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A37575
21st Feb 2013, 11:35
The latest ATSB report is worth reading. It took nearly two years to produce. I recall media reports at the time where residents were startled to literally feel a low flying wide-body barely 500 feet above their houses.

Investigation: AO-2011-086 - Operational non-compliance involving Boeing 777, HS-TKD, 15 km south Melbourne Airport, Vic, 24 July 2011 (http://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2011/aair/ao-2011-086.aspx)

To have a Thai Airways Boeing 777 so low on final at such a long way out during an attempt at Melbourne runway 34 VOR/DME approach is frightening. This is a basic instrument approach which any general aviation pilot could do without drama. It proves what most professional pilots already suspect and that is just because you fly a bloody great jet transport does not necessarily mean you are a good pilot. The above report included reference to another Thai Airways 777 which flew dangerously low on final while trying to fly the Melbourne 16 NDB. Nothing wrong with the automatics but something seriously amiss with the competency of both captains. Of course, that view does not appear in the official reports by ATSB.:=

Ollie Onion
21st Feb 2013, 18:26
The real question should be! Why does YMML not have ILS approaches on alp runways? Having flown longhaul you can go years without flying a VOR approach except the odd one in the sim. Is that an excuse... No, but surely OZ needs to start playing an active role in SAFETY and do all they can to provide the most robust approach systems at international airports! OOL also springs to mind.

Sunfish
21st Feb 2013, 19:12
I am not an expert by any means, but........

To borrow a phrase, reading this report reminds me of drowning to death in maple syrup.

Could I be forgiven for thinking that being a Thousand feet below minimum safe altitude for a particular point on an approach over a populated city is effing a critical incident?

To put that in context, the minimum safe altitude was 1950 ft and this genius got down to 984 ft, in other words 1000 ft below where he was supposed to be.

To put that another way, this aircraft was off altitude by FIFTY PERCENT!

...And the ATSB blandly reports:

At 2019 Eastern Standard Time on 24 July 2011, a Thai Airways International
Boeing Company 777-3D7 aircraft, registered HS-TKD, was conducting a runway
34 VOR approach to Melbourne Airport, Victoria. During the approach, the tower
controller observed that the aircraft was lower than required and asked the flight
crew to check their altitude. The tower controller subsequently instructed the crew
to conduct a go-around. However, while the crew did arrest the aircraft’s descent,
there was a delay of about 50 seconds before they initiated the go-around and
commenced a climb to the required altitude.


This is a masterpeice of understatement. Tautological nonsense. "The aircraft was lower than required" - that should have read "The aircraft was lower than commanded because the pilot was unable to comply with the instructions of the tower." , given that the elevation at the point of lowest approach was about 130 ft, this bloke shoved a jet to within 850 feet of a Melbourne residential suburb with no safety action apart from "don't do it again"? Well I suppose the ATSB wouldn't want to be seen as anything like judgemental would it?

God help us all. The ATSB has been completely and utterly neutered.

Twin Beech
21st Feb 2013, 19:37
That little rant out of the way, I agree with the call for an ILS installation at every runway serving jet ops. Say what you like about skill levels, tired old guys make mistakes. Non-precision approaches are never as safe as an ILS...and the world is full of craters to prove it.

A major airport without a full suite of precision approaches is like a country with two lane national highways. Oh wait....

UnderneathTheRadar
21st Feb 2013, 19:51
Putting aside precision vs non-precision approaches, it makes you wonder, with the frequency that Thai appear in ATSB reports for non-precision approaches into Melbourne, if thats a statistical blip or symptomatic of thier ability (or otherwise) anywhere in the world with a non-precision approach.

Not sure I'm game to fly Thai based on this and the previous NDB incident onto 16 about 4 years ago.

Tidbinbilla
21st Feb 2013, 20:12
Comments regarding the ATSB and government shall be kept in the numerous threads already running.

Let's just concentrate on the incident, thanks.

Jack Ranga
21st Feb 2013, 21:02
Repeated incidents like this will see you get banned from operating in some countries, that is countries that take safety seriously. And it must be said Tids that if a safety agency has a list of these incidents on file & god forbid, 'you know what' happens. Maybe this is what's going to have to happen to get rid of these idiot, PC, incompent authorities?

Karunch
21st Feb 2013, 22:20
And 50 seconds to action the go around instruction. That alone should have them denied access to to Australian airports.

Flt.Lt Zed
21st Feb 2013, 22:22
The handling of the approach sounds incompetent, but what part of the 'Go Around' instruction did they not understand,that it took 50 secs to comply.

my oleo is extended
21st Feb 2013, 22:31
I will abide by Tids request, however it is very difficult not to mention government agencies when it appears they themselves could be part of the problem or be a contributing factor. And what I mean by that is areas such as airspace, ground infrastructure, authority oversight, procedures, regulations and investigations are just a couple of those points.

Be that as it may, back to the airline in question...

Old Akro
21st Feb 2013, 22:45
Once again, the ATSB raises more questions than it answers. But you have to wonder that if it takes 18 months to issue a relatively straight forward report - how long does it take for a complex one.

The ATSB are pretty good at using units of measurement that confuse rather than illuminate. For instance, nearly all the altitude reports are done against time, but the glideslope is defined by distance. A diligent report would have used distance so that the report was transparent someone reviewing it could plot it against the chart. The ATSB have denied us this ability.

The ATSB are also a bit prone to using emotive language / distortion. I'm not sure that the delay to go-around was quite as it was represented. And of course there is no transcript of radio calls which once again denies independent review. Another favorite ATSB trick. Other international agencies not only publish the relevant transcript, but also publish any corrections - including those requested by the participants after they were given the opportunity to review it. Another thing the ATSB doesn't seem to do.

The aeroplane was too low. There is no getting around that and the captain did admit that, but a point missed by Sunfish and glossed over by the ATSB is that they were cleared for visual approach. The controllers comments of confirming that the aircraft was low by visual identification confirms that the conditions were visual. Others will correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure the command "cleared for visual approach" waives the approach altitude requirements and allows the pilot to descend at his / her discretion to make the landing. On that basis the pilot was guilty of poor airmanship, but not of breaching the approach procedure. It is entirely likely at the time of the instruction to go around, the aircraft was back on glideslope. According to the pilots description (confirmed by the ATSB report) he an initiated recovery before the ATC alert.

The ATSB listing of the sequence of events is not fully clear, but I would question whether the aircraft was as far below the glideslope as suggested. The report lists the minimum altitude that the aircraft reached, but is not clear where this was relative to the glideslope. It was inside the 6.5nm point at its lowest, so the comparison of 984 ft to 1950 ft is not valid. If the ATSB used distance from the aid rather than time, we could have a go at working it out. The MDA inside 6.5 mile is 760 ft, so the aircraft was ABOVE the published minima. Once again, the pilot was guilty of poor airmanship, but not necessarily in breach of the procedure.

It will require some work to try and reconstruct, but I suspect that the most serious breach may have been while the aircraft was flying the 11 DME arc and under ATC direction (ie before it was cleared for approach). I suspect that this is the only part where the aircraft breached the LSALT. It was above MDA when it was at 984 ft which is where the attention is focused (and its easier to say it was the pilots fault exclusively).

The big question - which has already been raised - is why we don't have ILS on all runways. The crew was from Thailand. They may not be used to operating in third world countries like Australia that do not have the funds to invest in basic safety infrastructure. Has anyone noticed that the YWE VOR is still U/S? Together with the procedure having been removed from CWS - exactly where does one train for VOR approaches in Melbourne at the moment?

The other question I have is whether the controller should be expected to pick up a diversion from glideslope before it becomes such a large incident? Should the pilot expect a warning before being "waved off"the approach? This is a genuine question for the ATC among us and not a barbed comment.

Mud Skipper
21st Feb 2013, 22:48
Wondering where the pilot derived the 970' which was set in the MCP?

It's not a number which would make sense under my SoPs, does anyone know how it may have been calculated?

Old Akro
21st Feb 2013, 23:03
And 50 seconds to action the go around instruction. That alone should have them denied access to to Australian airports.

I'd be a bit careful about this. We have no transcript to be able to confirm this. It makes me as mad as hell that the ATSB don't do this and I suspect that it is done consciously to avoid scrutiny. Try reading a US NTSB or UK AAIB report to see it done nicely.

In the body copy (not under the go-around sun head) its pretty clear that the pilot initially mis-understood the ATC instruction. At the time of the go-around instruction the aircraft had recovered altitude and was probably at glideslope (hard to tell the way the ATSB present data). I think the ATSB claim of 50 seconds delay is mischievous. I suspect they have taken the time from the ATC first keying the mic to a response in altitude change (ie including engine spool-up time). The report states that the controller issues a second instruction after 35 sec. If it was so critical, why did the controller wait 35 sec for a second call? I question if the pilot heard the first call as an altitude warning and only acted on the second call. If we had a transcript, we could make our own judgements, but we do not. The Mojave Bankstown ATSB report has discrepancies between the draft and final reports which raises questions about whether the ATSB change transcripts to suit the report.

If the second call was the only one the pilot heard as an instruction, then his response time was under 15 seconds, which doesn't deserve the vitriol of the ATSB report.

Jack Ranga
21st Feb 2013, 23:47
Wal, there is CRM & there is plain incompetence

sheppey
21st Feb 2013, 23:50
The handling of the approach sounds incompetent, but what part of the 'Go Around' instruction did they not understand,that it took 50 secs to comply.

I believe it is a `culture` problem. First of all it is probably "it can't be happening to me" or even the captain thinking "WTF is ATC on about- I can see the runway even though it looks a bit flat" Quickly followed by "real men don't go around" otherwise it's loss of face.

Jack Ranga
21st Feb 2013, 23:51
Akro, in Australia an ATC is guilty until proven innocent & when the ATC is found innocent he is still guilty.

If an ATC sees something that 'doesn't seem right' regardless of whether a pilot is doing the right thing/wrong thing they are obliged to check.

Buckshot
21st Feb 2013, 23:54
Wondering where the pilot derived the 970' which was set in the MCP?

As quoted in Footnote 4 on Page 1:

The minimum descent altitude (MDA) for the approach was 760 ft. However, a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) current at the time raised the MDA to 920 ft because of crane operations beneath the approach path. The operator advised that ‘the pilots added approximately 50 feet to the MDA due to [a] CANPA [constant angle non-precision approach] requirement’.

Old Akro
22nd Feb 2013, 00:01
ATC, its workload, clarity and wording of the call are all absent from the report. Thailand uses 5 letter registrations (like Australia). Were there any aircraft in the Melb TCA with similar sounding 3 letter call signs? Did the mic clip one of the call sign letters which led to confusion on the part of the captain?

These are valid issues that may or may not have contributed that the ATSB should have considered, but are absent from the report.

With the lack of clarity of the ATSB report, I'm prepared to give the pilot some benefit of the doubt and argue that his response time may have been 15 seconds, not the 50 seconds that is emotively used in the ATSB report.

If there was any hint of confusion about the calls, then both sides of the coin need to be examined, not just the PIC.

I think that it is indefensible that the ATSB do not append transcripts to their reports as is common in other countries.

