Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

Lufty at SFO

Old 18th Nov 2023, 10:12
  #181 (permalink)  
When you live....
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: 0.0221 DME Keyboard
Posts: 983
Received 13 Likes on 4 Posts
My reading of the radio comms isn’t that LHA can’t do the visual at night, they just can’t do the separation with other traffic at night. I know that first up he says he can’t do the visual approach but I think that may be a language issue as he later says that SPECIFICALLY it’s the visual separation that’s forbidden. Granted he requests a standard ILS but maybe that’s just a way of saying don’t give me the dependent visual approaches.

There are two related but different parts to this:
1. Visual approach - can he/can’t he? I’d be surprised if LHA ban it at night (but maybe they have) as they still need to arrive into JFK, SFO etc
2. Maintaining visual separation with another aircraft - he says he definitely can’t.

My suspicion (will never know) is that what happened was:
1. LHA forgot to/didn’t give NORCAL enough notice that they needed special handling and were unclear about what the actual SOP prevented them from doing. From the radio it sounds like they were well into the arrival when it first came up
2. If they’d been clear that they couldn’t do the visual separation at night then NORCAL could have simply put them in the queue without the second aircraft on the parallel and all would have been fine - 1 landing slot lost
3. If they insisted they needed the ILS then with enough notice the sequence wouldn’t have been badly affected - maybe a total cost of 3 slots
4. By leaving it so late to advise, if the arrival queue was as long as it can be and 2-3 spots had to be found then that’s an unrealistic expectation for NORCAL to reorganise or slow the whole sequence or to take 2-3 aircraft out of the sequence to fit LHA in. Instead of holding, should have vectored him to the end of the sequence and been able give an accurate track miles figure instead of vague holding times.


3.
UnderneathTheRadar is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2023, 13:34
  #182 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Yorkshire
Posts: 255
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My understanding is that SFO and LHR have about the same number of average daily movements. (Is that correct?)

I have never heard a 'heavy' required to do any visual spacing at LHR, especially at night.

Why can they cope and SFO cannot?
NoelEvans is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2023, 13:42
  #183 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: FR
Posts: 234
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
One Other side of this story, which was not really discussed in detail, is How Exactly LH came to forbid pilots to take responsibility for visual separation (under certain conditions).
pax2908 is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2023, 13:51
  #184 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Between a rock and a hard place
Posts: 1,267
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by NoelEvans
My understanding is that SFO and LHR have about the same number of average daily movements. (Is that correct?)

I have never heard a 'heavy' required to do any visual spacing at LHR, especially at night.

Why can they cope and SFO cannot?
SFO has two tightly spaced runways. I have never had parallel approaches into LHR. Perhaps on the odd occassion it happens, but not regularly. At arrival peak there can be significant holding into LHR though.

Both places has great ATC working the traffic and they seem to the best with the cards they've been delt.
172_driver is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2023, 15:46
  #185 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 432
Likes: 0
Received 20 Likes on 13 Posts
Reading through the later comments, my impression is that a few commenters have not watched the video in post #71, which provides an unofficial ATC explanation of this incident. According to that source, LH received an appropriate level of ATC service given LH's operational limitations (no visual sep) and routine priority.

Regarding whether ILS approaches were available, PAL104 requested and was given the ILS 28L approach. It appears that NorCal was able to accommodate this ILS request because spacing just happened to work out at that point in time relative to other arrivals in queue.

Regarding Euro carriers not accepting visual sep at night, Virgin 14R accepted maintaining visual sep to 28R.

Several commenters have stated that NorCal should have just “created” the necessary slot for LH, without specifying how this was to be done. From the post #71 video, appears two options were available to make this happen: (1) knock one or more aircraft out of the arrival path to create the required spacing for a LH ILS, or (2) take many aircraft off of the published arrival (i.e., vectors) to add track distance to create the space. The source in post #71 said neither of these was a a viable option given LH’s routine priority. What is not clear is why, after initially telling LH that his ILS request would cause “extended delays,” NorCal was unable to give LH a firm delay time to allow for fuel planning.

