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Author Topic: Near Miss @ KSFO - We Need to Talk!  (Read 14304 times)
ect76
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« on: March 30, 2010, 08:04:39 PM »

In case anyone here hasn't read/heard on AVHerald...

Incident: United Airlines B772 at San Francisco on Mar 27th 2010, near collision


"A United Airlines Boeing 777-200, registration N216UA performing flight UA-889 from San Francisco,CA (USA) to Beijing (China) with 251 passengers and 17 crew, was departing San Francisco's runway 28L and was cleared to climb to 3000 feet. When the Boeing had just retracteed gear and was climbing through 1100 feet, the tower reported traffic at the one o'clock position. Immediately thereafter the Traffic and Collision Avoidance System issued a Traffic Advisory "Traffic! Traffic!". The crew spotted a light high wing aircraft, an Aeronca registration N9270E, in a hard left turn changing from their one to three o'clock position, the first officer being pilot flying pushing the control column forward to level the Boeing. Both crew members of the Boeing only saw the underside of the Aeronca, that passed the Boeing at a distance of 200-300 feet, while the TCAS now prompted a Resolution Advisory "Descend! Descend!" After being clear of conflict the Boeing continued to Beijing for a safe landing.

The NTSB reported they have launched an investigation into the near collision to determine, how the airplanes could get as close as an estimated 300 feet to each other. A NTSB investigator has been dispatched to San Francisco to begin the investigation."


Audio clip attached, credit to AVHerald for the audio edit. Sounds like it was pretty close.
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rtav
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2010, 08:57:18 PM »

Just read about it in the news and then came here to check for a clip - thanks for posting.
Can't imagine how the Aeronca ended up off the departure end at that altitude?  Any ideas??
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egon
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2010, 09:38:48 PM »

That would be a pretty standard altitude for a general aviation aircraft around that area.  The tower controller identified it as a Cessna, at 1500.  The directions are often "at or below 1500".
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mstram
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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2010, 07:55:49 AM »

It sounds like the controller says :

"70Echo maintain (zero ?) separation path behind that aircraft"

"Zero separation path" ?  .. is that what he said?

If so, what is a "zero separation path" ? ... never heard that term before

Mike
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KHAOS
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2010, 08:09:33 AM »

It sounds like the controller says :

"70Echo maintain (zero ?) separation path behind that aircraft"

"Zero separation path" ?  .. is that what he said?

If so, what is a "zero separation path" ? ... never heard that term before

Mike
The term "zero separation path" doesn't exist in standard phraseology.

Hope this is a little clearer:

Quote
"Seven zero echo, traffic off the departure end, climbing out of 500, heavy triple-7."

"Seven zero echo <unintelligible> in sight."

"Seven zero echo, maintain visual separation, pass behind that aircraft."

"Seven zero echo, pass behind him."

"...just ahead and to your right, has you in sight, Cessna, one-thousand five-hundred, they're maintaining visual separation."

"<United> 889 heavy, traffic no factor, contact NorCal departure."

"Ok that set off a TCAS, that was...we need to talk."

"Roger."


« Last Edit: April 03, 2010, 07:11:30 PM by KHAOS » Logged
mstram
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2010, 08:59:24 AM »


The term "zero separation path" doesn't exist in standard phraseology.

"Seven zero echo, maintain visual separation, pass behind that aircraft."


Well "visual" makes more sense, but I listened to it a bunch of times, if that's what he said, it sure wasn't clear .. to me .. anyway on that recording.
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KHAOS
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2010, 07:10:08 PM »

I totally agree with you on that, it really does sound like "zero." 