I think this is a case study of another sub standard ATSB report.

beaver_rotate
22nd Feb 2013, 01:13
The 970' might well be an irrelevant lower altitude in the FO's mind to simply prevent ALT CAPTURE when cleared the visual approach. That said I wouldn't be doing that when cleared a visual approach at night in mist... And certainly not outside the circling area. I must feel for these long haul guys when given their STAR... To think a RWY such as RWY34 has no ILS and the amount it's actually used is VERY third world.

Derfred
22nd Feb 2013, 01:55
but a point missed by Sunfish and glossed over by the ATSB is that they were cleared for visual approach. The controllers comments of confirming that the aircraft was low by visual identification confirms that the conditions were visual. Others will correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure the command "cleared for visual approach" waives the approach altitude requirements and allows the pilot to descend at his / her discretion to make the landing.

Actually, no. They were cleared for a VOR approach, and subsequently a visual approach once established on the PAPI and inside the circling area (5.28NM final).

At night you cannot commence a visual approach until this point which the controller spelled out to them.

They were on an instrument approach and clearly breached the instrument approach requirements. Using FLCH on an instrument approach at night in rain without the relevant minimum altitude set in the MCP according to the approach plate would be a hanging offence in my airline. The only acceptable modes are V/S or VNAV.

le Pingouin
22nd Feb 2013, 01:58
Akro, very few fly on rego now - it's all flight number callsigns, except for lighties and the odd biz jet. The RTF would have been something like "Thai four seventy six".

Old Akro
22nd Feb 2013, 02:22
Good point about flight number that I should have realized

Mud Skipper
22nd Feb 2013, 03:22
Thanks Buckshot, I should have looked further.

Twin Beech
22nd Feb 2013, 03:24
In rain, at night especially, there can be a diffraction error in the visible picture. Certainly not of enough magnitude to explain this degree of vertical deviation, but it can be a contributory factor to being a couple of hundred feet low that far out.

Twin Beech
22nd Feb 2013, 03:33
The requirement to be inside the circling area at night may be unique to Australia. I cannot recall it being in force in any other country in which I am licensed. Here is a fair use copy from the ICAO regs in the Jepp WWT:

Visual Approach 6.5.3.1 Subject to the conditions in 6.5.3.3, clearance for an IFR flight to execute a visual approach may be requested by a flight crew or initiated by the controller. In the latter case, the concurrence of the flight crew shall be required. 6.5.3.3 An IFR flight may be cleared to execute a visual approach provided that the pilot can maintain visual reference to the terrain and;

a. the reported ceiling is at or above the level of the beginning of the initial approach segment for the aircraft so cleared; or

b. the pilot reports at the level of the beginning of the initial approach segment or at any time during the instrument approach procedure that the meteorological conditions are such that with reasonable assurance a visual approach and landing can be completed.

6.5.3.4 Separation shall be provided between an aircraft cleared to execute a visual approach and other arriving and departing aircraft. 6.5.3.5 For successive visual approaches, separation shall be maintained by the controller until the pilot of a succeeding aircraft reports having the preceding aircraft in sight. The aircraft shall then be instructed to follow and maintain own separation from the preceding aircraft. Etc...

Old Akro
22nd Feb 2013, 05:21
Twin Beech, thanks, but once again I'm going to repeat that you'd expect that out of 30 pages the ATSB might devote 1 sentences to whether the Australian procedure differed from ICAO and might have been a factor. The ATSB reports repeatedly fail to identify and deal with all potentially relevant factors.

Going back to an earlier point of mine, the ATSB does not identify whether the captain acknowledged any or all of the ATC instructions. The report beats up the pilot for not responding to a go-around request but is mute on whether the pilot acknowledged or read back the instruction. If he did, then he's got no-where to hide. If he did not, then the controller needs to be asked why he waited a further 35 seconds before trying again.

Angle of Attack
22nd Feb 2013, 05:42
At the end of the day (or night) once you pass 6.5DME I guess you could dive straight to the MDA, it would be technically legal but not SOP for an airliner. I agree with Akro. Give the transcripts and a graph with the profile of the approach, it would be readily available and much more useful, than the lawyer version of this so called ATSB investigation.

framer
22nd Feb 2013, 06:22
Australia certainly seems unusual to me in that they don't have co located DME's on all their ILS's and in some cases don't even have an ILS. That is not 'worlds best practice' or whatever they like to say.
Also, I have often flown with Englishmen and Americans who have trouble understanding the Australian accent when it is spoken quickly as it often is over the radio.
That said, I think that quality training probably is the biggest issue in this incident.

DirectAnywhere
22nd Feb 2013, 06:37
DME x 300 works really well for a 3 degree approach on to this runway because of the combination of elevation and DME distance from the threshold.

It's published on the plate anyway.

In short, there's no excuse for a competent crew not to be able to fly a VOR approach.

However, there's also really no excuse in this day and age for a major international airport not to have ILS approaches to all runways.

There is blame to be shared in a number of directions here.

neville_nobody
22nd Feb 2013, 06:47
Is it just me or does this event mirror Air Asia X's effort up at the Gold Coast?

Two Asian Airlines who separately turn inbound and dive down to the minima.

So the question to ask are NPA approaches in Asia written differently?

What on earth would make these guys think they can just intercept final and dive down to 4-500 feet AGL?

If it keeps happening like this someone is going to plough into a hill or building.

Why didn't either of them descend in VNAV or VS?

Why on earth does Australia have such lack of infrastructure at International airports?

Mr.Buzzy
22nd Feb 2013, 07:05
There's nothing wrong with infrastructure at Australian shopping centres, it's just too bad you have to go through security these days.

Bbbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbb

haughtney1
22nd Feb 2013, 07:14
To me it's quite telling where the captain stated he didn't expect the AFDS to climb the aircraft to meet the path when VNAV PTH was announciated on the FMA.
I fly this approach into YMML fairly regularly but normally ask for the RNAV due to better minima being available.
Having flown with an ex Thai guy into YMML, he tried to do exactly the same thing on the VOR, i.e dive and drive, inspite of our company SOP of a constant 3 degree descent on a non-precision approach, so I'm wondering if its as much a company culture thing or perhaps the way were initially trained?
In any case there is really no excuse, the FMC if you check it against the approach plate allows for a beautiful arrival with no level segments, it works great on the 777.
The visual call to the tower says to me he might have used that as a get out of jail call....

Angle of Attack
22nd Feb 2013, 07:22
VNAV Path is nice but during approaches a nightmare . Enough said, just aviate and it will be fine..

framer
22nd Feb 2013, 08:26
Dive and drive at MSA on non precision approaches and on arcs is still common in the parts of SE Asia I have flown in.

Capt Fathom
22nd Feb 2013, 09:02
A lot of huffing and puffing about their lack of ability to fly a VOR approach. I doubt that is the case. So many experts!

However, as the report points out, it was more to do with automation.

Automation confusion lead to a lack of situational awareness.

If they planned that approach using Vertical Speed and a Lateral Nav Mode from the start, there would have been no problem.

They were caught out by the unexpected behaviour of VNAV PATH, and from that point were unable to recover from the automation surprise!

And that is a big problem these days.

Twin Beech
22nd Feb 2013, 09:26
If the ATSB did not have access to the Thai CVR, how are they able to state that the ATC transmissions were not blocked by other radio traffic as heard in the Thai flight deck? I can't count how many times I have heard some **** call ready in turn (when he's number ten) block a late landing clearance for someone else on short final for example.

Chimbu chuckles
22nd Feb 2013, 10:13
Indeed haughtney the captain clearly didn't/doesn't understand 'on approach mode' in the 777 which will indeed climb to get back onto the path if you have been dive&driving in FLCH and then select VNAV.

I too have flown that approach many times in a 777 and if you simply put the approach & transition in and leave the aircraft in LNAV/VNAV it's a doddle.

The approach has a 3 degree path coded in and from 8dme you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between a VOR APP and an ILS except for the higher minima and the FMAs would say /LNAV/VNAV PATH instead of /LOC/GS.

This incident is purely an example of a crew not understanding their aircraft - a training and standards issue. I'd be interested to hear what the captain was flying before the 777 and his time on type.

Why is anyone surprised the ATSB report is seriously deficient?

Centaurus
22nd Feb 2013, 10:45
The big question - which has already been raised - is why we don't have ILS on all runways.

No doubt the appropriate Australian civil aviation authorities will have long ago examined the feasability of putting an ILS on Runway 34. Part of that study included looking at the number of times in a year the weather from the north was so bad that an ILS was needed. Northerlies in Melbourne rarely bring low vis unless a thunderstorm is passing through and in that case the aircraft have no business trying to land during a thunderstorm.
The tax payer eventually foots the bill for an ILS installation and on-going maintenance and I for one would object my hard earned money as a delivery van driver being spent on some foreign airliner crewed by two incompetents simply because they are out of their depth on basic instrument flying skills.

Some months ago I was talking to a former foreign student of mine who flew into Melbourne acting in command under supervision in an A330 from overseas. Never mind the name. I recall that day. Strong northerlies and ATC gave duty runway as 34. The captain of the A330 declined even though the runway was two miles long and a 25 knot HW component. He asked for 27 as it had an ILS and it was a fine day except for gusty northerlies.
The aircraft landed heavily as the ICUS pilot left autopilot disconnect very late and heavy braking was needed.

The ICUS pilot told me the reason why the captain did not want to use runway 34 was he was unsure of the VOR/DME arc needed for 34 and didn't like using PAPI - preferring to accept the the strong cross wind on the relatively shorter 27 runway as the aircraft could be auto-coupled right down to the flare. Make no mistake about it, there are overseas airlines operating to Melbourne every day crewed occasionally by incompetent pilots, who rely blindly on the automatic coupled ILS approach as the preferred method of landing. Melbourne does not need an ILS on runway 34 since the present VOR approach is perfectly safe and easy to fly and already has a low MDA plus PAPI on all runways.

clark y
22nd Feb 2013, 19:04
Having never flown the 777 and with respect to the initial pitch up, if the aircraft was in VNAV why did the aircraft wait until 3300' and then decide to climb up to 3400' (page 9). Is this normal or should the aircraft have levelled itself as it got to 3400'?

Old Akro
22nd Feb 2013, 23:06
I have 2 genuine questions.

1. The ATSB are pretty good at placing different pieces of information in different places of reports (and even draft vs final versions). In this instance there is additional detail in Appendix B which notes that the crew initially responded copied (as opposed to repeating the instruction), followed by "maintaining 1200" followed by "inaudible". This seems to me to paint a picture that the crew didn't understand the instruction. What responsibility does this place on the controller to repeat the instruction?

In this instance, I only think it matters because of the severe criticism the ATSB is placing on the crew for not obeying an instruction for 50 seconds (which measures 47 seconds according to appendix B). To my logic, you either accept that the crew responded promptly to a command they acknowledged or you accept that there is a shared responsibility to clarify an unacknowledged command. What if the inaudible reply from the crew was " did not copy, say again?". To me if the report is going to criticize the crew it should make an attempt to understand if a) the controller did not speak clearly, b) there was other interfering or confusing radio traffic, c) the crew's English was inadequate d) the crew missed the call due to workload or e) the crew was simply belligerent.

