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Fog @ LHR - Why Only Some Delays?  
User currently offlineTreeny From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2005, 319 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 4 months 18 hours ago) and read 2754 times:

Hi All

OK I am going to look pretty stupid here but aviation fascinates me and there is a question I would love to know the answer to just for my own knowledge.

LHR is having issues with freezing fog with the possibility of up to 350 flights being cancelled (Taken from the Sun Newspaper).

I have two questions about this:-

1. With all the technology available today such as ground radar, lights, ILS for landings and all the rest why are there delays and cancelations? I had always (as it seems now wrongly) assumed that fog was just an occupational hazard but couldnt affect things due, as I say to technological advances?

2. Why can BA longhaul but not shorthaul take off and land? The technology must work otherwise they wouldnt take off or land....... assuming this is the case do longhaul flights in situations like this always have priority over slots etc that are available at the expense of domestic flights?

I guess my second question could be answered as YES because last week there were major ATC issues in Brazil and the longhaul wasnt disrupted everso much compared to shorthaul.

Any feedback on this would be great - its just a scenario of air travel I have never understood.

Thanks to you all and Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year

Mark

P:S I do realise of course that fog can cause desruption, what I am asking for is why it causes so much chaos.

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineV2fix From New Zealand, joined Mar 2003, 368 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (7 years 4 months 18 hours ago) and read 2735 times:

In answer to your questions:

[1] Local ground radar is effective and installed but ATC always like to do visual checks - especially at such a busy airport like LHR with over 1,500 individual movements per day.

Things are complicated at the moment as various taxiways, which would normally provide additonal capacity for movements, are closed for refurbishments or rebuilding.

[2] Short Haul flights are cancelled in preference to Long Haul as the number of passengers impacted is less. Short Haul UK passengers can use other modes of transport (train, car, bus) to get to destinations. With Long Haul there is no other option - hence these tend to be the last to be cancelled in such cicrumstances.

Hope this helps.



742; 744; DC10, DC3, 321, 320, 319, 170,190, 772, 773,333, 346, 343
User currently offlineVV701 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 7258 posts, RR: 17
Reply 2, posted (7 years 4 months 18 hours ago) and read 2724 times:

Air Traffic Control is doubling GROUND separation in case of on ground crashes. This is severely reducing the number of movements.

The airlines believe their passengers on domestic flights are more likely to be able to make alternative arrangements to reach their destination than those on European flights while there is no alternative for long distinance passengers. Further while a flight to Sydney will not return to LHR for several days one to Glasgow will be back at LHR three or four hours after departure to add to the congestion at LHR.

From an economic perspective a (small) 319 does not earn as much as a (big) 747 because ot does not carry as many passengers or have First Class and Club World. From a logistics perspective a (small) 319 does not move as many passengers out of the terminal as a (big) 747. So if you have one instead of two slots you use the biggest aircraft.


User currently offlineBennett123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7210 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (7 years 4 months 18 hours ago) and read 2724 times:

I would try to use another source.

The Sun's main claim to fame is that it was the first "newspaper" to have pictures of girls with big chests on Page 3.  Wink


User currently offlineZRH From Switzerland, joined Nov 1999, 5564 posts, RR: 37
Reply 4, posted (7 years 4 months 18 hours ago) and read 2699 times:

Modern aircrafts can land and take-off in heavy fog (of course depending on the airport and crew etc.). But separation in the air and on the ground must be bigger. Therefore the capacity of the airport is restricted, less slots. So the short-haul flights are cancelled and others have delays.

User currently offlineTreeny From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2005, 319 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 4 months 18 hours ago) and read 2683 times:

Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 3):
I would try to use another source.

The Sun's main claim to fame is that it was the first "newspaper" to have pictures of girls with big chests on Page 3.

HAHAHA Never a truer word spoken - plus being native english I should have known better!!

I just used that to try and quote something and show the seriousness of the delays.

So are we saying here then that at LHR (and I supose many aiports) even though with all the technology and modern age equipment, ATC STILL prefer the human eye and go to the side of caution rather leaving the work to the computer?

My thanks to the responses for my second question - all is clear now with regards to that one.

Cheers

Mark


User currently offlineANstar From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2003, 5080 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (7 years 4 months 17 hours ago) and read 2594 times:

Quoting Treeny (Reply 5):
So are we saying here then that at LHR (and I supose many aiports) even though with all the technology and modern age equipment, ATC STILL prefer the human eye and go to the side of caution rather leaving the work to the computer?

