mozart
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Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Wed Jul 20, 2005 4:19 pm

Whenever someone asks about difficult approaches, Tegucigalpa comes up. Can anyone be a little more specific on WHY it is so difficult? I've seen the picutres, but sometimes words tell more than pictures.

Thanks
 
sccutler
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Wed Jul 20, 2005 4:39 pm

High altitude, mandating higher ground speeds on approach and at landing, and tight proximity to geographic features (cumulo-granite).
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
baw716
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Wed Jul 20, 2005 5:34 pm

I have flown into TGU on a number of occasions, both in the cockpit and as a passenger. It is far less scary in the cockpit than as a passenger, that much is for certain. Here is why:

TGU sits in a valley, with high mountains all around. There is an opening between the mountains at the north end of the valley through which you make your approach and you make your departure. I will now give you the briefing for the VOR/DME RWY 01 approach at MHTG.

This chart comes directly from the USAF NIMA files, based on the DAFIF filed every 28 days. The initial approach brings you in over the airport at 19000 feet. You decend in a circling pattern down to 9000 feet and roll out on a heading of 198 inbound to the Toncotin VOR, crossing the VOR at 9000 feet. You depart the VOR outbound on the 198 radial to 7 DME from the VOR. This leg must be flown very precisely, because you have high terrain at all all quadrants up to 8500 to the west, 7900 to the south, 8600 to the north and east.

Once you are at the 7 DME, you make a right turn to 243 degrees for one minute, and descend to 8000. At the end of the one minute leg, you do a procedure turn back on a heading of 063 back toward the 198 radial, but this time, you will be flying inbound toward it. Once the 198 radial starts to come into range, execute a left turn onto heading 018 degrees and descend to 6700 feet. You should be at 6700 feet by five miles from the Missed Approach Point. In addtion, on your way down, there are terrain obstacles within 1/4 mile of your course line, beginning at the 5 DME inbound, three obstacles at 5446', 5660', and 5118 feet respectively. Then you have the final approach.

Here is where it gets sticky: From the chart: "WARNING: Terrain located out to 1.6nm from runway 01 threshold, left and right of centerline., from 3465 MSL to 4013 MSL. Highest terrain left of centerline located 463' left and 1.5nm from threshold at 4013MSL. Highest terrain right of centerlilne located 293' right and 1.6nm from threshold at 3983 MSL. The touchdown zone is 3294 MSL with a 1 degree slope down. The landing zone is 5462'. The missed approach point is 1.6nm from the threshold and you must be at least 1000 ft above 3983 MSL for safe clearance of the terrain. From the chart: "WARNING: Extreme rate of descent may be required if the runway not sighted until the MAP (1368ft/nm).

In other words, as you get closer to the airport, the terrain closes in on you from both sides and comes up on you from below. At 1.6nm, you finally clear the obstacle at 3963 feet, but you need to be at 4963 feet to clear it. Then you have 1.6nm to get down to 3300 feet over the threshold. The target is 700 feet down the runway. When you touch down, you have about 5000 feet of runway left. If you overshoot, there is a 300 foot cliff at the end of the runway. There is a road that runs directly underneath the end of the runway, followed by a ravine that continues down another 400-500 feet. At the end of the runway, there is a 200 foot gravel zone, then a fence, then the cliff.

At MHTG, you often go missed the first time. If you miss, the procedure is to climb to 6500 feet via the TNT VOR 008 radial remaining within 6.5nm, then a left climbing turn to 9000 feet directly back to the TNT VOR, then outbound again on the 198 radial for your second attempt.

Needless to say, there have been numerous accidents at MHTG. Most of the time, they are runway overruns when landing in the other direction on rwy 19. That approach is even worse, because you have to come in between the mountains, then plant the aircraft right on the numbers, because there is an optical illusion there that makes you believe that you have more runway than you actually do. When I landed there the first time on 19, we came in low and we touched down just on the numbers, the nose gear was down 1 second after the mains were down (kind of with a bang) and then full reverse, full braking action and we stopped about 300 feet short of the end of the runway...in a 732.

The next time I landed there, I was in a 727-100. We landed on runway 1. I was in the cockpit with a Honduran pilot. When we swung around to line up with the runway, we were at 6700 at the right spot, but he crossed the MAP above 5000 feet. He did a manuever I continue to shake my head at to this day. He already had most of his flaps down, he went to full flaps, dropped the gear and executed a sideslip which made us sink like a rock...all of this in about 3 seconds. For about 10 seconds, I actually though we were going to come in short and hard. Believe it or not, 10 seconds later, we were just a little high on the approach with the speed sufficient to keep us flying. He landed a little long on the touchdown zone and buried his feet on the toebrakes and the f/o pulled back on the reversers and we stopped really fast. I didn't think a old 727 could even do that. I also promised myself that I would never fly with another Honduran pilot. They are certifiable.

Bottom line is, put yourself in a PMDG 737 and try it yourself. Make sure you have good terrain and not the regular Microsoft stuff...it doesn't give you a true taste of what it really feels as the terrain closes in on you on the approach to rwy 1. However, once you've done it a couple of times, you get the hang of it. From what I understand, the AA guys with the 757 really were able to show what that aircraft could do. They take off from that runway and literally climb over the mountains. On approach, the aircraft is so nimble that once your over the hump at the 1.6nm MAP, its just a slight lowering of the nose for about 10 seconds and they are over the threshold and a slight pull back and they are on the runway and stopped well before the end of the runway without breaking a sweat.

Now I hope you understand why TGU is such a challenging airport. Oh and by the way, try to land when its summertime and its pouring buckets of rain and the runway is a lake.

That's life in Central America. I actually prefer El Salvador. 10000 feet of new asphalt and no terrain in sight. Its a beautiful thing. I connect there sometimes when I go to Managua, another airport with a long runway and no terrain in sight. Guatemala is the only place where you really have to duck the volcanoes. But that's another story.

baw716
David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
 
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Francoflier
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Wed Jul 20, 2005 7:23 pm

Actually, since a few years ago, straight-in approaches have been forbidden from the VOR 01 approach for jets.

The MDA at the 5 miles fix is now 5700' (many local pilots will bust that altitude, especially on the VOR 19, where it's 6000', some will go down to 4500', but with a good GPS and a disconnected GPWS...), and from there all jets are to fly overhead the airport and circle on the left pattern for the 01.

They'll allow pistons and small turboprops to do the straight-in, only if the pilot requests it and is familiar with the airfield.

I personnally much prefered the VOR 19 approach circling to land 01, but I guess the confidence came with doing it so much.
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
mozart
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Wed Jul 20, 2005 7:42 pm

BAW716, you're the man! Exactly the kind of posting I had hoped someone would make. Welcome to my RR list!  bigthumbsup  bigthumbsup 

Quoting Baw716 (Reply 2):
put yourself in a PMDG 737

He he, almost... you must have read my mind. I was indeed going to try it in FS, but in a TACA A319. Just wanted this kind of stories to give me more of a kick when trying it. I'll let you know how many attempts I'll need...

Quoting Baw716 (Reply 2):
Guatemala is the only place where you really have to duck the volcanoes. But that's another story.

.... err, mind telling that one as well? You write those things in a very fascinating way.  snaggletooth  snaggletooth 
 
HR001
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Wed Jul 20, 2005 11:45 pm

Quoting Francoflier (Reply 3):
Actually, since a few years ago, straight-in approaches have been forbidden from the VOR 01 approach for jets.

That's strange AA, CO and AeroHonduras land with straight approches everyday!!. it's a pilots decision. TA and CM they make the overfly. And by the way runway numbers were changed sometime ago now they are 02/20.

Quoting Baw716 (Reply 2):
would never fly with another Honduran pilot.

Many will disagree with you including myself Honduran pilots make the landing look easy compared specially with US military pilots. Few months ago a C-17 made 6 missed approches before landing. But that your opinion and I respect it.


hr001
 
latinaviation
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Thu Jul 21, 2005 12:57 am

AA pilots must fly to TGU at least once every 90 days or they lose their certification to do so. Takeoff on the AA 757 out of TGU is amazing.
 
craviation
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approa

Thu Jul 21, 2005 6:29 am

At this site you can find charts for Toncontin and most of Central American Airports. I'll be updating some of the charts soon. Try them in FS!

CostaRicaAviation.com
 airplane 

Just go to the Aero Charts section and you will see the list of countries and airports. Hope you enjoy it.