Secondly - in part due to the delay in actioning the go around - at the time of the go around the aircraft was established on final, visual with PAPI in sight, above MDA and either on glideslope or close to it (because the ATSB publish time references and not distance measurements, its very hard to tell). My question is - after a 9 hour flight from BKK - which is the safer course: allowing the approach to continue or requiring a go-around?

Its clear that the crew were not on top of the non precision approach, but it seems to me that the greatest deviations occurred in the transition from the DME arc to the VOR approach before they were cleared for visual approach. At the time of the go-around it would seem that the crew was aware of their situation and had acted to correct the approach. Based on the ATSB report, I don't see any evidence that a safe successful landing would not have resulted from that approach. At the time of the go-around they had passed the Melbourne CBD on their right and were about over Flemington with Essendon airport at about 2 o'clock. There would have been heaps of visual reference.

Capn Bloggs
23rd Feb 2013, 00:45
Australia certainly seems unusual to me in that they don't have co located DME's on all their ILS's and in some cases don't even have an ILS. That is not 'worlds best practice' or whatever they like to say.

Agree. While not an ILS, the Cairns 33 LLZ is a classic example. A few years ago it was redone, but the DME remained at the other end. Very difficult to use the DME as a quick-check.

DME x 300 works really well for a 3 degree approach on to this runway because of the combination of elevation and DME distance from the threshold.

It's published on the plate anyway.
For this Thai crew, was it? I doubt they use DAP. The 2009 NDB approach (http://www.atsb.gov.au/media/1358136/ao2007055.pdf)chart for that incident had 2 critical mile values missing: 7DME and 6 DME.

JammedStab
23rd Feb 2013, 03:28
I have 2 genuine questions.



Sounds like you are trying to blame everyone else and at the same time misleading information.

On page one you said "nearly all the altitude reports are done against time, but the glideslope is defined by distance. A diligent report would have used distance so that the report was transparent someone reviewing it could plot it against the chart. The ATSB have denied us this ability."

Checkout the diagram on page 3. It shows what happened and where.

"a point missed by Sunfish and glossed over by the ATSB is that they were cleared for visual approach."

They were initially cleared for a VOR approach and this is when the error(s) happened. Later, after reporting the runway in sight, only then were they cleared for a visual approach.

"correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure the command "cleared for visual approach" waives the approach altitude requirements and allows the pilot to descend at his / her discretion to make the landing."

Immediately prior to being cleared for the visual approach, the aircraft was on a VOR approach clearance at 1700 feet on a minimum altitude segment of 1959 feet.

As for the visual approach, the report says "The tower controller then cleared the aircraft for a visual approach, provided the aircraft was ‘... established on PAPI[5] and inside the circling area[6]’.
As the report states The captain recalled that, as the aircraft lined up on final approach, the PAPI was indicating ‘four reds’ and that they were ‘really low’

According to the pilots description (confirmed by the ATSB report) he an initiated recovery before the ATC alert.

Take a look at the so-called recovery in the Appendix that you refer to. It is not much of a recovery, it is a continued descent initially then a slow climb which is nowhere near as much of a recovery as a proper go-around.

It is entirely likely at the time of the instruction to go around, the aircraft was back on glideslope.

There is no glideslope on this approach and they had not returned to a 3 degree descent path toward the intended runway.

The MDA inside 6.5 mile is 760 ft, so the aircraft was ABOVE the published minima.

This is incorrect. Look at the diagrams. I think the difficulty is in your comprehending them.

I suspect that this is the only part where the aircraft breached the LSALT. It was above MDA when it was at 984 ft which is where the attention is focused

Check out the diagram on page 17. You are completely incorrect.

As for ATC, it sounds like they did an excellent job....

2018:31 Flight crew advise that they have the airfield in sight, then cleared for visual approach. Aircraft altitude 1,700 minimum altitude 1,950

2018:48 Aircraft’s autopilot disconnected. This is accoding to crew statement when they decided to recover to a higher altitude. Aircraft altitude1,300 Minimum altitude 1,950

2018:56 Flight crew told to ‘check altitude'. Aircraft altitude 1,100 Minimum altitude 1,950

2019:00 Flight crew instructed to go-around and to carry out missed approach runway 34. Crew responds ‘copied’ Aircraft Altitude 1,000
Minimum altitude 1,950

2019:26 Go-around instruction re-issued to flight crew, who respond that they are maintaining 1,200 ft. Aircraft altitude 1100 minimum altitude 1950

2019:35
Flight crew instructed to carry out a missed approach. The crew’s reply is inaudible

2019:47
The tower controller responds, ‘Negative, missed approach runway 34 climb to 4,000 ft’
Flight crew acknowledges that they are climbing to 4,000 ft
TOGA

I'm sorry you have trouble understanding the report

Old Akro
23rd Feb 2013, 07:19
Jammed Stab

If I see to criticise it is the sloppy ATSB report. I suspect that you are assuming I'm seeking to blame ATC, which is not my intention.

My page 13 is a page of text headed "Safety Action". My page 14 is blank. My page 15 has a copy of the VOR approach plate. By comparison, the 2007 report AO-2007-055 has a lovely diagram on p5. However the recent report AO-2011-086 has no similar diagram.

My understanding of cleared visual approach was imperfect and corected by previous posters. However, it has also been added that Australia and ICAO differ in the requirement to be within the circling area. So, an interesting discussion (which is absent from the ATSB report) is whether this might be a contributing factor.

You'll have to explain the MDA point to me. The approach plate on p15 has a shaded area at the 6.5 DME point that says MDA. The MDA for the VOR procedure is shown in the table as 760 ft. What did I get wrong?

Once again, the pdf report AO-2011-086 that I downloaded from the ATSB website has no diagram on p17. It has "Appendix B - Sequence of Events".

Do you have the same report copy as me?

One of the things I'm interested in is that on p2 the ATSB list the crews response to the initial command of "climb, go around"as "climbing". On p17 (appendix B) the table lists to crews response as "copied". Which is it? Why is the transcript quoted by the ATSB as different in two places of the same report?

Capn Bloggs
23rd Feb 2013, 08:13
The MDA inside 6.5 mile is 760 ft, so the aircraft was ABOVE the published minima.

This is incorrect. Look at the diagrams. I think the difficulty is in your comprehending them.

The minimum altitude for the segment inside 6.5 DME is indeed 760ft (corrected to 920 by the NOTAM).

It is entirely likely at the time of the instruction to go around, the aircraft was back on glideslope.

There is no glideslope on this approach and they had not returned to a 3 degree descent path toward the intended runway.
It's obvious to me that Akro was referring to the "approach" slope.

the flight crew changed the MCP target altitude to 970 ft, selected FLCH mode and the aircraft commenced descent. To maintain the target airspeed of 190 kts, the autothrottle reduced engine thrust to flight idle.
Not a 777 pilot, but that's not how FLCH works, is it? The ATS comes to idle because this mode uses pitch to control speed. The ATS did/does not come to Idle to "maintain the target airspeed of 190KIAS". What actually would happen (in the A/T jets I've flown) is the A/T would have come to Idle (regardless of the speed) and the nose would have have come up to slow the aircraft down to 190KIAS, then the nose would have dropped (a lot) to maintain the speed.

DirectAnywhere
23rd Feb 2013, 09:03
Bloggs,the link you've provided above is to the 16 incident. I'm not sure what the Jepp plate looked like in the 34 incident. There is a DAP plate reproduced here.

http://www.atsb.gov.au/media/4080756/ao-2011-086_final.pdf

The ATSB also really needs to include the data as it's presented to the pilots ie. if they're Jepp users please include the appropriate Jepp plate!

JammedStab
23rd Feb 2013, 09:27
The minimum altitude for the segment inside 6.5 DME is indeed 760ft (corrected to 920 by the NOTAM).




The poster stated that the aircraft was above minima because once inside 6.5 DME, they were above the published MDA as an argument to make it sound like they did not break any regulations. However, they had just arrived from a significant amount of time where they had been below minimum segement altitude.

Just because the minimima inside 6.5 DME is 760 feet doesn't mean that the aircraft was above minima as he stated, it was not earlier in the approach.

However, I could have worded it more clearly in my proof that he was incorrect. Thanks.

In an earlier reply I mentioned page 13....It should have said page 3.

Old Akro
23rd Feb 2013, 11:42
JammedStab

You've addressed the p13 issue, but what about your reference to a diagram on p17?

Also, the diag on p3 does not have any (flown) altitude references whatsover, so it does not give any illustration to the issue at all. The diagram also conflicts with para 3 of page 2 which says that the minimum altitude of 984 ft was reached at 6.4nm. The diagram shows this point as before the 6.5nm point.

I agree that the crew was sloppy and contravened the procedure. But my point is that it was some time before the go around instruction. As far as I can see at the time of the go -around instruction the aircraft was legal.

I also question whether or not the crew heard or understood the first go-around instruction. This question is heightened by the ATSB reports use of 2 contradictory references to the crews radio response to the go-around. In my opinion, this is enough to raise questions about the voracity of the report. If the crew did not hear or understand the initial go-around command, then the ATSB's criticism of the crew not obeying the go-around instruction is not valid.

Capn Bloggs
23rd Feb 2013, 14:30
Bloggs,the link you've provided above is to the 16 incident.
I know. I posted it to show that the Thai chart in that earlier incident (a similar NPA) was missing two critical profile altitude checks. Was this also the case in the latest incident? If so, it removes a potential profile check that might have caused the FO to go "WTF!".

The ATSB also really needs to include the data as it's presented to the pilots ie. if they're Jepp users please include the appropriate Jepp plate!
Agree 100% with that.

DirectAnywhere
23rd Feb 2013, 22:17
Ah, got ya. Ta.

JammedStab
23rd Feb 2013, 23:14
JammedStab



Also, the diag on p3 does not have any (flown) altitude references whatsover, so it does not give any illustration to the issue at all. The diagram also conflicts with para 3 of page 2 which says that the minimum altitude of 984 ft was reached at 6.4nm. The diagram shows this point as before the 6.5nm point.

I agree that the crew was sloppy and contravened the procedure. But my point is that it was some time before the go around instruction. As far as I can see at the time of the go -around instruction the aircraft was legal.

I also question whether or not the crew heard or understood the first go-around instruction. This question is heightened by the ATSB reports use of 2 contradictory references to the crews radio response to the go-around. In my opinion, this is enough to raise questions about the voracity of the report. If the crew did not hear or understand the initial go-around command, then the ATSB's criticism of the crew not obeying the go-around instruction is not valid.

If you compare the diagram(or table or chart) on page 17 with the diagram on page 3, it is quite easy to figure out what happened. There may be some minor discrepancies which is always annoying, but it is plainly clear that minimum altitudes were broken for a significant period of time. Most safety experts will tell you that a go-around should have been done prior to being called for by ATC after they discovered their error. Therefore whether they heard the ATC call clearly is irrelevant.

Whether the crew did hear ATC properly or not I cannot confirm but we can always bring up endless possibilities. What if there instruments were erronous, what if there was a temporary medical issue unknown to the crew, what if......



