View Full Version : denied landing Sydney, 600ft on final

10th Aug 2003, 00:16
I read in a newspaper today, that a Virgin Blue 737 was denied landing at Sydney as it was arriving a few minutes after the 2300 local closing time, the aircraft had to return to Melbourne and the airline accomodate the pax overnight before returning to Sydney the next morning.

Is this correct ?

If it is, would anyone out there have been tempted to declare a tech problem on the go-around and declare a pan in any case ?


10th Aug 2003, 04:09
Sounds like a good time for the "You're coming in broken and stupid" response, followed by an idle reverse landing.

Stupid NIMBY's (Not In My Back Yard)


K. Soze
10th Aug 2003, 04:43

Try this thread on D&G:


10th Aug 2003, 05:00
If the TWR controller in Zurich lets an aircraft land or take off before or after the cut-off time, the ATCO gets fined CHF20'000
Thats about US$ 14'000. I would also send the chap around under those conditions:yuk: :yuk:
Now I just wonder what the penalties are in Sydney.....

10th Aug 2003, 05:31
I searched some news sites on the subject and came up with "45-second-late plane sent back to Melbourne


A FULLY-laden Boeing 737 was ordered to abandon a landing at Sydney Airport and return to Melbourne because it broke a curfew by less than a minute, Virgin Blue airlines said today.

The plane had descended to about 65 metres above ground level when air traffic controllers instructed the pilot to go around - 45 seconds after the 11pm curfew had passed.

Consequently, 170 passengers were flown back to Melbourne and Virgin Blue footed hotel bills for out-of-town customers and offered free flights as compensation.

Virgin Blue spokesman David Huttner said the airline had a technical problem, which delayed the flight, and air traffic authorities initially approved a flight extension to land before 11pm.

But then the landing was stopped when the flight was further delayed.

The airline lodged a complaint with the Federal Transport Minister and Mr Huttner said a review was under way to find out what went wrong.

Much more at:


10th Aug 2003, 06:19
Would it not be more feasible and safer to say no more approaches may commenced after 2300?. Surely then if an inbound aircraft is likely to miss this slot, they do not need to descend much further and can continue to an alternate or point of departure.
However if the aircraft had already passed the FAF say before 2300, they are "committed" to land and may continue.

Sperm Bank
10th Aug 2003, 08:43
Boeing that would far too much common sense. We are talking about Australia here mate, the founding nation of anal retentive, politically correct, mind numbing abhorrence! There are many in this country who either refuse, or do not have the the intellectual capacity to think outside their diminutive little box. Hopefully one day we will come around to the 21st centuary!

Kaptin M
10th Aug 2003, 09:40
Strange logic applied here.

Tell an aircraft to go-around from 200', rather than letting it land using idle reverse. :uhoh:

I'll bet the nearby residents really appreciated that!! :*

10th Aug 2003, 10:16
I'm with you Kaptin M,

I'm sure the residents just loved it when the Virgin was told to go-around. 200ft from earth with the engines near idle, and suddenly, they're spooled into near full power and the aircraft cleans up (:mad: off pilots and all!) and heads back to Melbourne.

Hmm, idle reverse or full power ???

Now, let me see, which one makes more noise?

In the xxx seconds left to make the landing from 600ft out on short finals, wouldn't it have been more appropriate to just let the darn' thing land! :confused:

I mean, c'mon, a fully laden 744 (yes, I realise it has just made a pacific crossing) is able to land after the curfew, what difference is a small 737 going to make? Especially with idle reverse engaged and only minutes, if not seconds, after the curfew!

Perhaps Qantas have an insider at YSSY working as an ATC and he saw this as the perfect opportunity to sabotage the competition and get a promotion! :p Joking.

Sould make for an interesting topic.



10th Aug 2003, 11:56
Still interested if any brave souls out there would have found a convenient last minute tech problem that necessitated getting the A/C on the ground in the interests of safety ?

Is the spirit of Ned Kelly truly dead in modern Australia ?

