Page 1 of 2

Episode #125 "Landing Catywompus"

Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:07 pm
by lucaberta
Now Jack, please explain to us all of this babbling about winter in New England... :) I remember hearing your voice a couple months ago, saying how beautiful winter was, and how you had come to appreciate it. Takes only a 3 weeks long trip to California to trash all those nice feelings toward cold and snowy weather, huh? :D

Some quick notes on ILS approaches to parallel runways. If the runways have enough separation, then you can perform "parallel independent approaches", meaning that it does not matter where the airplanes are in the approach, as they are kept separated enough, even if they are the closest they can be in their approach to the parallel runways. If the are tracking the localizer nicely, that is!

If the runways happen to be too close, then you will at most have "parallel dependent approaches", or as Jeb said, staggered approaches. ATC has strict procedures to follow in order to maintain separation in speed and distance for the parallel approaches, in this case. Milan Malpensa airport (LIMC/MXP) close to where I live has the runways too close, by about 150' or so I believe, and thus falls into the parallel dependent approach case. San Francisco only uses one runway for ILS approaches during IMC, that's why when the weather is bad you always have such huge delays in SFO!

Got a funny story to tell on approaches to parallel runways at Milan Malpensa. A few years back I was flying as passenger on a Madrid-Malpensa flight, an Alitalia MD80, and thru a friend Captain Instructor I got introduced to the Copilot. I chatted with him and the Captain on the ground for a while, we liked each other a lot, and all of a sudden I found myself invited in the jumpseat for the whole trip. I was happy! ;)

Nice summer weather, an uneventful flight mostly, with a lot of chit-chat in the cockpit and plenty of joking. Time to brief for the arrival, and there happened the mistake... "Malpensa airport, we've been there this morning, yesterday, last week, last month, so we know it. Long runway, good weather. ILS frequency is such and such. We're good".

Wrong. Wrong ILS frequency dialed in! The Copilot had dialed the other runway ILS frequency! Malpensa keeps changing the two runways to avoid noise concentration, and for whatever reason he did not check the frequency nor the morse ID.

Visibility was not great, so we did not notice anything bad until ATC asked "Are you established?" to which we replied "Yes!", and they said "well yes, you seem to be established, but on the wrong runway!". Quick glance between the eyes of the two pilots, autopilot disconnect, Captain did a super-fast sidestep to the parallel runway while the Copilot was dialing in the correct ILS frequency, and uneventful landing. Pax behind us did not notice a thing, I am sure. No more jokes after landing and during taxiing, guess a professional pilot's ego had received fatal wounds that day... I for sure remembered how important it is to verify and identify ILS frequencies!

Ciao, Luca

Re: Episode #125 "Landing Catywompus"

Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:39 pm
by jackhodgson
I remember hearing your voice a couple months ago, saying how beautiful winter was, and how you had come to appreciate it.

Oh yeah. I forgot. I love winter now. It's the best. So sad that it's almost over.

Re: Episode #125 "Landing Catywompus"

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:54 pm
by eaglepilot
Hi Jack (and Gang),

Here's another GA killer. In this episode you talk about flying to Nova Scotia, and how it might be easy to cross the border, etc.

Unfortunately, it has turned into a royal pain in the a$$ to cross the border, now with the new US Customs and Border Protection's (CBP’s) Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS).

I have reason to travel to Seattle (from Vancouver) on Apr 8, and I thought I would fly down (1 hr flight time) and clear customs in Seattle. Before the implementation date of May 19 (?), there is a grace period where you can try out the electronic system, and you don't have to fill out the regular paper forms. So I thought I would try out the system. :)

Let's just say that the devil is in the details. Beyond what would be normal inquiries for a Customs interview, (as per Today's regulations) the system asks for the registration details of the aircraft (owner's name and address), the actual crossing time (and place) of the aircraft into US airspace (or leaving US airspace), the trip details BEYOND the Port of Entry (if I am flying to Seattle then Portland then San Fran, they want to know that). As well, you have to repeat the same exercise when you leave the US.

Let's just say that this goes WAY beyond customs and security towards Big Brother (but you knew that, didn't you).

Understand that this is what Americans/Canadians have to answer to US Customs, before you leave the country. It appears the USA is no longer a free country (you not allowed to leave without permission! ).