I'm not sure LHR have any cutting edge technology to avoid ground collisions?

The problems isn't landing - it is the congestion on the ground.


User currently offlineWrighbrothers From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 1875 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (7 years 4 months 17 hours ago) and read 2575 times:

Quoting ANstar (Reply 6):
I'm not sure LHR have any cutting edge technology to avoid ground collisions?

Once they're off the runway, yes, there's nothing to stop aircrafts coliding into each other bar human eye.

Quoting V2fix (Reply 1):
[2] Short Haul flights are cancelled in preference to Long Haul as the number of passengers impacted is less. Short Haul UK passengers can use other modes of transport (train, car, bus) to get to destinations. With Long Haul there is no other option - hence these tend to be the last to be cancelled in such cicrumstances.

Indeed, also remember that big 747 and 777's take up a lot more room, since BA are having to park aircrafts up and that crew hours are more likely to run out on L/H rather than S/H.

wrighbrothers



Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
User currently offlineLeezyjet From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 4041 posts, RR: 54
Reply 8, posted (7 years 4 months 17 hours ago) and read 2575 times:

Quoting Treeny (Reply 5):
So are we saying here then that at LHR (and I supose many aiports) even though with all the technology and modern age equipment, ATC STILL prefer the human eye and go to the side of caution rather leaving the work to the computer?

With all the advances in technology in aviation, we have gone from CAT0 to CATIII, and from 15k PC's to 4ghz Pentium thingumy bobs, from piston power to turbofan power, from clockwork gauges to digital glass thingys yet we are all still working on the Mk1 Human Eyeball.

Until the Mk2 Human Eyeball comes out that has infrared and nightvision capabilities, (oh and maybe a little x-ray vision for looking at the ladies  Wink ) then fog delays are here to stay !!.

Quoting Treeny (Thread starter):
2. Why can BA longhaul but not shorthaul take off and land? The technology must work otherwise they wouldnt take off or land....... assuming this is the case do longhaul flights in situations like this always have priority over slots etc that are available at the expense of domestic flights?

It is also a crewing and a/c issue as well. BA shorthaul crews and a/c are usually back in LHR on an evening. Normally in a major delay situation the short hauls get combined or canned to ensure that the a/c and crew are in the correct places at the end of the day so the following days operation is pretty much close to normal. The problem at the moment is because of the time of year, and the length of time the fog has been around for has meant that it has been near on impossible to shift people out. Normally the flights wouldn't be so full so it would be fairly easy to get people out with-in a day or so by re-booking them, but as all the flights are pretty much full, the airline and the passengers are pretty screwed at the moment !.

Quoting VV701 (Reply 2):
From an economic perspective a (small) 319 does not earn as much as a (big) 747 because ot does not carry as many passengers or have First Class and Club World.

Also the l/haul flights carry a sh!t load of cargo which brings in a decent amount of revenue too whereas the shorthauls don't carry that much.

 Smile



"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
User currently offlineTom12 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2005, 1078 posts, RR: 13
Reply 9, posted (7 years 4 months 17 hours ago) and read 2557 times:

Quoting V2fix (Reply 1):
Short Haul flights are cancelled in preference to Long Haul as the number of passengers impacted is less. Short Haul UK passengers can use other modes of transport (train, car, bus) to get to destinations

This will be the reason that flights to Brussels and France, Germany and tyhings are also cancelled as it is relativly simple to get a train to these locations?

Tom



"Per noctem volamus" - Royal Air Force Bomber Squadron IX
User currently offlinePlanesarecool From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 4119 posts, RR: 11
Reply 10, posted (7 years 4 months 17 hours ago) and read 2504 times:

Also, arriving aircraft need more time to locate where they are to vacate the runway. I've seen aircraft going around after the preceeding aircraft missed their exit many times under clear conditions, and when you can only see a few hundred metres in front of you it would be a lot more challenging.

User currently offlineABC9 From Ireland, joined May 2006, 203 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (7 years 4 months 16 hours ago) and read 2422 times:

Quoting Planesarecool (Reply 10):
Also, arriving aircraft need more time to locate where they are to vacate the runway. I've seen aircraft going around after the preceeding aircraft missed their exit many times under clear conditions, and when you can only see a few hundred metres in front of you it would be a lot more challenging.

