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Near miss with 5 airliners waiting for T/O on taxiway "C" in SFO!

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Near miss with 5 airliners waiting for T/O on taxiway "C" in SFO!

Old 9th Aug 2017, 14:23
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IFR is a flight plan and a clearance. It provides authorization to operate in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) But, often on an IFR flight plan there isn't either a cloud or restricted visibility anywhere along the route being flown.
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Old 9th Aug 2017, 14:59
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Help me understand why FMS doesn't back up visual?

I've read the entire thread and think I understand most of the cheese holes including night vfr risks and ils not aligned with this approach.

But can someone explain to us GA folks why the FMS isn't always in use as an extra precaution?

I thought that FMS had dbase access that could load up everything, vor, dme, ils etc and GPS when available.

So am I misunderstanding the potential ability of fms to provide a backup for vfr or do airlines simply not use fms as backup?

Probably missing something obvious so please don't toast me
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Old 9th Aug 2017, 15:34
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Let's say the weather is 2,800 overcast, visibility 8 miles. ACME AIR checks in passing CEDES and requests the FMS visual. The clearance, "Descend via the track and altitudes of the FMS visual. Expect clearance for the visual passing JANYY."
Technically you're not on the procedure until you're cleared for the visual and fly it.

At SFO they may tell you to "join the FMS Bridge visual for routing only". But this isn't clearance to fly the FMS Bridge visual approach. You're simply flying a set of waypoints at that point (possibly in IMC) and provided all the usual IFR protections / separation by ATC. Nothing of concern here.

But you can't fly the visual approach procedure in IMC. ATC must confirm with the pilot if the airport environment is in sight before issuing the clearance. And the pilot cannot accept the visual approach unless he/she can execute it without going back into IMC.

Once you accept the visual approach, different rules apply, e.g., you're responsible for separation from the aircraft you're following, etc. However, there's no "hybrid" situation where you're somehow flying a visual procedure but in IMC with less protections than other IFR segments.

Last edited by peekay4; 9th Aug 2017 at 15:54.
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Old 9th Aug 2017, 15:46
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But can someone explain to us GA folks why the FMS isn't always in use as an extra precaution?

The FMS is basically always set up and active in modern airliners, because it does exactly that: Manage the flight. This includes a lot more than the navigational part.

Concerning this particular flight, there would have been multiple possibilities to put the intended flight path, or an aide to it, into the FMS. What happens quite often during programmed approaches with a visual final part is, that the pilots, when they transition to this visual phase, no longer follow the programmed FMS magenta line and fly ..... visually. For one reason, the visual part might not be displayed/programmed entirely, or pilots divert intentionally due to approach paths not aligned with the runway.
What i am trying to point out: Even if the flight path is partially or entirely programmed in the FMS and displayed on the PFD, many pilots switch to complete visual paths for many reasons.
Therein lie the traps. In not doing so regularly (children of the magenta), they might then screw up ......

The easiest way to get some valuable help would be to program the landing runway into the FMS as the last waypoint, with an extension on the aligned bearing. Most modern FMS allow that with a 5nm final displayed as a magenta line on the PFD. This allows a nice line up for the visual final part, some 2nm before impact.

At this stage we do not know what was programmed and displayed in the AC 320.
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Old 9th Aug 2017, 15:59
  #725 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by peekay4
Technically you're not on the procedure until you're cleared for the visual and fly it.

At SFO they may tell you to "join the FMS Bridge visual for routing only". But this isn't clearance to fly the FMS Bridge visual approach. You're simply flying a set of waypoints at that point (possibly in IMC) and provided all the usual IFR protections / separation by ATC. Nothing of concern here.
That's what I meant by my hypothetical clearance:

"Descend via the track and altitudes of the FMS visual. Expect clearance for the visual passing JANYY."

Later, I am going to plot the FMS28R on the NCT MVAs.
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Old 9th Aug 2017, 16:11
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Originally Posted by glofish

The easiest way to get some valuable help would be to program the landing runway into the FMS as the last waypoint, with an extension on the aligned bearing.
At this stage we do not know what was programmed and displayed in the AC 320.
Glofish, thanks so much! This helps tremendously.

So if this form of VFR backup is readily available, why isn't it SOP? Is it the pilots personal preference or varies airline to airline?

Again this may be stupid, but it seem that other than the time to enter an extra waypoint, the only other problem possible would be last minute changes- ie, if we're VFR and controller moves from us LRWY to RRWY, the final waypoint doesn't line up-

But that would be the exception and most of the time the magenta line would still support what we are seeing?

