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Degree of difficulty

Old 22nd Apr 2021, 02:00
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Degree of difficulty

Not terribly long ago, I was associated with an airline who got a new Chairman. One of the things he was renowned for was repeating stories over and over (to the point of boredom) about his time flying 747’s.

Amongst his statements was that flying a Cat 3 coupled approach to the minima was the most difficult approach you could do. He was claiming this to pilots who had experience flying NDB circling approaches in the dark, in the middle of the Pacific and that he considered the circling approach was somewhat easier.

I doubt he’d done the latter in anger and none of the pilots he was bragging to had done the former.

So, are there those on this forum that have done both (medium jet operations) and, if so, which is the most demanding?
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Old 22nd Apr 2021, 02:48
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A raw NDB out in the Pacific. Cat 3 is easy in comparison.
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Old 22nd Apr 2021, 02:54
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Let me guess. TJ?
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Old 22nd Apr 2021, 03:00
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I doubt he’d done the latter in anger
I will have to correct you on that, I think the individual you are referring to does everything in anger! He probably found a CAT 3 approach difficult because he really was scared of flying, thats why he went from one management job to the next. He hasn't been at the controls of an airliner for at least 30 years.
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Old 22nd Apr 2021, 03:22
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It’s called the Walter Mitty syndrome.

The severity of the syndrome, can be recognised by the “there were , three engines out in the 747 the first officer was only new to the company and we had no fuel, had to do an NDB raw data, the only thing on the ASI was the makers name, the cloud was below the landing minima and due to the unforecast typhoon, we had to circle around through driving rain, severe turbulence and land on the unlit secondary runway, but we arrived at the gate five minutes early!”


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Old 22nd Apr 2021, 04:10
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Cat 3 much easier. Whatís to decide? Airbus was if it went *Ding* below 1,000ft we went around. If it went *Ding Ding*, you continued.
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Old 22nd Apr 2021, 04:18
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Let me guess. TJ?
Don't you mean "tj". He couldn't seem to find the caps lock key
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Old 22nd Apr 2021, 04:58
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Keg

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Circling is harder. Every day of the week.
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Old 22nd Apr 2021, 05:18
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Pfft who does their Cat III coupled?!
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Old 22nd Apr 2021, 05:33
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Cat 3 coupled approach to the minima
Ah! The dreaded straight-in approach!
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Old 22nd Apr 2021, 06:27
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The B747 is one of the lowest stress , reliable , redundancy-to-burn , stable IFR platforms ever built.
Everybody who has flown it loves it. Cat 3 auto land is a no brainer.
Single pilot IFR in a light twin circling to land off a non-precision approach at night in weather is about is hard as it gets.
No contest really.
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Old 22nd Apr 2021, 07:25
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Air India used to let us (Okanagan Helicopters) maintain IF currency using their B747 sim in Bombay: as a helicopter driver it was remarkably easy to fly the 747 IF and carry out a variety of approaches.

The multi engine SP fixed wing piston stuff was far more difficult, without a doubt, especially night, bad weather off a non-precision approach as mooted by TukwillaFlyboy .

Swinging the lamp, but it all pales in comparison to a night fog approach by helicopter to an aircraft carrier, EMCON silent (no radio or navaids) after a four hour ASW sortie (never above 200ft) with a visibility of less than 100ft. Character building
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Old 22nd Apr 2021, 08:50
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Originally Posted by NGsim View Post
Pfft who does their Cat III coupled?!
I assume that you are referring to the B737 HUD ?
Most fun Iíve had in the sim. for years.
Best thing since sliced bread.
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Old 22nd Apr 2021, 09:42
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What kind of nonsensical thinking is that? As many have said, the 747 is the most stable platform flying, and a coupled Cat lll is a joke. Doing a circling approach in a 737 is the exact opposite...a demanding exercise at the best of times, but at night over a dark hole it is a visual manoeuvre conducted on instruments-not a recipe for success . There’s a reason most airlines won’t allow circling approaches at night, and many ban them altogether.
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Old 22nd Apr 2021, 12:29
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[QUOTE]Thereís a reason most airlines wonít allow circling approaches at night, and many ban them altogether.[/QUOTE]

Yes, thatís exactly the point being queried and opinions sought. Given the nature of that sort of approach would seem to make a mockery of someoneís opinion that an approach on an autopilot is more difficult. Even more so when several have said the 747 makes it easy.

That theyíve been banned by many would underscore how demanding it is. The airline originally hinted at here has effectively done the same with the introduction of GPS approaches wherever they can around their network.
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Old 22nd Apr 2021, 20:12
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Originally Posted by Lookleft View Post
I will have to correct you on that, I think the individual you are referring to does everything in anger! He probably found a CAT 3 approach difficult because he really was scared of flying, thats why he went from one management job to the next. He hasn't been at the controls of an airliner for at least 30 years.
Definitely sounds like one or two former pilot Managers Iíve encountered over the years!
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Old 23rd Apr 2021, 01:00
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I HAVE done both and your "chairman" is in danger of going blind from too much- you get the idea.

Cat3 ops takes technology, administrative compliance and preparation. It is the ultimate expression of "using superior judgement to avoid needing superior skill".

BUT- once the ducks are in a row, it involves sitting and watching a truly marvellous machine demonstrate why we're all going to be out of a job in the next few decades!

It takes zero flying skills.

I've done circling approaches off instrument procedures in Australia, Japan and various less well equipped parts of Europe, and the actual skill required to that- well, have a look at the safety records of both procedures to see if one isn't more prone to c0ck-ups that the other!

Funnily enough, if this sky-god IS the person alluded to, I was lamenting him just two nights ago, in the vein of "How do some people CONTINUE to get employed when they continually exhibit behaviour that should have had them binned decades ago?"
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Old 23rd Apr 2021, 10:45
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I've always disagreed with the concept of banning visual circling approaches in the sim. Yeah, they're really hard work coz there is so much happening with config and allowing for wind etc. There in lies the value in the sim - you have to work at it. It improves your management, situational awareness and basic flying skills. Probably a good idea not to plan on doing one unless you're backed into a corner but then you will really need to know how to do it right.
What if one day that's all you've got - think twin ETOPS diversion ports?
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Old 24th Apr 2021, 10:18
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Circling approach in a jet is just a numbers game, and not difficult if you have practiced the manoeuvre. It is a completely different beast compared to doing it in a light twin in which it is most definitely a visual manoeuvre the entire time.

Cat III is still far simpler!
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Old 24th Apr 2021, 21:11
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What's difficult about a Cat 3? It's just pushing buttons and paying attention. Maybe a little stressful, but not at all difficult. The hardest part is taxiing in if you did it for real. I'd be scared to death doing a circling approach in the dark around mountains. It's all what you are used to.
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