What this incident really highlights is the need for SFO to add capacity with a new, properly spaced runway (not green, ain’t gonna happen) or for the airlines to limit slots during peak times (hub & spoke, ain’t gonna happen). Thus, here we are.
BFSGrad is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2023, 17:06
  #186 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: by the seaside
Age: 74
Posts: 559
Received 17 Likes on 13 Posts
Or to tank a bit more fuel.
blind pew is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2023, 17:28
  #187 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Mars
Posts: 60
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
these utter muppets at lufthansa do even the radio the other way around.
I am so glad to see ATC showing them their place.
Saying f**** on the radio is just beyond any standards. maybe over Germany can say those words as it seems he was quite relaxed throwing that in a foreign FIR.
I wonder if his low modulated voice kept the same tone when sent to his utter embarrassment diversion.
Well done SFC ATC !! 👍
Qbix is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2023, 18:22
  #188 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: California
Posts: 349
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
There is no room at SFO to add another appropriately spaced runway, being “ green” has nothing to do with it.
fleigle is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2023, 19:30
  #189 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Everett, WA
Age: 68
Posts: 4,391
Received 179 Likes on 87 Posts
Originally Posted by fleigle
There is no room at SFO to add another appropriately spaced runway, being “ green” has nothing to do with it.
Exactly! People tend to forget that many of these airports have been there for 80 or 90 years. Out in the boondock's when they were built, but now completely surrounded by urban development making any runway expansion somewhere between horrendous expensive and impossible. When they added a runway at SeaTac (although technically a third runway, it was really just a second runway far enough away that they could use two runways for ILS at the same time), the literally had to extend the plateau that the airport was built on by a huge amount (and at tremendous cost) - rather controversial since there is now a big drop-off if you depart the new runway to the west so potentially turning what would have been an embarrassment into a catastrophe).
In Denver, the old Stapleton airport was well out of town in the 60's, but by the 1980's it was surrounded with no room to expand. They had to spend $billions to build DIA from scratch way east of Denver to provide room for expansion (much of the old Stapleton airport is now a shopping mall).
tdracer is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2023, 21:43
  #190 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 432
Likes: 0
Received 20 Likes on 13 Posts
Originally Posted by tdracer
Exactly! People tend to forget that many of these airports have been there for 80 or 90 years. Out in the boondock's when they were built, but now completely surrounded by urban development making any runway expansion somewhere between horrendous expensive and impossible.
tdr, you are usually on point. But not this time. The two examples you cite are (were) land-locked airports, which certainly present expansion challenges. That is not the case with SFO as San Francisco Bay presents almost unlimited potential for expansion. In fact a significant portion (50%?) of the existing SFO footprint is built on bay fill. Oakland’s long runway is built on bay fill as are portions of the various military facilities along SF Bay.

The technology for such expansion is well established; e.g., HNL reef runway, Hong Kong, Chubu, etc. Plans for this type of expansion at SFO were floated in the 90s with the #1 obstacle being environmental groups. If the bay area governments can toss a couple $B at new sports stadiums, they can certainly pony up some dollars for a new SFO runway. What is lacking is the political will to buck the greenies.
BFSGrad is offline  
Old 18th Nov 2023, 22:25
  #191 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: California
Posts: 385
Likes: 0
Received 7 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by BFSGrad
The technology for such expansion is well established; e.g., HNL reef runway, Hong Kong, Chubu, etc. Plans for this type of expansion at SFO were floated in the 90s with the #1 obstacle being environmental groups. If the bay area governments can toss a couple $B at new sports stadiums, they can certainly pony up some dollars for a new SFO runway. What is lacking is the political will to buck the greenies.
More than greenies, there's already a large anti-noise group in place. Why should non-pilots want a new runway, which would only increase the noise due to more operations? I'm sure that most bay-area residents wouldn't mind if LH moved their operation to a less noise sensitive area -- like Fresno.
MarcK is online now  
Old 19th Nov 2023, 00:23
  #192 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Everett, WA
Age: 68
Posts: 4,391
Received 179 Likes on 87 Posts
Originally Posted by BFSGrad
The technology for such expansion is well established; e.g., HNL reef runway, Hong Kong, Chubu, etc. Plans for this type of expansion at SFO were floated in the 90s with the #1 obstacle being environmental groups. If the bay area governments can toss a couple $B at new sports stadiums, they can certainly pony up some dollars for a new SFO runway. What is lacking is the political will to buck the greenies.
Bucking the greenies and other environmental groups is expensive - usually extremely expensive, and getting the needed environmental plans and permissions often takes decades - and even once approved, you can usually count on numerous more lawsuits and challenges - all of which cost time and money. Filling in sensitive wetlands to create new land has become an environmental mine field. This being the California Bay Area means the environment groups have outsized influence.
Concerns over tiny fish most people have never heard of have already shut down $billions in agricultural output by limiting the water available to grow food. Increasing the footprint of SFO so more carbon spewing aircraft can land in there is going to be a political nightmare in hugely 'progressive' California.
tdracer is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2023, 01:56
  #193 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: USA
Age: 72
Posts: 49
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
PukinDog (post #11):

Very succinctly explained; thank you!
Catwalk Dweller is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2023, 05:54
  #194 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Yorkshire
Posts: 255
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by 172_driver
SFO has two tightly spaced runways. I have never had parallel approaches into LHR. Perhaps on the odd occassion it happens, but not regularly. At arrival peak there can be significant holding into LHR though.