Thanks again-
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Old 9th Aug 2017, 16:41
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@zionstrat2

i assume you have not read the whole thread?

a much better approach is to overlay the localizer from the ils, but that is not done because deviations from the glideslope trigger an automated warning requiring to go around.
also the fms is just not set up to do it. why not? i don't know because aircraft computers need to be programmed and apparently it has not been done.

as you might have read the a320 in question did not have GPS.
dme/dme/iru accuracy is not good enough to give a safe differentiation of runway vs taxiway. (or maybe i am mistaken?)

it has already been proposed to only perform ILS-approaches at night or ever ...

well there are always pros and cons as you can also read in the rest of the thread.
as to why isn't everything done for safety? well you need some people to die to change things up most of the time.

things are also already changing with newer versions of aircraft having hopefully better FMS systems.

but for approaches like this it wouldn't be a bad thing to have the localizer programmed in as a reference for the final lineup with the runway.
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Old 9th Aug 2017, 17:02
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An even better approach would have been to have all the proper lights on.
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Old 9th Aug 2017, 17:54
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Originally Posted by wiedehopf
@zionstrat2
but for approaches like this it wouldn't be a bad thing to have the localizer programmed in as a reference for the final lineup with the runway.
So if it isn't a bad thing, why isn't it happening, ie pilots personal preference, varies airline to airline, etc?
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Old 9th Aug 2017, 18:16
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Or how about if ATC informs: "cleared to land on 28R. Please note 28L lights are switched off."?
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Old 9th Aug 2017, 19:33
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Otherwise known as a NOTAM? At some point, you have to have a little trust that people will read the paperwork given to them, read or listen the ATIS for updated information, and put all that into a plan.

And that is all easy to say sitting in my hotel room and not sitting in the cockpit of an airliner with little energy because my body thinks it should be asleep.
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Old 9th Aug 2017, 19:53
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@zionstrat2

i thought stating the reason and asking you to read the answers on the topic of ils tuning in this thread was enough but i guess i'll try again, i wrote
but that is not done because deviations from the glideslope trigger an automated warning requiring to go around.
also the fms is just not set up to do it. why not? i don't know because aircraft computers need to be programmed and apparently it has not been done.
so basically when doing a visual approach without lnav/vnav guidance (FMS visual) it's not a problem to tune the ils because there is no other approach mode active.

but the fms seems to be not flexible enough to accommodate it properly according to this post
http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/5...ml#post9829103

also read these posts
http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/5...ml#post9831663
http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/5...ml#post9832515
http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/5...ml#post9832855

and this post
http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/5...ml#post9833997

and finally i can recommend this very nice post:
http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/5...ml#post9836345

so it would be nice to have it .... even nicer would be to notice the missing ALSF-II or the missing PAPI.


oh another thing: once you misidentify the runway you might not even look at the ILS indication.

regarding that: observed 2 747s on the VOR22L at JFK with 3 weeks or so in between line up with 22R and go around after the controller caught their error. (observed as in online flight tracking and liveatc)
the procedure lines you up quite well with 22L so the minimums are around 500 ft
but with good visual conditions pilots tend to line up with the runway a lot earlier.
both those approaches where in the daytime.

what would in my opinion be much better (if the radars are sufficiently precise) to give the controller automated warnings about straight lines towards non-runways (22R here would apply as it was an inactive runway).
an international standard about sequenced flashers active for every active runway wouldn't be bad. so no flashers == you don't land.
flashers have the advantage of standing out from other lights at night and being energy efficient enough to make them bright enough for day use and being recognized from far away.

a lot of things would be an improvement, the question is which are going to be an actual improvement to safety. also you could argue no need to spend even more money on this while cars are still statistically much more dangerous. you could also call for lower controller workload which certainly would not be a bad thing .