10th Aug 2003, 12:56
the problem with allowing approaches to start anytime before 2300 could comprimise safety. If a pilot is approaching on a mile final and the clock strikes 2300 they realize that if they dont land on this shot they wont be landing. This decreases the likelyhood they will initiate a go-around in the event of a problem like an unstablized approach or approaching minimums with no rwy. in sight. just a thought.

10th Aug 2003, 16:27
But mav, that's the problem with all blindly applied curfews. It does't matter when the cut-off is, if you're nearing the airfield (or nearly ready for departure) but it's going to be tight there will always be pressure to cut corners or break the rules.

10th Aug 2003, 16:33
There was one time, at band camp, I was checking a co-piglet. He was given a simulated engine fire with a practice diversion to Woolsington which didn't accept training after 2300. My victim was slow to sort himself out and we finally got onto the ILS at spot-on 2300. Being the sensible people they are, the ATCOs permitted us to continue.....but the racket made by a VC10 going around on 3 engines at full power would probably wake the dead! And the noise of a little 737 going around a couple of seconds after 2300 would be as loud as a sparrow farting in comparison.

Permitting approaches to commence no later than 2300 at defined arrival fixes, plus increased 'administration fees' for landings after 2300 would seem sensible. But then I'm not an Oz bureaucrat!

Another 3-engined VC10 tale - once upon a time our boss had made himself even more unpopular than he normally was by insisting that we did more training at the end of trips if we had the fuel. At the Secret Oxonian Flugplatz, training in those days was permitted before 2300L, after that it was one approach only plus an idle reverse landing. We came back after 2200, my co-pilot did an approach and touch-and-go, then I did an approach. Now it just so happened that I knew the boss was in his quarter which is right under the NDB approach course and close to the missed approach point. I also knew that he was in bed as he'd got an early start the next day - and would no doubt burgle the trip for himself.... So, out came the little devil horns and I flew a 3-engined NDB to go-around at the missed approach point at exactly 2259. Settle at MDH, drive in to the beacon, then full chat on 3 right over his roof at 670 ft!!. Perfectly legal - and a way of letting him know that we were taking full advantage of his diktat regarding flying training! But soon afterwards, the rules were changed!

Oops-off thread a bit. Sorrreeeeeee!

Chocks Away
10th Aug 2003, 16:47
mmm, sadly the tower guys have their hands tied by politicians and regs... not to mention an Approach controller that sends you out to New Zealand or Newcastle on downwind! :rolleyes:

The "inside Initial of Final app. fix @ .. time" sounds workable.:D

Interesting piece below that ties in...

Sydney Airport expects to treble its annual traffic to 68.3 million passengers by 2023, capitalizing on the introduction of larger aircraft, according to the draft master plan for Australia's busiest gateway. CEO Max Moore-Wilton said Sydney has the capacity and infrastructure planning in place to handle the projected 4.2% yearly growth in passenger numbers and 2.4% increase in aircraft movements for the next 20 years. He said the airport will achieve this expansion without changes to the existing legislated cap on movements of 80 per hour and curfew, and with no new runways and continuing access by smaller Regional operators. "Our planning is predicated on gradual incremental growth of both passengers and aircraft movements over time," he said. It is estimated that it could take another 10 years for Sydney to return to the traffic levels experienced shortly after the 2000 Olympic Games in early 2001. The draft master plan was released Thursday and will be available for public display and comment before being submitted to the minister for transport and regional services by Dec. 31

10th Aug 2003, 17:30

The lunatics are running the asylum - How many tonnes of unecessary greenhouse gasses went into the atmosphere because of this ridiculous diversion?:*

10th Aug 2003, 19:42
It may be like Aberdeen (UK) - the aerodrome insurance was (going back a few years anyway) INVALID after the notified closure time, and there would have been NO cover for a landing. A similar event took palce there a few years back. It was not a noise issue.

Point Seven
10th Aug 2003, 23:10
Quite correct BOAC.

Whilst it is infuriating being denied landing clearance, if an aircraft lands outside of the curfew then the aerodrome authority is not insured and in the event of something bad happening on landing, there is no guaranteed fire cover etc.

