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Lufty at SFO

Old 1st Dec 2023, 13:53
  #321 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Request Orbit
............If the sequence is so un-alterable, what happens when there's a go-around? Genuine question, you obviously have experience of being there. What sort of track mileage/delay do you take at SFO before you're fitted back in again? Because all the same techniques used for that are what would be used to re-build the sequence around the DLH.
And I am curious to know what happens if the weather goes below night visual limits e.g. under a TEMPO? You cannot issue slots to keep all the inbound transatlantic flights on the ground, because they are already airborne.

Similarly, how does KSFO cope when the weather is well below night visual limits for longer periods? If they are so busy that only night visuals can accommodate all the inbounds, how do they cope when the weather is well below?

(I have only ever done ILS's into KSFO, with single approach runway operation - it was usually after dark but not busy, at the times we arrived).


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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 00:20
  #322 (permalink)  
 
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False equivalence and human factors

I suspect this thread will only end when people get bored.

I do take issue with some of the statements made here.

That an advertised approach procedure was unavailable. It wasn’t unavailable, it was available with less than situationally useful efficiency.

That the LH request should be handled the same way as a go around. A go around must be handled regardless of efficiency. It must be handled. It cannot be constrained by efficiency concerns it must simply be done. This wasn’t a go around.

What we are left with is differing interpretations of efficiency.

Was it more efficient for the controller to do this or LH ops to do that or the flight crew to find a way within SOP to do the other?

What I am left with is an overriding impression of just how inefficient, or at least how unscalable this current process has become.

We need human controllers to perform extortionate mental gymnastics to keep everything safe and then assuming they can do that then efficient as well, and communicate it all over VHF.

We need human flight crew to use mark 1 eyeballs to separate aircraft, wrong side of the circadian rhythm, at night, and verbally communicate issues.

This can’t possibly be best achievable, be any kind of meaningful end state.

Maybe instead of pointing at the controller or pointing at the company or pointing at the flight crew, we should instead be pointing at a process that is already seeing its best days.

Last edited by Bbtengineer; 2nd Dec 2023 at 03:17.
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 00:46
  #323 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Bbtengineer
That the LH request should be handled the same way as a go around. A go around must be handled regardless of efficiency. It must handled. It cannot be constrained by efficiency concerns it must simply be done. This wasn’t a go around.
Handling doesn't necessarily mean landing at the airport of choice. LH landed at a perfectly good airport that had an approach they could use. That is wasn't SFO is irrelevant.
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 04:45
  #324 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by MarcK
Handling doesn't necessarily mean landing at the airport of choice. LH landed at a perfectly good airport that had an approach they could use. That is wasn't SFO is irrelevant.
Except to the passengers!!
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 05:31
  #325 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by bean
Except to the passengers!!
Whose fault was that? Perhaps next time, they'll book a trip on an airline that can operate 24/7.
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 06:55
  #326 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Bbtengineer
What I am left with is an overriding impression of just how inefficient, or at least how unscalable this current process has become.

We need human controllers to perform extortionate mental gymnastics to keep everything safe and then assuming they can do that then efficient as well, and communicate it all over VHF.

Maybe instead of pointing at the controller or pointing at the company or pointing at the flight crew, we should instead be pointing at a process that is already seeing its best days.
I strongly suspect this isn’t down to an individual controller, and is - as always - down to a combination of several things. High on the list would be the volume of traffic each controller is being asked to work, and a system that has been squeezed as tight as possible for maximum efficiency in standard conditions…which then doesn’t always adapt if something doesn’t quite fit.

I ask about go arounds because the reasons being given for why the DLH couldn’t be fitted in would also either make it impossible to fit a go around in (which I find unlikely) or would result in huge delays if there is a go around because the system as described has no flexibility to fit them in without consequence (again, unlikely). I wouldn’t expect the DLH to be given the priority of a go around, but equally I wouldn’t expect it to be vectored around for an hour before giving it an approach. “First come, first served” is the order of operational priority in the .65.

I have more questions about bigger picture elements on the ATC side of this event around staffing, fatigue and training. I know nothing specific about KSFO, but the interview transcripts from the FDX/SWA at Austin are illuminating. The facrep describe the amount of radar positions they have relative to the number of planes worked as “actually insane. It’s beyond insane” and that they’ve told the FAA of their staffing and capacity issues and “no one seems to care”. Neither the controller involved nor his immediate supervisor in the tower knew what a CAT III approach was!

I read enough on the .65 forums and the ATC Reddit to know these issues are nationwide and definitely not limited to a single unit. Sure, you can’t believe every word you read, but it’s very consistent themes backed up entirely by the docket that just came out for Austin.
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 07:59
  #327 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by NoelEvans
...

