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Lufty at SFO

Old 14th Nov 2023, 16:15
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
Because of the runway spacing, the plane on the ILS to one runway affects the operation on the other runway. It’s all explained in the second (follow-up) video. The controller now has to find a gap on both runways. A heavy on an ILS takes up more space than a heavy on a visual.
I get that and I’ve seen that bit of that video (as an aside, a 25 minute video for what looks like 2 notepad screens worth of text is a very painful experience), but people are saying it halves the landing rate. You definitely lose one gap, then you add on potentially an extra minute to each runway on top of that, but that’s massively different from halving the landing rate. If you were landing say 50/hr beforehand, you might now end up landing 47/hr at worst.

The bit that most stood out to me from that video was how it apparently adds risk to passengers and pilots to break them off an arrival to assign headings and speeds. It really is a different world…

Still my biggest issue having struggled to the end of that video: if it was that busy - and I’m sure it was - why was the DLH not just given a 60 minute delay at the outset so they could choose to divert straight away. To reiterate they first stated they required the ILS passing 13.5 at ~0342, it was 0422 when they were given the final “another 10-15 minutes”. Why were they being strung along for so long without any accurate delay information, on what are apparently risky vectors, rather than just let them make the obvious decision to divert to Oakland straight away?
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 16:27
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Originally Posted by Request Orbit
I get that and I’ve seen that bit of that video (as an aside, a 25 minute video for what looks like 2 notepad screens worth of text is a very painful experience), but people are saying it halves the landing rate. You definitely lose one gap, then you add on potentially an extra minute to each runway on top of that, but that’s massively different from halving the landing rate. If you were landing say 50/hr beforehand, you might now end up landing 47/hr at worst.

The bit that most stood out to me from that video was how it apparently adds risk to passengers and pilots to break them off an arrival to assign headings and speeds. It really is a different world…

Still my biggest issue having struggled to the end of that video: if it was that busy - and I’m sure it was - why was the DLH not just given a 60 minute delay at the outset so they could choose to divert straight away. To reiterate they first stated they required the ILS passing 13.5 at ~0342, it was 0422 when they were given the final “another 10-15 minutes”. Why were they being strung along for so long without any accurate delay information, on what are apparently risky vectors, rather than just let them make the obvious decision to divert to Oakland straight away?
My big takeaway is that ATC prefer LOTS of warning. The ‘charted visuals’ are broadcast on the ATIS, so DLH had lots of time to prepare/make their request. Yes - would have been better to sit up in the hold at 25K, back up the STAR. In fairness though, I wouldn’t expect them to know the ramifications of requesting the ILS. Nonetheless, a review of their decision as fuel was depleting might have prompted them to cancel the ILS request & fit in with everyone else. But there was likely a big dose of plan continuation bias, esp. after getting arsey with ATC.


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Old 14th Nov 2023, 16:42
  #123 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Verbal Kint
My big takeaway is that ATC prefer LOTS of warning. The ‘charted visuals’ are broadcast on the ATIS, so DLH had lots of time to prepare/make their request. Yes - would have been better to sit up in the hold at 25K, back up the STAR. In fairness though, I wouldn’t expect them to know the ramifications of requesting the ILS. Nonetheless, a review of their decision as fuel was depleting might have prompted them to cancel the ILS request & fit in with everyone else. But there was likely a big dose of plan continuation bias, esp. after getting arsey with ATC.
It wasn’t just a request though, they required it, they were categorically not allowed to be responsible for visual separation at night as per their company SOPs. Whatever the merits or lack there of for that procedure, I’m sure if it wasn’t important and enforced they would have just done the visual.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 17:00
  #124 (permalink)  
 
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The SOPs are a framework- they’re great 99% of the time but they can’t possibly account for every possible scenario. I wouldn’t have any problem defending to the CP why I willingly violated ‘no visual traffic separation at night’ to avoid a fuel emergency & diversion, especially when I couldn’t get a straight answer from ATC. Risk management is what they pay us the big bucks for.

We’re Monday Morning Quarterbacking this to death. Maybe there were other extenuating circumstances we don’t know about? Good discussion.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 17:18
  #125 (permalink)  
 
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Question for anyone.
I'm wondering when the flight plan was filed by Lufthansa would they have filed for IFR complete with any ILS landing at SFO??
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 17:45
  #126 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by West Coast
Never have I felt pressure, either internal nor external pressure to report the airport in sight. Being asked if the airport is in sight is not the same as being pressured.
I have had somewhat different experiences, in that some places won’t let you descend until you’ve called visual. The coping mechanism (see my post earlier) is to call visual, even if you’re not, and follow the IFR profile, so at least you’re safe in that respect. I’ve often wondered what would happen if you called their bluff and went sailing over the airfield at 4/5,000’...
Agree, if you can’t fly the visual, you can’t fly the visual. You also have the responsibility to let ATC know in a timely manner. Timely wouldn’t be when you’re just a few minutes from landing and the spacing and separation is already set.
Agreed, but even though I’m not qualified as a controller, I think I could slot someone in given 15 minutes to find (or create) a gap. In this case it seems to be almost a “revenge” delay and unhelpfulness. Which begs the age old question: “am I up here because you’re down there, or are you down there because I’m up here?”...
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 18:17
  #127 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by FullWings
I have had somewhat different experiences, in that some places won’t let you descend until you’ve called visual. The coping mechanism (see my post earlier) is to call visual, even if you’re not, and follow the IFR profile, so at least you’re safe in that respect. I’ve often wondered what would happen if you called their bluff and went sailing over the airfield at 4/5,000’...

Agreed, but even though I’m not qualified as a controller, I think I could slot someone in given 15 minutes to find (or create) a gap. In this case it seems to be almost a “revenge” delay and unhelpfulness. Which begs the age old question: “am I up here because you’re down there, or are you down there because I’m up here?”...
You might be able to find a slot, but at the expense of another arrival who now takes delay vectors /hold to open up the spacing.

As to calling the field, I’m in SFO monthly and have never been pressured, either I do or I don’t have the field in sight. Respectfully, I suggest you rethink your decision to report the field in sight when it’s not.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 20:07
  #128 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Request Orbit
I get that and I’ve seen that bit of that video (as an aside, a 25 minute video for what looks like 2 notepad screens worth of text is a very painful experience), but people are saying it halves the landing rate. You definitely lose one gap, then you add on potentially an extra minute to each runway on top of that, but that’s massively different from halving the landing rate. If you were landing say 50/hr beforehand, you might now end up landing 47/hr at worst.

The bit that most stood out to me from that video was how it apparently adds risk to passengers and pilots to break them off an arrival to assign headings and speeds. It really is a different world…

Still my biggest issue having struggled to the end of that video: if it was that busy - and I’m sure it was - why was the DLH not just given a 60 minute delay at the outset so they could choose to divert straight away. To reiterate they first stated they required the ILS passing 13.5 at ~0342, it was 0422 when they were given the final “another 10-15 minutes”. Why were they being strung along for so long without any accurate delay information, on what are apparently risky vectors, rather than just let them make the obvious decision to divert to Oakland straight away?
I think you are not grasping that at SFO the runways are so close together that if shooting Instrument approaches it’s essentially a single runway operation. If doing visuals it’s a two runway operation. With 750 feet of lateral separation from the centerlines you don’t gain anything or have the ability to stagger traffic to increase arrival rate. Here is a quote from the airport.

SFO operates on two sets of parallel runways. On fair weather days, SFO can accommodate approximately 60 arrivals per hour. During periods of low visibility, current FAA safety regulations allow aircraft to arrive side-by-side only if runways are at least 4,300 feet apart. SFO’s runways are only 750 feet apart, so aircraft must arrive single-file. This reduces the airport’s arrival rate to approximately 30 per hour, requiring the FAA to implement a Ground Delay Program to meter flights into SFO.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 20:17
  #129 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by West Coast
You might be able to find a slot, but at the expense of another arrival who now takes delay vectors /hold to open up the spacing.

