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-   -   Stink over landing?? (https://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/61467-stink-over-landing.html)

jet_noseover 30th Jul 2002 03:49

Stink over landing??
The pilot of a Qantas jumbo jet caused alarm at Heathrow at the weekend by refusing to land on the only open runway because its radar was out of order.
Inspectors from the civil aviation authority yesterday began investigating the incident, which pilots claimed was further evidence of the need for an extra runway at Britain's busiest airport.

The Australian airline's Boeing 747, coming from Singapore, surprised air traffic controllers by approaching the airport at 4am on Saturday - almost an hour early.

Heathrow's main southerly runway was still closed for overnight maintenance. The only available runway was in the north of the airport but its electronic guidance system was being replaced.

The pilot told controllers he was not prepared to risk a manual landing, because there was too much cloud obscuring his view, with visibility down to 5,000 metres. He turned down an alternative offer to land from the other end of the runway because there were insufficient approach lights.

In the end, airport staff had to scramble to reopen the airport's main southerly runway, moving vehicles off the tarmac and sweeping the surface. By the time the plane landed at 4.50am, a queue of other long-haul aircraft were banked up behind it, including British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Virgin Atlantic incoming flights.

One airline source said: "The whole thing stinks - it was all down to runway pressures at Heathrow."

Heathrow's main runway had been scheduled to open at 4.30am. But insiders said staff had to take urgent steps to clear it on time, with air traffic controllers pressuring them to hurry.

The CAA confirmed it was examining the incident. A spokesman said: "We have received a report. We do not believe there are any safety implications, but we are looking into it."

Airlines complain that Heathrow's two alternating runways are inadequate to cope with demand. The airport handles 64m passengers a year, travelling on 90 airlines to 170 destinations.

In a consultation paper last week, the transport secretary, Alistair Darling, sought views on the possibility of building an extra runway at the airport. But local residents are vehemently opposed.

John Stewart, chairman of the anti-noise coalition, Hacan Clear Skies, said: "The problem at Heathrow is that there are just too many planes flying in for the basic facilities that are there.

"Pilots argue that a third runway is the solution. But we would argue that the environmental and social downsides are too great. We would put a limit on the number of flights coming in."

Other options for additional airport capacity around London include extra runways at Stansted in Essex, a new international airport on the Thames estuary in north Kent, and a new airport for low cost airlines at Alconbury, Cambridgeshire.

A spokesman for Heathrow played down Saturday's incident: "The fact remains that in our view, there was no safety issue at stake."

Some aviation sources expressed surprise that the Qantas plane had arrived so early, as airlines face stiff fines for breaking rules on night flights at Heathrow.

But pilots say that their journeys are often unwittingly accelerated by strong tailwinds en route.

(from "Guardian")

Iz 30th Jul 2002 08:09

Pfff well rely on the press to give you a clear view of what's going on. I don't understand what exactly happened.

What radar? Sounds a bit like the ILS was U/S. Couldn't imagine the controller's radar were out and the TCAS or weather radar onboard don't have anything to do with it either.

HEATHROW DIRECTOR 30th Jul 2002 09:49

Another brilliant piece of journalism...............

Firestorm 30th Jul 2002 10:14


What do you expect from the Grauniad?

Brenoch 30th Jul 2002 12:40

The pilot told controllers he was not prepared to risk a manual landing, because there was too much cloud obscuring his view, with visibility down to 5,000 metres.
I don't get it.. Manual landing?? vis down to 5 k??

HotDog 30th Jul 2002 12:55

Didn't want to finish up in the golf driving range at Colnbrook.:D

foghorn 30th Jul 2002 13:35

So when did John Stewart of HACAN become an aviation expert worthy of comment on the technical matter of the ILS being temporarily U/S?

:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

747FOCAL 30th Jul 2002 14:33

I would have said fine go find some other place to land then. It's not like he can stay up there forever. And don't give me no guff about not understanding the situation. Gatwick is not that far away they should have sent him there. You don't interupt airport planning for one aircraft that shows up early unless it is an emergency.:rolleyes:

southern duel 30th Jul 2002 19:53

here we ago again another piece of crap journalism

The Full facts are

1 ) It was the Northern runway closed not the southern.

2) the Southern only closes Sunday to Thursday nights for resurfacing. So the onlt time routine maintenace can be carried out on the Northern is Friday and Saturday nights.

3) Radar u/s !!!! Ha Ha Ha ha. The ILS on 27L is being upgraded so visula arrivals only until mid august.

4) The maintenace teams were removed at 03:00z due to the worsening weather and 27R would therefore be required for the first arrivals.
The weather was 4000m in haze Sct006 and Bkn 013.

5 ) The Aussies turned up a full hour early . His STA is actually 04:15z.

6) the runway was available after the required inspection at 03:38z. The QF actually landed 04:03 still ahead of time !!!!

7) 09R was looked at but not an option as the wind was 200 degrees

A load of fuss about nothing

Mind you the QF might have prefered landing on a runway that had not been inspected properly or indeed was not being maintained properly !!!!


:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

FLYto410 30th Jul 2002 21:17

5000m?? Surely the runway had a non-precision approach with minima more than this. Manual landing??? Surely a b747-400 pilot can cope with disconnecting the autopilot at MDA!! It's sad days if it has come down to this!

411A 30th Jul 2002 22:37

The "new" breed...hand flying skills gone out the window. Ain't it great?:rolleyes: :rolleyes: ;)

Tight Slot 31st Jul 2002 00:30

Hang on! It is bloody hard doing a visual approach when you're counting out your fist full of dollars in one hand...