Bottom line.....it appears ATC did an excellent job.

Therefore mostly pilot error in this case but it would help to have an ILS at a busy airport. Slightly sloppy report likely due to administration errors.

Joker89
23rd Feb 2013, 23:30
@clark y

I don't read it as the aircraft climbed, I think they mean pitched up to perhaps maintain level or reduce vertical speed to capture path from below.

As they were cleared to decend 2000 then VOR 34 the pilot quite correctly wanted to keep descending. The problem came when instead of continuing to 2000 and commencing a 3deg path from there they set the altitude to the minima resulting in a unrestricted idle decent. Giving the aircraft no chance to get back on profile.

Terrible use of automation and display of mode awareness in my opinion.

Edit: this has nothing to do with a visual approach. The pilot made incorrect selections on the FCP and there appears to be little awareness of where the aeroplane was and how it got there.

emeritus
24th Feb 2013, 03:44
Years ago, a friend high up in ATC told me that any incidents involving foreign reg a/c went through Foreign Affairs.
This was in response to a query as to the outcome of a foreign a/c commenced t/o after the clearance had been cancelled.

His reply was that the 225 would have been torn up and binned by or on instructions of Foreign Affairs.

It would therefore be reasonable to assume that Foreign Affairs would have a large say in the final version of the ATSB report.

Emeritus

Lookleft
24th Feb 2013, 08:59
It would therefore be reasonable to assume that Foreign Affairs would have a
large say in the final version of the ATSB report.


Not a reasonable assumption at all. DFAT would have neither the expertise or legal authority to have anything to do with the final report. They wouldn't even qualify as a DIP.

The problem came when instead of continuing to 2000 and commencing a 3deg path from there they set the altitude to the minima resulting in a unrestricted idle decent. Giving the aircraft no chance to get back on profile.

Terrible
use of automation and display of mode awareness in my opinion.

Exactly. Read the report of the similar incident in 2007. The crew set the minima for a NPA, selected FLCH and then watched passively as it dived for the level set in the MCP. This seems to be an issue that should be addressed by the airline through training.

Kharon
25th Feb 2013, 01:43
Just a stray thought; there have been a few of this incident type in Australia, wondering if other NAA 'closer' to the ICAO rule set have the same problems? Perhaps they just have more ILS than we do; but it would be interesting to see how many incidents, not so unique countries, have with night visual approach. No bullets please, just idle curiosity. Tanx.

FYSTI
25th Feb 2013, 05:36
Exactly. Read the report of the similar incident in 2007. The crew set the minima for a NPA, selected FLCH and then watched passively as it dived for the level set in the MCP. This seems to be an issue that should be addressed by the airline through training. Not only that, in the latest incident the crew were at Flap 1 the entire time, and in the 2007 incident, Flap 5 crossing BOL, then gear down flap 20 in level change.

The ATSB make absolutely no mention of the configuration (the word "flap" appears exactly once in the 2011 (AO-2011-086) final report) and no analysis of consequences for Non Precision approaches in either the 2007 or 2011 reports. I thought as an industry we were moving to being fully configured for straight in NPA's by the 3 degree descent point for CFIT mitigation. Not a hint of analysis.

Both reports contain lots of word, pretty pictures and complicated diagrams that would impress non-pilots. Yet it appears to add very little toward making safer, as witnessed by the fact the same operator had almost identical outcome in substantially similar circumstances at the same aerodrome only four years later.

What was learnt from either report?

UnderneathTheRadar
25th Feb 2013, 07:11
I thought I'd posted a question but now can't find it.

Can someone explain why, after being cleared for the 34VOR, a subsequent Visual Approach clearance is needed? What benefit is obtained by using the visual approach? Spacing?

Also, why was a visual approach being offered given the forecast was for 8km vis in rain? The report said the captain lost sight of the field at one point.

Thanks

C441
25th Feb 2013, 07:32
If they struggle to conduct a VOR to rwy34 with everything apparently working, I would not like to be onboard if they have to conduct an approach with multiple failures or perhaps even with an engine inop.:eek:

Ollie Onion
25th Feb 2013, 07:46
Problem is C441 that in most 'big' airlines overseas NPA's don't significantly feature in the training regime. Most if not all emergency scenarios in the simulator end with an ILS approach to a 3500m runway, couple that with the 'unique' australian rules and it is no wonder these incidents keep occurring. Take the visual approach rules for instance, normally when cleared for a visual approach overseas all it means is that you have the runway in sight, you are then free to manouvre the aircraft as you see fit whether it be day or night, no such thing as you must maintain msa until the circling area etc etc. Certainly no CTA steps to contend with. The crew in this instance totally screwed the pooch, and it is not good to admit that some pilots flying these aircraft are not capable of flying a managed NPA but in reality we are seeing increasing evidence of that. OZ is a uniquely challenging environment for foreign crews, the sad part is that it isn't due to weather, terrain or any other environmental issues, it is down to the crap rules, procedures and lack of proper infrastructure.

When I first joined a longhaul fleet for a major legacy carrier in Europe I asked a Captain what his favorite and least favorite trips were. Without hesitation he said Australia for both. Favourite because it is a cracking country to visit, least favourite because of the Aerad (Jepp) differences section, poor ATC and total lack of well equipped airports.

Jack Ranga
25th Feb 2013, 08:00
We are the best ATC in the world brutha :ok: just like you are the best pilots in the world ;)

Jack Ranga
25th Feb 2013, 08:16
I've been doing a bit of research lately, on a project you see. If you think Australian ATC are restrictive, you are fiddling with your twinkies. Best to loosen your grip a little and have a look at the wider picture :ok:

Have the weather conditions @ Melbourne ever required an ILS approach as opposed to a VOR or GNSS for R34 or do you just want the option of autolanding with a Cat 3 because you haven't got the skills to visual onto 34?

Slag away as much as you want bruthas' but I thought we were in this game together? I have made the occasional mistake that has been picked up by pilots, the same as I've caught a couple of **** ups on the other side.

Perspective, perception. If the systems at fault here, change it. If the pilot cocked up, have a round table. Or report politically correct so that you never offend anyone, yeah, that'll work :ok:

DirectAnywhere
25th Feb 2013, 08:47
Jack,

NPAs are a threat. They increase pilot workload significantly. I can fly them but I'd rather fly an ILS - much easier.

400 odd people down the back want my life as easy as possible so I can focus my attention as widely as possible - not just the approach.

SYD 16R G/P was out over the weekend. Frankly, it was a s$&tfight. No-one's fault, just greater seperation, a few missed approaches in crappy, windy weather and a NPA. Busy, threat rich environment. Ripe for errors and an incident along the lines of the one that we're discussing now.

Jack Ranga
25th Feb 2013, 10:07
Direct, I appreciate that. :ok: I fly GNSS as well as ATC. I fly a GNSS better than I fly an ILS (:E). Point I'm making is: Pilots & ATC's slagging each other achieves NOTHING..........Our enemy's here are politically correct investigative bodies, shopping mall & car park operators masquerading as airport operators & politicians.

Next time you get on the PA & blame ATC for delays, have a think about what is really causing your delay. Question? Do you fellas have the balls to put over the PA:

'Ladies & Gentlemen, we strive to get you to your destination on time every time, unfortunately a traffic cap imposed by politicians, noise sharing & noise abatement legislation also imposed by politicians as well as airport operators who spend more money on retail development & car parks as opposed to runways has caused us to be late. Whilst we are sitting on the Tarmac for the next 15 minutes, waiting for a gate, feel free to turn on your mobiles & iPads, email your local (gutless) member of parliament & ask why?'

For the first dood that does this I will donate 5ung to your favourite charity & post the receipt on this forum:ok:

Whilst I'm mouthing off about delays the same can be said for the infrastructure you want :ok:

sheppey
25th Feb 2013, 11:31
OZ is a uniquely challenging environment for foreign crews, the sad part is that it isn't due to weather, terrain or any other environmental issues, it is down to the crap rules, procedures and lack of proper infrastructure.


Disagree on that blanket statement. The Australian rules when it comes to conducting instrument approaches are quite straight forward and in most cases accord with ICAO procedures with perhaps minor modifications to increase safety. if a foreign crew is unable to complete a normal instrument approach without all the drama associated with (for example), the Thai incidents, it is not the fault of those who design the procedures. The fault lies in the regulator of the country of origin for not ensuring their aircraft crews are competent in normal instrument approach procedures.

Cowboy flying (meaning careless, lazy and potentially dangerous) happens in airlines as well in other flying jobs. There have been many similar published incidents over the years by foreign operators into Australian airports. Ask any ATC controllers at the major international airports and I am sure the stories will flow although these never hit the media.

Jack Ranga
25th Feb 2013, 11:31
Wal.........THEY ARE NOT ATC RESTRICTIONS :cool: They are restrictions imposed by the above considerations as well as weather. Let ATC go flat knacker & see what happens to your movement rates ;)

You blokes pushing that easy bullish!t PA let's the above wankas off the hook, punters blaming ATC! C'mon Wal, $500 bills, will you do it? If not, why not? It's an internal PA, not subject to any communications law......

Old Akro
25th Feb 2013, 13:37
Jack

I don't think anyone is having a go at ATC. A number (including me) are having a fair crack at the system that you work within, but certainly have not meant to criticise the controller.

I had dinner with an overseas based 747 captain on Saturday night. He says the only time he flies a NPA is in the SIM or when he comes to Australia. While the points about pilots should have the skill is correct, the plain fact is that many foreign pilots coming here are simply not fluent in them. He also says that the FCS of glass cockpit 747's don't deal as well the transition to NPA as the 747 classic (for reasons I don't understand). Whether or not this translates to the 777, I don't know. But its an interesting question. His comments make me wonder if modern digital FCS are optimised for NPA approaches.

My suspicion is that the problems with the approach started in the LH turn from the 11 DME arc to the VOR 346 radial, then developed.

The second point is that while the DME Arc entry VOR approach may be a good valid procedure, why should we not move with technology and strive to have systems that benchmark with other international airports in the region? Australia used to lead the world in aviation technology. Now countries that we label as third world have better, more modern infrastructure.

My beef is that the ATSB report has been used to criticise the airline flag carrier of one of our major trading partners (#7 from memory). Yet this report would fail as an undergraduate report. I count 9 discrepancies between the schedule of events in appendix B and the body copy. When I try and derive a groundspeed to fill in missing DME blanks, I get numbers that vary from 120 kts to 600 kts. There is something not quite right about the published event chronology. The crew was criticised for not reacting to the go-around instruction, but when you compile a full list of radio calls (must add the body copy reported calls to Appendix B) then it really looks like they did not hear / did not understand the first call. The report does not give this impression, but I think there was a combined total of 10 radio transmissions regarding the go-around. An initial instruction with either the response "Copied" or "Climbing"(depending on which part of the report you read), then a 35 sec break, then a further 4 transmissions & responses between 2012:26 & 2019:47. One of my only real questions of the controller, is why in the face of no positive reply of a go-around let alone the correct phraseology, did he wait 35 sec to re-issue the instruction? If we are going to criticise the crew for not affirming a command, isn't there some shared responsibility? Just asking.