Annoying yes, but safe at least.


10th Aug 2003, 23:35
Not really, I presume that standby fire cover is available for emergency diverts, and if anyone can give me an instance of where Insurance actually prevented an accident I will give them my house !!!

10th Aug 2003, 23:41
Robmac - I know nothing of the SYD 'incident' other than from here, but the ABZ one was NOT an emergency, but a flight running late. No airport would deny landing to emergency traffic, I'm sure!

11th Aug 2003, 00:15
Not so.

Sydney is a 24hr ops airport. It doesn't close. There are restrictions on movements after curfew for noise abatement, and fines for aircraft which break them, but no insurance or operational reasons why aircraft can't land.

Onan the Clumsy
11th Aug 2003, 01:21
If there were "fines for aircraft which break [the movement restrictions]" would they be more or less than the cost of the go around + the return flight + the overnight hotel bill + the trip the following day + the ill will of the pax?

11th Aug 2003, 01:50
OK, had enough of the usual BS being spouted.

The SYD noise rules are probably the most ridiculous in the world, but ATC don't "send you around" or "deny clearance". They just tell you you're going to be late, and there is a HUGE fine for breaches such as this one. The aircraft departed origin with an ETA for SYD of 2309, was given track shortening, no speed restrictions etc to try and help, but if the wheels aren't on the deck when that clock ticks over, the noise nazi's leap into action. The noise nazi's have their own little tower, and know exactly what time, how much noise (to the decibel) etc. each flight generates. The airport is open H24, with noise-complient types operating in there over night. Late night noise generates public complaints, which are all followed up.

Once again, this is nothing to do with the controllers, who bent over backwards to help. They have to put up with mind-boggling, onerous, politically driven operating orders, and in this case did evertyhing to try and help. Put $hit on the pollies and noise-oids by all means, question the wisdom of departing the flight in the first place, but aim at the right people. I would've expected people in this forum to have a better grasp of how aviation works.:hmm:

11th Aug 2003, 07:30

A tad defensive don't you think, especially the BS bit, methinks thou dost protest too much.

However, no one has blamed the controllers per se, just the system, whoever is responsible for administering it and operating it without any minimal degree of latitude and common sense.

Would it also be fair to presume that the controllers who were so helpful in speeding up the en-route portion, may have been different from the ones in Sydney tower, something like

Virgin Blue, established...

Contact Sydney Tower on ....

Sydney Tower, VB with you, established ILS...

VB....... ****** off were closed

Only joking Ferris, don't have a heart attack ;)


11th Aug 2003, 09:49
VB knew very well before even leaving Mel that there was a possibility of this flight being rejected at Syd, funny how they had enough fuel loaded for the return trip.. need i say more :)

The way it works is that you apply for a dispensation through the Dept of Transport for the late arrival. If the dispensation is approved no problem.. this is how a QF 747 landed about 10 minutes after VB diverted!! VB applied for the dispensation before leaving MEL but it wasnt received prior to departure and due to a breakdown in communcications somewhere along the line it wasnt received on arrival at YSSY. ATC advise the PIC of the possible fine for landing, the decision to continue is 100% up to the PIC no doubt it would be cheaper to turn around rather than pay the fine.. a contingency which the fuel situation proves was pre-planned. ATC did not reject or refuse this flight landing. It was pure economics of VB's Part.

my 2 cents...


11th Aug 2003, 12:08
A couple of years ago a certain Asian airline decided to break the curfew for departure believing it was cheaper than the fine plus over night expences.
After that the fine was increased five fold to a figure I believe to be around $500,000!

11th Aug 2003, 13:13
why then did the tower clear the virign aircraft to that point knowing full well what would happen??

11th Aug 2003, 14:07
because its not up to tower to make that decision its up to PIC to either land or go elsewhere.. ATC would advise the PIC of the consequences of landing ..fines etc.. and continue giving clearances until the PIC requested a diversion.

11th Aug 2003, 17:54
What would have happened if MEL had a similar curfew? :uhoh: :confused: :eek: