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The 'Land After' Instruction

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The 'Land After' Instruction

Old 23rd Feb 2008, 04:06
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The 'Land After' Instruction

Hi there!

I'm sure this must have been discussed previously on the forum, but a search didn't find anything as such, so I'll stick my neck out and start a new thread!

I'm basically just enquiring as to how often the 'land after' instruction is given by controllers (particularly in the UK) and what actually determines whether a controller gives this instruction to a pilot, or whether he or she waits until the runway is clear and gives the more common 'cleared to land' instruction.

I think I understand the very basic difference between the two, and I assume the 'land after' clearance can only be used if the pilot has confirmed he is visual with the aircraft on the runway but what I don't really understand is why the two separate instructions exist.

When undertaking PPL training at Newcastle, I was once advised to 'land after' another light aircraft, after I had confirmed I was visual with him, and I've also occasionally heard commercial traffic given the same instruction.

On one occasion the commercial pilot refused to accept the instruction and asked to be cleared to land, which leads to another question - is it not company policy for some commercial airlines to accept such a clearance?

Does the 'land after' clearance tend only to be used at less-busy airports, or is it (in theory or otherwise) totally acceptable at say Heathrow and Gatwick?

Sorry for all the questions, but I have been pondering this for some time!
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Old 23rd Feb 2008, 08:36
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Hi.

A bit of background, and apologies if you know this already.

UK ATC units are governed by two manuals.

CAA CAP493 Manual of Air Traffic Services Part One; a country-wide document which details responsibilities, phraseology and separations in force throughout the country.

Each unit will then have its own MATS Part Two, which is specific to that unit, which details local procedures, instructions, SIDS, STARS etc.

Now, the 'Land After' instruction is what we ATCOs call a 'MATS Part 1' instruction, i.e. unless it is specifically prohibited in the unit's Part 2, then it applies all over the country. Be careful calling it a clearance, as it is basically a 'Land at your discretion'. The responsibility for separation lies with the accepting pilot. There are some conditions for its use: Weather should be such that the a/c ahead should be continuously visible to the one following, etc.

At some of the busier airports in the UK, we can also use what's known as 'After the landing/departing xxx, cleared to land', which is a MATS Part 2 procedure. For its use, a number of more strict conditions must exist: All runway exits visible from the tower, daylight, no reports of adverse braking action, if both a/c are landing, then the one ahead must either be off the runway, or 2500m from the landing threshold (2000m if the one ahead is departing) when the following a/c touches down. The thing to note on this one is that responsibility for separation rests with the ATCO, so this is most definitely a clearance.

I certainly use the 'Land After' at Heathrow, if I'm prompted by a flight crew reporting visual with the one ahead. In fact, because of the slight difference in phraseology between 'Land After' and 'After the landing xxx, cleared to land', flight crews often read back the wrong one, or a combination of the two phrases....which means then that doubt exists in my mind as to whether the crews has understood the implications, and short final is not the time to attempt to clear that up.
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Old 23rd Feb 2008, 08:59
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Quoted verbatim from the MATS Part 1 that Gonzo mentioned.

When aircraft are using the same runway, a landing aircraft may be permitted to touch down before a preceding landing aircraft which has landed is clear of the runway provided that:

a) the runway is long enough to allow safe separation between the two aircraft and there is no evidence to indicate that braking may be adversely affected;

b) it is during daylight hours;

c) the preceding landing aircraft is not required to backtrack in order to vacate the runway;

d) the controller is satisfied that the landing aircraft will be able to see the preceding aircraft which has landed, clearly and continuously, until it has vacated the runway;

e) the pilot of the following aircraft is warned. Responsibility for ensuring adequate separation rests with the pilot of the following aircraft.

Criteria for the "After the landing, cleared to land" in use at Gatwick and Heathrow. Taken from the AIP.

(a) When the runway-in-use is temporarily occupied by other traffic, landing clearance will be issued to an arriving aircraft provided that at the time the aircraft crosses the threshold of the runway-in-use the following separation distances will exist:
London Heathrow and London Gatwick
(i) Landing following landing - The preceding landing aircraft will be clear of the runway-in-use or will be at least 2500 m from the threshold of the runway-in-use.
(ii) Landing following departure - The departing aircraft will be airborne and at least 2000 m from the threshold of the runway-in-use, or if not airborne, will be at least 2500 m from the threshold of the runway-in-use.

