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More woes at SFO - transposing runway numbers leaves little room for error

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More woes at SFO - transposing runway numbers leaves little room for error

Old 16th Sep 2019, 13:30
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Ian W View Post

What HAL could have known was that it was set up for runway 10 but it was lined up on runway 01. That kind of check could be useful as a second level of safety.
But this would also flag up a conflict while inputting runway data at any other position other than being lined up on the correct runway. Another software check would be to include an ‘Are you sure?’ prompt, when it detects another runway at a particular airport which could be mistaken for the desired one.

Out of interest, how many 01 and 10 runways exist worldwide?
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Old 16th Sep 2019, 15:29
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Originally Posted by Speed of Sound View Post
Out of interest, how many 01 and 10 runways exist worldwide?
Possibly not that many.

But when you add other potentially confusing combinations (03 and 30, 12 and 21) as well, there are probably a fair few.

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Old 16th Sep 2019, 16:29
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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The candidates I've been able to find (discounting runways shorter than 6000'):

Airports with both a 01 and 10: Albany, Presque Isle and Savannah.

With both a 03 and 30 (and therefore also a 12 and 21): Albuquerque, Appleton, Artesia, Tel Aviv/Ben Gurion, Prestwick, Laramie
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Old 16th Sep 2019, 16:42
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Speed of Sound View Post


But this would also flag up a conflict while inputting runway data at any other position other than being lined up on the correct runway. Another software check would be to include an ‘Are you sure?’ prompt, when it detects another runway at a particular airport which could be mistaken for the desired one.

Out of interest, how many 01 and 10 runways exist worldwide?
If the automation identifies that the aircraft is lined up on a different runway to the one that you have calculated for then it should provide a warning. If you are on a taxiway the alert should not be given if you have entered a runway to taxi to another (this is common at some airports) then you would get the warning and cancel it not a real problem.. If I remember correctly this type of warning was also proposed after the Comair crash taking off from the incorrect runway at Lexington Blue Grass. While confusing numbers don't help they are not necessary, worldwide departures from incorrect runways are unfortunately quite common.
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Old 16th Sep 2019, 18:46
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Originally Posted by Airbanda View Post
That 01/10 confusion is possible is one thing and worrying; that initial mistake was not detected in cross/check is more so.
Over dependency on automation would seem to be a contributor here.
And yes, I have when using varying tactical and nav displays now and again fat fingered it and hit the wrong key/button.
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Old 16th Sep 2019, 19:07
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Perhaps for a cross check the computer should require the pilot to enter the runway length as well. As long as humans are in the loop we will screw this sort of thing up. We are not yet at the point where you just touch "Chicago" on a map and the computer figures out all the rest for you (by talking to the ATC computer and the ground control computer and the corporate computer....)
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Old 16th Sep 2019, 20:24
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Things will be SO much easier when we hop into our personal Ooober flying car and just talk to the computer to tell it where we want to go. Then we sit back and play with our smut-phones while HAL does the thinking.
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Old 16th Sep 2019, 20:34
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
But when you add other potentially confusing combinations (03 and 30, 12 and 21) as well, there are probably a fair few.
Dave, possibly the pattern is 1 to 10, 2 to 20 and 3 to 30. The leading zero is omitted in the US.

Worse yet, I can imagine a little light reflection on the screen obscuring the readability between 1L and 10; add a fair dose of presbyopia and you get my drift. What about 1l and 11, not nice.

Which SW were they using?

Last edited by FlightDetent; 17th Sep 2019 at 13:43.
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Old 17th Sep 2019, 02:18
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Originally Posted by Speed of Sound
But this would also flag up a conflict while inputting runway data at any other position other than being lined up on the correct runway.
No, just add the runway check to the throttles/config check. When the throttles go up, system does a check of the actual position verses FMS-loaded runway.

As I said before: just add a check of the ND when you arm NAV before takeoff. It will stand out like dog's balls if you are not using the runway/SID you put in the box, or check the runway on the ND as you start rolling.
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Old 17th Sep 2019, 12:37
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Originally Posted by farefield View Post
Could this problem be compounded by the habit of saying, say, one left, instead of zero one left?
Yes !

Calling and thinking about a runway by only its non-zero digit might lead to confusion - doing so gets one into the habit of ignoring the zero and just concentrating on the other number. This is dangerous because you then lose the crucial distinction between, say, 01 and 10.

Voicing the zero adds safety because it reinforces the image of the number in the mind as one looks at the MCDU or NAV display - of both the digits instead of just the non-zero digit.

