(MIAMI, FLORIDA) – In a rather peculiar display of anger and curiosity, Spirit Air Lines pilot Daniel Rogers was reportedly still trying to figure out how to get his Airbus A320 aircraft on the HILEY6 arrival into Miami International Airport Tuesday morning.
“I mean, they said ‘descend via’, and I said ‘roger’, but I’ll be honest, I have no idea what to do here. Like, what altitude am I supposed to be descending to? We’ve been holding for the past 2 hours while I look up the documentation on my iPad”, Rogers told reporters over his auxiliary VHF radio Tuesday morning.
According to air traffic control, the aircraft requested a chunk of altitude, known as a block altitude, from the surface of the Atlantic ocean up to 18,000 feet. “Well, the aircraft basically said we need this altitude for the descent profile, and to play Candy Crush, you know”, said Miami Center Air Traffic Controller Bob Bradshaw.
Profiled descent clearances, also known as ‘descend via’ clearances, like the one given to Rogers’ airplane, have been notoriously difficult for pilots to understand in heavier congested areas of the country. Last June, a Southwest aircraft descended from 33,000 feet to less than 2,000 in under a minute after a descend via clearance was given. Further investigation found the pilot was simply following airline protocol for ‘very efficient operations’.
This story involving the Spirit Air Lines aircraft in Miami is ongoing. We will update you with further news as we receive more information
Update: the iPad used by captain Daniel Rogers has died, as the battery was not charged.