[In behalf of Anonymous user, originally posted on 21 Oct 2008]
During initial circuit training, I was flying with my instructor in the PM LH circuit for 07. Before my downwind radio call, Air Traffic Control was talking to Eagle (Air NZ Beech) on the straight-in approach for 07. I was told by ATC that it was alright for me to turn onto Base-leg, so with the Beech in sight I banked and started to descend. The Beech was still off to my right and it looked as if it wasnt going to pass my nose any time soon. Before me or my instructor could get on the radio the Beech started climbing rapidly at full thrust. Captain of the Beech gets on the radio telling us he was going around in a very annoyed voice, with loud warning bells in the background. Even though we had set off the Beech's Traffic Collision Avoidance System, ATC apologized and cleared us to land.
[In behalf of Anonymous user, originally posted on 21 Oct 2008]
Hi from ATC…
TCAS is a great tool. Unfortunately it doesn't work so well in the circuit environment. Most airlines have a procedure to set their TCAS to Traffic Advisory only in the circuit, so they don't get the Resolution Advisory (climb, turn or descend). Occasionally, because we're all human, people forget.
ATC also endeavour to pass traffic information, which could have prevented the B1900 going around in this case. If the B1900 pilot knew you were sequencing no.2 and had you in sight (using his TCAS to help sight, probably) then he may not have initiated the go round.
Don't worry too much about setting off the TCAS - at the end of the day it did as it was meant to and gave a resolution to what it thought was going to be a collision.
[In behalf of Rnadom, originally posted on 22 Oct 2008]
Was flying downwind after touch and go on the Runway 25 seal, it was around 4pm, clear skies and after touch and was told to track for a Non-standard LH circuit for GRASS 25. After being approved. I flew along on downwind and was following MSY 8XX because he was told fly a non-standard circuit pattern as well, so as to allow a Q300 to approach from Northeast.
MSY 8XX was told to extend downwind. Thus i slowed down a tad and continued to follow MSY 8XX. As the Q300 turned finals, and i was past his wingtip, I heard tower radio: "Massey XXX, turn base." And I was very sure it was my callsign, so i turned left for base, and acknowledged the radio call "MSY XXX turning left base". I felt wierd because there was another aircraft who was in front of me. and within 15 seconds tower came back to me: "MSY XXX confirm you are following the traffic in front of you?" And i replied in plain language "But you just told me to turn left base." very bluntly. And tower came back within 3-4 seconds saying "MSY XXX, continue left base and clear to land GRASS 25."
Followed by "MSY 8XX, turn left base" and the aircraft in front of me (which was getting really close to the gorge) finally turned base.
MSY 8XX and I had a chat on the ground and we concluded that ATC must have gotten our callsigns mixed up.
Hi, ATC here…
Absolutely possible that ATC got your callsigns mixed up. It's very easy to do, especially when everyone uses the same prefix eg MSY or CGE (college). Often new pilots who have consistently flown a certain plane will use that callsign when they move into a different one (ie for a type rating). When instructing trainee controllers, mixing up callsigns is one of the first signs that they are overloaded and "losing the plot" (so to speak!)
Also absolutely possible that is was a hearing error. These happen when you hear what you expect to hear, not what was actually said. Usually it is a level instruction - ie you "always" get 1500ft or below to go to the west, and one day ATC say 1000ft or below. That's why both pilots and controllers have to listen actively - or mindfully.
It was great that you used plain language to get your confusion across - it solved the problem immediately. Next time, I would recommend asking before you turn base leg if you're number two, just to confirm. That gives ATC a chance to take back their instruction before anyone acts on it.
During my pre-PPL stage of flying, I came across something which i am still not sure if its was 'normal' or 'not normal'. It was my last solo before by PPL flight. I was carrying out a short field landing on grass 25, here at PM. Day was fine but the aerodrome was quiet busy. B1900 was holding short of grass on taxiway 1 and a cessna had just lined up at the same time on 25 (there were other a/c too in the PM control zone). I was cleared to land onto the grass and as i approached taxiway 1, the cessna was cleared for takeoff . While flaring just before touch down i balooned a bit so decided to carry out a go-around. so i applied full power and went around as we normally do, also informing the tower. then at 600ft indicated i turned right to the crosswind leg and when i looked out to my right over the sealed runway 25 i could see that cessna getting airborne and climbing straight at me, it must have been around 100ft indicated. i was shocked to see that aircraft where it was. i wasnt aware it had been clearned for takeoff since i was busy carrying out my go-around. but what i am still unsure is was the ATC aware that i was going to pass overhead the cessna which has just taken off. in my mind i was also thinking of requesting a non-standard left hand for grass 25 (after my go around) but for some reason i didnt and decided to turn right as i did. i would have thought ATC would tell me to make a non-standard left hand since that aircraft has just taken off from the sealed but maybe there was enough separation between me and the cessna or maybe ATC had no idea what was going on which i dont think is the case because i was acknowledged when i told them i am going around.
anyone have any ideas if the cessna should have been cleared to take off or not before i touch down? is it 'legal' to do so?
things i learnt from this:
1-my situation awarness wasnt at its best when it should have been. specially when he aerodrome is quiet busy
2-i should have carried out a better LOOKOUT before turning crosswind
3-i should have requested a non-standard left hand to avoid this situation
4-dont rely on ATC (as someone mentioned earlier) to tell you all the time about other aircrafts because they can make mistakes too
Hi from ATC…
Go rounds often mean the controller has to think on their feet. I'm not familiar with the layout at PM but I'm gathering that the standard Grass 25 circuit is right hand, and that it crosses over Runway 25.
