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Guest 06L06R

Close One!

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Guest rozar s'macco

YVR is brutal at night: one guy working both grounds and both tower freqs. Terrible.

I feel like from the outside, NavCanada has some pretty questionable practices in regard to controllers working multiple positions at once.

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Guest 06L06R

Just wondering how many people would you have working midnights? Would love to see people complain about the Nav Can fees when they decide to put 4 or 5 people on midnights so there will not be any combined frequencies.

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Just wondering how many people would you have working midnights? Would love to see people complain about the Nav Can fees when they decide to put 4 or 5 people on midnights so there will not be any combined frequencies.

I don't mind combined frequencies when it makes sense; like north and south tower together or ground and clearance together but YVR is out of control. I've seen north tower, south tower, ground and clearance being worked by one guy - almost had to do an go-around one time because I couldn't get a landing clearance since the "tower" controller was tied up trying to get a re-back (3rd try) on some convoluted clearance from some non-english speaking crew - that's too much.

As for how many people should be working - I don't know - enough to make it safe! I don't know how many is enough but I can sure tell when it's not enough.

Edited by seeker

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Little bit more on this, source:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2013/03/15/toronto-airport-runway-van.html

Story:

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is launching an investigation after an Air Canada flight arriving at Toronto's Pearson International Airport ignored orders to abort its landing as a driverless van rolled onto the runway.

The flight from Edmonton was landing shortly before midnight on Monday.

Ewan Tasker, one of two investigators who conducted an initial probe, told CBC News that they consider the near-collision "quite serious." Though there are hundreds of so-called runway incursions in Canada each year, Tasker said this one is noteworthy because of the driverless vehicle and the risk of a collision.

"That's highly unusual," he said.

An initial Transport Canada incident report posted online Tuesday said that Air Canada Flight 178, an Embraer 190 jet, was finishing its flight at 11:39 p.m. ET when ground radar detected an object on the runway.

Flight crew thought orders were for others

The flight crew was told twice to pull up and go around but the plane landed anyway, the report said.

"Did you hear my two calls to pull up and go around sir?" air traffic control is heard telling the plane's pilot in an audio recording obtained by CBC News.

"I'm sorry, we heard them. We thought they were for somebody else," the pilot said in response.

The flight crew again told Transport Canada after landing that they thought the order was for another plane.

The object on the runway turned out to be an unoccupied Sunwing Airlines cargo van with keys in the ignition, in gear, with its lights and orange airport beacon on. The Air Canada crew members said they never saw the van.

The report said the van's driver was servicing a Sunwing Boeing 737 and "came out of the aircraft to discover the van was missing." Tasker said the van apparently caused minor damage to the Boeing 737 when its mirror made contact with the outside of an engine. The van rolled slowly for about three minutes and crossed the 60-metre wide runway.

The board hasn't been able to determine yet how close the Air Canada plane and the van got to each other, but Tasker said if the aircraft was on its proper landing path there was a risk the plane would have hit the van before touching down.

He wasn't aware how many people were on the flight, but Air Canada configures the Embraer 190 to hold 97 passengers.

Between 10 and 15 people will conduct the investigation. The safety board's reports can take anywhere from six months to more than a year to prepare, Tasker said.

The board does not assign blame or suggest punishments.

Hundreds of runway incursions yearly

The board has runway collisions on its safety "watch list," calling it one of the nine transportation safety issues posing the greatest risk to Canadians.

In an online video, director of operational services Leo Donati said that from 2001 to 2009 there were 4,100 runway incursions in Canada. Given that there were millions of takeoffs and landings in that time, such incidents are relatively uncommon, he said.

However, the board is concerned that the numbers aren't decreasing.

In 2010, there were 351 incursions. In 2011, there were another 446.

"The TSB is pushing for the advancement of airport procedures and collision defences to reduce these occurrences," he said in the 2012 video. "And until the risk of collisions is sufficiently addressed at Canadian airports, this issue will remain on our safety watch list."

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You have to love the media making the news. I can't think of a pilot who would ever 'ignore' a clearance. Way too many factors involved to make a judgment, yet the media still does it. They really need a code of ethics.

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I don't mind combined frequencies when it makes sense; like north and south tower together or ground and clearance together but YVR is out of control. I've seen north tower, south tower, ground and clearance being worked by one guy - almost had to do an go-around one time because I couldn't get a landing clearance since the "tower" controller was tied up trying to get a re-back (3rd try) on some convoluted clearance from some non-english speaking crew - that's too much.

As for how many people should be working - I don't know - enough to make it safe! I don't know how many is enough but I can sure tell when it's not enough.

There is always two controllers on duty but unfortunately they treat it as if one controller should always be on a break. Or one guy will work the first 4 hours and the second guy will work the next 4 while the other guy takes his break at home. It is fairly easy to predict when one guy can handle it comfortably and when he shouldn't but then there is the "a real man could handle it" attitude. The way it should work is two guys both work until about 1am, then one goes on a break for an hour, comes back, the other guy goes on break for an hour, repeat, and then both guys work from 5am until day shift arrives.

But this is the same as trying to convince people that "short changing" from evenings, to days, to mids, is bad for them and long changes or steady shifts would be better but they think they are getting extra time off by finishing on a midnight shift. Doesn't matter that their brain is too tired to work by the end of the cycle, especially as you get older.

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But this is the same as trying to convince people that "short changing" from evenings, to days, to mids, is bad for them

Did you work in YVR Flight Dispatch back in the 1970's?

