If this story is accurate, then it is one of the most moronic actions I have heard related to commercial aviation.
The Federal Aviation Administration of the United States is investigating what is being called “a potentially dangerous prank” which an air traffic controller allegedly played on the pilots of a Boeing 777-200 aircraft filled with passengers which operated as Delta Air Lines flight 630 from Nagoya — via a stop in Detroit — and was about to land at the international airport which serves the Atlanta metropolitan area.
The air traffic controller — who is unidentified at this time — allegedly told the pilots not to land and instead circle the airport while the aircraft was at an altitude of approximately 1,000 feet. Seconds later, the air traffic controller said, “I’m kidding, Delta 630. After you land, I’ve got no one behind you. Expect to exit right.”
Although the air traffic controller supposedly said he was just joking immediately after instructing the pilots to circle the airport, the pilots had already aborted the landing, could not resume the touchdown, and were forced to circle the airport for another attempt to land.
The aircraft landed safely after its second attempt during this incident, which reportedly occurred in the late afternoon on Wednesday, June 11, 2014.
Coincidentally, this was not the first incident involving an aircraft operating as Delta Air Lines flight 630. Almost one year ago in a completely unrelated incident with a different airplane, FlyerTalk members were attempting to figure out what was the status of that flight when its flight pattern became irregular, as the Boeing 747-400 aircraft was apparently diverted to Seattle due to possible mechanical issues — but I digress.
What would compel an air traffic controller to pull a sick joke such as giving false instructions to a pilot with a full load of passengers is beyond my comprehension. Not only did I not find the joke funny; but I did not even understand it.
I would first like to find out more details as the result of the investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration. If the information is indeed accurate, then that air traffic controller should be punished to the fullest extent, in my opinion.
What do you think?