As to calling the field, I’m in SFO monthly and have never been pressured, either I do or I don’t have the field in sight. Respectfully, I suggest you rethink your decision to report the field in sight when it’s not.
Again, I’m in two minds over this one, but having operated a fair bit into SFO (not once a month, though) and in some less-than-perfect weather, I haven’t experienced delays even when everyone has to do the ILS due to the cloud ceiling/vis. That sort of hints that they could could do it “properly” if they wanted to but can’t be bothered.

Personally, I don’t call visual unless it fulfils the criteria I operate to; I was offering an explanation as to maybe that’s why I have experienced other aircraft calling visual when I, in the same position just before/after, see no possibility of doing so...
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 20:40
  #130 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Sailvi767
I think you are not grasping that at SFO the runways are so close together that if shooting Instrument approaches it’s essentially a single runway operation. If doing visuals it’s a two runway operation. With 750 feet of lateral separation from the centerlines you don’t gain anything or have the ability to stagger traffic to increase arrival rate. Here is a quote from the airport.

SFO operates on two sets of parallel runways. On fair weather days, SFO can accommodate approximately 60 arrivals per hour. During periods of low visibility, current FAA safety regulations allow aircraft to arrive side-by-side only if runways are at least 4,300 feet apart. SFO’s runways are only 750 feet apart, so aircraft must arrive single-file. This reduces the airport’s arrival rate to approximately 30 per hour, requiring the FAA to implement a Ground Delay Program to meter flights into SFO.
But only 1 aircraft is doing an ILS, the rest are still visual, unless there’s something that forces the aircraft 10 behind in the sequence to do the ILS just because someone else is? In this case it’s single runway for the DLH gap-pair, not every gap-pair for an hour? Even if they lose both the side-by-side gap for the DLH, and as it’s a heavy let’s say the gap-pair behind too, that’s only 3 gaps lost so you’re still landing 57/hr (NOT 30).
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 21:26
  #131 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by FullWings
Again, I’m in two minds over this one, but having operated a fair bit into SFO (not once a month, though) and in some less-than-perfect weather, I haven’t experienced delays even when everyone has to do the ILS due to the cloud ceiling/vis. That sort of hints that they could could do it “properly” if they wanted to but can’t be bothered.
You wouldn’t experience a delay, because in those situations, the widebody coming in from FRA will be given the priority.

The 737 coming from Denver will be held on the ground for hours, or tactically vectored around the country to achieve the required spacing if already flying…which leads to a ton of passengers missing their connections to Asia, and upset airline managers calling ATC.

So when ATC makes a reasonable request, they expect and anticipate you’ll be able to comply and not have your hands tied by a paper pusher.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 21:27
  #132 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Request Orbit
But only 1 aircraft is doing an ILS, the rest are still visual, unless there’s something that forces the aircraft 10 behind in the sequence to do the ILS just because someone else is? In this case it’s single runway for the DLH gap-pair, not every gap-pair for an hour? Even if they lose both the side-by-side gap for the DLH, and as it’s a heavy let’s say the gap-pair behind too, that’s only 3 gaps lost so you’re still landing 57/hr (NOT 30).
Have you seen the second video? It’s a bit long, but it clearly explains what ATC was dealing with.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 22:01
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Originally Posted by PukinDog
Didn't miss the point. It just didn't matter and the result would have been the same. 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".

But hey, Lufthansa. I remember late one night in Riyadh Lufthansa holding short of a runway for at least 30 minutes blocking 5 or 6 other aircraft because the stop bar lights had malfunctioned and were stuck ON. No aircraft inbound for that runway and the excited controller tried telling, and eventually yelling, that he was cleared to cross the lights because they were broken. Yet still, being the captain of an established international air carrier, he refused, no doubt because despite the utter absence of inbound traffic and the controllers directives, it was in his SOPs. Not being able to taxi forward, turn around, or get out of the way, it was quite a mess for those stuck behind him who I'm sure were dropping some F-bombs themselves, just not on the radio. Happily, we avoided by launching off the other runway which, by necessity, they began using for departures. I don't know how long they all ended up sitting, but I suppose they stayed right where they were at until someone in a truck showed up to cut a wire or, more likely, smashed the lights to the OFF position with a hammer.
Good story
Sometimes one should just "be the Captain"
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Old 15th Nov 2023, 02:07
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
You wouldn’t experience a delay, because in those situations, the widebody coming in from FRA will be given the priority.