Pilots in certain places in the world almost routinely abbreviate RT comms and use non standard phrases - presumably to sound slick? - but in my experience this practice often adds confusion, and the irony is that non standard messages have to be repeated much more often than in airspace where standard phraseology is more fully adhered to.
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Old 17th Sep 2019, 13:38
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post
Calling and thinking about a runway by only its non-zero digit might lead to confusion - doing so gets one into the habit of ignoring the zero and just concentrating on the other number. This is dangerous because you then lose the crucial distinction between, say, 01 and 10.

Voicing the zero adds safety because it reinforces the image of the number in the mind as one looks at the MCDU or NAV display - of both the digits instead of just the non-zero digit.

Yes, it's compounded by the fact that, as mentioned above, long-standing US practice is not to paint the leading zero on the threshold marking, in contravention of ICAO SARPS (Annex 14), which specifies that runway heading markings should always include two digits.
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Old 17th Sep 2019, 14:43
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Originally Posted by hans brinker View Post
"A typical commercial airliner is traveling at 184 mph at liftoff,"

All I needed to read. Pretty hard to find a well written aviation story.
That's 160 knots.

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Old 17th Sep 2019, 15:16
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
The candidates I've been able to find (discounting runways shorter than 6000'):

Airports with both a 01 and 10: Albany, Presque Isle and Savannah.

With both a 03 and 30 (and therefore also a 12 and 21): Albuquerque, Appleton, Artesia, Tel Aviv/Ben Gurion, Prestwick, Laramie
02 and 20 are reciprocal, so there are plenty of those (also 13/31).

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Old 17th Sep 2019, 15:26
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Originally Posted by OldLurker View Post
02 and 20 are reciprocal, so there are plenty of those (also 13/31).
Well yes, that's why I didn't include those.

Unlike the other examples, confusing 02 with 20 or 13 with 31 isn't typically going to make much difference to the TORA, though the resulting wind might come as a bit of a surprise.
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Old 17th Sep 2019, 18:09
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
Well yes, that's why I didn't include those.

Unlike the other examples, confusing 02 with 20 or 13 with 31 isn't typically going to make much difference to the TORA, though the resulting wind might come as a bit of a surprise.
Unless of course they are parallel runways of differing length, although the ‘L’, ‘C’, or ‘R’ should then be an added clue
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Old 17th Sep 2019, 18:34
  #36 (permalink)  

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2R and 20R, the letter does not really give a strong warning.
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Old 17th Sep 2019, 23:16
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Originally Posted by aterpster View Post
That's 160 knots.
And there is no typical airliner liftoff speed.
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Old 18th Sep 2019, 05:48
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Originally Posted by hans brinker View Post
And there is no typical airliner liftoff speed.
I’m pretty sure the journalist was just trying to give the reader some general idea of the speed involved. “How fast are we going at takeoff/landing?” is a fairly common question. 160kt is a reasonable enough answer without getting into a lesson on runway performance.

Regarding the incident, my airline has had crews misread performance data for 01 and 10 at SFO. I assume it’s got to do with the way our brain processes information. You’re much more likely to confuse 01 and 10 than 08 and 18.

Similar situation with 13/31. Even more so since it’s the same bit of pavement, and your mental picture of the airport may actually add to the confusion. “Did ATC say 13L or 31L?”

Always have to look out for that at JFK, for example.
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Old 18th Sep 2019, 23:10
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Originally Posted by Check Airman View Post


I’m pretty sure the journalist was just trying to give the reader some general idea of the speed involved. “How fast are we going at takeoff/landing?” is a fairly common question. 160kt is a reasonable enough answer without getting into a lesson on runway performance.

Regarding the incident, my airline has had crews misread performance data for 01 and 10 at SFO. I assume it’s got to do with the way our brain processes information. You’re much more likely to confuse 01 and 10 than 08 and 18.

Similar situation with 13/31. Even more so since it’s the same bit of pavement, and your mental picture of the airport may actually add to the confusion. “Did ATC say 13L or 31L?”

Always have to look out for that at JFK, for example.
I am sure you're right, it just pushed a few of my buttons. Saying a typical speed is 160kts means somewhere between 155 and 165. Still way too narrow of a gap. Saying 184mph (to me) means somewhere between 183 and and 185 mph, obviously too narrow of an band. We now confirm the physical runway against the FMS at least twice, I am sure there will still be some events where people get it wrong (hope it's not me...).
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