Recently an airplane crashed at Kathmandu airport in Nepal. The people that owned that plane claim that confusing information was given to the pilot by the control tower, and as a result the plane crashed. Conversation between pilot and control tower given here.

Now my question is: if confusing directions are given by the control tower, what should a pilot do? Should they wait for the exact decision and continue flying, or can they decide to make the plane land safely?


closed as primarily opinion-based by fooot, Pondlife, Ralph J, CGCampbell, SMS von der Tann Apr 4 '18 at 19:00

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Pilot's prerogative is they can do anything they deem necessary to keep the craft and it's passengers safe. So to answer your question, "can they decide to make the plane land safely", yes, regardless of the rest of your question. $\endgroup$ – Mast Apr 4 '18 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ Please clear me which part of my question suffering you guys to give an exact answer ? $\endgroup$ – user70421 Apr 4 '18 at 21:07
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    $\begingroup$ Not sure why people are VTC. It seems a reasonable question. But the answer is fairly simple: ask them to clarify. Not sure of the regs in Nepal, but unless there's an emergency, at a controlled airport they shouldn't land unless they hear the words "cleared to land, runway XX." If there's any doubt they should ask. $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Apr 5 '18 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ No one in the tower or air traffic control is responsible for the lives and safety of the people on your aircraft but you, the pilot in command. That's why it's called "command". He/she is responsible, and will take the blame (or the credit) for the consequences of the decisions made and the actions taken. Yes there are rules, and if you violate them, you will probably have to explain why, but you will need a bigger better explanation if you follow the rules and people die as a result. $\endgroup$ – Charles Bretana Apr 6 '18 at 3:09

At or near touchdown on the runway? Ignore it. The last thing any pilot should do in the critical period near runway touchdown is try to determine what a confusing or unclear radio transmission actually meant.

On the other hand, if "at the time of landing" includes two minutes prior to touchdown, up on downwind, or 4 nm out on extended final approach, different story.

What the cutoff is between these two extremes is what we pay pilots for. It's called situation awareness and exercise of good judgment.

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    $\begingroup$ If I heard my call sign at or near touchdown I'd probably go around before I even heard the rest of the transmission. $\endgroup$ – Fred Larson Apr 4 '18 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ November upmty ump, Garble Garble, ... on fire! ... garble garble.... $\endgroup$ – Charles Bretana Apr 4 '18 at 16:21
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    $\begingroup$ More likely, "November xxxx, gear up!" or "November xxxx, runway incursion!" $\endgroup$ – Fred Larson Apr 4 '18 at 16:22
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    $\begingroup$ If somebody is calling me short final or later, it better be because there's an imminent hazard to landing. If I'm on fire, shut up and roll the trucks. $\endgroup$ – Fred Larson Apr 4 '18 at 16:30
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    $\begingroup$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. $\endgroup$ – Charles Bretana Apr 4 '18 at 16:57

If there is a doubt, there’s no doubt: GO AROUND.

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    $\begingroup$ While this may be good advice this answer could be improved by explaining the reasoning behind it. $\endgroup$ – fooot Apr 4 '18 at 15:59
  • $\begingroup$ Question is clear . What reasons I need to add please mention. $\endgroup$ – user70421 Apr 4 '18 at 20:04
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    $\begingroup$ @user70421 you should comment under your question not under an answer, nobody will see this. $\endgroup$ – Federico Apr 4 '18 at 20:41

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