ATC asks pilot to 'shut up', triggers mid-air spat

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[COLOR=blue ! important][COLOR=blue ! important]CHENNAI[/COLOR][/COLOR]
: Harmless banter and snazzy film songs streaming into aircraft cockpits is not new to pilots flying in Indian skies, but a Chennai air
traffic controller asking an Indian Air Force pilot to "shut up" jolted at least 15 pilots [COLOR=blue ! important][COLOR=blue ! important]flying[/COLOR][/COLOR] in the sector on Friday morning. It led to a sharp, five-minute-long exchange on air with the pilots most of them flying in from the Far East questioning the language used by the controller, who then sought to defend himself saying he was under tremendous pressure. Senior officials later "warned and counselled" the controller, but no disciplinary action was taken.

The incident happened at 10.25 am, when 15 aircraft including four approaching Chennai from [COLOR=blue ! important][COLOR=blue ! important]Malaysia[/COLOR][/COLOR], Singapore and Port Blair were listening in on the VHF band. The IAF aircraft, carrying regular supplies to Port Blair had taken off five minutes earlier and, at 15,000 feet altitude, the pilot requested for a further climb to 23,000 feet. The air traffic controller first ignored the request. When the IAF pilot repeated the request, he shouted back: "You shut up!"

Even as the IAF pilot gave a dignified "roger" and kept silent, an expatriate pilot flying in an aircraft from the Far East registered his protest. "Why are you shouting," the pilot asked the air traffic controller. His reply: "It's only human nature. I am stressed because of the traffic." Three other pilots approaching Chennai joined in. "This is very bad language and I guess we have to report this," said a pilot flying in from [COLOR=blue ! important][COLOR=blue ! important]Kuala [COLOR=blue ! important]Lumpur[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]. The exchange was being heard over several cockpits, including those of aircraft which had taken off from Bangalore, as the frequency they were on has a range of 220 miles.

"I've never heard an air traffic controller using such language with a pilot. This spoils the relationship between pilots and air traffic controllers which is vital for the safe and smooth operations," a pilot who was privy to the conversation told TOI.

When contacted a senior AAI official said the air traffic controller has been warned and counselled. "He was stressed out, but that is no justification for the behaviour. Our men work under testing conditions, with increasing traffic and failing radars. We are organising yoga sessions once in three months to destress air traffic controllers," he said.

Chennai [COLOR=blue ! important][COLOR=blue ! important]airport[/COLOR][/COLOR] has two radars -- an approach radar and an area radar -- which often fail, forcing air traffic controllers to make manual calculations for landings and take-offs. At any given time, an air traffic controller is in contact with an average of 30 aircraft. The Chennai airport handles 600 landings and take-offs a day and about 25 air traffic controllers are on duty at any given time. Plans to upgrade infrastructure and recruit more staff have been in the pipeline for years.

ATC asks pilot to 'shut up', triggers mid-air spat-Chennai-Cities-The Times of India


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hehehe. would have been interesting if the pilot had answered back and a gaali-fight had started. :p