Flight delayed? Former air traffic controller reveals that it could be because your plane was routed off course as ‘punishment’ for the pilots ignoring instructions
- Noncompliant pilots can receive ‘delay vectors’, a former ATC worker said
- And a 787 captain confirms that this is how ATC puts pilots ‘on the naughty step’
- READ MORE: Inside the UK firm that makes ‘the world’s best travel clothing’
There are myriad reasons for flight delays, from bad weather to technical problems with an aircraft.
To the list, reveals one former air traffic controller, can be added petty revenge.
Writing in his riveting book Life With A View – Memoir of an Air Traffic Controller, Robin A. Smith reveals that pilots who disobey instructions from air traffic controllers or don’t pay close enough attention to them can be routed off course as punishment. These changes in course are called ‘delay vectors’ in the business, Smith explains.
He writes: ‘We tell pilots where to go and what to do with no ability to inflict consequences. Amazingly, pilots comply. Unlike real law enforcement controllers cannot levy a fine or pass and execute a sentence at will.
‘With one exception – delay vectors.
Writing in his riveting book Life With A View – Memoir of an Air Traffic Controller, Robin A. Smith reveals that pilots who disobey instructions from air traffic controllers or don’t pay close enough attention to them can be routed off course as punishment
‘Noncompliant pilots occasionally find themselves on the receiving end of delay vectors.’
In other words, they are routed off course.
Smith, who served as a domestic and international controller at two Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) towers in the U.S, continues: ‘Delay vectors are sometimes issued just to give the pilot time in the penalty box for not paying attention.’
Life With A View – Memoir of an Air Traffic Controller is available from Amazon in the UK and U.S
He also revealed that sometimes sarcastic instructions are issued, writing: ‘The controller might order, “Turn left ten degrees for noise abatement.”
‘[And the aircraft might respond] “We’re 30 miles south of the airport over desert. What noise abatement?”’
To which the air traffic control operator would respond: ‘Two airplanes hitting makes a lot of noise. Traffic, 12 o’clock five miles opposite at your altitude.’
Smith adds: ‘In general, pilots comply with instructions without question, believing that the voice in their ear is omnipotent.’
A Boeing Dreamliner captain, speaking anonymously, confirmed to MailOnline Travel that flight crews are sometimes punished by air traffic controllers.
He said: ‘I got put on the naughty step by Tokyo ATC a couple of months back. We wanted a turn to avoid a storm – they didn’t like it and we got around 20 minutes extra flying for our trouble.’
Life With A View – Memoir of an Air Traffic Controller, by Robin A Smith and published by iUniverse, can be ordered from Amazon for £9.95 ($9.20).
Source: Read Full Article