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Old 11th Jan 2018, 15:37   #1 (permalink)
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Another wrong rwy close call at SFO

Aeromexico cleared to land on 28R, lined up on 28L with Virgin holding for takeoff. Tower issued G/A with AM 668 at 600 ft alt.

No incorrect procedure. Tower cleared for 28R, got correct readback.
Tuesday, 11:49.

Not saying it is tower, but third in a year? Something wrong with SFO?

Last edited by mkenig; 11th Jan 2018 at 15:42. Reason: Add to land
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 16:15   #2 (permalink)
 
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FR24 confirms that the VRD A320 was on the piano keys as the AMX B738 went around.

Ouch.
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 16:24   #3 (permalink)
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Is it the offset approach?

Admit I'm not a commercial pilot, I am a System Analyst. The incidents at SFO seem to have increased in frequency since the offset approach procedure was instituted. Could that be a contributing cause? Is it too different from approaches elsewhere? Are the 1950's RWYs too close and too similar? Comments from the pros?
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 18:33   #4 (permalink)
 
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We landed 5 minutes ahead of this Aeromexico flight and heard the ground controller give the crew a phone number to call for a 'pilot deviation' incident. Was wondering what all that was about until I saw it here.

Well, SFO was using 28L ILS and 28R ILS approaches during that time of the day so it may well be that Aeromexico had the 28L ILS programmed in the box and wasn't expecting 28R. Especially since they arrived on the SERFR2 arrival just like we did, which 90% of the time, will have you land on 28L as the SERFR2 links in with 28L ILS approach at waypoint MENLO. But rarely do you fly straight in to the approach at SFO as ATC will radar vector you all over the place, before you intercept the localizer for the ILS.

Complacency perhaps was to blame here and possibly not updating the box with the 28R ILS when it was assigned. That's my guess anyway.
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 18:50   #5 (permalink)
 
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Pretty good plausible explanation. Let’s stay with that till something breaks.
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 19:23   #6 (permalink)
 
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How long was AMX on the "wrong" loc before the missed approach was called?
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 19:26   #7 (permalink)
 
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"Confirmation bias?"
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 19:34   #8 (permalink)
 
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Doesn't SFO Tower have radar?
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 19:57   #9 (permalink)
 
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The lowest point that FR24 captured on the first approach was approximately 0.6 nm from the threshold.
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 21:28   #10 (permalink)
 
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Not what I meant. From how far out was he on the"wrong" loc? If it was say 10 miles, that would be at least 2 minutes for someone to notice, that didn't.
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 22:04   #11 (permalink)
 
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Ah, OK.

He was lined up with 28L from about 9 miles out, roughly abeam Bair Island and about 4 minutes from the threshold.

When you talk about noticing it presumably you mean on radar? It would be very difficult for the tower to discern which runway he was pointing at when that far out.
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Old 11th Jan 2018, 23:27   #12 (permalink)
 
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Maybe, maybe not. We have runways 1000' centreline to centreline. SFO's are 750'. Our tower radar displays the extended centrelines out to about 8 miles and because of the range of the display, we could (not saying we would) see if an aircraft is on the wrong centreline at 8 miles.

If SFO tower has a piece of radar equipment that we call Airspace Warning Feature, they would receive a visual and audible alert that he was incorrectly positioned at about 2 miles out. That would coincide with the issuance of missed approach instructions.
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Old 12th Jan 2018, 05:19   #13 (permalink)
 
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SFO has precision approach monitoring capability. Look at the PRM plates for SFO. Looks like they need to start using that capability a little more.
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Old 12th Jan 2018, 08:12   #14 (permalink)
 
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I suppose that it is always good to double check that ILS frequency as well. Or identify it and identify it properly.
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Old 12th Jan 2018, 11:15   #15 (permalink)
 
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What type was AMX? There was talk during the AC Incident that AB crews on FMC approaches did not always tune ILS.
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Old 12th Jan 2018, 13:35   #16 (permalink)
 
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Thanks Dave; in which case the/an ILS should have been tuned and ID'd.
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 00:13   #17 (permalink)
 
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How ‘bout looking at the airport critically and identifying BOTH runways and remembering what you read back to the tower. I can’t believe aviation has sunk to this level.
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 03:25   #18 (permalink)
 
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Let's not forget one of the principles of our industry. The general concept is to share information so that the mistakes of others are published to prevent reoccurrence. One would have hoped that previous events would have become known to all operators into SFO and warnings issued about the risk. To have multiple similar errors over such a short time frame is very disappointing. As well as commenting on each individual event it would be prudent to ask why they continued to reoccur. There seems to be a weakness somewhere that needs strengthening. If that weakness is in SFO's local procedures, that is one issue to address; however my initial comments are more focused on why crews are repeating this mis-identification.when they should be aware and extra vigilant.
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 07:24   #19 (permalink)
 
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We should be careful about making generalisations about "recurrence" - all three events were different (albeit two involved the same airline) and one of them (AC781) didn't feature a misidentification,
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Old 13th Jan 2018, 13:05   #20 (permalink)
 
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I would also think that with the SFO set up, it doesn't matter how aware one tries to be, it's ripe for a mistake to occur when there's the odd lapse of concentration once in a blue moon. I don't blame the crews, I blame the procedures and frequent last minute changes by approach or even the tower.
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