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NTSB to probe Fedex/Southwest close encounter at Austin

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NTSB to probe Fedex/Southwest close encounter at Austin

Old 10th Mar 2023, 19:17
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Originally Posted by dbenj
On a CAT III morning with no ground radar coverage, why should the controller not be equipped with an iPad and software to display ADS-B data?
indeed, a tested/validated/certified/managed tool, see the SASS project (if I'm well informed). And one might argue it's well overdue.
But not FR24 on an iPad for ATC...
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Old 10th Mar 2023, 21:58
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Originally Posted by DIBO
indeed, a tested/validated/certified/managed tool, see the SASS project (if I'm well informed). And one might argue it's well overdue.
But not FR24 on an iPad for ATC...
The point is not FR24. The point is there are inexpensive, readily available means to use ADS-B data to improve controller SA in low visibility conditions. But rather than use these tools, the lives of hundreds of people are put at risk while the FAA awaits a solution costing tens of millions of dollars.

Is it a perfect solution? No. Is it better than being blind? Absolutely.


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Old 10th Mar 2023, 22:11
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Originally Posted by dbenj
The point is not FR24. The point is there are inexpensive, readily available means to use ADS-B data to improve controller SA in low visibility conditions. But rather than use these tools, the lives of hundreds of people are put at risk while the FAA awaits a solution costing tens of millions of dollars.

Is it a perfect solution? No. Is it better than being blind? Absolutely.
You are wrong. There are procedures that are safe when used in low visibility procedures. Those were not followed, leading to an unsafe situation. But there is currently no approved/validated ADS-B solution available for controllers AFAIK. Getting one approved will take a long time and cost a lot of money. Giving the controller an iPad with FR24 might have helped in this case, but there is plenty of threads on here were ads-b/fr24 data is not reliable/correct, and if the controllers had used the data in those cases it could have ended up worse. Until it is proven to be accurate and safe, ABS-B should not be used. I have a company iPad with GPS, Jepps app shows my position perfectly on the taxi diagram, great for SA, but my company specifically prohibits me from using that feature, because the GPS in an iPad is not approved by the FAA for navigation, and on the NEOs it will sometimes suddenly lose the plot. Me crossing the wrong runway because I am trusting a not proven device does not make things safer.
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Old 10th Mar 2023, 22:47
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Originally Posted by notam232
What was the ATC's plan for calling a go around if necessary? Look at his radar screen and hope that the departure becomes airborne before the arrival is over the threshold, otherwise call a go around? Wait until the arrival is 0.5 miles from the threshold and query the departure for their position on the runway? There needs to be a viable Plan B if the original plan doesn't work...
I don’t think the LC’s plan included a plan B. In another profession, we called this a “success-oriented plan.” I assume the LC’s mindset went something like this: I’ve got FDX at 3 miles and SWA is ready. I can meet my 2 mi increasing to 3 mi rule as long as I get SWA rolling in the next 30 seconds. How hard can that be? SWA should show up on my radar repeater within the next minute and life is good.

Note that in this plan, the LC has no way of establishing when SWA commences its takeoff roll. Then consider the following note from 7110.65, 5-8-4 (the 2 increasing to 3 rule):

NOTE−

1. This procedure permits a departing aircraft to be released so long as an arriving aircraft is no closer than 2 miles from the runway at the time. This separation is determined at the time the departing aircraft commences takeoff roll.

2. Consider the effect surface conditions, such as ice, snow, and other precipitation, may have on known aircraft performance characteristics, and the influence these conditions may have on the pilot’s ability to commence takeoff roll in a timely manner.
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Old 11th Mar 2023, 03:12
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Originally Posted by BFSGrad
I don’t think the LC’s plan included a plan B. In another profession, we called this a “success-oriented plan.” I assume the LC’s mindset went something like this: I’ve got FDX at 3 miles and SWA is ready. I can meet my 2 mi increasing to 3 mi rule as long as I get SWA rolling in the next 30 seconds. How hard can that be? SWA should show up on my radar repeater within the next minute and life is good.

Note that in this plan, the LC has no way of establishing when SWA commences its takeoff roll. Then consider the following note from 7110.65, 5-8-4 (the 2 increasing to 3 rule):

NOTE−

1. This procedure permits a departing aircraft to be released so long as an arriving aircraft is no closer than 2 miles from the runway at the time. This separation is determined at the time the departing aircraft commences takeoff roll.

