Mr Spaceman
Topic Author
Posts: 2723
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 5:09 am

Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Sat Oct 27, 2001 6:58 am

Hi guys. Can someone tell me why the glide path angle is so steep for the final approach to runway 28 at the London City Airport? Is there a bridge or perhaps some buildings located really close to the airport below the final approach path?

If you look at the cockpit photo below of the Saab 2000 on final, you can see by the Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) lights, that the pilots are NOT to high on final. Clearly the glide path angle has been set much steeper than the normal 3 degrees. Why is this? This must be quite the ride!!!

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Markus Burkhard


Chris  Smile
"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
 
Mr Spaceman
Topic Author
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 5:09 am

RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Sat Oct 27, 2001 7:05 am

Hi again.

Oops...Never Mind! My girlfriend just pointed out the bridge and it's traffic lights at the very bottom of the photo. I must be going blind! So there's no big mystery to this question.

Take Care.

Chris  Smile
"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
 
PanAm747
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RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Sat Oct 27, 2001 7:05 am

That's a great pic of the Millenium Dome and London.

I don't know the answer, are the PAPIs going white? It looks like they are about to change to all white.
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
 
XFSUgimpLB41X
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RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Sat Oct 27, 2001 8:00 am

He's on the glideslope.... I do believe I've heard this airport has a steeper than standard approach path (greater than the normal 3 degrees). Just eyeballing it..it does look tad steeper..but not much.
Chicks dig winglets.
 
donder10
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RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Sat Oct 27, 2001 8:07 am

I think it is steeper due to advoiding conflicting traffic flying into Heathrow.Not 100% at all
 
fspilot747
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RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Sat Oct 27, 2001 8:28 am

The photographer zoomed in on the runway. The plane is probably still a few miles out. He just aimed at the runway and zoomed in enough to see the runway clearly and took the photo. This is a nice photo.

take care,
FSPilot747
 
CPH-R
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RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Sat Oct 27, 2001 8:38 am

Another photo mentions that the glideslope is 5.5 degrees... That's quite a change in my idea Big grin
 
Ikarus
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Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2001 10:18 pm

RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Sat Oct 27, 2001 8:58 am

I've heard way too much stuf about LCY to feel secure about any of it. Rumours I have heard frequently:

1) The approach is twice as steep as normal
1a) to avoid the Canary Wharf and other high-rise buildings
1b) to avoid the traffic patterns for LHR

2) The approach is not steeper than normal but
2a) the locator beacon planes approach is very close to the runway, so planes approach the beacon steeply, but then they approach the runway from the beacon onwards no steeper than usual

3a) Planes landing at LCY need to be able to carry out steeper approaches than normal planes and tougher landings
3b) Planes landing at LCY need not be able to carry out steeper approaches and tougher landings, but they need STOL performance due to the short runway length

4) Planes are only allowed to take off and land in one direction, due to the buildings

5) planes always have to taxi along the runway and turn around on the runway if they want to take off


Can anyone sort out the myths and truths once and for all, please????

Regards

Ikarus
 
Guest

RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Sat Oct 27, 2001 9:12 am

The glideslope into LCY is 5.5%, the most logical reason is LHR traffic, buildings really only effect the last 1000 feet at most (and London isnot very tall).
Iain
 
Contact_tower
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RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Sat Oct 27, 2001 11:18 pm

NAB is a major reason, steep GP to reduce sound footprint in the ground.
 
musang
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RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Sun Oct 28, 2001 12:01 am

I used to operate to LCY - maybe I can put some of the stories to bed.....

Aircraft types, operators, and individual pilots have to be certificated to operate into LCY. The steep slope is a problem for some types in that even with landing config and thrust at idle, the speed cannot be kept under control. Embraer have a backup plan to install a ventral airbrake on the EMB-170 in case it can't make it in its initial form (two of the launch customers want to fly it to LCY).

I heard of a Dornier 228 operator which could only make the approach with the bleed air switched on, sapping a little extra from the engines, slowing them down a little. Don't know if thats true, and it possibly related to the early days when the slope was 7.5 degrees.

Obstructions are the reason for the steep approaches, never heard of proximity to LHR as a reason. Canary Wharf is about a quarter mile south of the 10 approach, and you pass it with about 800 feet to spare if I remember correctly. Another big one is the Millenium Mills warehouse at about half a mile range, just a couple of hundred feet south of the approach.

