View Full Version : Late Landing Clearances

26th Jan 2008, 19:03

Just recently a newspaper article referred to a 737 conducting a missed approach at Perth Airport (Aust.) from about 300' because no landing clearance had yet been recieved.....according to ATC it was just about to be issued.

That got me wondering because we have no "hard altitude" limit in our Ops manual at which a go-around must be conducted if landing clearance has not been recieved.......

Does anyone's airline actually specify any height limits for landing clearance or is it left as a judgement call?

Thanks in advance.

26th Jan 2008, 19:11
Good point radnav

my airline operates to heathrow on a regular basis..and no we have no hard altitude for a go around in case of a late landing clearance
it's left to pilot judgment

fire wall
26th Jan 2008, 19:39
With major European, Asian and North American airports adopting a policy on late landing clearances (or very late as in the Nth american case) with a view to increasing flow rate it has certainly muddied the waters. Personally, I am of the opinion that there are 2 scenario's. First being a late ldg clearance following a departing a/c still on the takeoff roll, the second following an a/c just landed and yet to vacate the runway.

For the first case I use the CAT 1 minima as my decision point as I feel it allows me adequate time to assess how far into the t/o roll the preceding a/c is and , if I decide to g/round, gives me some area to manouvre if the departing a/c does something foolish or unexpected as the missed approach and the departure track for the said runway are normally coincident. Into this decision you can factor cloud base/visibility/etc with a view to keeping the preceding a/c in view if in the event you decide to push the thrust levers up and get out of there.

Second case I use the 50 ft rad alt call and assess the posn of the previous ldg a/c.... ie he would need to be into the high speed taxiway for me to land if already given a clearance to do so.

Keep in mind that all a/ports I operate into have a policy on late ldg clearances under certain vis conditions. Minima that I use could be adjusted for a/c type. Mine may be viewed by some as somewhat high but I fly the 74 classic and she takes a bit of steam to get up and going....and I couldn't be bothered being rushed.

Hope this helps.

26th Jan 2008, 20:27
Some major international airports (eg. CDG) routinely issue landing clearances at 5 nm or so, even when you are no. 2 (or 3!) on the approach. What they really mean is "land at your discretion after... ", in other words at that point they transfer the responsibility of the decision to land (or not) to the flight crew. While I prefer a late landing clearance, that procedure would in a case like the above have ensured a landing instead of a go-around. So it has its uses. AFAIK, they don't use that procedure when LVPs are in force. (I can already hear the UK-centric brigade readying for an argument, but like it or not, flying internationally is also about getting used to different ATC procedures).

My outfit doesn't have a clear-cut rule on this in its SOPs either, and I would tend to use DA as a reference. In other words, I wouldn't want to change my mind after I've decided to land. But then again, I fly a turboprop which will react near-instantaneously to a go-around.

I have sometimes reminded the TWR: "XXX, two miles" when on short finals with no landing clearance. That seems to work quite well.

Cheers :cool:

26th Jan 2008, 21:40
In Argentina, such as Buenos Aires' EZE and AEP and most places in South America, expect an early clearance to land, as Fouga Magister described above. I think it is ridiculous to have to ask for a clearance on a low-visibility (CAT.II) approach, when you are very busy for landing a few seconds within your flare and touch down.
Most places, you are instructed to call the tower at the OM, and they will clear you for landing ("at your discretion" is implied) at your first call, even if nš 1 is in short final. Should that aircraft be late vacating the runway, the tower will be instructing you to go around accordingly.
Or approach control will clear you to land, and instruct you to call tower after landing.
Outstanding ATCO, even if you dont like their accent.
Happy contrails

Reel Marine
26th Jan 2008, 22:01
Except if your an american carrier flying into venezuela where mr chavez hates all north americans then expect your clear to land at 100 feet in cavok conditions forcing you to do a go around and burn more fuel, its common down there:mad:

