Offended United Pilot Calls SFO ATC Over Go Arounds

As an aviation geek, I spend a number of my free time monitoring flights on Flightradar24, listening to the air visitors management ping. Alongside these traces, right here’s an attention-grabbing change between a United Airways pilot and an air visitors controller. We typically hear air visitors controllers getting impatient with pilots, however on this case it’s the opposite method round…

United Boeing 737 has two planes at San Francisco Worldwide Airport (SFO) attributable to visitors

VASAviation does a fantastic job of posting movies to YouTube with attention-grabbing air visitors management audio, in addition to a visualization of what occurred. An interplay I discover significantly attention-grabbing was the pilot being enraged after having to carry out two (presumably pointless) runs.

This incident occurred on Could 12, 2023, and pertains to United Airways Flight UA1390 from Seattle (SEA) to San Francisco (SFO). The flight was operated by an roughly 14-year-old Boeing 737-900 with license plate N75428.

The plane has been cleared to land on runway 28L. Shortly thereafter, because the 737 was on its ultimate four-mile route, the air visitors controller cleared one other USS aircraft to line up on the runway and wait. That aircraft needed to wait for one more aircraft to clear the runway earlier than it may take off, and at this level the 737 was on a ultimate route of lower than two miles.

Sadly, there wasn’t sufficient spacing on the finish, so the 737 needed to spin. Nicely, honest sufficient, it does occur typically. Air visitors controllers have difficult jobs and there’s an excessive amount of variance, so the spacing gained’t all the time be fairly proper.

Then, the United 737 started its second method to runway 28L, and basically the identical factor occurred. The aircraft was cleared to land, then one other aircraft was instructed to line up on the runway and wait, then one other aircraft needed to clear the runway. There wasn’t sufficient spacing on the finish, so the 737 needed to spin… once more.

United pilot permits air visitors controllers to have it

After having to go round a second time for a similar motive, the United pilot ordered the tower controller, saying, “You must do higher than this, twice that.” The tower controller responds with “OK, discuss to NorCal about that”. In different phrases, the tower controller blames it on the method frequency, though the tower controller is evacuating the departing plane to taxi on the runway.

When the pilot then speaks to NorCal’s departure, right here’s the way it goes:

Pilot: “What’s occurring, that twice?”
Controller: “I’m unsure.”
Pilot: “It’s unacceptable, come on, okay, let’s not do that once more.”
Superintendent: “We don’t work within the tower, sir.”
Pilot: They instructed me to speak to you.

Then when the beta program switches over to NorCal’s method, right here’s how:

Pilot: “Can we ensure that nobody is placed on the runway anymore?”
Controller: “We’re questioning the identical factor, we’ve acquired a number of right here, and we’ll be sure to get there this time.”
Pilot: “Yeah, undoubtedly make a report on this, that’s unacceptable.”
Controller: “We agree with you 100%, sorry about that.”
Pilot: “Thanks. I do know it’s not your fault, however sadly you’re the one one I’ve to vent about. He instructed me to speak to you guys, that’s the humorous half.”
Controller: “That’s nice. Planes on the bottom appear to have precedence over planes within the air. Once more, simply FYI, we’ve had points with the tower right here for some time so far as a few of these issues go round, issues like that, however I feel it’s Extra applicable for an official report as a result of now we hear they’re making an attempt in charge us for our speeds, however I don’t know what we did mistaken.”
Pilot: “Yeah, I’ll fill one for certain. I imply, that’s unacceptable, two go to unravel the identical drawback, one thing has to occur with that.”
Controller: “I agree with you 100%.”

On the third try, the United 737 lastly landed, about half-hour late from the 2 vehicles taking off.


There are some attention-grabbing air visitors management sounds of a United 737 going by way of two flights at San Francisco Airport. Each instructions had been attributable to lack of spacing, and in each circumstances it was because of the plane being cleared to taxi on the runway for takeoff, however there was not sufficient separation.

I perceive, in fact, that air visitors controllers are overworked and underneath a number of stress to keep away from delays, they usually can also’t fairly predict how lengthy it should take for planes to clear the runway, begin a takeoff run, and so forth.

On the identical time, from a pilot’s perspective, I can even recognize the frustration of getting two pointless runs in a row for the very same motive. Curiously, the tower controller then blames NorCal, however the NorCal controller is 100% suitable with the pilot.

What do you consider this interplay between the American pilot and the air visitors controller?