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Incidents At SFO  
User currently offlineRsrik From India, joined Oct 2008, 160 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 5422 times:

So...
I am flying SFO - NRT every month the past 6 months. On the last 2 occasions, I have witnessed one incident or the other. The first, and the more intersesting one, was when I was seated in row 29J of NW 332. We were waiting extra long for incoming traffic. A UA 747 had already lined up to land on runway 10R . He had crossed the San Mateo bridge when I was watching him, when he pitched the nose even, and kept going straight without showing any further signs of descending. It was clear he was aborting, but not why.... until a few seconds later, a UA 757 showed up (almost from nowhere) and lined into 10R in front of where the 747's path would have taken it. It was very interesting to watch, how something like this could happen on a clear sunny day. My theory is that the 757 should have been on 10L, and executed a parallel approach next to the 747, and that the pilot goofed off. Then again, my theories are called for nonsense pretty much every day.
Another time, I was sitting on 29A, while my NW 332 was parked in gate 9 (or some such), and saw a plane fly right over that area of the airport (which is not in the normal flying path of any planes) obviously another missed approach, on another clear day.
A third strange incident occured when I was driving on 101 right besides SFO. A UA A320 had taken off 10L (or at least it appeared like it had taken off), but it was quite low while passing 101, and still had its gear unretracted. By that point, aircraft would have LONG retracted gear, and will have flown considerably higher. This left me wondering what was up. A few seconds after passing 101 the gear pulled up and the plane kept going though. Perhaps another missed approach..?
So, for whatever all of this is worth... 3 incidents exactly at the time I was in or around SFO this past 3 months. Some of you will remind me that these are hardly incidents, considering how frequently they occur, so I should adjust my perspective to 'three occurences'.
Whatever said, I have never witnessed so many anomalies so frequently at SFO.
.... Sri

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSeattle ops From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 202 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5212 times:



Quoting Rsrik (Thread starter):
A UA 747 had already lined up to land on runway 10R . He had crossed the San Mateo bridge when I was watching him

If youre lining up for 10R you'd better not be over the bridge.


User currently offlineAaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 8153 posts, RR: 26
Reply 2, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5123 times:



Quoting Rsrik (Thread starter):
Whatever said, I have never witnessed so many anomalies so frequently at SFO.

Missed approaches occur with fairly high frequency at SFO due to the proximity of the runway centerlines on parallel approaches, as well as incoming traffic arriving while departures are occurring on crossing runways. There are also a few taxiway intersections that involve mixing traffic headed for runways with traffic departing runways on high-speed exits - they are charted as alert areas all pilots need to be aware of. More generally, arrivals and departures at SFO are heavily 'banked', so there are a few busy periods during the day with a fair bit of quiet in between.

Rest assured, crews familiar with SFO are well aware of the hazards particular to the airport and there's no 'goofing off'.

The third incident was definitely a missed approach. As for an aircraft overflying the NW international gates, it's unusual for a plane going missed to be in that location but the Tower may have sent them to the west for sequencing. There is no charted missed approach procedure for the visual approaches to 28L and R, so anything's possible.



If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
User currently offlineAS739X From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 6147 posts, RR: 23
Reply 3, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5124 times:

Sri, honestly none of these sound out of the ordinary. First your theory of the pilots goofing is slim to none. These are professional pilots from a major world airline, who also fly into SFO regularly being a hub for them. I'm not saying pilots don't make mistakes, but United pilots don't line up for the wrong runway at SFO on a clear day. Your first encounter sound like the 747 overtook the 757 which isn't allowed inside a certain point in which would change visual separation responsibilities, this is not allowed. The ATC possibly gave the 757 a side-step to clear 28L for something after the 747 went missed.

Your second while sitting on a plane at A-9 (which I have on flight NW 27). How could you call this in incident? You can't see anything from there. The plane made a go-around, so? Whats not normal?

The third, if you were on 101 he was departing 28L or R. The 10's take you over the bay towards Foster City. The A320 may have been a little late retracting the gear.

I think people who have reminded you these are not incidents are correct. I've worked at SFO for over 10 years and see go-arounds almost daily.

ASSFO



"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
User currently offlineAS739X From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 6147 posts, RR: 23
Reply 4, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5097 times:



Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 2):

And to second what Aaron is saying. Go-arounds on 28L while another plane is departing the 28's will be given a heading to 260* to off-set the runway. This will take it over the terminal area, this is normal though doesn't happen often.

ASSFO



"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6836 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5046 times:



Quoting Rsrik (Thread starter):
a few seconds later, a UA 757 showed up (almost from nowhere) and lined into 10R in front of where the 747's path would have taken it.

Well, yes, that would be unusual, all right. A 757 showing up almost from nowhere would be startling at any airport. So we're naturally wondering what actually happened, and we can't tell from your description. Maybe it was something extraordinary, but we assume not.