SH
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Old 23rd Feb 2008, 22:39
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In answer to why we use 'Land After' instead of 'Cleared to Land': obviously cleared to land is an explicit clearance, it's the preferred option and it tells the pilot that (in the UK at least) the runway, along with its cleared and graded areas, is empty and his to use as required.
If the separation has closed up on short final and an aircraft is just a few seconds from touchdown with one ahead still on the runway, there may not be time to say 'cleared to land' in the time between the first one vacating and the second one touching down. Crews can't, under normal circumstances, land without a clearance so it's an uncomfortable few seconds in the flare....
If it's clear that the one ahead will vacate before the second one bumps into it, we can issue a 'land after' clearance at an earlier point on the approach and reduce the risk of, for example, another aircraft calling on the R/T at exactly the wrong moment and causing a go-around. Many crews will prefer the 'discretionary' nature of a 'land after' knowing that they are going to be able to land, subject only to the one that's by now well ahead of them.

It's reasonable commonly used but obviously not when there's a departure in between the two arrivals.....probably very common at places like Heathrow, given their pressure on capacity.

I only found out a couple of years ago that some company manuals only permit a 'land after' when the aircraft type ahead is of the same, or faster category than them. I guess that's because the catch-up, once on the ground, might be too fast to safely manage. (Refused by an A320 following a Dash-8. Very brief discussion ensued as I asked the crew if they wanted to go-around or continue for a very late landing clearance - it worked out, but not comfortable for me or them!)
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 02:08
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Thanks for the information, everyone! I see our friendly mods have moved this into the ATC section from the Spectators' Gallery - I wasn't sure which section to post it in!

I understand this a lot clearer now, and as to why a commercial aircraft may refuse a 'land after' instruction.

As to crews misinterpreting/mis-hearing the instruction, I remember an occasion when an Eastern Airways Jetstream was instructed to 'land after' company traffic, and the pilot read back 'cleared to land'. The tower controller immediately corrected him, but my instructor commented to me 'It's the same thing, for goodness sake.' Even with only half a dozen PUT flying hours, I knew the two instructions weren't the same and had an idea that 'land after' meant that the responsibility for separation was with the PIC and not ATC. It's somewhat concerning that an experienced pilot would consider incorrect readback of this nature to be a nothing issue!
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 10:19
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<<The tower controller immediately corrected him, but my instructor commented to me 'It's the same thing, for goodness sake.'>>

Not very professional was he? It was my misfortune to have to work with lots of flying instructors once. Some of them frightened the living daylights out of me with precisely the attitude your bloke had!
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Old 24th Feb 2008, 12:54
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Could I ask a related question about go-arounds - I was SLF on OZ 521 yesterday which initiated a go-around from short finals for 24L (we had gone past Hatton Tescos, so were about 1km / .5nm from the threshold). Interested to know the specifics if anyone knows, but in general, how often do you get pilot-initiated (as opposed to ATC instructed) go-arounds at Heathrow, due to the previous arrival still being on the runway? I guess in that case it must be due to being given a 'land after' instruction, if you cannot give 'cleared to land' unless the runway is vacated.

Does it make any difference whether the crew are familiar with the high rate of arrivals at Heathrow? Do you get some companies where the crews are familiar with heathrow accepting land-after instructions whereas others might not?

thanks.
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Old 19th Nov 2011, 15:12
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Hi, I'm an ATC of LIRF, and we use "land after" procedure too, according our AIP Italia. In Italy we use this particular procedure, only in Fiumicino and Malpensa. Our conditions to apply it are like yours in CAA CAP493 Manual of Air Traffic Services Part One, and It's a recovery procedure for underseparated landing traffic. We can give land after instruction only during daylight hours to landing aircraft for rwy 16l/34r, when is underseparated by preceeding aircraft, and it has preceeding aircraft in sight and able to maintain it in sight till vacating the runway. Runway must be dry. The responsability for separation "should be" (...) only of the pilot. Our doubt is that this strange procedure is not ICAO, because based on ICAO rules you can reduce separation runway minima, only according to chapter 17.1 of DOC 4444 Pans-Atm, and its conditions with more and more restrictions. So, even if with this procedure you transfer the responsability for separation to pilot, and you don't give any clearance, if there aren't VFR conditions or if you have tailwind more than 5 kts, and you issue this instruction to succeeding aircraft, in case of accident into the runway, could you be anyway responsible??
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Old 19th Nov 2011, 15:29
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Sorry the right chapter in DOC 4444 Pans-Atm is 7.11...
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Old 19th Nov 2011, 17:54
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On a point of technicality surely "Land After" is not an instruction?

