ATC Tapes from the Allegiant gear up

Here is an edited version of the ATC tapes of the Allegiant MD-80 that landed with the nose gear retracted at Sanford (Orlando) KSFB.
While the emergency is interesting, most of the hubbub has been about the pilot of the Maule seaplane, N368FS, bitching about being asked to leave the airspace in the most judicious manner.
On another forum I frequent, specifically for professional pilots, a number of people have emailed the owner to explain just how unprofessional and improper the complaining was. I find it inexcusable, even if there wasn’t an emergency going on. Just STFU dude!

Wow, what a jerk. Never mind the pilots, their crew and 147 passengers dealing with a real problem. I’d like to see that guy punch out the emergency exit and jump off the back of an MD wing.

Very professional controller. Thanks for sharing the audio.

wow, just play the game. I bet 8FS never hears a relpy from ATC again. No reply means no entry to the airspace (class C). Watch this guy get viloated for entering the airspace.

Seaplane: LET IT GO. I don’t mind when someone debates or argues with me, but I hate people who keep “coming back” like a rabid animal that just won’t stop the attack. As if his bitching wasn’t absurd enough, he’s asking for an explanation WHILE the controller is trying to bring in an emergency?! Just one prick in a world of many, unfortunately.

That Maule is one aircraft in the fleet of Florida Seaplanes and is owned by Richard Hensch.

Email Richard at to complain.

That’s great, I sent him a letter earlier today.

I’ll email him now, thanks.

Seaplane = JERK!

edit: Here’s my email I sent to the company:
*After listening to the pilot of N368FS during the Allegiant emergency on 29 Mar at SFB (
I realized you have either a very unprofessional pilot in your employment who should be fired immediately or, if it was a pilot in training, then you should immediately flunk him.

I gave him my 2 :imp:

Here’s my email

Dear Mr. Hensch

I’m going to be in Orlando for FSI Sovereign Initial, I was going to get my SES/MES ATP done. But after your stunt March 29 on the radio with Sanford Approach you can forget about getting my business.

Somehow I don’t feel like giving you my money. You wasted about .1 hrs worth of gas, even at $5.00/gal and 10gph that’s only $5.00. If that is a make or brake for you, you’re just a fly by night out fit anyway.

If you could afford the $5.00 then your just a self righteous, arrogant idiot. I’m sure you know that all that is required to enter Class C airspace is 2-way radio communications, if I were you I’d watch my step. If I were on approach control I wouldn’t even answer your call and I’d just wait for you to violate my airspace, then I’d call the FAA.

Why argue with the guy? He’s ask to clear the airspace so that he can give 100% of his attention to an emergency a/c with 157 people on board. A crew that’s already busy and could use the extra eyes, but every time some tool calls up to complain he has to divert his attention, he even ignored you a few times but you kept calling back. What exactly is your problem?

Anyway, enjoy the deluge of email, phone calls, and letters you get.

In case you didn’t hear your self on tape.

If by chance it wasn’t you, but an employee or student they just cost you business and still shows poor judgement on your part.


A former customer

deleted post

I wasn’t going to listen to the mp3, but the more comments I read, the more interested I became.

All I can say, after having listened, is that all of your comments about ‘Seaplane’ are right on target. I don’t think I’ve ever heard such magnitude of jerkdom on ATC before. Unbelievable!

Interesting. I sent the MP3 to a friend of mine who just retired from the control tower. This was his reply:

I used to do this for a living (QA via listening to a tape). Without a chart of the airport and on one listen:

The emergency aircraft was 10nm east inbound for Rwy9L. The little airplane was a seaplane operating below 500’. He was already on the east side of the lake and the controller was making him go “one mile further east” before he could go north. The airspace was Class C which has a surface area restriction within 5nm of the airport. (Upside down wedding cake, the inner “layer” touching the ground is 5nm from the airport center (10nm diameter).

Therefore, the seaplane was 4nm east of the airport operating below 500’. The emergency was arriving from the east and on standard descent angle of 3 degrees (300’ per mile) the emergency aircraft would have passed over the seaplane by at least 700’ if their courses converged completely. They were never a factor for each other and that was the seaplane’s point.

The approach controller needed to make a simple call to the tower controller and point out the seaplane. Instead, the controller decided to be lazy (he was not too busy).

On the other hand, the pilot cannot be allowed to vent on the radio. He should have given the tower number and had the pilot call as soon as he was on the ground. If the controller really wanted to quiet him he could have used the book answer, “N22poopoo, possible airspace violation, please contact the tower at (ph #) as soon as you are on the ground.” Frequency gets real quiet about then.

In this case you had lazy controller jerk who couldn’t be bothered with a little airplane and a minor request and a pilot who was allowed to get complain about it on the radio. He should have taken up the controller’s offer and called the manager. For the last two years of my career, one of my duties was investigating such phone calls, pulling tapes and preparing/administering training to correct deficiencies.

In this case, the controller would have been instructed that providing service to little airplanes is as much required as providing service to big airplanes unless “higher priority duties” prevented it. Not the case here. The controller would also be advised that his instruction had been documented and that further cases of failure to provide service would be treated as a conduct and discipline problem and not a training issue.

Man, I guess I gave you the long answer. By the way, a gear emergency is just about a non-emergency. I have seen many and this is the most serious injury I have seen, one sprained ankle and some chest pains. Would not have had that if they had waited to evacuate until the stairs could get there.

If I ever get to choose my emergency, make it a gear problem.


The controller made it clear on the tapes, he was told by his bosses to clear the airspace. He wasn’t failing to provide service, he was telling the guy to get the *hell out *of the airspace.

What I love is that he said that he could go “through or around your airspace”.

The emergency was arriving from the east and on standard descent angle of 3 degrees (300’ per mile) the emergency aircraft would have passed over the seaplane by at least 700’ if their courses converged completely. They were never a factor for each other and that was the seaplane’s point.

Thanks, but no thanks!

Here’s a picture of the “legless” Allegiant MadDog about to touch down:

Boy that just looks wrong. Great picture.

Don’t we just love these people that have all the time they want in order to determine whether another person that had to make a split-second decision the made right one?

Don’t we just love these people that have all the time they want to quote the entire message when an abbreviated version - or even no quote, in this case - would have sufficed?

Awright, dami… with your 2100+ posts (and I can’t even imagine how many posts you have had the patience to read) I’ll humbly concede to Experience.
I should have truncated (But I can still edit) that text. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: