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Lufty at SFO

Old 12th Nov 2023, 20:38
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Originally Posted by PAXboy
The most curious aspect is that - LH operate into SFO every day and have done so for decades. Unless it was brand new, their SOP would have been understood and part of the system.
They were probably assigned the quiet bridge visual. This is a published procedure which is built into the FMS and uses the localizer. If every airline refused I suspect they would need to cut the arrival rate by 30% at night.
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Old 12th Nov 2023, 21:17
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The US understanding of visual approaches speeding up arrivals is a bit flawed. Lining up a stream of visual traffic is no different to lining up a stream of ILS traffic if done properly. This is simply ATC being lazy and passing the buck.
Also, US controllers don't understand that pilots arriving from Europe are doing their approaches in survival mode with very little room for acrobatics. A night visual is not a healthy way to land a widebody given awake times of 16-18 hours.
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Old 12th Nov 2023, 21:23
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Originally Posted by old freightdog
The flight was 4 hours late.
It had an STD of 1620 and was airborne at 1830 - probably a bit less than two hours late, allowing for taxi time at MUC. https://www.flightradar24.com/data/f...lh458#3275cdb3

Same flight on other days: https://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/lh458
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Old 12th Nov 2023, 21:54
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Originally Posted by WHBM
Well we know the USA does not have much regard for ILS. The Asiana accident report shows the ILS was out of action at San Francisco, both main landing runways at the same time, for three months, "for construction". The fact that the Asiana crew had hardly any experience of visual landings outside their Sim sessions shows there are few if any other administrations who might do this.
Of all the factors to be blamed for that, the lack of an ILS shouldn’t be one. If you can’t execute a straight in visual approach, the ILS isn’t at fault. Reminiscent of the bad workman quarrelling with his tools…
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Old 12th Nov 2023, 21:55
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Originally Posted by meleagertoo
So what happens at SFO if cloud prevents aircraft on approach from being visual with each other? Does the entire system grind to a halt because such a vast international airport can't cope with IFR arrivals? Sounds beyond belief.
I’d assume they’d revert to instrument approaches, which would slow the arrival rate.
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Old 12th Nov 2023, 22:03
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Originally Posted by CW247
The US understanding of visual approaches speeding up arrivals is a bit flawed. Lining up a stream of visual traffic is no different to lining up a stream of ILS traffic if done properly. This is simply ATC being lazy and passing the buck.
Also, US controllers don't understand that pilots arriving from Europe are doing their approaches in survival mode with very little room for acrobatics. A night visual is not a healthy way to land a widebody given awake times of 16-18 hours.
Not sure if you’ve ever done the approach in question to SFO, but I’d hardly call a visual approach “acrobatics”.

Also, do we know how many pilots were on board? I gather many EU operators come to the east coast of the US with only 2 pilots. I imagine a flight to sfo would have at least 3 pilots, so everyone would’ve had a chance to rest. It’s not like they were asked to fly a circling approach at minima after operating for 12 hours.

To your first point, it’s not about lazy controllers. The separation requirement is reduced for visual approaches, so by doing visuals, ATC can provide service to a greater number of customers.

Would you rather do a visual approach (in nice weather on a nice night) or hold for half an hour waiting to do an ILS?
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Old 12th Nov 2023, 23:53
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What I really don’t get in this whole US Airports optimization via visual separation strategy:
there are official definitions for radar separation. They were designed for a reason. They are being used to set airports capacities all over the world.
is it really prudent to increase capacity by saying that aircraft will not be separated via radar but have to do it themselves?
just the idea of doing parallel approaches on an airport that is not designed for that seems scary for me (as a non professional pilot)
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 00:49
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Originally Posted by CW247
The US understanding of visual approaches speeding up arrivals is a bit flawed. Lining up a stream of visual traffic is no different to lining up a stream of ILS traffic if done properly. This is simply ATC being lazy and passing the buck.
Also, US controllers don't understand that pilots arriving from Europe are doing their approaches in survival mode with very little room for acrobatics. A night visual is not a healthy way to land a widebody given awake times of 16-18 hours.
With the runway spacing at SFO doing visuals increases the arrival capacity substantially. Even at other airports visuals increase arrival rate as it allows for reduced spacing. As far as the SFO approach it’s a charted visual to intercept the ILS. The entire approach can be done on autopilot and is basically exactly the same as flying the instrument version. There is one difference. You have to report the traffic to the parallel runway in sight. If LH feels that difference is unacceptable then they need to evaluate their service to SFO.
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 03:21
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Originally Posted by CW247
The US understanding of visual approaches speeding up arrivals is a bit flawed. Lining up a stream of visual traffic is no different to lining up a stream of ILS traffic if done properly. This is simply ATC being lazy and passing the buck.
Also, US controllers don't understand that pilots arriving from Europe are doing their approaches in survival mode with very little room for acrobatics. A night visual is not a healthy way to land a widebody given awake times of 16-18 hours.

Yet somehow widebody operators flew the checkerboard approach into Kai Tak, in all sorts of weather transitioning to a pure visual at low level after such long flight times, a far more challenging approach by any measure ‘acrobatics’ seriously?


