February 2017 Issue

When ATC Screws Up

It doesnít happen often, but when it does you might be on your own. A solid understanding of expectations and your situational awareness are imperative.

On December 16, 2016, shortly after takeoff at 0119 local time, an EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER apparently came well within 1000 vertical feet of mountainous terrain after departing the Los Angeles (Calif.) International Airport (KLAX). While a formal investigation reportedly is underway at the FAA and the carrier, unofficial transcripts and aircraft tracking data make it clear this event was a very near thing. The publicly available information depicts confusion and uncertainty in the 777ís cockpit. It also suggests non-standard phraseology on ATCís part may have contributed to the event. The sidebar on the opposite page explores it a bit more, based on unoffocial sources.

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