Home » Commercial » Airbus » A350 » [REAL ATC] LUFTHANSA A350 – “FUEL LOW SITUATION” in Boston – “We have to declare Emergency”

A busy day with bad weather in the approach area and some missed approaches due to tight spacing on final… In the end, everything went well!


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  • I don't know why people are saying they don't understand the Boston ATC, I understood it perfectly.

    • Boodieman72 It's not that most Americans can't understand it it's that it's too fast and run together with poor pronunciation to be appropriate for international flight crews. I get that Boston is a busy airport and being an air traffic controller there cannot be an easy job by any means, but I do agree with the other posters saying they need to consider who they put on handling international flights.

    • Boodieman72 I'm no fan of flying in and out of BOS, but I also had no issues understanding what was said here. BOS has a terrible airport configuration and some oddball things (tall ships in the harbor, for instance) but given how busy they are they make do with what they've got. Still I like to avoid it when I can.

  • the co-Pilot on that flight was, ulrichbeinert… that`s his Instagram, go follow him hes an a380 with some great stories.

    • Dylan Theakston Nope, different aircraft, different airport, different flight, different copilot. Check out his channel. You are referring to LH400 in JFK.

  • I fly large aircraft all over the world. FAA ATC is the worst in terms of being Non ICAO in phraseology & speaking too quickly to foreign carriers.

    • FAA ATC also handle the most traffic, the most varied traffic and provide the best service. Also, assuming Lufthansa can handle the radios isn't a stretch – their pilots all speak very good English and the vast, vast majority are actually trained in the US.

  • I understood the ATC clearly and I am not even from the states. ATC is really helpful in the US. The best place to fly.

  • One thing that I think Air Traffic Control needs to be more considerate of is talking really fast with foreign pilots. I teach ESL for a living and you really have to consider both your speed and your pronunciation, of course in addition to comprehensibility (but that wouldn't be such a big factor here).

  • The controller is an asshole. Gives unclear instruction, LH asks "say again", and he garbles his BS even more!

  • What was the problem with the non ils approach (2nd) and non ILS/LOC approach (3rd). It was unavalaible becasue of…? I dont understand. Also is it confirmed that the fuel low situation was from Lufthansa? Thats also weird because in my opinion every plane has enough ful to do some 30-40 minutes hold + fuel to alternate airport + some reserve so it is weird too.

  • It’s definitely not only the controllers fault. Yes, his terminology was non standard, even for US terminology. Nevertheless, the LH crew violated a couple FARs as well. What about fuel load? You have to have enough fuel to make it your destination + from there to your alternate +45 minutes. They did not even have 30mins extra fuel on board from what it looks like. Both sides have dirt on them here.

    • Regarding fuel loading, TE, there is a specific quantity in the statutory requirements, i.e. a minimum of X minutes flying, OK, all's well unless, of course, The aircraft has flown against a head wind, then gets several options from a controller who is obviously overworked and has 'lost it' coupled with 'nuisance flights',i.e small commuter aircraft and worse, single engine Cessna's flown by 'cowboys and clowns', all must be catered for, it is NOT like driving a Bus or a Train, the work load is enough to scare the pants of most people,An Aircraft Captain has the ultimate responsibility for both aircraft and his PAX, the Airport has the responsibility of servicing any number of flight, PLUS emergencies, against which there are Weather Considerations, Gate distribution, re-fuelling, Baggage handling.
      Ground Equipment allocation, and distribution etc.,working at ANY airport is a high stress job, there are many more factors all of which impact directly on controllers.and ultimately Airport Management.May I suggest that a visit to an Airport Management offfice would clear away many points of UNKNOWN factors. Terry Offord

    • Only few countries follow FAA , alot of countries have different authorities and different regulations/rules , the 45min is an FAA thingy , and many times we land with diversion fuel , the planning stage is all statics and in real life we burn more or less , depends on winds , turbulence , temps , availability of cruising level , ATC speed and the list goes on , the longer the flight the more error in fuel planning.
      P/s you can use diversion fuel for destination if you commit to your destination and the weather will improve , providing no single or crossed runways.

