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Lufty at SFO

Old 13th Nov 2023, 17:03
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher
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 .
.
You are correct. Only the aircraft commander can cancel IFR - a very sensible internationally observed rule that avoids confusion & emphasises the fact that only the commander is the ultimate boss. Also there are many airlines with SOP's that prohibit VFR at night (obviously very different to VMC). Again this can be a quite sensible rule - depending upon the operator / destination - but varying its actual implementation in differing circumstances means it is easier & more practical for many airlines' SOPs to just ban VFR at night - and you cannae blame the [any] commander for saying just that. It would seem that SFO needs more consultation (CRM if you like!) and to behave in a less aggressive "you do it our way sonny - or else" attitude: unfortunately a trait within the USA that seems to be growing. As such it is unhealthy. There can be no excuse for the unprofessional manner exhibited here. If this industry is to stay safe & respected then this sort of attitude must be eradicated.
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 17:21
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Originally Posted by BBK
Lastly, I think both parties in this particular incident used inappropriate language.
I think the adverse reaction to the language in this incident is overblown. Due to the initial transmission being blocked, it’s not clear if the controller even comprehended LH’s F-bomb. And the F-bomb was clearly not directed at the controller. The analysis in post #71 indicates that the FAA management at NORCAL had no issue with the controller’s language or procedures.

I think LH’s F-bomb and “Ha!” interjection were indicative of his embarrassment and frustration in having to publicly declare that, as an international captain flying a state-of-the-art airliner, he was not allowed to execute a procedure that virtually every other arrival into SFO was safely executing. And to cap it off, he is then left to publicly divert to the inferior of the cesspool of San Francisco.
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 19:14
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It’s telling that a few weeks ago there was much outrage that a Delta 767 ‘declared an emergency’ after experiencing an engine failure departing a European airport instead of stating ‘Mayday’



Fine, if you want to make that point, then you have to comply with the specific requirements when operating into a U.S. airport or end service to that destination


Pretty simple
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 21:15
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ATC Watcher
LH has 2 flights to SFO daily. LH458 is scheduled to land today at 1905 local, which will make it a night arrival for the next 4 months or so.
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 22:17
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Unprofessional

ATC job is to provide a service to all aircraft that operate in any airspace throughout the World. This is a service provider not providing said services. The small minded controller needs a career change.
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 22:31
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Following the Lufty SFO Incident I dealt with a Child at JFK.

On handover to the tower controller the other morning at JFK International airport. The approach controller told me to call New York Tower on the appropriate frequency. I followed the instructions and called New York Tower. We received stone cold silence. I reconfirmed the frequency from my chart and noted that the tower callsign was in fact Kennedy Tower. Frequency was correct. Kennedy Tower call sign was used. This time we received a child like reply. " What do you want?" No identification.... Reported established on the ILS approach for 33R. The next reply was again unprofessional and childish. In 32 years of flying I have never experienced such unprofessional controlling.

New York/JFK controllers have a horrible reputation. Obviously the selection criteria for these controllers is substandard.
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 22:49
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Originally Posted by BBK
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.
Maybe it’s because I’m accustomed to it, but I find that entirely unreasonable. If you can’t fly a visual approach at night, you can’t operate into a busy US airport year round.

From where I sit, European pilots seem pretty reluctant to do visuals. Why is that?
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Old 13th Nov 2023, 23:12
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Originally Posted by stilton
.......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......
ATC are there to help and assist aircraft, so if someone needs a different approach, that should be granted, as indeed the SFO ATC did. My reading of this is that it started entirely reasonably, with the LH stating their restriction and ATC agreeing to facilitate that request, but they would have to hold until a suitable gap could be found in the inbound sequence. So far so good. Then it seems that the LH started getting arsey, complaining about having to wait longer than 10 mins. At this point ATC basically said if you want an ILS you will have to wait, if you don't want to wait, you will have to go to your alternate, which sounds reasonable to me. Given this LH company imposed restriction at SFO, and knowing about procedures at SFO, one would imagine that their flights there would take extra holding fuel, just in case. This LH clearly hadn't, and they sounded quite arrogant to me, which unsurprisingly annoyed ATC, who then refused to continue what was turning into an argument.

Originally Posted by BBK
Going “visual” at night is an oxymoron surely?
If you think this, how do you ever land at night ?! On clear nights we can see the runway from miles away. Maintaining separation from a very close parallel approach at night is not so easy, hence, presumably, the Lufthansa restriction - probably made by their flight safety team, not just 'some bloke in an office'.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 00:26
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50 years ago we sometimes had an hour plus holding into Heathrow, partly due to SOP of being fully established in landing configuration and speed by 3,000 ft..continuous descents and maintain 180 knots to the marker were introduced which many found unable to comply with..eventually this was accepted as was land after clearances. At the same time others could manage the Kai Tak and Gibraltar round the rock avoiding smoky joe approaches. Education and the introduction is wide bodies changed things.
Fortunately my next flag carrier operated into a lot of unusual places where electricity had only recently been discovered and by extensive training with high standards and a sensible approach to SOP we were able to operate into airfields which some would say was imprudent.
Sadly, imho, training and piloting skills along with common sense have been replaced by automatics, acars and the replacement of “captaincy” in some airlines.
Watching the video presentation I agree that nobody did anything wrong..it’s just the obvious evolution of the system with the loss of the skill set to fly an aircraft manually and look out of the window..maybe a few minutes on oxygen during descent might have helped but that is probably verboten now.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 00:51
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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

SLF when it comes to airline ops but it sounds very much, in my humble opinion, to a management pilot who is unfamiliar with local procedures and using his management status to brow beat ATC. I say "unfamiliar with procedures" because if it was the airlines requirement ATC would have been familiar with it, LH has been operating there for considerable time, unless it was recently introduced, in which case it hadn't been adequately communicated. On the other hand perhaps the ATC was new to the position and not up to speed with LH unique requirement.

Unable to see LH's problem given the chart.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 01:47
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Originally Posted by Uplinker
If you think this, how do you ever land at night ?! On clear nights we can see the runway from miles away. Maintaining separation from a very close parallel approach at night is not so easy, hence, presumably, the Lufthansa restriction - probably made by their flight safety team, not just 'some bloke in an office'.
I haven't been to SFO in a while, but from what I recall, this approach is as easy as it gets. Keeping the other plane in sight isn't necessarily hard either. You're given speeds to fly, and then they basically tell the bigger plane not to overtake the smaller one on the parallel. To your point, there's nothing inherently unsafe about a visual approach. If that were true, you'd also have to ban flight into IMC.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 02:02
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Originally Posted by Sailvi767
They were probably assigned the quiet bridge visual. This is a published procedure which is built into the FMS and uses the localizer.
No it doesn't. It's at least 6° off the LLZ.

Originally Posted by Sailvi767
As far as the SFO approach it’s a charted visual to intercept the ILS.
No it doesn't.

Originally Posted by Sailvi767
​​​​​​​It’s a charted procedure in the FMS!
Let's see it.

Originally Posted by Sailvi767
​​​​​​​The ILS is available for glideslope and FMS for lateral.
What could possibly go wrong with that! Accident report: Crew were flying in LNAV and using VS to control the vertical path to follow the GS because the QB is offset from the LLZ. Nice.

Last edited by Capn Bloggs; 14th Nov 2023 at 02:44.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 02:44
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
they basically tell the bigger plane not to overtake the smaller one on the parallel.
Do you have any idea about how jets fly down final? Do you think we can just speed up or slow down willy-nilly so we "don't overtake the other one"?
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 03:01
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Originally Posted by Capn Bloggs
Do you have any idea about how jets fly down final? Do you think we can just speed up or slow down willy-nilly so we "don't overtake the other one"?
As I've done that approach a few times before, I'd say I'm reasonably familiar with it. Are you? I've never had to do anything crazy. Have you never flown an approach with reference to another airplane?
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 03:05
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Originally Posted by Capn Bloggs
What could possibly go wrong with that! Accident report: Crew were flying in LNAV and using VS to control the vertical path to follow the GS because the QB is offset from the LLZ. Nice.
Using VS to help you while on a localiser isn't actually difficult. I'm a bit concerned/confused here. Are you saying that anything other than a straight-in ILS that's aligned with the runway presents some sort of threat?
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 03:56
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
Using VS to help you while on a localiser isn't actually difficult.
Who said anything about being on the LLZ? Look at the chart, for goodness sake. The LLZ is way off the "RNAV" QB track. I'm beginning to think that you have done nothing like this in a jet.