Both places has great ATC working the traffic and they seem to the best with the cards they've been delt.
The runways at LHR are too close (just!) for parallel approaches, so you won't get parallel approaches there. (If any 'appear' to be parallel, that is simply for other operational 'convenience' but the spacing will still be the same as if on the same approach.) The runways at LHR are about twice as far apart as those at SFO?

Approaches into LHR are on the ILS. Even when I flew into there in a Cessna 310 (with an 'Ambulance' callsign!) in CAVOK during the early morning 'rush', it was an ILS approach. I have flown into there many times in a 'regional jet' and every approach in all conditions was an ILS. Yes, there can be some holding and if I remember correctly, LHR required that 20 mins holding fuel should be available even if 'no delays' were expected. Why doesn't SFO stipulate the same?

I have also flown many approaches into AMS (before and after the new 'Voor Politieke Bedoel' -- the ILS ident! -- runway!) at all times of the day (and night!). It was always an ILS unless a visual approach was offered to us for our convenience (with us being 'considered local' operators) and all those that I remember were in good visibility and daytime.

(The controllers at LHR and AMS are the best that I have worked with.)

From what I read on here, SFO appears to be 'a large GA airfield' that has big airliners flying into it!
NoelEvans is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2023, 12:10
  #195 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 255
Received 22 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by NoelEvans
The runways at LHR are too close (just!) for parallel approaches, so you won't get parallel approaches there. (If any 'appear' to be parallel, that is simply for other operational 'convenience' but the spacing will still be the same as if on the same approach.) The runways at LHR are about twice as far apart as those at SFO?

Approaches into LHR are on the ILS. Even when I flew into there in a Cessna 310 (with an 'Ambulance' callsign!) in CAVOK during the early morning 'rush', it was an ILS approach. I have flown into there many times in a 'regional jet' and every approach in all conditions was an ILS. Yes, there can be some holding and if I remember correctly, LHR required that 20 mins holding fuel should be available even if 'no delays' were expected. Why doesn't SFO stipulate the same?

I have also flown many approaches into AMS (before and after the new 'Voor Politieke Bedoel' -- the ILS ident! -- runway!) at all times of the day (and night!). It was always an ILS unless a visual approach was offered to us for our convenience (with us being 'considered local' operators) and all those that I remember were in good visibility and daytime.

(The controllers at LHR and AMS are the best that I have worked with.)

From what I read on here, SFO appears to be 'a large GA airfield' that has big airliners flying into it!
SFO and LHR/AMS aren't really comparable.

Parallel runway separation: SFO: 750' LRH: 4600' (about 6 X the distance) AMS: Practically separate airports.

I can see how from reading some of this that SFO seems like a "big GA airport with airliners flying into it but it's really not.

Although the 757's are the largest allowed, for the sake of PPRuNe its good they don't have Int'l flights into DCA. Someone might have to fly the River Visual rwy 19 then comment about the maneuvering while skirting a couple prohibited areas along the way. If this SFO thing is an indicator, the ensuing uproar would melt this website down within 24 hours.
PukinDog is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2023, 12:56
  #196 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 2,513
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by PukinDog
SFO and LHR/AMS aren't really comparable.

Parallel runway separation: SFO: 750' LRH: 4600' (about 6 X the distance) AMS: Practically separate airports.

I can see how from reading some of this that SFO seems like a "big GA airport with airliners flying into it but it's really not.

Although the 757's are the largest allowed, for the sake of PPRuNe it’s good they don't have Int'l flights into DCA. Someone might have to fly the River Visual rwy 19 then comment about the maneuvering while skirting a couple prohibited areas along the way. If this SFO thing is an indicator, the ensuing uproar would melt this website down within 24 hours.
The river visual is heaps of fun

I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to understand the obsession with flying an ILS on a VFR night…
Check Airman is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2023, 13:00
  #197 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: US
Age: 66
Posts: 597
Likes: 0
Received 8 Likes on 4 Posts
Originally Posted by NoelEvans
My understanding is that SFO and LHR have about the same number of average daily movements. (Is that correct?)

I have never heard a 'heavy' required to do any visual spacing at LHR, especially at night.

Why can they cope and SFO cannot?
SFO has about 1300 arrivals a day. LHR about 650. That’s not about the same. It’s substantially different.
Sailvi767 is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2023, 14:34
  #198 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 85
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by BFSGrad
Reading through the later comments, my impression is that a few commenters have not watched the video in post #71, which provides an unofficial ATC explanation of this incident. According to that source, LH received an appropriate level of ATC service given LH's operational limitations (no visual sep) and routine priority.