It's saying you may land if you want to - there is always the option to GoAround.
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Old 20th Nov 2011, 11:30
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Thank you Fireflybob for your post,
I'm just trying to know where this strange procedure is applied everywhere, because I've understood is not a common procedure...Surely is not an ICAO approved procedure, because according DOC 4444 you can reduce separation only under certain conditions in chapter 7.11.
I know that in this case you relieve the responsability for separation to the succeeding aircraft, and so in theoretic way, in case of unexpected situation, pilot should be responsible for go around. But, my question is, if the pilot for unknown reasons shouldn't able to go around anymore, or if it lost the nr.1 in sight when it's too late to go around, and in both situation the nr.1 is still into the runway, under specific legal way the judge don't give you any responsability or will search for meteo, technical or procedural reasons, refered only to ICAO rules??
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Old 20th Nov 2011, 16:13
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The ICAO PANS for reduced runway separation minima were amended in March 2005. I think you'll find that the 'land after' procedure reflected the earlier PANS.

If I am recalling the amendment to PANS-ATM correctly it would appear that the UK and Italian procedures have not been reviewed for consistency with ICAO procedures and updated where necessary.

bob, certainly in my day, 'land after' was commonly referred to by controllers as an instruction in order to distinguish it from a clearance. I don't think there was ever an intention or implication that any of the options available to a pilot making an approach were different.
 
Old 20th Nov 2011, 19:22
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So in your opinion the amendment to PANS-ATM, about reduced runway separation minima, isn't correctly applied by UK and Italy because not updated?? And so "land after" procedure is not totally legal??
I've found a PANS-ATM edition of 22/11/07, and I know there is an other one of 2009, so I know the last version of chapter 7.11 about RRSM, if it was amended in March 2005.
The situation, in my opinion, appears strange, because we know the ICAO reference to allow under separations for the same runway, but it is different from "land after" procedure where atc relieve responsability to pilot, even if visibility is lower than 5 KM, or tailwind exceed 5 kts, or suitable landmarks don't exist, etc..etc.., you only ask the pilot if able to maintain in sight the preceeding for visual separation, and although you cannot observe it, you may give the instruction "land after" (not standard phraseology). And I'm trying to know if there are other countries around the World which are using this procedure and if its application is the same of UK and Italy, or refered only to ICAO rules.
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Old 20th Nov 2011, 19:29
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Not very professional was he? It was my misfortune to have to work with lots of flying instructors once. Some of them frightened the living daylights out of me with precisely the attitude your bloke had!
If your feeling homesick I think quite a few of them are on the Flying Instructor forum
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Old 20th Nov 2011, 19:42
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I spent most of my career based at LHR and can never remember a go around ordered by ATC in fact the only one I do remember is after wishing a captain 'good luck' after he asked for a visual from base leg and was obviously too high! Land afters were more common of course but still not that many ( i never liked them unless a high speed was available and believe that should be mandatory)

LHR was the slickest ATC operation I ever came across, the problems for us always came at other airfields which when they suddenly got busy they couldnt cope with the traffic. I certainly can remember more GAs at other airfields!
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Old 20th Nov 2011, 20:34
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On a point of technicality surely "Land After" is not an instruction?

It's saying you may land if you want to - there is always the option to GoAround.
On an equal technicality...."Cleared to Land" is also not an instruction, and the crew also have the option to go-around if they'd prefer!
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Old 21st Nov 2011, 08:37
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It's true!! Look this amendment!!:


3 Reduction of separation minima
7.10 REDUCED RUNWAY SEPARATION MINIMA BETWEEN AIRCRAFT
USING THE SAME RUNWAY

7.10.1 Provided that an appropriate, documented safety assessment has shown that an acceptable level of safety will be met, lower minima than those in 7.8.2 and 7.9.1 may be prescribed by the appropriate ATS authority, after consultation with the operators., and The safety assessment shall be carried out for each runway for which the reduced minima are intended, taking into account such factors such as:

a) runway length;

b) aerodrome layout; and

c) types of aircraft involved.

Insert new text as follows:

7.10.2 All applicable procedures related to the application of reduced runway separation minima shall be published in the Aeronautical Information Publication as well as in local air traffic control instructions. Controllers shall be provided with appropriate and adequate training in the use of the procedures.

7.10.3 Reduced runway separation minima shall only be applied during the hours of daylight from 30 minutes after local sunrise to 30 minutes before local sunset.

