View Full Version : Frankfurt ATC

22nd Feb 2001, 03:34

Just been to Frankfurt this evening. We are descended early as usual (no problem with fitting in with operational necessity) but now it seems routine in Germany that a descent rate of 2000' a minute is demanded as well! Any suggestions why this should be?


I have been lucky to experience flying all around the world. Like SOPs I agree that no one way of operating is right for everybody but I am always puzzled when faced with a situation like this evening going into Frankfurt. ATIS was advising of strong winds at 5000' (I think) and of moderate icing at low level. We were stepped down in 1000' steps from FL80 downwards. We were vectored 25+ miles down wind picking up ice the whole time and then given a tight turn onto the 25R ILS with a 40 knot tailwind. The controller then got upset because we shot through the localiser with 30 degrees of bank on! I have a high regard for LHR (purely from experience) anyway but had we been faced with the same amount of traffic at LHR that FRA was experiencing we would of been put in the hold at say FL80 (above the icing) told to expect a 5 minute delay and then when leaving the hold been given a more or less continuous descent to the ILS. So much less stressful for all. At FRA the landing runway is kept secret until quite late and how far one will go downwind is a closely guarded secret as well. I know which system I prefer.

Comments anybody?

22nd Feb 2001, 17:23
Andy Pandy,
You are completely right. You missed the fact that that put you 25nm out on the ILS with a 50knot headwind and ask you to reduce to minimums it takes 15mins on the approach alone! The problem is that unlike LHR, FRA like most airports in europe works on one principle:NEPOTISM!!!!!
Luftansa always seems to get what they want,surprise suprise, so they will never complain and if they dont complain nothing will ever be done.

In short european airfields ar a law unto themselves and they don't care about foreign carriers!!!

One way I found helped is ask for 25R with director and my experience is is that in about 75% you will get it.

As far as the 2000fpm rate goes I don't have a clue all I know is that it is rife all over Germany. They always descend you about 40nm before you want to go down at a rate you don't want to go down at invariably putting you in icing. I heard a rumour that it is something to do with how German airspace is divided up for ATC. Their approach control start quite a long way out at relatively low levels so for them to hand you over you need to be a quite a low level.

Why if this is indeed the reason they dont change it I have not got a clue?!

If any does have an answer I would be grateful to know as well!!!

22nd Feb 2001, 18:54
Your landing runway is a secret, because with their system they do not know, yet, only the 25 direction!!
Because we are trained to programme our Fmc above 10000 feet this not knowing our runway, prevents us from doing our sops in our usual sequence,it ups the stress and we do not like this conflict of systems. Playing guess the runway,programme the runway, check the profile, check the missed approach profile, at 4 miles a minute descending at two thousand ft per min, is not safe flying in MHO.
But Hey nobody in management cares!They donot have to do it.They are only reactive not proactive to safety, its the Tomb Stone approach again.
Have you captured the FRT 25R Loc and had the automatics track you outbound, not inbound? That causes a bit of a wake up on the FD.
Frankfurt is basically OK if you are not flying on fumes, and listen out carefully, and both of you have the reactions of a **** house rat a good day.
My pet hate was Rome where they change sids on you at rotate!I was easily gottch-youed on that.

We will do the drill according to the amendments to the amendments I er think?

22nd Feb 2001, 19:42
Try MXP departure!!!

Takeoff straight towards the alps follow a departure that the FMC cannot fly perfectly anyway have 6 frequencey changes in 4 mins plus try and understand the italian atc then if you are not concentrating they clear direct to a point where the MSA is 18.1 when you at 9000.

My question is do the itallian atc have any form of training other than how to cause complete chaos?

We won't even mention their ground control!!!

22nd Feb 2001, 20:46
@Maverick : same happend to me years ago, caused us to climb w/o clearance.
However I find italian atc is improving slowly.
FRANKFURT: a pain in the *** ! Germany ATC had massive tendency to get better when they privaticed them some 10 years ago. Nowadays they face the fact, that the management is a complete mess, a formerly sacked Phillips manager is the ceo. The boss of their operations department is a former union pal, who was "forced" to do a 180°, when asked to be a manager.
I donīt want to blow their trumpet, but to stay motivated in that company seems to be a least difficult.
It never happend to me, that a Lufthansa was given priority, just because itīs LH.

[This message has been edited by Airking (edited 22 February 2001).]

3rd Jul 2001, 07:17
I fly between Frankfurt and Madrid a couple of times a month. I am based at Santiago de Chile.
To me Frankfurt ATC is an example of real traffic control and perfect and understadable prasheology. Just comparing it with Barajas, I feel very comfortable following the german controllers instructions.
If your not agree go to New York-JFK or Miami. Not to mention Mexico D.F. where they usually give you the "Surpise one arrival".Only once you are at DH you can start to figure out which runway is going to be the one you are clear to.

3rd Jul 2001, 09:09
FRA are great compared with TPE or NY or Syd ( or any Oz unit for that matter)considering the volume of traffic.
Take extra Kero..it's not like you have to pay for it!

LHR and HKG are still tops tho'

Alpine Flyer
3rd Jul 2001, 09:43
I dislike the "last minute runway surprise". Must have something to to with the close spacing of the runways that they can't build separate streams to the runways like e.g. Atlanta.

It's nevertheless annoying, especially if you need the FMS for landing. On the primitive birds you can just do a "double briefing" and reset the ILS frequency and reset the minimums when you get it.

I fully agree that FRA cannot be the worst of airports and I can't vouch for a Lufthansa "preferred customer" program :-) They seem to treat everyone alike, but then I don't fly there very often.