If the crew was under the expectation of ICAO rules (whether rightly or wrongly), then they were operating legitimately (albeit with sloppy airmanship) from the point at which they were cleared for visual approach. At the point of actual go-around they were inside the circling area and were therefore OK according to both Australian & ICAO standards. This difference to ICAO is not mentioned in the ATSB report at all. I read the Jepp manual looking for the Australian requirement to be within the circling area and I don't think its at all clear in the Jepp document. I don't think you can blame them for not being clear.

The point at which it is unequivocal that they had breached the LSALT was during the LH turn from the DME arc to the VOR radial. This was up to 30 sec before they were cleared for visual approach and a full minute before the first go-around instruction.

This report does not mention any history of altitude infringements to RWY 34, but the active report AO 2012-120 into a US registered B747 cites that there have been 5 altitude infringements to RWY 34 in 2011/12. So, it looks like there might be a bit of an issue.

Tiger airways report (AO 2011-070) of June 2011 (vs Thai in July 2011) was another altitude infringement issue (RWY 27). It pointed to a discrepancy in operational data between the published charts and that in the flight management system. This was not considered in the recent Thai investigation. 2 incidents, a month apart, same airport, both with involvement of the FCS. It would seem to me that it should have been on the list to consider.

There is no denying that this was a pretty bad approach, but using the crew as whipping boys doesn't help explore how to improve the situation.

We should debate whether all runways should have ILS
We should debate if we should bring the cleared visual approach requirements into line with ICAO
We should debate whether a redesign of the VOR approach would make it easier for foreign crews
We should debate whether the RWY 27 ILS might be an option for longhaul foreign crews with light crosswind (about 10 kts on the night).

The ATSB report does not mention if this flight had relief crew. The BKK - MEL flight runs about eight and a half hours to nine and a quarter hours, which I understand is borderline for a relief crewmember. I understand some airlines do, some don't. It would seem to me that fatigue should probably have been discussed in the ATSB report as well. I have no idea how to weigh up the risks of landing from a non stabilised approach vs a go-around at night at the end of a 9 hour flight, but it would be an interesting discussion.

clark y
25th Feb 2013, 15:42
Well said.

A couple of other things missing from the report- the crews total and recent experience. We don't know their nationalities. A copy of the chart actually used (not the AIP)and the FMS coding would have been nice (the fleet I fly has had about 3 different versions for the 34 VOR).

joker89, thanks, I asked about the pitch up at 3300' because this is where the captain state he thought he had a problem with the VNAV. This is where the use of LVLCH started.
Jack r, I have gone around off the 34VOR due low cloud. Never even saw the ground. Though it was very quick forming and bit lower than thought.

Clark y

Derfred
26th Feb 2013, 03:41
Jack, I have done two go arounds in succession on VOR34, not visual due visibility in rain. Got in on the third approach declaring min fuel. The forecast for the day was 9999 SCT035 -SHRA.

Jack Ranga
26th Feb 2013, 06:31
Looks like an ILS is needed on R34?

Lookleft
26th Feb 2013, 07:32
An ILS on 34 would be great as would CATIIIB approaches at all capital cities. The obvious question is who would pay for it. The airlines won't as they don't think the small number of days it would be used is worth the expense. The gummint won't as they would consider that its not a vital piece of national infrastructure. Airservices won't as they would consider that the airlines should pay. Who's left? Would pilots put their hands in their pockets and pay for it?

So it comes back to playing with the cards you are dealt. If you fly in Oz, for better or for worse, you have to know how to deal with an NPA.

The worst way to deal with an NPA is to set the minima and push FLCH or OPEN DESC depending on your chariots manufacturer. This is fundamental stuff and not nice to know when you do your training. Thai Airways and any other airline who have pilots who don't understand the functions of these "buttons" need to look at their syllabus of training.

Centaurus
26th Feb 2013, 10:02
NPAs are a threat. They increase pilot workload significantly

It is all relative. Thousands of pilots flew NPA's usually by hand in the years leading to the introduction of glass cockpit instrumentation and ever increasing sophistication of automatics. The wartime GCA (radar equivalent to ILS) took good flying skills because they were flown manually raw data. The term "work-load" had not been invented then. Pilots were airmen - with all that implies. With the ever increasing sophistication and reliability of today's automatics, work load has been steadily reduced to often a state of boredom.

Suddenly people bleat about the 'work-load" of flying a bog standard NPA. They are forced to elevate their cockpit activity and either press a few more automatic buttons or God forbid, actually grip the joy-stick or control wheel and fly by hand (following a compliant flight director and autothrottles of course). The pulse rate goes up caused by the increase in "work-load"

They even complain about increase in "workload" even though the automatic pilot system is doing all the work!!:eek::eek:

Old Akro
26th Feb 2013, 10:28
Centaurus.

I agree. But I still think real aeroplanes have tailwheels.

Jack Ranga
26th Feb 2013, 12:02
So an ILS on R34 is not needed?

Keg
26th Feb 2013, 12:31
Handy? Yes. Needed? Too many more incidents like this then perhaps yes. Really needed? No. Within 3-5 years everyone will be doing straight in RNAV approaches to altitudes that will be close to ILS minima so it won't be an issue.

PEI_3721
26th Feb 2013, 13:31
Some similarities with some of the incidents in Celebrating TAWS ‘Saves’: But lessons still to be learnt. (http://www.icao.int/fsix/_Library%5CTAWS%20Saves%20plus%20add.pdf)

Perhaps there is a need to revise the chart so that altitude is above distance in the ‘altitude/distance’ table, i.e altitude is the most important variable. At least pilots should think that way irrespective of the chart.

Twin Beech
26th Feb 2013, 14:51
Fellas: there is no doubt that hairy-chested airmen can fly the pants off anything, conventional gear or not. An NDB is pure luxury, accustomed as we all are to audible range let-downs. I think that the "A" quadrant is germane here, as the "N" is reserved for the adjacent North Melbourne community.

That foolishness aside, a non-ILS approach to a major destination runway is unforgivable. To speculate that a foreign crew might be fatigued after an intercontinental flight is to parse the obvious. Why try to justify an obviously, clearly inadequate approach? An easy, vectored ILS is what long haul heavy crew ( and passengers, too, if they had a clue) expect. To provide, and require otherwise, is to compromise safety in its most basic form.

All readers of this post not current widebody captains who have seen more dawns than they care to remember need not respond with tales of daring-do. We were all young once, but now we have real jobs. Flying to real, fair-dinkum airports chock full of ILS approaches to every runway. While tired. And no holding, either, Jack.

Twin Beech. C-17 compass, tailwheel, carb heat, bfo, dit-dah, dah-dit. A cone of silence without Maxwell Smart, or the Chief. But with Agent 99 for sure.

Jack Ranga
26th Feb 2013, 20:19
So an ILS is required on R34?

Old Akro
26th Feb 2013, 21:06
Jack

The real answer to this question would lie in a review of the incidents of altitude infringements on RWY 34. The search function on the ATSB website is completely inadequate for anyone external to do this research. With the current state of the ATSB, I doubt you'll ever get the full information required for a proper decision. However, with only an hour or so's work I turned up with 6 instances in the last year or so.

Considering the Thai flight, they could have easily landed with a mild cross wind on RWY 27 with ILS. I presume (note: presume because the ATSB did not consider this) that the aircraft was directed to RWY 34 for ATC operational reasons and not aircraft or weather requirements. Some degree of understanding about this would help inform the assessment.

I fly twins not jets. This approach would be pretty easy in the twin. However, my 747 captain mate says it is not as simple in a widebody jet and even less simple in a glass cockpit wide body jet. Something to do with the flight control system that I don't understand. It seems to me that the most critical group of flights on this approach are therefore foreign long haul, glass cockpit widebody jets (none of whom are participating in this discussion). How welcoming do we want to be to overseas guests?

My understanding (which is imperfect) is that GPS has not made nearly the inroads to airlines that it has to GA. I understand that where it is used in airlines it typically feeds into the INS system to update it, rather than being used as a standalone system. I think it will be many years before we see airliners using GPS RNAV approaches. And unless Australia gets WAAS it may be never.

The truth is that we have under funded aviation infrastructure for years. In Australia we get by because we have better weather than most of the world, lower traffic densities, possibly better pilots and better controllers :) . There comes a time when we just have to do whats right. Surely at least Sydney & Melbourne should be at a similar standard to Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Heathrow, Los Angeles, Frankfurt, etc.

The maritime industry gets new lighthouses, marine GPS WAAS, channel dredging, port upgrades and other infrastructure without industry funding. The trucking industry gets free use of roads, B-double assembly areas, emergency repose (police, ambulance, etc) without any significant industry contribution. Its only aviation where we get hung about about user pays. And before someone mentions Dick Smith - it started in the seventies with Frank Crean.

The rest of the world is investing in WAAS, ADSB-in traffic, radio weather, autoland and we're trying figure out if we should fully adopt ILS.

Lookleft
26th Feb 2013, 21:55
I think it will be many years before we see airliners using GPS RNAV approaches

There are some things that non-airline pilots shouldn't be making definitve statements about. Google RNP.


The truth is that we have under funded aviation infrastructure for years.


Couldn't agree more.

JR an ILS on 34 is like an Ipad in the cockpit- is it a need or a want?

All this discussion about the "dangers" of an NPA onto 34 and nothing said about the visual approach over sheed. There's your dangerous approach. 400' high with 6 miles to run and a howling quartering tailwind on base.

Keg
26th Feb 2013, 22:08
However, my 747 captain mate says it is not as simple in a widebody jet and even less simple in a glass cockpit wide body jet.

I disagree. Flying a ML 34 VOR/DME approach (or any NPA really) is relatively simple IF the crew understands the FMC, what it's got programmed and how it achieves what is programmed.

Derfred
26th Feb 2013, 22:43
I'd say the question comes down to this:

We have identified a tendency of at least one foreign airline is to select an idle thrust descent mode to minima when conducting an NPA. That is downright dangerous.

Since we as a county do not want an airliner splattered on the ground, we have two choices - either restrict those airlines' operations to Australia until they can demonstrate suitable training for NPAs, or install ILS approaches on all runways those airlines will utilise.

For the relatively small cost of 1 ILS installation compared to banning airlines, I would go for the ILS.

Old Akro
26th Feb 2013, 22:59
We have identified a tendency of at least one foreign airline is to select an idle thrust descent mode to minima when conducting an NPA. That is downright dangerous.

