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ACA856
30th Oct 2019, 20:19
Not sure if it's ok to reference AV Herald here, but this raised an eyebrow today...
Incident: Canada A319 at San Francisco on Oct 3rd 2019, landed without hearing landing clearance
By Simon Hradecky, created Tuesday, Oct 29th 2019 21:26Z, last updated Tuesday, Oct 29th 2019 21:26ZAn Air Canada Airbus A319-100, registration C-FZUJ performing flight AC-741 from Toronto,ON (Canada) to San Francisco,CA (USA) with 110 people on board, was on approach to San Francisco's runway 28L when the crew did not report on tower frequency. The aircraft continued for a safe landing on runway 28L.

The Canadian TSB reported the landing clearance was issued, however, it was not heard by the flight crew because they didn't switch to tower frequency. The airline conducts an investigation.

Airbubba
30th Oct 2019, 21:49
Lemme guess, they 'forgot' to preserve the CVR recording.

Check Airman
30th Oct 2019, 22:51
They landed uneventfully without a clearance at a busy airport. Iím sure nobodyís going for the CVR. Maybe file an ASAP, then enjoy your layover.

Maninthebar
31st Oct 2019, 05:16
They landed uneventfully without a clearance at a busy airport. Iím sure nobodyís going for the CVR. Maybe file an ASAP, then enjoy your layover.

"They landed without a clearance as a busy airport".

You think that's OK?

Cropduster
31st Oct 2019, 05:23
Maninthebar...
They didn't land without a clearance, they landed without acknowledging a clearance. Subtle difference.

Maninthebar
31st Oct 2019, 05:34
That is not accurate. They landed without receiving clearance to land.

The Canadian TSB reported the landing clearance was issued, however, it was not heard by the flight crew because they didn't switch to tower frequency.

The clearance was issued but the crew did not know that., on this report anyway

blue up
31st Oct 2019, 06:19
Back in my day we only did something after we had heard the clearance AND read it back for confirmation.:oh:

FIRESYSOK
31st Oct 2019, 06:57
Big airports like that they kind of imply landing clearance with approach clearance. Itís the medium and smaller cities you have to worry about.

Atlanta used to say Ďyouíre always cleared to landí. They didnít want any go-arounds because of a late switch over or frequency congestion. Theyíd also flash a green light to make it legal.

Meester proach
31st Oct 2019, 17:31
Does it mean anything in the US anyway ? Theyíll be four ahead when you are ď cleared to land ď

Ian W
31st Oct 2019, 18:13
There does seem to be a significant difference between the US approach and other countries. In the US a clearance to make an approach is issued 15 minutes or so before touchdown as the aircraft is still in descent 10,000 - 8,000ft and the aircraft takes that as you can land off the approach. In other countries an explicit landing clearance is required and is provided at 2 or 3nm prior to touchdown, if not the aircraft is expected to go around. This was highlighted in the case of an aircraft landing at DCA when the Tower controller was not responding to phone calls and did not issue a clearance but an aircraft landed anyway.

Airbubba
31st Oct 2019, 18:38
In the US a clearance to make an approach is issued 15 minutes or so before touchdown as the aircraft is still in descent 10,000 - 8,000ft and the aircraft takes that as you can land off the approach.

Izzat so?

I'm not rightly sure that's how it works in America. ;)

six-sixty
31st Oct 2019, 20:17
Come to the Old World: Paris Charles De Gaulle on switching to tower at 9 miles "...you are number 3 for 26L cleared to land"

India Four Two
31st Oct 2019, 20:29
I was very surprised the first time I flew in a light plane in the US at Santa Monica, when we were number 3 and cleared to land. In Canada (and all the other countries I have flown in), you are not cleared to land until you are number 1 and the runway is clear.

Australopithecus
31st Oct 2019, 21:27
The US controllers would clear you to land on first contact regardless of how many landers were in front of you. But I can’t honestly recall if they ever did that in poor visibility. I used to fly there often enough that the phrase “cleared to land” lost its meaning.

The more troubling thing about this incident isn’t that the crew didn’t hear the clearance, its that they wouldn’t have heard a go-around instruction either.

