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Dec 31st 2008 5:29PM "Landing anyway" is what a pilot would do in the USA, or the UK.
This was in the southern Phillipines, in the heart of the area where Abu Sayef operates. Zamboanga is a pretty big city. The airport is a fairly large one.
Were I a Filipino pilot who arrived at a large commercial airport when it was supposed to be manned to find it silent, "one" of the possible scenarios that I would have to consider is "Maybe the terrorists killed the controllers and put mines on the runway, or are waiting with weapons trained."
Not landing until the tower opened was, in my opinion, the safe thing to do.
Dec 31st 2008 5:22PM "I'd like to know who the last person out of the air traffic control room was? I think it should be mandatory that no one is to be the last one out!"
Um, the last one out would have been the guy that locked up whern they closed the tower the night before. This was the first inbound of the day - the controllers never showed up in the morning to reopen.
Dec 31st 2008 2:18PM I was flying the pattern at a US Airport shortly before 1800 on Christmas eve.
Dusk, two parallel runways open, the helicopter school operating from 4 pads, four or five light planes doing touch and goes, and a fairly steady stream of incoming and outgoing flights, with traffic ranging from my 152 through Lears and Citation jets.
At 1800 the tower controller stopped his traffic controlling to say "XXX tower to all traffic. The time is now 1800 and the tower is closed. Have a Merry Christmas."
The result? Apart from several "Merry Christmases" back to him, a resounding "So what?" Airports all around the world operate with no towers every day of the year. The only reason the pilots circled instead of following uncontrolled airport landing procedures is that one worries, if a suposedly manned tower is silent, whether there's a major problem on the ground. Zamboanga is, after all, in the heart of Abu Sayef country.