I think a review of altitude infringements on NPA's to Melbourne reveals its more than one airline and includes Australian & US airlines.

judge.oversteer
26th Feb 2013, 23:05
Hi Everybody,
Interesting thread to say the least.
In my time an NDB approach (No such thing as an ADF Approach, an ADF is the piece of equipment in the aircraft, the NDB is the radio beacon on the ground!) in a F27 or a Viscount properly executed down to near minimums was an extremely satisfying thing to do accurately. And everyone knew how to do one, ie Wynyard, Tassie. Time and motion study.
I'm sure JL will agree with me.
I'm sorry if I'm showing my age but to give an NDB/VOR approach to students in the simulator without any aircraft emergencies is an extremely good handling exercise for all pilots, with, or without, RNAV, PRNAV or GNAV or whatever you want to call it and a good lesson in crew management.
In my 30 years on B747/B744 I think I only ever did the real thing at JFK 13L, Tabriz, and on RWY06 VOR, and sometimes RWY24, at Manila at some very interesting times! There was no ILS on RWY06 and always a few CB's! (LAVS on the B744).
In my opinion its perhaps not a bad idea to keep these approaches (VOR/RNAV) in the Sim. RNAV approach into Kansei to ILS/GS at 1200 feet was also good effort.
Boeing and Airbus are continually designing the flying pilot out of the flightdeck through automation but these procedures must be taught!
I know, it's very hard to teach students the loop these days, ie stick/control column, throttle/s, rudder/s and scan! (Winjeel and Vampire days, eh! No, not that one!).
They just want to play with the autopilot!
Oh well, back to the Port and Stilton...
Cheers.
JO.

Old Akro
26th Feb 2013, 23:36
There are some things that non-airline pilots shouldn't be making definitive statements about. Google RNP.

Firstly, I didn't make a definitive statement, I expressed an opinion. You can tell because it started with " I think.." In this instance I may be wrong. Although, my reading so far indicates that RNP is a navigation tolerance standard which is technology agnostic - it can be achieved with VOR, INS, DME and possibly other systems. I understand RNP originated in Europe and uses angular clearance tolerances rather then height or vice versa. Either way it requires full procedure redesign.

Secondly, I think the Queenstown GPSS RNAV RNP approach (which is the poster girl for RNP approaches) has been around for maybe 10 years? Or more? I think it was originally developed using an Apollo CNS-80. It doesn't really seem to be catching on. Which is my point, that (especially with airline capital expenditure programmes) these things are long linked.

As I understand it, a precision RNP approach requires an additional altitude input. This can be from either WAAS (back to the WAAS debate) or a precision barometric input, which I assume has to be part of the Flight Management System. This barometric input can also turn a VOR NPA into a VOR RNP precision approach.

If I read the draft CASA CAAP correctly (AC-91U-II-C-5), it says that Australia will only develop RNP VNAV approaches (ie precision approaches) if we "acquire a GNSS augmentation system". In other words, we'll only get precision RNP approaches if we install WAAS beacons, which I understand is not on the agenda.

Which brings us full circle back to ILS.

How did I do for a non-airline guy?

Keg
27th Feb 2013, 00:49
It (RNP approaches)doesn't really seem to be catching on.

There are now RNP-AR approaches for BNE, CB, ML, CNS (I thinK). They're catching on in a huge way. RNAV approaches into CTAFs and procedural control aerodromes are the norm for QF 737s.

QF 767s can do RNP-AR into BNE. Small issues with the design (both procedural and FMC programming) of RNP-AR into CB and MEL but they should be up and running for the 767 within 6 months.

This is on top of the RNAV approaches that QF GE powered 767s CAN do in virtually every major aerodromes around Australia.

There is no reason why any 777 or 744 operator can't go through the appropriate motions and avail themselves of the RNAV straight in to 34 at MEL.

Lookleft
27th Feb 2013, 00:52
How did I do for a non-airline guy?


Proved my point.

Jetstar uses RNP down to .3 at OOL and it gets us down to 439'. .11 will get us to 367'. We also use it in BN.QF use RNP approaches in preference to ILS on most occasions but a QF pilot could give you more detail. GBAS ILS like approaches are already being trialled in Sydney. Reading stuff on RNP and using it on a regular basis are not the same thing. I'm not trying to be superior but I do get annoyed when people make statements about airline operations and procedures that they really do not know much about. The long term future for ILS will be to go the way of the NDB.

I don't disagree with the argument for having an ILS installed but someone has to agree to pay for it and I can't see too many hands going up.

Capn Bloggs
27th Feb 2013, 01:10
Perth had only a VOR on 03 for years. Much whinging, moaning and complaining by all and sundry made no difference, despite the relative difficulty of the VOR approach, especially in bad weather (yes, we do get bad weather from the north occasionally, like Melbourne, by the sound of it). Then an ILS was installed. All the problems with landing on 03 went away, instantly.

Old Akro, no disrespect intended, but you are a bit off-track. Even RNP AR approaches (the whizzbang ones like ILSs/Queenstown) do not need a WAAS (airlines are doing them all over Australia now, see the AIP SUPPs), but do need a lot of organisation, training (initial and ongoing) and equipment standards. Too hard/impossible for many operators, including, I suspect, Thai. Could they do even an RNAV-Z to 34 (higher MDA though)? The capabilities of the 777 may be the issue.

As at the Gold Coast, on balance, we should bite the bullet and just chuck in an ILS on 34. The safety improvement is marked, the cost amortised quickly. I agree with the government paying; it's national infrastructure. If that crew is also buzzing around domestic Thai with VORs then they should have done better. However, if they are international types, then it is reasonable that they expect an ILS at one of the major gateways to Australia.

All this discussion about the "dangers" of an NPA onto 34 and nothing said about the visual approach over sheed. There's your dangerous approach. 400' high with 6 miles to run and a howling quartering tailwind on base.
Agree. Never done it, don't want to.

Old Akro
27th Feb 2013, 01:55
ML RWY 34 has both GNSS & RNP approaches. They have the same MDA (330 ft) as the VOR approach. They have the same 3 deg approach path (naturally) and RNP approach seems to approximate the DME arc and transition of the VOR approach.

The RNP approach seems to remove the circle-to-land minimum altitude, which makes the Australian NVMC visual approach clearance requirement interesting.

As I understand it, the RNP requires CASA approval which is primarily about flight crew training and equipment certification. The RNP requires RF which is some sort of flight management system distance measuring function - I guessing DME based. I think this is an example of an RNP approach that could be flown with DME & VOR and doesn't require GPS

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is still a non-precision approach (which would require an additional height reference - typically a WAAS beacon).

The Thai incident was NVMC, so visibility & MDA were not an issue. The issue was the early & mid procedure altitude reference, which for the VOR approach is basically read the chart, read the DME and check the altimeter. For whatever the reason, the crew on the night (and a number of other crews by reference to ATSB reports) didn't do a very good job of this.

So, unless the RNP hardware feeds the flight director, then the Australian non-precision RNP approach isn't much of an improvement over either the VOR or the GNSS NPA. The main difference (I think) is that the FMS of a RNP aircraft will fly the curved transition.

As I understand it, the benefit of the ILS for all RWYS at ML is that the crew falls into a more practiced routine and gets vertical guidance. I don't think the Australian implementation of RNP achieves this.

I found a US FAA reference that says an ILS costs USD$3m to install and a US AOPA reference that suggests they cost USD$18,000 pa to maintain. If that is all it is - then why the fuss? Mildura is spending more than that on a new terminal building. If it costs significantly more in Australia, then we should hold the blowtorch to the belly of AsA and find out why they are so uncompetitive. - Or subcontract it to the FAA.

Jack Ranga
27th Feb 2013, 02:12
If the visual star onto 34 is dangerous why fly it? Emirates refuse it & good on them. If you all refused to do it maybe you'd get an ILS? Which international airlines are flying RNP approaches in Australia?

Capn Bloggs
27th Feb 2013, 02:34
Old Akro, sorry mate, but you're rapidly losing the plot.

ML RWY 34 has both GNSS & RNP approaches. They have the same MDA (330 ft) as the VOR approach.
Not they aren't. VOR 430 AGL, RNAV-Z 450 AGL, RNAV-P 381 AGL.

As I understand it, the RNP requires CASA approval which is primarily about flight crew training and equipment certification. The RNP requires RF which is some sort of flight management system distance measuring function - I guessing DME based. I think this is an example of an RNP approach that could be flown with DME & VOR and doesn't require GPS
Wrong. RF is short for Radius to Fix, meaning the FMS is capable of flying a constant radius turn to arrive over a fix/waypoint on a particular track (ie not simply a join-the-dots box). This is needed for "curved" RNP AR approaches. It's got nothing to do with DME and is all done in the box itself.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is still a non-precision approach (which would require an additional height reference - typically a WAAS beacon).
No! I said before and I'll say it again, RNP AR does not require WAAS. As for being a precision approach, you could say it is (exact definition irrelevant) because vertical guidance is provided and, I suspect, MUST be followed by either the autopilot or manually via the FD.

I don't think the Australian implementation of RNP achieves this.
Nothing Australian about it; RNP ARs are the same world over as far as I am aware and they do provide vertical guidance (just as any half-decent FMS will provide vertical guidance for the VOR or RNAV-Z/GPS NPA).

I found a US FAA reference that says an ILS costs USD$3m to install and a US AOPA reference that suggests they cost USD$18,000 pa to maintain. If that is all it is - then why the fuss?
With that, I agree. :ok:

angryrat
27th Feb 2013, 02:34
An ILS is going to be safer. FACT. Is it fool proof? Hell no! What happens when it is off for routine maintenence? There are plenty of NPA around the world.

At the end of the day, if you can't fly a standard NPA at a 3 degree profile, you have no business whatsoever being in a heavy jet aircraft. I think some take this job too lightly and swan around trying to be chick magnets or whatever. I repeat again, if you can't fly a standard NPA at a 3 degree profile you have no business being in a heavy jet aircraft.

For :mad:'s sake, what is that American Captain going to do when he needs to get on the ground ASAP out in the Pacific? Plenty of runway's without ILS's out there! Or this Thai Captain if he is over some dodge Asian town but needs to get an aircraft on fire down ASAP. This flight had the previous 9 hours to think about this approach and execute it, there really is no excuse.

I come from the airline that many like to hassle as skygods or whatever. I am no skygod, in fact I'm an average pilot, but I do put the work in to know what my aircraft is capable of and to fly a simple 3 degree NPA without any hassels. To not put the work in is just ripping the punters off on the other side of the cockpit door.

The other thng that I am blessed with is training. My company has spent a lot of time and money on training me to do NPA and now they are spending a :mad: load more on me to do RNP training. Next time you buy a ticket on an airline from overseas, maybe you should wonder, what standard are they training their pilots too? Are they taking a low cost approach to training(not to be confused with a LCC)?

Too many excuses on here to be honest. If you are flying a jet full of pax and it isn't a doodle to fly a NPA or the SHEED visual arrival, it is time to put some effort into your job. Anything less than that is just :mad: dangerous and you are being an imposter whilst ripping the pax off.

P.S. I just woke up :}

Old Akro
27th Feb 2013, 02:53
etstar uses RNP down to .3 at OOL and it gets us down to 439'. .11 will get us to 367'.

Jeppesen don't have this procedure. It looks like a CASA special for approved operators only. So far, I can only find Jepp RNP charts for YMML & YBBN.

Old Akro
27th Feb 2013, 03:56
Old Akro, sorry mate, but you're rapidly losing the plot.

Maybe, but not completely, I'm just trying to learn & getting some bits wrong.

I screwed the MDA's - you are correct.

I pretty sure I'm correct about DME feeding the FMS - how else does it know the track miles to run? The INS needs updating. It can come from GNSS or DME. I'm guessing the FMS uses DME as default.