Fs747pilot your theory is interesting; having seen the view in the photo a number of times myself, I'd say the camera was about a mile out or less, putting him at about 400 ' above the airfield. The PAPI lights will show the same gradient whatever the distance.

Theres no parallel taxiway to backtracking for take-off is necessary, but this isn't unique to LCY. Departures are in either direction.

Firm landings are likely because pilots don't have the usual luxury of being able to float down a long runway trying to impress everyone with a greaser! There are various touchdown zone markings, and if you're not on the ground by them, its a go-around.

The slope is indeed 5.5 degrees, and looks pretty hairy the first few times. To a pilot accustomed to the standard 3 degree slope even a slight difference (say 3.2) is immediately apparent, and 5.5 looks very different indeed. In the early days it was 7.5 degres and Dash-7s were the only type allowed in. One made a demo visit before the runway was built, landing on the cleared dockside.

At the west end of the apron a curved line can be seen in the concrete, which is the outline of a former dry dock which previously occupied the present apron site.

A locator approach was mentioned in an earlier post. When I flew in there there were only ILS and Localiser approaches. With so many obstacles the minima for a locator approach would be so high it wouldn't be worth it!

Regards - Musang
 
Ikarus
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Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2001 10:18 pm

RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Sun Oct 28, 2001 5:10 am

Thanks Musang. I'll try and remember that. Finally some trustworthy info!

Regards

Ikarus
 
777kicksass
Posts: 648
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2000 9:52 pm

RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Sun Oct 28, 2001 6:14 am

Another reason why the approach path is 5.5 degrees is for noise redction over that area.
 
Contact_tower
Posts: 534
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RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Sun Oct 28, 2001 7:28 am

Like I said......  Big grin
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Mon Oct 29, 2001 12:38 am

In Airways magazine, maybe a year ago, there was an article about a Malmo Bae-146 flight into LCY, and it has pics of it on the 5.5 degree GS taken from the ground...the article also explains about LCY and the steep approach, if I find it I will post some excerpts fro it....

Greg
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Mr Spaceman
Topic Author
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RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Tue Oct 30, 2001 4:18 am

Hi guys. Thanks for the replies.

I'm surprised that no one else mentioned the car bridge with the traffic lights that you can see at the very bottom of the photo. Could this bridge not be the reason for the 5.5 degree glideslipe? It sure looks pretty close to the threshold of rwy 28. Musang mentioned that "Obstructions are the reasons for the steep approaches". I think that bridge would be considered an obstruction! Does anyone else?

Chris  Smile
"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
 
Mr Spaceman
Topic Author
Posts: 2723
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 5:09 am

RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Tue Oct 30, 2001 4:22 am

Hi again. Oops, I meant to say 5.5 degree glideslope...not glideslipe! I couldn't tell ya what a glideslipe is. I must need a nap!

Chris  Smile
"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
 
musang
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Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2001 4:11 am

RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Thu Nov 01, 2001 3:22 am

It will be a factor. Theres also a bridge (with streetlamps on poles) at the western end just beyond the 10 threshold. I seem to remember theres also, to the east of the runway, a power transmission line slung across the Thames on a pair of massive pylons, the height necessary to get ships underneath.

Regards - Musang
 
cedarjet
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RE: Steep Glide Into London City Airport?

Fri Nov 02, 2001 11:45 am

The main object to avoid is Canary Wharf, the LCY guy (very interesting info) pointed out that even with the 5.5 degree glideslope, you pass Canarf Wharf with just 800 ft clearance (I presume the 800 ft referred to is vertical?). Canarf Wharf tower is very tall, about 50 floors. I can see it from my suburb, I'm 23 miles away. And there are plenty of tall buildings besides Canary Wharf out that way. It's true that central London is very low rise cos so many of the buildings are so old and have special zoning to prevent them being (a) knocked down or (b) in the shadow of something tall. But the East End is a dump and there's nothing worth preserving except the odd warehouse for yuppy apartments but basically you can build what you want, it's going to be an improvement whatever it is. So buildings out that way are quite tall. Traffic lights and road bridges nearby have no effect on the glideslope at LCY or anywhere else.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz

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