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Why's This 737's Approach So Tight?  
User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 9
Posted (11 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 3112 times:

Hi guys.

I'm wondering why the 737 in the photo below is flying such a tight and low pattern while approaching to land on runway 29 at Oakland's International Airport? Also, is this a Standard Arrival (STAR) for rwy 29 at OAK.

The only reason I can think of is that the 737 is staying clear of San Francisco Intl's airspace. Is this the reason?

To me, the view from this 737 (that appears to be starting it's left turn for base leg) looks like it should be from a much smaller aircraft. It must be quite a ride into OAK on an airliner for rwy 29.


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Photo © Bruce Leibowitz


Some shots of the airport.
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Photo © Richard Silagi



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Photo © Bill Moede



Where I live in Toronto, the airliners in the pattern for runways 23 and 24R normally turn onto their left base directly over my home, which is 15 nautical miles away from Toronto's Intl Airport.......much different than the rwy 29 approach at Oakland.

I'm used to a view like this from an airliner when flying in the pattern.


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Photo © Bart Noëth



Chris  Smile




"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineHeavyjet From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (11 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3033 times:

Looks perfectly normal to me.

User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (11 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3012 times:

Hello Heavyjet.

Obviously the 737 is flying a "normal approach" for that particular airport (OAK).

I'm simply asking why it's turning onto left base while so close (compared to other airport's patterns like Toronto's where left base is 12 to 15+ NM out, or even the pattern the Avroliner is flying in the second photo). Is it simply a matter of maintaining airspace clearance?

I'm not questioning the performance abilities of the 737 airliner itself.

Chris  Smile



"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6794 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (11 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 2987 times:

...I assume no airliner could possibly be turning left base at that point, to fly the ILS to Runway 29. He must have meant they were making a slight left turn on the downwind.

However! The real mystery is were they flying a left-traffic approach to runway 29 at all. As far as I know that is utterly unheard of at OAK. The usual (invariable?) approach from the north to runway 29 is: cleared by Oakland Center to cross 10? nm N of Sausalito VOR at 7000 ft; a few miles N of Sausalito call Bay Approach, who immediately turns them left to 100 or 110 degree heading, and soon after clears them to 5000 ft; they continue on that heading over Berkeley or North Oakland and maybe 7-9 miles past the airport to turn right base.

But the slats are out, so I don't have a better explanation offhand.


User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5970 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (11 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 2946 times:

The WN one looks like a visual approach to me...

Many of these hotrods also make tight turns in the pattern at ONT as well.

I even saw one turn base to final no farther than 1500 feet in fron of the threshold.



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User currently offlineRalgha From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 1614 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (11 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 2915 times:

Looks fine to me, it's not like you need an enormous amount of room to line up on final. Why is he doing it? Because ATC wanted him to, because he felt like it, who the hell cares?


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User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3466 posts, RR: 47
Reply 6, posted (11 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2803 times:

If one had looked to the airplane's right side during downwind leg one would have seen another airport not too far away.... SFO!!! Good probability that if you'd have looked up on the right side you'd have seen an aircraft on right downwind for 28R at SFO as well. The SFO aircraft can not descend or turn toward SFO until clearance from OAK downwind traffic is assured, hence the apparent "in close" approach. Just another daily normal OAK operation.  Smokin cool


*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineBR715-A1-30 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (11 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2792 times:

Looks perfectly normal to me.

I couldn't have said so better. I have made an approach like this into GPT on an AirTran 717. We made a steep left turn, and then just as we finished the turn, we landed. We came in 320 degrees to the Northwest, and made a steep turn, and landed 140 degrees to the Southeast. That 717... A Wonderful bird she is. Or Maybe because AirTran's Pilots treat her like a fighter jet. (But she handles like a fighter jet IN MY OPINION)


User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6794 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (11 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2783 times:

Well, if AAR90 sez it's normal I better be careful... but:

If you stand on the OAK runway 29 threshold, facing down the runway, the SFO runway 28R threshold is 8.61 nm away at your 9:30 position (i.e. relative bearing 78 degrees left). We all agree that some SFO arrivals from the north approach runway 28R downwind down the Bay, between the two airports; I think they're typically cleared from 11,000 ft down to 6000 about the time they pass between the airports. And we all agree that at least some OAK arrivals fly their downwinds to runway 29 NE of OAK, with a right base-- right? Question is, what would be the point of any OAK arrivals flying downwind down the Bay? They'd be beneath the SFO-28R downwind arrivals? But they'd sure have to be above above the SFO-1R departures. Last time I looked SFO 1R departures are supposed to be at or above 3000 at 6 DME; their pre-departure clearance is ordinarily climb to 15,000-- far as I know, no restriction beneath any arrival traffic.

Maybe I haven't looked hard enough, but I've never seen an OAK 29 arrival fly downwind down the Bay. But I'll look harder now.


User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3466 posts, RR: 47
Reply 9, posted (11 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2723 times:

>Maybe I haven't looked hard enough, but I've never seen an OAK 29 arrival fly downwind down the Bay.

I've done it about a dozen times that I can recall. My guess --based upon my experience-- is that it is used during periods of relatively low activity at SFO. OTOH, I've often been issued Rwy-01L takeoff clearances based upon visual sighting of OAK downwind traffic --my departure being either a left turn toward Half-Moon Bay or visually over the bridges.





*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 9
Reply 10, posted (11 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2574 times:

Hi guys.

Thanks for your replies. They were very interesting.

One airline pilot member stated the approach looked normal.

One member's thought was "who the hell cares", while another who lives in Oakland believes that an airliner flying a left downwind for rwy 29 is very unusual and that he's never witnessed this....so he's going to look harder.

AAR90 (a 737-800 Captain), says that the 737's approach to rwy 29 is just another daily normal OAK operation, which he's flown himself a dozen times. He also mentioned that the 737's downwind leg was close in probably because of other traffic on downwind to SFO on the right. This answer is what I suspected might be the reason for a lower, tighter approach than I've ever flown into an airport on an airliner including a 737.

Like I said, that approach must be a fun ride in a 737 airliner compared to the higher, wider approaches I'm used to enjoying.

Perhaps I'll fly to OAK, over the bay, someday.

What I'm used to seeing on approach.


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Take Care,

Chris  Smile




"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6794 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 2356 times:

Do you recall your departure airports when you flew a left downwind to OAK runway 29? (I guess you must have been flying for another airline at that time?)

User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3466 posts, RR: 47
Reply 12, posted (11 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 2272 times:

>Do you recall your departure airports when you flew a left downwind to OAK runway 29?

Once an evening flight from ORD and the rest were daytime from LAX.

>(I guess you must have been flying for another airline at that time?)

Nope. All but about 70 hours have been USN and AA flight time.



*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
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