NORAC

Sorry for the lack of communications friends. I’ve been travelling for the past month both domestically and on international flights. Not in the right or left seat mind you but as one of the many pax in the back of the aluminum tube and enjoying the many x-ray, full body screening devices at major airports. It’s given me a new healthy glow.  Except in Brazil. They don’t seem to worry about that as much.

What better way to test the effectiveness of our security apparatus and ring in the New Year then a commercial airliner evacuating the capital after loss of radio contact , better known as NORAC in ATC circles. (Not to be confused with Nordo-Flying without or loss of a radio).

A passenger plane briefly lost radio contact with air traffic controllers when the pilot turned to the wrong frequency as he approached Washington, leading to the scrambling of fighter jets and the evacuation of the U.S. Capitol, federal officials said Saturday.

Good news: The system works. Bad news for the pilot in command to be sure,  but who among us hasn’t missed a read back? At least once? Of course, this was perhaps the worst possible time to miss a frequency call out. What’s puzzling is why the pilot / copilot didn’t immediately call back the previous controller once confirmation wasn’t received. (i.e. This is Piedmont flight WXYZ checking in , level at 5,000).  Lots of paperwork for a few people.

Our New Year’s resolutions should include careful copying and readbacks.  All the best to you in 2011!

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