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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 6th Feb 2023, 21:14
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I've always been fascinated why in the US the "Cleared to Land" from ATC is often given as soon as the Tower is called regardless of if traffic is still departing, or other traffic is landing ahead, or if some plane is crossing, whereas in the UK, it's only given when nothing else is on the runway or due to land or take off ahead of you?

I would assume the UK one is "safer", but perhaps the US way is easier for ATC, and also doesn't stress the crew waiting for a low altitude clearance.

Also which one is the International default? And is there any legitimate reason why you want to have two different ways? Is there something uniquely different about UK and US airports which means both types are needed?
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 21:17
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Well this is from the ICAO guidance on separation between arriving and departing aircraft on the same runway using LVP’s:

“The experience in some States is that to achieve this, the departing aircraft must commence its take-off run before the arriving aircraft reaches a point 6 NM from touchdown.”

In fairness it does say the spacing can be reduced to the departing aircraft being airborne before the arriving aircraft reaches 2nm where they have suffience surface movement radar to allow monitoring of the taxiing aircraft. I don’t know what kind of kit this airport had.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 21:25
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Was it definitely LVPs? LVPs when vis is below 600 metres (or 200’ cloud base) and landing clearance ‘should’ be given by 2 miles, ‘ must’ be given by 1 mile or told to go around.
Pilot can ask for LVPs/CAT 3 approach but generally won’t be given protection unless LVPs declared.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 21:26
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Originally Posted by waito View Post
Are we sure about 3NM Final when Southwest passed the hold short position and entered the runway?


The moment SWA turned into the rwy (heading change from 090į towards 174į and beyond), FDX was just under 2nm from the threshold.

Originally Posted by AerocatS2A View Post
ATC told SW that FedEx was on 3NM final.
But that information was passed on by TWR when SWA was still on twy B, either still going northbound or maybe already in the eastward hold short position.
As LiveATC recordings are not reliably timestamped up-to the second, synchronizing it with FR24 timestamped data, is unreliable...
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 21:45
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As the operator of a small plane, and sometimes operating out of large airports(visual or common IFR, no CAT), I have often heard; "Bonanza xxxxx cleared for takeoff, no delay". Since I'm generally in the way at PHX, or SAN or SJC I take no umbridge in the ATC wanting me up and moving so Real Planes can resume operation.

I can't say I've ever heard "no delay" used with the bigger metal and if it's even in ICAO phraseology or just a warning to me to GTFO now. What about 'immediate takeoff'? Or, 'expedite takeoff'? Of course this does not include the violation of the CAT III obstruction of the transmit antenna by the SWA.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 21:57
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Originally Posted by AerocatS2A View Post
ATC told SW that FedEx was on 3NM final.
Typically wouldn't an ATC say something like "Traffic on 3 mile final, Cleared for Takeoff, No Delay" or is the No Delay just assumed. Presumaby it's also somewhat dependent on the traffic, a Cessna 172 on 3 mile final is a bit different than a 777.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 22:22
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Originally Posted by hitchens97 View Post
...Also which one is the International default?...
ICAO DOC4444 PANS-ATM (Air Traffic Management) states*:
7.10 CONTROL OF ARRIVING AIRCRAFT
7.10.1 Separation of landing aircraft and preceding landing and departing aircraft using the same runway
Except as provided in... Chapter 5, Section 5.8, a landing aircraft will not normally be permitted to cross the runway threshold on its final approach until the preceding departing aircraft has crossed the end of the runway-in-use, or has started a turn, or until all preceding landing aircraft are clear of the runway-in-use.
Note 1.— See Figure 7-2.
Note 2.— Wake turbulence categories and groups are contained in Chapter 4, Section 4.9 and time-based wake turbulence longitudinal separation minima are contained in Chapter 5, Section 5.8.
Note 3.— See 7.6.3.1.2.2.


7.10.2 Clearance to land
An aircraft may be cleared to land when there is reasonable assurance that the separation in 7.10.1 ...will exist when the aircraft crosses the runway threshold, provided that a clearance to land shall not be issued until a preceding landing aircraft has crossed the runway threshold. To reduce the potential for misunderstanding, the landing clearance shall include the designator of the landing runway.
My interpretation of the above is that the ICAO SARPs seem to be more in the spirit of the European/UK attitude to issuing landing clearances, however in my (limited) searching I can't find anything that expressly prohibits issuing a landing clearance to an aircraft a reasonable distance from the threshold while only departing traffic is obstructing the runway ahead of them (the apparent "US" practice).

*I've omitted references to exceptions for gin-clear pre-approved exemptions to these rules...

Last edited by ApolloHeli; 6th Feb 2023 at 22:24. Reason: Formatting
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 22:31
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With the weather ‘RVR was at 1400, mid point 600 and roll out 1800 feet’ it would be amazing if it wasn’t LVO conditions.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 23:01
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Sounds like a clarification of what AWO/LVP actually is and having an ruleset to follow for the ground movements could be a good result of this. If handled with the depth it requires by the NTSB.

Because, apart from the crew being not sluggish, there were no defences broken. As in not in place.

Not taking any high ground here. The European side had the guidance yet it took many lives lost to understand what compliance is.

https://simpleflying.com/linate-airport-disaster/
https://aviation-safety.net/database...?id=20011008-0

The benefit of standardised aviation vocabulary (phraseologies) is probably forever not found in the US, rejected by the collective immune system like a transplanted organ.

