The EU

Google says the EU requires a notice of cookie use (by Google) and says they have posted a notice. I don't see it. If cookies bother you, go elsewhere. If the EU bothers you, emigrate. If you live outside the EU, don't go there.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Listening to People Going to and Coming From War

Listening to the Air Traffic Control Center at Luqa Airport, Malta, in the Mediterranean, south of Sicily.  Here we hear people like VIPER Flight check in as they head south out of Italy or north, back to Italy.

I will admit that this is pretty slow going, since not a lot of flights pass through Malta's area, but it is a chance to listen in on the war and also to commercial traffic transiting the area.  NealCroz may enjoy it for background music.

The term Squawk, is used to describe the four number code (Octals for You Math Geeks) for the "Selective Identification Feature" (SIF) that identified the airplane to the radar operator via a "transponder" in the aircraft, triggered by a radar signal.  (Or the pilot going "Flash".)  Sometimes they talk about altitude as a "Flight Level" or Level, which would be in thousands of feet.  Flight Level 300 is 30,000 feet.

You will hear places described by four letters, part of an ICAO code.  While here you might be going to Logan Airport, in Europe it is sometimes safer to use the Four Letter ICAO identifiers for the bases.  A friend of mind ran an F-4 out of gas because the weather at Aviano Air Base was bad and there were already aircraft in the barriers on each end of the runway and he was told to divert to Istrana, (LIPS).  His back seater misspelled Istrana and thus couldn't get a backup frequency out of either the Letdown Book or the Enroute Supplement.  The chap thought it began with an "A" and couldn't get it out of his head.  They flamed out two miles on final when they tried to turn back to Aviano to land on the taxiway or somewhere.

LICZ is the Sigonella Air Base on Sicily, used by the US.  LIPA is Aviano AB, in the north of Italy.  LICT is Trapani Air Base, on the northwestern tip of Sicily.  On the other hand, Gozo is just the name of an airfield on the other island of Malta.

A hat tip to my friend Charlie, known as Gunship (a past association from his Air Force career).

Regards  —  Cliff


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link. It IS a great opportunity to tune in on the military traffic. It is impossible in the US unless you happen to have a very expensive UHF scanner as the military uses UHF freqs almost exclusively.

For the uninitiated, Cliff forgot to mention that pilots are taught from their very first mike click to be fastidiously brief and fast in their broadcast. This of course has practical purpose. If one has ever listened to an approach or departure frequency in a major traffic area like BOS, or PHL, or DCA, brevity is essential. That doesn't necessarily preclude occasional bouts of humor.

At a busy terminal area, a commercial flight was in the stack for final approach clearance, and the pilot inquired how much longer it would be before he was released for the approach. The harried controller shot back to "stand by." Shortly after, a voice came up on the freq saying, "BS!!" The controller immediately demanded to know who said that. Again, a pause in the transmissions. Then, "Approach, this is United 561, negative on the BS"; "Approach, Northwest 27, negative on the BS," "Approach, this is American 554, negative on the BS."

Ground control tends to be a little more stressed. At JFK, one of the busiest ground environments in commercial aviation, a US Airways pilot became confused and made a wrong turn. The female in exasperation told the US Airways flight, "I told you to go to taxiway Bravo then turn right onto Zulu for sequencing for takeoff. You didn't follow that instruction. You stop right there and don't move until I instruct you to do so." Silence on the ground freq. Then, a sheepish voice came up with "Wasn't I married to you once?"

C R Krieger said...

The big thing to keep in mind about transmissions between pilots and Air Traffic Control folks is that if the pilot screws up the pilot dies.  If the Air Traffic Controller screws up, the pilot dies.  Worse if PAX are involved.

He said with only a bit of cynicism.

As for brevity, a story from the past, as told by James Y Meyers, who claims to have heard this radio exchange within an F-105 Flight over North Viet-nam (bad guy territory).

RIFLE 4—RIFLE LEAD, FOUR, I've been hit, I have a fire light, my EGT is going up, my RPM is decaying, Oil pressure is dropping, my hydraulic pressure is steady...
RIFLE LEAD—RIFLE FOUR, LEAD, shut up or punch out.

NEVER clog up the radio frequency.  It is like Grade School.  Only one person can talk at a time.

Regards  —  Cliff