Regarding whether ILS approaches were available, PAL104 requested and was given the ILS 28L approach. It appears that NorCal was able to accommodate this ILS request because spacing just happened to work out at that point in time relative to other arrivals in queue.
I’ve watched that video, and disagree wholeheartedly that they were given an appropriate level of service, whatever it claims. It was not treated with “routine priority”, it was dumped down the order behind aircraft that turned up 30 minutes+ after it, and basically treated as a Cat. Z with zero priority. It made a perfectly reasonable request to fly a published instrument approach, that so far as I can tell wasn’t notified anywhere as being unavailable. They knew it was going to be inconvenient and were expecting some delay.

No one has stated how they’d create the gapbecause it’s such a routine part of the job. If there was a go-around they’re not going to delay it for another hour because “the sequence is already built”, likewise if the DLH had actually declared an emergency you’d like to think it would have been given a fairly expedient approach. One of the comments in the video you reference was: “We aren’t going to vector 40 aircraft and take them off the arrival, and assign speeds and headings and introduce more risk to those passengers and pilots in order to prioritize a special request.”

Firstly, no ATCO I know would routinely describe any heading or speed to an aircraft as inherently dangerous/risky. Assigning safe headings and speeds is the job! Anyone with that attitude wouldn’t be given a radar license. Secondly, it highlights that a request for a published instrument approach is deemed a “special request”. Having to apply standard separation in Class B should never need to be deemed a special request. Ref. the PAL104: if I only accommodated requests that didn’t inconvenience me in any way, I wouldn’t expect to keep my job for long. If the ILS requirement is so special and the sequence is so set-in-stone you must know exactly where they can eventually fit and be able to give an accurate EAT. The reluctance to do this suggests to me they knew they should be fitting it in, but for whatever reason - be it personal capacity, airspace, ability or anything else - it didn’t happen. For that video to claim the unit was happy with how the controller handled it, given the complete butchering of keeping the delay updated, suggests this is culturally accepted.

I’m not a pilot so I can’t comment on whether the DLH SOP is sensible or required in the first place, which seems to be where most of the taking sides against the DLH seems to come from, nor add anything to that side of the debate. Once the requirement was stated (and as an aside, I wouldn’t consider passing 14000ft particularly late notice) I feel more qualified to contribute. I would add that usually with these situations, pilots take the side of the pilot and ATC take the side of ATC. From my reading of the comments, pretty much everyone on the ATC side is asking questions about how ATC handled it, and specifically why such a meal was made of something that should be straightforward.
Request Orbit is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2023, 14:52
  #199 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Between a rock and a hard place
Posts: 1,267
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
From my reading of the comments, pretty much everyone on the ATC side is asking questions about how ATC handled it, and specifically why such a meal was made of something that should be straightforward.
My 'siding' is merely an observation having operated in the US for a couple of years (SoCal and a little NorCal), the national airspace system is very flexible (especially for GA) but not good for anyone that underperforms. Some ATC could be assholes and I think it came down to workload and being close to maxed out. Many a times you switched freq but there was no opportunity to check in, just wait until being called. I can sympathize with ATC not wanting to explain everything on air. (Though as a pilot I would be very glad for an expected delay, even if unnecessairly conservative.)

Then there is the "maintain visual separation" which is poorly understood by those who haven't operated there. On IFR practice runs we often had to cancel IFR to relieve ATC of some separation responsibilities, yet they would treat us as IFR. It was just good cooperation. Had I insisted on staying IFR we wouldn't get the job done. In this case Lufthansa wouldn't exactly cancel IFR, but still help ATC out with separation.

172_driver is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2023, 15:53
  #200 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 85
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by 172_driver
My 'siding' is merely an observation having operated in the US for a couple of years (SoCal and a little NorCal), the national airspace system is very flexible (especially for GA) but not good for anyone that underperforms. Some ATC could be assholes and I think it came down to workload and being close to maxed out. Many a times you switched freq but there was no opportunity to check in, just wait until being called. I can sympathize with ATC not wanting to explain everything on air. (Though as a pilot I would be very glad for an expected delay, even if unnecessairly conservative.)

Then there is the "maintain visual separation" which is poorly understood by those who haven't operated there. On IFR practice runs we often had to cancel IFR to relieve ATC of some separation responsibilities, yet they would treat us as IFR. It was just good cooperation. Had I insisted on staying IFR we wouldn't get the job done. In this case Lufthansa wouldn't exactly cancel IFR, but still help ATC out with separation.
My use of “sides” is far too black and white for something that is obviously a lot more nuanced so appreciate that sentiment. Separation is a pretty defining characteristic of air traffic, and when it comes to IFR traffic is very much an ATC responsibility inside controlled airspace. If you can delegate that to pilots to keep things moving at times, great. If the whole thing falls apart if a single pilot says no, not great. It is not the pilots responsibility. If saying no results in that situation, it’s bad airspace/sectorisation/training/procedure design. We’re going to declare the airspace Class B and publish instrument procedures, but don’t dare actually ask us to provide the level of service that implies.
Request Orbit is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.