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Lufty at SFO

Old 27th Nov 2023, 20:53
  #281 (permalink)  
 
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Why they need it is immaterial. It’s published as an available procedure, is it notified as being unavailable under certain conditions?
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Old 27th Nov 2023, 21:00
  #282 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
Why would a crew NEED an instrument approach on a VMC night? As far as we know, the windshields weren't cracked. Why would anyone expect a crew to need an approach that was designed to get airplanes down in bad weather, while the weather is good?
There have been many visual approaches flown at night that haven’t ended well. Off the top of my head there was the KAL (at Guam?) and one in Italy which ended up with the ATC serving time in jail (for clearing a pilot request visual approach at night when an instrument approach was available).
I imagine that’s why many airlines have banned visual approaches at night.


Those posters that think DLH ops should have notified SFO several hours in advance that they wouldn’t accept visual separation, how do you think the situation would have then been handled differently?
What is it about 14 hours that was sufficient when 40 minutes wasn’t?
And please bear in mind they only had to stretch a gap by maximum 2 miles to accommodate, they didn’t need a ground stop or a 30 minute gap.
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Old 27th Nov 2023, 21:19
  #283 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Request Orbit
Why they need it is immaterial. It’s published as an available procedure, is it notified as being unavailable under certain conditions?
I'm imagining an Aviation World where pilots can just flip through the charts and, as long as they aren't listed as being unavailable, pick the one that suits them...at which point ATC will whisk them right in as if nobody else is in the sky or waiting to take off. What a magical, happy place.

Instead, here we are, stuck with this archaic system, having to listen to ATIS that tells what Approaches are in use and other assorted nonsense. It's almost as if they don't realize I'm the Customer and whatever I want, I should have it right now for the asking. Maybe there's an aviation-themed place I could moan about their service, like Yelp.
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Old 27th Nov 2023, 21:23
  #284 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Del Prado
There have been many visual approaches flown at night that haven’t ended well. Off the top of my head there was the KAL (at Guam?) and one in Italy which ended up with the ATC serving time in jail (for clearing a pilot request visual approach at night when an instrument approach was available).
I imagine that’s why many airlines have banned visual approaches at night.


Those posters that think DLH ops should have notified SFO several hours in advance that they wouldn’t accept visual separation, how do you think the situation would have then been handled differently?
What is it about 14 hours that was sufficient when 40 minutes wasn’t?
And please bear in mind they only had to stretch a gap by maximum 2 miles to accommodate, they didn’t need a ground stop or a 30 minute gap.
There have been many more visuals that have ended well. If KAL can’t fly a visual approach on Italy, there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to. In terms of the timing, the earlier the better. They get to figure out how much spacing to apply a lot sooner. If you’d like to leaf through your approach plates and fly any published approach, you’ll have to request a cruise clearance, but you won’t get that going to SFO.

Are we sure this notification was made 40 mins prior? From the audio, it sounded like they were talking to the approach controller, which would’ve been more like 40 miles than 40 minutes.

Can we stop pretending that a visual approach is somehow difficult? They’re done thousands of times a day in the US alone by Boeings, Airbuses, CRJs and Embraers. This approach is as unremarkable as they come. Shame on DLH for forcing their pilots into a stupid situation.
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Old 27th Nov 2023, 21:27
  #285 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by PukinDog
It's almost as if they don't realize I'm the Customer and whatever I want, I should have it right now for the asking. Maybe there's an aviation-themed place I could moan about their service, like Yelp.
Why are you focussed on the idea that they expected it “right now” with no delay? They fully accepted there was going to be some delay. No one since has suggested otherwise. As Del Prado points out, their request means an extra couple of miles need to be made, that’s it. 40 minutes+ to create a single gap is frankly ludicrous. And if they never intended to create that gap, why tell them the delay was 10 minutes?
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Old 27th Nov 2023, 21:40
  #286 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
Are we sure this notification was made 40 mins prior? From the audio, it sounded like they were talking to the approach controller, which would’ve been more like 40 miles than 40 minutes.
Assuming the video and the LiveATC mashup is accurate: the video first has the DLH say they’re unable “visual approaches” at night at around 13,500ft. With a timestamp added of 0345z at 11,000ft the controller and pilot confirm it’s “visual separation” at night that’s the issue. The video and timestamp then runs on, and at 0421z still at 11,000ft is when the DLH says they need a base soon or it’ll mess up the sequence, then shows as 0422z when the controller refuses to update the delay. Admittedly that’s 37 minutes, but it rounds up close enough if you add the other 2,500ft of descent. I’m assuming it wasn’t 40 minutes before their original slot in the sequence, but it’s the best part of 40 minutes notice in which to generate a gap.
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Old 27th Nov 2023, 21:54
  #287 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Request Orbit
Why are you focussed on the idea that they expected it “right now” with no delay? They fully accepted there was going to be some delay. No one since has suggested otherwise. As Del Prado points out, their request means an extra couple of miles need to be made, that’s it. 40 minutes+ to create a single gap is frankly ludicrous. And if they never intended to create that gap, why tell them the delay was 10 minutes?
I dunno, why are some so focused on the idea that ATC was incompetent? Nothing offered in the video even shows what's also going on with KOAK and KSJC arrivals and departures let alone any big picture view or what else they may need to deal with in the facility at that time. Do you know the makeup of their airspace constraints? Do you know if other aircraft had to hold before LH arrived? Ground stopped and finally released? Why is there an assumption that LH ws unique in experiencing some sort of delay? The only reason for this assumption that somehow LH was singled-out for a delay is because someone posted a YouTube video.

This may come as a surprise for some, but Visuals only increase the capacity, it doesn't make it limitless. Also, in the interests of air commerce and to prevent an airport from sinking under the increasing weight of gates, ramps, and taxiways filling-up, departures must also occasionally occur.
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Old 27th Nov 2023, 23:39
  #288 (permalink)  
 
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Here's a typical SFO ATIS:
SIMULTANEOUS CHARTED VISUAL FLIGHT PROCEDURES IN USE. LNDG RWYS 28L, 28R.
If LH doesn't like the approach offered, it is welcome to go elsewhere. Demanding an approach not in use may not be possible, if some of the approach components are OTS, for instance.
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 01:20
  #289 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by PukinDog
Do you know the makeup of their airspace constraints? Do you know if other aircraft had to hold before LH arrived? Ground stopped and finally released? Why is there an assumption that LH ws unique in experiencing some sort of delay? The only reason for this assumption that somehow LH was singled-out for a delay is because someone posted a YouTube video.
I’ve no clue about any of those things because after about 300 comments we haven’t had anything at all constructive or useful added from that angle, just a load of conjecture that DLH should have done a visual approach - which they could have done apparently! Just not a parallel, paired approach where they’d be responsible for separation.

The second, rebuttal video didn’t offer any of those mitigations you mentioned, just it was busy and that DLH was treated as though it had asked for an opposite end approach - something that would incur a significant delay for everyone - despite the fact it’s request would only mean a single gap created in the same way a go-around would.
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 04:10
  #290 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Request Orbit
Just not a parallel, paired approach where they’d be responsible for separation.
How absurd to think that a pilot of one plane who can see a well lit airplane a few miles away would want to take some responsibility for not bumping into that plane.

”That’s ATC’s job” seems to be the cry here, yet many would object to ATC “flying the plane for them”.

I get the feeling most here have never flown this approach. Nobody’s measuring the spacing with a micrometer. “See that plane over there? Don’t hit it. Cleared for the visual”. That’s all there is to it. No fancy aerobatics involved. Turn off the automation and fly the thing like you flew a 172 and enjoy the view. It’s great fun.
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 05:34
  #291 (permalink)  
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All this chest beating about visuals is testosterone fuelled nonsense.

Anyone can fly a visual approach, it's not difficult. However, we are paid ro follow company SOPs not disregard them.

I'm curious to know what all you SFO mouth pieces would do if some foreign ATC unit requiredyou to break one of your company SOPs...?
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 06:24
  #292 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by MarcK
Here's a typical SFO ATIS: If LH doesn't like the approach offered, it is welcome to go elsewhere. Demanding an approach not in use may not be possible, if some of the approach components are OTS, for instance.

Except that such approaches are NOT published in the FAA AIP (https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publ...alifornia.html). Moreover, nothing in the General Remarks regarding the "Visual Flight Procedures"....

.
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 07:28
  #293 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
Nobody’s measuring the spacing with a micrometer. “See that plane over there? Don’t hit it.”
It might not be a micrometer but they would if they could believe me. Defined, measured, separation is a huge, huge part of the job. It’s a massive core tenet of air traffic. It is not simply just a case of “well they didn’t scrape paint so it’s fine”.

Originally Posted by Check Airman
I think it comes down to a difference in ATC philosophy. US ATC seems to be more about separation, UK is more about control.
SFO ATC seems to be more about not providing separation.
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 07:29
  #294 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Chesty Morgan
All this chest beating about visuals is testosterone fuelled nonsense.

Anyone can fly a visual approach, it's not difficult. However, we are paid ro follow company SOPs not disregard them.

I'm curious to know what all you SFO mouth pieces would do if some foreign ATC unit requiredyou to break one of your company SOPs...?

When exactly did SFO approach require LH to break their company SOPs ?

