alfa75
Posts: 488
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 11:27 am

Southwest And Cutting Corners.

Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:41 am

Ok, this doesn't have anything to do with the latest news about WN. My question is about turns on approach and takeoff.

I flew WN this past weekend PVD-MDW-SAN-BWI-PVD. It was my first time out of PVD, second flight with WN, and second flight out of SAN.

When leaving SAN at about 0710 on Monday we took off heading west and banked for a very hard left turn to go east. I looked out my window and could barely see Coronado Island below us. To me that seemed like a very tight turn. On approach to both BWI and PVD we came in very close to the airport, passed, then did a very sharp 180 degree turn before landing.

I suppose it wouldn't strike me that odd but when I flew out of SAN last year on DL, I remember the pilot coming over the intercom telling us that we would be flying over Mexico as we circled around to head east. That is a much wider turn.

Is this standard WN practice? Does it save fuel by 'cutting corners'?
The best things in life aren't things!
 
pilotboi
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RE: Southwest And Cutting Corners.

Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:53 am

I highly doubt so. Every airport has standard procedures for departures and arrivals, and these are usually followed, especially during peak hours. And even without these, the aircraft have to follow the instructions of ATC, they can't just turn whenever they feel like it. If anyone could do this, all airlines would take the shortest possible approach or departure as practical.

I think if you want to try to make some theories about things, you should try doing several flights in to the same airport for each airline and then tally it up. But comparing one to the other...there are so many other variables then the airline. The reason for your difference could have been 1 or more of a number of things not even relating to the airline.
 
wilco737
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RE: Southwest And Cutting Corners.

Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:07 am

Sometimes you get offered a shorter approach than published! Not a 10NM final, more a 5NM final! But this needs to be approved by ATC! you can ask for it if it is possible and if traffic permits, ATC will allow that and you can get that short approach and save a few minutes! But at bigger airports this doesnt happen too often! Smaller airports: you get it  Wink

For the departure, you have to follow the SID (standard instrument departure). And I havent heard of many cases where you can do shortcuts right after take off, because of noise abatement, obstacle situation there etc etc....

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QANTAS747-438
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RE: Southwest And Cutting Corners.

Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:32 am

An example of getting offered a shorter approach happened the other night at LAX. I was working a flight that was coming from northern California (SJC, SMF, OAK... don't remember) and the flight was cleared for the visual over Santa Monica. Light traffic was the reason for the offer. So the plane flew a short downwind and then did a very quick decent and hard right U-turn into LAX. Saved 10 mins or so causing the plane to arrive a little early allowing us to board a full flt and leave on time!
My posts/replies are strictly my opinion and not that of any company, organization, or Southwest Airlines.
 
OPNLguy
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RE: Southwest And Cutting Corners.

Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:57 pm

ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
wilco737
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RE: Southwest And Cutting Corners.

Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:04 pm



Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 4):

Yeah, thats an early and tight turn for sure! But even here I would climb to about 1000' AGL before starting the turn...

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alfa75
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RE: Southwest And Cutting Corners.

Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:32 am



Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 4):
Sharper than this?

Maybe. If I were a pilot I might be able to understand the chart!  confused 

It is interesting to see that if the right conditions permit ATC would allow it to happen. I don't think it's a bad thing. It was actually kind of fun.

Thanks for the input.
The best things in life aren't things!
 
AAR90
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RE: Southwest And Cutting Corners.

Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:25 am



Quoting Alfa75 (Reply 6):
Maybe. If I were a pilot I might be able to understand the chart!

It is interesting to see that if the right conditions permit ATC would allow it to happen. I don't think it's a bad thing. It was actually kind of fun.

OPNLguy showed you the STANDARD departure for KSAN. There are not "right conditions" required... it is what virtually ALL eastbound departures fly. OTOH, a Captain making a PA stating you are going to be flying over Mexico is NON-standard.... VERY non-standard! So the WN departure from KSAN reads like it was the normal procedure (the fact that you could see Coronado indicates it was not a tighter than normal turn) while the DL departure was definitely NOT normal. Your arrival descriptions read like standard visual approaches from a "downwind entry." Very normal in good weather at locations with no special noise procedures that prohibit same.
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
OPNLguy
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RE: Southwest And Cutting Corners.

Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:28 am



Quoting Alfa75 (Reply 6):
Maybe. If I were a pilot I might be able to understand the chart!

Poggi (PGY) is a radio navigational facility about 13 miles from SAN. When taking off from SAN on runway 27, they stay on the published 275 degree heading until 19 miles from PGY (the "D" with the 19 inside), which is about 5-6 miles after takeoff. Once 19 miles from PGY, they make a left turn to a 120 degree heading until intercepting the 260 degree radial from PGY. (Think of a wheel with 360 spokes centered on PGY, and the 260 degree one is roughly west of PGY). You then overfly PGY itself and on to BROWS, and then either to JLI or IPL depending upon where you're going.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
AirWillie6475
Posts: 2372
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 1:45 pm

RE: Southwest And Cutting Corners.

Fri Mar 14, 2008 9:50 am



Quoting Alfa75 (Thread starter):
Ok, this doesn't have anything to do with the latest news about WN. My question is about turns on approach and takeoff.

I flew WN this past weekend PVD-MDW-SAN-BWI-PVD. It was my first time out of PVD, second flight with WN, and second flight out of SAN.

When leaving SAN at about 0710 on Monday we took off heading west and banked for a very hard left turn to go east. I looked out my window and could barely see Coronado Island below us. To me that seemed like a very tight turn. On approach to both BWI and PVD we came in very close to the airport, passed, then did a very sharp 180 degree turn before landing.

I suppose it wouldn't strike me that odd but when I flew out of SAN last year on DL, I remember the pilot coming over the intercom telling us that we would be flying over Mexico as we circled around to head east. That is a much wider turn.

Is this standard WN practice? Does it save fuel by 'cutting corners'?

If you're trying to go EAST while losing time and burning fuel going West, why take your time in performing the U-turn? It's not standard WN practice, it's a standard flying practice. The pilot was probably hand flying the airplane and was using maximum amount of bank to minimize the time in turning the airplane around to the proper course. Maximum banks close to the ground can be uncomfortable for the passengers but believe it or not you can save company money by flying a certain way.
 
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tb727
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RE: Southwest And Cutting Corners.

Sat Mar 15, 2008 6:57 pm

This one is really tight, I think it's the tightest DP I've done. Needless to say there is a lot going on on this one. It's really fun watching an F-18 do it too!

http://204.108.4.16/d-tpp/0802/00903JULIAN.PDF


I did this one yesterday http://204.108.4.16/d-tpp/0802/00413LEWIS.PDF and kept it especially tight since they were firing artillery in the restricted areas to the south, it was intimidating hearing the guns fire as we were preflighting knowing we were taking off that direction.

Anyways, you aren't going to be really saving any money or fuel by turning early or anything like that, the real savings are in cruise and flying the airplane smoothly and economically following specific profiles for climb and cruise, especially long range cruise.
Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
 
Mir
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RE: Southwest And Cutting Corners.

Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:03 pm



Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 5):
But even here I would climb to about 1000' AGL before starting the turn...

In the US you get 400' before you have to start making turns (if ATC wants you to).

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
wilco737
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RE: Southwest And Cutting Corners.

Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:44 pm



Quoting Mir (Reply 11):
In the US you get 400' before you have to start making turns (if ATC wants you to).

I know, but I said I would climb a little further! dont like turns with that big bird in such low altitudes Big grin

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