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Are Canadian Minimums Unsafe?  
User currently offlineYYZYYT From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 977 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2248 times:

The Toronto Star (a large daily, for those not from Toronto) has made some serious allegations about Canada having "lax" standards for minimum visibility at its airports - it suggests that the minimums (1200 feet) are less than the US or UK (suggested to be 1800p feet or 2400 feet).

Now don't get me wrong - I know that air travel is pretty much the safest form of travel that there is;
and that the newspaper is in the business of selling newpaper by sensationalism (such as references to unsafe landings made by Jetsgo);
and that such articles and "exposees" come out frequently and are usually crap;
and that the idea of pilots landing blind into fog ignores the many modern fetaures that held guide aircraft...

But, unlikle many of these artices, they do have a specific example that sounds reasonable - especially if Air Canada voluntarily enforces a more stringent standard voluntarily and if the ALPA endorses the changes proposed..

Is it true that AC sets its own rules, and requires more runway?
is the 1200 foot rule unsafe?
Any comments out there from ATC or pilots greatly appreciated.

As someone who frequently flies into YYT, via YHZ or YQM, I can see how increasing the minimums could severly impact flight operations given that fog is a common occurence at all three.

the article:

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Con...geid=968332188774&col=968350116467

(edit for spelling - bad me)

[Edited 2006-06-14 18:21:40]

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMCOflyer From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 8683 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2229 times:

It depends. I've flown as a pax into airports using PGA, or precision guided approach, or you can do ILS. When US flew the diesel nines into ELM, we had min. weather all the time. I remember going through clouds 100-500ft above the runway. So, yes there safe as long as you're safe. I recall an article being written by R.Peck for AIRWAYS about minimums.

If i'm wrong about the PGA, or ILS, someone please correct me.

MCOflyer



Never be afraid to stand up for who you are.
User currently offlineJayce From Canada, joined Nov 1999, 520 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 2169 times:

I'm guessing the 1200 feet is in reference to RVR (Runway Visual Range), which equates to 1/4 mile visibility. When I'm flying the ILS and I reach DH (Decision Height), I execute a missed approach if we're not visual by that point, regardless of what the RVR says.


"Trying is the first step towards failure" -Homer Simpson
User currently offlineLnglive1011yyz From Canada, joined Oct 2003, 1608 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2109 times:

Quoting YYZYYT (Thread starter):
The Toronto Star (a large daily, for those not from Toronto) has made some serious allegations about Canada having "lax" standards for minimum visibility at its airports - it suggests that the minimums (1200 feet) are less than the US or UK (suggested to be 1800p feet or 2400 feet).

I've been reading the same article, which now has been a continuing saga for the last few weeks..

While I find that some of their concerns are warranted, I also believe that they're aiming for the "oh my god" factor... After all, media is media.

1011yyz



Pack your bags, we're going on a sympathy trip!
User currently offlineYYZYYT From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 977 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2086 times:

Quoting Lnglive1011yyz (Reply 3):
While I find that some of their concerns are warranted, I also believe that they're aiming for the "oh my god" factor... After all, media is media.

No question.

I like the logic in the article:
1200 feet at typical landing speeds = 5-6 seconds visibility ahead = the pilot has 5 to 6 seconds to locate the runway ahead of him/her = not enough time for pilot to ensure plane is on centre line = hazardous because many airports in Canada do NOT have centre runway lights = that's why Jetsgo landed to left of Runway in Calgary several years ago = WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!
(= buy this newspaper)

what got my attention was the fact that AC is voluntarily setting a more strict minimum, which could put it an an operational disadvantage... this tells me that there may be some concern to the larger point.


User currently offlineMrChips From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 936 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2064 times:

Quoting YYZYYT (Reply 4):
No question.

