Once in a awhile something doesn’t work with ATC and we’re asked to call the tower or the particular facility upon landing. The tables were turned on a recent flight when the pilot of a Hawker jet asked for the facility phone number. I happened to be on frequency and heard the whole thing go down.
The weather was low IFR and the jet had been vectored onto the localizer but not cleared for the approach. The controller was busy and even though the Hawker made several calls the controller was busy. By the time he got back to clearing the flight for the approach it was too late to establish a stabilized approach to capture the glideslope that was several hundred feet below.
The captain very wisely requested to be vectored quickly back to the final and asked the controller to keep it tight since fuel was becoming an issue. The nearest legal alternate was at least 100 miles away. As soon as everything was properly organized he politely but firmly asked for the facility phone number, ostensibly to discuss the miscue.
I commend the captain on several counts:
1) He didn’t try to comply with a potentially unsafe clearance
2) The weather was so low that if the approach was flown high or fast it would likely be missed
3) He didn’t try to rectify the problem on the frequency – there were flight critical discussion taking place.
4) He wanted to be sure the controller understood his side of the problem.
This is an admittedly rare occurrence but it was a textbook solution. Anyone else had this type of experience and how did it play out? VFR or IFR?