But the rest of us flying in other globe quadrants are not doing much of a stellar job either. And outside of the Beautiful Country, in multinational comm environments, it is a major mistake. Much attempted plain English, longwinded and descriptive, i.s.o. focused and specific.



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Last edited by FlightDetent; 6th Feb 2023 at 23:13.
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Old 6th Feb 2023, 23:45
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Posted by Reuters February 6, 20236:31 PM EST

Quotes from NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy:

"a FedEx Boeing 767 cargo plane and a Southwest Airlines 737-700 that nearly collided were "probably under 100 feet (30.5 meters) vertically from each other," according to preliminary information on Monday from the investigation."

and
"Both cockpit voice recorders in the incident were believed to have been overwritten, Homendy said."

Link https://www.reuters.com/business/aer...sb-2023-02-06/
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Old 7th Feb 2023, 01:08
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher View Post
So you assume everybody understood the Fedex was going around because they were all 3 locals Americans. Are you sure the Fedex would have used another phraseology if the SW had been, say Aeromexico or Virgin ? The poor phraseology , or lack of even , is what we discuss , and "on the go" was the most obvious one , but : " Abort" and "Negative" are as bad. if not worse.
And there are plenty of non US backgrounded pilots flying for US airlines as well.

While not related to this incident here's a glaring example of very poor phraseology by US ATC (in addition to unnecessary aggression) that caused confusion and frustration and could've led to a safety incursion:


But it's not just the lax phraseology, there's also the lax procedures and the laisse faire culture, things like clearing an aircraft to land off a CAT III approach while a preceding departing aircraft hasn't even entered the runway yet. You don't really see this in any developed aviation environment outside the US.
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Old 7th Feb 2023, 01:18
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Wonder how a crewless all computer freighter would have handled this? Go pilots. FedEx pilot calm on the radio after the event, situational awareness doesn't get any better, kudos to the crew.
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Old 7th Feb 2023, 05:33
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Oh well. Another case where compound HF elements caused an incident, which would never happen if handled by properly calibrated tech, being promoted as crew heroism.

A simple case:

A) If RWY not confirmed safe to land by 600 ft, a missed approach results.

B) If approaching traffic closer than 3.6 NM and departing acft still short of the holding point, disapprove or cancel the line up clearance except if ceiling 1000+ AFE and VIS 3+ NM.

That is not even aviation science.


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Old 7th Feb 2023, 10:24
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It appears that there is a bravissimo culture in some areas of US ATC, where the concept of safety challenge and just culture is simply missing. It’s their way , and that’s that.
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Old 7th Feb 2023, 10:42
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Originally Posted by megan View Post
Wonder how a crewless all computer freighter would have handled this? Go pilots. FedEx pilot calm on the radio after the event, situational awareness doesn't get any better, kudos to the crew.
Surely the ai/automation would have coordinated directly with the intruder aircrafts ai/automation and negotiated a better solution when it calculated the risk of collision was too great.

Im not for this technology yet as obviously it needs decades of work, but itís foolish to pretend there arenít solutions (and indeed better solutions) to this airprox using automation.
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Old 7th Feb 2023, 13:22
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Originally Posted by Seat4A View Post
Posted by Reuters February 6, 20236:31 PM EST

Quotes from NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy:

"a FedEx Boeing 767 cargo plane and a Southwest Airlines 737-700 that nearly collided were "probably under 100 feet (30.5 meters) vertically from each other," according to preliminary information on Monday from the investigation."

and
"Both cockpit voice recorders in the incident were believed to have been overwritten, Homendy said."

Link https://www.reuters.com/business/aer...sb-2023-02-06/
Isn't it about time that recorders stored enough data that they canít be overwritten or destroyed in any way by the crew?
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Old 7th Feb 2023, 14:13
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Originally Posted by Flyhighfirst View Post
Isn't it about time that recorders stored enough data that they can’t be overwritten or destroyed in any way by the crew?
24 hours should be easily achievable, with modern technology. The idea that a crew/system can delete relevant data seems so wrong.

I recall the huge magnetic tapes in ATC in the 70s … anything questionable on any frequency and one of the first tasks was “impound the tapes”.
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Old 7th Feb 2023, 15:54
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Originally Posted by Flyhighfirst View Post
Isn't it about time that recorders stored enough data that they can’t be overwritten or destroyed in any way by the crew?
Hasn’t EASA required 25 hour CVRs in new construction since 2021? The technology has been available for a long time. NTSB recommended extended duration CVRs back in 2018.
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Old 7th Feb 2023, 16:06
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Originally Posted by Oilhead View Post
It appears that there is a bravissimo culture in some areas of US ATC, where the concept of safety challenge and just culture is simply missing. Itís their way , and thatís that.
SWA and ATC cluelessness, no sense of urgency in a hair-on-fire scenario. Only FDX broke the chain at the last minute.
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Old 7th Feb 2023, 17:10
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Originally Posted by sectordirector View Post
SWA and ATC cluelessness, no sense of urgency in a hair-on-fire scenario. Only FDX broke the chain at the last minute.
Yes, but it ended with around 100 ft vertical separation, a little less rate of climb from the 767 and a bit more on tehe737 and it would have ended in a mid-air collision above the runway. It ended well due pure luck,
On the other hand there will always be someone ( a Capt Hinsight) that will say that If the Fedex had landed " normally" and descelerated behind anthe accelerating 737 possibly the separation would have been greater and consequently the risk of collision would have been smaller.
You never win in this situation .
But we should not base safety standards on luck.
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