By definition, a precision approach requires an additional altitude reference. ILS does this with the radio based glideslope. GPSS does not have sufficient altitude accuracy, but it does when augmented with ground based reference (WAAS). The other alternative is a sensitive barometric input which I presume is something sophisticated that exists in FMS world only.

Without an additional altitude reference, I think we strictly speaking have RNP - LNAV approaches. This allows curved approaches and the fuel saving of shorter " Green" track approaches that AsA boasts about as well as reduced lateral obstacle clearances, but does not have the vertical accuracy of a precision ILS approach unless it has altitude augmentation.

My reading (mainly of FAA material) is that not all RNP approaches are alike. The CASA CAAP identifies 4 flavours of RNP approach. Only 2 of the four has ILS equivalent MDA's and accuracy - one using WAAS and one which requires localiser augmentation. See AC 91U-II-C-5. Its categorisation of sensitive barometric input differs from the design notes that I read on the Queenstown RNP design - it might just that the NZ stuff is old.

If you look at the YMML RWY 27 ILS & RWY 27 RNAV -M (RNP), the RNP approach has a DA(H) - being careful to get it right - for Cat D is 610ft & 931ft respectively. This reflects the greater altitude uncertainty of the (non WAAS) RNP NPA approach.

I am presuming (although I may be wrong) liability issues will mean that aircraft systems will not display vertical guidance ( a la ILS) for approaches with only C129a GNSS input. I contend it is the absence of this vertical guidance that contributed (or at least exacerbated) to the Thai incident.

But, this is off-topic, although its been interesting.

My fundamental thesis is that (whether through ability or not) the Thai crew joined a list of others who messed up an NPA approach to RWY 34. Rather than saying they are just not good enough and we are better, I'm saying there have been enough Australian, US & Thai crews to make similar mistakes that we should get on board with the rest of the world and put in more ILS approaches. If we can't do it for less than the cost of the carpark modifications at Melbourne, then we should be asking why we can't install them at International benchmark costs. If anyone mentions us being a small market, I'll scream. This level of equipment is an international market. A bunch of airfares & some airfreight from the US might add $100k, not $millions. The reference I found from the FAA was no less than Randy Babbitt about a year ago.

UnderneathTheRadar
27th Feb 2013, 04:10
Just mulling over this, checked Jepps and I see under Departure, Approach and Landing Procedures:

....with the exception of Australian and New Zealand operators and aircraft conduction independent visual approaches at Sydney, Super or Heavy jet aircraft will only be assigned a visual approach when:
a. specifically requested by the pilot, and the pilot has reported the landing runway in sight; or
b. the straight-in approach aid is unservicable


Still curious as to why it's necessary to issue a visual approach clearance?

UTR

Derfred
27th Feb 2013, 06:41
I contend it is the absence of this vertical guidance that contributed (or at least exacerbated) to the Thai incident.

Mate, they had a perfectly serviceable VNAV path to follow. They just chose not to use it. It's in the report. They selected FLCH when the aircraft pitched up to intercept the correct approach path. Poor situational awareness or knowledge of systems or training or something.

Jack Ranga
27th Feb 2013, 07:45
I was kind of wondering if we'd get a point of view like angryrat's :D

Taking that & Keg's opinion, I've concluded an ILS is not required on R34 :ok:

I've also concluded that you lot are like the People's Front of Judea, or is that the Judean People's Front?...............

Capn Bloggs
27th Feb 2013, 08:39
Taking that & Keg's opinion, I've concluded an ILS is not required on R34
It is an easy approach, especially with an FMS, and if it were Ozzies involved, an incident like this would embarrass the hell out of the operator and it would lift it's game pronto. But the reality is that we have no control over international operators and if one of their aircraft pranged in such a situation we'd be a laughing stock. Catering for the lowest denominator? I suppose. But that's what we are doing ourselves, introducing easier/safer approaches eg GPS NPA and RNP. It's all relative.

Old Akro
27th Feb 2013, 09:17
I've also concluded that you lot are like the People's Front of Judea, or is that the Judean People's Front?...............

I resent that, but standby while I draft a resolution......

Chimbu chuckles
27th Feb 2013, 09:25
Old Akro you really don't know what you're talking about in this instance.

A typical FMC in a current model wide, or narrow body, jet CAN get input from VOR or DME but they also get input from dual GPS and VOR/DME input is typically inhibited. With RNP AR they must be inhibited to ensure the required FMS accuracy to fly the approach.

RNP AR does not require WAAS.

Not all FMCs can fly RF (Radius to Fix) legs which is a requirement for RNP AR approaches. The AR btw stands for Authorisation Required...the plates are not published for public consumption.

I very much doubt Thai is RNP AR approved...they MAY be GNSS conversant which is the GPS approach available to GA aircraft. GNSS is a VERY different animal to RNP AR.



An FMC gives you along track distance not slant distance direct to the station like a DME.

That a particular FMC can't do RF legs doesn't mean they can't fly curved tracks - they can.

ANY 777 FMC is perfectly capable of providing vertical guidance, that's what VNAV is, and the aircraft will follow it very well if the auto thrust is working. The LNAV (lateral guidance) and the VNAV is fed to the Computers and presented to the crew and auto pilots via the Flight Director. IT LOOKS JUST LIKE YOU'RE FLYING AN ILS.

When you programme the FMC to fly an approach a bunch of height/speed way points are coded into the legs starting at the RWXX waypoint (50' over the threshold) and back through the FF waypoint, CF waypoint and on back around the DME arc (in this case) and through the IAL transition all the way to TOPD.

In the cae of the 777 if you leave the damn thing alone in LNAV VNAV it will accurately fly the correct profile and decelerate to the required speeds at each constraining waypoint. LITERALLY all you have to do is configure the aircraft and set the MCP ALT (alt window) to each successive altitude constraint until the FAF then to the minima (once you're at least 300' below the missed approach altitude you set that and the aircraft will continue descending to the minima)....extend the flaps when the command bug tells you to and put the wheels down before it gets expensive.

It's EXACTLY like flying an ILS from TOPD...for all intents and purposes. Yes to a higher minima but from an flight instrument interpretation and manipulative stand point an NPA in a modern jet is functionally identical to an ILS.

Now if you insist on not using VNAV and instead use VS (Vertical Speed) or FLCH (Flight Level Change) all bets are off...You better know how to do that pilot sh!t...and you damn well better understand the differences and what happens when the Auto Flight Guidance System goes to 'On Approach' mode.

As an aside RNP AR is a thing of beauty...although not perfect. I'd suggest within 5 years, 10 tops, ILSs will be as rare as NDBs.

Old Akro
27th Feb 2013, 09:33
Catering for the lowest denominator?

Yep. Agreed. But guys said that when we moved to nosewheels, went from range finding to ADF, went from ADF to VOR, etc. I was reminiscing recently about the old days of DED reckoning, drawing tracks and deviation lines on maps and 2 minute accuracy for full reporting. Going to MET briefing to speak face to face with a forecaster. Working out winds with a computer. There was real pride in navigation. Now I fly the GPS. Something is lost, something gained.

I lament the death of the slide rule and loss of skill with 7 figure log tables. I miss drafting tables with cane cored scales, an assortment of sharpened clutch pencils. I am dismayed by ABS, stability control and even synchromesh in cars - all of which degraded the skill and enjoyment of driving.

But there are 2 choices and I vote to not be left behind.

Old Akro
27th Feb 2013, 09:46
Old Akro you really don't know what you're talking about in this instance.

Maybe. But I understand about the first half of your points and thought I had incorporated that. Maybe I didn't express it properly.

The thing that I don't understand (and I thought admitted to) is whether the FMC gives vertical guidance for non-precision RNP approaches. You've explained that. Thanks.

Chimbu chuckles
27th Feb 2013, 09:58
VNAV gives accurate vertical guidance for NDB, VOR, GNSS, RNP AR. The tolerances vary.

Doesn't matter whether you're flying an NDB, VOR, GNSS, ILS or RNP AR in a modern jet...keep the needles centred and you arrive safely at the minima.

Capt Fathom
27th Feb 2013, 10:12
keep the needles centred and you arrive safely at the minima

That may be the problem Chimbu. You can fly into the ground with the needles centred.

You just have to know what the needles are telling you!

haughtney1
27th Feb 2013, 10:23
All this going around in circles by way of explanation seems to ignore one key point.
A crew of a supposedly premium international carrier were unable to interpret information presented to them such that they screwed the pooch in a fairly unsafe fashion.
I am utterly astounded after reading the report for the 4th time that they managed to get themselves into the position they did.
It's not as if ATC at MEL is hard to understand, neither is the coding for the approach (I looked at it last night in our FMC), there are no traps for the unwary.
Thinking even more deeply into it, if I was feeling more of a Luddite than usual (no comments please CC) and I'd decided I was going to use FLCH to get to platform altitude...then a basic understanding of ALT followed by VNAV being armed would have me flying the prescribed vertical profile...even then...V/S at about 700-800fpm on that approach would keep me easily within limits.
Is it really that hard?
:ugh:

andrewr
27th Feb 2013, 10:32
The important question is not whether or not a competent pilot should be able to fly the approach without an ILS, the question is whether an ILS would reduce the chances of someone crashing in Footscray etc. one day... and if it would, whether reducing that chance is worth the cost of an ILS.

Jack Ranga
27th Feb 2013, 10:39
Bloggs we do have control of international airlines. The US & the EU ban unsafe operators from their airspace. Australia is too busy kowtowing & PC. They pick on easy targets that can't defend themselves.

Spotlight
27th Feb 2013, 12:42
I agree with andrew. A stitch in time saves nine.

Angle of Attack
27th Feb 2013, 13:15
ANZ has RNP-AR capability, someone was asking about international airlines prior.

RNP-AR is available to DA's around 300 ft AGL to multiple destinations and those charts wont show up in the Jepps because they are operator specific, only Brissy and Melbourne are available on the general subscription. For QF we can get these approaches to CNS, TSV, ISA, OOL, HBA, ASP, AYE, DRW, ZNE, KTA, BME, PHE, KGI, PHE, ADL, name an airport and a procedure can be built to get to ILS plus about 50-100ft DA's depending on terrain, with no ground based aid augmentation. I don't fully believe ILS will be gone in 10 years because of the risk with a GPS shutdown, but it is the way of the future.

Derfred
27th Feb 2013, 15:02
Just one more clarification Arko, since RNAV approaches there ain't no "precision" or "non-precision" approaches any more. RNAV approaches vary in their precision so that terminology is gone. In Sydney QF have been operating commercial RNAV approaches to autoland (called GLS which is GBAS assisted GNSS updated RNAV). RNP-AR approaches vary in their precision depending on the RNP figure used (a tighter RNP gives a lower minima). VOR and NDB approaches flown in LNAV/VNAV are just as precise as RNP-AR approaches (if they are coded to the RWY threshold). In fact, in QF the approach aid doesn't even have to be working.

clark y
27th Feb 2013, 18:52
About the incident- anyone could have done what the Thai crew did. Australian jet crews over the years have nearly landed on roads, botched go-rounds, taken off at night without lights, nearly ran wing tanks dry, nearly hit hills in the hold, descended below altitude restrictions. Anything else? I prefer to look at this incident as a learning exercise.
With respect to pilot standards, we are not taught these days to excel, we are taught to be average. Very few colleagues I fly with practice hands on flying, let alone manual thrust. Very few will also continue the approaches if visual early just to see where the minima really is and what you would be looking at ( always fun at Cooly and Maroochy.........sorry Goldy and Sunny). This is part of our culture nowadays. The sim is treated as checking tool. Not a training device. Schedules are crammed. Rosters make you want to do the minimum amount of work required. Sops do not contain words like "Captain's discretion"or "common sense". And if anything goes astray, JUST see what a JUST culture will do for you.

