ATC Replacement After Incidents

I’ve watched a lot of the Air Crash Investigation episodes and many other aviation movies, and it got me wondering… why do they replace the ATC after a crash or incident when it isn’t the ATC’ s faut? Wouldnt the existing ATC be more helpful to the situaton at hand?

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The atc might be traumatized after a single event like that and sometimes it is the atc’s fault so they can’t work their job anymore. When I watched air crash investigations before, I wondered the same thing… But it kind of makes sense now

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Well, I think there’s usually somebody in the room who is like the leader of all ATC ops. So if somebody has an issue, or an aircraft has a major emergency, that guy will come over since he (assumption) is the most experienced, and he will handle the situation.

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The supervisor doesn’t know whether it is their fault or not. When this happens they usually have an investigation to see if the controller gave the pilots the wrong instruction, was under the influence of alcohol or drugs etc

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I have also noticed that in the air crash investigations that their was this sort of higher reference figure although idk if he would play a part in and ATC staying or getting removed from their position

Shell shock, after witnessing a horrific incident, controllers are currently generally considered mentally fragile and unfit to continue with their duties as ATC is a high-stress position. They need time to recover and process what just happened.

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But what if the plane comes back on radar? Then would they bring the controller back?

They usually wait a little while and continue to attempt to contact the pilot. But if that were to happen then yes the controller would be brought back.

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Because when stuff happens, you’re not able to focus on other stuff. However, I’m sure @THE-OP can further explain.

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the controller involved is immediately removed whether they contributed or not, this is for many reasons.

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Think of it like being in a bad car accident. You don’t normally want to get right back in a car and drive around, right? Kind of the same thing.

This page has some information regarding procedures for ATC replacement in EUROCONTROL facilities.

I was removed once simply because I had talked to the aircraft prior to when it crashed. I was in no way a contributing factor as the plane crashed about 30 minutes after takeoff. I was removed around 45 minutes after the plane had crashed.

If a controller is a contributing factor, they are removed so further incidents do not occur. Your mind will only be thinking about one thing if you have a deal.

As far as where I work, you’re not allowed to talk to anyone except investigators, you will also give blood and take a drug test soon after.

Just because a plane falls off radar doesn’t mean the worst has happened.

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More than likely no, just because of the emotional stresses it caused. As a watch supervisor/controller in charge, if a plane came back on and the controller was removed due to the possibility, I would send them home for the day to relax.

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Oh OK thanks!

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When I was a firefighter we had a standard operating procedure that if any of us died on scene the commanding officer had to be relieved. The presumption was that the commanding officer’s judgement could be compromised due to the guilt of responsibility. I imagine the ATC protocol is similar.

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I think the big part is “preserving evidence”. As soon as an incident takes place it’s too soon to know exactly what happened and also, particular if there has been a loss of life, the ATC officer would be shell shocked / tramatised. So the ATC is relieved so that they can be given a D&A test ( standard), a strong cup of tea and also to write down ASAP what happened from their point of view.

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Blood readings have to be made, alcohol levels have to be checked among the many other things you guys mentioned above.

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If you don’t mind answering, was the crash fatal?

thats exactly what my uncle did once, his car crashed so he just walked home, he wasnt even hurt or traumatised!! meh if i was him id just get a cab back home