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Unfamiliar Visual Approaches, With Terrain  
User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6869 posts, RR: 7
Posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2278 times:

In another thread

http://www.airliners.net/discussions/general_aviation/read.main/1737029/

in reply #4 somebody said he had seen 747s flying straight-in visual approaches to runway 1R at SFO. Presumably this was on one of those rare days when all aircraft are landing on 1R/1L but most (all, I thought) fly the approach over the Bay to runways 28 and then circle to land.

Let's say you're a 747 pilot destined SFO and Approach gives you the choice: circle to land, or straight in to 1R. You've certainly never landed straight-in before, and there's no instrument approach to runways 1-- so where do you look up the altitude needed to clear the terrain?

Not being in the cockpit, I can get the map and see that where the final approach course crosses the ridgeline, terrain is 1820+ ft MSL at 5.12 nm south of the displaced threshold of runway 1R-- so 1800+ feet above the runway. I guess the pilot can look at the approach charts for other runways and get a general idea of the situation, but can he get an exact enough picture to accept a straight-in?

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offline777ER From New Zealand, joined Dec 2003, 12212 posts, RR: 18
Reply 1, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 2155 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

For pilots flying into WLG for the first time can be a nightmare due to the Northern end of the runway has the Newlands hills. When its a southerly you can see planes at least 100 metres above the hills and this provides some very interesting photos.

User currently offlineFrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3790 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2107 times:

I am not familiar with the area, but it seems to me that if the pilot has been cleared for the visual and if he accepted it, the terrain is not a factor anymore...

Now I wouldn't accept a visual approach if I did not have the runway in sight, or if I knew I couldn't make a safe landing from my present position.

If not, I'd stick to the instrument or charted procedure.



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlineZKSUJ From New Zealand, joined May 2004, 7108 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2092 times:

Not to mention the huge amounts of winds at WLG, I imagine that Queenstown in Nz would be the same.
As for the 747 on visuals, He may have had the runway in his sight and thus accepted the approach. There could be a whole bundle of reasons for this.


User currently offlineLevent From France, joined Sep 2004, 1718 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2078 times:

Landing in Bilbao on runway 30 can be quite tricky as well, flying between the mountains and in often bad weather with a lot of wind. Flying the ILS is of course safe (as long as the instruments work correctly), but there is not much spare room on both sides of the path... The same goes for Malaga for runway 14, those mountains are pretty high...

User currently offlineWoodreau From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1049 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2074 times:

There are certain airports which require special training to fly into. San Francisco appears to be one of them. There are airport qualification charts you can buy that would give you the information. It appears (having never seen one of these qualification charts) that these have the information that you are looking for in terms of what the airport looks like, where the terrain is, etc.

This gives you the list of airports of which you can purchase qualification charts that Jeppesen sells on their website. http://www.jeppesen.com/download/misc/invtyitm.pdf

I've never flown into San Francisco, but from reading the other threads I don't think you can fly straight in to Rwy 1. but you can still land on 1L/1R in which case you'd fly an modified traffic pattern or whatever pattern the tower wants you to use to get there.

But if you don't have the qualification charts. the information you need to avoid terrain is in the minimums for the approach procedure. If you're flying the instrument procedure, and you're told to circle to land, you have to stay at MDA within a certain distance of the runway depending on the approach category of the aircraft until you are in a position to land the aircraft using normal maneuvers, e.g. no diving for the runway or any extreme banking (and for a 121 operation, land within the touchdown zone of the runway). For a category D aircraft (approach speed 141-165kts) You have to remain within 2.3 nm of the runway ends of the airport. Within this space at MDA you are protected from obstacles. Outside this space all bets are off and you could run into an obstacle or terrain.

While you are flying around at MDA trying to get in a position to land, you have to have the flight visibility and you have to have the airport visible at all times - thus you should also be able to see and avoid the terrain.

Looking at all the approach plates for San Francisco, except for the VOR 19L and VOR B approaches, the circle to land minimums are 1160ft and 3 statute miles for a category D aircraft. So within 2.3nm of the runway ends at an altitude of 1160ft, an aircraft can maneuver and should not encounter any obstacles.

For a category A aircraft (approach speed less than 91kts) the circle to land minimums for San Francisco are 760ft and 1 statute mile. Category A aircraft have to remain inside 1.3nm of the runway ends.

If San Francisco is a special qualification airport, FAR 121.445 won't allow an air carrier land there unless the PIC has received the special training (the qualification charts I assume) or either one of the flight crew has made a take off and landing as a flight crew member within the last 12 months.