When he tries to say "visual", the mike probably didn't pick up the first part of the word, or he said it too quiet.  So all you hear is "-sual."
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atcman23
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« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2010, 08:38:20 AM »

This sounds like the procedure is right out of the book.  The Cessna pilot stated that he had the B777 in sight and was instructed to maintain visual and then the controller advised the B777 of the Cessna and that they were maintaining visual.  Since they are using visual separation, there is no minima requirement (just don't hit the other aircraft).  I think the Cessna pilot may have done something incorrectly combined with the B777 crew overreacting to the TCAS advisory.  If the controller is blamed for this, it would change the way tower controllers do their job completely.  No fault of the controller from what I see, just a pilot making a bad decision followed by another pilot overreacting to something that is minor.
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Mark Spencer
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2010, 02:28:59 PM »

How did you determine that the B777 pilot overreacted to TCAS?
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ect76
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2010, 03:30:42 PM »

I'm no pilot, or indeed controller, but I'd say that any incident resulting in a TCAS RA was a potentially serious one! Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong?
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atcman23
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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2010, 08:06:16 PM »

They were advised of the Cessna and that they were maintaining visual separation from the B777.  Instead of going, "holy crap TCAS!" maybe they'd better look out the window real quick to see if it may be an issue.  The TCAS sensitivity is usually turned down in the terminal environment otherwise it would always go off.  Again, the Cessna likely got too close (we don't know how close of course) and yes if I were the pilot I might be a little irked but not enough to go "we need to talk!" on the frequency (ASRS was created for a reason).  IMO, the controller followed the rules by the book and you can tell that he has done it before.  The Cessna just did something they probably shouldn't have but again, visual separation has no criteria expect that the aircraft don't hit.  From the sounds of it, the TCAS sounded but no resolution was issued (i.e. climb/descend).  That could be inaccurate but the crew did not respond to the controller stating "United XXX TCAS climb/descend" (which is ICAO standard I believe); they just stated that the aircraft set off the TCAS.  So yeah, I think the pilot overreacted to the TCAS by getting on the radio demanding to "talk" to the controller right now when in fact flying the aircraft was priority #1, not talking about how to apply visual separation.
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Mark Spencer
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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2010, 09:25:02 PM »

I'm no pilot, or indeed controller, but I'd say that any incident resulting in a TCAS RA was a potentially serious one! Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong?

Not quite every incident. There are times were a pilots get a TCAS RA based on another aircraft's climb/decent rate even though they are still several thousand feet apart and/or on diverging courses. Also there are things other then planes with transponders, namely ships. I've had plane's ask about info on traffic when it was just a ship sitting in a harbor.
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Yesterday I couldn't spell air traffic controller. Today I R one.
ect76
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EGPH


« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2010, 05:48:44 AM »

Fair enough then - That's why I added the disclaimer about not being a controller or pilot  grin
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djmodifyd
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« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2010, 10:48:27 PM »

They were advised of the Cessna and that they were maintaining visual separation from the B777.  Instead of going, "holy crap TCAS!" maybe they'd better look out the window real quick to see if it may be an issue.  The TCAS sensitivity is usually turned down in the terminal environment otherwise it would always go off.  Again, the Cessna likely got too close (we don't know how close of course) and yes if I were the pilot I might be a little irked but not enough to go "we need to talk!" on the frequency (ASRS was created for a reason).  IMO, the controller followed the rules by the book and you can tell that he has done it before.  The Cessna just did something they probably shouldn't have but again, visual separation has no criteria expect that the aircraft don't hit.  From the sounds of it, the TCAS sounded but no resolution was issued (i.e. climb/descend).  That could be inaccurate but the crew did not respond to the controller stating "United XXX TCAS climb/descend" (which is ICAO standard I believe); they just stated that the aircraft set off the TCAS.  So yeah, I think the pilot overreacted to the TCAS by getting on the radio demanding to "talk" to the controller right now when in fact flying the aircraft was priority #1, not talking about how to apply visual separation.


TCAS are turned to traffic advisories only in the terminal area....in other words they do not get RA's...because situations like this happen....im not wondering if the UAL pilot forgot the TCAS in RA mode?
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Windtee
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2010, 03:13:17 AM »

Interesting scenario. At the very least, all are alive. A good "see-and-avoid" reminder for us all.
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