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Near midair over SFO

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Near midair over SFO

Old 30th Mar 2010, 23:38
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Near midair over SFO

Sounds like a clean miss on ATC's part.

Small plane just misses jet taking off from SFO
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Old 30th Mar 2010, 23:45
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I've seen two different reports...the trouble is that the area I think that is involved is all part of the airspace formerly known as a TCA.

So, was the single engine plane cleared into the TCA/B airspace or not?

And we should all look out the window. I've seen one report the single as a C182 and one as an Aeronca champ.
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 00:07
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Missing from the news report is the substantive information issued by the NTSB, i.e.
At about 11:15 a.m. PDT on March 27, the crew of United Airlines Flight 889, a B777-222 (N216UA) destined for Beijing, China, carrying 251 passengers and a crew of 17, was cleared to takeoff from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on runway 28L and climb to an initial altitude of 3,000 feet. The first officer, who was flying the aircraft, reported that after the landing gear was retracted and the jet was at an altitude of about 1,100 feet, [when] the tower controller reported traffic at his 1 o'clock position.

Immediately following the controller's advisory, the airplane's traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) issued an audible alert of "TRAFFIC TRAFFIC."

The pilots saw a light high wing airplane, an Aeronca 11AC (N9270E), in a hard left turn traveling from their 1 o'clock to 3 o'clock position. The first officer pushed the control column forward to level the airplane. Both crew members reported seeing only the underside of the Aeronca as it passed to within an estimated 200-300 feet of the 777.

TCAS then issued an "ADJUST VERTICAL SPEED" alert, followed by a "DESCEND, DESCEND" alert. The first officer complied and the flight continued to Beijing without further incident.
mm43
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 03:03
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Class-B ends at the shoreline on the pacific side of the peninsula (or at least it used to), not very far from the departure end of 28 L/R. I don't recall exactly, but I remember you could fly at about 700 ft as long as you remained west of the shoreline and be clear of Class B by a few hundred feet. It was very common to see planes following the shoreline, especially on weekends. On 120.5 I once heard a Virgin pilot complain about a traffic alert during takeoff to the tower controller, only to be told that the traffic was outside of Class B and there was nothing they could do about it.

It sounds like this plane did bust Bravo.
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 03:21
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1500'

RunwayFinder - Aeronautical Charts - Flight Planning
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 03:36
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yes but

our intrepid united pilot was at 1100 feet when tower called him and he pushed forward on the stick with the tcas...

I've flown the coastal route in pipers as a GA pilot and ''shot the gap'' as an airline pilot...until the actual position is displayed on a chart, I think they were darn close to the airport when this happened...and not near the pacific shoreline.

there is a mountain nearby on the departure, mount san bruno ( you might see the words : south san francisco the industrial city, on it). hill all around.

1100 feet is pretty darn low...I guess, at the worst they were two miles off the departure end.
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 03:45
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Shortly after United's Flight 889 took off, an air traffic controller warned the pilot of a single-engine Cessna 182 to "maintain visual separation" from the larger plane - which was climbing at 500 feet - and to "pass behind that aircraft," according to a recording of the incident at liveatc.net

If this is true, it sounds like the Single Engine was in contact with ATC and presumably cleared to be where he was.
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 04:20
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So it was a TA and not an RA. Doesn't sound too dramatic to me!
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 04:22
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If the GA guy was talking to Oakland center, then he HAD to be under positive control. Maybe he was doing the 'bay tour'.....or transitioning to the GA airport south of SFO, whose name totally escapes me as I type (I'm sure that PTH remembers it).
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 04:32
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I remember that VFR traffic in Bravo was usually coming or going to Palo Alto or San Carlos towards Downtown San Francisco. If there were no departures from 28 L/R, your clearance into Bravo included instructions to remain southwest of 101 at all times. If there were departures from 28 L/R the clearance was to overfly the field. I think in both cases the altitude to hold was 3000ft.

Controllers were usually pretty good at keeping everyone far apart.
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 04:36
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ADJUST VERTICAL SPEED" alert, followed by a "DESCEND, DESCEND
Aren't the above commands those of an RA and not TA?
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 04:38
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So it was a TA and not an RA. Doesn't sound too dramatic to me!
Sure looks like an RA to me:

TCAS then issued an "ADJUST VERTICAL SPEED" alert, followed by a "DESCEND, DESCEND" alert. The first officer complied and the flight continued to Beijing without further incident.
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 04:49
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.or transitioning to the GA airport south of SFO, whose name totally escapes me as I type
San Carlos (SQL)

The highest points through the gap are about 600', San Bruno mountain is about 1200'
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 04:58
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LiveATC has audio of the incident here. The Cessna (not Aeronca ... not sure how the NTSB got the N-number wrong) based out of PAO was transitioning southbound west of the 101 at 1500 on a bravo clearance (very typical on a bay tour). The controller started to point the traffic out to each other, but by the time he told the Cessna to maintain visual separation, the 777 crew was already maneuvering to respond to the TCAS RA.
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 05:01
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The http://liveatc.net tape(s) appear(s) to have a glitch or two in them, but it is quite clear the lady flying the B777 - UA889 was not impressed. The controller remained calm and quite professional, continuing on handling traffic. "That set off the TCAS ......", and "We need to talk!", was her final comment. Daresay the NTSB will do that on her behalf.

mm43
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 06:29
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Thank you Ion Berkeley!! San Carlos was the one I was trying to remember...and SHOULD have considering how often I flew into there!

The AP report of this is showing a picture of a 73, and then talking about a triple 7!!
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 06:36
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Quote: "The Cessna pilot confirmed that the United jet "is in sight" and that the smaller plane would "pass behind him."

But moments later, as the jet reached 1,500 feet, its automated traffic collision avoidance system issued an audible warning of, "Traffic traffic."

That's when the pilot and first officer saw the Cessna making a hard left turn to the right of the airliner, the safety board said.

The first officer promptly leveled off the jet, and both crew members watched as the Cessna passed 1,500 feet to the side and 200 to 300 feet overhead, officials said."


Seems there are two different reports.
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 07:37
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well, its already been answered...yes San CArlos or Palo Alto...I've flown them both.

I knew a777 girl pilot at united...I wonder...but my old computer can't do that ATC site.

anyway...looks like ATC should have been a bit faster on the pointout. and for some of you who don't know, "101" refers to the freeway on the ground and an easy reference point for visual/pilotage. The same freeway goes all the way to the LA area where it becomes the ventura freeway. (with some gaps in freeway status)

I remind all pilots how difficult this departure is with terrain and very heavy airplanes with high deck angles.
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 08:03
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Wasn't there a midair collision between a PSA 727 and a small aircraft near SFO in 1977 or 1978?
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Old 31st Mar 2010, 08:13
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TA or RA

The female pilot can be heard confirming a "strong TCAS message" later on during the recording!
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