HPSOV L
31st Oct 2019, 21:33
Last time I landed in SFO the landing clearance was issued on first contact with TWR even though the runway was subsequently occupied by other aircraft three times prior to us actually landing. Itís a conditional clearance but different to most countries in that the conditions are not stated. Like a lot of what happens in SFO it can throw you off your game a little as it is a bit out of the normal pattern.

BRUpax
1st Nov 2019, 00:10
Last time I landed in SFO the landing clearance was issued on first contact with TWR

Indeed, and this is pretty much standard at most, if not all, major airports in the USA.

West Coast
1st Nov 2019, 02:22
It's called anticipated separation. If they end up not having it, then it's off you go. It works quite well.

giggitygiggity
1st Nov 2019, 03:09
It's called anticipated separation. If they end up not having it, then it's off you go. It works quite well.

But why? Seems like an unnecessary erosion of safety. The only answer I can conceive is controller laziness or a desperation to sound slick.

West Coast
1st Nov 2019, 04:01
But why? Seems like an unnecessary erosion of safety. The only answer I can conceive is controller laziness or a desperation to sound slick.


Who cares what it seems like, do you have any data that indicates itís unsafe? Opinion isnít fact nor data. The vast majority of the top 10 busiest busiest airports in the world successfully use anticipated separation daily.

itís simply different than what youíre used to, not more safe or less safe, just different,

Maninthebar
1st Nov 2019, 05:18
But this was not what happened in this case. The flight crew did not receive a clearance to land from TWR whether anticipated or not. They just landed.

Hence, I assume, the investigation

Check Airman
1st Nov 2019, 06:58
But why? Seems like an unnecessary erosion of safety. The only answer I can conceive is controller laziness or a desperation to sound slick.

It isnít. The vast majority of US pilots are dumbfounded when they hear ďline up and wait behind...Ē. They think itís reckless and unsafe.

They hold it in the same regard as you do with ďcleared to land, number 3Ē.

Itís just what youíre used to.

Check Airman
1st Nov 2019, 07:03
"They landed without a clearance as a busy airport".

You think that's OK?

As many have implied, at a busy airport, airmanship and S.A. are paramount. Letís say the crew discovered the mistake pretty late (200ft for example). Iíd say theyíre better off scanning for traffic and landing if the runway is clear, than going missed.

Check Airman
1st Nov 2019, 07:12
Last time I landed in SFO the landing clearance was issued on first contact with TWR even though the runway was subsequently occupied by other aircraft three times prior to us actually landing. Itís a conditional clearance but different to most countries in that the conditions are not stated. Like a lot of what happens in SFO it can throw you off your game a little as it is a bit out of the normal pattern.


What youíll hear will sound something like ď3 departures prior to your arrival, RW 10R, cleared to landĒ.

For me, that early landing clearance actually sets my mind at ease. My intent is to land, and absent further instructions, Iím able to do so. Now, I donít have to worry about landing without a clearance.

Maninthebar
1st Nov 2019, 08:01
As many have implied, at a busy airport, airmanship and S.A. are paramount. Letís say the crew discovered the mistake pretty late (200ft for example). Iíd say theyíre better off scanning for traffic and landing if the runway is clear, than going missed.

Oh yes, I am sure that this is [something like] what happened - and they seem to have reported themselves which is admirable. The bit I was challenging was the blase attitude of other posters.

If TWR knew something they didn't (runway incursion, debris, who knows what all) and had cancelled the clearance it could have all turned to custard toot sweet

KelvinD
1st Nov 2019, 09:25
Listening to Live ATC, it seems the Canadian flight and the Tower were in contact shortly before landing. The audio is of poor quality so it is not 100% but it sounds like a couple of brief messages between them. However, a short while later, Tower can be heard instructing the Canadian to hold short of some point and there was no reply from the aircraft. Tower called him again to repeat the hold short instruction and there was a response from the aircraft. Interestingly, what was not apparent was anything along the lines of "who told you to land?"
Try it at KSFO Tower archive 3rd October between 19:21 and 19:24 UCT.

Check Airman
1st Nov 2019, 12:58
Oh yes, I am sure that this is [something like] what happened - and they seem to have reported themselves which is admirable. The bit I was challenging was the blase attitude of other posters.

