First Officer Weighs in on Communication Procedures When Flying Through Violent Airspace


Published 07/17 2014 10:14PM

Updated 07/18 2014 08:28AM

On Thursday morning a Malaysia Airline 777 passenger plane was shot down in the eastern area of Ukraine.

The Boeing 777 plane carried 295 passengers and has raised several questions on if it’s safe to travel over countries with conflict.

International 777 First Officer Michael Hume, who flies for a major United States airline said that what happens on the ground, he believes, has limited to do with what happens in the sky.

Hume explained, "Radar facilities that know where you are at all times and you're speaking with a controller and you're under what’s called radar contact."

Hume said when you fly a violent flight plan, all these different controlling facilities know when you're coming through.

"Before you enter a country's air space, you usually give them a 10 minute call on the radio frequency saying we're about 10 minutes from your boundaries,” said Hume.

Hume said then they have you on radio to confirm your altitude and location. When flying through different countries Captains and First Officers are frequently checking in to different air controllers.

Hume said, "The controller is controlling more than 1 aircraft and they check in from another controller and say here I am at this altitude and he will look and see where you are."

Hume said planes are passed to different controllers as they enter different country's airspace so there should be no question to what planes are good and which could be dangerous. As an international First Officer, Hume regularly flies over dangerous areas and said there is no warning.

"The controlling facilities are very good at identifying the good guys and allowing them to fly through and I think there was a break down in the system. No warning per say but they may have known there's some activity, but unless Ukraine themselves said not to fly through here there’s no way for anyone to know not to go through that airspace,” said Hume.

Hume ensures that this has nothing to do with the safety of flights everyday in the u-s.

Hume said, "This doesn’t have any bearing on what's going on here. Absolutely no questions about safety of a US airline flying anywhere in the world.”

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