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Slowing down on final approach.....

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Slowing down on final approach.....

Old 9th Jun 2007, 21:17
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: sunny south now....
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Wink Slowing down on final approach.....

Just a quick heads up really.......not a rant yet! im not quite sure why this happens but for some reason speed control is not seen in the same way as a level instruction etc. i say this because for some reason, and it seems to be on the increase, pilots are slowing down of their own accord.What make it worse is its normally the time when there's another aircraft behind!!!
if a pilot were to bust his/her level the consequences could be severe......it is no different when an aircraft slows WITHOUT telling atc on final approach.
if you need or want to reduce.....just ask.
sorry sounds like a rant now!
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Old 9th Jun 2007, 21:49
  #2 (permalink)  
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I don't think it sounded like a rant, and even if it was, who cares?

you don't say where you are. somehow I think it is europe.

in the states, ATC will get all over your case if you aren't at the right speed...except:

once past the outer marker, speed is really your choice, at least in the reasonable range for your type of plane.

now, in KSFO, the winds are so nutty, as you go down, your speed may change significantly (ground speed) and you see compression on final.

you also have to acknowledge that there are a lot of new pilots out there...you know the 300 hour and get hired at some place...but I won't go there.
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Old 9th Jun 2007, 22:00
  #3 (permalink)  
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i can obviously only comment on the type of airspace i control...yes in europe the UK to be exact. when sequencing and spacing aircraft speed control is very important. we generally use three speeds for which they are known the last being 160kts to 4dme. if a pilot chooses without infroming us to reduce to 160 what happens to the aircraft 3nm behind thats still at 180 kts? the answer normally is that aircraft doing 180 kts gets broken off the appraoch, costing more fuel and time to that operator.....is that fair?
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Old 9th Jun 2007, 22:16
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126.825: I take your point about maintaining a instructed speed restriction. I can vouch that the "160Kts to 4DME" rule applied at most large airfields in the UK is complied with where possible and infact Speed discipline is encouraged at all times within our company.

However, there are times when the criteria for a Stabilised Approach take precedent over the requirement for traffic sequencing. When at light weights - 160kts at 4miles would see the 757 not even Half-configured for landing at 4 miles. And when your Vref is 108kts you'll struggle to be stabilised (in my company - within 10kts of target speed) by 500ft. Factor in any tailwind and you may as well go-around there and then.

Often you can't get a word in when you want to slow down so it becomes catch 22 and end up getting an ear-full from ATC. (albeit deserved from ATC perspective.)

Bomarc: So what if there are a lot of new pilots out there? Whatever their experience level their primary concern has to be the sucessful and safe execution of the appraoch and landing. If you are inexperienced on type then one should naturally be in the slot and configured earlier to minimise as much risk and achieve that - you would seem to suggest that a low hours guy would be slowing up diliberately to muck up the sequencing.
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Old 9th Jun 2007, 23:25
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This is a bug-bear of mine too. Into LHR all the regulars know the routine 220/180/160 and stick to it or it messes things up. The problem is that in the rest of Europe there is a tendency to dabble with speed control and then leave you hanging. e.g. reduce to 210kts and then nothing more is said about speed until I say 'do you still require 210?' and then another random speed figure is pulled out of the air. If they didn't still want 210 then I would like them to say so. I don't believe my asking about speed just happened to coincide with their desire to reduce my speed. Also there is no point in reducing me to 180 and then 10 seconds later want me to reduce to 150 and then 10 seconds after that say 'final approach speed'. Obviously I don't immediately achieve the requested speed so in the example just given they should have said 'reduce to final approach' when I was at 210 as I at no time actually achieved any of their random requested speeds other than in passing. [Obviously none of the above is directed at LHR controllers who are exemplry]. Oh and I have given up telling German controllers that 170 to the marker [1200' to 1300'] is not compatable with our stable approach criteria. I had a few years of mentioning it and now do the same as every one else and just 'do my best'. I get fed up with unecessary speed control. If they want less than 180 or more than 180 say so. Please don't confine me to 180 if not necessary [or 150 or 160 or whatever].
I say again that at LHR speed control by ATC is down to a fine art and there is no comparison to some other smaller airports round the world. What on earth is going on at CDG I can only guess. There seems no coordination between controllers. My speed always seems a surprise to the next controller and not what they want. All the go-arounds in 20 years I have flown at CDG have been due to insufficient separation on final.
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Old 9th Jun 2007, 23:37
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Surely part of the problem is that at some airports speeds are issued and others they are not. This rather casual attitude to speed control has led to a perception among pilots that it obviously doesn't matter that much if ATC don't seem to pay much attention to it.
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Old 10th Jun 2007, 00:02
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contacttower118.2, speed control is not an essential part of getting an aircraft on the ground (unlike, say, descent), it is simply one of a range of controlling techniques that are available to the controller. Of course, some well organised high traffic density airports will rely on speed control to a great degree in order to squeeze every ounce of capacity out of the airspace and approaches. In other circumstances, however, speed control may be applied if it suits the particular traffic situation.

Speed control should be like any other ATC instruction - comply with it or tell the controller if you can't. It's no more important than any other instruction or type of instruction - it will have been issued to maintain separation or for sequencing.

If it appears that speed instructions are routinely being applied arbitrarily by some units maybe a word through your Ops Management to the unit concerned might either resolve the problem or provide a reason.
Old 10th Jun 2007, 00:18
  #8 (permalink)  
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I'm not driving a jet, but "I drive it like I stole it" 250 till 3000' props up and stabilized at 180 at the beacon around 1500'. with flaps/gear set the approach top of the white at 800' and ref+10 at minimums. Move your slow ass jet would you;-)
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Old 10th Jun 2007, 02:16
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tweed...the comment was not intended to indicate mucking it up on purpose...lower time pilots , indeed all pilots should stablize the approach.

and to 126.825, an easy answer!

make the restriction, maintain 160 knots till 7 dme. everyone will do the same, stablizing approaches will get accomplished/

and it goes hand in hand with the approximate distance from threshold for the outer marker which I mentioned in my first post.

tell us, why 4 dme? to be stable at 1000' agl would be impossible (our limits while IMC)
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Old 10th Jun 2007, 04:12
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I used to fly the same profile when I flew the Texas lawn dart but we slow pokes in the jets need to kill a lot of energy on final so keep those flaps hanging and stay high and upwind.
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Old 10th Jun 2007, 06:10
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Do you mean "no less important than any other instruction?"

World of Tweed.
What flap setting are you using to achieve your [email protected] 4. Is it the maximum flap available at that speed? If it's not, you're not trying. If your stabilised criteria is 500' you should be able to sh*t it in, (1000' gets a bit difficult)

Speed control is one of my constant bitches. So many times I see guys winding it back with absolutely no thought for what is going on behind them. If ATC gives you a speed. Stick to it or tell him/her. I always tell any offender to my right, that speed (within our operational limits) is ATC's responsibility within the TMA.

126.85 I think you will find a lot of the problem is caused by guys "playing controller" with reference to TCAS. You have my sympathies.

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Old 10th Jun 2007, 07:11
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It's a difficult problem when you basically have numerous aircraft types with varying speed capabilities and limitations shoehorned into ever more congested airspace. It seems that they mostly have gotten it right at LHR but it is obvious to me that there needs to be some standardisation regarding when an aircraft can resume their own speed control. Often there is a conflict between a company's stabilised approach criteria and the speeds that ATC would like to see. As we now have all of our approaches fed via the QAR/FOQA through a computer program to analyse our many faults, we tend to err on the side of the company requirements to avoid the inevitable trip in for tea and biscuits and frequency congestion just makes it more difficult to coordinate our requirements.
Personally, I would like to see a standard of speed at our discretion by 1500 ft. AAL. 4 miles can be a little tight in some types at some weights and the extra 200-300 ft. could make all the difference in the world. I would also agree that the Germans are way out to lunch with some of their speed requests and would benefit the most from some type of well thought out (ICAO perhaps) standard speed control. It seems to me that if ATC knows what to expect and actually gets it, it would make their job easier, regardless of the actual speeds used.
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Old 10th Jun 2007, 10:11
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It was a simple thing that 126 asked for...why all the debate?
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Old 10th Jun 2007, 10:19
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There are lots of issues wrapped up here, standardisation, ATC competence, Pilot competence, weather, different aircraft types and company SOPs. All of these things vary making life tricky at times.

It would seem much simpler if we had to follow standard speeds everywhere on all occasions. That would at least take a-lot of the shades of grey out of it. However that is not the case. Some ATC units are pretty switched on and manage speed control pretty well on the whole, others do not. If I find myself at an inappropriate speed for my range to touchdown I am going to slow down and will tell ATC I'm doing so, if I can get a word in. Thats my companies stated policy. As an example controllers at BCN will on occasion ask you to maintain clean speed or similar to 8 dme or 180 kts to 4 dme. Sorry no can do. That or they tell the aircraft 5 miles ahead to slow but leave you doing 20 kts + more than him. RT too busy to get a word in what do you do ? I'll slow down to keep the rquired wake vortex sep and try to communicate it when I can. Even 160 to 4 is tricky as my company ask us to be fully stable by 1000 aal so in reality its 160 to just under 5. That is with max flap for the speed to get the leds fully out and gear down. FLIDRAS kicks in if we fail to meet the requirement although the hard alt is still 500 AAL.

As flight crew we are also guilty of not always programming the FMC correctly. I frequently have to prompt my other half to enter the published speed restrictions at IAFs especially in Spain were Jepp helfully hide them away in the small print. Frustrating thing here is that when you ask ATC if there is any speed at such and such a point they seem unaware of why you are asking. Also a-lot of these airfields do have standard speeds on final approach but very few people brief them so presumably they don't then fly them when ATC and other crews have a right to expect that they are.

Short of a legislative answer both ATC and crews need to up their game, not evrywhere is as good as the London airfields. If ATC want speeds to be respected they need to be rational and communicate changes effectively or else crews will lose faith in the controlling and do as they see fit to fly their approach safely. They also need to bear in mind that with a tailwind in the descent slowing from 220 - 180 is not a quick process. Equally as crew we need to make sure we follow the published procedure, warts and all unless permission is gained to deviate and if we cannot, for whatever reason, communicate it at the earliest oppertunity. We also need to comply with the instructions given as much as poss and again if not able to communicate it. If an airfield consistently poses problems then the company need to liase to see if a solution can be found that keeps everyone happy. At least with TCAS we can see whats going on.

Thankfully to date I have not had to go around due to lack of seperation and to the best of my knowledge have not caused anyone else too. Its probably only a matter of time though.

Oh and a request, if you have an aircraft 3 miles behind you don't delay getting off the runway or get caught slow speed between 2 exits. Pet hate of mine.
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Old 10th Jun 2007, 10:32
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The issue is quite simple.
ATC assigns a speed, aircraft complies.
So far, so good.
At some point however, the airplane does indeed have to slow down to actually land...as quite frankly, that is what we a paid to do.
So, for the ATC folks, they had better start to be more precise, if they want precise speeds.
By this, I mean, if you want say, 200 knots, and yet say nothing more about speed, clearly the pilot has a duty and responsibility to slow below 200 knots on final, otherwise landing is impossible.
So, wake up ATC folks, and pay attention.
If you find that pilots are not maintaining proper spacing, keep 'em in the hold longer, or provide longer radar vectors, OR, be more precise as to when the flight is expected to slow.
Unfortunately, many in the ATC profession have forgotten that for many, to go down and slow down (both in large quantities) is quite difficult, if not impossible.
Pilots will NOT jeopardise their airplane just for the convenience of the air traffic controller.
The sooner ATC folks learn this very important fact, the better.
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Old 10th Jun 2007, 10:32
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I am a Uk pilot who has flown out of the major southern airports for over 20 years and have to say I am surprised at some of the comments. If a controller asks for 200kts, 180 kts, then 160 kts to 4dme, then I do it. It is something the controller has ask me to do so no question, I do it. If I think there is some reason why I need to maintain a different speed, then I mention it to him/her just so we both know the situation. One obvious example is knowing track miles to run, and my altitude, I can calculate if I am going to be high or not. If a speed change adds to my situation from a negative point of view, then I will politely mention to atc that I either need more track miles, or a faster speed for a little while. This is just one example.

126.82 - I assume 3-4 mile seperation in non low vis conditions is the minimum seperation? so any speed violations by pilots will cause a delaying in the approach. Also in these days of upgraded TCAS, just how helpful is a constant a/c speed readout to you? So do you sometimes feel you want to issue some a/c with a 'ticket' who obviously ignore you?
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Old 10th Jun 2007, 10:44
  #17 (permalink)  
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126.825, You specifically state "Slowing on final approach".

BA 737 Gatwick; 160 to 4d causes two problems.

1. 160kts requires flap 15 which requires gear down ie. high drag, noise and fuel burn.

2. BA SOPs say the aircraft should be stable by 1000ft. Stable means landing config, approach speed and engines spooled up. At 4dme height will be approx 1300ft. Approach speeds could vary between 115 to 160kt depending on weight and wind. One mile to decel 45kts and spool up ...aint gonna happen!

Problem 1 is solved by giving 170 to 5 or 6dme. That allows a descent with flap 10 and the gear up (most of the time anyway). Some crews may request it, but when a switched on controller gives it it is much appreciated.

Problem 2 was solved in the past by a quick heads up to the controller eg. "slow final speed". Is that what you want and when do you want it?

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Old 10th Jun 2007, 11:16
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There are various types of aircraft that operate into certain London airports, from king air’s to 744’s,all have very different handling characteristics, ie slowing down, speeds on final approach. We all know how congested the London airspace is, and sometimes, as mentioned in previous posts, it is difficult to go down and slow down, especially in the larger jets, ie 6000,descend 3000,level in 10 miles, and reduce speed (from 220-250 assigned speed) to 180 kts………it can be done, but its dirty ie flaps and speed brakes, increasing the noise footprint and fuel burn. i think a good sugestion would be to have ATC controllers on regular jumpseat rides into the airspace they control (if the CAA would allow?!), in order to experience and indeed highlight the problems and visa versa, maybe we pilots should get a chance to see them at work…
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Old 10th Jun 2007, 11:40
  #19 (permalink)  
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I have been of the understanding that ATC speed control is to be maintained until approach clearance given or until the FAF if ATC speed control required on app and IAW local/national rules if stated.

If there is no specified speed control, then speed is to be flown as appropriate for your aircraft type/class and landing configuration.

Looking forward to the correct answer.
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Old 10th Jun 2007, 12:05
  #20 (permalink)  
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Around the 20th October, 1998 I was doing my first arrival in to EWR, (Newark) and had self briefed just about as far as one can go. We approached from the North and complied with all ATC instructions, however as we were about to turn finals the controller delivered us a severe telling off for reducing speed and told us that we were in trail with many 727s, (we were a B747-400), and the next time we did that we would be fed off the stream and delayed etc. etc. "now change to tower on xyz.00". We had no choice we were far to close to challenge him and we needed a landing clearance, apart from that arguing on frequency is a no no.
I was very pissed off as we had followed to the letter, the mile and the knot all of the requirements of the Jeppesen plate and AT NO TIME had been issued ANY speed control instructions by any of the controllers.
Was this guy showing off to the 727.s, a new controller or just having a go at us as a new operator into EWR? (regularly into JFK with no problems at all). Thought about 'phoning from the gate and asking him to explain himself but what is the point? His timing and what he said left me believing he was showing off and not worth talking to.

If ATC want to impose their own speed control to suit the local conditions at the time then fair enough but you must tell the guys in the aeroplane too, (please!).
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