JFK is a busy place? Maybe too busy?

I know JFK has been in the news latley, what with child-ish controllers and all. But this story caught my attention.


Gotta love the pilots tone on that last transmission…

There is a lot of talk on this over at LiveATC. While the pilot is PIC and in charge of the safety of his aircraft, ATC is reposonsible for the safety of the aircraft in his/her airspace or jurisdiction. declaring an emergency because of a crosswind component and then landing on a runway that may or may not be open or active is way out there, let alone VERY dangerous. I think the pilot was wrong in this occasion.

Winds at KLAS yesterday were similar to what was going on at KJFK. FDX526 (A300) had the same problem, where they weren’t going to be able to accept the 20kt gain on final for 25L with the crosswind component, so Tower had them circle north of the airport, keep the field in sight, and got them on final for 19L. No emergency declared or anything at all.

With that in mind, the AAL pilot will have some evidence against him and some questions to answer if a report gets submitted to the FSDO (and AFAIK, if an emergency is declared, it has to be).


I think there has to be more to the story, but wow. I have never heard a pilot get that kind of attitude with a controller, although I can feel his pain. I wonder if he had requested the runway prior to that, and been denied? Perhaps diverting to another airport in the area would have been an option?

thekathrynreport.com/2010/05 … -with.html

Link to save the story. Not sure how ofter that blog gets updated.

Yeah, I was wondering… did they NOT have enough fuel to make it to Newark? :confused:

Keep in mind that at that time, they were landing 22L/R, departing 31L, or something similar. Work has LiveATC blocked, so I can’t get to the forums there, but the thread there has what runways were active at that time. But it did happen to be that 31R (which AAL2 wanted) was not open/active.


“He couldn’t land 22L, it would have been illegal for him”, game, set and match.

I think that quote may be a bit inaccurate.

The 767 has a “max demonstrated crosswind” of 33kts. It’s not an aircraft limitation. Unless the airline has some crosswind limitation in place there’s nothing illegal about that landing.

On top of that, just because he couldn’t land 22L (and 31R was open; 31L is closed for construction) doesn’t mean that he had to declare an emergency. A declaration for that was really uncalled for, especially when you could circle to land 31R. If a lighter jet could do that with a slower crosswind component, then there would be no reason why a B767 couldn’t do it here.

The pilot really didn’t exhaust any of his options in this. What happened to calling that he was going around, explaining why to the Tower, and getting sequenced for 31R? Declaring an emergency pretty much just pushes you to the front of the line, making Tower do all they can to get the other traffic out of the way while AAL2 was barrelling down to 31R. There actually is a picture of a JBU aircraft barely making it through the corridor and rotating as AAL2 is on short final.

Very bad call on AAL2’s part. BTW. The blog entry is missing quite a bit. The full clips from Approach all the way down are up and posted at LiveATC.


Were other wide body jets landing JFK runways 22 when AAL2 declared?

Yeah, I sent that from my iPod and was being lazy about texting vs. typing. I should have said “If this quote is accurate, then it’s game, set and match”.




Reset to 5/6/2010, time index 16:25pm. You’ll see AAL2 coming in from the west, along with AAL2096 (B752) on the left downwind and RAM200 (B763) on the right base, all for the 22s. jumping a little bit before then (16:19pm), VIR45 (A346) and BER7450 (A332) are all on a left base for the 22s. But RAM200 and AAL2 would have pretty much landed simultaneously when this happened.

EDIT: My fault. RAM200 turned final while AAL2 was in the crosswind leg of the pattern to be sequenced into the left downwind stream. There is about a 2 - 3 minute gap between the two landing.


Okay… scratch all the above. I had the date wrong.


Reset to 5/4/2010, at 16:30 You’ll see AAL2 in the holding pattern northwest of the field, in Essex County, then peel off towards the field. JFK was in the middle of something, as you’ll see the arrivals in various holding patterns while everyone gets sequenced for 31R. AAL2 is the first arrival for the 22L, followed by an A320, E190, CRJ9, and a B738. This makes it look like they were in the middle of a runway config change, with closing off 31R for arrivals, and using the 22s for landing and departing. At 17:02 they start their left base. At this time, A332s, A346s, and B763s have landed 31R, with the last arrival being JBU62 (A320).

AAL2 breaks off at 17:09, at 600ft, then declares, and starts their climb. At 17:10, he breaks off to the east at 1200ft, then turns a hard left and lines himself up for 31R while AWE12 (that A320 that was following him) is on short final for 22R. AWE12 then has to go around, while DAL550 (the B738), JBU1015 (the E190), and COM1582 (the CRJ9) all make it in.

About 10 minutes after, a DAL B763, and an Aeroflot A333 all make it in on 22L. This leads back to my original question… if smaller, lighter aircraft could take the crosswind and make it in, as well as the same type of aircraft, and one heavier there is no reason AAL2 couldn’t have made it in. While the pilot may be PIC, it was a very poor call on his part.