7.10.4 For the purpose of reduced runway separation, aircraft shall be classified as follows:

a) Category 1 aircraft: single-engine propeller aircraft with a maximum certificated take-off mass of less that 2 000 kg;

b) Category 2 aircraft: single-engine propeller aircraft with a maximum certificated take-off mass of more than 2 000 kg but less than 7 000 kg; and twin-engine propeller aircraft with a maximum certificated take-off mass of less than 7 000 kg;

c) Category 3 aircraft: all other aircraft.

End of new text.


7.10.5 Such lower Reduced runway separation minima shall not apply:

1) between a departing aircraft and a preceding landing aircraft;.

2) between sunset and sunrise, or such other period between sunset and sunrise as may be prescribed;

3) when braking action may be adversely affected by runway contaminants (e.g. slush, water, etc.); and

4) in weather conditions preventing the pilot from making an early assessment of traffic conditions on the runway.

Note. See the Air Traffic Services Planning Manual (Doc 9426) for details of such lower minima developed by one State.

Insert new text as follows:

7.10.6 Reduced runway separation minima shall be subject to the following conditions:

a) wake turbulence separation minima shall be applied;

b) visibility shall be at least 5 000 m and ceiling shall not be lower than 300 m (1 000 ft);

c) tail wind component shall not exceed 5 kt;

d) surface movement radar or other device that provides the air traffic controller with position information on aircraft shall be utilized, provided that approval for operational use of such equipment includes a safety assessment to ensure that all requisite operational and performance requirements are met; or there shall be available other means of determining the specified distances such as suitable landmarks to assist the controller in assessing distances between aircraft;

e) separation shall exist between two succeeding departing aircraft immediately after take-off of the second aircraft;

f) flight crews shall be informed when reduced runway separation is applied;

g) traffic information shall be provided to the flight crew of the succeeding aircraft concerned; and

h) the breaking action shall not be adversely affected by runway contaminants such as ice, slush, snow, water, etc.

7.10.7 Reduced runway separation minima which may be applied at an aerodrome shall be determined for each separate runway. The separation to be applied shall in no case be less than the following minima:

a) landing aircraft:

1) a succeeding landing Category 1 aircraft may cross the runway threshold when the preceding aircraft is a Category 1 or 2 aircraft which either:

i) has landed and passed a point at least 600 m from the threshold of the runway and is in motion; or

ii) is airborne and has passed a point at least 600 m from the threshold of the runway:

2) a succeeding landing Category 2 aircraft may cross the runway threshold when the preceding aircraft is a Category 1 or 2 aircraft which either:

i) has landed and has passed a point at least 1 500 m from the threshold of the runway and is in motion; or

ii) is airborne and has passed a point at least 1 500 m from the threshold of the runway:

3) a succeeding landing aircraft may cross the runway threshold when a preceding Category 3 aircraft:

i) has landed and has passed a point at least 2 400 m from the threshold of the runway and is in motion; or

ii) is airborne and has passed a point at least 2 400 m from the threshold of the runway.

b) departing aircraft:

1) a Category 1 aircraft may be cleared for take-off when the preceding departing aircraft is a Category 1 or 2 aircraft which is airborne and has passed a point at least 600 m from the threshold of the runway;

2) a Category 2 aircraft may be cleared for take-off when the preceding departing aircraft is a Category 1 or 2 aircraft which is airborne and has passed a point at least 1 500 m from the threshold of the runway; and

3) an aircraft may be cleared for take-off when a preceding departing Category 3 aircraft is airborne and has passed a point at least 2 400 m from the threshold of the runway.

Note. Consideration may be given to increased separation between high performance single-engine propeller aircraft.






So Land After instruction (with old conditions) shouldn't be legal anymore!!!
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Old 21st Nov 2011, 13:14
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Ok it's a question of semantics but, as a pilot, "Land after" is not an instruction.

According to the dictionary, instruction means, amongst other things:-

a. An authoritative direction to be obeyed; an order.
I would be uncomfortable if any pilot thought that it was so.
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Old 21st Nov 2011, 13:27
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Just wish FISOs could use something similar eg 'runway is occupied land at your discretion'; I've seen many go arounds which could have been avoided if they could say that.
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Old 21st Nov 2011, 13:55
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I'm just trying to know where this strange procedure is applied everywhere, because I've understood is not a common procedure...
And what about the system that is used at Paris CDG - when transferred from Appr to TWR you receive something like "No 1 over the threshold, you are cleared to land" (except LVP)?
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