Red Deer Student Lost

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AirDoan
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Red Deer Student Lost

#1 Post by AirDoan » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:04 am

Admins, please delete if you feel this is not the place for this and I apologize in advance if it is. But I wanted to share an experience I was witness to while flying through Red Deer at about 1830Z yesterday. As most in Alberta know, the radio work that instructors sign off as adequate for solo out of Red Deer is abysmal. I fly pipelines that go right through their zone and have witnessed a lot of interesting chatter on the radio between ATC and the “pilots”. This one takes the cake by far.

I can’t give a transcript verbatim and LiveATC doesn’t cover YQF. But the cliff notes version was there was two in the circuit, a Stearman a couple miles east inbound and myself coming up from the south northbound low level. Then there was this one fellow who was obviously sent solo way before he should have. When I tuned 118.5 there was these illformed calls from this guy who didn’t know where he was, but flew in front/above of me near Antler Hill (just outside the zone to the south). ATC was trying to get him east of the highway, probably so he could keep him away from the circuit. His reply, in EXTREMELY broken English “I’m over road with yellow lines, is that highway?” It went back and forth with ATC trying to keep him east including just saying “fly east” and going so far as explaining what a highway looks like. Next he says that he doesn’t know where he is. So ATC gives him the bearing from the airport including bearing changes. This pilot had no idea what the difference was between bearing and heading. ATC then gave him a heading to head to the airport, but at that point the pilot wasn’t answering readily even though ATC was repeating him self so slow and with such conviction that I don’t know how anyone with any conversational English could ever misunderstand. At this point I was heading up the river so I made a quick call saying I’ll be clear to the north and let him be with none of the usual pleasantries that are usually exchanged and switched enroute. I think I heard the Stearman decide to climb up and wait as well, but I’m not sure. If the guy at ATC reads this, hats off to you my friend as my spotter and I were aghast at this and were praising you in our conversation later. This guy had so many landmarks to use and so many tools that he should have been somewhat familiar with being virtually forced on him but still couldn’t understand what was going on. In my opinion the only way I can see him not knowing what to do is that he was focused on a glass cockpit and inside the airplane and didn’t think to look where he was going through that big piece of plexiglass. Insert argument about too much screen time these days.

Please note, I’m not trying to stereo type. And no one is perfect especially when first starting. But not knowing what a highway is or which way is east..... I put the onus on the school not doing their jobs and due diligence when training these “pilots”. And it scares the bejesus out of me that as they progress into the multi-ifr world that there isn’t much improvement. We hear that a lot and witnessed it earlier with another pilot trying to do approaches and not understanding the ATC clearances.

I hope the kid got down okay and learned from this lesson. That the school spends more time teaching on the ground and a lot more dual before sending them on their way to share the skies with everyone. I honestly hope this kid gets the training needed and becomes a success story. Alberta is a big place and you can get turned around in the endless fields when your unfamiliar for sure. It’s taken me months to be able to visualize most of the places I fly in rough relation to each other in my head without the coast as a default reference. But my opinion is that it’s systemic with whichever school because the radio work and airmanship we witness on a daily basis.... it renders 126.7 useless because everyone is stepping on each other, not being accurate with position reporting, incomprehensible language skills and just plain painful to the ears. I know I’m not alone when I say sometimes it’s better to go NORDO when it’s a mess (and legal) and make sure my spotter and I are extra diligent in our see and be seen. But that’s not how it should be.

My points? Do your research when choosing a flight school, meet your instructors before going for a lesson, pay attention to the ground work, listen to ATC frequencies online or with a handheld (a lesson I had to figure out myself), hanger fly on bad weather days, and that ATCs are unsung heroes that are part of our team in any cockpit that deserve a lot of credit and kudos.

/rant
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lhalliday
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#2 Post by lhalliday » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:28 am

Nav Canada's web site has a "contact us" link. If you send in feedback about how ATC personnel handled the situation, the right people will get it.

