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Lufty at SFO

Old 8th Dec 2023, 20:37
  #401 (permalink)  
 
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So as I understand it San Francisco has such a high traffic level that they need to operate visual approaches to parallel runways doing only visual approaches. So all this traffic us heading to San Francisco e xpecting to land. So what happens if and when the weather goes for a crap and they need to land with using the ILS. So do they tell all these planes to divert because it obvious to me that they have more traffic than they can safely handle.

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Old 8th Dec 2023, 20:38
  #402 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher
And that is indeed the root of the problem : Declared capacity. For economic reasons the acceptance rate into SFO has been increased to such an extend that to make it work you had to bend the normal rules. Now if someone asks for the rules to be applied the numbers can\t be reached , The issue here is that ATC, a safety service provider has been turned into an economic enabler, the numbers being more important than the separation standards . , and with time ,perhaps with the help of their local management, some of the local controllers were led to believe that it was their duty to provide numbers instead of applying the basic safety service they were initially trained for .
The rest are just details.
The next “why” is why is ATC being put in this position? KSFO is, for IMC / IFR operations a one runway airport. Why is that? The people of California won’t recognize the need to bring the airport up to modern, not to say 1985, capacity standards. They refuse to face the fact that their desire for an untouched bay has the trade-off of KSFO limitations. Run it like a one runway IFR airport, capacity limits would drive fares and delays thru the roof. Maybe they’d face facts instead of a fantasy.
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Old 9th Dec 2023, 09:25
  #403 (permalink)  
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Thanks for the kind words,
send it to the FAA via a safety report
But they know, at least the ones in the FAA I am talking to know. They are just caught in that vicious circle situation where they depend on congress for their funding , the congress lawmakers depends on the money from donators to get reelected , the large donators are generally lobby groups, and the airlines are part of that lobby system, No one wants delays and cancellations , no one wants to tell wealthy residents, they will now get a new runway in they backyards, let alone pay for that new infrastructure and all that while Boeing and Airbus are helping airlines putting hundreds of new aircraft in the system every year. This vicious circle has to end one day , but no-one really has the power to do it anymore I would say , because it will lead to extremely unpopular measures and you do not get elected on extremely unpopular measures.

The next “why” is why is ATC being put in this position?
Because in the US the FAA is still both the ATC service provider and the regulator. The FAA head is a political appointee and falls into the vicious circle I described earlier. Lack of a strong independent regulator is the " why" .

But OK guys , I am not American , these are my views from the other side of the pond watching the US system deteriorating since many years.. Someone from inside the US ATC system can probably answer all this in a better way than I can.
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Old 9th Dec 2023, 10:31
  #404 (permalink)  
 
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Without drama let's think about the next time: Marginal weather in the dark and some crew feels pressed to accept the local rules and say yes while feeling no. Will this make things safer for everybody? I perfectly understand the FAA's pressure and good will to provide the highest capacity with limited resources but aren't we asking for trouble if no "opt out" option is left open anymore?
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Old 9th Dec 2023, 16:38
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Originally Posted by Less Hair
Without drama let's think about the next time: Marginal weather in the dark and some crew feels pressed to accept the local rules and say yes while feeling no. Will this make things safer for everybody? I perfectly understand the FAA's pressure and good will to provide the highest capacity with limited resources but aren't we asking for trouble if no "opt out" option is left open anymore?
In my experience, if the weather is marginal for one approach, ATC is happy to provide another approach if necessary.
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Old 9th Dec 2023, 20:23
  #406 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by galaxy flyer
The next “why” is why is ATC being put in this position? KSFO is, for IMC / IFR operations a one runway airport. Why is that? The people of California won’t recognize the need to bring the airport up to modern, not to say 1985, capacity standards. They refuse to face the fact that their desire for an untouched bay has the trade-off of KSFO limitations. Run it like a one runway IFR airport, capacity limits would drive fares and delays thru the roof. Maybe they’d face facts instead of a fantasy.
Most of the people of California (and the Bay area in particular) have no interest in increasing the capacity of SFO. They would be happier if all that air traffic moved elsewhere.
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Old 10th Dec 2023, 09:40
  #407 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by MarcK
Most of the people of California (and the Bay area in particular) have no interest in increasing the capacity of SFO. They would be happier if all that air traffic moved elsewhere.
Until they want to fly somewhere.
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Old 10th Dec 2023, 11:24
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For Pukin Dog
SFO do say “ don’t overtake” inside 5 miles though which is a bit tricky sometimes
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Old 10th Dec 2023, 13:37
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A comment about the GTA trailer could easily apply to this issue:

"So much of what's in the games is based on real stuff. The developers are from the UK, so it's kind of their spin on a really exaggerated take on US culture."

The problem for aviation is that the spin/game in this thread is the reality in which operators are required to fly safely.