BTW, from the way I read the regulations, you have to meet your estimated time of border crossing (in my example, I cross the border before I leave the airspace of my home airport, CYXX) or you have to revise your eAPIS filing. I am sure that there are other details that I have not considered, but for now, I will have to consider driving to Seattle, it's easier on my stress level. :P

aka eaglepilot

Re: Episode #125 "Landing Catywompus"

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:02 am
by jackhodgson
Hi Brian,

Thanks for the info. It *is* a sad situation.

-- Jack

Re: Episode #125 "Landing Catywompus"

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:57 am
by champguy
And I thought "Landing Catywompus" was a taildragger thing. Seems like I'm not the only guy with "issues".
But today the morning fog is almost burned off, first sunny day in a week, and we are meeting at the airport in an hour for a flight down to Bandon to see if the clam rolls are still the best on the coast.
Ta Ta

Re: Episode #125 "Landing Catywompus"

Posted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:53 pm
by HJBlue
Parallel ILS approaches are called PRM's. Precision Radar Monitored. To execute them they require "Special Aircrew Authorization".

Re: Episode #125 "Landing Catywompus"

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:43 am
by t0r0nad0
I had the opportunity to tour the Houston TRACON last fall. They showed us three extra radar screens that were currently not staffed (it was a beautiful VFR Day). It was explained that during IFR conditions when the three parallel ILS approaches are in use, those screens are staffed and the controllers are each tasked with monitoring one of the approaches. This is in addition to the person controlling the sector. Basically, there are dashed lines on the ILS course (incidentally, each line is the equivalent of one mile long with one mile between them, so that helps them with spacing) depicted on the radar screen. The sector controller clears planes to their assigned ILS approach, and as they're flying in, they're being monitored by these other people that just concentrate on the ILS course. These other controllers have override authority so as soon as they see a plane deviate from the ILS course they can break onto the freqency and order a go-around.

Dave, where was that 140 in TX for $14k? I saw one on TAP for $14k in California - was that the one? I'm curious because we gave away a 1947 Cessna 140 as a raffle plane last year at The 1940 Air Terminal Museum here in Houston, and I wondered if that was the one.

Incidentally, Jack, we're giving away a 1957 Cessna 172 this year, and she's a beautiful bird! You can see pictures at or follow her on Twitter at Tickets are on sale for $50, so she'd be the cheapest plane you'll ever buy, plus you're supporting a good cause in the mean-time. PM me for details.



Re: Episode #125 "Landing Catywompus"

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:05 am
by champguy
Dave will have to get in line behind me, I bought two tickets.
Those old six cylinder Continentals are smooth as silk. I could fly all day in that much luxury.
And "Landomatic Gear", way cool plane

Re: Episode #125 "Landing Catywompus"

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:29 pm
by PilotBrad
Just a quick note about Auto-pilots.

Maybe I am wrong, but I thought I heard James comment that you aren't allowed to use an AP during your checkride. That is not the case (anymore), and in recent years the FAA has really been pushing the use of APs. In fact, you are required to demonstrate your knowledge of them in both the oral and practical portions of the checkride.

During my recent IR checkride I turned the AP on as soon as I could and used it in Heading mode to fly the vectors provided by ATC. Each time I was issued a new heading, I just moved the heading bug (adjusting for wind) and let the AP do it's thing. This allowed me a little extra time to do other things like brief the approach and set-up the avionics. I was proactive about using it, and the examiner never asked me to do anything else with it. He commented afterwards that he really liked how I turned on the AP early without his asking, and made things easy on myself. Of course, YMMV.

Re: Episode #125 "Landing Catywompus"

Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:18 pm
by JHWellington
PilotBrad wrote:During my recent IR checkride I turned the AP on as soon as I could and used it in Heading mode to fly the vectors provided by ATC. Each time I was issued a new heading, I just moved the heading bug (adjusting for wind) and let the AP do it's thing.

I don't think you are supposed to "adjust for wind." Currently, ATC issues you a heading to fly, they have already considered the wind. There has been much debate about whether it would be better to be issued a "ground track" to fly, but for now, my understanding is that ATC expects you to fly a compass heading.

Anyone disagree?