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Looking up when approaching the minima

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Looking up when approaching the minima

Old 3rd Dec 2007, 10:41
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Looking up when approaching the minima

During simulator training the instructor has to tread a fine line between defining facts (the correct approach speed for this landing is Vref+5 knots), and personal opinion (I suggest hanging on to the 1/2 the HW additives a little longer). An experienced instructor often has much to offer but how far should he push personal views based on perhaps hard won experiences as against strictly what is need to ensure the pilot is competent for the task - type rating for example.

The subject for discussion here is when should the pilot start glancing through the windscreen during an IMC final approach in order to pick up early visual cues. For my part the sooner one picks up visual cues the better as combined with electronic glide path and localiser information the better is the emerging big picture.

Others argue against looking up until either at the decision height or MDA - or maybe 100 feet above these figures. And if for instance the runway is sighted with a couple of miles to go while flying the ILS or VOR, then the PF call of "landing" is surely a valid call then; rather than wait until arriving at the minima and the PM calling "minima runway in sight" and then the PF replying "landing.' If it is obvious the intention is to land because you can see the runway well ahead of any published minima, then there is nothing to gain from delaying the decision call "landing." is there?

My personal preference has always been to commence glancing up to check for visual cues when the aircraft is about 500 feet above the decision height or MDA. The glance up technique is nothing more than a quick lift of the eyelids then back on the instruments scanning rapidly and repeating the look outside. The outside scan becomes an integral part of the instrument scan. A recently published report on Australian general aviation accidents in which pilot disorientation (PD) was suspected as a factor, revealed well known visual illusions such as black hole approaches etc can cause PD if coming off instruments too early and no glide slope aid available. But I am not talking about that.

I am interested in your points of view on when in your experience do you prefer to start looking ahead for visual cues during an ILS or VOR in IMC. Do you stay heads down until the PM calls visual? What if he fails to call visual because he is engrossed in some cockpit check or simply monitoring his own electronic flight path and forgets to have a look outside.

From long experience in aviation, I treat the PM with the utmost respect for his skills but I never put all my one hundred percent faith in the other crew member because we all have our limitations. Hence my own quiet and quick glances outside for visual cues when the approach gets tighter.

And back to the opening paragraph of this post and that is how much personal advice should you offer someone you are training in the simulator - or should you button your lip and let him learn the hard way in his own time - one line, in the real aeroplane?

Prefer not too much flak in any replies - just considered reasonable responses - because I want to learn from your experiences here. Thank you.
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Old 3rd Dec 2007, 12:42
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Well, I have always been a glance up person myself, the one thing I might pass on is to be very careful on a circle to land procedure when the weather is marginal, in my opinion the most dangerous type of approach by far, if you have a non flying crew member, make sure you brief them about what altitude you intend to maintain until turning final, safe flying.
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Old 3rd Dec 2007, 12:59
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Monitored Approach

Hola Tee Emm -
xxx
With pleasure to discuss your questions and the suggestions that will follow my own.
xxx
I am a TRE/TRI in 747-200s (worse even, training manager of my airline) and besides flying my desk, I make an idiot of myself in classrooms, simulators and on the line... I even manage to be assigned a few flights and steal some landings to stay current...
xxx
If I speak as a simulator instructor, I stick to "strict book procedures" as far as initial and recurrent training is concerned. But my trainees are nowadays all highly experienced pilots.
xxx
The transition from "instrument flying" into "visual" (when to look) is a critical moment in the approach, especially when dealing with marginal conditions. In my long experience which dates from the last century... I had a few sobering experiences. I can recall one night, landing at JFK with 200' DH ILS in a DC8-63 and minimum fuel, having to go around because of defective transition into visual, and having flown the approach by hand, without "George's help", probably to impress my F/O and F/E of my superior airmanship. With the delays to be re-vectored in the traffic and approach, we landed close to declare a low-fuel mayday... Was entirely my fault.
xxx
We, here in Argentina, practice something called the "Monitored Approach", one of my claims of fame, since I hold this training management position. I did bring that procedure that I had seen done by UAL pilots in the USA. As I am an ex-PanAm pilot, I had tried that type of procedure myself.
xxx
Our "Monitored Approach" procedure is performed as follows, whenever the weather minimums are close to actual conditions -
The PNF becomes PF during the approach, before the final approach fix, and the approach is performed with the A/P on ILS - Autoland selected (we have a 3 channel A/P system) and he is briefed to fly the approach to minimums, staying eyes on instruments with no visual concerns about landing, as he is briefed to go around upon reaching DH. On his side, the PF (temporarily being PNF) starts looking outside after he calls "one hundred to minimums" and puts his hands on the controls at that time... If he has the proper visual cues for landing, he announces "landing" and becomes the PF again, and disconnects the A/P as needed. Our 747-200 airplanes are not CAT-IIIa anymore, merely CAT-II. but A/P has full CAT-IIIb capability.
xxx
I told you that I know of the "Monitored Approach" because of UAL, where I was occasionally training in DC8s. I was told, by their instructors, that this procedure had been fostered by BA (back then probably BOAC). So, maybe you might inquire there in UK as to their opinions. I only want to mention that missed approaches records and reports are extremely rare in our operations since we use that procedure.
xxx
And, Tee Emm - just say "Yessir" to your simulator instructor... and do as he says.

