PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - Near midair over SFO
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Old 1st Apr 2010, 12:04
  #60 (permalink)  
Capt Sly
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: EGLL
Posts: 33
Too many pilots don't look out the window...and sholdn't there have been 3 pilots...this was a long haul flight probably with an augmented crew of some form....and all the pilots are on the flight deck for takeoff.
So what are you supposed to do when you are looking out of the window? Level off a 777 or 747 at 1000'? Have you no idea what it is like to fly a big jet?!? On departure for a flight like that you dont have much of a manouever margin - too low a speed and you stall into SF, too high a speed and you bust the flap limiting speeds. Handling is difficult and you are suggesting the pilots should level off to avoid a collision or even warning.... have you not seen the hills there?!?

1500 ft horizontal and 200 to 300 ft vertical sound like they had things well under control. Less horizontal separation exists landing on the 28 runways on arrival to SFO. I always felt like I was in formation on final there.
On the 28s both aircraft are going in the same direction and at least one aircraft is visual with the other and is told to maintain separation. In this case the TCAS system is happy (even though the pilots may not be), and there are no warnings of impending collision.... except if the preceding aircraft goes around....

Note the posts of one "Captain Bloggs", who is doing his best to inject an "Australian Perspective" into the comments.
Crikey - are you trying to flame a guy for being safe?!?

The systems used in the US are systemically unsafe. The fact that IFR traffic is only separated from other IFR traffic is unsafe in a busy environment. The fact that the Americans point aircraft on the approach at each other, and then use the "are you visual with the aircraft in front" and then the "maintain visual separation" or "remain behind the traffic in front" as a way of avoiding a collision raises the risk of collision. The fact that a GA aircraft thinks he is going to miss the 777 is not OK when all the bells and whistles in the 777 are going off. If the pilot is tired (ie 4am on the body clock as I will be as I climb out of KSFO next week) then you have terrain, TCAS, reconfiguration of the air, landing gear and flap systems to consider in the first 1500' and that is before you throw in an engine failure or fire - miss one of these out and you may have a smoking wreck.

It should be the case that in busy airspace (ie KLAX, KSFO, KJFK, KORD etc) that the airspace is designated class A, and therefore IFR traffic is sepearted from all traffic. It would be a shame for the GA folks, but how many of these near misses on the approach or climbout do we need before we get a hit?! Surely in modern human factors teaching this is a swiss cheese with the holes almost lining up.
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