Andre  Smile
 
TACAA320
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Thu Jul 21, 2005 8:39 am

Quoting CRAviation (Reply 7):
CostaRicaAviation.com

Great page. Congratulations.
'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'. Albert Einstein
 
baw716
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Thu Jul 21, 2005 12:08 pm

Mozart,
Thank you. The reason I don't like the 319 for this is that it is too easy to fly it. You just set the MCDU and it flies itself. Not very much fun. The PMDG 737, you can fly in managed flight down to whatever point you want, then kickout the entire automated system and fly it by hand. The 319 is designed to be flown by computer down to about 500 feet (most pilots I've seen fly it in steep approaches kick out the a/p, but stay in managed speed all the way to the runway), and hand flown to the runway. The 737-700 with the winglets is especially nice, because I can fly the thing by hand on the flight director precisely, then at 1500 AGL drop the a/t and control the speed by hand down to the runway. I prefer having full control myself, since if I have to bail out, I simply firewall the throttles, set flaps 20 and climb.

To explain the Aurora approach at GUA, I'll have to pull the chart. I'll come back on that one.

HR001, it was not my intent to offend Honduran pilots by my statement. I am certain they know that airport better than the back of their hand and can land anything on that airport in any conditions. My statement at the time was simply the fact that the pilot I was sitting jump with I personally think did a very dangerous manuever (in other words, I would have done it differently and got the same result), to get to the runway. His sink rate was too fast and I personally think he was lucky to pull it out when he did. Another 3 seconds and we would have planted ourselves into the threshold of the runway and certainly would have left the tail there. I was a lot younger at the time and was not as knowledgeable as I am today. That said, I still think the manuever was not the correct approach for a steep angle descent and flair, especially in a 727 in which you have place the aircraft on the runway, not flair back and let the rear wheels settle.

Finally, if the runways are 02/20, why are they not updated in the DAFIF file? This is a very big deal and the chart I pulled was from the 0507 DAFIF file, which is current until Aug 6 or 7. If the runway has been changed (and I believe you, since you are there) the charts should be updated.

In closing, MHTG is a very unique airport and a very challenging place to operate. Your skills need to be very good to operate there, lest you make one mistake and permanently become part of the landscape....as people have done in the past....God rest their souls.

baw716
David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
 
Southamerica
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Thu Jul 21, 2005 12:19 pm

I once heard or read, perhaps on this site, something that since then nobody has really confirmed...

...How true is it that AA has four select destinations [Tegucigalpa, La Paz, Medellin and Quito] which are worthy of special considerations, specifically pilot training-wise?

It would be much appreciated if answered.





SOUTHAMERICA
 
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Francoflier
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Thu Jul 21, 2005 9:15 pm

Quoting HR001 (Reply 5):
That's strange AA, CO and AeroHonduras land with straight approches everyday!!. it's a pilots decision. TA and CM they make the overfly. And by the way runway numbers were changed sometime ago now they are 02/20.

Well, I wouldn't know, since I've never seen AA, CO or Aerohonduras fly the 01 app myself, to the best of my knowledge, they almost always fly the 19 app and then circle to 01 or fly the straight-in to 19 (or 02/20 now I guess).


Of course i haven't flown in honduras for over a year now...

By the way: Con quien vuelas? Tal vez te conozco?
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
DC3CV3407AC727
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Thu Jul 21, 2005 11:15 pm

flew in there with a 727-200 back in 2002, it was day VFR, we came in visually, GPWS screaming all the way in, been there done it,wouldn't want to make a habit of it !
the rumble of round engines is like music to me,likewise the thunder of thr JT8D
 
HR001
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Thu Jul 21, 2005 11:44 pm

Quoting SOUTHAMERICA (Reply 10):
...How true is it that AA has four select destinations [Tegucigalpa, La Paz, Medellin and Quito] which are worthy of special considerations, specifically pilot training-wise?

Check Reply 6 for the answer on TGU at least!!
 
latinaviation
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Thu Jul 21, 2005 11:59 pm

Quoting SOUTHAMERICA (Reply 10):
...How true is it that AA has four select destinations [Tegucigalpa, La Paz, Medellin and Quito] which are worthy of special considerations, specifically pilot training-wise?