Happy contrails
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Old 3rd Dec 2007, 13:06
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Great DC8 story.
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Old 3rd Dec 2007, 13:48
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Question Circling approach

I agree with your assessment regarding the dangers involved during a circling approach but want to clarify a couple of items. The circling approach here in the US is basically a visual maneuver in that after decending to mins and the pilots have the airport in sight. Notice I did not say the runway. Maintaining the airport visually throughout the approach is critical to a safe approach and subsequent landing. Typically when in a simulator scenario the PF will not see the runway of intended landing unitil sometime on base leg, and it only at this time he may leave the circling altitude with intent to land. Sorry for the lesson plan but I just wanted to make sure we are on the same page.
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Old 3rd Dec 2007, 15:46
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Nice post, BelArgUSA - I liked it but ...

Originally Posted by BelArgUSA View Post
I told you that I know of the "Monitored Approach" ... I was told ... that this procedure had been fostered by BA (back then probably BOAC). ...
... not exactly BOAC ... and you unwittingly touch on a sore point of history ...

The "Monitored Approach" was a toy of BEA (British European Airways), that became BA (Short Haul), but was to the best of my knowledge never used by BOAC. It was undoubtedly very effective in the days of Viscounts, Vanguards, Merchantmen and the like, when approach speeds were slower, autopilots were less reliable and we had beacon approaches, fan markers, etc. However, after the merger of BEA and BOAC into BA, it became foisted upon the Long Haul (BOAC) fraternity by our enthusiastic Short Haul (BEA) colleagues - who no doubt meant well - but were not able to see that the 747 in a Long Haul environment really had little need for a procedure, whereby the Handling Non-Landing Pilot handed over control to the Non-Handling Landing Pilot at sometimes as much as 100 feet above decision height, frequently in IMC and gusty conditions!

No, Sir, it was not BOAC who "fostered" it, it was BEA who "foisted" it ...



JD



Grovelling apologies for the thread creep but that comment awoke a sleeping old dog ...

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Old 3rd Dec 2007, 17:30
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In the mid sixties British Eagle (LHR) carried out monitored approach procedures by a select few experienced bods. The Ministry of Planes at the time were involved.

As always, some were very much for it, and others were equally vociferous in their rejection of the technique.
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Old 3rd Dec 2007, 22:48
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Thank you for the replies so far - and a thoroughly informative read they are. I recall from my early flying days reading where it was the French Postal service in their DC4 freighters that first flew what maybe were termed monitored approaches either by hand or autopilot. The minimas were Cat 3 stuff and I believe one pilot flew while the other hovered on the controls to take over for the landing if visual. If a go-around resulted they merely swopped tasks and had another go.
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Old 4th Dec 2007, 03:43
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I well remember a monitored approach when the FO said "decide", I said "land" and on the taxi-in the FO remarked that after the land call had been made he looked up and saw nothing. It made me a believer.
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Old 4th Dec 2007, 03:44
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Having flown "monitored approachs" with my last employer, and "normal" now - I say normal wins hands down.. Absolutely agree with JD that monitored was great for older generation jets, turboprops etc. However, these days the automatics are VERY reliable..
The 'bus philosophy is that for LVP's the Captain flies (and lands, or decides to let autopilot land, or gos -around), and the F/O simply keeps a wary eye open on where the aeroplane's going. To go back to the original query, 100' above and it's time to glance outside.
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Old 4th Dec 2007, 04:26
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Either Monitored Approach or:

PF flies the whole time. Until the PNF calls "Visual Runway 11 oclock", PF keeps flying, not looking out. That ensures that somebody is actually flying (or watching the automatics) and ensuring the aircraft doesn't go below the applicable minima. Not a good idea for both pilots to be gazing out the front at 100ft above. If that means levelling at the MDA until the MAPt because the PNF hasn't called "visual", then so be it.

When the PNF calls "visual", the PF looks up, gets the picture and lands. If that is going to be too hard (ie really lo vis/cloud), then use the monitored approach procedure.

If using the Mon App, the Captain ALWAYS does the landing in our outfit.

