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STOP TURN NOW - Thirty Ninth ATC Day Issue, Oct 2013

TURN LEFT NOW, STOP TURN NOW
During my Radar course at CATC in Aug 2005 , we were taught about ‘NO GYRO ‘exercise , which most of us thought would not have any practical value at our stations. But one situation which happened with me at Ahmedabad Airport in 2008 changed my view on this.


It was in 2008.One of those normal night shift duties.I was working as ASR controller in the night shift. All acft had departed and no arrival was expected for a long time. An Acft type B200 VIDP-VABB was just crossing over ‘PRA’ on A474 route and was observed deviating well right of track by RSR controller.RSR controller confirmed from acft the reason for deviation. Acft informed –“ it seems navigational system is not working ,would like to land at Ahmedabad ,unable to continue for VABB.”

RSR controller informed me of the above situation. I advised –“ let acft continue on present heading and when within my Radar range change over to me.” Acft entered my scope at 60 miles maintaining heading approx 270.I asked acft whether magnetic compass is working normal. Acft confirmed that no navigational equipment is working including magnetic compass, VOR,NDB , ILS etc and he was completely lost.


I was already prepared to handle the situation. I remembered the basic mantra of NO GYRO Exercise and lessons taught to us in the Civil Aviation Training College to bring the acft on final approach by giving turns based on time. I asked acft to turn left when I say “TURN LEFT NOW” and to stop turning when I say “STOP TURN NOW” and also advised-“ if possible try to maintain RATE 1TURN.
 
I transmitted “TURN LEFT NOW ” and after 15 seconds transmitted “STOP TURN NOW”. But I found that acft had not initiated any turn and was continuing the same heading. On enquiry acft informed –“transmit instructions again .” From the voice of the pilot I could make out that a panic situation has already set in the cockpit. I again repeated the instructions . This time acft turned but not as I have calculated. Sometimes the acft was turning more and sometimes less for the same duration of instructions because acft was not able to maintain RATE 1TURN due unservicibility of navigational equipment . I soon realized that the situation was not as easy as it seemed.It demanded a lot of patience, but core mantra will have to remain same i.e ‘NO GYRO Exercise ’. The exercise continued for almost 35 minutes and acft was brought within 15 miles of East of ‘AAE ‘ VOR but acft was not able to sight the Rwy and to add to the bad luck there were still no departures or arrivals at the Airport whose help I could have taken .I continued with my core mantra and later on a Jet Airways training flight came. I informed the pilot of Jet Airways flight of the situation and gave him heading towards the B200 ACFT and also advised to switch on landing lights .B200 was asked to report B737 insight which was positioned above and 12O’ clock position. This time B200 reported acft in sight. B200 was asked to follow the B737 and B200 was brought over head the Airport and made to land safely.
 
After landing the two pilots came to Area Control and thanked me for the above help .The above NO GYRO mantra which was taught at CATC, Allahabad was very handy in handling the critical aviation situation.
KULBIR SINGH
DGM(ATM)
S.V.P.I Airport, Ahmedabad
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