Several posts consider the event as systemic, misapplied regulatory power / oversight, or imbalance between commerce and safety; whichever, this thread provides an external view opposed to that internalised by the actors and regulators.

The lesson would be to stop playing games, … with safety; alternatively consider (the retrograde step of) how world aviation might adapt to the reality of non ICAO US aviation.

Aviation continues to evolve, the standards of safety might similarly change; but then what is safety.
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Old 10th Dec 2023, 13:55
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Originally Posted by sudden twang
For Pukin Dog
SFO do say “ don’t overtake” inside 5 miles though which is a bit tricky sometimes
I asked some US TRACON controllers after his last post just to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind, tl;dr I’m not. More than happy to go into more detail but to avoid derailing things again, the most relevant responses were (having been initially asked if the overtake specifically was still ATC responsibility once visual separation was applied):

”No. If they have mutual sightings they can pass all day. Imo the onus is on the controllers to get the second sighting in a passing situation. If the heavy aircraft slows as to not pass it effects the second set of aircraft behind them so they're still required to maintain assigned speed. Having worked that final, it wasn't uncommon to have one crew maintaining visual separation with three aircraft at once. Traffic on parallel final plus two heavies in a pair in front of them. It really is a wild final to work. Everyone gets a speed. Usually the only issues with passing involve 747 and 777 aircraft. Most other heavies tend to be slow on final.”
A separate controller (who isn’t NCT as far as I know, but very clearly covers that a speed being issued is irrelevant):

”We as controllers are no longer responsible for the wake separation once the pilot has called proceeding traffic in sight. We say “follow the traffic, cleared visual approach, caution wake turbulence.” If we have another 6 airplanes behind them, you better believe I’m issuing that speed even if I’m under the required separation minima. Go to any core 30 facility that runs heavy jets. The pilots visually see where the previous arrival touchdown and can adjust to land beyond that point in order to avoid the wake if they choose to do so. This operation is done thousands of times a day.”
I don’t know where the misconception that KSFO ATC are responsible for wake-to-touchdown on paired visual approaches came from, but it’s not consistent with either what the book says, or indeed how the controllers who actually do it apply it. Wake in that case is pilot responsibility, and is accepted when the traffic is reported in sight and the “caution wake” warning is passed.
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Old 10th Dec 2023, 16:58
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Originally Posted by Hartington
Until they want to fly somewhere.
So, how's the 3rd runway at Heathrow coming?
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Old 10th Dec 2023, 21:50
  #412 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by MarcK
So, how's the 3rd runway at Heathrow coming?
Exactly the same!
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Old 10th Dec 2023, 22:01
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I have a question:

How does SFO sequence the (few) departures from the 28s particularly when a flight is delayed?
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Old 11th Dec 2023, 13:53
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Originally Posted by MarcK
Most of the people of California (and the Bay area in particular) have no interest in increasing the capacity of SFO. They would be happier if all that air traffic moved elsewhere.
25 years ago SFO proposed to solve the runway problem by filling in 1000 acres of SF Bay. Over 40% of the Bay including 80% of the wetlands had already been lost to fill. Mayor Willie Brown of SF, the consummate politician, couldn't get it done, and his slogan "Ain't No Way but to Pave the Bay" may not have helped. SFO's proposal was viewed as wildly out of touch with with the times, an environmental crime pushed by the 2nd closest airport to San Francisco when the center of gravity in the Bay area was shifting towards the 3rd international local airport, SJC. Besides, the spacing problem was supposed to be solved a few years out by technology.
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Old 13th Dec 2023, 00:53
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Originally Posted by Request Orbit;11554421

I don’t know where the [i
misconception that KSFO ATC are responsible for wake-to-touchdown on paired visual approaches came from, but it’s not consistent with either what the book says, or indeed how the controllers who actually do it apply it. Wake in that case is pilot responsibility, and is accepted when the traffic is reported in sight and the “caution wake” warning is passed.

Nobody, least of all me, said ATC was responsible for wake turbulence separation util touchdown during the SFO visuals. The speed control assignment SFO gives, as I've mentioned at least a half-dozen times, is until 5 miles, and the context of the entire thread and creating a gap for LH to be worked into the stream. That doesn't occur within 5 miles. You've gone off on your own tangent, and this "discovery' you've made that pilots are responsible for wake separation during a generic Visual approach is common knowledge, at least to any Instrument rated pilot. Wake avoidance knowledge and technique is even a requirement before a student pilot can solo. There isn't a pilot out there that hasn't flown a dot high, landed past a previous aircraft's touchdown point, or questioned ATC about separation when they've stuffed it, etc etc.

Point is, wake doesn't ruin ATC's day, it ruins ours. At best, we trust, but verify. Usually, however, we don't trust you at all. Anyone who's been around long enough knows why 757's were given an oddball 4 mile separation despite not being a Heavy, and I was acquainted with 1 of the crew that ended up in a smoking hole down by John Wayne in the early 90's behind one that drove that change. Overtaking (along with a high angle descent path of the 75) was one of the factors. That wasn't the only accident and the incidents were numerous before a change was affected. Yes, not blowing your in-trail separation during a Visual isn't a newsflash.

