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Marrakech (RAK) airport: accident waiting to happen!

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Marrakech (RAK) airport: accident waiting to happen!

Old 16th Aug 2007, 15:00
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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i flying to gmmx since 2years and yes it s a very unsafe airport

i had the same bad surprise 3months ago when we came from cdg and when casa control told us that the field was closed for a royal flight ....try to imagine my face once again holding approching for rwy 10 but with more than 10kts downwind....a nice g/A....
it s one of the most dangerous filed in north africa and in morocco
and the taxing too is funny with pax embarking desambarking in front of your plane while you taxing.....
for information the ndb is CNZ

BYE
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Old 17th Aug 2007, 09:19
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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I have been flying into RAK for many years, it is slowly getting better but it is a place that needs to be treated with a lot of respect, plenty of gotchas....elevation, a high ridge to the north and the Atlas mountains to the south. If you take it easy, slow down and configure then there should be no probs. Keep your eyes peeled and if you are not happy confirm everything with RAK as many times as is necessary. I would always take plenty of fuel as you could be held due to departing traffic. It is a bit busier now with the open skies agreement, but it is not that bad......slowly slowly catch ya monkey. If there is VIP traffic then you could be waiting an even longer amount of time. It is different but we are all well trained and should be able to cope, it is not a slick place like LGW/ LHR so do not go there with those expectations. I believe radar will be available in the not to distant future. ( thats the rumour ). ASR's are worth filling in as it will give the company safety depts info to present at RAK....they do listen at RAK,it just takes time and understanding
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Old 21st Aug 2007, 05:05
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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There is one only sentence Really Present in the Minds of those ATCO's:
"DO NOT FLY OVER THE CITY"!!!
All the rest are lil'details
I simply dont like GMMX ATC
(Im talking about the ATControl, the City its Beautiful)
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Old 21st Aug 2007, 08:21
  #24 (permalink)  
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I love these posts, always the same contents after 2 pages, only the location differs.
No , the rest of the world is not the same as the UK, and procedures and ATC quality will differ with location, just like anything else in that perticular country. If one expect the same level of expertise, consideration and service,than " at home " then we should educate and pay everyone else the same as in the UK.
In the world today , you mostly get what you pay for.

If you have a real safety issue with an airport , write a report, file an airprox, write to your management and even to IFALPA. General remarks about bad procedures and bad ATC on internet will not get you anywhere, especially is the place is run by the military ( as it seems is the case in RAK ) Military brass do not surf the internet.

As for ICAO, it only issues standards and recommended practices, They have no police or army to enforce their application.The individual States are responsible for doing this.
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Old 22nd Aug 2007, 17:05
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Who would go to an alternate airport with LHR being the destination when LHR visibilty drops to 800 meters ?

411 A ?
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Old 22nd Aug 2007, 21:41
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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411A - what a/c were you in and what year was this?
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Old 23rd Aug 2007, 00:49
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About twelve years ago, Craggenmore, type L1011-500.
Really no excuse for the LHR ATIS broadcasting 10km, while LVP starting and the approach controller saying nothing about this...after holding for 50 minutes, time is appropriate to head for the alternate.
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Old 23rd Aug 2007, 01:36
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after holding for 50 minutes, time is appropriate to head for the alternate
Good man! I wish we had 50 mins holding fuel with a predicted 10km vis....those were the days eh..!
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Old 24th Aug 2007, 01:18
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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I agree with the concerns about RAK.
One of the things that scare me the most there, is when I am turning final on 28, what will happen if I have to go around???
The stack has 2-3 airplanes, T-37s are zooming over your head.
I would be heading staight to the VOR, climbing at an altitude already "occupied" by the a/c cleared for visual on 28. It would probably be safer to stay at 1000agl, fly straight and look out....
PS couple of weeks ago, being heavily delayed, we would arrive there 0100 local. Foolishly I thought that my usual 20min holding fuel would not ne needed so late at night and I left it in the bowser. Never again. The place was busier than ever !
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Old 24th Aug 2007, 11:45
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There are a number of airports around the world, even those that have radar, that share the same problems as RAK. One which comes to mind was last years while on approach to Chicago O’Hare (KORD) during a peak period, an MD-80 didn’t clear the runway as instructed thus causing a few go-arounds, including myself, thus disrupting other arrival sequences. It has happened to me over the years at other major airports around the world as well. You take it in stride and get on with it.