About the approach type debate- RNP will quite happily fly you into the ground even with VNAV engaged if you miss set the QNH.

Chimbu chuckles
27th Feb 2013, 20:01
Fathom an ILS will 'fly you into the ground with the needles centred' too -it's called auto land;)

Honestly, between the FMC, FD, FMA and RADALT it's really not rocket science.

Clark y agree completely - that doesn't make it any less a training and standards issue.

What in that report gives anyone the impression that THAT crew on THAT day would have done better self positioning for the ILS?

Centaurus
27th Feb 2013, 23:42
self positioning for the ILS?

Now that's a term rarely heard nowadays - but as an exercise in practicing basic use of radio aids to find the airport it smartens the scan rate if hand flown.

While Thai bashing gets people thinking more about commonsense DME v height as a double check on profile management, you would be unpleasantly surprised at the astonished looks of dismay sometimes seen when in the simulator both CDU's are failed and the crew are asked to find their way procedurely to the airport ILS from 50 miles out, hand flying raw data and no radar vectors.

But it is just this sort of handling practice that keeps the pilot sharp rather than lazy in his old age. But then again, does he need to be sharp when the automatics are so reliable nowadays?

The counter argument of course being that that sort of combination of events would never happen in real life. Like the double engine failure at low level that Sully had with his A320 ditching in the river.:E Or the Garuda double engine failure in a 63,000 thunderstorm coupled with a total electrical failure when his APU failed to start because of a long stuffed battery and of course the all flaps up ditching that was the result. Of course that could never happen, either.:E But it did.

Gentle_flyer
28th Feb 2013, 19:15
I did not see anything in the ATSB report about the efficacy or otherwise of the ground based warning system that Airservices must surely have in place when aircraft get too low and provides a warning to the Approach controller.

Surely the flight was already low when the pilot contacted the TWR?

I am sure Dick Smith and others in the past have mentioned that the ATC system has warnings like this.

I will have to enquire with my controller acquaintances??

neville_nobody
28th Feb 2013, 21:55
I pretty sure I'm correct about DME feeding the FMS - how else does it know the track miles to run? The INS needs updating. It can come from GNSS or DME. I'm guessing the FMS uses DME as default.

You are correct except that the first thing you do when conducting a RNAV approach is turn off the DME update.

The FMC builds a profile from the end of the runway with fixes at certain points based on a 3 degree slope. It's all done in the computer with no external reference.

I always do a 3x check from the end of the runway anyway to ensure we don't have a Air NZ scenario again. (Type 'A Free Lesson' into YouTube if you don't know what I'm talking about)

Lookleft
28th Feb 2013, 22:51
To all those who state that an ILS on 34 would fix all the problems regarding foreign carriers and NPAs, 16R in Sydney has an ILS but it's out for maintenance for nearly a month. Guess what approach had to be flown to get into Syd? As an aside did Emirates end up landing after curfew with a screaming southerly?

Captain Peacock
1st Mar 2013, 04:54
you would be unpleasantly surprised at the astonished looks of dismay sometimes seen when in the simulator both CDU's are failed and the crew are asked to find their way procedurely to the airport ILS from 50 miles out, hand flying raw data and no radar vectors. Stick and rudder skills are obviously important, as is spatial awareness.

The issue with this incident however, isn't the lack of stick and rudder skills, but the lack of awareness of engaged autoflight modes and the inability to use and monitor them correctly.

kellykelpie
1st Mar 2013, 05:14
Hi Lookleft,

There is quite a difference between an outage of an ILS for one month vs the lack of the facility at all when it comes to risk.

Lookleft
1st Mar 2013, 05:31
It doesn't matter whether its out for an hour what matters is that professional flight crew can operate the aircraft in the environment that they are presented with. Having an ILS on 34 in Melbourne (and that would also have to include 05 AD 11DN 30HB 14R LT) might make it easier but it won't make it safer if the person at the controls does not have a good knowledge of how his/her aircraft works. I flew an approach into Sydney yesterday that gave me all the appearances of an ILS with an LDEV and a VDEV indication and FD's that were centered. I would have been in for a nasty shock however if I thought that it was going to autoland as well.

Modern FMC's, autopilots and glass cockpits were also supposed to take away the risk of an NPA but all we have is a different set of problems. If you want to eliminate the risk then 16R shouldn't be used at all while the ILS is U/S. That would also imply that if an ILS was installed on 34 then the airport would be unavailable if it required maintenance and the only runway that could be used was 34.

framer
1st Mar 2013, 09:32
Some people here don't understand the differences in " flying cultures" that exist.
They apply an Australian/American/British/ Kiwi kinda culture to the situation because that's all they know.
It is intentional, and accepted, to dive to the MSA or Min Altitude while conducting approaches in some parts of the world with no attempt made to follow a profile of 3 degrees.

Transition Layer
1st Mar 2013, 09:34
From today's SMH...somewhat related? :confused:

Airport chaos - and worse to come
Date
March 1, 2013 - 6:20PM
149 reading nowRead later
Jacob Saulwick and Sherrill Nixon

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TRAVELLERS flying in or out of Sydney should be prepared for a tough month if dreary weather holds after a key plane navigation system was shut down.

The Instrument Landing System at Sydney Airport is closed for an upgrade for the rest of the month, reducing the number of planes that can take off and land at the airport in rain or fog.

The combination of rain, wind and the suspension of the ILS at Sydney meant more than 40 flights were cancelled on Friday and many more delayed.

Pilots typically do not need the ILS in clear weather, meaning that its absence for the next month should be felt only on rainy days.

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The ILS, a radio navigation tool, is operated by the federal government agency, Airservices Australia.

It is understood airlines and Sydney Airport were annoyed at a lack of notice from Airservices about the upgrade this month, and its potential to disrupt flights.

But a spokesman for the agency, Graham Robinson, said 35 knot winds, low cloud and low visibility on Friday would have created problems for pilots anyway.

"It certainly contributes to some of the delay," Mr Robinson said of the ILS, "but primarily the weather system is creating difficulties for us at the moment."

Mr Robinson denied that there had been little notice of the upgrade which, when finished, will allow more flights to land at Sydney in foggy conditions.

Qantas was forced to cancel four flights into Sydney on Friday and three flights out, and also reported multiple delays.

A spokesman for Virgin Australia said the airline was forced to cancel 17 flights and delay about 20 flights out of Sydney as a result of the poor weather, and the ILS upgrade.

"We also had an outage relating to the baggage belt that's operated by Sydney Airport in Terminal 2," the spokesman said.

A Jetstar spokesman said 17 flights into and out of Sydney were cancelled on Friday.

The Sydney Airport chief executive officer, Kerrie Mather, said in a media release this week that the ILS upgrade would ultimately lead to more reliable flights through Sydney.

“The works have been scheduled for a time of year to minimise the potential for operational disruption, however, until the end of March while the ILS is being upgraded, there may be delays in the event of unseasonably poor weather," Ms Mather said.

They mention upgrades to the ILS. Does this mean CAT II/III is coming to YSSY?

Chimbu chuckles
1st Mar 2013, 20:10
True framer - peeling off the most perfect low drag/constant descent 3 degree NPA (or ILS for that matter) on a sim ride in Japan is the fastest way to fail said check. Dive and Drive is the only acceptable path from TOPD to MDA.

I have no idea whether the same culture exists in Thai but if it does how did they get below the limiting steps?

Ex A380 driver - the BUFF automatically corrects for ISA DEVN?

Old Akro
1st Mar 2013, 21:45
The crew Fcuked up. (I can't believe they took 50 seconds to initiate the go around following ATC's directive. I am sure there are many other destinations that Thai goes to in the 777 that require other than ILS approaches.

I think the evidence that they took 50 seconds to react is very tenuous and I think the ATSB has been mischievous in the claiming this. Firstly, from the time log in the ATSB report its 47 seconds - not the 50 they use for the sensational sub heading, secondly it relies on the interpretation of the initial Thai response which the ATSB records differently in the body copy and Appendix B together with another call which the ATSB record as unintelligible. The ATSB have been found to change radio transcripts previously. It may be that case here. It was (from memory) 34 seconds until the second ATC radio call. If you start the clock there, then the Thai crew reacted promptly.

The ATSB report s not good enough to make these accusations. But it reads well and its only when you spend time to piece together fragments from different parts of the report to make a complete time line that it becomes evident.

Groundspeeds derived from the reported calls don't make sense either. I suspect the position or time of some calls may not be correct, which would change the flavour of the incident too.

The Thai crew did something bad. But the ATSB report is not sufficiently good to determine exactly what it was - in my opinion.

framer
1st Mar 2013, 23:20
I have no idea whether the same culture exists in Thai but if it does how did they get below the limiting steps?
Because they made an error. If you dive and drive there is no tolerance for an error. That is why we fly constant descent, there is tolerance built into it for most situations. Only where the Min height and the 3 degree coincide is there no tolerance and that is rare and only for a second or two of an approach.
I have been based in Asia for a while and most nights 777's and A320's dive low and fast down to 1000AGL over the hills 20nm from touch down around the arc into our home port. I am normally about 2000ft higher than them at the same point and about 50kts slower. Sometimes ATC are so used to the dive and drive that they " command " me to increase my rate of descent, not for traffic reasons but because they think I am stuffing up the approach.
That is their SOP and it makes the approach much less " error tolerant".
I think that is what we see at the Gold Coast and again in Melbourne. In my opinion, the battle is cultural.
Framer

Captain Peacock
2nd Mar 2013, 00:07
Forget about calls for ILSs everywhere, it just is not going the happenLast two times I flew into KJFK I did the VOR DME 22L with a visual side step to 22R and a Canarsie VOR for 13L. Both in average vis, at night, one in rain and the other in snow showers.

Australia isn't that bad by comparison. :rolleyes:

AnQrKa
2nd Mar 2013, 14:43
"They apply an Australian/American/British/ Kiwi kinda culture to the situation because that's all they know."

Yep. and they think all pilots are trained as well as they are when they are not.

Having spent most of my flying life in asia, I can fully understand the screw up in the Thai cockpit.

Bad training, under confident, decision making based on fear, poor CRM, steep cockpit gradient.

Its all a recipe for a balls up which is why these carriers often have . . . . .their balls up!!!!

Sunfish
2nd Mar 2013, 19:43
I know nought about the technicalities of what has occurred, but reading the ATSB report leaves me no wiser. My view however about the tone of the report and its choice of words leads me to think that it is a deliberate piece of dissimulation designed to minimise the danger of this event to the public.