This visual approach into SFO has lateral and vertical guidance provided by LNAV / VNAV, if LH decided it’s outside their pilots capabilities to look out the window to spot other aircraft ATC points out to them they should consider whether they want to continue service there


Why should they get special treatment? No other operators are demanding this, not sure how they thought swearing at the controller would help them, that was highly unprofessional, LH sops are the source of the problem here but this pilot made things much worse with his attitude and made a diversion inevitable

Im surprised the controller didn’t tell him to squawk VFR, radar service terminated

Last edited by stilton; 13th Nov 2023 at 06:20.
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 04:13
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From what i understand from my friends in Lufty they have no restriction on flying visual approaches at night, unlike other german airlines, in my previous one there was a blanket ban on it and we had no problem flying into SFO with that. However, they are not allowed to use visual separation from other traffic at night, which can be done independently of the approach type flown.

To me as an outsider it looks like the type of approach is not the problem, it is the transferring of responsibility in regards to traffic separation from ATC to flight crew which seems to be the issue.
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 05:50
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Follow-up video with a controller’s comments. It wasn’t the controller from the original video, but an excellent analysis from the ATC perspective.
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 09:04
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Published visual approach charts.
Identifying some of the landmarks on these charts is difficult enough during the day, let alone at night. Given it's such a noise-sensitive area I'm always surprised that SFO hasn't been at the forefront of implementing RNP-AR approaches.
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 09:22
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SFO is noise sensitive? Didn’t know that.
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 10:16
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
SFO is noise sensitive? Didn’t know that.
Why else would the Quiet Bridge be cranked 9° off the CL (with no published waypoints)?

​​​​​​​NOISE SENSITIVE ARPT; FOR NOISE ABATEMENT PROCEDURES CTC ARPT NOISE OFFICE MON-FRI 0800-1700 BY CALLING 650-821-5100.
Originally Posted by Stilton
​​​​​​​This visual approach into SFO has lateral and vertical guidance provided by LNAV / VNAV
No waypoints on the FAA chat that I can see for the QB... I can understand LH not wanting to do a visual at night based (what's not) on the chart.

Originally Posted by Stilton
​​​​​​​Yet somehow widebody operators flew the checkerboard approach into Kai Tak, in all sorts of weather transitioning to a pure visual at low level after such long flight times, a far more challenging approach by any measure ‘acrobatics’ seriously?
Get out of the dark ages. Do you seriously think that that approach would be allowed now? For goodness sake...
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 10:23
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Presumably the traffic going into SFO are filing IFR flight plans. If SFO cannot offer an instrument approach then maybe they should advise if unable visual to add X minutes of holding fuel. I can see it makes sense to expedite traffic flow when it’s VMC but the problem seems, to me at least, that it is entirely reasonable for an operator to specify no visual approaches at night unless specific rules are in place. Just like foreign operators don’t conduct LAHSO. Similarly the circling protected area is larger under ICAO then TERPS. Different jurisdictions have different standards.

Also, I was under the impression that after the Asiana accident that foreign carriers wouldn’t be expected to fly visual approaches? It would be fascinating to visit NORCAL and understand the challenges they face and equally to impress on them that at the end of a long day asking a crew to maintain separation based on visual acquisition at night isn’t ideal.

Lastly, I think both parties in this particular incident used inappropriate language. We’re on the same side or at least should be!
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 12:25
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Originally Posted by stilton

Im surprised the controller didn’t tell him to squawk VFR, radar service terminated
Can you do that in the US ? Just curious. In ICAO land , which is basically the rest of the world, only the PIC can cancel IFR , never the controller.

Just checked with a colleague flying for LH on 747s: Denti is correct , the “daylight only” SOP restriction is not about visual approches but visual acquisition of other traffic .
Has apparently never been a real issue before probably because normal LH OPS to SFO are daylight.

Looks like this time some people became or were inflexible , the tone and language used did not help either .
As safety was never impaired I am even not sure the FAA will investigate . A diversion is not an incident , although DLH might see it differently .
.


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Old 13th Nov 2023, 13:29
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Forgive me here. I'm 14 years retired from a large European operator and operated regularly into many US airports(incl SFO) as Captain of a B747-400.

In my day, iirc, all European operators declined to be part of the LAHSO procedures, and I believe that was annotated in the FPL remarks.

It would seem that this could be a way of giving advance notification of Lufty's restrictions - no visual approaches at night, or some such?

Last edited by TopBunk; 13th Nov 2023 at 15:15.
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 13:48
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Originally Posted by Fursty Ferret
Identifying some of the landmarks on these charts is difficult enough during the day, let alone at night. Given it's such a noise-sensitive area I'm always surprised that SFO hasn't been at the forefront of implementing RNP-AR approaches.
It’s a charted procedure in the FMS! There are no landmarks you need to find other than the runway. It’s hard to miss that at night. It’s flown just like an instrument approach. It’s a very easy and benign charted visual compared to some other airports like LGA and DCA. The ILS is available for glideslope and FMS for lateral.
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 16:10
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Originally Posted by stilton
Yet somehow widebody operators flew the checkerboard approach into Kai Tak, in all sorts of weather transitioning to a pure visual at low level after such long flight times, a far more challenging approach by any measure ‘acrobatics’ seriously?
[irony] Back then pilots were real pilots (and for fans of Douglas Adams, small furry creatures were real ...). [/irony]
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 16:49
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Originally Posted by Fursty Ferret
Identifying some of the landmarks on these charts is difficult enough during the day, let alone at night. Given it's such a noise-sensitive area I'm always surprised that SFO hasn't been at the forefront of implementing RNP-AR approaches.
they have rnp-ar to 28r. The visuals are now rnav visuals and selectable from fmc.
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