3rd Oct 2009, 13:00
First I am not real Pilot or ATC but I Am an aviation enthusiast and starting soon a dispatcher course
Living in Cairo lately I've noticed that in preparation for the opening of the new Runway we had the Flight Checker Aircraft a few times during the past 2 weeks
I understand it comes to check the ILS/VOR etc... however When listening over my scanner, they do some special maneuvars or procedures each identified with a letter and some times a letter and a number
They call it Procedure Charlie and Procedure Echo etc....
Can anybody please shed some light on those procedures ?
Thanks in advance !
Genghis the Engineer
3rd Oct 2009, 14:15
Almost certainly "the team" have agreed what they're doing, put it down on their test cards, and labelled them A, B, C, D, E...
So, to save lengthy and potentially ambiguous explanations they will simply say to each other "next test will be procedure Delta", referring to the test plan in use that day.
This is pretty standard practice in flight testing, for reasons of efficiency and privacy.
3rd Oct 2009, 14:49
Thanks a lot for the explanation but can you explain more about the procedures them selves what do they consists of their legs,etc...
For example some times They request a 12 DME arc others they reques 5 NM Finals etc...
if You check Cairo NOTAMs you can see that they are preparing for a runway clousre and another opening which was closed for maintainance the pilot was so pissed off from the controller and told him if you didn't leave me do my job before afternoon I will close Cairo Airport but 12 AM Tonight !!! Which sounds very strange the aircraft was called Flight Checker 424 and is a german registered
5th Oct 2009, 01:18
An outline of the history of Flight Inspection in Canada and the procedures currently used is available here:
ICASC - The History of Flight Inspection in Canada (http://avnwww.jccbi.gov/icasc/fi_history_canada.html)
The reason for the close-in manoeuvering is that, irrespective of the method used to find the aircraft's real position in the sky, the accuracy of the ILS is built up by flying "cuts" at fixed offsets and/or altitudes to the centre of the beam. Please realise I'm really simplifying this - there's a full FAA book on the procedures here http://naco.faa.gov/index.asp?xml=fioo/tech More on the history is here: http://naco.faa.gov/index.asp?xml=fioo/fihistory
If you look you'll see that a certain wide-bodied bizjet is the favourite platform for Flight Inspection - as a NavCanada Technician said to me - "It's a great platform & you can talk a walk around the cabin to stretch your legs."
14th Oct 2009, 11:30
Absolutely correct Genghis...Profile A, B etc are pre-arranged flight inspection manoeuvres. ATC and the engineers on the ground have a copy of the 'decode' sheet for these profiles and it saves a lot of RT airtime. I could go into detail about the different profiles, what they are designed to measure and why, but since that is usually the subject of months of training (for which I usually get paid!) I will just leave it at that for now.
SU-GCM...the aircraft was indeed German...operated by Cobham Flight Inspection. Interesting to hear the reponse of the aircraft captain to being held off. Admittedly, it is hugely frustrating when you are trying to get an inspection completed and ATC are being unhelpful, but he really shouldn't have reacted like that. It's a civil company doing a job that the airport is paying large amounts of money for...
As for the detail of the manoeuvres - see my comment above. It might help to remember that Flight Inspection is trying to measure the parameters of a 3-dimensional signal in space...in the case of an ILS, 70° wide, 17 Nautical Miles long (25 NM at its maximum), 7° maximum elevation and to an accuracy of ± 0.5 metres! Takes more than 1 manoeuvre to do all that!
ICT-SLB...I wish that a wide bodied biz-jet was favourite!! I have spent too many years crammed into small turboprops - or worse - piston twins! The aircraft of choice for flight inspection nowadays is the King Air. The 200 used to be the red hot favourite, but the 350 is gaining more favour with its longer legs and better payload.