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Author Topic: SFO Tower vs. UAL479  (Read 23606 times)
sfpho
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« on: March 04, 2011, 02:35:01 PM »

Listen at about 10:40...  Interesting exchange between SFO Tower and UAL479.

http://archive-server.liveatc.net/ksfo/KSFO-Twr-Mar-03-2011-0600Z.mp3

* KSFO-Twr-Mar-03-2011-0600Z.mp3 (3703.25 KB - downloaded 4962 times.)
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Fryy
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2011, 03:16:30 PM »

Here it is edited.

* UAL479_KSFO.mp3 (998.08 KB - downloaded 4323 times.)
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alltheway
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2011, 04:10:34 PM »

There's a little part I didn't understand, just one word from the controller....

Pilot: All the three programming while we where taxiing out doesn't work
Tower: eh, you should have been ____numbers for both runway misconfiguration
Pilot: That's not what I am talking about... ect....

What type of airplane was it (haven't looked it up yet) If it's a Boeing it has 3 CDU's. captain, first officer and a backup at the pedestal, used for ACARS or so....

It also sounded he didn't like the programming too much  evil
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sykocus
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2011, 04:40:08 PM »

What I heard

Pilot: All the this reprogramming while we are taxiing out doesn't work
Tower: eh, you should have the numbers for both runways in this configuration
Pilot: That's not what I am talking about... ect....
« Last Edit: March 04, 2011, 04:42:02 PM by sykocus » Logged

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Fryy
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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2011, 04:41:41 PM »

There's a little part I didn't understand, just one word from the controller....

Pilot: All the three programming while we where taxiing out doesn't work
Tower: eh, you should have been ____numbers for both runway misconfiguration
Pilot: That's not what I am talking about... ect....

What type of airplane was it (haven't looked it up yet) If it's a Boeing it has 3 CDU's. captain, first officer and a backup at the pedestal, used for ACARS or so....

It also sounded he didn't like the programming too much  evil


UAL479: all this reprogramming while we're taxiing out doesnt work.
SFO_TWR: you should have the numbers for both runways in this configuration

I'm pretty sure it was an A320 - KSFO-KSEA
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cessna157
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2011, 01:20:12 PM »

Sounds like both parties are correct, but both parties are wrong at the same time.

- I ceertainly don't know the details on the taxi route/length (sounds like they may have had to change runways to 28s?), but United normally should have been ready to go upon reaching the runway.
- If United was not comfortable crossing the runway while doing checklists (which is a HUGE recommendation at complex airports like SFO), it is his call.  The controller should not have pressured him to move.  That's a big human factors no-no. 
- United then pretty much had to choose: 1) stick to his guns and not move the airplane while briefings/checks/checklists were being accomplish; or 2) drop everything he's doing and courteously move out of the way.
- When the controller said "you should have the numbers for both runways in this configuration", he couldn't be any more wrong.  When there's a change in departure runway, it's not just the simple step of taking off of another runway.  V speeds/flap settings/thrust settings must all be checked for changes, as well as the taxi route and departure procedure must be re-briefed.  Then usually there's a runway change checklist that has to be run once all of this is complete. 

The FAA is really pressing airlines hard to do all of this on either a wide-open taxiway, or with the parking brake set, due to the amoutns of runway incursions that happen when one pilot is heads-down.  And their efforts are paying off, incursions are down drastically.
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ogogog
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2011, 01:34:51 PM »

thats BS if United needed 3 minutes he should have advised tower before he got to the hold short line.from an ATC point of view we except turbojet aircraft to ready at the hold line, we should not have to hold depts for 3 minutes at a busy airport because one aircraft dose not have his friggen numbers.
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cessna157
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« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2011, 02:03:56 PM »

thats BS if United needed 3 minutes he should have advised tower before he got to the hold short line.from an ATC point of view we except turbojet aircraft to ready at the hold line, we should not have to hold depts for 3 minutes at a busy airport because one aircraft dose not have his friggen numbers.
And thought processes like this are are a prime example of why runway incursions happen.  Having flown in/out of MDW many times, the controllers there know the entire airport is one big hot spot.  They do not expect anyone to be ready until they call ready, or they have been sitting at the hold line waiting for a period.  The pilots are the ones flying the airplane, not the controllers.  A good pilot will not let the controller rush him.  There's absolutely no reason to.  It is unsafe.  If a crew finds it unsafe to move the airplane until they complete the process, why in gods name would someone disagree with it?  It's a losing argument.