The 737 coming from Denver will be held on the ground for hours
​​​​​​​What on earth are you talking about??
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Old 15th Nov 2023, 03:28
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Originally Posted by Capn Bloggs
What on earth are you talking about??
FullWings said he hadn’t experienced delays when having to shoot the ILS into SFO, and suggested ATC was just being lazy on the day I’m question. I was simply explaining why he’d be less likely to see a delay.

His location is given as the U.K., so I’m assuming he’d be going into SFO from Europe.
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Old 15th Nov 2023, 03:42
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
I was simply explaining why he’d be less likely to see a delay.
And the 737 being held on the ground for hours? What's that all about?
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Old 15th Nov 2023, 03:48
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If a U.S. crew operating into a major European or U.K. airport during peak times demanded an approach no one else was using that would slow the flow down then swore at the controller for the inevitable delay they received there would be quite a different reaction on the subject !
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Old 15th Nov 2023, 05:04
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
Have you seen the second video? It’s a bit long, but it clearly explains what ATC was dealing with.
I’m assuming that it’s the one that explains it with a diagram like this. A normal 10-min traffic sequence would look like this:
.x….x….x….x….x…
..x….x….x….x….x.

To land the DLH would look like this:
.x….x….…x….x..
​..x…..……..x….x.

A halving of the landing rate would look like this:
.x….x….x….x….x..
​​​​​…………………………..

Or alternatively this;
.x……..x……..x…
…….x……..x……..

Doing full instrument approaches for every aircraft halves the landing rate, making an individual gap for an individual instrument aircraft should not halve the landing rate, and I didn’t see anything in the video to suggest otherwise. Sure, 3 gaps in a busy sequence is still a hit, but it’s infinitely different to drop to 57 planes in an hour, not the 30 planes in an hour that guy was claiming.
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Old 15th Nov 2023, 06:34
  #139 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 172_driver
….. I think LHR is allowed 2,5 nm separation? Wake separation can be more restrictive but if you’ve got a series of MEDIUMs (no specific wake separation) you can squeeze them pretty tight too. Any ATC guy, please correct me if I am wrong. My knowledge may be outdated as I think time is now a parameter in maintaining separation??
Wake turbulence separation is applied by time rather than distance. Minimum radar separation for non vortex pairs remains 2.5nm but the next step is to apply non vortex spacing via time also (possibly next year.)

LHR parallel runways are 1400 metres apart (so still not separated but much further apart than SFO), a landing rate of 50 is achievable if they are both used for landing ILS traffic staggered on parallel runways. 2 mile slant radar separation is the minimum and 2.5nm or vortex minimum (time) in trail.

If there’s a stream of arrivals on the left runway it’s efficient to vector arrivals for the right runway between the pairs of arrivals on the left.

If SFO are declaring 30 arrivals per runway that implies a spacing of about 5.8 miles per runway, should be enough room to get one on the ILS to the other runway in that gap. Even if you stretch it to 7 or 8 miles to accommodate the Lufthansa then you’ve still only lost a couple of miles.

But regardless of how easy it would have been to accommodate the DLH, you can’t give a delay of 10 minutes and then not update it until it’s expired only to then double the delay when queried.

**** is barely a swear word to Europeans whose second language is English. They are exposed to it so much in culture, music, Tv, films, etc. I’ve walked round supermarkets in Europe to the sound of “**** you” by CeLo Green, or been at kids sports days where the explicit version of a song in English is played, it’s completely normalised. If you watch F1 you’ll see a pattern of the European drivers saying ‘****’ almost all the time but the native English speakers never say it. It’s a cultural difference.
I still don’t think there’s any place for it on the RT but a German pilot would not consider it as strong a word as US or British crews and the DLH pilot was definitely not swearing at the controller.






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Old 15th Nov 2023, 07:07
  #140 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Capn Bloggs
And the 737 being held on the ground for hours? What's that all about?
That's why he doesn't get the delay...
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