Meanwhile, at SFO, long before the Visuals would be joined there would have to be a gap created for LH, and I still haven't heard from anyone who claims it could've been accomplished easily explain why they believe that without affecting both streams of traffic that are being metered/sequenced for running in side-by-side pairs down final approach.


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Old 13th Dec 2023, 01:20
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Originally Posted by sudden twang
For Pukin Dog
SFO do say “ don’t overtake” inside 5 miles though which is a bit tricky sometimes
Yes, it can be when the assignment is 180 until 5 since Company SOPs can vary as to what min altitude is required to be fully-configured and stablized on a Visual approach. Some Companies allow 500', while other stick with 1000' (which will force a more rapid deceleration beginning at 1500'). I believe most just decelerate and configure promptly.
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Old 13th Dec 2023, 01:51
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Does this diagram help understand the problems with modifying routing at SFO?

SF Bay Area air traffic
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Old 13th Dec 2023, 07:05
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Originally Posted by PukinDog
Nobody, least of all me, said ATC was responsible for wake turbulence separation util touchdown during the SFO visuals.
Originally Posted by PukinDog
First, SFO ATC doesn't pass responsibility for wake avoidance spacing to the pilot with the clearance for the approaches or the "maintain visual separation" instructions.


The responsibility for separation changes as soon as you accept the visual separation, regardless of if or when you’re sped to. I can’t see any other way to interpret your initial statement, other than what you’re now saying you didn’t say.

As to the ease of it, I’ve still not had any answer as to what they do with a missed approach. Yeah, you have to work to fit it in and it’s hardly “easy”, but you make it happen because that’s your job. If the sequence is so inflexible it can’t accommodate the DLH after almost an hour, how does it accommodate a missed approach?
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Old 13th Dec 2023, 08:26
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Originally Posted by Request Orbit
The responsibility for separation changes as soon as you accept the visual separation, regardless of if or when you’re sped to. I can’t see any other way to interpret your initial statement, other than what you’re now saying you didn’t say.

As to the ease of it, I’ve still not had any answer as to what they do with a missed approach. Yeah, you have to work to fit it in and it’s hardly “easy”, but you make it happen because that’s your job. If the sequence is so inflexible it can’t accommodate the DLH after almost an hour, how does it accommodate a missed approach?
The assigned speeds, sequencing, and in-trail separation has already been established by ATC before the aircraft are cleared for the Visual Approaches. Flying the assigned speed maintains the separation, which is why ATC directs it by restating the speed assignment after the clearance. That makes it mandatory. If sufficient in-trail spacing wasn't already established the pilot and ATC would know and have done something about it long before the point where the clearance for the Visual is received.

"Maintain visual separation" is with respect to the adjacent aircraft on the parallel. The pilot must affirm this or the aircraft can't be paired side-by-side since the lateral distance will be less than what's approved for ATC to provide using their display. The fact that you're already on-speed with an already-established in-trail separation behind someone who's also at the same assigned speed is beside the point. That isn't the aircraft you'll be converging with.

It's amazing to me you believe that the aircraft being paired onto parallel Visuals simply fly whatever speed they want after being cleared, that ATC goes to all the trouble to timing the opposing intercepts to establish the pairs to create gaps, only to cut everyone loose to do..whatever.

If ATC didn't want the gaps between side-by-side pairs they'd just run dependant parallel ILSs. However, they'd also like to work out departures.

Why are you worrying about what to do with a go around? Since you believe assigned speeds are optional, it's not at all clear how you would even get the aircraft established on the parallel approaches with sufficient spacing in pairs and flying the same speed like they routinely do.

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Last edited by PukinDog; 13th Dec 2023 at 08:51.
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Old 13th Dec 2023, 08:56
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Originally Posted by PukinDog
The assigned speeds, sequencing, and in-trail separation has already been established by ATC before the aircraft are cleared for the Visual Approaches. Flying the assigned speed maintains the separation, which is why ATC directs it by restating the speed assignment after the clearance. That makes it mandatory. If sufficient in-trail spacing wasn't already established the pilot and ATC would know and have done something about it long before the point where the clearance for the Visual is received.
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Of course ATC have already established wake separation, but once cleared for visual approach the responsibility for wake separation passes to the pilot.

Thats what the book says, that’s what Request Orbit is saying, regardless of any obfuscation in your posts that is where the responsibility lies.

The point about a go around is there must be some flexibility to manufacture a 6? mile gap to accommodate a go around with 10/15 minutes notice. So why couldn’t SFO provide an extra 3/4/5 miles to accommodate the DLH request with 40 minutes notice?
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