Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How to tell you're having a bad day

I was working with my current trainee on ground control the other morning when this happened. We had just been discussing how he should be making "Plan B" at the same time he's making "Plan A" so that if Plan A doesn't work out he'll already know what he's going to do next.*

This B777 was stuck in the position shown here for about ten minutes, completely blocking the intersection of C and C-9. At certain times of day, something like this can really throw a wrench into the operation. Fortunately, this was not one of those times.

This close-up was taken a few minutes prior to the opening shot, and gives a better view of what's happened. Hint 1: The tug was towing the airplane along that curving yellow lead-in line in the lower left corner of the photo. Hint 2: Anytime that many guys are all gathered around looking at something, it can't be good. Hint 3: The airplane is normally supposed to be behind the tug. Hint 4: Look at the angle of the airplane's nosewheel.

* ATC101: This is a standard practice among controllers; it's what we do. You evaluate the situation and make a plan for how to resolve it. While making Plan A, you're also making Plan B so that you don't have to think about what to do next if Plan A doesn't work out. While making Plans A & B, you should also have a good idea of what Plan C may need to be, and at least an inkling of what Plan D might be. More simply stated: Always have an "out" (aka "exit strategy" or "escape hatch")


  1. Agreed!!! and you thought learning the alphabet wouldn't come in handy...Plans A,B,C and so on,always good to consider the "oh O'sss" ...seperates those who are survivors from those who just survive!!! For instance..a person gets on a plane, sit his/her ass down and goes ahead and counts the rows to the emergency exits....makes the mental note, and goes on with their life. NOW. there is at least a preliminary Plan A, in the one in gazzilion chances something goes wrong.... Please don't stop with the "day to day" opsidazie's, of your life in the tower!!!!!Just fascinating, just a little short story of life......OR...maybe the plane flew in from.... "MSP"...nevermind...inside joke, HA HA. I do enjoy your posts, Thanks, misstwa

  2. US Airways A320 at Minneapolis on Sep 16th 2010, near collision
    The Aviation Herald
    The NTSB reported in their factual report that an "air traffic control operational error" resulted in a near midair collision between the two aircraft, ...
    See all stories on this topic »

  3. http://avherald.com/h?article=4314ee8e/0000