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Lufty at SFO

Old 11th Nov 2023, 00:49
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Lufty at SFO

I have nothing to add
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 04:28
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Ridiculous.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 05:04
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Which bit is ridiculous? The Lufty rules or the US ATC rules?
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 05:31
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Handled badly by both. If no vis app at night for them fine. It was communicated as such. ATC were less than accommodating by sending them to the hold. By that time both parties had become entrenched and then the crew threatened them with an an emergency call if ..... and what sounded like " and that will really **** up your...". To which ATC became more entrenched and invited them to call for a divert or shut up. 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.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 05:44
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I'm assuming the published METAR was accurate.....
Visual approaches with FEW 500 & SCT 700. Sounds like GA!
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 05:55
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Also, pretty poor pre-planning by somebody to not advise the FAA or know that an International is not allowed to do Visual Approaches at night. Foreign Internationals doing Sight and Follow at night sounds a bit sus.

The ultimate humiliation: diverting to an airport 9nm across the bay.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 06:02
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It's a bit different in the US. You either fit in or you p!ss off. The same applies to the locals!
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 06:06
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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.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 06:23
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Going “visual” at night is an oxymoron surely?

To clarify due a comment below I mean in the context of visually acquiring preceding traffic.

Last edited by BBK; 14th Nov 2023 at 12:26. Reason: Clarification
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 06:24
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The US also has it's fair share midairs.... in VMC at controlled airports. But that's OK, you have to keep the movement rate up!
Busy airports in other parts of the world seem to get by without resorting to visual approaches.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 08:00
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Originally Posted by Capn Bloggs
Also, pretty poor pre-planning by somebody to not advise the FAA or know that an International is not allowed to do Visual Approaches at night. Foreign Internationals doing Sight and Follow at night sounds a bit sus.

The ultimate humiliation: diverting to an airport 9nm across the bay.
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.

Last edited by PukinDog; 11th Nov 2023 at 09:00.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 08:28
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Originally Posted by Capt Fathom
The US also has it's fair share midairs.... in VMC at controlled airports. But that's OK, you have to keep the movement rate up!
Busy airports in other parts of the world seem to get by without resorting to visual approaches.
Unless they're conducting PRM, busy airports in other parts of the world and the US aren't running parallel, simultaneous instrument approaches with runway centerlines 750' apart either (which is why SFO has to "resort" to it). SFO has PRM but of course the crews have to be trained and current. No visual approaches at SFO and you're down single runway ops numbers.

'Visual" at SFO 28s: Assigned altitudes, assigned speeds, vectors to intercept final w/speed control until close in. Published visual approach charts. LOC and G/S to back up. Literally, the only thing one has to do is confirm to ATC the traffic they've pointed out you're following and coming abeam of is in sight, make sure not to overshoot final, and then maintain a visual watch for the other aircraft as required by FAA regs in VMC.

Oh, one other thing. If on the visual approach at night, include in the brief the charted Approach Light System including the location of the Path indicator and, most importantly, confirm when they're in sight and correct. FAA regs also require, if visual, the glide path portion be followed when within it's valid distance. Bonus: Confirming the existence and correctness of the runway's ALS/PI is quick and easy, automatic insurance against doing something like lining-up and almost landing on a parallel taxiway (ahem..Air Canada). It's a ground-based navigation system to that runway, after all.

Last edited by PukinDog; 11th Nov 2023 at 09:12.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 08:46
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
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 and puke have missed my point.

Somewhere, either in Lufthansa or in the FAA, there has been a fundamental communication failure if an ATC didn't know, until told by a established international carrier captain only 40-odd miles from the airport, that they can't do visual approaches at night (which obviously includes maintaining visual sep).

​​​​​​​and w/TCAS
OK then.

Originally Posted by Fathom
​​​​​​​I'm assuming the published METAR was accurate.....Visual approaches with FEW 500 & SCT 700.
Originally Posted by Check Airman
The weather was fine.
Seriously?


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Old 11th Nov 2023, 09:10
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Originally Posted by Check Airman
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.
Speaking of office-dwellers:
Originally Posted by YT Comment
​​​​​​​ATC used to be able to set aircraft up for the ILS even in visual conditions and get visual separation with the aircraft beside them.. that rule changed due to interpretations from people who don’t work traffic and now they can’t. These controllers are doing what they’ve been told to do by FAA management.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 09:35
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When did this happen?!
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 09:42
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Originally Posted by Buswinker
When did this happen?!
According FR24 OCT 16th.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 10:23
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Possibly the Lufty 'office dweller' was influenced by the recent Denver Centenial mid-air ? "Flight Safety is no accident"
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 11:31
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Originally Posted by Capn Bloggs
You and puke have missed my point.

Somewhere, either in Lufthansa or in the FAA, there has been a fundamental communication failure if an ATC didn't know, until told by a established international carrier captain only 40-odd miles from the airport, that they can't do visual approaches at night (which obviously includes maintaining visual sep).
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.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 12:08
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This quite interesting set of dialogues among and between the professionals is interrupted by this SLF/attorney just only to say a Thank You - 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. I was wondering if there was something about how runway and/or airfield layout might have affected ATC procedures or Airfield Operations in this instance.

And the hammer or wirecutter anecdote, very cool. I'm appropriating it.
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Old 11th Nov 2023, 12:15
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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.
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