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Low Level S-turns

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:52 am
by aa87
Yesterday I saw an awesome UA 777 s-turn on final to 22 at EWR. It was following a 737 and seemed too close, the 777 did a beautiful ballet and seemed to transition from 22R to L. This was about 2 miles from threshold.

Reminded me of time I jump seated on a BA 777 into IAD, too close to an RJ ahead, controller asked us to s-turn and captain declined. He later told me s-turns were prohibited below a certain altitude, but I don't recall if that was an FAR or BA policy. Anyone know if there's a "floor" for s-turns ?

RE: Low Level S-turns

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:22 am
by hufftheweevil
Quoting aa87 (Thread starter):
He later told me s-turns were prohibited below a certain altitude, but I don't recall if that was an FAR or BA policy. Anyone know if there's a "floor" for s-turns ?

I don't recall ever reading any FAR about this. It's more likely a per-operator policy.

RE: Low Level S-turns

Posted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 12:37 am
by faddypainter
Try §91.175 (c)

(c) Operation below DA/ DH or MDA. Except as provided in paragraph (l) of this section, where a DA/DH or MDA is applicable, no pilot may operate an aircraft, except a military aircraft of the United States, below the authorized MDA or continue an approach below the authorized DA/DH unless—

(1) The aircraft is continuously in a position from which a descent to a landing on the intended runway can be made at a normal rate of descent using normal maneuvers, and for operations conducted under part 121 or part 135 unless that descent rate will allow touchdown to occur within the touchdown zone of the runway of intended landing.


S-turns, forward slips etc would not come under the definition of normal maneuvering for the purposes of this regulation, so the "floor" for such maneuvers can be considered to be the decision altitude or minimum descent altitude of the approach being flown.

Of course it is still possible for a given company to have more restrictive SOP.