SFO seems to be a 'fair weather' airport.

...

When down to Cat 1 conditions it appears that SFO cannot deal with 'normal'.

This is all useful information. We are planning a trip into the Pacific shortly that will require a stop on the North American west coast. From what I have read above, SFO has dropped to the bottom of the list of options...
Originally Posted by Check Airman
Whose fault was that? Perhaps next time, they'll book a trip on an airline that can operate 24/7.
Or, far more importantly, an airport that can operate 24/7!!

From what I have read on here, that is not SFO. So our choice (see above) will be a more reliable airport. We have used SFO twice, but 'elsewhere' wins this next time.

(Also, on one of our visits we saw the poorest check-in handling that we have seen almost anywhere. With one of the major US airlines*. It was so poor that after one of the business class passengers had checked in, he called for management and 'tore a strip' off them for how poorly the economy class check-in was being handled!! A nice airport, but...)

* Clue -- you could fly with them on a Lufthansa ticket...
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 09:16
  #328 (permalink)  
 
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… differing interpretations of efficiency

bt #322

It would be 'inefficient' to close a thread because of boredom without at least some understanding of why … boredom, efficiency, safety in operations.

Differences in views should be expected - life; the value in these differences is in considering why.

There is a difference in risk between day and night approaches with visual separation; the higher risk judged tolerable at the time of implementation. However, relative risk changes over time.
Not so much the physical aspects, but with time itself; the longer exposure in continuing use of a procedure with risk can reduce comparable levels of safety. Also, the risk relative to the overall (decreasing) risk in industry (increased safety), then constant low risks appear higher.

Thus the safety concepts of continuous review, assessment, need to change; not accepting the status quo, being cautious of complacency.

In this incident there is a clash of views; individual, organisation, regulation. Therefore the need to understand these differences with well reasoned argument and justification (before the fact), and from that understanding, learn and be willing to change.

On one hand in this incident there are established operations, on the other an operator who chose to change; adapt existing procedures to maintain an acceptable level of safety (in their view), with changing time.

This could be one lesson to heed; high levels of operational safety are not constant with time. Review, debate, change as necessary to avoid complacency.

ETTO
"People are expected to be both efficient and thorough at the same time – or rather to be thorough, when with hindsight it was wrong to be efficient."

https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/25882...ccy0t1jpt&dl=0
,

Last edited by safetypee; 2nd Dec 2023 at 09:33. Reason: typo
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 09:18
  #329 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
Whose fault was that? Perhaps next time, they'll book a trip on an airline that can operate 24/7.
they used to do that, the yanks and brits put a stop to that back in 1945.
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 09:51
  #330 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Bbtengineer
I suspect this thread will only end when people get bored.

Maybe instead of pointing at the controller or pointing at the company or pointing at the flight crew, we should instead be pointing at a process that is already seeing its best days.
Definitely the 2 best sentences I read after the first pages of this thread Everybody is now entrenched in his beliefs and does not listen to the other side. Sign of the times,

As to how safe local procedures are and how wonderfully efficient the US ATC system has become , indeed go to read the ATC interviews of the AUS/ Southwest/ FedEx incident on the other forum
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 10:59
  #331 (permalink)  
 
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FAA SAFO 21005 DATE: 7/27/21
Subject: Risks Associated with Visual Approaches.
[…]
These risks can be mitigated effectively by employing strategies such as:
[…]
Communicating “UNABLE” to ATC when, in the judgment of the pilot-in-command (PIC), compliance with a specific instruction, request, or clearance may reduce safety.

I have to say that from my point of view the diversion should be avoided “by the system” and both, crew and ATC, were contributing factors for a wrong solution to the situation. I am sure that FAA, SFO and LH are working together for this not to happen again in the future.

Last edited by Gryphon; 2nd Dec 2023 at 11:34. Reason: Elaborate more
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 11:11
  #332 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
Whose fault was that? Perhaps next time, they'll book a trip on an airline that can operate 24/7.
LH can operate 24/7 and I would bet that all the inbounds to KSFO that night had filed IFR flight plans. It seems to be KSFO that cannot operate 24/7 unless they reduce safety margins.

If an airport cannot accept IFR ILS approaches because they are too busy, then they are too busy !, and something needs to change. Decreasing safety margins at night just to get a large volume of aircraft in, strikes me as a very risky step.
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 14:08
  #333 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by MarcK
Handling doesn't necessarily mean landing at the airport of choice. LH landed at a perfectly good airport that had an approach they could use. That is wasn't SFO is irrelevant.
BS.