If TWR knew something they didn't (runway incursion, debris, who knows what all) and had cancelled the clearance it could have all turned to custard toot sweet

Yes, there couldíve been some danger that the crew couldnít perceive, but at that point, the tower controller would likely find another way to communicate with the crew.

Check Airman
1st Nov 2019, 13:07
Listening to Live ATC, it seems the Canadian flight and the Tower were in contact shortly before landing. The audio is of poor quality so it is not 100% but it sounds like a couple of brief messages between them. However, a short while later, Tower can be heard instructing the Canadian to hold short of some point and there was no reply from the aircraft. Tower called him again to repeat the hold short instruction and there was a response from the aircraft. Interestingly, what was not apparent was anything along the lines of "who told you to land?"
Try it at KSFO Tower archive 3rd October between 19:21 and 19:24 UCT.

Iím assuming they werenít questioned because the crew did as they were expected to do, ie. land the plane.

Please donít take my replies here to mean that we go around landing without clearances every day, but most often in these scenarios, doing so is often the lesser of 2 evils.

Never flown in Europe, but most North American airline pilots would have operated at non-towered airports before (occasionally, even at an airline), so itís really not that much of an uncomfortable situation.

At least in my base, low vis takeoff and landing gets way more briefing time. I havenít done an approach in months, and apparently itís already snowing up north!

golfyankeesierra
1st Nov 2019, 16:04
I think the issue of not being on the right freq at SFO is not landing clearance (you can see for yourself if the runway is clear of obstacles) but more the possible loss of separation with close parallel approach or takeoffs from the intersection runway that abort (not sure whether the RSL will fix that one).

giggitygiggity
1st Nov 2019, 17:41
Who cares what it seems like, do you have any data that indicates itís unsafe? Opinion isnít fact nor data. The vast majority of the top 10 busiest busiest airports in the world successfully use anticipated separation daily.

itís simply different than what youíre used to, not more safe or less safe, just different,

I never said my post was fact, it is opinion. I am not the regulator, this is a forum for discussion. Although I am used to it do it most weeks in CDG, I still donít like it. I just donít see the advantage. You have the crew going, Ďwere we cleared to land, I canít remember? Oh yeah we checked in so we must be cleared to landí.

To the point another made about getting told to line up behind, I didnít realise that this was something that was prohibited under the FAA as I donít operate in the USA. Although a line up behind clearance would never be issued with a secondary condition, it will be specific referring to the next landing aircraft and never something like Ďafter the third company a319 on the approach at 15 miles, cleared to line up behindí. I imagine that clearance option came about as a lot of the European airports are a lot smaller. For example, My base has just 1 runway but still moves 50 million pax a year, SFO has 4 and only shifts a fraction more. Therefore arguably compromises are necessary due to the infrastructure limitations to keep things moving. I just donít see the advantage in clearing someone to land with 3 aircraft ahead.

Check Airman
1st Nov 2019, 22:23
Just to clarify, youíre not always cleared to land on initial contact with the tower.

Having been exposed to ďline up behindĒ and ďcleared to land no. 3Ē early in my career, I really donít see a problem with either.

If you really want to have fun in the US, you can be cleared for a visual approach without having the field in sight.

conditions apply of course

jack11111
2nd Nov 2019, 01:32
If I recall correctly at SFO one could be cleared for the visual approach RWYs 28 if you had the San Mateo Bridge in sight.

West Coast
2nd Nov 2019, 02:09
I never said my post was fact, it is opinion. I am not the regulator, this is a forum for discussion. Although I am used to it do it most weeks in CDG, I still donít like it. I just donít see the advantage. You have the crew going, Ďwere we cleared to land, I canít remember? Oh yeah we checked in so we must be cleared to landí.

To the point another made about getting told to line up behind, I didnít realise that this was something that was prohibited under the FAA as I donít operate in the USA. Although a line up behind clearance would never be issued with a secondary condition, it will be specific referring to the next landing aircraft and never something like Ďafter the third company a319 on the approach at 15 miles, cleared to line up behindí. I imagine that clearance option came about as a lot of the European airports are a lot smaller. For example, My base has just 1 runway but still moves 50 million pax a year, SFO has 4 and only shifts a fraction more. Therefore arguably compromises are necessary due to the infrastructure limitations to keep things moving. I just donít see the advantage in clearing someone to land with 3 aircraft ahead.