2. Consider the effect surface conditions, such as ice, snow, and other precipitation, may have on known aircraft performance characteristics, and the influence these conditions may have on the pilot’s ability to commence takeoff roll in a timely manner.
Originally Posted by hans brinker

Order JO 7110.65Z - Air Traffic Control

7110.65 Chapter 3. Airport Traffic Control - Terminal Section 7. Taxi and Ground Movement Procedures 3-7-5. PRECISION APPROACH CRITICAL AREA

a. ILS critical area dimensions are described in FAAO 6750.16, Siting Criteria for Instrument Landing Systems. Aircraft and vehicle access to the ILS/MLS critical area must be controlled to ensure the integrity of ILS/MLS course signals whenever conditions are less than reported ceiling 800 feet or visibility less than 2 miles. Do not authorize vehicles/aircraft to operate in or over the critical area, except as specified in subpara 
a1, whenever an arriving aircraft is inside the ILS outer marker (OM) or the fix used in lieu of the OM unless the arriving aircraft has reported the runway in sight or is circling to land on another runway.
Nope. SWA should have been well past the DER (LLZ antenna) before FDX got to 3.3NM (OM equivalent in KAUS 18L) on final.
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Old 11th Mar 2023, 06:18
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Originally Posted by hans brinker
Nope. SWA should have been well past the DER (LLZ antenna) before FDX got to 3.3NM (OM equivalent in KAUS 18L) on final.
So plan A was flawed before the TO clearance was even given as this would have put the SWA 737 inside the ILS critical area. Plan B was to hold SWA until after the Fedex had landed, which is the one the LC should have gone with.
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Old 11th Mar 2023, 11:56
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Originally Posted by Compton3fox
So plan A was flawed before the TO clearance was even given as this would have put the SWA 737 inside the ILS critical area. Plan B was to hold SWA until after the Fedex had landed, which is the one the LC should have gone with.
I think that is correct. If the general theme of what posters have been saying is correct, the controller’s plan(SW quickly taking off) put the FedEx flight at risk of a localizer anomaly at low in weather where that is not supposed to happen. The subsequent SW unannounced takeoff delay put the both aircraft in a position of serious collision risk.
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Old 11th Mar 2023, 12:09
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Originally Posted by hans brinker
Nope. SWA should have been well past the DER (LLZ antenna) before FDX got to 3.3NM (OM equivalent in KAUS 18L) on final.
short and true.

Originally Posted by DIBO
indeed, a tested/validated/certified/managed tool, see the SASS project (if I'm well informed). And one might argue it's well overdue.
But not FR24 on an iPad for ATC...
True, and FR24 can cause its own issues when relied on. SASS project I need to Google. THX
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Old 11th Mar 2023, 13:24
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Originally Posted by hans brinker
I have a company iPad with GPS, Jepps app shows my position perfectly on the taxi diagram, great for SA, but my company specifically prohibits me from using that feature, because the GPS in an iPad is not approved by the FAA for navigation, and on the NEOs it will sometimes suddenly lose the plot. Me crossing the wrong runway because I am trusting a not proven device does not make things safer.
Apples and oranges. Your iPad GPS is not certified, therefore your position is not precisely depicted on your iPad. But the GPS used by ADS-B in the aircraft around you are WAAS certified and accurate typically to 3 ft. horizontally and 5 ft. vertically. (The certification standard in less precise.) So the positions of the surrounding aircraft depicted on your iPad are more accurate than your position depicted on your iPad.

Better than controllers being completely blind in the fog.
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Old 11th Mar 2023, 16:02
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FAA Safety Summit March 15

Presumably this incident - with others recently - will receive a good deal of attention next week, on Wednesday 15 March, when FAA convenes a specially arranged safety summit.

The website of a prominent aviation law firm (with which I'm not affiliated at all) posted a link for livestream of the summit.
"The FAA’s March 15 safety summit is being live streamed: https://bit.ly/3muh30Z"