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There is always two controllers on duty but unfortunately they treat it as if one controller should always be on a break. Or one guy will work the first 4 hours and the second guy will work the next 4 while the other guy takes his break at home. It is fairly easy to predict when one guy can handle it comfortably and when he shouldn't but then there is the "a real man could handle it" attitude. The way it should work is two guys both work until about 1am, then one goes on a break for an hour, comes back, the other guy goes on break for an hour, repeat, and then both guys work from 5am until day shift arrives.

But this is the same as trying to convince people that "short changing" from evenings, to days, to mids, is bad for them and long changes or steady shifts would be better but they think they are getting extra time off by finishing on a midnight shift. Doesn't matter that their brain is too tired to work by the end of the cycle, especially as you get older.

Huh! Speaking from experience or just speculation?

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I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "close". Do you mean close in the sense that the crew didn't hear or understand what was communicated to them and it could have lead to something catastrophic or close in physical proximity? The crew is much closer to the landing area than the controllers (several miles closer) and has a better view too. I know it's night and the controller is looking at his ground radar but the crew still gets a better look at the landing zone than the controller. I guess most controllers aren't aware of all the noise, verbal calls and auto call-outs that happen in the last 1/2 mile before landing. Here's all the stuff we say/hear on the Embraer just before landing:

Aircraft aural annunciation: "APPROACHING MINIMUMS"

PNF: "STABLE"

PF: "ROGER"

Aircraft aural annunciation: "MINIMUMS"

PNF:"RUNWAY IN SIGHT"

PF: "LANDING"

Aircraft aural annunciation: "AUTOPILOT, AUTOPILOT" (cancelled by crew)

Aircraft aural annunciation: "AUTOPILOT, AUTOPILOT" (again cancelled by crew)

then RAD ALT call-outs: "50, 40, 30, 20, 10"

The "go-around" instruction from the tower controller was weak and indistinct and, I'm guessing, was lost in the rest of the mandatory SOP and aircraft call-outs. The pilots may have heard something about a go-around but the fact that the controller was working 24R and 23 on the same frequency and seeing no other aircraft on the runway probably didn't match his mental picture.

I once heard a go-around issued in BOS, co-incidentally to an Air Canada flight, that went like this:

Controller: "AIR CANADA 123 GO-AROUND! AIR CANADA 123 GO-AROUND!, AIR CANADA, AIR CANADA GO-AROUND, AIR CANADA 123 GO-AROUND! GO-AROUND AIR CANADA 123". The controller must have said it about 8 times in a loud clear voice. I got a go-around in ORD once and the controller said it at least 4 times - the wheels were already in the wells and he was still telling me to go-around - "178 go-around" just doesn't cut it.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "close". Do you mean close in the sense that the crew didn't hear or understand what was communicated to them and it could have lead to something catastrophic or close in physical proximity? The crew is much closer to the landing area than the controllers (several miles closer) and has a better view too. I know it's night and the controller is looking at his ground radar but the crew still gets a better look at the landing zone than the controller. I guess most controllers aren't aware of all the noise, verbal calls and auto call-outs that happen in the last 1/2 mile before landing. Here's all the stuff we say/hear on the Embraer just before landing:

Aircraft aural annunciation: "APPROACHING MINIMUMS"

PNF: "STABLE"

PF: "ROGER"

Aircraft aural annunciation: "MINIMUMS"

PNF:"RUNWAY IN SIGHT"

PF: "LANDING"

Aircraft aural annunciation: "AUTOPILOT, AUTOPILOT" (cancelled by crew)

Aircraft aural annunciation: "AUTOPILOT, AUTOPILOT" (again cancelled by crew)

then RAD ALT call-outs: "50, 40, 30, 20, 10"

The "go-around" instruction from the tower controller was weak and indistinct and, I'm guessing, was lost in the rest of the mandatory SOP and aircraft call-outs. The pilots may have heard something about a go-around but the fact that the controller was working 24R and 23 on the same frequency and seeing no other aircraft on the runway probably didn't match his mental picture.

I once heard a go-around issued in BOS, co-incidentally to an Air Canada flight, that went like this:

Controller: "AIR CANADA 123 GO-AROUND! AIR CANADA 123 GO-AROUND!, AIR CANADA, AIR CANADA GO-AROUND, AIR CANADA 123 GO-AROUND! GO-AROUND AIR CANADA 123". The controller must have said it about 8 times in a loud clear voice. I got a go-around in ORD once and the controller said it at least 4 times - the wheels were already in the wells and he was still telling me to go-around - "178 go-around" just doesn't cut it.

Seeker, you are right about the controllers not aware of all the auto-callouts and verbal calls below 500 feet...since 9/11 they haven't been allowed in the flight deck so they have no idea...one would think transport canada should at least allow them back into the flight deck for fam flights...

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Dispatchers have it as an annual requirement. Its nuts that a controller with less than 12 years tenure has never had the chance.

Seeker, you are right about the controllers not aware of all the auto-callouts and verbal calls below 500 feet...since 9/11 they haven't been allowed in the flight deck so they have no idea...one would think transport canada should at least allow them back into the flight deck for fam flights...

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The calls, whether auto or manual, have always been there. Auto calls replaced manual ones to reduce distraction, improve pilot focus and flight safety.

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Seeker, you are right about the controllers not aware of all the auto-callouts and verbal calls below 500 feet...since 9/11 they haven't been allowed in the flight deck so they have no idea...one would think transport canada should at least allow them back into the flight deck for fam flights...

In my perfect world it would be mandatory for pilots to sit beside a controller for a shift once a year and mandatory for controllers to do a couple of sectors in the jump seat through the airspace they currently work. I think this would greatly improve safety.

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