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Arrival procedure - STAR/runway information provided too late


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Simon, that entire post should be hung, framed, and referenced in perpetuity as a best practices guide to airmanship.

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Dhruv Kalra

VATUSA ZMP ATM | Instructor | VATSIM Network Supervisor

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Posted (edited)

As a note, I was working Sydney Approach on Monday night, landing 34L/R 

In Australia you get a star clearance from the enroute controller, usually STAR/Runway. Traffic from the South West into Sydney is preferred to land on 34L, the enroute controller was assigning both 34L and R, due to traffic being reasonably close to each other. When the traffic entered my Airspace I saw that I had enough space to fit them all on 34L, and immediately on initial contact with the aircraft change their runways, there was some restance from some aircraft stating they had been assigned 34R by Enroute. However as has been said here, Approach is has the final say on runway assignments.

34L has more benefits to aircraft, the taxi length is shorter to the domestic terminals, the inbound aircraft don't have to over fly the field and join a right cuircit, from a pilots prospective this is more efficient, so often we change things for the better. From the controllers point of view, the STAR benefits 34L better than 34R so there is less workload.

Watch this brilliant video of a Lifthansa A380 landing at KSFO, you will see they get runway changes very late, also note in the video the 757 was swapped from 28R to 28L while on final approach/

 

Edited by Kirk Christie
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Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

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Posted (edited)

Thank you Kirk for the comment and for sharing this topic's relevant and very interesting video. A ton of things to learn from, at least for a beginner like me.

I did notice that a potential runway change is clearly and explicitly announced by ATC:  Prepare for approach Visual 28L and expect approach ILS 28R

Now just to make sur I understand well, in this case which one is supposed to be the more likely to happen the Prepare or the Expect?

Edited by Samer HAJ HOUSSAIN
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3 hours ago, Samer HAJ HOUSSAIN said:

Thank you Kirk for the comment and for sharing this topic's relevant and very interesting video. A ton of things to learn from, at least for a beginner like me.

I did notice that a potential runway change is clearly and explicitly announced by ATC:  Prepare for approach Visual 28L and expect approach ILS 28R

Now just to make sur I understand well, in this case which one is supposed to be the more likely to happen the Prepare or the Expect?

Most likely there was a cut in middle and there was some time missing between the two radio calls.

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12 hours ago, Samer HAJ HOUSSAIN said:

Now just to make sur I understand well, in this case which one is supposed to be the more likely to happen the Prepare or the Expect?

Unfortunately I can't answer that question because where I am from prepare and expect are not propper phraseology for a confirmed assignment. Anything that is "expect" is not an assignment and does not require a read back.

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

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14 hours ago, Samer HAJ HOUSSAIN said:

Thank you Kirk for the comment and for sharing this topic's relevant and very interesting video. A ton of things to learn from, at least for a beginner like me.

I did notice that a potential runway change is clearly and explicitly announced by ATC:  Prepare for approach Visual 28L and expect approach ILS 28R

Now just to make sur I understand well, in this case which one is supposed to be the more likely to happen the Prepare or the Expect?

To me it sounds like the captions are a little off. The controller first says "Depart SFO heading 140, vector for the visual approach runway 28L" which the pilots read back so the controller is assigning visual 28L and "prepare" is a caption error. Then some time (maybe immediately) later, the controller changes it and says "and DLH454 actually expect ILS 28R" and therefore changes the approach assignment. "Expect" is the FAA phraseology for assigning a runway if you're not giving an instruction to immediately go with the runway assignment (like a vector or a STAR transition assignment).

New York ARTCC

Instructor // ZNY/ZWY Facility Coordinator

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Thank you Alex for the clarification, it makes a lot of sens. I have also hard time to hear the word "prepare". So it is just caption error. There is no "prepare" phraseology, only "Expect" or direct assignment.

One more question (sorry if it is a little basic but just in case when I fly in the US so I don't get confused):  "Depart SFO" in this context does it mean "Arrival SFO" ?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Samer HAJ HOUSSAIN said:

"Depart SFO"

SFO is the VOR, in this context they are telling the aircraft once you have overflown the SFO VOR turn to a heading of 140.

Other examples are from the UK into Heathrow. "Leave LAM (Lamborne) heading 270" 

Or "From BOOGI fly heading 335" 

All three mean the same thing, once you cross over the fix fly the assigned heading.

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Edited by Kirk Christie

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

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I could have intuitively understand the assignment with Leave and From or the one obvious I got once After, but I would have been a little disturbed with the Depart.

Thank you again Kirk. I learned a lot in this topic thanks to you and the other contributors members.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Samer HAJ HOUSSAIN said:

I could have intuitively understand the assignment with Leave and From or the one obvious I got once After, but I would have been a little disturbed with the Depart.

Thank you again Kirk. I learned a lot in this topic thanks to you and the other contributors members.

ATC seems to give them "depart SFO heading 140, vectors for visual approach 28L", then after this "... actually expect the ILS for 28R".

Based on the captains reaction, they were already prepared for ILS 28R. And he started to prepare for vectors 28L when they got new instructions. That is why he closed the keyboard, slightly bewildered.

Edited by Lauri Uusitalo
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