(I'm posting this item a second time, besides on the JFK incident thread, based on the idea that the incident in Austin was quite serious and the FAA event on March 15 - if it turns out to be meaningful - might cover much of what has been talked about in posts on this thread too.)
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Old 11th Mar 2023, 16:57
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Originally Posted by hans brinker
Nope. SWA should have been well past the DER (LLZ antenna) before FDX got to 3.3NM (OM equivalent in KAUS 18L) on final.
I don't disagree with you, but this rule isn't specifically geared to separation between aircraft in the ordinary sense.
A LC shouldn't be allowed to apply the 2-increasing-to-3 rule in these conditions without some way of monitoring whether the take-off roll has commenced.
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Old 11th Mar 2023, 23:17
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Originally Posted by punkalouver
I think that is correct. If the general theme of what posters have been saying is correct, the controller’s plan(SW quickly taking off) put the FedEx flight at risk of a localizer anomaly at low in weather where that is not supposed to happen. The subsequent SW unannounced takeoff delay put the both aircraft in a position of serious collision risk.
I concur, there was a very serious risk of a collision. Using the NTSB data, it seems multiple slices of Swiss cheese had the holes aligned. It was the very last thin slice that didn't quite match up - but that was by pure chance.

1) Had the Southwest 737 commenced its roll just 4 or 5 seconds later the Fedex 767 would have been right on top of it at the minimum altitude before engine thrust arrested the 767's descent. Hard to be sure, but possibly the rear of the 767 and tailfin of the 737 might have been within 25-35 feet vertically. So just as dangerous as the 2017 SFO taxiway incident.
2) Had the Fedex FO taken a couple of seconds longer to call out "go around" the 767 would have sunk further towards the ground, possibly as low as the 737 tailfin. Also I can't be certain, but would the aerodynamic influence of an accelerating 737 on the runway disrupted the airflow to the extent that the 767 would have lost lift just as it was needed most?

Disclaimer - very long time lurker, very rare poster. Employed at EGLL, but dealing with what is disgorged by the aluminium / composite tubes, not in the air industry. Not often I can add something worthwhile that a pilot hasn't already mentioned. This has been a really good discussion.
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Old 12th Mar 2023, 01:34
  #453 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by hans brinker
Nope. SWA should have been well past the DER (LLZ antenna) before FDX got to 3.3NM (OM equivalent in KAUS 18L) on final.
Yup, both the LLZ and the G/S Antenna were unprotected for the B767 due to the clearance that the ATC gave. The G/S starts to be filtered out of the guidance for the APFD as a function of altitude, but was still going to be impacted with a plane on the TH of the runway. The LLZ was going to be interfered with and increasingly so as the B737 passed down the runway, and the last time I investigated messed up ALAND functions, there was no filtering of the LLZ to avoid oscillations of the LLZ signal. The B767 happens to be one of the most sensitive APFD I ever used for ALAND, compared to any of the other Boeings or Buses, from the B747, B757 B777, B737, A320, A330 or A340-600, the B767 would get squirrelly with a minimal change in environmental conditions.

HUGS if fitted will incorporate a filtering for the FPV in most but not all cases, that gives INU and GPS inputs, and it is not bad but can be out. The whole thing with the 5-G and the ATC services in the USA seems to be a move towards finding out at what point do the operators stop flying under such a messed up system. KJFK on a good day is a mess, on a bad day, it is unpleasant. KORD in winter is not far behind. KLAX actually seems to have become better, KSFO is pretty and concerning in equal doses.

Failing to protect the ILS in bad weather is plain dumb. The crew of the B767 had every right to make an objection at that moment in time, but they were undoubtedly engrossed in the flight they were doing themselves...
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Old 12th Mar 2023, 01:44
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Originally Posted by dbenj
Apples and oranges. Your iPad GPS is not certified, therefore your position is not precisely depicted on your iPad. But the GPS used by ADS-B in the aircraft around you are WAAS certified and accurate typically to 3 ft. horizontally and 5 ft. vertically. (The certification standard in less precise.) So the positions of the surrounding aircraft depicted on your iPad are more accurate than your position depicted on your iPad.

Better than controllers being completely blind in the fog.
I use the ADS-B traffic feature on the ground on my iPad all the time to see how many there are waiting for departure, so I can plan my second engine start. Airplanes pop up and disappear all the time. I was a non-radar ATC controller in training. Pretty much the legal definition of controlling blind. It was perfectly safe, as long as you followed the rules. Adding radar made it possible to add more traffic, with the same level of safety. But also with much less time to react if something went wrong...
Until there is a certified system, which as you said, takes time and money, I will go with:
"It is better to know you are blind, than think you can see."