Not that I'm a bitter and twisted guy you understand.

Hooligan Bill 31st Jul 2002 14:12

Southern duel,

Also believe all relevant information had been NOTAMed. Therefore definitely a fuss about nothing.

Anyone else who may be interested, had a similar incident at another UK airport myself early Sunday morning after a NOTAMed runway closure. One inbound turned up 10 minutes early and hence got an extended routing to facilitate the reopening. Still haven't seen this in any of the rags.:(

mdb3 31st Jul 2002 14:22

After 14 hrs of counting allowances who wants to do a Non Precision approach, there have been more than enough jumbos crash doing them in the past.

Brenoch 1st Aug 2002 00:06

Thats what they're bloody there for.. To do a non-prec approach rather than counting their money..

RamAirTurbine 1st Aug 2002 02:10

“Aircraft Lands Safely at Heathrow – British Media and Pilots dumbfounded at strange concept called Airmanship”

As Australia’s sporting achievements in the Commonwealth Games mount, the British aviation community is devastated that an Australian aircraft has gone against the trends by turning up unannounced and apparently landing Safely.

British Air Traffic Control were amazed that the Australian Registered Aircraft had been detected by numerous countries prior to arriving in UK airspace and had in fact been providing continual position reports, yet seemingly, despite talking to British air traffic control, and showing up on their advanced radar screens, they still had not seen it.

“It was amazing” One controller is reported to have said. “One minute it was on our screens, the next minute it was still on our screens and they were talking to us – BY RADIO would you believe, and even asking for our assistance in choosing a runway to ensure a safe landing”. He further went on to comment that he was irritated that a pilot had the nerve to ask for any form of ground assistance.

Another controller was seen to be taking pictures of the non-damaged aircraft. When asked why, he said “that we rarely have aircraft land here undamaged, so I want to have a picture for my scrap book”.

They were further outraged when the pilot of this aircraft demonstrated a concept they had not heard of called “Airmanship”. British pilots all over we seen to consult their operations manuals to see if “airmanship” was installed in their aircraft. One pilot is rumoured to have said “Our planes have not had that feature installed – we’re hopefully getting it next year”.

An investigation into this tragic non-event is apparently underway.



Waste Gate 1st Aug 2002 03:22

"One of the new breed - no flying skills"
Hey 411A,

You're having yourself on with that one, mate. Most 400 capts in Qantas have been with the company around 30 years, the most junior have been with the company for a little over 20 years, and if it was infact the F/O's sector, he would have been with the company atleast 12 years, much of which was probably as an F/O wrestling with the 767 on domestic ops, so no shortage of manipulative skills there. . .

About 99.9% of landings in the 400 are "manual", so I can't imagine the crew being daunted by the prospect. Having been one of them, I'd suggest they were ******ed after a 15 hr tour of duty, flown through the night and arriving at a time of day 10 hrs different from their home time zone, and thus wishing to keep the operation conservative.

Big bloody deal!!:confused: :confused:

jet_noseover 1st Aug 2002 05:07

While browsing, I came upon
newswatcher's post in the Airlines, Airports & Routes section on the subject.

"Clear off, you're too early!
From the "Daily Mail"(30/7)

"EIGHT jumbo jets ......... were told they couldn't land at Heathrow because they had arrived too early. With both runways out of action, the long-haul planes - all carrying hundreds of passengers - were forced to circle the airport before one was finally opened. Last night officials claimed the early-hours incident was routine. But it is still being investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority.

It began at 4.05am on Saturday when a Qantas flight from Singapore - a 747 with up to 400 passengers - arrived an hour early in UK airspace 50 miles from Heathrow. Flights are not due to start arriving before 4.30am, when the night flight curfew ends.

Airport maintenance work was still taking place so the pilot had to circle while the northern runway was hurriedly cleared and swept.

The plane eventually came in at 4.47am, by which time another seven jets had arrived early and were ready to land, a source claimed.

These are understood to have been four British Airways flights and planes owned by Virgin, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines. BAA, which runs Heathrow, said these planes also landed as usual on the northern runway.

Officials claimed last night that there were no safety issues because planes have enough fuel to carry them to another airport in an emergency.

A BAA Heathrow spokesman said: 'We work closely with air traffic control to ensure runways are safely ready each morning for the start of Heathrow's flying schedule.

At no time was safety compromised.' The National Air Traffic Control Service said the runways had operated normally.

It said the pilot decided to wait until after the night curfew ended before landing to avoid any possible fines.

But last night a senior aviation insider said: 'In practical terms, the airport just wasn't there. It was a cock-up'.

The planes would have been relatively low on fuel but they would not have needed an instant, emergency landing." "

Kiteflyer 1st Aug 2002 06:08

I wash dishes in a resturant. We open at 11am. If you arrive before we open then some days we will let you in and you can sit down and wait until the coffee is brewed, some days we are running late and the chairs are STILL on the tables so we cannot seat anyone early. TOUGH! Our opening time is clearly marked as 11am..

Don't care whether you are one old lady wanting a decaf or a Quantas 747 , WE AIN'T OPEN!!!!!!!!!

can't see what the fuss is, if you get there early, then tough.

Seriph 1st Aug 2002 07:54

Here we go again, no facts, weren't there but know all about it! Even dishwashers now feel qualified to comment. I'm more than happy to give the guy the benefit of his experience and judgement, if he had managed a BA approach to the hotel, or another Quam then doubtless 411A would be saying he shouldn't have tried it. Don't know about pressure from management the hassle seems to come from all the armchair experts in these forums.

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