Some airports are subject to more confusion than others, and the lack of radar control and greater aircraft separation is sometimes confused with incompetence rather than making do with the equipment that you have.
At RAK and similar airports, I make regular position reports, perhaps not primarily for the traffic controller’s benefit, but for other aircraft in the area.

The good news is the weather is usually VFR in RAK and being a non radar airport, visual vigilance can be maintained with both sets of eyes out of the cockpit. Like many of you, I too, have had to hold over the RAK VOR waiting for clearance to land, even with no apparent aircraft in the air or on the ground waiting to takeoff. It can be frustrating, but there’s nothing you can do about it except take extra fuel for the hold and arrival, have an extra cup of tea or coffee, and eventually, you’ll be cleared for the approach. Besides we are all building jet.
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Old 22nd Sep 2007, 21:07
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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I think there is a misunderstanding here.

The problem with RAK is not the lack of radar alone. Lack of radar is not uncommon all over the world.

The problem is that they have controllers with extremely low knowledge of english (for a controller) AND there is one person operatng the positions of ground, tower and approach (procedural) at the same time.

If you add the ever increasing traffic, the T-37s AND the lack of radar, the mix is quite volatile.
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Old 23rd Sep 2007, 19:11
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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sharing info

once i talked in rak to a female military controller,on the tarmac ; very cute with a lot of common sence,and aware of all the time the airlines loose on the turnaround because of slow militay trafic ( flight school) and poor atc handling, she felt so sorry and she said everybody is working on it . the secret is there is a prohibited area 2 nm east of 28 threshold that why they use 28 t/o and 10 for landing
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Old 24th Sep 2007, 12:15
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Arara , when you say "the secret is" , do you mean it is kept secret? Because there is no such area "2nm east". There is one to the north (usually inactive) and two ENE and ESE but quite far away.
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Old 26th Sep 2007, 03:37
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Cya @ Rak

I've been flying to RAK for 10 years, as other posters have said it's no different to any third world non radar airport. The unique thing with RAK is that the can really take you by surprise.

Just carry an extra 40mins fuel and plan on burning 30 mins more than your trip log projects. ALWAYS expect a couple of holds due to conflicting arrivals using rwy 10 and departures using rwy 28.

If in doubt tell ATC what you will be doing - they usually go along with any suggestions.
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Old 27th Sep 2007, 17:15
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Different airports same posts. bla bla bla. I agree 411. Life is more than radar vectors for ILS. DSA? full of light aircraft and so on and so on
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Old 5th Oct 2009, 10:12
  #36 (permalink)  
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Marrakech: Still not getting better!

I had an other interesting situation at Marrakech last week.

The Atis broadcasted: RWY 28 in use 270/4 6000 scattered at 800 ft, broken 20000ft. While approaching Marrakech below the high cloud layer, we could indeed see there was a low cloud layer (broken to overcast) covering the whole airport region.

So on initial contact with RAK app we requested the ILS 10. His answer: It will depend on the traffic! I replied by asking him the latest cloudbase and was told the same as in the Atis: S008. So we then told him with we NEEDED the ILS to 10 as a visual to rwy28 was impossible with the existing conditions. The ATCO simply didn't seem to understand what I was asking or why I was asking for the ILS.

We had to enter the MAK hold due to the usual departing traffic from rwy10. So while we were holding we couldn't see the airport at all. So we repeated once more that we needed the ILS to RWY 10.