The controllers at my home base (CYNJ, Langley BC) never cease to amaze me.

...laura
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AirDoan
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#3 Post by AirDoan » Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:14 am

lhalliday wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:28 am
Nav Canada's web site has a "contact us" link. If you send in feedback about how ATC personnel handled the situation, the right people will get it.

The controllers at my home base (CYNJ, Langley BC) never cease to amaze me.

...laura
Good call! Thanks!
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Trevor
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#4 Post by Trevor » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:25 pm

AirDoan wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:04 am
Admins, please delete if you feel this is not the place for this and I apologize in advance if it is. But I wanted to share an experience I was witness to while flying through Red Deer at about 1830Z yesterday. As most in Alberta know, the radio work that instructors sign off as adequate for solo out of Red Deer is abysmal. I fly pipelines that go right through their zone and have witnessed a lot of interesting chatter on the radio between ATC and the “pilots”. This one takes the cake by far.
/rant
AirDoan, you've hit the nail on the head as to why I simply avoid so many airports around Alberta now. Springbank, Sundre, Red Deer, Olds/Didsbury are jam packed with too many pilots with terrible radio procedures. It's not just the ESL students from overseas. They at least deserve a touch of sympathy for speaking in a second language (although they should be able to converse before starting their lessons). I can't count how often people chat up the area frequencies with talk about barbeques, visiting the in-laws, etc. On particularly bad one was a guy out of Indus who was asking another pilot how to break in his engine while he was airborne and breaking it in! I have very good radios in my bird and can listen to every transmission from Cooking Lake south to the US border. Sometimes, and I hate doing this, I just have to turn them off.
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rookiepilot
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#5 Post by rookiepilot » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:33 pm

This is 100% the flight school responsibility. Students will do stupid things, and talk incoherently. They are students!

Instructors you have a RESPONSIBILITY to the rest of us, not to allow a student solo until they can safely share the airspace with the rest of us. It's too frigging crowded to allow sloppiness.

Get off the iPhone in the right seat (I've seen that more than once) and teach how to navigate and communicate properly.

Radio procedure up there is BRUTAL on average -- I agree.
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#6 Post by Aviatard » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:55 pm

rookiepilot wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:33 pm

Get off the iPhone in the right seat (I've seen that more than once)
How did you see this?
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Hugh Jasshole
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#7 Post by Hugh Jasshole » Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:16 pm

Unless something changed very recently, Red Deer has a FSS advisory service which is not ATC.
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#8 Post by oldncold » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:13 pm

Nav Canada is conducting a airspace survey to dealing with the increased traffic in the yqf area . lets hope there will be upgrade to tower for 12hrs a day .ive been held up on a few occasions for 20 +min on an ifr inbound to yqf while they sort out 7-10 172 in various parts of the circuit, and inbound /outbound to the practice area . as the fss did a great job but the traffic and linguistical challenges, tested many pilots civility on the radio. . would :smt014 be a understatement
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AirDoan
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#9 Post by AirDoan » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:20 pm

Hugh Jasshole wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:16 pm
Unless something changed very recently, Red Deer has a FSS advisory service which is not ATC.
Fair enough, and I stand corrected in this case. Still in general the sentiment I am trying to convey is that our team mates on the ground have nerves of steel and will always have my respect for being able to handle situations like this.
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#10 Post by AirDoan » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:22 pm

Aviatard wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:55 pm
rookiepilot wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:33 pm

Get off the iPhone in the right seat (I've seen that more than once)
How did you see this?
I had instructor during my CPL training that spent more time on her phone with Instagram than actually teaching. But that is a distant painful memory i am trying to suppress. Lol
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#11 Post by Schooner69A » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:29 pm

...and if every call is terminated with "Confricting traffic, prease advise...", I can understand your frustration.
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#12 Post by broken_slinky » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:14 am