Must have missed that
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 09:43
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2 Heavies - 1000 PAX ? - 750’ apart on parallel approaches at night relying on visual separation for safety ( with SCT and BKN low cloud! )

Is that REALLY SAFE ?

Amazed that there aren’t more near misses / midair’s !

There is no way that NIGHT ( or day ?)Visual Approaches in a high traffic environment should be allowed? particularly if there is low cloud around.

FUEL - are the airlines carrying too little fuel margins to save costs?

Loads of ac on minimum fuel arriving at 1 airfield could mean a big drama if the runway is suddenly blocked!

presumably situation will get worse with forecast increased traffic ?
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 10:04
  #296 (permalink)  
 
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Mahogany...

"FUEL - are the airlines carrying too little fuel margins to save costs?"
You act surprized.

Read a bit more history of commerce. Maybe the shipping industry which was the fastest transport before aircraft came along.

As far back as camels and horses, the heads of transport have always scrimpted every possible penny in the costs and forced the actual transporters to carry the stress and dangers, while they sat comfy in their tents or mansions, while sipping the finest wines and eating the finest foods they could afford off the backs of the actual transporters.

They'd rather have a ship lost and get the insurance claim rather than give the captain leeway to operate according to the conditions as they occurred.
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 10:24
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Back in the day when cash was a thing I remember a rather carefully phrased sign to customers in a shop, which said: 'change may neither be insisted upon, nor unreasonably withheld'. What does that have to do with this incident? I believe the interaction between the parties was the problem not the intractability of the procedures. It seems to me on listening to the exchange between LH and ATC, that the controller objected to the pilot's sense of entitlement, most probably at the point that LH talks about the sequence getting messed up, using less than ideal phraseology. The controller seems to have decided at that point not to cooperate and invites the pilot to name his alternate and to let him know when he wants clearance there. The issue seems to be much less about whether ATC could have fitted them in the sequence or whether LH are right with their SOPs, but much more about the human interaction. I remain unconvinced that the controller's behaviour was in the best interests of flight safety. But I think there is a learning point for us pilots how we communicate.
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 10:28
  #298 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by stilton
When exactly did SFO approach require LH to break their company SOPs ?

Must have missed that
DLH told them company SOPs prohibited visual separation. SFO didn’t give them an accurate delay of when they could expect an ILS with radar separation. They gave them 10 mins, after nearly 15 they were given 10-15 again. They made no effort to accommodate DLH’s SOPs, it’s what this entire thread is about.
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 11:27
  #299 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Chesty Morgan
All this chest beating about visuals is testosterone fuelled nonsense.

Anyone can fly a visual approach, it's not difficult. However, we are paid ro follow company SOPs not disregard them.

I'm curious to know what all you SFO mouth pieces would do if some foreign ATC unit requiredyou to break one of your company SOPs...?
I’ve been careful not to fault the crew on this one. They had their hands tied by SOP. Some manager at DLH thinks a visual approach isn’t safe, for some reason.
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 11:32
  #300 (permalink)  
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Maybe it’s just worth recapping the time and conditions when this occurred. The ATIS at 0356Z gives FEW005, SCT007. Hardly CAVOK is it? Not sure I’d be able to see either the runway or another aircraft with that cloud reported.

One aspect not discussed much is human factors relating to fatigue. You have a long haul crew who have probably operated around 11-12 hours and for their body clock it’s around 05:00. The LH pilot sounds a little tetchy so perhaps that’s one reason and the other is the lack of accurate holding times which is the responsibility of ATC to provide. Also, I suspect that pilots who have never flown long haul do not appreciate that the skills you acquire when flying frequently are likely eroded especially when fatigued. We should be aiming for the highest level of safety that can be achieved. Not “well most pilots can do this so why can’t you?” Even the best operators can have their off days.

To read some of the comments you would think the LH crew requested some weird arcane procedure that meant they were to be treated like Air Force 1! Apparently vectors to an ILS, like you would expect anywhere else, is just too difficult. I’m not a frequent visitor to SFO but over the years I’ve had normally had vectors to an ILS. Sometimes a little sporting and generally ATC have been ok. They always ask “report when you’re visual with xxx aircraft” but when unable, because neither of us could see it then it hasn’t been an issue. Sorry PukinDog I have sometimes used “we’ve got ‘em on TCAS”. Mea culpa.

This is definitely not a rant against SFO ATC in general but I think this particular controller should have done better accommodating a reasonable request by the pilot. Lastly, SFO is a major international airport so it should have the flexibility to allow foreign operators to fly within a SOP that is quite reasonable. If it accepts aircraft on an IFR flight plan it should allow an instrument approach at the end of it.
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