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An apology to Munich approach and tower and anyone else affected


John McMurdo
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For those not at the center of my **** up tonight, I was on approach to Munich, an approach I had practised offline many times and thought I could handle, but under the pressure I think I must have entered the wrong frequency into the NAV radio and ended up on approach to 26R instead of 26L - basically everything fell apart from that point on. Had I been the only aircraft coming in to Munich at that point, it may not have been so bad. I decided to disconnect because I was causing so much trouble.  I can see why larger aircraft have co-pilots, so much happens so quickly on approach, I find that I cant react quick enough sometimes.

So I would just like to say how sorry I am for the stress I caused ATC at Munich and any trouble I may have caused other pilots.

Edited by John McMurdo
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  • John McMurdo changed the title to An apology to Munich approach and tower and anyone else affected

Some tips for the inevitable future mishaps:

  • Disconnecting is always a last resort, but you have other ways of salvaging the situation. If you notice that you have programmed the wrong ILS frequency, you can also call up ATC, tell them what has happened, and that you want to go around and come in for another attempt. They may offer to keep you on the "wrong" approach and re-clear you; if you feel 100% comfortable doing that, then go for it, but if you have doubts, it's better to go around and try again. Go-arounds happen for all sorts of reasons, including pilot error, this doesn't embarrass you, rather, calling a go-around when you feel unsafe is the professional thing to do, and IRL, there is a "no blame go-around" policy.
  • When briefing an approach, don't just brief the happy case, also brief potential threats, that is, things that can go wrong, and how you plan to handle those. In this case, you know you're coming into an airport with full parallel ops, and, like other German airports with parallel runways, landing runway and transition may be assigned independently, and on short notice. So two threats you want to brief are a late runway change, and selecting the wrong ILS. A possible mitigation of those threats is to have both ILS frequencies on your NAV radio: the one you expect on the current, and the other one on standby. You may also want to put a post-it on your screen with the runway numbers and corresponding frequencies noted on it, and brief that you will cross-check the ILS frequency against those whenever ATC tells you the runway number. You can, and should, do all this well before things get busy - the idea is to move as much workload as possible away from the "hot" phases, set yourself up to automatically do the right thing.
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Thanks for the replies and the advice.  I decided to replicate the scenario I was in this afternoon,  it is so much easier executing a missed approach when one is offline, the procedure was already in my FMC,  but in the heat of the moment I just lost the plot altogether.

I decided I should have another go,  since its a route I had been practising for so long I did not want to give up on it just because of one mistake.  I now have a post it note with ILS frequencies, I also have one with my call sign on it in case I forget that too! (Yes,  there have been times when I have had to think  about it before contacting ATC - or just when identifying myself)

Edited by John McMurdo
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1 hour ago, John McMurdo said:

I also have one with my call sign on it in case I forget that too! (Yes,  there have been times when I have had to think  about it before contacting ATC - or just when identifying myself)

We have that in the real world, too! We always stick a post-it note in our cockpits to remember our ever changing callsigns.

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On 9/25/2021 at 2:07 PM, John McMurdo said:

 I also have one with my call sign on it in case I forget that too! (Yes,  there have been times when I have had to think  about it before contacting ATC - or just when identifying myself)

I have something like 11,000 hours on Vatsim and have been here since the early 2000's and I still forget from time to time my callsign. Not a big deal....

Eric

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