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  #1  
Old 09-17-2022, 07:33 PM
Desert Rat Desert Rat is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Wichita KS
Posts: 1,105
Default Be safe out there!

So, this is in no way meant to imply that controllers are anything but professionals trying to do a job to the best of their ability, but it's pretty undeniable that they are trying to do more with less just like we all are.

Thursday I flew a C182 from Wichita up to KS for the chiefs game. Conditions were good VFR weather, but due to the proximity to the class B, the upcoming stadium TFR, and the chaos of all the big boys flying in on game day I filed IFR both ways.

On the way up, we were being vectored into the queue for landing KMKC rwy 19. We had just been turned inbound when KC approach says tower just told them they could take us on rwy 21 if we were able. I said sure, and they transferred us to tower a couple of minutes later.

I call up tower and they immediately come back with "cleared to land 19"

We questioned them that we were told to expect 21 by approach and he came back with cleared to land 21 in a tone that indicated he though he had already told me 21.

He seemed confident enough about it that I thought maybe I'd made a mistake, even though my wife heard the same thing, so I listened to the playback and nope, he originally cleared us to the wrong runway.

After landing, were on a taxiway holding short of crossing rwy 19 for 3 airplanes on final when ground comes on and says "N88DD, cross rwy 19, no delay, landing traffic"

Problem is, we were in 418DM. He got us confused with another airplane that I heard him talking to a couple of minutes before who was clear on the other end of the airport.I called back and confirmed that was for us, but by the time we got it sorted we were holding for another few minutes for landing traffic.

On the way home departure cleared us on course and up to 8k. I had filed for 6K and that's what was in my read back. got that sorted when we were handed off to center.

Even Center was having trouble keeping up and I heard several missed calls, then the controller actually says, "guys, I'm working a bunch of frequencies, you're all just going to have to be patient with me"

Like I said, I'm not trying to bag on controllers. They've got an incredibly difficult job.

It's easy to get into the mindset that controllers will keep you out of trouble, especially if you're IFR. And taken individually, none of these are catastrophes, but gosh, when you get 3 or 4 of them on one flight, it drives home the point that you better cross check and verify everything.
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  #2  
Old 09-17-2022, 07:40 PM
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jcarne jcarne is offline
 
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Location: Worland, Wyoming
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Thanks for the reminder/story Terry. I’m flying to Vegas next weekend IFR and I have been trying to get my head in the game again for some busy airspace. Listened to ATC most of today to figure out their preferred routes; man those guys are busy.
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  #3  
Old 09-17-2022, 09:39 PM
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wcalvert wcalvert is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Anacortes Wa
Posts: 537
Exclamation

Over the years of hearing mix-ups on the radio (runway assignments, call-signs and clearances), I've learned that instead of thinking about berating the controller, it should be a big sign that you need to up your game and double check everything being said and done.

Like has been said, the controllers are doing more with less, and mistakes will continue to be made. It's a blessing when a controller has the chops to admit they may have made an error, and put everyone on notice that their work load is high.

If you're staying ahead of the game, your job is to listen to that little voice in your head and constructively back up the controller when things don't seem right. As on old mentor of mine liked to say, "If there's a question, there's no question!" It's a team effort that will let everyone win in the long game.

Like Terry says, be safe out there !!
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  #4  
Old 09-18-2022, 07:01 AM
nohoflyer nohoflyer is offline
 
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Location: Brooklyn, NY
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I hate it when they are working multiple frequencies. You canít hear the other transmissions so when you go to call they sometimes get frustrated that Iím stepping on someone that I canít even hear!
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  #5  
Old 09-18-2022, 09:01 AM
rmarshall234 rmarshall234 is offline
 
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Why is there a shortage of Controllers? I've noticed it too but haven't heard a good logical reason of why it is like this now. (pls leave party politics out of any response)
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  #6  
Old 09-18-2022, 11:12 AM
lr172 lr172 is offline
 
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Location: Schaumburg, IL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmarshall234 View Post
Why is there a shortage of Controllers? I've noticed it too but haven't heard a good logical reason of why it is like this now. (pls leave party politics out of any response)
I have no idea, but I do know that MANY industries are seeing employee shortages since the covid fiasco. I am sure some of that is unusually large quantities of early retirements we saw post-covid, but have not studied why this broader problem exists, at least after the free money for not working stopped flowing; We tend to see retirements in bulges, consistent with recession based purging of the ranks by corporate america; Early retirement packages are a relatively easy and pain free way to thin ranks in tough times, especially with Unionized workforces. We have had such a long bull run that it has been almost 15 years since we have pushed folks into early retirement. Some industries were even incentivising folks not to retire. No surprise that the covid vacation was an impetus for many nearing retirement to not go back. With ATC, this wouldn't have become problematic until the traffic returned to normal levels and I don't know really when that occurred. I am sure that some of it is good old fashioned poor planning on behalf of FAA leadership. I suspect that much more than just posting an ad in the Sunday paper is required to ramp controllers staff up, at least in times of near full employment. Just look at the pilot shortage going on now. I suspect ATC just parallels that with the post covid ramp up.

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Last edited by lr172 : 09-18-2022 at 11:42 AM.
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  #7  
Old 09-18-2022, 01:02 PM
ManCave ManCave is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
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Sorry about the service you received. As someone who has worked college game days at a different approach, it can get pretty gnarly some times.
It's definitely annoying/frustrating when a pilot corrects us, but not because we're being corrected, but because we made the mistake in the first place. It now requires two extra transmissions.

Someone mentioned staffing. I won't say much other than this is a tense topic internally, so I won't be participating in it on a public forum haha.
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  #8  
Old 09-18-2022, 06:22 PM
Desert Rat Desert Rat is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Wichita KS
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Thanks for that, but to be 100% clear, I've got no beef at all with the KC controllers. I've interacted will those guys a bunch over the years and they are always top notch.

Thursday evening happened to be a point off the curve, because of who knows why. but I've seen more and more "points off the curve" this year.

There was yet another fatal midair last week as well. Not at all related to this; it was in Colorado near a non-towered airport, but it's the second or third midair in the last couple of months and it got me thinking about how much churn there's been lately.

Thats the only reason I started the thread. it's just strange times, everyone doing more with less and i feel like it's starting to wear on all of us.

Just something to think about next time you go into a busy airport.
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  #9  
Old 09-18-2022, 08:08 PM
texdog texdog is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Fredericksburg, Tx.
Posts: 441
Unhappy ATC

Going into Regional Approach DFW last week after clearing me into class B, they abandoned me, no heading, no altitude, just stay out of class B and D. I was going to a class D airport. I eventually worked it out tower to tower, but only because I was familiar with the area. They donít have enough trained and certified controllers, a recipe for disaster. Iíve been involved with the system for 59 years and never saw it this difficult. I did a NASA form that night.
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  #10  
Old 09-19-2022, 08:08 AM
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airguy airguy is offline
 
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Location: Garden City, Tx
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In a couple thousand hours of flying, I've had exactly ONE instance where the controller was wrong, everyone knew it, and he still tried to argue with me on the frequency. I just let it slide, he didn't mention a "phone number" so there was no point in telling him to mark the tapes and take it further.

The controllers do a GREAT job, I've got no beef with them. People make mistakes (on both sides), it happens, that's why we have readbacks. We're all busy and get frustrated sometimes.
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