nathanr
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 8:20 am

Altitude Of Approaching Aircraft

Fri Jan 11, 2008 12:28 am

I live somewhat close to PDX and have noticed on more than one occasion that the planes flying over my house, which they do all the time, have varying altitudes. Some days I'll see them quite high, then others I swear they are going to crash into the trees. Is there a reason for this? Weather? Traffic? They are all little prop planes if that matters...Thanks.
 
pilotboi
Posts: 711
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:16 am

RE: Altitude Of Approaching Aircraft

Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:00 am

If they are little prop planes - chances are they are on a visual approach (ie, not on an instrument approach). So the altitude depends on how the pilot is flying. Of course, there is an optimum glideslope during approach, but sometimes you are high or low.
 
KELPkid
Posts: 5247
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:33 am

RE: Altitude Of Approaching Aircraft

Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:06 am



Quoting NathanR (Thread starter):
I live somewhat close to PDX and have noticed on more than one occasion that the planes flying over my house, which they do all the time, have varying altitudes. Some days I'll see them quite high, then others I swear they are going to crash into the trees. Is there a reason for this? Weather? Traffic? They are all little prop planes if that matters...Thanks.

Which 'burb are you in? Close to any small airports? Being an instrument-rated private pilot in the PDX area, I might be able to tell you which airports they are flying into, and what instrument approach (if applicable) they might be on...

Even when the weather's clear, there's a lot of instrument training in small planes going on in the PDX area in small planes...Hillsboro Aviation just happens to be the most successful flight school in the Pacific Northwest.
Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
 
nathanr
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 8:20 am

RE: Altitude Of Approaching Aircraft

Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:58 am



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 2):
Which 'burb are you in?

When I said I live somewhat close to PDX I mean the airport. I live in north east. Sorry about the confusion.

They are the planes that are coming in on final for Rwy 3 I believe.
 
pilotpip
Posts: 2825
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 3:26 pm

RE: Altitude Of Approaching Aircraft

Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:29 am

There could be lots of factors. The runways they are landing on may have an effect on the altitudes for certain fixes on an arrival. If there's a lot of inbound flights they could be staggering them at different altitudes for spacing.
DMI
 
KELPkid
Posts: 5247
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:33 am

RE: Altitude Of Approaching Aircraft

Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:03 am



Quoting NathanR (Reply 3):
When I said I live somewhat close to PDX I mean the airport. I live in north east. Sorry about the confusion.

They are the planes that are coming in on final for Rwy 3 I believe.

When I've tried to fly in to PDX, the tower has never let me use 3 or 21, they make you use the 10's or the 28's to fit in with the flow. And then, it's almost always 10L or 28R (since you're going into Flight Craft anyways, it speeds things up to put you on the correct side of the airport  Wink ). I suppose I might be able to use the crosswind runway one of these days, I'll just need to come in sometime when the traffic is really light.

I checked the instrument approaches, and RWY 3 has none (the other end, 21 does...). However, the runway has a 3 degee PAPI (Precision Approach Path Indicator), which you, as a pilot, cannot legally descend below the "on glideslope" indication on. Traffic landing on 3 is most likely the "low" traffic that you are seing.

If you are cutting through Portland's Class C airspace (i.e. going through it, not landing or taking off at PDX), the controllers will usually vector you directly over the airport at 1500 feet, which puts you, counterintuitively, in nobody else's way  Smile This may explain the "high" traffic that you are seeing.
Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)

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