Heard the manager of LHR on the radio this morning - he said that LHR normally caters for 42 aircraft landings per hour, but due to the need for larger separations, this figure has been halved in the current weather. Needless to say there are so many knock-on affects. Have a friend currently making his way (by surface) from London to Manchester hoping to get a flight to Dublin this evening. His flight from LCY was cancelled. I've read nothing on here about how operations there are affected but assume it's in a similar situation to LHR (only with a lot less disgruntled passengers).


User currently offlineLHR777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (7 years 4 months 8 hours ago) and read 2244 times:

50% reduction in arrival/departure flow rate = 50% of the flying program needs to be cut, or thereabouts.

At BA, we've cancelled UK domestic, as the destinations (GLA, EDI, ABZ, NCL, MAN) can all be reached by alternate methods - rail or road. We've cancelled CDG and BRU too, as these can be reached by Eurostar. We're operating BA coaches from LHR to the 5 BA UK destinations.

For Friday, we're planning to use 747/777 equipment for some shorthaul services, to CPH, MAD, GVA and FRA. This will allow us to offer many more seats than on the usual A319/320-operated services.

Terribly sorry about the delays/cancellations for our customers. Unfortunately, airlines don't control the weather, contrary to popular belief!


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13045 posts, RR: 78
Reply 13, posted (7 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2102 times:

To add to LHR777's post, many BA staff are helping out in the Terminals, including senior managers.
The sheer size of the BA presence at LHR, means it tgakes the biggest hit, though in this case, only on domestic and shorthaul, as stated, some widebodies are being used to some European routes.

Myself, the last time I can remember fog this thick, but not as long lasting over both the hours and over days, was in 1989 when G-AWNO due to a range of avionic and crew issues, nearly landed on the adjacent A4 road, where it is parallel to the Northern runway.
But that was just for one day, I live very near LHR, it is 13.25 now, still very foggy, I can never remember it this bad, and I've lived around here for nearly all my life.

BCAL reminded us in a related thread, of the Trident's pioneering work on autoland, 40 years ago.
But of course, the airport and air traffic generally , was far less congested than today.


User currently offlineTonforty From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 69 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (7 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2066 times:

I heard on the news last night that BA were using some widebodies on shorthaul/domestic routes to try and help. I believe they flew a 744 LGW-EDI yesterday.

User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 20
Reply 15, posted (7 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 1975 times:
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Quoting Tonforty (Reply 14):
I heard on the news last night that BA were using some widebodies on shorthaul/domestic routes to try and help. I believe they flew a 744 LGW-EDI yesterday.

It's the sensible thing to do, it's the only way of reducing the backlog of passengers who are lucky enough to get on a flight. The fog is really bad and as GDB pointed out, it's not going away, it started on wednesday and will continue into the weekend.



In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offlineAirbusA346 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2004, 7437 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (7 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1925 times:

Quoting VV701 (Reply 2):

Well aren't BA going to be using 777 and 747 on short-haul ops for the next few days?

Tom.



Tom Walker '086' First Officer of a A318/A319 for Air Lambert - Hours Flown: 17 hour 05 minutes (last updated 24/12/05).
User currently offlineTheginge From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 1126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (7 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1846 times:

They are using a 747-400 on a Madrid route today. Unfortunatly BA don;t have enough long haul planes to be able to spare more than 1 or 2 aircraft to do shorthaul, otherwise there would be more shorthaul flights being operated by heavy equipment.

User currently offlinePlanesarecool From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 4119 posts, RR: 11
Reply 18, posted (7 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 1757 times:

Quoting Theginge (Reply 17):
They are using a 747-400 on a Madrid route today. Unfortunatly BA don;t have enough long haul planes to be able to spare more than 1 or 2 aircraft to do shorthaul, otherwise there would be more shorthaul flights being operated by heavy equipment.

They had plenty of long haul aircraft which could have operated short haul. The bigger problem was getting crew to operate them, and ensuring they finished up in the right place at the right time (including the right terminal).

On top of everything, BA have obviously made other arrangements for the other short haul destinations that were cancelled (buses on domestic, filling other flights for internationals), so the use of long haul aircraft wasn't deemed necessary. If only one flight to, say, Milan Linate was cancelled, then they aren't going to need a B747-400 to take those passengers.


User currently offlineTheginge From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 1126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (7 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 1738 times:

They have plenty of long haul aircraft but not enough spare, that is what I am trying to say. As said above getting the crews would also be a problem.

Operating a short haul flight with a long hauler is not as simple as just doing it at the moment as once it gets to say Madrid to come back to LHR it would then get a 2 hour slot delay due to the arrival resrictions. This means that the aircraft would be away a lot longer than normal so that has to be considered as well.


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