It is 100% true. A good friend of mine is an AA 757 F/O based in MIA and flies these routes regularly. These are the four routes AA requires training and certification on. I believe CO has the same requirements for TGU and UIO, as well.
 
Logan22L
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Fri Jul 22, 2005 12:43 am

Baw716: Great posts. Mozart (if that is your real name),  Wink check out this discussion of TGU: https://www.airliners.net/articles/read.main?id=8
"The deeper you go, the higher you fly. The higher you fly, the deeper you go."
 
HR001
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Fri Jul 22, 2005 12:49 am

Quoting Baw716 (Reply 9):
, if the runways are 02/20, why are they not updated in the DAFIF file? This is a very big deal and the chart I pulled was from the 0507 DAFIF file, which is current until Aug 6 or 7. If the runway has been changed (and I believe you, since you are there) the charts should be updated.

Found this: Attempted Translation: RUNWAY DUE MAG VAR DESIGNATOR RWY 01/19 THERE you ARE BEEN CHANGED TO DESIGNATOR RWY 02/20, PLEASE MAKE CORRECTION TO THE HONDURAS AIP MANUALLY, INCLUSIVE THE IAP MHTG USING RWY 02/20 NOW 20 JUN 22:30 TIL PERM
Original Text: A0611/05 - DUE MAG VAR DESIGNATOR RWY 01/19 HAS BEEN CHANGED TO DESIGNATOR RWY 02/20 , PLEASE MAKE CORRECTION TO THE HONDURAS AIP MANUALLY, INCLUSIVE THE IAP MHTG USING RWY 02/20 NOW 20 JUN 22:30 UNTIL PERM



https://www.notams.jcs.mil/distribution/query.html?locidl=MHTG&textType=report&locid


No offense taken on pilots!!!
 
2travel2know
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Tue Jul 26, 2005 12:38 am

In Latinamerica some airports have as difficult approaches as TGU.
I can think of Medellín City Airport (Olaya Herrera EOH ), SMR, CUZ, LPB, Cuenca - Ecuador ( CUE ?), maybe GUA too.
It's time Tegucialpa does the same what SAL did years ago when they turned Ilopango into a general aviation airport and moved the comercial traffic away from the city.
With a 4 lane highway to Palmerola / Soto Cano Airport, this one would be ideal for Tegucigalpa.
I don't work for COPA Airlines!
 
mozart
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Thu Jul 28, 2005 7:53 pm

Quoting Baw716 (Reply 9):
Mozart,
Thank you.

You're very welcome!

Quoting Baw716 (Reply 9):
The reason I don't like the 319 for this is that it is too easy to fly it. You just set the MCDU and it flies itself. Not very much fun. The PMDG 737

Hmm, I am using the PSS A319, which *can* be hand-flown, but you're right, it typically isn't. I also have the PMDG 737, but can you tell me whether there is any real-world airline that uses the 737NG into Tegucigalpa?

As far as I know, AA only uses the 757 and not its 737-800 fleet, and all the other 737 operators into TGU use the -200 series. Anyone can confirm?

Quoting Logan22L (Reply 15):
Baw716: Great posts. Mozart (if that is your real name), check out this discussion of TGU: https://www.airliners.net/articles/re...?id=8

Great link, thanks a lot!
 
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Francoflier
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Thu Jul 28, 2005 10:22 pm

Quoting Mozart (Reply 18):
As far as I know, AA only uses the 757 and not its 737-800 fleet, and all the other 737 operators into TGU use the -200 series. Anyone can confirm?

AA uses 752, CO uses 738, the last operator to use the -200 was COPA but that also changed a while ago when they retired them from their fleet. They use -700 now. As far as I know, no regular operator into TGU uses 732 anymore.
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
HR001
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Thu Jul 28, 2005 11:30 pm

Quoting Francoflier (Reply 19):
CO uses 738

A small correction CO uses 737-700's and now with Winglets, the only 200 we see nowadays belongs to Atlantic Airlines HR-ATN. which operates only on charter flights or when demands go up on holidays and extra seats are needed to LCE,SAP or Roatan.


hr001
 
cre
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RE: Tegucigalpa - What's So Difficult About Approach?

Fri Jul 29, 2005 1:23 am

A C-130 crashed there on landing back in 1997. I think it did a few missed approaches before landing long and overshooting runway. Three people died.

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