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Lufty at SFO

Old 11th Nov 2023, 13:42
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Originally Posted by Maisk Rotum
All LH had to do was say "minimum fuel". To which ATC would be obliged to ask them for fuel remaining in minutes. Some sort of expedited sequencing should have then followed. Drama over. A few big egos on the radio here.
Don’t know if this is a US/UK thing, but that’s pretty much the opposite of what should happen over here, and I think the rest of Europe, when someone declares “minimum fuel”. If a pilot declares it, we’re to give them an updated delay/EAT/track mileage, and at this point no expedited sequencing whatsoever. It’s up to the pilot on being given the updated mileage/delay to declare an emergency if necessary, at which point the priority kicks in. The DLH was told 10 minute at one point, seemingly 14 minutes later from what the video shows, the DLH pilot is trying to get an update and the controller refuses to pass it.

As Paxboy said, the odd part is why this was an issue for this specific flight, and not before or since that we know of.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 14:00
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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32 years ago LAX, 737 meets Metroliner..

https://simpleflying.com/los-angeles...r-anniversary/
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 14:03
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If it's saturated, SFO isn't going to shut down the stream to the parallel runway and slow his own down just so Lufthansa can have his ILS.

​​​​​​​And how do we even know this established international carrier captain is even well-versed in his own Company's SOPs? After all and I may be wrong, but I doubt the Lufthansa Radiotelephony Phraseology Section of their RT SOPs has the note: "Don't say "F***" on the radio, except when outside EASA Airspace".
As expected. ​​​​​​​
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 14:13
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Unprofessional swearing language from the pilots to start with.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 14:26
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Originally Posted by Capt Fathom
Which bit is ridiculous? The Lufty rules or the US ATC rules?
That was just pure spiteful punishment on the controllers part.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 14:31
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Originally Posted by PukinDog
San Francisco's runway 28L and 28R centerlines are 750' apart, so aircraft affirming they can maintain visual separation is the only way they can conduct simultaneous, parallel approaches, and it's not as haphazard as "doing Sight and Follow" either day or night: The aircraft in both streams are assigned altitudes, speeds for in-trail separation, and vectored up until final approach intercept in the same manner as one would be for an ILS. ATC usually feed them onto the final approach so they come down in slightly staggered pairs within easy sight of each other. In visual conditions and /w TCAS, it's an easy task to see who you're following and who you're forming-up with on the parallel runway. Also, in FAA-land even while on an instrument flight plan including the instrument approach, in Visual Meteorological Conditions the crew is still responsible for maintaining a visual watch to see and avoid other aircraft.

Which is where the "maintain visual separation" part comes in. In VMC, given the altitude, speed control for in-trail, and vectors to intercept final approach you'll receive from ATC, the only thing you're being asked to ensure is something you should, by regulation, be doing anyway; not overshooting your final turn and maintaining visual separation from the guy who's going to join the parallel final in case he does. This is done literally hundreds of times a day and night, weather permitting. There's an ILS LOC on each to back up the visual final, but obviously the focus during join-up is outside on the other aircraft.

Check Airman is correct. Somebody at a desk wrote an SOP not knowing that this common practice of "maintaining visual" exists for SFO due to the extra-close parallel runways, and when they have 100+ mile streams of inbound aircraft for 2 runways, upsetting the flow so 1 can shoot an ILS puts the airport into a single approach/runway operation, shutting the parallel down. Even if they did, being VMC they'd still have to look outside and watch for other aircraft. Their SOP does not relieve them of that responsibility.

The airport isn't going to prioritize or stuff-up their expeditious arrival flow for 1 Company's SOPs. I believe when the Controller asked Lufthansa not if he could "accept a visual approach" but rather "could he maintain visual separation" he was trying to help the guy out since the Controller knew he's required to do that anyway in VMC conditions. But then Lufthansa said that he couldn't even maintain visual separation, so his fate was sealed.
The strange thing is Lufthansa will have been doing this exact same flight at this time everyday for years! Unless this is a new policy how is it that this is the first instance this has happened?
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 14:39
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Originally Posted by Flyhighfirst
The strange thing is Lufthansa will have been doing this exact same flight at this time everyday for years! Unless this is a new policy how is it that this is the first instance this has happened?
How do you know this was the first instance?

Last edited by gearlever; 11th Nov 2023 at 14:55.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 16:17
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Originally Posted by PukinDog

Check Airman is correct. Somebody at a desk wrote an SOP not knowing that this common practice of "maintaining visual" exists for SFO due to the extra-close parallel runways, and when they have 100+ mile streams of inbound aircraft for 2 runways, upsetting the flow so 1 can shoot an ILS puts the airport into a single approach/runway operation, shutting the parallel down. Even if they did, being VMC they'd still have to look outside and watch for other aircraft. Their SOP does not relieve them of that responsibility.
SFO has PRM for busy times. Both runways would still be in use.

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Old 11th Nov 2023, 18:06
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
Ridiculous SOP at Lufthansa. You can't do a visual approach at night? That's absurd. The weather was fine. If fairness to the crew, they seem to have communicated their restriction immediately, but I also see the controller's viewpoint. He has 100 planes to get on the ground with tight spacing, and this heavy comes in and says he needs even more spacing than normal because of some stupid rule that an office-dweller came up with. You really cannot expect to operate into a busy US airport with that sort of restriction.
Maybe, LH did a risk-benefit/risk mitigation analysis and concluded it is safer not to do visuals at night? Or, LH may not have the FAA OpSpecs for night visuals in the US? Personally, I find it difficult to judge distances to other traffic and terrain/obstacles at night. But maybe that´s just me.

Crossair 3597 comes to mind, as well. Technically not a visual approach but the crew followed visual cues at night.

But yeah the PM´s cocky attitude seems to have aggravated the problem. There was a female voice later on. No idea if it was the F/O or PIC initially. I reckon, it comes down to leadership and CRM to avoid putting yourself in a disadvantaged position. I am sure the incidence will be a case study for LH and a subject during future CRM trainings.

Last edited by wondering; 12th Nov 2023 at 08:27.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 18:13
  #30 (permalink)  
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Hmmm.

ATC is a service for the operation of the airport and aircraft. The PIC complied with his company policy, advised in a timely manner to ATC what his constraints were, and ATC acted to punish them for complying with their requirements. The wording by LH was not the best of grammar but I would share his sentiment. ATC action was not to give a service to the aircraft to comply with their operational requirements. This used to be a professional program with ATC and the flight crew aiming for the same outcome, in this case, the ATC acted to pressure the crew into breaching their SOPs in order to appease ATCs workload. Their "can't have this conversation" speaks loudly. SFO used to be a pretty reasonable place to operate in and out of, didn't seem to be on this day.

If ATC has an issue with a crew advising them of an operational requirement, we really need to rethink what we are trying to do here. It matters not at all if the night was a bombers moon and VFR, the operator has requirements that are in their OpSpec, that are approved by..... the FAA, so this is a lunacy that a C series OpSpec is being objected to by ATC in their actions. SFO is a mess for ATC flow control, but the crews questions on expected hold is what the FAA expects a crew to do, and has done since Avianca did some gardening in the backyard of John McEnroe's parents shack..

That was shabby, and the PIC did what he is required to do, colourful language notwithstanding.

Was more like what is expected from ATC out of JFK than SFO, but for JFK, the same stressors exist, really bad airspace design, and excessive traffic for the ATC to deal with.



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Old 11th Nov 2023, 19:20
  #31 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by PukinDog
Also, in FAA-land even while on an instrument flight plan including the instrument approach, in Visual Meteorological Conditions the crew is still responsible for maintaining a visual watch to see and avoid other aircraft.
I'm not sure that is strictly true. At least in Canada, ATC provides separation between IFR aircraft regardless of IMC/VMC. The visual watch is for VFR aircraft and there wouldn't be any in class B (SFO must be class B right?). This SFO parallel approach thing is a special requirement.

Does Lufthansa not normally arrive at night in SFO? This can't be the first time this has come up. It sounds like someone must have misunderstood the restriction. Or maybe it is something like not allowing the "maintain visual sep." with any cloud below 1000'.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 19:37
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Correct me if l’m wrong, but don’t you have to advise NORCAL like at least 100 miles out if you cannot do a PRM approach into SFO?

Knowing the restrictions into SFO even on VFR days, one would think that if your company’s SOP do not allow you to do visuals at night, then perhaps you should advise the controllers a lot earlier than the 40 miles LH mentioned it and more like 100 miles out so that they can sequence you better.

In any case the controller was imo a bit rude.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 19:53
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Originally Posted by fdr
Hmmm.

ATC is a service for the operation of the airport and aircraft. The PIC complied with his company policy, advised in a timely manner to ATC what his constraints were, and ATC acted to punish them for complying with their requirements. The wording by LH was not the best of grammar but I would share his sentiment. ATC action was not to give a service to the aircraft to comply with their operational requirements. This used to be a professional program with ATC and the flight crew aiming for the same outcome, in this case, the ATC acted to pressure the crew into breaching their SOPs in order to appease ATCs workload. Their "can't have this conversation" speaks loudly. SFO used to be a pretty reasonable place to operate in and out of, didn't seem to be on this day.