26th Jan 2008, 23:14
Hola Reel -
My buddy, el Seņor Presidente Hugo, does not hate North Americans...
He just dislikes George W...
The other 299.999,999 of you guys are ok for him.
After the US presidential elections, you will be cleared 10 miles out.
And the price of a gallon of CITGO will go down...
Happy contrails

27th Jan 2008, 10:01
I agree Jeeves, but at times the tower tells you to expect landing clearance on short final. Of course it depends on ones defination of short final. If you fly in an out of MSP you'd know that 9 times out of ten you will get landing clearance at 100 AAL, I've had landing clearance issued when we were 50'. Local knowledge helps, and we knew that we will get landing clearance.

Of course in India at most places we are cleared to land before we get to FAA except DEL and BOM where it is usually on short final again.

27th Jan 2008, 10:45
In our SOPs we have the latest decision point, for late landing clearance stated as 50 ft RA. So you are alloved to continue below CAT1 minimum and you must performe GA latest at 50 ft if no landing clearance has been received. It doesn't mean that you have to go as low as 50 ft if there is obvious reason for GA. :ok:

Lord Lucan
27th Jan 2008, 10:59
Just following on from FougaMagister comments on landing clearances at CDG -

I was a bit skeptical the first times I was given a landing clearance while there was other traffic ahead, not yet even on the ground.

However, now after some experience with this way of doing things, I would say I prefer it.

It takes away the will he/won't she issue a (late) landing clearance worry. It focuses some attention on what is happening on the runway, and it transfers the landing decision to me. And I think I am probably in a better position to make that decision from where I sit to where the controller sits.

I would be happy if this way of issuing landing clearances were more widely adopted.

Max Angle
27th Jan 2008, 17:28
If there is any obstruction on the runway we must go-around by 200ft, if the runway is clear then we can go to 100ft before going around if no clearance is received.

27th Jan 2008, 17:52
Hmmm, in some African airports, the landing 'clearance' arrives after the tower controller has woken up...:}

27th Jan 2008, 19:40
Oh, yes, Africa... 411A, I smile with your remark...
A few years ago... Vacations.
Went to fly for a few weeks with Kabo Air, Nigeria - 747-200...
Haj contract... Great airline... A real zoo... Inside planes and on the ground.
If you ever want to be pilot with Kabo, take a pistol and shoot yourself.
Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, Abuja, Lagos... perfect for vacations.
Was night... Flight from Jeddah back to Sokoto, Nigeria.
499 passengers, 11 F/As supplemented by 11 Nigerian "cabin service representatives".
Lots of carry-on baggage (zam-zam jugs, microwaves, TVs, refrigerators).
Every passenger dressed in their bed sheets...
After Khartoum FIR, nobody on ATC to talk to, blind reports on VHF 126.7...
Somebody in Kano answered - cleared to Sokoto, cleared to descent FL 050.
Sokoto Tower did not answer. Pitch dark down there.
Came on top of the airport, tower still no answer. Let's see, how we do this...?
Visual traffic (exactly as if I was flying a C-172 Chickenhawk)...
Oh yes, great, they even have a lighted wind sock, so I know which way to land.
Turn crosswind, hmmm, now I turn downwind, hmmm, then in base...
And saying all that on the tower frequency, which remains silent.
Hope that it was not a RH traffic... did not see an arrow, anyway.
Finally in final, gear down, flaps down, landing check completed.
Yes, we superior airline pilots can do that in a 747 as well.
Perfect landing... roll to the end, taxi back, going to the ramp.
APU is on the line, we can shut down engines...
But the engine noise woke the guy in the tower. Sorry, need power to make U turn on ramp.
Of course no airstairs. Just a kid, the airport guard, age 17, with his AK-47.
Flight engineer goes through the E&E and down the hatch, look for chocks for wheels.
About an hour later, we get the airstairs... then ground power even.
The tower officer was angry at me - no landing clearance.
I went to his tower, saw the table with his radio, a 1950 vintage.
Under the table, his cot (to sleep, obviously, poor guy needs a rest).
Only one electrical outlet on the wall... I understand.
That is to get warm water for tea. In Sokoto, it is hot water or radio.
Not both at the same time.
Happy contrails

27th Jan 2008, 21:17
Sokoto Tower did not answer. Pitch dark down there.

