Page 1 of 2

Episode #207 "Vulture Sink Rate"

Posted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:11 pm
by Sven
In reference to the "Lexus Lanes" and the construction of additional runways at major U.S. airports, the reasoning behind these measures is to relieve congestion. I think it would relieve congestion only if the number of flights remain the same. I bet the minute those things happen the airlines will again crowd the skies with additional flights eventually making the problem the same. I'm not sure if that's true but by the way they cram us into those tubes you can bet they'll do the same with the airways given the opportunity.


Re: Episode #207 "Vulture Sink Rate"

Posted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:00 am
by gmarshall
Re: How hard is it to land an airliner?

Before I had my private cert a few years ago I had the opportunity to spend a few hours in one of Air Canada's Class C Airbus A320 simulators. This is one of those full motion jobbies from CAE with the wraparound display. Very cool stuff.

Basically, my buddy's cousin flew right seat and they got a number of hours a month for currency training. He knew he was getting laid off, and had a few hours to burn, so he invited my friend and I out for some time burning virtual holes in the sky.

On my first attempt I managed to put a relatively lightly loaded A320 down at CYND (Gatineau, QC) on a 6000 foot runway using none of those fancy navaids or approach procedures. MK1 eyeball and the guy behind my calling out what sort of speeds I should set the autothrottle bug at.

So yes, Jack, I think you could land an airline reasonably safely if you could get someone on the radio to talk you through it.

That being said, I'm pretty sure these days on most big jets they would just talk you through programming the FMS to land the airplane by itself, where's the fun in that?

Re: Episode #207 "Vulture Sink Rate"

Posted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:26 am
by champguy
I don't have any doubt that I could land an airliner, but I wouldn't put the wheels down so they would have to pay for scareing me so bad. Not like I was going to want to fly it again.

Re: Episode #207 "Vulture Sink Rate"

Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:32 am
by ATC_Ben
Landing an airliner wouldn't be that hard... as long as the crew 'eating the fish' is the worst that has happened for the day. As my multi instructor told me, it flies just like a big single, as long as both engines are turning! Also with an ILS equipped runway most bigger airliners would be able to autoland anyway, you'll be there to pop the reversers at the appropriate point, stow them, put the park brake on, shut it down and await the cavalry! But I'd admit I'd be mighty tempted to hand fly it and taxi it in! 8-)

Do they have something similar to this in the US? If so I can thoroughly recommend it... it WILL answer the question! And you'll have a blast!

Re: Episode #207 "Vulture Sink Rate"

Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:30 am
by Sven
Jack, in this episode you were talking about the FAA's Wings program and how they no longer award you actual wings. I'm an active participant and I can tell you that they still offer you real wings. I'm on my second set. You just need to claim them and AVEMCO sends them out to you. I make my instructor pin them on me when I earn them to make up for all the times he pulls the power on me in very bad places.

Re: Episode #207 "Vulture Sink Rate"

Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:33 am
by plutocrat03
So tell me again why we care if we are harmonized with the Europeans?

Today's news reports outline how the EASA Proposes Regulations Effectively nullifying U.S. pilot certificates and potentially forcing the sale of N-number aircraft. There appears to be no safety related reason for this silliness.

Line up and wait is busywork for the bureaucrats.

Re: Episode #207 "Vulture Sink Rate"

Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:00 pm
by gmarshall
plutocrat03 wrote:Line up and wait is busywork for the bureaucrats.

I've mentioned this a couple times:


Sufficed to say, I disagree strongly.

International standards in phraseology are important. Whether you think beyond the borders of your home airport or not is your problem. There's good reasons for ensuring communication is a clear and concise as possible. Not every pilot sharing your airspace has english as a first language. Having standardized instructions minimizes the chances of confusion.

'Position and Hold' is easier to mishear as a 'hold' instruction than 'Line up and wait' which doesn't repeat any of the same words. If someone is instructed to move onto a runway which you are currently using due to confusion or miscommunication, and you don't twig to it, it can be disastrous. You could ask the families of the 583 people who died at Tenerife how important they think the consequences of non-standard ATC communication are.

The US is out of sync with 'Position and Hold' which is not used elsewhere in the world. This is not a difficult fix. The only major cost seems to be ruffling the feathers of a few US-centric stick in the muds. ;)

Re: Episode #207 "Vulture Sink Rate"

Posted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:22 am
by champguy
Well said gmarshall
A lot of us need to get with the program, get along, look forward, and go flying.

Re: Episode #207 "Vulture Sink Rate"

Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:13 am
by plutocrat03
You miss my point. The change is trivial, but harmonization as a reason for the change is what is goofy. This 'problem' is something that effects ATPs and those that fly internationally. The vast majority of the US's 600K+ pilots and traffic controllers would never be exposed to line up and wait anyway, so there is no confusion. What is the point of altering the behavior of so many people who were never confused in the first place? I can make a case that by introducing this new phrase into the US lexicon, you will degrade safety for this population by (at least) transitionally having two phrases for one operation. If this is a problem, then the way to address it would be to work with the internationally flying community.

Seems to me the that the accident in Tenerife was caused by quite a number of things, but confusion between position and hod and line up and wait was not among the failures in the accident chain. The primary I cause listed was the KLM pilot's taking off without clearance.

I am not a fan of position and hold / line up and wait anyway. Once I take my position on the active, I am totally at the mercy of the tower with respect to landing aircraft behind me. I am much safer behind the hold line where I can give one last scan for traffic before I take the runway to go.

Harmonization among the European regulators seems to be far from their minds based on the latest stories. Harmonization should not be a prime motivator to make safety changes in populations that are not experiencing a problem.

Re: Episode #207 "Vulture Sink Rate"

Posted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:54 am
by gmarshall
What is the justification for maintaining unique, non-standard phraseology which is US specific?

Is 'position and hold' in any way superior to 'line up and wait' other than it being what some people are used to?

It doesn't sound like there is an issue with people having to deal with two terms for one operation. 'Position and Hold' is now deprecated. The population of people who use that phrase, tower controllers, have been educated on the new terminology and will be using it consistently.

Saying that this only affects pilots who travel abroad discounts the importance of international flights visiting the US. Yes, this is not a huge issue, but it's also not a difficult fix.

I didn't say that the accident at Tenerife was caused by 'position and hold'. I stated that confused communication and non-standard phraseology were contributing factors.

What I think this all boils down to is a vast underestimation of the value of ICAO in ensuring safe international air travel.

You think *you* have problems dealing with the international standards that govern air travel? How about all those pilots from other countries who need to learn english to deal with ATC systems in their own countries.

Just thank god that you don't have to learn German if you want to fly through Frankfurt, or Korean if landing in Seoul.

Anyway, I agree with you completely on the EASA regulation changes on foreign pilots certs. It *seems* like a purely political move. That being said, the info I found online was sparse at best, without referencing any source materials. It's possible that this is still misunderstanding or overeaction. It also could just be sabre-rattling which will get eliminated at a negotiating table somewhere.