Last edited by hans brinker; 12th Mar 2023 at 01:54.
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Old 12th Mar 2023, 17:17
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Originally Posted by dbenj
The point is not FR24. The point is there are inexpensive, readily available means to use ADS-B data to improve controller SA in low visibility conditions. But rather than use these tools, the lives of hundreds of people are put at risk while the FAA awaits a solution costing tens of millions of dollars.Is it a perfect solution? No. Is it better than being blind? Absolutely.
Sorry for getting back to this earlier , was away a few days learning how the future of our industry will look like in 2050. But a quick answer to your statement /question :
FR24 on an Ipad will never be used by ATC for the obious reason that it is not certified and cannot be certified. It is extremely easy for the owner on an antena to filter or modify the results , and you can see the possibilities to cause harm if used by the wrong hands. It also , as far as I understood it, "fills up " blanks when there is no data. Keep FR24 for what it is , a very interesting hobby app .
Is it better than being blind?
No, not in ATC ,we're not in the guessing and asuming business.


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Old 13th Mar 2023, 11:27
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FAA policy is that ADSB is the future of ATC (in place of radar) and already uses ADSB data for the SASS project to monitor ground and near-field movements. SASS is already in use at a handful of US Airports - therefore I assume it is certified and approved.

SASS uses a dedicated ADSB receiver on the airfield, and collates the ADSB-out data from aircraft, ground vehicles (if fitted) etc, and merges these with e.g. tower radar data. It is not using any of the public web-based ADSB interfaces, because as you say, data can be spoofed by bad actors (I have seen the Starship Enterprise NCC-1701 taxying around RAF Brize Norton, for example!).

The near-miss at Austin, and the NTSB (& Congress) investigations may well recommend an acceleration of the implementation of SASS, as an additional layer of swiss cheese. As SLF, I certainly hope so.
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Old 13th Mar 2023, 13:55
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Originally Posted by roger4
FAA policy is that ADSB is the future of ATC (in place of radar) and already uses ADSB data for the SASS project to monitor ground and near-field movements. SASS is already in use at a handful of US Airports - therefore I assume it is certified and approved.
o.
Thanks for your info, but ,no as far as I know it is not certified yet, just in the testing /evaluation phase ( never asume in ATC remember ) Anyway as its name says SASS is only for small airports , so not made for large airports like Austin , ASDE ( ground radar) is what is needed there. but is (far) more exoensive.
But it would not have made much difference in this incident since latest info seems to indicate training being the main issue . The LC issued a clearance for normal ops in a degraded Low visibility ops.situation., That should never had happenned in the first place, and SASS ,or ASDE may have helped the LC monitoring the delayed take off and ordering a go around earlier, yes, but we are on the third cheese layer already..
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Old 13th Mar 2023, 14:48
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Thanks ATC_Watcher, and my apologies - I muddled SASS with what I meant to reference, which was ASSC (Airport Surface Surveillance Capability).

As I read the FAA's published info, ASSC works as I described, is designed to replace ASDE-X, and is already in use at Anchorage, Cincinnatti, Cleveland, Kansas City, New Orleans, Pittsburg, Portland and San Francisco. It is due to be installed at Joint Base Andrews next. Hence my point that an ADSB-based extra layer of cheese designed for large airports exists.

Yes, the LC made a mistake that he shouldn't have, that set off the whole chain of events. And yes, any one of the existing layers of cheese should have been enough to stop it. But it didn't.

I agree with others earlier in this thread, the fact that we aren't discussing a disaster is sheer luck that the FDX initiated a go-around when he did. A second later, and we would have had a collision, as indeed we might have if the SWA had rolled a few seconds earlier.
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Old 16th Mar 2023, 16:12
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FAA "Read-Out" from Safety Summit break-out panels

FAA Newsroom has posted a read-out from the break-out panels at the March 15 Safety Summit. (Posting the link here based on the Austin incident appearing to be one of the most concerning, if not the most concerning, of the recent set of occurrences.)

https://www.faa.gov/newsroom/readout...reakout-panels
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Old 16th Mar 2023, 20:47
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Originally Posted by WillowRun 6-3
FAA Newsroom has posted a read-out from the break-out panels at the March 15 Safety Summit. (Posting the link here based on the Austin incident appearing to be one of the most concerning, if not the most concerning, of the recent set of occurrences.)

https://www.faa.gov/newsroom/readout...reakout-panels
Thank you W-R!

On request:
  • Re-examine runway incursion data to identify underlying factors that led to these incidents and identify remedies.
  • The FAA issued a call to industry to help identify technologies that could augment existing capabilities of surface surveillance equipment and deploy this technology to all airports with air traffic control services.
I hope to see progress.

Phraseology was not addressed. Maybe as part of Human Factors?
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