Plus, in many cases, the crews just cannot do both (taxi/checklist).  Read this excerpt from part 121 policies:

"...crews shall use high threat taxi procedures when the operating enviornment presents exception hazards to safe taxi, including:
- RVR less than 1200 feet
- Short taxi routes
- Whenever the captain deems the operation requires exceptional vigilance"

and

"Traversing runways and hot spots requires extra vigilance. Starting engines, completing briefings, or performaing/completing checklists is prohibited in these areas"

Multiple runway/taxiway crossings, like SFO, would most likely fall into the category of the capt deeming high threat taxi.  Your thoughts/retort?
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sfpho
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2011, 02:22:30 PM »

Looking at the ATIS, SFO had been departing off of the 28's for several hours.  Also, crossing a runway should take priority.  If that means putting down a checklist and starting again on the other side, then that's what it means.  I don't think you can expect a whole line of departures to hold for one aircraft who is not yet ready.
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ogogog
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« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2011, 02:41:39 PM »

well MDW isnt SFO and if the crew knew they needed 3 minutes they should have given ATC a heads up.iam looking at the SFO taxi chart and 28R hold line isnt a Hot Spot and if a 2 crew A/C  cant taxi an aircraft 300 feet stright ahead they should not be flying. the controller wasnt asking for anything crazy.
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cessna157
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« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2011, 03:09:55 PM »

If that means putting down a checklist and starting again on the other side, then that's what it means.  I don't think you can expect a whole line of departures to hold for one aircraft who is not yet ready.

The crews, while they might get frustrated for a moment, all understand that if it takes an extra 3 mintues to do something safely, then so be it. 

well MDW isnt SFO and if the crew knew they needed 3 minutes they should have given ATC a heads up.iam looking at the SFO taxi chart and 28R hold line isnt a Hot Spot and if a 2 crew A/C  cant taxi an aircraft 300 feet stright ahead they should not be flying. the controller wasnt asking for anything crazy.

I didn't say that MDW and SFO were the same, or that 28R is a hot spot.  I am pointing out that airports with multiple runway & taxiway intersections demand that both crew members be heads up and looking where they are going, rather than 1 being inside while the other is outside.  What if the captain were to make a mistake and taxi where he shouldn't have been? (I believe this exact scenario played out in FLL recently, resulting in a <300' near miss runway incursion)

You mention "if a 2 crew aircraft can't taxi 300 feet they should not be flying", I ask you this: What is the amount of taxi required for both crewmembers to be paying attention?  400 feet?  1000 feet?  There was a runway crossing involved.  All checklists are held during a crossing, no questions asked.

No, the controller wasn't asking for anything crazy.  But the crew was obviously having some sort of problem, and the distraction wasn't helping.

To be honest, I find it hard to believe that you guys are so quick to blame United for asking for a 3 minute delay to do something safely.  Yes, they should have been ready.  But they weren't.  Why make the situation worse by compounding a difficult situation (something wrong with some programming somewhere) with more complexity (go now or move out of the way now)?  Air crashes don't result from 1 mistake (error in programming).  They are caused by a chain of mistakes: error in programming, resulting in being hurried, while trying to change runways/briefings/configurations.

One of the first things in CRM training is we (humans) are not perfect, we will never be.  The only thing we can do is know and identify some key problem areas, and to be aware of them so we know to avoid them. 

I mean nothing personally here, but have you ever taken a course on CRM?
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sfpho
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« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2011, 03:11:29 PM »

It's pretty standard procedure at SFO and I think most major airports, that if you're not ready, for whatever reason short of an emergency, whether it be not having your weights/numbers, maintenance, or whatever, that you will be taxied to a place where you are out of the way of other departures and arrivals so that the airport operations can continue until you are ready.
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sfpho
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« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2011, 03:18:13 PM »


To be honest, I find it hard to believe that you guys are so quick to blame United for asking for a 3 minute delay to do something safely.  Yes, they should have been ready.  But they weren't.  Why make the situation worse by compounding a difficult situation (something wrong with some programming somewhere) with more complexity (go now or move out of the way now)?  Air crashes don't result from 1 mistake (error in programming).  They are caused by a chain of mistakes: error in programming, resulting in being hurried, while trying to change runways/briefings/configurations.
I mean nothing personally here, but have you ever taken a course on CRM?

A) I have taken a course on CRM... A few of them actually. 
B) Crossing a runway, for a professional airline crew, shouldn't be that complex.
C) I have heard numerous times when aircraft reach the runway and for whatever reason are not quite ready... Never once have I heard them complain because the tower wanted to move them somewhere that was out of the way of operations so that they could take the time they need to get ready.  I have even heard crews say, "We are not ready (For whatever reason), do you have a place where we can sit (to get ready/work out a problem, whatever)."  They are expecting that if they are not ready, that they will be moved out of the way.

Basically, the tower was saying, "If you are not ready now, that's fine, let me get you to a place where you can sit safely until you are ready because you are blocking traffic where you are at."

I don't think that's at all unreasonable.
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Fryy
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« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2011, 04:07:47 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?
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jerry814
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« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2011, 04:54:45 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.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 04:58:07 PM by jerry814 » Logged
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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SirIsaac787
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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.

* ShorelineHotswap.mp3 (699.65 KB - downloaded 3090 times.)
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