I like the logic in the article:
1200 feet at typical landing speeds = 5-6 seconds visibility ahead = the pilot has 5 to 6 seconds to locate the runway ahead of him/her = not enough time for pilot to ensure plane is on centre line = hazardous because many airports in Canada do NOT have centre runway lights = that's why Jetsgo landed to left of Runway in Calgary several years ago = WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!
(= buy this newspaper)

what got my attention was the fact that AC is voluntarily setting a more strict minimum, which could put it an an operational disadvantage... this tells me that there may be some concern to the larger point.

The logic is flawed in that article indeed. You don't need centerline lighting for a safe landing - following the localizer with precision is all you really need.

Also, I notice in the media (and a lot of people here on A.net) seem to think that if you are flying an approach, you are completely committed to land the aircraft no matter what happens. In reality, you are not committed to land the aircraft until either spoilers have been deplowed or reverse thrust has been applied (depending on which airline we're talking about). In smaller aircraft, you really are not committed to land at any time, as you can easily add power and go around in most situations. When I fly an instrument approach, I give myself a progressively smaller envelope from which I can salvage the approach, down to 500' AGL, where the envelope is very small indeed. If at any time I find myself outside this envelope, I immediately conduct a missed approach.

And as for the more strict minimum, almost every air operator in Canada has something like that - the operator sets their own guidelines and restrictions on the advice of their insurance company and on that of the regulator (Transport Canada). These are then enforced by Transport Canada as part of the Canadian Aviation Regulations.



Time...to un-pimp...ze auto!
User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 5061 posts, RR: 43
Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1970 times:

Let's face it, has the Toronto Star ever written anything with respect to aviation that was even remotely accurate? ... Why would they start now?

Quoting MrChips (Reply 5):
The logic is flawed in that article indeed. You don't need centerline lighting for a safe landing - following the localizer with precision is all you really need.

You've never landed in RVR1200/600 with a 50' DH have you?

Your concept works well with a public decision height of 200' AGL, but most airlines work with much lower minima, even down to, in some cares, NO decision height.

Air Canada's "low visibility approach" criteria are far stricter than what is required by Transport Canada, and in alot of cases, more strict than most other airlines in Canada. These criteria start at RVR4000, and as the RVR decreases, the requirements become more strict.

As the RVR decreases, things like centerline lighting, or centerline marking become a requirement, as well as certain approach lighting systems. Ditto for autoland systems, (and their required runways), certain crew training, and aircraft capabilities. Right down to RVR 1200/600 where it is all required! And ... when you land a 100,000 Kg aircraft at 145 knots with no decision height with visibility at 1200', you'll understand why.

Why does Air Canada do this? Simply because its safer.

Remember that Transport Canada, (and the FAA, JAA, etc) set the rules to the lowest common denominator. Namely a new IFR pilot, in his/her Piper Aztec, flying to 200' AGL. It is very difficult to apply the standards to one set of aircraft capabilities, when so many different are flying.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlinePhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1957 times:

Quoting MrChips (Reply 5):
The logic is flawed in that article indeed. You don't need centerline lighting for a safe landing - following the localizer with precision is all you really need.

You're not serious are you???????


User currently offlineMrChips From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 936 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 1912 times:

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 6):

You've never landed in RVR1200/600 with a 50' DH have you?

Your concept works well with a public decision height of 200' AGL, but most airlines work with much lower minima, even down to, in some cares, NO decision height.

No I haven't, because I don't fly in an operation that allows reduced decision heights or visibilities, or in aircraft that are even remotely capable of such things.

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 7):
You're not serious are you???????

I was referring to the operation in which I fly, where our limits are generally 200' DH and an RVR of 2400. As stated above, we (the royal we, I guess) are prohibited from performing any approaches beyond these numbers according to our POC.

In the cases where I have actually needed to fly to minimums, I found little to no difficulty maintaining centerline, even with the runway markings obscured by snow.

I hope I did not come across looking like I was commenting on reduced minimums opreations, I was just commenting on what I have gathered thusfar from my admittedly limited experience.