Hope this helps.



Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6869 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 2053 times:

"I wouldn't accept a visual approach if I did not have the runway in sight, or if I knew I couldn't make a safe landing from my present position."

I didn't make my question clear. What I was asking, let's say you're a 747 approaching the Point Reyes VOR at 11,000 ft. You've got the ATIS telling you SFO is landing runways 1. You contact approach and they offer you a choice:

vectors to the approach to runways 28, circle to land runway 1R (like everyone else is doing), or

vectors to the straight-in visual to 1R (which will also entail an earlier descent from 11000).

So at that point you're not accepting a visual approach to the airport, you're accepting vectors to one approach or the other. How do you decide?

(This all sounds pretty implausible, doesn't it? And I've never seen anybody fly straight in to 1R, but the guy says he has.)

"There are certain airports which require special training to fly into. San Francisco appears to be one of them."

But not usually, right? Aside from the side-by-side landings, the usual approaches to runways 28/19/10 are run-of-the-mill, aren't they? Maybe the approach to runway 1 is special-- so, do all Part 121 pilots have to be qualified for that, even though odds are at least 500 to 1 they won't land on runway 1?

If so, would possession of the qualification chart be enough? Or do BA and LH pilots have to go to classes on SFO before they're allowed to fly here?


User currently offlinePhilsquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 2051 times:

I guess I am pretty confused here. A visual approach is just that. You have the runway in sight and it is up to you to provide obstacle/terrain clearance. It's not like a contact approach where you have the proceeding traffic in sight and have to remain clear of clouds.

As far as route qualification goes, generally in 121/129 operation airports needing route qualification have some sort of study guide and a test or a video presentation and then a test. It's a little more than the qualification chart someone referred to.


User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6869 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 2045 times:

"A visual approach is just that. You have the runway in sight and it is up to you to provide obstacle/terrain clearance."

My question is, if you're presently level at 11000 ft, 30-40 nm NW of the airport, and Approach offers you vectors to a visual approach that

1) is not visible to you at that point, and

2) you've never flown before, or heard of anyone else flying before

how would you decide whether you could plan on it? You'd have to decide then, not when you were lining up with the runway.

Like I said, it sounds unlikely...

Also, assuming the 1800-ft ridge on final is uninhabited, do you legally have to clear it by 500 feet, or 1000, or what?

[Edited 2004-09-16 03:41:35]

User currently offlinePhilsquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 2037 times:

If you're on an IFR flight plan, it's up to you to accept the visual. Since you're on an IFR flight plan, then the vectors will be to an instrument approach. Once you have the runway/field in sight, then you can notify approach and do the visual yourself.

One option would be to get vector to the 28L/R and then when you are visual then maneuver to establish a right base inside of the 1800' ridge.

Never having flown it before isn't really a big deal to me.

Again, if you're visual, I guess I don't see just what the concern is.


User currently onlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4211 posts, RR: 37
Reply 10, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 2035 times:

"My question is, if you're presently level at 11000 ft, 30-40 nm NW of the airport, and Approach offers you vectors to a visual approach that

1) is not visible to you at that point, and

2) you've never flown before, or heard of anyone else flying before

how would you decide whether you could plan on it? You'd have to decide then, not when you were lining up with the runway.

Like I said, it sounds unlikely..."




You answered your own question tehre... ATC is vectoring you to a visual. You're a long ways away from the field- you are not "cleared" for the visual. You are expecting to end up getting the field in sight, and they are trying to get you to a point where you will be able to get the field in sight (and said ridge). If you dont have the field in sight at the appropriate time..then you will be vectored to an instrument approach. It's really no big deal.


You can plan on the visual because of weather conditions and seeing what previous traffic has done. Besides- we always back up the visual approach with some sort of precision or psuedo precision procedure- such as an ILS or an FMS line with glideslope drawn out from the centerline.



As far as the ridgeline- it doesnt matter if its populated or not- you are manuevering for a landing, therefore the FAR's are waived as far as height clearance.



Chicks dig winglets.
User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6869 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week ago) and read 1962 times:

Okay, how about this: you're at 11000 ft and Approach asks you if you'd like vectors for a straight-in... and they tell you the ridge is 1800 ft above field elevation, 5.12 nm from the threshold. Would you say "No thanks"?

"One option would be to get vector to the 28L/R and then when you are visual then maneuver to establish a right base inside of the 1800' ridge."

Which is what most (or maybe all) the arrivals do. But the guy says on one or two occasions he saw 747s fly straight in. I was wondering how likely that was.


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