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UPS cargo crash near Birmingham AL

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UPS cargo crash near Birmingham AL

Old 3rd Feb 2014, 15:14
  #981 (permalink)  
 
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This requirement in Chapter 4 of the FAA ATC handbook doesn't appear to let ATC off the hook:

Where MEAs have not been established, clear an aircraft at or above the minimum altitude for IFR operations prescribed by 14 CFR Section 91.177.
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Old 3rd Feb 2014, 15:28
  #982 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by aterpster View Post
What's the limit? I don't have a clue. I thought Part 135 is common in Alaska for on-demand transport of people.
I thought it was 19 passengers, but now that you ask, I'm not so sure. It may be different for on-demand than scheduled. IIRC 19 used to be the magic number for scheduled operations. But then the rules changed for "one level of safety" All the passenger 1900's (19 pax, I believe) I know of are being operated under Part 121.
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Old 3rd Feb 2014, 15:49
  #983 (permalink)  
 
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Research flying frequently calls for terrain profiling at 1,000' AGL (in a four engine jet). We always have to negotiate with ATC to go lower than their MVA or MIA, as they are concerned about terrain/obstacle clearance. Frequently, a VFR clearance with flight following to save the IFR clearance for a later pop-up to altitude is necessary. This also gets them off the hook for terrain and obstacles. Even though VFR, they are still concerned about antennas in our path of flight (when we're still in radar contact that low).

The worst places for ATC clearances to avoid terrain for me in the past have been the Middle East and South America. The last time I was in Chile, the situation did seem to improve, though.

Regardless of where I am, I never completely defer to ATC keeping me clear of the terrain. More than ever before, the technology exists today to be self-reliant in that regard.
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Old 3rd Feb 2014, 16:41
  #984 (permalink)  
 
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@ capn bloggs:

If a private company had that policy/did that, they'd have their backsides sued-off in a flash.
Might want to read some of that fine-print legalese in your cell-phone contract, or when you accept/agree the license to run software on your computer.

No question, though, that there exists a crack in the system. For MOST flights, it is never a factor - but this crew (and TWA 514) both fell through it, 39 years apart.
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Old 3rd Feb 2014, 17:04
  #985 (permalink)  
 
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aterspter,


Re sending me the charts - yes please.
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Old 3rd Feb 2014, 19:26
  #986 (permalink)  
 
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Actually, FAR Part 135:

Titled "Operating Requirements: Commuter and On Demand Operations and Rules Governing Persons On Board Such Aircraft," and applies to turbojet engine powered aircraft with 1-30 seats, non-transport category turbo-propeller powered aircraft with 10-19 seats, and transport category turbo props with 20-30 seats.
Part 121 and Part 135 are Operating Rule parts ... it is Part 119 that governs the certification of these operations.
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Old 3rd Feb 2014, 21:07
  #987 (permalink)  
 
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**editorial question: is "maintain at or above" a specific altitude instruction?
I would think that such a direction would be wholly dependent on 2 things: first, where the airplane IS; and second, the minimum safe altitude for that location. I would presume that the minimum safe altitudes (including whatever that might be for the area, and where they would be safe/legal to be at the minimum altitude referenced), would be available to the flight crew somewhere in their information on the destination airport.
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Old 7th Feb 2014, 16:35
  #988 (permalink)  
 
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Here is most of the FAA's MVA chart for the Salt Lake City area. There is no possible way a pilot can maintain situational awareness with respect to the terrain, especially on a vector to the north ILS's.

Situational awareness with respect to the assigned ILS, yes. With respect to the terrain, no.

Those who have TAWS are fortunate and should have it displayed in an FAA terminal area like this one.

Other countries keep them simpler than our friendly FAA.

