ATC Communications WIth Hypoxic Pilot

This clip is scary.

The aircraft is out of control and the pilot is slurring his speech due to hypoxia. It’s not clear until later in the clip that the other pilot is unconscious (as he chimes in as the aircraft descends).

The clip is available from the NATCA website and has been nominated for an Archie Award.

Listen to it here.

This clip demonstrates the dangers of hypoxia. During the exchange between pilot and controller the pilot tells the controller that other than losing control of the aircraft, everything is ok:

Unable to control altitude. Unable to control airspeed. Unable to control heading. Kalitta six six. Other than that, everything A-OK.

His perception of the situation is altered due to the lack of oxygen available to his brain.

When asked by the controller if he would like to land at the nearest airport, the pilot replies:

Prefer to land aircraft at destination airport as the aircraft is (unintelligible). No possible damage to any part of the aircraft (unintelligible). So we’re slowly, ever so slowly, regaining control the airspeed and the aircraft if we are given the time to slowly reengage.

I’m sure that made sense to him, but really it doesn’t make any sense at all.

You can also download the transcript.

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4 thoughts on “ATC Communications WIth Hypoxic Pilot

  1. That really was scary. If it was real time, they came down from FL260 to FL110 really really quickly … and miraculously recovered brain function. I bet they had monster headaches if not worse after that.
    ” Other than that, everthing A-OK. ”

  2. Are those audio files edited?
    It’s hard to believe it was real time due to the speed they descended and regained control.
    It’s amazing nevertheless.

  3. Yeah.. I really don’t think that the clip is in real time. They didn’t specify if it was or not.

  4. Yay for my (lack of) attention.
    The transcript is titled “EDITED AUDIO FROM FLIGHT ASSIST”.

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