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  #1  
Old 03-16-2013, 08:01 PM
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Question for Pilots / ATC's

If conditions are such that the pilot is operating on instrument flight rules and the pilot receives instructions for for an approach hold pattern from ATC that is at a lower altitude than defined in the approach chart and the pilot follows them and has a collision with rising terrain what culpability does the ATC have?

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  #2  
Old 03-16-2013, 09:04 PM
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What I learned from ground school; is everything is the pilot's fault.

If anything goes wrong; you shouldn't have been in the plane:... pilot's error.

But your specific question; under instruments; a pilot is supposed to get & follow instruction from the atc; but you can question the ATC;; they may get testy, but they are not up in the air.
But this my take........
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:35 PM
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The final responsibility rests with the pilot, period.
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  #4  
Old 03-17-2013, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr.Kenny View Post
What I learned from ground school; is everything is the pilot's fault.

If anything goes wrong; you shouldn't have been in the plane:... pilot's error.

But your specific question; under instruments; a pilot is supposed to get & follow instruction from the atc; but you can question the ATC;; they may get testy, but they are not up in the air.
But this my take........
I would edit this to say that you should always question the ATC. You are flying the plane, nobody else. Aviate, navigate, communicate.
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  #5  
Old 03-17-2013, 08:00 AM
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As a more specific response to your scenario; the pilot is responsible for having current approach plates and being adequately familiar with the one being used. If he violates minimums, especially while flying in actual IMC, REGARDLESS of who tells him to do so, he is not only responsible for his actions, but he is a sucidal fool.
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  #6  
Old 03-17-2013, 09:11 AM
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The reason I ask is this what happened recently with a friend of mine's son. He and the first officer are now dead (both commercially certificated) . He requested instructions for a hold pattern for a instrumented approach. The ATC instructed him to hold at 2000 ft, the plates say 4300 minimum. The plane was found in rising terrain at 2000.
Another friend of mine who is a pilot did not share Air and Roads dim view of the pilot's actions but rather basically said the ATC did the pilot no favors. I asked him specifically who is ultimately responsible which he said that the pilot is, but implicated that the ATC bears significantly responsibility for this incident

My reason for soliciting other opinions is that I am contemplating sharing this information with my friend but if at the end of the day his son would be held responsible then I don't think that it would be helpful. I obviously don't want to add to his pain. Maybe i could share the whole perspective.
The friend is a former coworker who I visited a couple of years ago for dinner but don't stay in contact with.
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  #7  
Old 03-17-2013, 09:43 AM
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Thinking about it further it seems to me that the ATC has to bear some responsibility in this situation. Obviously the pilot was not familiar with the area and was unable to see the terrain. Had the ATC given him proper guidance, I wouldn't be typing these letters now. I liken this to an accident I was once involved in. Where one wet night I started to back out from a driveway and heard skidding, impacts and debris and then felt an impact. Some 80 year guy saw me start to back out slammed on his brakes hit the parked cars before the driveway and then me. I took full responsibility because had I not started to back into the street the driver wouldn't have had to take action. You could argue that he should have maintained better control of his car but I was a contributor to the accident.
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  #8  
Old 03-17-2013, 05:18 PM
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MBLover,

I'm very sorry to hear about your friends son. I am not saying that ATC is not implicated. I am saying that the full responsibility is in the pilots and in the case of ATP's, the flight CREWS hands. It is very sad that they were given such bad information, but they almost certainly knew the plate, and should have followed it.

Do you know what class air space this occurred in? I would be willing to bet that it was not in class B air space. It was probably class C or even D air space. These towers do not typically have the same level of savvy and seasoning of the guys at the major air traffic areas.

No matter how you cut it, it is a horrible and needless tragedy. I fully expect that the tower specialist is having night mares about it.
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  #9  
Old 03-17-2013, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Air&Road View Post
MBLover,

I'm very sorry to hear about your friends son. I am not saying that ATC is not implicated. I am saying that the full responsibility is in the pilots and in the case of ATP's, the flight CREWS hands. It is very sad that they were given such bad information, but they almost certainly knew the plate, and should have followed it.