i wonder what the system announcing "approach runway xxx" would've given an alert instead or if it wouldve just said approaching 28R because it was relatively close
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Old 9th Aug 2017, 20:14
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Originally Posted by Rob Bamber
Or how about if ATC informs: "cleared to land on 28R. Please note 28L lights are switched off."?
At that time of night, the single controller is clearance, ground, and tower. He/she has enough to do than remind a pilot to do their job and read the notam and listen to the atis.
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Old 9th Aug 2017, 21:25
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As a pilot I am often struck by the workload of controllers when they are doing exactly this. I sit there waiting for taxi with a pretty small mental picture of what needs to occur to keep my aircraft safe and marvel at the size of the mental picture the controller is developing and maintaining. The tug driver making a hash of his request for tow at one end of the field, the A320 confirming landing clearance at 300ft ( probably tired due time of day), the Dash requesting taxi half way through the transmission from the China 340 that's just joined a long final and the 737 wanting to read back his digital departure routing clearance.
The controllers do a good job but we ask a lot of them at these times of the day when they would normally be asleep. Have we ( AviatIon Industry) started asking too much of our people in the name of 'lean operations' ?
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Old 10th Aug 2017, 01:59
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Originally Posted by aterpster
That's what I meant by my hypothetical clearance:

"Descend via the track and altitudes of the FMS visual. Expect clearance for the visual passing JANYY."

Later, I am going to plot the FMS28R on the NCT MVAs.
I would assume you are always above the MVA. It is common enough in Australia to have visual STARs that provide tracking to ultimately align with the runway and end with a visual approach. You get progressively stepped down by the controller as you track via the STAR (an Aus thing, they could just as easily clear you to "descend via the STAR" but that is not yet done here). Once you call "visual" you get cleared for the visual approach. An example is the LIZZI 4V into Melbourne. So it can all be in IMC right up to the very end but you're never using it to descend below the MVA.
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Old 10th Aug 2017, 02:08
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Originally Posted by framer
The controllers do a good job but we ask a lot of them at these times of the day when they would normally be asleep. Have we ( AviatIon Industry) started asking too much of our people in the name of 'lean operations' ?
I think so. And I think the people have a "can do" attitude and persevere. This results in the bean counters getting the impression that everything is just fine while the workers are gradually being ground down. Consider a pilot base that has 30% less than optimum pilot numbers. Through hard work, overtime, callouts, etc, all of the flying gets done. The accountants think they have just the right number of pilots while the pilots consider there to be a dire staff shortage.
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Old 10th Aug 2017, 04:30
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Originally Posted by +TSRA
Otherwise known as a NOTAM? At some point, you have to have a little trust that people will read the paperwork given to them, read or listen the ATIS for updated information, and put all that into a plan.
With all the confirmation readbacks with ATC and mention of ATIS via radio, what safeguards are there to ensure you have possession of all the relevant NOTAMs? While it is ultimately the flight crew's responsibility to be fully informed, I assume that in practice they're provided with copies of relevant NOTAMs by their company system, so how do they know they've been given all of them?
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Old 10th Aug 2017, 10:07
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A very pertinent question. However, normally the problem is that to ensure that none are missed the crew are given a slab of paper with all the NOTAMs for the region(s) being flown in. The crew are expected to wade through these and ensure that they have read and understood the effect on their operation of the important ones.

This is slowly changing with the use of electronic flight bags where the tablet computer has all the NOTAMs but can filter out those needed for the particular flight and even display them graphically if necessary. I have often wondered if the beancounters ever cost out all the paper and special impact printers and crew and departure gate time vs the cost of a tablet computer. Not to mention the increase in safety from better presentation of information weather, PIREPs, SIGMETs, NOTAMs and other aeronautical information

Last edited by Ian W; 10th Aug 2017 at 11:54. Reason: grammar
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Old 10th Aug 2017, 13:36
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The CBC's main newscast "The National" for the evening of Aug. 9 had an 11.5 minute segment on AC 759:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmqS...U&spfreload=10

It was hosted by anchor Wendy Mesley, and after a sketchy account of the incident, presented a much better in-depth discussion of pilot fatigue and Canada's very poor regulations in this regard. Barry Wiszniewski ( ‎President at Aviation Safety Management Experts - ‎Canadian Society of Air Safety Investigators) and Dana Adamus (International (Canada) President, ALPA) were interviewed, with sound bites from government officials to illustrate the influence of the airline lobby preventing improvement of Canadian rules (in contrast with a successful post-Colgan US citizens' campaign). An improvement is now vaguely "promised".
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Old 10th Aug 2017, 13:57
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For you techies.

Attached is the procedure in question plotted with the NCT MVAs and the SFO TAC. I have confirmed the procedure goes from terminal to approach sensitivity (RNP 1.0 to RNP 0.30) at F101D.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
SFO RNV 28R and NCT MVAs.jpg (613.8 KB, 165 views)

Last edited by aterpster; 10th Aug 2017 at 15:31. Reason: Corrected graphic
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