  • THUMBS DOWN for stealing the "[REAL ATC]" look from VASAviation. He's been using that style for years and you are nothing more than a thief trying to build a channel on his hard work. Not Cool!

    • Black Dog No intention to steel something here. I know two friends who were on board this flight. It was not on VASAviations channel (who I subscribe and love what he is doing – far more than a youtube channel, its more like an increase in flight safety since everybody can learn from others mistakes..). I was listening to liveATC with those friends as they asked me why they performed two go arounds. I just want to share that story… Check out my channel or my old channel EDDGpilot. All videos about aviation, not a single one like this. I am not trying to build a similar channel like somebody else did…

      Thanks for your comment, appreciate your loyalty to VASAviation and can understand your concern anyway 😉

  • Is this atc'ing compliant to rules and regulations and professional good practices ? Or just plain messy s**t ?

  • Not good CRM asking for a phone number while still in the air. Focus on the job, don't play the blame game and you can debrief when on the ground. Other than that it seems like a job well done. CPDLC might alleviate some of the congestion on the frequency.

    • Well, that depends. Clearly it got the attention of a colleague or other controller that this controller was fatigued. As it noted in the video suddenly it was a different controller. So asking for the number actually may have benefited everyone in this situation.

    • In my honest opinion, ATC failed big time here. Slurred and quickened speech, not clear what they're saying, and a non-native is doing a better job. Furthermore, and more importantly, they're vectoring a plane up to the point it's running on fumes, no wonder he asked for a number to complain.

  • 6:20 the […] is a "tall vessel". Aircraft landing over the bay in Boston sometimes have trouble with ILS signal due to ships blocking the signal. At 7:05 it's "tall ship".

  • There was no emergency declared. LH424 heavy simply stated Fuel low and they may have to declare an emergency. That is WAY different

  • Given and accepting an RNAV approach is very risky in low visual conditions.
    And to top it all, it was a low fuel situation.
    What would happen if they could not spot the runway at minimums?
    Do aother go-around on fumes?

  • This controller is speaking horribly fast and almost slurred. You shouldn't even talk to American pilots like that, let alone anyone else

    • ATC: for the millionth time "Lufthansa, heading 1-"
      Lufthansa: "-How about you vector me ONTO a runway before I run out of fuel you absolute idiot"

  • I'm not in the biz so forgive the question, but why when a foreign speaker doesn't understand the rapid instructions and asks for a repeat, why would ATC come back with an even faster clipped re-read of the long instructions? I know it's busy, but would having this stuff printed out on a screen as well as verbally make things clearer? Kind of important to get it right. At JFK I've heard ATC almost intentionally speak as fast as possible to pilots who have trouble understanding English asking for repeats. After 3 times flying thru instructions at top speed clipping the words so I can't even tell what he numbers are, comes the annoyed New York accent painfully scolding by giving the instructions at a snail pace. Again I know it gets crazy busy, but wtf?


    • Why did United have to declare a fuel emergency and shut down Sydney at peak hour on a standard LAX/Syd route? Now there’s an interesting question.

    • They would have taken extended time into consideration concerning fuel. The facta that ATC made them fly around like a homeless bird, which, BTW, chews up fuel under those circumstances, so all he was doing was stating a fact and never declared an emergency. Besides, itvis unclear as to who actually transmitted that but we can all guess. The LH jockeys did well and maintained level heads and even had time to be sarcasric to the ATC’er by saying they could land anywhere or something like that. Hope that answers your question.

