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Author Topic: SFO Tower vs. UAL479  (Read 17851 times)
sfpho
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« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2011, 07:17:05 PM »

Maybe I'm mistaken,  but why was UAL479 on the North side of the airport? He was at 28L to begin with, then switched to 28R? The terminals are on the southwest side of the field right?
As far as I can tell, UAL479 was taxied to RWY 28L from the south side (along with a line of aircraft behind him, and when he informed that he wasn't ready at the end, the controller told him to cross 28L & hold between short of 28R so that the planes behind him could depart.
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StuSEL
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« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2011, 07:39:28 PM »

First of all, everything is a "hot spot." The FAA puts little HS circles on charts to remind crews to pay attention there. Incursions can happen anywhere on any airport movement area; that's all I'm saying.

Secondly, a three minute delay is excessive for traffic waiting in line for departure at a Class B airport. While I completely agree that the crew should have all the time it needs to safely re-program the FMC and ultimately handle the flight, it should have taken into consideration the other 10 or so aircraft that were behind it. 3 minutes is a very big delay for normal operations at any busy airport, and the way the pilot came across was somewhat confrontational. If you politely request to hold for a delay, that's cool, but don't say "Uhhh negative," because that will just irritate the person working the ATC position. To proceed to scold the controller crosses the line again. Tower didn't cause you to re-program. He's trying to get planes out of the airport as quickly and efficiently as possible; that's his job. ATC's primary responsibility is to keep aircraft from colliding and to organize and expedite the flow of air traffic.

The best way to do that would have been to say "Unable," and then specify the issue (FMC reprogramming). "We're gonna" is just not the way to politely converse with ATC. And you have to be considerate.

The good thing was that the controller didn't get too flustered.
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sfpho
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« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2011, 09:26:14 PM »

This comment was from an active FAA Part 121 Scheduled Air Carrier Pilot.
Might take that into consideration.

The comment by cessna157 that is.
In that case, he should be aware that while it is common for even turbojet aircraft to not always be ready at the runway for whatever reason, that it is just as common for ATC to put that aircraft somewhere that is out of the way so that other operations are not hindered... Not just at SFO, but at just about every major airport in the nation.  That often involves crossing an active runway.  Out of consideration to the rest of the flying public, if he feels that he cannot safely reprogram an FMS or run a checklist while taxiing across an active runway, then he should cross as instructed to a place where ATC will allow him to sit for a while and safely perform the functions that he needs to perform.  This is standard operating procedure, especially at SFO where space is very limited and most runways only have one lead in line.  I'm a pilot, I've flown in and out of SFO many times as well as most major airports around the country and I'm really shocked that you could side with the pilot on this one.
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sfpho
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« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2011, 09:29:03 PM »

In fact, I've heard on numerous occasions, and have even said myself, "Tower, We're not ready, do you have a place to put us while we work out (whatever issue)?"
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ogogog
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« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2011, 10:03:03 AM »

that was my whole point if you need more time have the common courtiesy to let ATC know.
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vb105
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« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2011, 03:14:18 PM »

Sounds like the only re-programming that needed to be done was the first officer's attitude...
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SkyPilot594
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« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2011, 12:28:20 AM »

Interesting debate!
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SirIsaac726
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« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2011, 01:25:18 AM »

Personally, I see where cessna157 is coming from.  However, I find it hard to put much blame on ATC.  The controller seemed to be, from my point of view, polite through the entire interaction.  The pilot seemed to have a bitter attitude from the start.  It isn't anything crazy for ATC to ask an aircraft that isn't ready to taxi straight ahead so traffic behind can depart.  As someone mentioned, a three minute delay can be substantial for a busy airport like SFO.  The controller seemed to have no problem with the aircraft not being ready as long as they could clear the way until they were ready.  It happens all the time and that pilot's attitude was uncalled for.
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flyindart
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« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2011, 04:04:03 AM »

Interesting debate indeed!  Why hasn't anyone mentioned the popular name for these waiting areas?

YOU'RE GOIN' TO THE PENALTY BOX!
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DingerX
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« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2011, 09:34:59 AM »

Thought I'd contribute to the debate: from 29-Mar-2011, right around 2229Z, once again SFO using 28L/R ("The Shoreline") for all takeoffs and landings. Continental 649 invited to take 28R at last minute.
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eastern tristar
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« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2011, 11:31:46 AM »

Just looked at the airport diagram for SFO, not a lot of extra space to move aircraft around.  Was surprised to see how close together the parallel runways are...I can see how the pilots can get stressed out flying in and out of this place, even without the fog.
Question, what is it about "the numbers" that are so different between 28R and 28L?  From an ATC perspective, I can see how useful it is to be able to side step them to get them out if they have the spacing.  Is it difficult to have the numbers ready for both runways?
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Robert Larson
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« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2011, 09:10:03 PM »

The difference is 1,268 feet.
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landis
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« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2011, 01:55:55 PM »

SFO does this all the time.  They'll send you out on whichever 28 is best for traffic at the time you get to the end of the runway.  The ATIS even usually says "have numbers ready for both 28 L and R upon departure".

And when an aircraft can't do it or needs a delay, I've heard them a number of times just say to "call back when you're ready".

SFO controllers are extremely professional and efficient.
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Paosql
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« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2011, 06:38:15 PM »

Ok. It's pretty obvious from this discussion that there is little understanding about what a runway change means to a crew of a fmc equipped plane.  The problem is not that the crews don't have performance data (numbers) for the new runway, but that loading the new runway in the FMC requires not only reentering the performance data but also both pilots verifying that the new route is in the FMC. In many instances a new runway will completely change the departure procedure and route after takeoff. There may also be a different engine out procedure for the new runway.  All of this information needs to be briefed and verified before accepting a clearance onto the active runway.

The UAL crew could have been a bit friendlier, however the squeaky wheel gets the grease and sometimes pilots need to voice their displeasure to keep ATC from continually issuing last minute changes.
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canyonblue737
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« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2011, 11:53:27 AM »

The UAL crew is in the wrong here. (I am a 121 pilot who flies out of SFO). When departing 28L/R it is common to run the performance numbers and brief them both, but yes you do need to reprogram if they switch you at the last moment which takes time. Problem one was not being ready at 28L. That can happen, it isn't common to "need 3 minutes" to program when you are first in line but that's life sometimes. When they stated they needed more time the controller did a normal, normal thing and asked them to cross and hold short of the next runway so the airport could continue departures. In that case the UAL should have simply stopped programming, gone heads out, crossed the runway, and then resumed preparations on the other side even if as they later said it would take more time. What wasn't appropriate is denying a clearance and trying to imply it was in the interest of safety etc. when the real truth is they didn't want to give up their number #1 in line spot.

If you aren't ready, sorry "next please!" If you listen to the recording you can see the controller remained super professional throughout the exchange.

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