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Old 7th Feb 2014, 20:37
  #989 (permalink)  
 
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Danger

aterpster I don’t mean to get into a nit-picking exchange of details and, of course, no one should be overly critical of anyone without knowing ALL the facts – and in an airplane accident, there are very few who really do KNOW all the facts. In this specific case, it seems that you want to point at the controllers for not giving more specific instructions – or – that the instructions that were given were not the instructions you think should have been given. Hind-sight is usually better than facing a situation new to you … and, apparently the FAA has previously agreed that some changes in directions/clearances had to be made. As far as I know, those have been made.

Now, with respect to your posts, I can say that, while I’ve never been to Dillingham, it appears that the approach plate for the RNAV (GPS) approach to RWY 19 at the Dillingham Airport, Alaska, shows that the minimum safe altitudes within 30 NM of the ZEDAG intersection – are as follows: from the northwest (282 deg bearing from that intersection) clockwise to the southeast, (102 deg bearing from that intersection) the minimum safe altitude is 4300 ft within 4 NM and is 6300 ft from 4 NM out to 30 NM … and from the southeast (102 deg bearing from ZEDAG) clockwise back around to the northwest (282 deg bearing from ZEDAG), the minimum safe altitude is 5400 ft all the way out to 30 NM. Within the holding pattern (192 degrees inbound and 012 degrees outbound from that intersection, with 5 mile legs) the minimum safe altitude is 4300 feet – BUT in looking at the chart, it could be that, when you get outside of 4NM outbound from ZEDAG and apparently still in the holding pattern (as the holding pattern appears to extend to 5 NM) which would place the airplane 1 NM outside of the 4 NM limit for MSA of 4300 ft. the minimum safe altitude jumps to 6300 feet. (My guess is that when established IN the Holding Pattern, the 4300 ft would provide safe obstacle clearance.) However, it is clear that when established on the final approach course for Runway 19, ON the 192 degree radial after passing ZEDAG, inbound to the runway, on the approach to RWY 19, the minimum safe altitude is 1900 feet until reaching the final approach fix at FIXUV. Once passing that FAF, the minimum descent altitude is 540 feet – unless you desire to circle, in which case, the MDA would be 600 feet. After saying all of the above, if the instruction given to the crew was “…proceed direct to the Initial Approach Fix (IAF) to begin the approach, and to maintain an altitude of 2,000 feet or above…” I would think it would be appropriate to maintain the MSA as indicated on the chart (i.e., 4300 ft. inside of 4 NM and 6300 ft. between 4 and 30 NM), or 2000 feet, which ever was greater, depending on the location of the airplane (and I've been presuming the airplane was essentially north of the airport) and then ... when established on the final approach course inside the FAF ... the minimum altitudes on that final approach would apply.

With respect to your other post regarding SLC, it appears that after taking a quick glance at the approach plate for RWY 17 into SLC, it appears that the minimum safe altitude within 25 NM in all directions (360 degrees) from Runway 17 is 13,000 feet. Of course there are specific altitudes listed on the approach charts that are lower than that 13,000 MSA, provided you are established on an identifiable instrument bearing – either from Ogden UT or somewhere on the final approach course. Essentially the same kinds of restrictions and limits are clearly printed on the chart for this airport as for Dillingham. Of course, SLC is at a much higher field elevation, but a similar set of instructions as those you criticized at Dillingham might say something like “…proceed direct to the Initial Approach Fix (IAF) to begin the approach, and maintain an altitude of 6,000 feet or above…” I wouldn’t think that the amount of traffic handled at SLC would ever allow such a set of circumstances, but, as in Dillingham, such an instruction would tell me to maintain whatever was the MSA for where I was located within 25 miles of the landing runway – that would be a minimum of 13,000 feet - until I was ON the final approach course and THEN, once getting to the FAF, I could descend to 6000 feet – which is the FAF crossing altitude – which happens to be a hundred feet lower than the instruction given to the Dillingham accident crew … which, you recall, was 2000 feet (or MSA) until reaching the FAF, where the crossing altitude for that fix is published as 1900 feet.
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Old 7th Feb 2014, 21:22
  #990 (permalink)  
 
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AirRabbit:

SLC: It is a busy place. If you don't descend when told to on radar vectors you will have problems with the FAA. If you think you can maintain situational awareness at SLC without TAWS, I envy you that special insight.