Guess what? 3 mins later the atco said: descent alt 3200', cleared for visual app 28. Grrr!

me: negative! We need ILS10 due to clouds.
Atco (amazed voice): Oh, you want the the ILS10 (Didn't the guy ever listen to what I said???)
me: AFIRM!
Atco: Climb again FL60 in the MAK hold, two departures from rwy 28, expect 10' delay for the ILS app.

Being wise enough never to go to RAK without at least 30' extra fuel, I was glad to oblige (even if it seems more logical to me to give priority to landing A/C rather then to departing A/C in a case as this)

So, finally, 10' later, we were established on the loc 10 and transferred to TWR freq. At around 600ft AGL tower asked us if we had the rwy in sight. As we were still in the cloud layer, I honestly replied: Negative! As I regularly go to Marrakech, I already knew about their strange habit not to give landing clearance if the pilot hasn’t reported having the rwy in sight. (Is that a military ATC procedure?) He replied “continue”! I got my landing clearance a few seconds later from an other voice after I told him we were getting very close to the minimums and NEEDED the clearance NOW! Two seconds later we broke clouds AT the minima and were able to land.

So, here’s my advice for pilots going to Marrakech: Take plenty of extra fuel, be very careful going there, repeat your messages until you’re sure they’re understood by ATC, and, if you get close to minimums on the ILS just lie and tell them you’re visual with the runway if you want the ldg clearance. (Yeah, I know it’s stupid to lie but it’s easier then trying to explain the Marrakech atco’s that you don’t need to have the rwy in sight to get the landing clearance)

And here’s my advice for Marrakech’ ATCO’s (I’m hoping that one of them would happen to read this and actually understand English): Use the ILS with low cloudbase, LISTEN to what pilots say on the radio, don’t wait with issuing landing clearances on the ILS 10 until the pilot reports having the rwy in sight and, now that you have a parallel taxiway, use rwy 10 for takeoff as well when rwy 10 is used fore landing!

Let’s be careful out there,
Sabenaboy!
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Old 5th Oct 2009, 13:36
  #37 (permalink)  
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I do not think MAK military controllers read PPrune Tech log. . Best way to have your message passed would be to file a report via your company , preferably in French.(should not a big issue for an ex-SN ? )
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Old 5th Oct 2009, 14:27
  #38 (permalink)  
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Dear ATC watcher,

Thanks for your reply.
I do realise that the probability of having a RAK atco reading (and understanding ) my post is near to zero. I also think that getting a reply to an official company report, (other then "under investigation") from Moroccan ATC is very, very unlikely. Maybe you will disagree, but I think that sending official reports to Marrakech would be just as useless as my posts on Pprune.

Here at least my "reports" will be read by pilots other then just the ones in my own company.

Sad but still true, I believe.

Regards,
Sabenaboy

Last edited by sabenaboy; 5th Oct 2009 at 17:20.
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Old 5th Oct 2009, 15:22
  #39 (permalink)  
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Thanks Sabenaboy. Military way of doing things is complex and (North) Africa is even more complex. When you mix the 2 it does not get better .

My experience in ATC there is that to change things you need the soft approcah. Writing a report in such terms that you do not complain , but rather propose something to improve safety, has more chances to reach the correct person.
Because, like in Rome, the bringer of bad news (a complaint) is most likely to be shot, while the bringer of improvements (that he might put his name under) , has more chances to see the light of the higher echelons.
But in either case you will probably never get a written reply, you're right about that one.
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Old 5th Oct 2009, 17:50
  #40 (permalink)  
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Angel They did pick up my advice, didn't they?

Well, they did construct a parallel taxiway since I advised them to do so in my post of 15th august 2007:
Originally Posted by Sabenaboy
Here’s what I think RAK needs urgently to improve safety dramatically:
A parallel taxiway,...
So, perhaps, they do read Pprune in Marrakech!?
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