Originally Posted by Check Airman
​​​​​​​As I've done that approach a few times before
How many times in a high-capacity RPT jet?

Originally Posted by Check Airman
​​​​​​​I'm a bit concerned/confused here
Agree.

Originally Posted by Check Airman
​​​​​​​Are you saying that anything other than a straight-in ILS that's aligned with the runway presents some sort of threat?
Well der, obviously! That's what the whole topic is about. I give up.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 04:24
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Bloggs,

I’ve done the approach countless times in the 737, & a few times in the 350. It’s not complicated, & Salivi/Airman have described it well. LNAV/VNAV it all the way (or FLS on the bus). On the 28R side I may arm APP after the final RNAV waypoint, or more likely click everything off & just fly it. If I think of it next time I’m at work, I’ll load it in the FMC to show you how it looks.

The speed control aspect is no big deal either - fly your assigned speed (typically 170 to 5), & don’t overtake traffic on the parallel.

The approach chart Megan posted doesn’t make it clear that the approaches DO intercept the LOC late on the arrival; I’ll post the Jepp chart next time I’m near my work iPad.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 04:38
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Originally Posted by Capn Bloggs
Who said anything about being on the LLZ? Look at the chart, for goodness sake. The LLZ is way off the "RNAV" QB track. I'm beginning to think that you have done nothing like this in a jet.

The RNAV visual has a pretty easy to follow FMS procedure. Load it and off you go. Even if you wanted to fly the procedure that was shown, it's not really hard...

How many times in a high-capacity RPT jet?

Not sure what that is, but a few times in an A321. Incidentally, every time was at night. Again...pretty unremarkable approach.

Agree.


Well der, obviously! That's what the whole topic is about. I give up.
If you need to fly a straight in ILS every time, how'd you manage to survive in a piston? If you're cleared for a visual abeam the field at 3000ft in your current plane, are we to expect a 10 mile final? Have you ever flown into JFK and done the canarsie approach? The Light visual to Boston? How about the circling approach into TGU?

Are these dangerous approaches that only the Atlantic Barons are capable of flying, or should any competent professional pilot be able to execute them? The approach into SFO is considerably easier than all of the above. I suspect you'd also consider me dangerous, as my last landing was a night time visual, sans automation.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 04:49
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This has got nothing to do with anyone's ability to fly a visual approach. It's about maintaining your own separation from other aircraft visually at night. The SFO metar at that time was FEW 500, SCT 700.
I can understand LH reluctance to follow anyone in. They went to Oakland.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 05:07
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Originally Posted by Capt Fathom
This has got nothing to do with anyone's ability to fly a visual approach. It's about maintaining your own separation from other aircraft visually at night. The SFO metar at that time was FEW 500, SCT 700.
I can understand LH reluctance to follow anyone in. They went to Oakland.
I think the 2 layers you mentioned were less of a factor than they would appear for 2 reasons:

1. The METAR is just a snapshot. The conditions could've improved quite a bit since the observation, or really weren't that bad to begin with.

2. Other planes seem to have been getting in just fine. If the clouds were a factor, they wouldn't be doing visuals. People would be complaining, and they'd switch to the ILS.

If you read what the NORCAL controller wrote above, they weren't trying to be difficult, but having a heavy need an ILS in that particular situation was almost as disruptive as needing to use the opposite direction runway- they'll accommodate you if you need it, but there's going to be a delay. For the record, given the situation they were in, I'd probably have diverted to OAK as well.

Again, I'm not faulting the crew for following their SOP, but the SOP prevented them from executing a perfectly mundane approach that is safely done by hundreds of airplanes every day.
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