Dillingham: I have stated more than once the crew had ample information to refuse the air traffic "bait." Shame on them. Nonetheless, an altitude assignment below MIA is a fundamental error on the part of the controller. Let's agree to disagree on that one until the NTSB final report is issued at some future time.
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Old 7th Feb 2014, 22:12
  #991 (permalink)  
 
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when I was saving up money for my first flying lessons ( or nearly so) there had been a number of tragic CFITS all caused by pilots NOT keeping situational awareness and BLINDLY following ATC instructions or situations of not understanding TERRAIN AWARENESS.

I remember one light plane vectored into the mountains near burbank, ca.

one near salinas ca.

dean martin (singer) 's son flying an F4 into a mountain range near Palm Springs

Frank Sinatra's mother killed while flying in a chartered (guess) Lear taking off out of palm springs

and the big daddy, the TWA flight near DULLES . Aterptster knows that one.


One must know where one is.

One must know where the terrain is.


There are many ways to do this and it is effort of the mind.
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Old 7th Feb 2014, 22:28
  #992 (permalink)  
 
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aterpster
I’m fully aware of how busy SLC can become but I am not at all in agreement that the Dillingham accident crew was issued an instruction to “descend to 2000 feet.” As I understand what has been provided, is it not true that the ATC Controller instructed the crew to proceed to the Dillingham IAF and to maintain 2000 feet or above? Did you not ask whether or not "maintain at or above" was a specific altitude instruction? The answer to that question is that it cannot be a “specific altitude instruction,” and that is simply because there is no instruction to maintain a specific altitude. Instead it is an instruction to not descend below that stated altitude. So, does that give the pilot the impression that descent to that stated altitude is permitted? If you think it does, then how do you understand the “or above” portion? Any instruction to NOT do a specific thing is not an instruction to DO any specific thing – it is only what it is. I think it’s a mistake to interpret that statement any other way. I do not know where that accident airplane was located, nor do I know at what altitude they were at when that ATC instruction was issued. But regardless, it seems to me that it would be appropriate that the flight crew would have maintained the MSA for their position, whatever position that was at the time, and whatever position they traveled to, until such time as they reached the point to which they were directed to fly – and, then, at that time, they could have descended to the 2000 ft. altitude or the altitude minimums for their existing position for that approach.
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Old 7th Feb 2014, 23:16
  #993 (permalink)  
 
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AirRabbit:

As I said, let's agree to disagree pending the final report for Dillingham.

In all my years of flying I have never been issued an "at or above" clearance except for a climb or descent restriction.

I posted the SLC MVA chart to show how complex the FAA makes such charts in mountainous areas. If you have flown international you have seen Jepp's reproduction of MVA charts for countries that make them public. None are as nearly complex as that SLC MVA chart.
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Old 7th Feb 2014, 23:59
  #994 (permalink)  
 
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glendalegoon:


nd the big daddy, the TWA flight near DULLES . Aterptster knows that one.
Indeed I do. It caused me a year of heartburn.

Except for TWA 514 and Palm Springs, ATC screwed the pooch then the pilot or pilots did not have adequate terrain awareness. Same for Dillingham, the clearance violates the ATC handbook so far as I have understood it for many years.

But, when being vectored on one of the south to north ILS's at SLC, especially from the east, no pilot can fine tune his terrain awareness to be aware of whether he is safe being given one lower altitude after another in short order. I flew the 727 often from Denver to SLC after dark. Dark is dark, stormy or not. The equipment in those 727s was primitive compared to what the airline folks have today. TAWS and TCAS has made saves we will never know about.
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Old 8th Feb 2014, 03:50
  #995 (permalink)  
 
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I posted the SLC MVA chart to show how complex the FAA makes such charts in mountainous areas.
So let's simplify them, remove detail and information that might be useful once in a great while.

