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Cockpit Audio of Flight 497 Emergency Landing

Exchanges between the pilot of a United AIrlines plane and New Orleans control tower as they deal with an emergency caused by smoke in the cockpit. ( More...

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joe milazzo 0
?Thought that when you give fuel on board it's to be in hours and minutes?!?!?! Guess I've been taught wrong for the last 15 years. Wait I guess controllers know every aircraft's fuel burn, that must be the reason why.
Jim Hall 0
Is it me or are the controllers a bit slow to recognize the seriousness of the situation WTF over!!!!!!!!!!
sparkie624 0
Controllers have no idea of the seriousness of this... I mean really, he declares and emergency, has no instruments, Smoke smell in the cockpit and these guys are trying... Geez. He Asked for it, He declared and emergency. I know controllers are supposed to maintain there cool, but they don't have to stay in the freezer!
John Cotton 0
I'm only a private pilot, not an ATP, but I think I'd prefer to have the controllers keep their cool. The pilot was all business as well, even with a cockpit full of smoke, no instruments and alarms going off all over the place. I'd say all involved did an excellent job.
Pro's in every position. If you weren't there don't find fault or second guess. They were and they did very well. Great job by all.
John MacLaren 0
Where's the audio of the PAR? Who even has the capability of doing them anymore?
shaun3000 0
You can get a "no gyro" approach most anywhere. In a terminal area it's called an ASR and is pretty precise. Some airports, mostly military bases, offer precision radar approaches, aka PAR. This is like flying an ILS without any instruments.
shaun3000 0
To add to that, I know that The Ft. Worth JRB (old Carswell, KNFW) did one for a piston who got disoriented in hard IMC, recently. There's an audio recording of it out there, somewhere.
John MacLaren 0
I know what they are & use to do them. ASR's aren't the same. A PAR is very precise & fun to do. I just don't know of anyone that does them because the controllers aren't current.
John MacLaren 0
I found the audio of the United on They start to give him ASR type instructions but he breaks out at 600 & flys VFR from there.
Danny Vidaud 0
lol @Joe, <massive sarcasm quotes> I bet you're all up for calculating hours left when your cockpit is filled with smoke right next to the airport and the important part might just be how many pounds of fuel are possibly about to go "boom" on the runway. </massive sarcasm quotes> haha
Jonathan Cain 0
nice job by both many haters in this business, everyone is so critical..what ever happened to nice job getting down safely??? minus 1 guy up there
al fredericks 0
when all a/c data is electronic. when it fails we end up with a big piece of metal somewhere out there. alas, P.A.R. I HAVE YOU ON MY SCOPE. YOUR ON COURSR ON GLIDE SLOPE. AJUST YOUR RATE OF DESENT. 3 MILES FROM THRESHOLD, YOUR A LITTLE TO RIGHT. OH - THOSE WORDS AND VOICE ARE COMFORT TO A PILOT. REMEMBER THE WORDS OF THE P.A.R. CONTROLLER. YOUR SOUL BELONGS TO GOD, BUT YOUR ASS BELONGS TO ME! some things needs to remain the same.
Wingscrubber 0
Very well done to all involved. Everybody gets to go home, and the aircraft will fly again after the sparkies fix it :)
I realize there was little or no time due to emergency. How much more difficult was the landing due to the large amount of fuel on board?

As to anyone above who criticized the ATC or Tower or Pilots. Wow. The entire episode sounded professional to me including the attempt to clear the runway that was blocked. No emotion in anyone's voice. Just calm conversation in a hair raising episode.
mark tufts 0
even though it sounded professionial when it comes th an emegerency in flight the plane that has the emegerency HAS clearance and the control tower IS supposed to have the runway cleared and all planes on the ground ARE supposed to be put on hold on the taxiway
Paul Cline 0
These people are so professional and have nerves of steel...on both sides of the microphone...I have only been in one (1) crash...Vietnam...1969...Huey Dustoff...and we had no one to talk to...Hoooua to them all for a safe landing.
Greg Peterson 0
It's always kind of spooky to hear "souls on board."
Kudos to that pilot and all involved - very professional job.
All souls safe.
toolguy105 0
I've been listening to this incident on ATC Live. I know the a 319/320 cannot dump fuel even there was time to do so making the need for 10 imperative.

When they lost avionics they had lost all electrical meaning no brakes, flaps were where they were set and no brakes or TR's. They were flying on the air powered generator that gives them flight controls only and the emergency brakes. The co-pilot is quoted as telling a reporter on the flight that they landed on back up systems.