I donít see an advantage to not doing it. As I said earlier, The reason you donít like it s because itís different than what youíre used to. A bit of the NIH syndrome, so it must be substandard.

HPSOV L
2nd Nov 2019, 04:04
I actually like this system. It reduces radio congestion and you donít have to worry about that late landing clearance being stepped on.

But there is a gotcha which may or may not be a factor in this case.. If you do miss the frequency change to TWR (which comes at quite a busy phase of configuration change etc) there is no memory trigger at the point you would normally (in other countries) expect a clearance. You are thinking ahead, not back where the error occurred
Yes I know there are other cues which should clue you in but the brain is a funny thing when it gets focussed on a task.

Anyway it's not an excuse, just trying to give an insight into how a minor difference from your normal habit pattern can erode your passive defences.

Australopithecus
2nd Nov 2019, 04:05
I don’t see an advantage to not doing it. As I said earlier, The reason you don’t like it s because it’s different than what you’re used to. A bit of the NIH syndrome, so it must be substandard.

^^^^^
This.
It’s life, Jim, just not as we know it.
Most old guys I know always keep a jaundiced eye out for traps, all the way to the gate, past the flirtatious 63 yr old purser, up the jetway, into the coffee shop. A landing clearance, like every other clearance is only good until the moment it is not anymore.

misd-agin
2nd Nov 2019, 15:20
Izzat so?

I'm not rightly sure that's how it works in America. ;)

Exactly. Crazy stuff that people write about 'how it really is." FIfteen minutes prior is typically about 60 nm from the runway. No one gets landing clearance that far out..... unless you're racing the curfew into DCA back in the old days. ;-))))

cossack
2nd Nov 2019, 16:16
In Canada (and all the other countries I have flown in), you are not cleared to land until you are number 1 and the runway is clear.
Its been in use at YYZ for at least 5 years. Unlike our FAA friends, we can't anticipate the separation with departing traffic in the mix and cannot clear an aircraft to land until a departure is actually rolling.

It does help reduce chatter on sometimes very busy frequencies (e.g. closely spaced parallels) but it is a controller judgement call and by no means is it a blanket clearance.

I agree with the comment regarding the check-in at the FAF requirement being a PITA. On a mixed mode runway you can almost guarantee that you will try to check-in just as the preceding arrival is landing and the controller is trying to line up the next departure. The FAF is the transfer of control point from arrival to tower and some believe the transfer of comms should be at the same inconvenient point. IMHO If you check-in a mile early there will be no problems and you are less likely to forget as you pass the FAF and get busier.

DCP123
6th Nov 2019, 01:33
Back in my day we only did something after we had heard the clearance AND read it back for confirmation.:oh:
How horribly old-fashioned of you.

DCP123
6th Nov 2019, 01:37
The US controllers would clear you to land on first contact regardless of how many landers were in front of you. But I canít honestly recall if they ever did that in poor visibility. I used to fly there often enough that the phrase ďcleared to landĒ lost its meaning.

The more troubling thing about this incident isnít that the crew didnít hear the clearance, its that they wouldnít have heard a go-around instruction either.
And that's exactly why you shouldn't land unless you hear the tower clear you.

cappt
6th Nov 2019, 01:50
Flight in front of us at SFO went around once from short final. They finally contacted tower on the go and tower asks "UA123 say reason for go-around?" UA123 "we didn't have landing clearance" Tower- "OK, well, everyone usually just lands anyway".

ATC Watcher
6th Nov 2019, 06:58
Flight in front of us at SFO went around once from short final. They finally contacted tower on the go and tower asks "UA123 say reason for go-around?" UA123 "we didn't have landing clearance" Tower- "OK, well, everyone usually just lands anyway".
Well I would not mix up attempted humor on the R/T with actual regulations and procedures.

tcasblue
6th Nov 2019, 15:04
Well I would not mix up attempted humor on the R/T with actual regulations and procedures.

Probably good advice. I have read some of the transcripts of FAA enforcement actions and saying that a controller somewhere apparently said something will probably not help if there was an infraction of the regulations. And the appeals process handled by the NTSB almost always backs up the FAA.