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Virgin and DME arrivals

Old 20th Mar 2007, 21:46
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
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Virgin and DME arrivals

So virgin guys and gals;

Whats up with the "no circling approach" thing that's happened lately?
Well to be fair i can understand that, but what's with the DME arrival caper?

Scenario: Cloud BKN015, DME/GPS arrivals on ATIS.
VOZXXX cleared DME arrival with no descent restrictions, levels off at A015. Skipping in and out of cloud, conducts missed approach. Following IFR aircraft get delayed.

Now this has not happened once, or twice. But numerous times. The DME minima for that sector with tower active is 790ft for cat C aircraft. Why are you only coming to A015?

If this is a new company policy, why weren't ATC made aware of this, as it severely limits our options.......

Any other ATC's noticed this caper?
fixa24 is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2007, 23:41
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I am not a Virgin driver, however I think that several high capacity operators have a policy of not circling lower than normal circuit height if it can be avoided with again most having a hard limit of 1000ft HAT. This normally requires a runway aligned approach if there is any doubt about ability to circle at normal circuit height i.e. 1500ft HAT.

In my experience operating into some of our Towered regional aiports the ATIS will report FEW 1800 suggesting that a DME Arrival will be O.K. but when you arrive the actual is SCT 1500 causing difficulty with the policy and hence a go-round ensues.

I can't answer why ATC are not aware of the policy.
TurbTool is offline  
Old 21st Mar 2007, 00:08
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Strictly speaking, a DME arrival is a circling approach; there are no runway approaches off a DME arrival (none specified anyway). If a DME arrival culminates in a final approach that is very close to runway centreline, that is great, but in theory all DME arrivals require some manoeuvering to intercept final.
chimbu warrior is offline  
Old 21st Mar 2007, 01:39
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What airport, duty runway and inbound track are we talking about here?
Capn Bloggs is offline  
Old 21st Mar 2007, 03:56
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TurbTool you are correct.
DJ747 is offline  
Old 21st Mar 2007, 04:25
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Circling approaches are dangerous... and shouldnt be done in any pax aircraft....

HKG Phooey is offline  
Old 21st Mar 2007, 06:10
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Circling approaches are dangerous... and shouldnt be done in any pax aircraft....
Thanks for that gem...

Crossing the road is also dangerous when not treated with respect, should we stop that too?

What airport, duty runway and inbound track are we talking about here?
I am tipping Coffs...

On a serious note, why not maouvere to intercept final outside the FAF? This can be done on many DME/GPS arrivals in Oz! If you can't get runway aligned then I see nothing wrong with using an increased minima, especially in a transport category aircraft!
Howard Hughes is offline  
Old 21st Mar 2007, 07:12
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VB Policy;

Minimums of 1500Ft AFE and 8km visibility required for visual circuits including DME/GPS arrivals.

Myriad is offline  
Old 21st Mar 2007, 10:16
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VB Policy;
Minimums of 1500Ft AFE and 8km visibility required for visual circuits including DME/GPS arrivals.
Fair enough (sheila's blouses) but why wasn't AsA told of this policy?
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Old 21st Mar 2007, 10:55
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Circling approaches are dangerous... and shouldnt be done in any pax aircraft
What absolute rubbish. Circling approaches have been conducted since time immemorial. They are perfectly safe manoeuvres if you stick to the basic rule of not descending below the MDA until established on final. Of course over the last fifty years there have been occasional accidents but invariably due to poor airmanship. That is no reason to ban circling approaches.
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Old 21st Mar 2007, 11:06
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Centaurus, I think that you will find that history shows otherwise.
Certainly from a CFIT perspective, ( I will assume you know what that means) circling approaches, lower than normal circuit height, in less than VMC, should be avoided if possible where there is an alternative runway aligned approach.
If an airline operator chooses for safety reasons to impose a ban on circling approaches, and is prepared to pay the extra cost associated with runway aligned approaches that is to be applauded.
The fare paying cargo does not enjoy low level manourvres simply for the sake of the "I can do it" attitude of a few macho pilots.
fistfokker is offline  
Old 21st Mar 2007, 13:02
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So if Virgin's Circling Minima is effectively 1500 ft and 8 km, I hope they thought to increase their Alternate Minima to 2000 ft and 10 km. (Assuming there is no Special Low Alternate Minima (SLAM))

Last edited by Blip; 21st Mar 2007 at 13:28.
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Old 21st Mar 2007, 21:17
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Blip curious observation, but we can use all other instrument approaches available (and more importantly their corresponding alternate minima) ILS, LLZ/DME, RNAV, VOR, NDB. The point that had been made earlier (and my experience backs it up) is that we often get dodgy cloud base, precipitation and visibility information from the ATIS/Tower at certain "Regional" ports. Most of us have whizzed in on a DME arrival with the expectation of becoming visual and discover the said conditions are certainly not present. I think the point being made earlier is that if there is any doubt we simply plan an alternative instrument approach. Easy and safe. Why make life difficult flogging about and "wishing" each other to call visual?

Centaurus out of interest what aircraft type do you fly, and what rank?
DJ747 is offline  
Old 22nd Mar 2007, 00:11
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and I thought Jet* was bad............min 1000' agl for circle.
1500', thats a bluddy normal visual circuit
cunninglinguist is offline  
Old 22nd Mar 2007, 00:17
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Bloggs; at a FNQ class D tower, non island based. Inbound radial 131, Rwy 14.

