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ATC arguing with pilot re a request to turn to avoid

Bosco, I think translating the full exchange, and the order of it, might be interesting.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Fuji_Abound wrote:

Unfortunately there is so little use by SEPs in Europe that too many (ed. controllers) think everyone shares the same performance and operating capability.

I have some trouble believing that this is the case, and I don’t think that’s the issue here. Although the statement might be correct in some geographies, I believe there is “significant” SEP IFR flight in and around the Alps (Germany, Austria, N.Italy, Switzerland, E.France). I don’t mean heavy traffic, but enough on a daily basis that all the controllers should be familiar with the aircraft types and their capabilities. Peter’s trips alone across the alps in the past months should have his call sign and aircraft known to many controllers.

LSZK, Switzerland

Peter wrote:

They understand “avoid” and “weather” and “icing” usually gets real attention. Everything else is “very variable” in its effect.

I think he may have been referring to this. I guess it does appear to presume that all “foreign” ATC dont have very good English. While I am sure that is true of some, equally not others. I think this is why sometimes resorting to ordinary conversation gets the point across, or if it doesnt, nothing lost.

I always struglle in Florda to start, and they do speak English – or so they say (big smilie). I actually find sometimes saying hang on guys I am not quite following, and will you slow down gets us both on side and we have a conversation and resolve whatever it is I need. I know it is just a “clip” but maybe a little more involved conversation would have helped her to understand your concerns. Strangely, sometimes playing the “little fish in a big pond” results in everyone falling over to help you, rather than them thinking you are some corporate pilot in a turbine that doesnt know what the hell he is doing.

boscomantico wrote:

Instead she conversed with the other pilot (addressing each other by forename!) and said to him that your description of the situation was “not credible”.

I also find this exchange arrogant and unprofessional. There would/should have been some rather red faces if Peter had been able to understand and suddenly interject into the discussion in German and take offence at the ATC attitude.

LSZK, Switzerland

I asked my native German speaking (but non-pilot) wife to translate the German part.

Unfortunately she struggled with much of it due to not being familiar with ‘pilot speak’ and the quality of aviation radios.

But the gist of it was this:

The German pilots were the first to bring up the issue, by contacting ATC and asking “What weather is he talking about?”. They started the conversation not her.

She says something like she’s trying to look it up on he weather system. (My wife wasn’t sure what she was referring to, but thought it might be weather radar).

The pilots then comment that they can see all the way to the Med. She can’t follow the rest of it.

Perhaps some German speaking pilots would be willing to do a better, more complete, translation?

EIWT Weston

There would/should have been some rather red faces if Peter had been able to understand and suddenly interject into the discussion in German and take offence at the ATC attitude.

I can understand she questions the veracity of the alleged weather, especially if she had read the other thread saying that in some instances the only way to obtain the desired vector/DCT is to claim there is a CB ahead, and that Ryanair does it all the time.

Last Edited by Aviathor at 24 Sep 13:38

Aviathor wrote:

and that Ryanair does it all the time.

Well they do need to squeeze every last minute out of the pilots they have got.

While the exchange was not professional, I would say that for controllers used to larger aircraft, “to avoid” means convective weather. She should have asked but I would suggest saying due icing conditions and scattered cloud.

Last Edited by JasonC at 24 Sep 15:13
EGTK Oxford

How did it end? Did you enter the cloud you were trying to avoid on the heading you ended up on? Was it icy?

If you want to disobey an ATC instruction, you have to declare an emergency which is your right.

That is an option if you are left with no other choice. Declaring an emergency is not a joker you can flash just because ATC does not give you what you ask for.

If you can safely turn around where you came from, you have no reason to declare an emergency. If you can safely land at (divert to) a nearby airport, you have no reason to declare an emergency.

You shouldn’t put yourself in a situation where you may need to declare an emergency. In other words you should not put yourself into a corner where your only remaining choice is to declare an emergency.

Pressing on forward is not always an option, even IFR.

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