If ATC has an issue with a crew advising them of an operational requirement, we really need to rethink what we are trying to do here. It matters not at all if the night was a bombers moon and VFR, the operator has requirements that are in their OpSpec, that are approved by..... the FAA, so this is a lunacy that a C series OpSpec is being objected to by ATC in their actions. SFO is a mess for ATC flow control, but the crews questions on expected hold is what the FAA expects a crew to do, and has done since Avianca did some gardening in the backyard of John McEnroe's parents shack..

That was shabby, and the PIC did what he is required to do, colourful language notwithstanding.

Was more like what is expected from ATC out of JFK than SFO, but for JFK, the same stressors exist, really bad airspace design, and excessive traffic for the ATC to deal with.
That’s a really good set of observations. We (another large airline from the Europe area) can do visual approaches at night but with some pretty heavy restrictions. We are also not allowed to do circling approaches in the USA according to our OP-Spec, although we can do them anywhere else in the World.

I remember once making a visit to the tower in K??? with my manuals to explain why we couldn’t do 200kts to the marker on a 3.5deg NPA to a performance limiting runway in a MLW 777-300. Having laid out my case ATC were very understanding...
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 21:11
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I remember once making a visit to the tower in K??? with my manuals to explain why we couldn’t do 200kts to the marker on a 3.5deg NPA to a performance limiting runway in a MLW 777-300. Having laid out my case ATC were very understanding...
Not familiar with the Triple but 200kts to the marker on a 3.5deg NPA would definitely be tricky in a 737-800.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 21:44
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Originally Posted by WillowRun 6-3
Thank You - to PukinDog for referencing the Air Canada SFO very close call ("There's no one on Two-Eight Right but you") circa 2017.
Of course, if Air Canada had been given an ILS approach instead, that incident would not have happened ...
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 23:57
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Not impressed by the ATC response but no angels here. A few points....

Non US operators are forbidden to do circling approaches in the US, LAHSO cannot be given. Various other restrictions in Ops Specs from FAA. It follows on that some have visual approach restrictions.

LH do lots of visual manoeuvres in FRA a la 25R so well able.

Someone in a LH ops office may have thought banning all visual approaches at night was a good idea (other operators restrict but mitigate such as when joining at/above MSA). Perhaps there should have been an exception for SFO/ visual seperation due to the normal operating criteria in SFO? Management desks do not have HUDs and some need to fly more.

F words are not optimum comms.

Over rigidity can cause you problems in the very fluid world of aviation (have had the MINUS TWO KNOTS!' called from Germanic FOs in a very stable approach. The above post about refusing to cross a clearly defective stop bar is evidence of a certain Teutonic trait. Did he intend to retire at same stop bar?

ATC does not have the jurisdiction to impose penal holding/vectors/go around. They are there to keep aircraft and it's crews and passengers safe.

No one's perfect. The guy in row 36 did not pay his fare for a big balls fight over the radio.
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Old 12th Nov 2023, 01:22
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My company forbids visual approaches at night unless there is an instrument approach that can back up the visual. Is it possible that is LH policy and there was confusion on the pilots part? It also sounds like the controller was going to work it out by granting the ILS but having LH report the parallel traffic in sight. Does LH policy forbid that? The last question is what is the max duty day for LH pilots on that flight. Looks like they were pushing 17 hours to get back to SFO.
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Old 12th Nov 2023, 01:33
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That’s what I’m thinking too Salivi. The ‘visual’ part of the SFO approaches is really for traffic identification/separation purposes due narrow runway spacing (very well explained by earlier posters), but the lateral & vertical parts of the approach are LNAV/VNAV procedures extracted from the database. Flown just like an RNAV approach with terrain/airspace floor clearance assured. Even easier with ‘FLS’ on the 350. I think the 1st NorCal controller tried to help the crew out there. LH have been flying there a long time, so I’d be surprised if this wasn’t elaborated somewhere in their company pages.
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Old 12th Nov 2023, 02:37
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Originally Posted by Consol
LH do lots of visual manoeuvres in FRA a la 25R so well able.
Could it be that you are talking about the swing over from 25L to 25C? I understand that this a significantly different maneuver done after intercept already on the TWR frequency and no visual separation is required from the pilot.
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Old 12th Nov 2023, 04:49
  #40 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by WHBM
Of course, if Air Canada had been given an ILS approach instead, that incident would not have happened ...
Air Canada SOPs required the ILS to be tuned even during visual approaches. see page11 of the freely available NTSB report. this is common practice in airlines but was accidentally omitted by the FO. whether they were cleared for an ILS or not is irrelevant
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