  • ok theres bad weather whis is always .. adding stress
    but the ATC´s need to chill out but work on their phrases .. they should install some sort of speech supervising
    the main reason is to depart and arrive airtraffic safely .. but if pilots cant understand local shortspeech and vocal habits ..it will create serious trouble ..
    "pepore arways choking about nasty ATC tark in asia or by asian pirots" but the east coast has some problems too
    i like phoenix ATC they are very clear and calm

  • so……….ATC…..dont care about the number of bodies on lh424?………..god i hope if he dies the controller suicides due to guilt….

  • Listening to this ATC clown makes me wonder if a lot of US controllers have any idea at all how hard it is to understand what they are saying? I have been listening to them for a long time and just have no idea why this problem is not addressed. US pilots might be able to understand this drawl but for foreign pilots it is very difficult. Hats off to the Lufthansa crew.

  • Gosh, you have to be a real aviation geek to be into this "video." I watched/listened to the whole thing. Was waiting for something interesting to happen. Never did.

  • Unfortunate performance by ATC. Controllers seem to have very poor control of the airspace. There's little excuse for the atrocious handling of the Lufthansa flight. That being said, I have flown into and out of Logan many times and have never experienced this kind of sloppy flight handling. This one was a real mess.

  • "Expect to join from the other side" is Vatsim-style gibberish by approach radar without managerial supervision, as is common in understaffed US. There's no such ATC phraseology.

    Other operationally useless statements US ATC tend to make is: "5nm from MILTT"(as if the pilots don't know) and "maintain 3000 until established" right before clearing for ILS approach. US ATC tend to pile redundant information in transmissions, clattering the channel. All the pertinent ILS approach info is published on the plates. The Lufthansa crew knows where they are and how to fly the approach. All pilots need are speed, altitude, vector to intercept the localizer, safely spaced from all other aircraft, and approach clearance. "[O]ther side" is wacko. When anything ATC say causes arriving crews to say "What??" the ATC have screwed up.

    ATC phraseology is global, mostly in English, the global aviation language, acquired and refined from catastrophic hard lessons, like Tenerife, of what to say and when and what not to. A plane arriving after transatlantic doesn't want to hear unintelligible Vatsimisms from a radar unit. It's join the localizer, contact tower, good day, or hold, reason why and how long, before cleared for approach or off to the alternate. The last thing pilots want after a long haul is say "WTF?"

    • I agree, but i disagree with sayin its only nonstandard here. Try going to Montreal and listening to all the French. The farking icao is IN MONTREAL! When they start speaking French on the ground I stop my jet. When asked why I stopped, I explain I have no situational awareness when conflicting traffic is being given instructions in a language I don't speak.

    • @thefactorypilot145 Yep. All pilots on the same channel have to be able to hear and understand who's doing what and where. CYUL clearance delivery can speak Quebec French to any willing crews parked at the gate, nobody cares. From ground to centre all pilot/atc communication should be in English.

      Quebec French is its own unique dialect and very hard to understand for non-native speakers, even for the real French. In Canada, our school French immersion programs are based on Parisian French. I've seen French-Canadian tourists in France forced to speak in English because the local French couldn't understand them. On the taxiway or ramp in either of Montreal's two airport, when the local lingo starts flying, it's whoa, stop, international aviation language please.

  • come on guys, go outside and enjoy the fresh air, put down your joysticks and simulators and get some real lives.

