mozart
Posts: 2028
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2003 12:21 am

Did This Plane Mistake Its Airport (EDHI For Eddh?

Wed Aug 04, 2004 6:20 am

For some reason I still ignore I was invited this morning to the jumpseat on an Air France B737-500 flying from CDG to HAM. Interesting flight, but one thing struck me on approach:

we were assigned runway 05 of Hamburg airport (EDDH), with a visual NDB approach, and told to descend and maintain 3000 ft (EDDH is at about 50 ft altitude) and hold it. ATC advised us that we would intercept the runway at about 16nm out. Just before turning into the runway heading, the gears were lowered, flaps lowered to 30 and speed reduced to 131kn. At some point, the FO pointed to some point in front of us and said "airport in sight". Unrelated to that, I said "down there is the Airbus factory" (in other words, Finkenwerder airport EDHI) just to point it out to the cockpit crew - EDHI also has a 05 runway and is situated about 10 nm to the southwest of EDDH.

The plane continued to descend to about 2500 when ATC said "please maintain 3000, you are about 14 nm out. The airport in front of you is not Hamburg, this is Finkenwerder". The FO then set the HDG of the AP to 270 degrees, i.e. clearly away from the runway heading - all of this in full landing config, ie gear out, flaps 30, speed 131. We maintained the 270 degree course for about 2-3 minutes and then ATC vectored us back for runway 05.

OK, I am not a commercial pilot myself, but I know the geography around Hamburg quite well and I have flown the STARS into EDDH quite often on my flight sim - so take all of this description as one done by an amateur.

Still, I would like to have a commercial pilot's view on

1) did I witness this plane almost mistaking EDHI for EDDH? The fact that ATC pointed out that there was EDHI, that we suddenly turned away from runway heading despite landing config, that I have never witnessed this kind of slalom on approach to EDDH...
2) is it normal to do slaloms like this in full landing config? I always thought that flaps and gear would only be fully extended once established on the runway heading, or at least just before a final turn into runway heading?

Thanks for any explanations
 
Contact_tower
Posts: 534
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2001 4:05 am

RE: Did This Plane Mistake Its Airport (EDHI For Eddh?

Wed Aug 04, 2004 6:57 am

"2) is it normal to do slaloms like this in full landing config? I always thought that flaps and gear would only be fully extended once established on the runway heading, or at least just before a final turn into runway heading?"

Yes, it's normal! If you have to joint final so far out, that you can go from clean to landing config, sort of defeats the point of the visual.

The traffic we get that fly visuals (737 series mainly, and MIL transports) usually approach the field via downwind or base, and they often have gear and some flaps out before entering downwind, and all have gear out on base. The civilians tend to extend stuff earlier then the C130 crews, but it's hard to tell just how many degrees of flap a airplane have when looking from the tower cab!

Typical downwind speed can be everything from 150 to 220kts, depending on how "spirited" the crew are!
 
wing
Posts: 1357
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2000 9:10 pm

RE: Did This Plane Mistake Its Airport (EDHI For Eddh?

Wed Aug 04, 2004 7:40 pm

In airline flying different than local flying you always fly differnt airports and enviroments which you may not always familiar with.Thats why we have various back up sources to find the correct airport to land.

In more than one occasion I personally thought that the lighted area in the distance should be the airport at night and surprised that in turned out to be the lighted highway.Its very easy to mistake in unfamiliar areas.Thats why we never attempt to land every lighted place we see from the distance.The pilots always has to know where he is and where he is flying to.There are conventional navigation systems like ADF,VOR also if you are under positive radar control its easier.

Although its not correct to guess about this subject without being in the cockpit and not being able to reach all the information but from what said" "EDHI also has a 05 runway and is situated about 10 nm to the southwest of EDDH.

The plane continued to descend to about 2500 when ATC said "please maintain 3000, you are about 14 nm out
" you should be 4 NM's to Finkelwerder at 3000 feet which is very high for a landing attempt.So I am guessing they weren't aiming for that airport.
In 737 you should be fully configured for a the NDB approach and descent to MDA as quick as possible, my guess is as the flight started descent the ATC guy wanted to protect the airspace of the Finkelwerder airport and requested the flight a heading change around the airport.Probably if that was an ILS approach you should clear the airspace of Finkelwerder so there wouldn't be a need for a "slalom".

So overall I don't think that your plane mistaken the airports.There are few points I have to add to this topic.The first is if you ever get a chance to sit in the cockpit do not talk below 10000 feet.Thats called the "sterile cockpit"I know there are places visible and looks interesting from the air but the last thing I personally want is to see the Airbus Factory when I am flying an NDB approach at 3000 feet.

Second is one of the reasons why most of you people refused to stay in the cockpit during the landing.(it was way before 9/11)Reports from the cockpit containing "was it a mistake?/is it wrong by the crew?" by the people may result with unfare bad publicity.I personally wouldn't want to be discussed on an internet forum as the pilot "attempting to land at the wrong runway" even if it was nowhere near it.

Contact Tower:

The civilians tend to extend stuff earlier then the C130 crews, but it's hard to tell just how many degrees of flap a airplane have when looking from the tower cab!
It has nothing to do with being Military or civillian aircraft.Every aircraft jet or prop driven has its procedures and limits for approaches.A jet airplane needs more distance than a prop airplane so it has to be configured earlier.

I sometimes want to decide the speeds according to my "spirit"  Big thumbs up but damned internet I may end up on A.net forums next day  Smile


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Contact_tower
Posts: 534
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2001 4:05 am

RE: Did This Plane Mistake Its Airport (EDHI For Eddh?

Wed Aug 04, 2004 11:02 pm

"It has nothing to do with being Military or civillian aircraft.Every aircraft jet or prop driven has its procedures and limits for approaches.A jet airplane needs more distance than a prop airplane so it has to be configured earlier."

Do you really think the difference in flight profiles between T-props and jets are not covered in the Controller training Wing? I'm bloody well aware why jets dump the ironworks earlier, but you might be interested to know that MIL jet transport allso configure later then civ airliners on visual's.

It's common for some MIL types (A310, VC10, 707 series) to configure later then the bog standard Braathens 737's. Training and SOPs differ I guess, hard turns onto final is not appreciated with paying customers I guess......  Big grin

 
wing
Posts: 1357
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2000 9:10 pm

RE: Did This Plane Mistake Its Airport (EDHI For Eddh?

Thu Aug 05, 2004 3:07 am

I am sure you know the difference of flight profiles of jets and T-Props but you are not reading my post carefully.

Its not related with the airplane carrying military or civillian passengers,its not even related weather there are passengers on board or not.All airline SOP's are based on the manufacturars handbooks,there may be differences as you say.But the real difference is the difference of the aircraft types like A310,VC10,707.

As a result I don't think there should be too much difference on the approach between a military 737 and a Braatens 737 or the 737 that I fly  Big grinNot more than the Boeing company manual .
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