Time...to un-pimp...ze auto!
User currently offlinePhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1758 times:

Quoting MrChips (Reply 8):
In the cases where I have actually needed to fly to minimums, I found little to no difficulty maintaining centerline, even with the runway markings obscured by snow.

I don't know what aircraft you're flying, but CL lighting is one of the more important things for me. I don't care about CL markings or anything else, but for me the CL is indespensible.


User currently offlineMrChips From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 936 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1653 times:

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 9):
I don't know what aircraft you're flying, but CL lighting is one of the more important things for me. I don't care about CL markings or anything else, but for me the CL is indespensible.

One thing I forgot to mention that may play a part in what I said - I've never even flown into an airport with centerline lighting - even YYC and YEG, the two major airports here in Alberta, don't have it.

And in case you're interested, I fly a Cessna 340A.

[Edited 2006-06-15 21:21:46]


Time...to un-pimp...ze auto!
User currently offlineEnviroTO From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 828 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1579 times:

I can remember being on a Canadian Regional flight into YXU in 1998 on an ATR42 on a foggy night and remember we were about to land on the one runway which has ILS and the engines went up to full power and we did a go around. The pilot mentioned that we were about 10 ft off the ground and he couldn't see the runway lights so he would try again and if the visibility didn't co-operate we would head back to YYZ. He landed on the second attempt but even on the ground you could barely see past the runway lights and it was a very slow taxi to the terminal. I was flying CP every week and I can recall more than one instance when weather was sending Air Ontario schedules into termoil especially with their connections in YYZ but CP was still moving. A little scarier now knowing they were using ATR42s and the icing problems that were found to exist... although I suppose aduquate de-icing would deal with the issue as long as there wasn't freezing rain. I wonder if the AC imposed minimums existed and applied to Air Ontario at that time and it in part explains why Canadian Regional was able to keep things moving.

User currently offlineLongHauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 5061 posts, RR: 43
Reply 12, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 1520 times:

Quoting EnviroTO (Reply 11):
I wonder if the AC imposed minimums existed and applied to Air Ontario at that time and it in part explains why Canadian Regional was able to keep things moving.

No. Air Canada's standards and procedures are unique to Air Canada, as it operated under a different Operating Certificate than Air Ontario.

And just to keep the record straight, Canadian Regional had a better safety record than either Air Canada or Air Ontario. And, no, I had nothing to do with Canadian Regional.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21730 posts, RR: 55
Reply 13, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 1500 times:

Quoting Jayce (Reply 2):
I'm guessing the 1200 feet is in reference to RVR (Runway Visual Range), which equates to 1/4 mile visibility. When I'm flying the ILS and I reach DH (Decision Height), I execute a missed approach if we're not visual by that point, regardless of what the RVR says.

Which is pretty much the issue. RVR is not a factor that determines whether a plane can land or not - it only determines whether a plane can start an approach. Once the plane is on the approach, it's the decision height that counts. It doesn't matter if the visibility is nil or unrestricted - if you don't see the runway at decision height, you're going around.

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 9):
I don't know what aircraft you're flying, but CL lighting is one of the more important things for me. I don't care about CL markings or anything else, but for me the CL is indespensible.

I've never had trouble landing without centerline lighting, even at CatI minimums. Once the minimums got lower than that, I'd want to have it (and I may be wrong on this, but I think it's required for CatII or CatIII approaches). But, like MrChips, I've never flown into an airport with centerline lighting, and I've had no problems landing.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineEnviroTO From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 828 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 1413 times:

Quoting LongHauler (Reply 12):

And just to keep the record straight, Canadian Regional had a better safety record than either Air Canada or Air Ontario.

I never had problems with them and flew CP exclusively back then (quite a few CP codeshares with AA too). I flew Canadian Regional into YXU for two years with two flights a week. The airport at YXU is so small that the check-in agent would see me out the window parking my car in the lot and would print up my boarding passes and prepare baggage tickets before I even reached the door. I miss those days.


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