Just so we don't overload pilots with excess information.

complex charts in mountainous areas
If we remove your obvious anti-FAA bias, we have a perfectly reasonable statement.

I have a lot of respect for your opinion, but I'd like to ask you to look at this again.
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Old 8th Feb 2014, 08:24
  #996 (permalink)  
 
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I have been trying to find and post an example of the radar vectoring charts we used which were produced by Aerad in the 1970s. I flew for BOAC and then BA. The problem we faced at that time on world-wide routes was that, as radar vectoring became more prevalent around the world, we could never be sure how well these would be used in the many countries we flew to in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.


Yes - as radar vectoring became more common, the rules required radar vectoring minimum altitudes to be established for ATC to use - but on what criteria had the areas and altitudes been constructed? Also, as Aterpster has shown the charts used by ATC are extremely complicated and unsuitable for pilots to use in the air. The next problem was, even if the charts and procedures were well designed, would the ATCO on the day use them properly?


I know I found on two occasions I was not radar vectored safely, and I also experienced other dubious clearances. My colleagues, at that time, also experienced similar unsafe clearances and vectors. When safely established on an airway or SID or STAR, it is easy to check the associated MSA for the segment being flown. But when being radar vectored off established routes it was almost impossible. Yes, one could use the Sector Safe Altitudes on the approach plates but very often these were too crude.


Therefore, we established with Aerad the specifications for radar vectoring charts. These showed a 'target pattern' based on the predominant VOR/DME showing radials and DME distance rings so that crews could keep a constant check of their position when being vectored off route. In green (the colour had to be different from terrain contour charts) the charts also depicted MSA envelopes using the airline's MSA criteria.


Thus, when using these charts, the crew could constantly check the relevant MSA against their position. This was not a perfect solution because sometimes our criteria conflicted with the ATC Minimum Vectoring Altitude criteria. But at least the crew had the means to remain safe when being vectored in some of the more 'dodgy' parts of the world to which we flew.


The world has moved on since I retired! Moving map displays, magenta lines(!) and TAWS, etc. should all have improved a pilot's ability to maintain situational awareness of position and proximity to high ground. Also, even in the times I am talking about, the FAA and most of Europe used good MVA criteria and trained their ATCOs well. But everyone can make a mistake at some time or another. It is absolutely essential for pilots to remain eternally vigilant.

Last edited by Bergerie1; 8th Feb 2014 at 08:38.
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Old 8th Feb 2014, 13:25
  #997 (permalink)  
 
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rottenray:

So let's simplify them, remove detail and information that might be useful once in a great while.

Just so we don't overload pilots with excess information.
We (principally me) found several years ago many FAA MVA charts were riddled with obstacle clearance errors because they were drawn up on sectional VFR charts (which lack sufficient terrain fidelity). That resulted in a sort of "shoot out at the OK Corral) but the problem got solved through a new terrain high fidelity automated system called SDAT.

As to simplifying them, that doesn't stand a snowball's chance in Hades. They also refuse to properly codify them in the FARs as IFR altitudes so they could be charted by Jeppesen and others and then even be available in moving map mode.

What is my FAA bias to you is, in fact, reality from working with the FAA for 40 years.
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Old 8th Feb 2014, 20:53
  #998 (permalink)  
 
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ok465:

Scroll down to FIG 4-8-2. Reference to Aircraft #2 in the example clearances. It appears this terminology is used now for off route to RNAV approach clearances....but one does have to get the 'at or above' number correct. (The example is somewhat simplistic and I may be missing your point.)
Check my post #1017. That example has been in there for many years.

"Cross at or above..." is far different than "maintain at or above."

Implicit in the example you cite is a prior clearance to maintain 5,000 or a higher altitude.
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Old 20th Feb 2014, 15:23
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NTSB hearing today in Washington.. There is a live feed of the investigation.

Last edited by tubby linton; 20th Feb 2014 at 15:51.
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Old 20th Feb 2014, 16:38
  #1000 (permalink)  
 
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Accident Docket

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