Do you know what class air space this occurred in? I would be willing to bet that it was not in class B air space. It was probably class C or even D air space. These towers do not typically have the same level of savvy and seasoning of the guys at the major air traffic areas.

No matter how you cut it, it is a horrible and needless tragedy. I fully expect that the tower specialist is having night mares about it.
The ATC was operating from a class C air space. The airport that they were going to land at was a smaller airport than the one that the ATC was operating from.

Based on a discussion today with a mutual friend who is also a pilot I have decided not to contact my friend with the information at the time. Our mutual friend was upset to learn of the circumstances of the accident and assured me that the facts would come out and that providing any input on the accident would likely create more pain than be helpful to our friend. I will monitor the NTSB reports and wait for their final findings before I stick my nose into it.
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  #10  
Old 03-18-2013, 01:51 PM
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Very best of luck to you on this issue MBLover! Your sensitivity toward the family of the deceased is admirable.

I am not at all surprised to find that it was in Class C airspace. I'm not saying that something like this could never happen in Bravo, but in my experience with ATC, it would be MUCH less likely.

Please keep us informed as it unfolds and all the best.

Edit:

I happened to think of something that seems correct to share with you at this time. Sometimes things will happen to a two man crew, that might not have happened to either pilot if they were flying solo. In an effort to describe what I'm thinking and what I've read about; there have been times when things happen because one quailified pilot thinks that the other is watching it or taking care of it. For example, they run out of gas and one says "I thought that YOU were watching the fuel," while the other says "I thought that YOU were monitoring it." They basically trusted each other too much and didn't communicate about it.

Just a thought. Both of those pilots might well have been Chuck Yeager or Bob Hoover in the making, but if they trusted each other, maybe they thought all was well with what they were being told because the other one didn't say anything. We'll never know. All the best.
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  #11  
Old 03-18-2013, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Air&Road View Post
Very best of luck to you on this issue MBLover! Your sensitivity toward the family of the deceased is admirable.

I am not at all surprised to find that it was in Class C airspace. I'm not saying that something like this could never happen in Bravo, but in my experience with ATC, it would be MUCH less likely.

Please keep us informed as it unfolds and all the best.

Edit:

I happened to think of something that seems correct to share with you at this time. Sometimes things will happen to a two man crew, that might not have happened to either pilot if they were flying solo. In an effort to describe what I'm thinking and what I've read about; there have been times when things happen because one quailified pilot thinks that the other is watching it or taking care of it. For example, they run out of gas and one says "I thought that YOU were watching the fuel," while the other says "I thought that YOU were monitoring it." They basically trusted each other too much and didn't communicate about it.

Just a thought. Both of those pilots might well have been Chuck Yeager or Bob Hoover in the making, but if they trusted each other, maybe they thought all was well with what they were being told because the other one didn't say anything. We'll never know. All the best.
That's a fair point. It isn't just pilots who do it. Like sometimes a subordinate is too meek or a supervisor too overbearing and the subordinate is afraid to correct the senior. This is especially dangerous (and too common) in the military.
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  #12  
Old 03-19-2013, 02:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Air&Road View Post
Very best of luck to you on this issue MBLover! Your sensitivity toward the family of the deceased is admirable.

I am not at all surprised to find that it was in Class C airspace. I'm not saying that something like this could never happen in Bravo, but in my experience with ATC, it would be MUCH less likely.

Please keep us informed as it unfolds and all the best.

Edit:

I happened to think of something that seems correct to share with you at this time. Sometimes things will happen to a two man crew, that might not have happened to either pilot if they were flying solo. In an effort to describe what I'm thinking and what I've read about; there have been times when things happen because one quailified pilot thinks that the other is watching it or taking care of it. For example, they run out of gas and one says "I thought that YOU were watching the fuel," while the other says "I thought that YOU were monitoring it." They basically trusted each other too much and didn't communicate about it.

Just a thought. Both of those pilots might well have been Chuck Yeager or Bob Hoover in the making, but if they trusted each other, maybe they thought all was well with what they were being told because the other one didn't say anything. We'll never know. All the best.
Could be. The first officer was only 21. It is unfortunate that it appears that neither seemed to have reviewed / acted apon / communicated regarding the approach plate. What is the first officers job in these circumstances?

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