I can definitely understand a student pilot totally flubbing some radio calls. Getting twisted around and not knowing exactly where you are. Mental lock gets the best of us. But is there no way for NavCanada to report dates/times and tail numbers to TC? File a CADOR? Even call the school and give them a talking to? Since the English proficiency test is gone, shouldn't TC and NavCanada be putting more pressure on the CFIs or schools to ensure students are capable?
Schooner69A wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:29 pm
...and if every call is terminated with "Confricting traffic, prease advise...", I can understand your frustration.
Was flying around on the weekend on 126.7. There's been a serious drop in the quality of position calls in the last 5ish years. One guy kept calling "pilots in the 126.7 area, I'm at..." Never gave a useful position or heading. It was always some obscure lake or stream. His altitudes were never odd or even 500'.
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#13 Post by Blueontop » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:09 pm

The English proficiency test is gone?
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#14 Post by Aviatard » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:00 am

broken_slinky wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:14 am
Since the English proficiency test is gone, shouldn't TC and NavCanada be putting more pressure on the CFIs or schools to ensure students are capable?
The language proficiency test isn't gone. The mechanism for getting one is changed as of June 1, but the requirement is still there. However, it's only required before flight test, not before solo, so there's still the possibility of students flying around who really aren't language proficient.
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#15 Post by lownslow » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:15 am

This poor communication wouldn’t be a problem if we all just went back to being NORDO.
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#16 Post by Blueontop » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:38 pm

Aviatard wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:00 am
broken_slinky wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:14 am
Since the English proficiency test is gone, shouldn't TC and NavCanada be putting more pressure on the CFIs or schools to ensure students are capable?
The language proficiency test isn't gone. The mechanism for getting one is changed as of June 1, but the requirement is still there. However, it's only required before flight test, not before solo, so there's still the possibility of students flying around who really aren't language proficient.
Maybe I am missing something but what was the point/benefit to changing it to before the flight test? They need to be able to speak on the radio when they are solo.
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#17 Post by 7ECA » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:23 pm

Hasn't the requirement always been to do the ELPT before the flight test? I remember mine was done during the ground portion for my PPL flight test...

The new language test requirements have been tightened up significantly, making it harder to pass off piss poor English as "operational" - in addition to making it a ground portion failure if a candidate is considered to demonstrate below operational proficiency.

There's an Advisory Circular on the subject: https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/aviati ... 1-009.html
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#18 Post by lhalliday » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:52 pm

I did my language proficiency before I got my student permit. Maybe that was just the flight school's procedure. Either way, I approve. Can't solo if you can't use the radio. Legally, which is why they had me do my radio exam as well. I have my ham radio license, but that doesn't count for aeronautical stuff.

...laura
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#19 Post by Aviatard » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:37 pm

Blueontop wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:38 pm
Aviatard wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:00 am
broken_slinky wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:14 am
Since the English proficiency test is gone, shouldn't TC and NavCanada be putting more pressure on the CFIs or schools to ensure students are capable?
The language proficiency test isn't gone. The mechanism for getting one is changed as of June 1, but the requirement is still there. However, it's only required before flight test, not before solo, so there's still the possibility of students flying around who really aren't language proficient.
Maybe I am missing something but what was the point/benefit to changing it to before the flight test? They need to be able to speak on the radio when they are solo.
It hasn't been changed to only being required before flight test. It was always required before applying for the license booklet. It was recommended to be done before solo, but never made mandatory. It's still not mandatory before solo, so that hasn't changed. What is different is that you must have it done before the flight test, or you'll fail the flight test.