Yep, it hasn't changed much, although they do have a new(er) radio in the tower, but it's still hot water or radio, not both together.

Then there is OUA (Berkina Faso), good radio, they even answer on the first try...and lo' and behold, hydrant refueling, done in quick time.
Very efficient...and the hotel in town ain't bad either...nice cold beer.:)

27th Jan 2008, 21:30
The latest landing clearance I've ever had was so late it never arrived, despite several very loud, insistent requests on our part. The first thing the tower controller said was "contact ground on ...".

The weather was CAVOK. The runway unoccupied. The other captain (there were two of us on the flight deck) said "this happened here a couple of days ago - just land". We did.

The place and time? Madrid 2006. If you've ever done a go-around there you'd understand our reluctance.

No-one said a dickie-bird.

27th Jan 2008, 21:31
411A - :}
A cold beer in "Wagga-doodoo" is a clearance to land (implied).
Merci, Bwana...
Happy contrails

28th Jan 2008, 09:03
Since 50ft is legaly the start of the landing phase, then if I
havent got a clearance BY that point I go around regardless.
Its kept me out of trouble over the years while Ive seen
others whove used flawless logical commonsense and good
airmanship end up in it.

"Logic and commonsense" arguements have no part in any
bureucratic Enquirey Board if you upset a ATC stickler, and
never will nether.

28th Jan 2008, 10:44
I wish you wrote more African stories. It’s quite interesting reading. :ok:

29th Jan 2008, 12:32
Wingswinger wrote: "despite several very loud, insistent requests on our part. The first thing the tower controller said was "contact ground on ...". The weather was CAVOK. The runway unoccupied"

The same happen to me in Milano MXP, we called TWR a couple times, we even tried 121,5, and no response. I decided that I should act if we were under a com failure, in VMC conditions, so I continued under VFR, set XPDR to 7600, the RWY was unoccupied, so I landed. When in contact with Ground freq, I asked for a telephone number, and I explained the situation via phone. The told me it was something normal that happened every day, and that I acted correctly.

29th Jan 2008, 12:56
A few years ago landing at Boston KBOS we were transferred late to tower. Couldn't get a word in edgeways on the radio. At about 100 feet there was traffic just about to get airborne on the parallel runway. We thought about going around but landed. Tower just said "thank you xxxxx Contact ground". We took the thank you to be implied approval of our actions. I know we were incorrect to continue and land without clearance but an unnecessary goaround when the runway is clear and there is proximate airborne traffic is not desirable either. They often clear us to land there when the runway is occupied anyway.

31st Jan 2008, 21:33
In my view the decision to go around at low altitude should not be taken lightly. Especially in VMC conditions, where the arriving pilot has the departing traffic in sight.
One should bear in mind that at some(most ?) aiports the missed approach routing is the same as the SID.
So if you decide to go around from below 200 ft the chance is that you will be travelling faster than the departing airplane, both of you following the same route, while he is climbing and cannot see above and behind, and you cannot see below you. If nothing is done, you may probably end up at the same point at the same time, at the same altitude := The missed approach altitue is sometimes the same as the SID.
Just something to think of.


1st Feb 2008, 06:27
Thats what eyes and ears are for, just maybe you might take that into consideration when conducting the GA. "doh"

3rd Feb 2008, 01:01
A few days ago I saw an A330 on takeoff roll as a 744 touched down behind it on the same runway. I was listening to the tower for clearane to cross the runway and didn't hear any clearance to land for the 744. They were on the ground together at the same time for 3 - 5 seconds. Is this normal? Does it happen very often?