It is incidents like this why I prefer Boeing and the phrase; "If it aint Boeing, I ain't going".
allench1 0
There is only one important point here, no casualties
Steve Shaw 0
Great job by all involved. Id fly with this bunch antime.....and probably have.
k5pat 0
Latest information from local newspaper and conversation with a United/Continental mechanic supevisor was that there was no actual fire, only an "avionics smoke warning message". The flight crew began a shutdown of all non-essential equipment per emergency procedures. Also the on-board computers on the A320 automatically shut down some avionics and control functions which resulted in loss of cockpit displays, loss of nose wheel steering and blown tires on landing (no antiskid).
Richard Benson 0
I believe, last time I checked, fuel was figured in weight. Weight and balance ring a bell?
Lane Hardison 0
The Crew and ATC preformed as expected Calm and Collected and there was no ambiguity
as to the nature of the problem.
As for the comments about the Crew stating fuel in pounds; that is what the crew saw
in front of them no big deal. ATC does want to know the amount of fuel in time so that they
can better plan a course of action and how much time they have to work out the problem.

However when Smoke/Fire indications show up the objective is to get the airplane on the ground ASAP with No Delays of any kind so the fuel numbers are worthless. And forget about Max landing weight
I am sure some of you remember the MD11 that had and in flight fire and wanted to dump and delay the approach until the airplane was under max landing weight. And what happened? NO one made it
out alive. All it would have required would have been a heavy weight inspection.
Back to fuel number in pounds Verses Time!
In the heat of battle the crew answered ATC with correct information; The Controller understood that fact. And he did not complicate the matter by asking how much fuel in time. Smart Man I say. It did not matter. Get the airplane on the ground.

Great job by ATC and Crew.

Now if you want to know were an ATC controller made a poor decision listen the link below
A pod cast from Avweb. Feb 26, 2007 DFW emergency denied. Presented by Mike Blakely!
A must hear for every pilot.

DFW Controllers Botch Emergency Handling from
Note It should read controller not controllers. Only one controller was at fault
Short of the supervisor. Perhaps two if you count him.

Controllers at Dallas-Fort Worth International's regional TRACON have been given a refresher on the meaning of the words "we need to get on the ground right away, please" after they denied an American Airlines 757 priority handling, despite the fact that the crew declared an emergency. According to ABC News, which broke the story last week, the incident happened on Aug. 31 when the crew reported a fuel shortage, possibly due to a leak. When the crew asked for a straight-in approach to runway 17C to get the airplane and its passengers on the ground quickly, the TRACON controller twice denied the request. In the end, the aircraft circled to Runway 31R and landed uneventfully. But the tape–which we review in today's podcast has been used as a training aid to remind controllers of the nuances of pilot phraseology. According to FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown, the controller in question was unclear just how sweaty-browed this pilot was. "This was a situation where there was confusion about the term 'minimal fuel' and 'fuel emergency,'" Brown told the Houston Chronicle. "The controller was confused about the distinction."

I disagree with the FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown. And what the FAA did with the DFW controller.
As for the Captain he is at fault for letting ATC fly his airplane.
Many pilots have flown for years with few serious problems. I for myself I have declared 2 Emergency’s and ATC declared one for me.
They all have been in transport category type jet airplanes.
Paper work for declaring an emergency? Nothing. Not with me any way. And I have only been flying
For 38 years.
Dennis Davis 0
any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. Eveyone did their job. A great job at that.
john rytkonen 0
I wonder if the FEDS will give AIRBUS the anal exam that they gave BOEING? This report is one of many AIRBUS incidents after the electronics go haywire right after takeoff. These crews go from managing a video game to TASK SATURATION in a few moments. If you want to read an account that will make the hair on your back stand up..... search the JUMBO airbus that was flying long distance in the Pacific and one engine had a major failure after takeoff. Luckily they had two crews on board to help the aircraft commander manage all the system issues.
In an emergency you do you best. I believe everyone here did their best. There could not have been a better outcome. Someone will always be there to criticize. They'll get over it.
BlueLiner 0
Fuel numbers question: The reason for asking for fuel load at this stage has little to do with control staff wnating to know about how much time vs fuel burn rate vs weight and balance vs time - rather passing the information to ARFF (Airport Rescue/Fire Fighting). As grim as it sounds, they need to know the potential size of the conflagration that may occur.

To speak to clearing runways/ATC obligations: As for clearing runways and who "HAS" the runway... when a runway is fouled because of men and equipment working or what have you the job of clearing it is NOT solely the responsibility of the controller as someone stated above. Time is the big dictator here, and the haste with which a runway can be cleared is determined by the size/type/nature of the equipment on the closed runway. Not all vehicles have the acceleration of an top fuel dragster. This includes other aircraft. further it is also dictated by the configuration of the runway and taxi-ways. It is easy to say the "controller IS supposed to have the runway cleared..." but it is not always just that easy or the best option under the circumstances. The controller advised the pilots which runway was clear and which runway was fouled. There was no danger on the clear runway but a known and added danger/unknown factors with the fouled runway. As a controller you can offer options but cannot control all the circumstances. As a pilot you will make your choices based on KNOWNs at the time. Ultimately it is the pilot's choice - it is their ship.
Pilots = outstanding job.
ATC = outstanding job.

Emergency/risks = mitigated.
Lane Hardison 0
Thanks Chris I agree with you on the fuel question I forgot to include this


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