There are now informal and formal language assessments. Informal ones can be done by the CFI of a flight school if the candidate is a Canadian citizen and has graduated from a Canadian high school in English or French. If you haven't graduated from a Canadian high school, or if the CFI assesses that you're not at Expert level, then you need a formal language assessment provided by a designated language assessor.
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#20 Post by Speedalive » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:39 am

I have had two near misses on two separate occasions with these YQF students while flying to the north of Calgary. One of them was so close I could read the registration and both of them happened within 5 minutes of me making position reports on 26.7. Not one of them made their presence known or said anything. Had no idea they were there. Even if they did say something though, I'm not confident that I would've been able to comprehend what they would've said. The calls that they make are painful to listen to. I give them credit for learning another language, but they still have a lot of work to do. It's beyond me how the majority of them passed their language proficiency exams. Half of them don't seem to even know where they are too. This one time I was flying YEG-YBW and a pilot flying near High Level made a position report and one of these guys replied to him stating that they were flying over Sylvain Lake.. the pilot in High Level replied back with something along the lines of "well considering you're about 500 miles south of my position, there should be no conflict." :lol:

I had another close call in Drumheller. I was the only person in the circuit as far as I could see & hear. Made all the standard calls, (5 mins out, overhead the field, joining DW, Final,etc). While I was short final for 16, two foreign students all of sudden called that they were on downwind. That caught me off guard a bit. I made sure to speak very slowly and clearly and say that I was doing a full stop and would be backtracking 16 and exiting on the taxiway to the ramp. I didn't get acknowledged so I repeated the call for good measure after checking that I was speaking on the correct frequency. I touched down and started the backtrack (and made the call that I was doing so of course), and next thing I know, one of the guys was staring me down at probably a quarter mile from the threshold. I made it clear that I was still backtracking but I never got a reply. I gave the word "expedite" a whole new meaning when I expedited the backtrack to exit the runway. The pilot still went ahead with his touch and go, I couldn't believe it. I'm honestly scared to fly north of Calgary at this point. :|
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#21 Post by broken_slinky » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:00 am

Aviatard wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:00 am
broken_slinky wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:14 am
Since the English proficiency test is gone, shouldn't TC and NavCanada be putting more pressure on the CFIs or schools to ensure students are capable?
The language proficiency test isn't gone. The mechanism for getting one is changed as of June 1, but the requirement is still there. However, it's only required before flight test, not before solo, so there's still the possibility of students flying around who really aren't language proficient.
I was told the test is gone, it's been rolled into the briefing portion of the flight test. Is it still a separate entity? I agree with Blueontop, it really should be done prior to a solo flight. Ideally done prior to any flight training.
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#22 Post by looproll » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:38 am

Red Deer airspace is an accident waiting to happen
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#23 Post by pianokeys » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:33 pm

Ya know, money talks. Not surprised this isnt really being handled well considering the income it makes for flight schools. Most of the flight schools in Canada offer English, French, or Mandarin as their languages on their websites.

Maybe we should CADORS the crap out of these types and draw attention to it.
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#24 Post by Tertle » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:50 pm

broken_slinky wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:00 am
Aviatard wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:00 am
broken_slinky wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:14 am
Since the English proficiency test is gone, shouldn't TC and NavCanada be putting more pressure on the CFIs or schools to ensure students are capable?
The language proficiency test isn't gone. The mechanism for getting one is changed as of June 1, but the requirement is still there. However, it's only required before flight test, not before solo, so there's still the possibility of students flying around who really aren't language proficient.
I was told the test is gone, it's been rolled into the briefing portion of the flight test. Is it still a separate entity? I agree with Blueontop, it really should be done prior to a solo flight. Ideally done prior to any flight training.

It's not included in the flight test. The tests are over the phone (not 100% sure if in person is an option) while being recorded. Someone at TC will review the test and then rank the English standard of the student. If they get a fail, they have to wait a certain amount of time (was it 2 months?) before retaking. The examiners themselves have some restrictions on the amount of tests given in a month and from which schools... The details could very well be different, but that's the premise of what I was hearing from a flight school a few months back.
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Re: Red Deer Student Lost

#25 Post by Old Dog Flying » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:56 pm

With all these Engliss Proficiet slo students in our airspace, we can expect another YHU before too long. I'm surprised that the Fraser Valley dogfight hasn't produced more casualties.

As long as off-shore entities own the majority of flight schools in our country the problem will only get wo0rse
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