Thread: NZAA Sequencing
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Old 4th Feb 2012, 04:51
  #9 (permalink)  
Artificial Horizon
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: The Land Downunder
Posts: 766
The whole ATC system in NZ is a bit of a farce. I took off from NZCH recently number two to an Air NZ 737, both of us going to NZAA. No idea what they cruise at but I suspect it must be .74 ish as on first contact with 'control' he was asked to fly maximum speed of .76 an we were asked to slow to .74 or less. So here we were with 350nm to run and a jet designed to fly at .78 was flying at .74 and the jet designed to fly at .74 was pushing it up to .76. This was a bad enough piece of controlling but it was to get even worse when we both were switched over to the last control freq. before NZAA and the 737 was slowed to 250 kts due to a Dash 8 that was only 10nm ahead who had been sequenced as number 1 to land. We then we asked to slow to 'minimum clean'. So with 100nm to run we had a Dash 8 flying balls to the wall, a 737 flying 250kts and us descending at 220kts. The crazy thing was that the Dash 8 was the next aircraft to land at NZAA, we were all stacked up behind him. When I finally queried just why we hadn't been permitted to cruise straight past the 737 out of NZCH and then the Dash 8 into NZAA I was told that the sequence of us and the 737 had been determined by NZCH departures and the Dash 8 had been sequenced in front of both of us as he had reached some imaginary 'circle' that surrounds NZAA first. Apparently once someone has decided the sequence it is set in stone even if it is total bullsh*t. This is where I am constantly disappointed by NZ ATC, as in all the other parts of the world I have flown it is generally recognised that it is better for everyone to allow aircraft to be sequenced with regard to the perfomance of that type.

I have actually come to the conclusion that a lot of the reason for some of these problems is down to the fact that there are too 'many' visual approaches at our major airports. It seems to increase RT traffic 10 fold and lead to a much more 'fluid' situation which is much harder for a controller to sequence properly. I think our controllers are 'out of practice' at proper vectoring and IFR operations. Every time the weather requires instrument approaches into NZAA the whole thing falls to pieces, it is all 'speed up' then 'slow down', panic ensues if you turn finals any closer than 6nm behind the traffic in front. They want to see Heathrow where it is unusual for there to be more than 2.5nm spacing between arrivals or 5nm if someone is planned to depart in between. The problem is that NZ skies are now becoming quite busy in comparison to how they have been, maybe it is time to leave the GA attitude and stupid visual approaches at NZAA in the past and start acting like a grown up airport.
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