Do You Read?

“Do you read?” is airplane talk for “Can you hear me, and/or are you listening, dumbass?” We have all heard this a time or two.

The big hoo-wah over the guys in Hawaii over flying the airport by 15 miles is disturbing. The overflight is a little disturbing, the hoo-wah is worse. It seems there was  a lapse of situational awareness on the part of the crew. They might have been talking and not paying attention to position, might have misprogrammed something and convinced themselves they weren’t there yet, or might even have drifted off in a snooze.  They were probably really, significantly, profoundly tired.  

The schedules these guys fly are often brutal. Pilot fatigue is a serious on-going problem and will be dealt with effectively only when pilots can make a descent living for a reasonable work day.  You know, like we like to think airlines are. 

It worked out just fine though.

It is fairly common for airplanes to go “off frequency” accidentally for several minutes at a time while enroute at cruising altitude.  There are any number of little mistakes that can cause this.

Once in a while an airplane will miss a turn or altitude assignment while off frequency and the controller might not notice right away. For both to happen at the same time is very uncommon but still rarely causes any real trouble. 
It might be necessary for controllers to instruct other planes to do something different than originally planned if this happens.  There are several means for Air Traffic Control to communicate with most airliners, the radio is just one of them.

For the most part except during a busy departure or arrival there isn’t usually a great deal of urgency for controllers to talk to the pilots. The urgency factor is inversely proportional to altitude, and always dependent on everybody else paying attention.

Controller workload increases dramatically when pilots miss radio calls in a busy enviornment. They don’t like it a bit and are not bashful when it comes to expressing their feelings. And when they give you a phone number so you can call up and have the rest of your butt chewed right off it is never a good thing.

Happy Landings

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