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Cathay messy in SFO

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Cathay messy in SFO

Old 21st Sep 2019, 23:24
  #101 (permalink)  
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So many parallel approaches in that big world we are all living in. Many of them in very busy environment. Parallel approaches require very good crew coodination AND skills and it seems that the Cathay messed up big time here. Replying to ATC is one thing, DOING it a totally different thing apparently.

Blaming the United is just cheap. Nothing more to say. Do not know their procedures, in my outfit you get most likely fired for not following an TCAS RA. But the one who clearly messed up is the Cathay. Congrats. The world is getting safer and safer(and the pilots worse and worse) ^^.

P.S.: I LIKE my visuals as well and I fly for a bad loco over here in Europe that does not support visuals(because they are very very dangerous apparently).

PPS: Some blame the long haul for this errors. Well. I have done my very good share of long haul command in 2 pilots ONLY ops for one of the big 3 in the ME some years ago. Some try to excuse the crew by saying they are tired but then, on the other hand, are they not getting paid(and they should be qualified) to handle the threats? You know you are going to fly into a very busy environment, you know you will be tired, you know(if you are somewhat experienced) what to expect - THAT's WHAT THEY PAY YOU FOR(and even nowadays this is not really peanuts what they pay you). Pushing the "engage AP" button is not what we are all paid for, I assume that should be a common understanding. It is handling difficult situations and managing to end up without a report required to be filled out.

Last edited by tomuchwork; 21st Sep 2019 at 23:34.
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Old 22nd Sep 2019, 00:15
  #102 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by bud leon
In my opinion the problem here largely lies with the controller not providing more information on where he was trying to position Cathay in the first place, and then continuing with the instruction when it was clear there was a risk of loss of separation.

That is, when he gave the first turn instruction he should have advised CPA 892 that the turn should be immediate to get in front of UAL 1515, and once that didn't happen, he should have lined CPA 892 behind UAL 1515. The direction to turn was quite late given the position of the aircraft in any case. I think it's very odd that he didn't change the sequence when it was clear the initial instructions were not followed and so could cause loss of separation. it seems reasonably clear that the controller was fixated on managing congestion, which he probably does his entire shift. I would say that is the root cause. Both pilots express a surrendering of control to ATC.
The controller was perfectly clear and they weren't being sequenced for the same runway. Cathay was being vectored and was cleared to intercept the localizer for 28L. On the other hand, UAL 1515 (the traffic pointed out by the controller which Cathay acknowledged they had visually and instructed to maintain visual separation from, also acknowledged) was on approach for 28R. In the recording the Left and Right runway distinctions are made and Cathay was advised after visual contact that UAL 1515 was going to the Right; they didn't have to infer, deduce, or suppose it. If you listened to the recording I'm surprised you missed it.

Cathay would have known before this recording began that they were being vectored/positioned for 28L, something that's clear in the instructions from ATC that we do hear in the video and is always stated by the Approach controller to the crew when initiating vectors off the published arrival, something that occurred before the recording began. The Cathay crew would also know there were parallel runway ops to 28R in progress. ATIS states it and 2 the daisy-chains of aircraft on TCAS makes it obvious.

28L and 28R are only 750' apart at SFO, but with a final vector of 310 to intercept the 28L localizer inbound course of 284, that's only a 26 degree intercept angle. Hardly something difficult for automatics or by hand, it's downright mild, and raises the question of correct freq tuned or automation that went unarmed.

The problem wasn't an ATC controller fixating on his original sequencing plan, it was Cathay crew fixating on something else besides intercepting the correct localizer as instructed/cleared/acknowledged and maintaining the lateral visual separation of UAL 1515 on approach for the parallel runway they said they would maintain.

Contrary to the cause being both pilots surrendering control to ATC, how about a crew not following clear ATC instructions/clearances they've acknowledged, read back, and accepted?

Last edited by PukinDog; 22nd Sep 2019 at 00:47.
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Old 22nd Sep 2019, 17:23
  #103 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by PukinDog
................The real question(s) is why didn't the Cathay crew comply with simple ATC vectors to intercept the localizer for 28L and, after acknowledging they had visual contact with traffic on a parallel runway (28R) and would maintain visual separation, blew through their final approach course to wind up underneath that other traffic lined-up for 28R. It's as if they thought they were landing on 28R, tuned the wrong freq, and never looked out the window again...........
(my bold)

Great post, PukinDog: This seems to be the most likely reason behind the confusion on the Cathay flight deck. Agree with the rest of your (unquoted) post #102 too
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Old 22nd Sep 2019, 17:29
  #104 (permalink)  
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is this near miss being investigated at all by the authorities,NOT so anybody can get into trouble, but so lessons can be learnt or at the very last a cold cool professional analysis done of all the causal events, so people can't say years down the line they never knew.

This is the backbone of aviation safety, using every little thing as a no-fault learning exercise and slowly closing the holes in the Swiss Cheese.
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