User currently offlineNorcal773 From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 1447 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5000 times:



Quoting Rsrik (Thread starter):
A UA 747 had already lined up to land on runway 10R . He had crossed the San Mateo bridge when I was watching him

You must have the wrong runway because an airplane lining up for 10R would not be anywhere near San Mateo bridge. My guess is it was 28L/R. Still sounds strange that the 744 aborted because I've seen a million parallel landings on the 28's at SFO.

Quoting Rsrik (Thread starter):
I was sitting on 29A, while my NW 332 was parked in gate 9 (or some such), and saw a plane fly right over that area of the airport (which is not in the normal flying path of any planes)

That is strange because knowing where gate 9 is, I wonder what runway the plane was supposed to be landing on.

Quoting Rsrik (Thread starter):
A UA A320 had taken off 10L (or at least it appeared like it had taken off), but it was quite low while passing 101,

Again, 10L/R won't take you over Highway 101, maybe the 28's.

Quoting AS739X (Reply 3):
Your first encounter sound like the 747 overtook the 757 which isn't allowed inside a certain point in which would change visual separation responsibilities, this is not allowed.

I was on an OZ 772 once lining up for 28L parallel to a UA 757 and we overtook the 757. You should have seen the shocked faces of passengers because they seem ooh soo close.  wink 



If you're going through hell, keep going
User currently offlineAS739X From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 6147 posts, RR: 23
Reply 7, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 4889 times:



Quoting Norcal773 (Reply 6):

Depending on how far out the planes are and airplane classification comes into play. But standard phrase from approach is "maintain visual seperation", which means if you pass the other a/c you can no longer maintain visual sepration since your in front of the other aircraft. If they have told a plane to maintain seperation and it passes the other plane, you and sometime both will be required to go missed approach. You can not change visual seperation responsibilities.

ASSFO



"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
User currently offlineNorcal773 From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 1447 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4732 times:



Quoting AS739X (Reply 7):
Depending on how far out the planes are and airplane classification comes into play. But standard phrase from approach is "maintain visual seperation", which means if you pass the other a/c you can no longer maintain visual sepration since your in front of the other aircraft. If they have told a plane to maintain seperation and it passes the other plane, you and sometime both will be required to go missed approach. You can not change visual seperation responsibilities.

Thanks, that does make sense. I guess that explains why they call them parallel landings. It still is one of the coolest things I've seen while on a plane.



If you're going through hell, keep going
User currently offlineAaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 8153 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 4610 times:



Quoting AS739X (Reply 7):

Depending on how far out the planes are and airplane classification comes into play. But standard phrase from approach is "maintain visual seperation", which means if you pass the other a/c you can no longer maintain visual sepration since your in front of the other aircraft. If they have told a plane to maintain seperation and it passes the other plane, you and sometime both will be required to go missed approach.

Specific instructions for the 28L/R visuals say that 757 and 747 aircraft are not allowed to overtake another aircraft due to wake turbulence considerations.

Quoting AS739X (Reply 4):
Go-arounds on 28L while another plane is departing the 28's will be given a heading to 260* to off-set the runway.

The charted instructions are to turn left to 265* for 28L and right to 300 for 28R but it's also controllers' discretion. I'll post the Jepps later.



If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
User currently offlineUA772IAD From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 1730 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 4534 times:


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Quoting Rsrik (Thread starter):
A third strange incident occured when I was driving on 101 right besides SFO. A UA A320 had taken off 10L (or at least it appeared like it had taken off), but it was quite low while passing 101, and still had its gear unretracted. By that point, aircraft would have LONG retracted gear, and will have flown considerably higher. This left me wondering what was up. A few seconds after passing 101 the gear pulled up and the plane kept going though. Perhaps another missed approach..?

Not likely a missed approach as the gear would have been retracted, unless the pilot was dirtying the plane to burn off extra fuel. Sounds like the brakes were still hot and the pilots were allowing them to cool. I know UA used to have problems with hot brakes on their 320s, not sure if they still do.


User currently offlineArcrftLvr From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 826 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 4516 times:



Quoting Rsrik (Thread starter):
A UA A320 had taken off 10L (or at least it appeared like it had taken off), but it was quite low while passing 101, and still had its gear unretracted. By that point, aircraft would have LONG retracted gear, and will have flown considerably higher. This left me wondering what was up. A few seconds after passing 101 the gear pulled up and the plane kept going though. Perhaps another missed approach..?

Most likely, the brakes were still hot from landing, so the gear is left un-retracted until it cools and then is retracted. This happens pretty frequently with Airbus planes.

Quoting Rsrik (Thread starter):
My theory is that the 757 should have been on 10L, and executed a parallel approach next to the 747, and that the pilot goofed off.