The purpose of the airline indutry is to bring people to the place they booked.
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 14:12
  #334 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
Whose fault was that? Perhaps next time, they'll book a trip on an airline that can operate 24/7.
BS.

LH can operate 24/7, they are in business since many decades, considered one of the safest airlines.

They were on an IFR flightplan to SFO, and they asked for separation by the controller, which is THE fundamental task of the controller.

The controller was unwilling to do that, for whatever reason. That was not good show by the controller.
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 15:41
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If an airport cannot accept IFR ILS approaches because they are too busy, then they are too busy !, and something needs to change. Decreasing safety margins at night just to get a large volume of aircraft in, strikes me as a very risky step.
You seem to draw the line (and so does LH perhaps) for too risky at FMS guided visual approaches with visual separation. Perhaps because that’s uncommon in Europe? What strikes me is that all Americans are in favour of it and all non-Americans against it, roughly speaking. Just an observation. You can draw the line pretty much anywhere you like.
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Old 2nd Dec 2023, 16:27
  #336 (permalink)  
 
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Not my line; Lufthansa's. And I would not presume to know more about it than their safety department.
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 02:14
  #337 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 172_driver
You seem to draw the line (and so does LH perhaps) for too risky at FMS guided visual approaches with visual separation. Perhaps because that’s uncommon in Europe? What strikes me is that all Americans are in favour of it and all non-Americans against it, roughly speaking. Just an observation. You can draw the line pretty much anywhere you like.
I've made the same observation. I suppose it comes down to what you're used to. I've done night visual approaches to the 9 busiest airports in the world (according to this 2022 list). If there's a cloud in the way, and we need an instrument approach, it's never been withheld. I wouldn't dream of going to JFK and requesting an ILS when they've said the VOR is in use. If you're capable of doing it, you're expected to do it.

If DLH management is going to write stupid rules for their pilots to follow, they can continue to expect lengthy delays while operating in US airpsace.
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 06:15
  #338 (permalink)  
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And if ATC are capable of making a gap a bit bigger then they are expected to do it.

After all they are down there because we are up there not the other way around.
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 08:32
  #339 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
If DLH management is going to write stupid rules for their pilots to follow, they can continue to expect lengthy delays while operating in US airpsace.
They could have done a visual approach. That was not banned. The rules state ATC are responsible separation in Class B, there are no written exemptions for KSFO (that anyone has posted so far). They were not given the operational priority under “first come, first served”, as written in the rules, they were due.

This event sounds very much like a controller with no capacity to accommodate the DLH even if he wanted to. He’s working too many planes already because there’s no staff and no end in sight. I strongly suspect the reason people were so adamant SFO is busier than LHR is because it sounds so much busier. If the frequency is regularly so busy every other transmission is stepped on, that is a huge capacity issue. It’s not that controllers fault, but it is an ATC issue.

Read the interviews in the NYT combined with some of the stuff in the Austin incident interviews (which included the tower controller not being able to state what separation rules are or how to apply them, sound familiar?). US ATC is stretched well beyond breaking point. You’re the one flying in it not me, I hope for your sake you aren’t the one caught up when the FAAs chickens come home to roost.
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Old 3rd Dec 2023, 10:20
  #340 (permalink)  
 
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… this expediency must be balanced with safety, wisdom

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A 'system' issue; requires joined-up thinking

For general info:
FAA SAFO 21005 - Risks Associated with Visual Approaches.
"… this expediency must be balanced with safety,"
"Judicious (wise) use of visual approaches." Day vs night.
"… the likelihood of aligning with the wrong runway …"

These risks can be mitigated effectively by employing strategies such as:
Communicating “UNABLE” to ATC when, in the judgment of the pilot-in-command (PIC), compliance with a specific instruction, request, or clearance may reduce safety.

N.B. Class B Airspace VFR, 3 statute miles visibility and clear of clouds (SVFR 1 st m, SVFR is never offered by Air Traffic Control. It must be requested by the Pilot in Command.)

https://www.faa.gov/sites/faa.gov/fi.../SAFO21005.pdf


FAA SAFO 17010
Note SFO incident as the prime example
"Conducting an approach in visual conditions increases the potential for confusing visual clues such as airport lighting configuration, surrounding lights, or areas that look similar to the airport. Therefore, use of the most precise available approach or Flight Management System (FMS) RNAV navigational aids will serve to support pilot and flightcrew decisions."

https://www.faa.gov/sites/faa.gov/fi.../SAFO17010.pdf


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