarios you mention and giving basic taxi instructions or asking for a parking location during rollout?

Sure, I see the difference. So how do you screen your calls from ATC? (Hint: You have to listen to them to screen them).

Sure, a crew can obviously choose not to answer. However, the tower controller can exercise some of that same discipline and pick a better time for his administrative radio call.

Which turnoff might save us time/frustration/embarassment is an "administrative" call, not a "safety" call. I still like getting them.

Itís a pretty simple concept.

Totally agree! The concept of filtering every single thing we hear on our radios during flight is very simple. Hate the Guard Police? Turn it down, or learn to filter it. We don't turn it off because every so often we need to hear what's on Guard - even though 95% of the chatter is stupid. We either turn it down a notch below Center, or we develop skills to screen the chatter for "Hey Delta! Atlanta Center is looking for you on 132.25!" (Fun fact: 95% of the time, that call is for me)

Safety calls are a completely different matter.

Nope. They're a different priority. So until every single ATC call is prefaced with "Safety call!..." or "Normal call..." we're gonna have to adapt to the environment.

I watched a United jet go around at MSP when another pilot queried Tower, "Isn't 30L closed?" as United was over the threshold. Dumb call from the other pilot. Poor filtering from United.

Since callouts from the other pilot is kind of a priority to me, I turn the ICS volume up, and switch my ATC Filter to "Expert Level" for landings.

Adlerdriver
08-02-2018, 10:49 AM
Nope. They're a different priority. So until every single ATC call is prefaced with "Safety call!..." or "Normal call..." we're gonna have to adapt to the environment.
Yes - we're the filter for most calls. I wasn't suggesting that ATC preface ANY radio call to aid us in doing that. We do just fine already.

My point (and the point of several others here) is that ATC could spend a modicum of effort using their own filter before they hit the transmit button. It's a pretty specific case that we all are talking about - not the wide variety you seem to be using.

A tower controller has taxi instructions to provide to a landing aircraft or (as in the OP's specific situation) wanted to know where he was parking. Admin. Not preventing a nose to nose taxi issue or stopping an aircraft from taking off without clearance. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask any tower controller to think a tiny bit before they transmit to an aircraft that's in the process of bringing their aircraft from touchdown speed to taxi speed. If they decide the call needs to happen at that moment, then make it. Otherwise, let the crew finish the roll out and handle the admin after. Another option would be to give them the clearance or clarify the parking location while they're still out on final.

Just a little common sense.

USMCFLYR
08-02-2018, 12:55 PM
In my case yesterday the Ďwhere are you parkingí request near the end of the landing roll was because it made a difference in where they wanted me to depart the runway. At what point it becomes an issue or not Iím not sure, but Iíd say for me so far IME, it hasnít been an issue thank goodness.

rickair7777
08-03-2018, 08:35 AM
Do you really not see the difference between the two safety related scenarios you mention and giving basic taxi instructions or asking for a parking location during rollout?
Sure, a crew can obviously choose not to answer. However, the tower controller can exercise some of that same discipline and pick a better time for his administrative radio call. Itís a pretty simple concept. Safety calls are a completely different matter.

Yes. Pilots are going to be distracted to some degree by any call from ATC, particularly a tower controller. Less experienced pilots might not prioritize as well as older crusty types.

badflaps
08-03-2018, 03:29 PM
The Oshkosh tapes are totally amazing.

Karnak
08-12-2018, 02:00 PM
The Oshkosh tapes are totally amazing.

Oh man! You got that right!

tm602
08-14-2018, 08:23 PM
Keep in mind if you read back the turnoff instructions and your partner does not make the turnoff.....you may have a little problem.

rickair7777
08-15-2018, 10:28 AM
Keep in mind if you read back the turnoff instructions and your partner does not make the turnoff.....you may have a little problem.

Yes, very true. You just committed him or her to a LAHSO without any briefings or calculations.

USMCFLYR
08-27-2018, 06:00 AM
A good AvWeb link for an article discussing negotiating with ATC.
Not necessarily about when to 'ignore ATC', but interesting I thought:

https://www.avweb.com/eletter/archives/101/4140-full.html?ET=avweb:e4140:1911916a:&st=email#231406

navigatro
09-10-2018, 05:42 AM
Yes, very true. You just committed him or her to a LAHSO without any briefings or calculations.

Don't believe that is correct.

LAHSO is part of a landing clearance.

You cannot be given a LAHSO clearance on the rollout.

just don't answer until you are ready or say standby. basic airmanship rules apply.



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