I can almost guarantee you the pilot was not 'goofing off.' Goofing off is something children do, not professional pilots who are responsible not only for their own lives, but for the lives of their crew and the other 150 some odd souls sitting behind them. Changing runways unannounced is far from goofing off; it's potential suicide and I don't know any pilots who would risk their life for the sake of 'goofing off.' Also, FYI - since you are referencing the San Mateo Bridge, then you are referring to runways 28L/28R, not 10L/10R.

Quoting Rsrik (Thread starter):
Another time, I was sitting on 29A, while my NW 332 was parked in gate 9 (or some such), and saw a plane fly right over that area of the airport (which is not in the normal flying path of any planes) obviously another missed approach, on another clear day.

Weather has nothing to do with missed approaches. Missed approaches happen all the time for any number of reasons.


User currently offlinePIAflyer From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2007, 150 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 4008 times:

you are getting all of your runways mixed up

User currently offlineRsrik From India, joined Oct 2008, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 3023 times:

Thanks for sharing your ideas, guys.
I apologize if I got any of the runway numbers mixed up. I looked up the SFO airport info on the web, and noted the runway numbers mentioned there. Going by the corrections posted by many of you here, I obviously looked up the wrong numbers!


User currently offlineRsrik From India, joined Oct 2008, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 2914 times:



Quoting AS739X (Reply 3):
ASSFO

Hey - All your points noted. I was wrong in the runway numbers. Certainly my mistake. That mistake probably brought more responses to what is my first post here, I'd wonder  Smile.
I see your point that the UA 757 likely took advantage of the landing vacancy created by the 747 pulling back up. As I sat there watching and wondering why the 747 may have pulled up, it appeared possible that the 757 intruded. But, I do acknowledge that a 757 FO is no novice when it comes to landing on a clear day, given clear indications.
As I had acknowledged in my post, go-arounds are normal, I agree 100%. It all simply struck me considering that every visit to the airport on 3 successive occasions, there was something to see. That's all. None of this impacts flying, I'm sure. I'll still sit on a plane any given day rather than sitting in my home watching TV.
Thanks for your responses.
-Sri.


User currently offlineNorcal773 From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 1447 posts, RR: 11
Reply 15, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 2709 times:



Quoting Rsrik (Reply 14):

Welcome to A.net by the way.  champagne 

Quoting Rsrik (Reply 14):
I see your point that the UA 757 likely took advantage of the landing vacancy created by the 747 pulling back up. As I sat there watching and wondering why the 747 may have pulled up, it appeared possible that the 757 intruded.

I don't know if the 757 intruded, I just have a feeling the 747 could not slow down enough to match the 757 thus losing visual separation and had to pull up. Don't forget both aircrafts have different landing speeds and as you can imagine, the 747's might be higher.

Quoting Rsrik (Reply 14):
That's all. None of this impacts flying, I'm sure. I'll still sit on a plane any given day rather than sitting in my home watching TV.

We totally understand that, at least I do.  biggrin 



If you're going through hell, keep going
User currently offlineJayDub From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 2607 times:



Quoting Rsrik (Thread starter):
A third strange incident occured when I was driving on 101 right besides SFO. A UA A320 had taken off 10L (or at least it appeared like it had taken off), but it was quite low while passing 101, and still had its gear unretracted. By that point, aircraft would have LONG retracted gear, and will have flown considerably higher. This left me wondering what was up. A few seconds after passing 101 the gear pulled up and the plane kept going though. Perhaps another missed approach..?

Could have been this...

Quoting UA772IAD (Reply 10):
Sounds like the brakes were still hot and the pilots were allowing them to cool. I know UA used to have problems with hot brakes on their 320s, not sure if they still do.

...or, it could have been one of several deferrable items on some aircraft* (particularly certain parts of hydraulic systems) that require the landing gear to stay down longer prior to retraction, as per the written and approved procedures, and/or cause the landing gear to retract at a slower speed than normal.

When you aren't aware of what are considered "normal operations" at an airport like SFO, I can see where any/all of these situations might seem out of the ordinary. Every airport has it's own little idiosyncrasies, some...like SFO...have more than others.


* - Note: I am not personally familiar with Airbus aircraft systems, therefore I am speaking only from my experiences with other commercial aircraft.


User currently offlineRsrik From India, joined Oct 2008, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 2171 times:

Now that I thought a bit more about the 747/757 incident...
Of the 2-3 flights that were lined up for landing that afternoon, the 747 was the first and only a minute away from touch down. The 757 was not the first in line. Moments after the 747 pulled up, I saw that the 757 was at the top of the line and I am 100% positive it did NOT arrive from behind the 747. I am not sure whether it came from left or right...
Just wanted to share this for those of you who still have some interest left in this thread  Smile


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