I think you'll find most controllers will err on the side of giving you an approach vs DME/GPS arrival when the conditions warrant it. I know i do. But tin the scenario i described in the initial post, I saw the aircraft ( i know this doesn't mean they were visual) form about 1nm to run to the VOR, passed the VOR, prob went into clound briefly once, then watched him through the missed approach and ensuing VOR approach.

I have absolutely no drama's if these guys won't go below A015 on a DME arrival.

What i have a problem with is that it seems to be a new company policy, and we were not made aware of it. And what's with the crew accepting a arrival procedure when they are not 100% sure they will be visual?

Every other operator here conducts the full arrival procedure.
fixa24 is offline  
Old 22nd Mar 2007, 00:37
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If there is ANY doubt about the WX just do the published approach. Quite simple really.
Even with a flyover of the aid to land in the opposite direction to your inbound track, compare being clean/near clean overhead to gear down/flap 15 for the DME arrival (followed by dirty circuit) and possible missed approach from same?
Takes all the guesswork out of it for everyone.

Have been caught out myself with "ambitious" Tower wx observations. I'm sure they are just trying to help but give me the instument procedure any day.
Done more than my share of DME arrivals and circling approaches so don't need (read want) any more.
woftam is offline  
Old 22nd Mar 2007, 00:39
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Cunning....exactly. It is a visual circuit, we do not do cirling approaches anymore, end of story.
DJ747 is offline  
Old 22nd Mar 2007, 09:41
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… some points to consider:-
1... this company SOP effectively equates to a ‘minimum’ 500ft higher than my general CB (cloud base) cut off for a DME ARR (dependant on category of course), more likely 1,000ft. In other words, a 1,000ft buffer above 1,500AGL for possible cloud base variations (IMHO it is harder to accurately quantify the higher the CB). It all depends on the type and disposition of the cloud at the time of approach considering level assignment possibilities for other traffic!
2.. if there is any doubt about the CB, direct to the IAF for a runway aligned approach is doable (with consideration of other arriving and departing traffic) and is used frequently in our case, but it needs to be planned ahead of time!
3… if you are number 1 in a sequence of 2 or more (ahead of other operators in any event), perhaps even ahead by up to 5 mins, then you WILL be bumped in the sequence if there is any doubt about the CB and the duty runway aligned APP is not close to your inbound track! …otherwise the subsequent hold ups mean lengthy and unnecessary delays for others arriving in the circling area around the same time as you, in other words, penalising other traffic who CAN fly a DME ARR (not runway aligned) to well below the CB for circling and land before you are even established inbound!
4… subsequent conflicting traffic arrivals (including those who require an ILS or VOR APP) will end up with a higher level assignment and subsequent holding may also be required as the DME ARR missed approach must be considered until the first aircraft reports visual, which will likely happen substantially sooner than you would on the runway aligned APP if your runway aligned approach requires an outbound and/or ARC leg
.. note:- tracking and runway orientation will dictate the amount of this vertical sequencing/timing effect. It will vary dependant on how close the inbound track is to or aligned with the ‘landing’ runway and missed approach track!
5… the change in sequence and subsequent approach miles flown in lots of cases will mean an additional 8-12 mins in the air (not necessarily only for you)!!!!
6… surveillance APP/DEP would do the same if DME ARR’s were used frequently … they are not for obvious reasons, and most approaches are runway aligned at primaries (with vectoring) so there is no efficiency comparison to be made PROC V’s RADAR ….. apples and oranges ….before anyone starts!
.. anecdotally, the A320, B737, DHC8, BE20, C404 crews that operate though here know how to nail the DME ARR profiles …. ATC assessing the DME ARR as suitable is useless if the aircraft arrives over the VOR at 4,000ft!!!
.. and one last thang …. If we quote ‘Instrument Approach’ … do not just set up for a VOR or ILS and not tell anyone … call the tower direct on the spare comm or through the sector driver and ask what to expect (APP and actual WX) or TELL US IF YOU HAVE SET-UP FOR A SPECIFIC APPROACH … at least then the same rules apply (as above) with the added benefit of having time to plan others around it!
…. missed approaches off a DME ARR .. haven’t seen many … usually result in a ‘subsequent’ runway aligned approach .. in many cases little if any lost time (compared with O/head outbound) .. why would you NOT take the opportunity to save heaps of time and fuel when ATC 99% of the time gets the CB right enough … and on the very odd occasion that they do not, it is not a big deal …. is it??
I mean … others ‘in similar types’ fly DME ARR’s and ‘non duty’ runway aligned approaches then circle for the active (gives you a look at the sock/s as well) … they practice it (subject to traffic), and fly them in anger also! ...why the reluctance to pole the aircraft around the circling areas?
. ... makes me wonder how many ILS’s are flown to runways with downwind outside tower hours?!
… crews (of all colours) sent down to ‘this part’ of the south seem to know what they are doing!! ….. must be a QLD thing!
.. that should have em’ foaming .. nite all!
Scurvy.D.Dog is offline  
Old 22nd Mar 2007, 11:03
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ALL inst arrivals are designed & flown when required for one single reason, to become visual & complete the approach to land (obviously) with vis ref to ground or water, one can disscontinue an appraoch at any time & for any reason, (some are mandatory reasons) it says nothing in the books about 'having' to complete the whole approach, if VB want 'add' a little for good measure then that's their problem/right. (bunch of girls, only kidding)So most do it beacuse it's legal to do so, complete a circiling approach when they CFIT (see fit):-)

Capt Wally
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Old 22nd Mar 2007, 11:42
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i think most carriers in the states have done the same. no circling below1000/3. and with RNAV approaches they're becoming obselete anyway.
druglord is offline  

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