  • A lot of comments on ATC English… my experience is on Northern East coast, English is relatively understandable for someone who has some practice. This audio, with a few exceptions, not necessarily due to controller’s speaking, makes sense… when going further south, it becomes worse and worse, when reaching Texas, one got the impression talking to a bunch of cowboys running on their horses thru wind, shooting their Colt with one hand ans a lasso in the other to catch the plane landing… And in the mean time tell people what to do in worst slang… Don’t forget, in international air traffic a good part of pilots are not native English speakers and even less Texan English speakers… this LH pilot did master the language perfectly and probably has long experience in the area and knows a bit about local customs and expressions. And is stress resistant… don’t forget he has left his house 12-14 hours before and has almost as much working hours behind him… so is pretty tired and just wants one single thing… put his plane on the ground and run to the shower in his hotel room. But instead is facing this shit and then, once on the ground, will be be handed over to US immigration treatment that is just designed to make visitors feel like shit while doing a job that contributes to make America great again…But just use your imagination and put à Chinese, Russian or so there… the plane might not make due to communication mishaps… And LH is focused on his approach and communication, but these exchanges are followed by other traffic in the sky, that are listening with one ear to get a full sense of what’s happening around, they might miss half due to poor speech…
    And then fuel… airlines don’t typically cross the ocean to carry excess fuel… I guess most of us know that it would be an expensive deal… the heavier the plane the more fuel it burns, to a point eventually with loading more fuel, consumption is so high it’ll reach destination with even less… this is all calculated including weather, safety margins and possible alternate airports to divert to in emergency. In this case this would have probably definitely been considered if running further out of control at BOS.

  • So much useless chatter… If Im level at 3000 tracking the localizer, no need to tell me "maintain 3000 til established". Im already established.

  • With low fuel, i would try my best to be stable at 1000ft and land rather then making another pattern with incompetent controllers, i partly think crew made a wrong decision of making another appraoch with low fuel state

  • I understand what some posters are saying about the Boston ATC, Anthony 1976 in particular. And I understand that any human repeating the same words over & over again every day will fall into a habit of delivering them quicker and therefore risking mis-pronunciation leading to reduced comprehension by the listener. It's so easy to have a significant misunderstanding. This is fine in most jobs but in the world of ATC it is totally unacceptable. If a catastrophe occurred as result how would the controller feel. The crew would be blameless. and, I'm sure the controllers "Fall into the habit" scenario would not be accepted as a defence in a law court. The industry should address this as a serious issue to be dealt with. Maybe it should be an FAA requirement that controllers' ATC conversations be monitored periodically to identify anyone who needed the services of a voice coach and/or speech therapist.

  • My money is always on Lufthansa Pilots despite the mess they made of the Germanwings suicidal pilot situation. Lufthansa and the German Air Force have sizable operations at Goodyear and Luke Field on the west side of the Phoenix area, I’ve only heard great things said about their people. I like the way LH trains a guy off the street that meets their requirements vs how a US citizen would seek to become a line pilot with a US carrier after paying for his or her own training. Owing $180,000-$200,000 or more you link up with a contract carrier to earn $20 to $30K a year. LH puts you in a dorm and you start your single engine training on their dime or Euro. At Goodyear you can fly everyday, with only an extremely rare gulley washer or dust storm to keep you out of the air.

  • No offense but why do so many of American ATCs seem not very smart to say the least ? At 1:00 the controller uses some non standard phraseology which the pilots struggle to understand and when they ask him to repeat the message he says the same think, using the same words, but even faster. What an idiot. And don't tell me it's to save time because he's busy. The whole thing took almost 20 seconds and could have taken 5 if the controller used standard aviation phraseology and spoke more clearly.

  • I dont get why Lufthansa has their pilots say their callsign before reading back, can cause a lot of confusion.

  • British pilots always laugh at American controllers for yelling out unrecognisable jargon.

    Say this as fast as possible:
    Speedbird 294 heavy squawk 3252 join Victor onto Zulu cross 32 short of hotel …… Ugh cross hotel lineup 7 for immediate fly 090 220 restricted to 5000 winds 13 at 313 cleared for immediate takeoff traffic is on 13 mile final.

  • Good work really – unavoidable change in the ils condition, understandibly Lufthansa couldn't accept it (although the ATC guy did his best) vectored him around for another go. Then barely spotting the runway at minimums on a borderline low fuel situation after 9 hours flying – earning their pay!

  • O wouldn’t normally float towards Lufthansa’s defence, but in this situation they handled a shocking situation caused by a very poor controller extremely well. I hope their bosses bought them a couple of steins when they got home as they deserved it. Boston beer is crap anyhow.

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