Note: we do not do less than Cat 1 ILSs. I agree taking over at less than 200ft (cat II or less) would be undesirable.
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Old 4th Dec 2007, 08:11
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The company I fly for uses the monitored approach system for both precision and non precision approaches whenever the reported weather is below certain defined minima.

The main reasoning behind this is that an analysis of approach incidents/accidents over many years showed that in 75% of cases the Captain was flying the aircraft when these incidents/accidents occurred. So why not get the FO to the fly the approach? This means that if the Captain has not taken over by the DA/MDA the FO executes the Go Around. (The FO is known as the Go Around Man, sorry Go Around Person!). In the case of CAT 2/3 the same rules apply except that if the Captain calls "Land" and takes over the FO stays on instruments (monitoring) right down to taxi speed on the runway and calls any deviations.

If you have never operated this system before it sounds a bit alien but with suitable training it works very well and does, I believe, have considerable benefits.
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Old 4th Dec 2007, 12:23
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The main reasoning behind this is that an analysis of approach incidents/accidents over many years showed that in 75% of cases the Captain was flying the aircraft when these incidents/accidents occurred. So why not get the FO to the fly the approach?
Obviously the captains were all sub-standard and poorly trained otherwise why would they crash. Perhaps swapping seats would have fixed this appalling record? One presumes that all of the accidents referred to here were non-automatic approaches because aircraft do not normally crash on fully automatic approaches and landings
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Old 4th Dec 2007, 13:46
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Obviously the captains were all sub-standard and poorly trained otherwise why would they crash.
I do not have the report to hand but I do know that it covered many years of operations and included many different airlines and that it was a statistical fact that on 75% of occasions the Captain was flying the aircraft. (I recall now that the analysis referred to non precision approaches only) I think it is too simplistic to say that they were all "sub-standard and poorly trained", indeed I believe in many cases they were competent and experienced operators. However allowing the FO (who is almost certainly less experienced) to fly the approach frees up the Captain to monitor the approach and is probably a safer option. Surely this is a better use of the "Resources" on the flight deck?

As I said before it's also a question of what you are used to. If you have never flown the monitored approach before it seems a bit bizarre but once you have I think you will see the benefits.
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Old 4th Dec 2007, 21:33
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I well remember a monitored approach when the FO said "decide", I said "land" and on the taxi-in the FO remarked that after the land call had been made he looked up and saw nothing. It made me a believer.
I see your point but surely you wouldn't have said "Land" if you hadn't seen enough at the time to be able to do so? Maybe, and I mean this in all seriousness, he wasn't looking in the same place. You don't say how bad the conditions were but in Cat 3A, there isn't a great deal you need to see anyhow!
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Old 5th Dec 2007, 07:46
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Monitored all the way

When I flew right seat in an airline with Monitored Approach procedures, what usually happened was that the CAPT called "Runway" and the Handling Non-Landing Pilot (me) looked up, said "Confirmed" and the CAPT instead of saying "I Have Control" and taking over said "Go ahead and land the bugger!" Happened in maybe four out of five approaches in the northern winter. Management knew about it but it worked so what we did in the sim was not what we did in the line. Common CAPT's comment was it was easier and safer for them to monitor the approach all the way than to take over at the last minute.
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Old 5th Dec 2007, 11:24
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The main reasoning behind this is that an analysis of approach incidents/accidents over many years showed that in 75% of cases the Captain was flying the aircraft when these incidents/accidents occurred.
fireflybob... I'm certainly not going to dispute the figure you quote. All that I'll say is that, depending on the number of years involved, the possibility is that the figure might actually pre-date CRM. The days when the Captain was God incarnate and the F/O was the Captain's sexual advisor...
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Old 6th Dec 2007, 21:49
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Tee Emm:
The subject for discussion here is when should the pilot start glancing through the windscreen during an IMC final approach....
An interesting article at the end of the following link may assist discussions presented in this thread:

http://members.tripod.com/saviapproach/
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Old 7th Dec 2007, 02:02
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However allowing the FO (who is almost certainly less experienced) to fly the approach frees up the Captain to monitor the approach and is probably a safer option
I cannot see the logic behind that statement. If it is OK for the F/O to fly the approach even if he is certainly less experienced, then presumably it takes little skill. Then why are captains who fly the approach flying into the ground? Surely monitoring the approach takes no great skill either - after all the captain is not directing the F/O what to do like turn left here, slow down here, speed up here, lower the flaps now. All the captain does is watch and shut up.
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Old 7th Dec 2007, 03:16
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Originally Posted by BelArgUSA
And, Tee Emm - just say "Yessir" to your simulator instructor... and do as he says.
I really wish someone would have given me that advice earlier in my career...
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