If the grass and the runway are a certain distance apart, and both aircraft are under 2300kg then the controller can "legally" clear the Cessna for take-off with you on final. This is called simultaneous parallel operations.
Since the Cessna was already cleared for take-off before you commenced your go round, it is unlikely ATC would instruct him to abort his take-off. They would have expected you to continue in the right hand circuit (especially if your previous circuit was right hand). However they may not have called you quickly enough to tell you to do a non-standard left hand circuit.
Another option for you would have been to continue climbing straight ahead (if you'd realised the Cessna had taken off) and asked ATC for the crosswind turn "ABC going around, climbing straight ahead…confirm right hand circuit?" That questioning sound will help focus a controller on what you're doing. It gives the controller the chance to say "ABC copied, due traffic airborne off the runway, make left hand circuit." That way, you feel good because you didn't turn towards traffic because you had good situational awareness, and the controller feels ok because he didn't have to issue essential traffic. You'd be working as a team :)
With regards to the simultaneous parallel operations thing, most fields can do it with small aircraft, but it depends on the distance between the grass and the runway. For instance, at Hamilton, aircraft under 2300kg can be simultaneous and on final next to each other. Once one aircraft is over 2300kg, there can be no side-by-side on final, so everyone gets sequenced 1-2-3, and then lines up for whichever runway they are cleared for.
In Christchurch, aircraft under 2300kg can be simultaneous and side-by-side on final. Because there is more distance between the grass and the runway, aircraft over 2300kg can also be side-by-side a small aircraft on final. This doesn't often happen, as the grass circuit must stay within the thresholds of the runway.
A final note - wake turbulence separation always applies. So although at CH a B737 can be cleared for take-off slightly before a C152 alongside on the grass, we have to apply the 3min delay.
Technical ATC stuff I know, but just thought it might be interesting for you!
Thank you for your reply!
Yes, the standard Grass 25 circuit is right hand, and that it does cross over Runway 25.
I have came across 'simultaneous parallel operations' before here at PM; where sometimes ATC clears an a/c on sealed to take off while someone is still short finals for grass. Normally the a/c on grass would touch down and wait or make it a full stop landing but when it has to go around, like i did, it makes things a bit complicated. So i decided to clear a few things and your reply certainly helped!
As you said i could have asked ATC before i turned would have been a good thing to do but my situational awareness wasnt at its best when it was supposed to be!! Now i have better understanding of what i could do if i end up in a similar situation again.
Thanks once again!
this occured on a solo navigation flight which had masterton as part of the touch and go airfield. it was a normal flight. everything was going well until i had to do a standard overhead rejoin. the enitre circuit for the uncontrolled aerodrome had only me and another plane in it. but what made it very complicated was that she was using the grass runway and i was using the sealed runway. we were both in the same circuit. i radio called my position and so did she.
everything was going fine until we both were on the final approach. as we both took off my palne which had a greater and faster speed was catching up to her. i decided to slow my rate of climb as she was in front. but for no apparent reason, her plane seemed to remain at the same height and i was catching up fast. so i made a radiocall telling her my intentions and she didnt reply so i decided to stay in the circuit. after having her right at my wing tips before turning crosswind, i radiocalled again to tell her my intentions as i was already at circuit height and had her in my sight. but as i turned she picked up speed and starting heading towards me. so i sped up and radiocalled and told her i was vacating via the downwind leg as i did not want anything to have happened. yet throughout thje entire radiocalls she just kept silent and finally after i left she radiocalled telling me her intentions.
This incident occurred on my solo navigation to Nelson, I had carried out all required TOD checks with the ATIS saying runway 20 in use. As I descended and made contact with Nelson Tower, they told me to join left land downwind for runway 02. With both opposite runways having the same numbers, this got me disorientated as I had prepared myself for the arrival procedures for Runway 20 which only occurred to me when I was already approaching the aerodrome. I ended up joining the wrong downwind leg for runway 02 which did not please the tower very much.
If placed in the same scenario which the tower gives u a different runway in use from the ATIS, it would be very useful to have the aerodrome template in front for you as you will be able to make the required changes easily by changing the orientation of the template and not wrong side of the downwind leg of the runway.
This is a very common thing in aviation. Things don’t normally turn out as expected. Pilots must be always ready for these changes. In this case, the active runway was changed during that short period of time between when the ATIS was obtained and when contact was made with the tower. These sorts of changes can be very confusing and increases the workload in the cockpit. One suggestion is that when changes are issued by Air traffic Control (ATC), take time to brief the changes. If there is insufficient time, it is advisable to ask for orbits. During the orbits, make sure you fully understand the changes and brief it before continuing. Never continue in doubt. If you are finding it difficult to understand the instructions, communicate with ATC. They will either direct you using plan language or just simply issue new instructions. ATC are there to help. After all, it is always better to take time in understanding new instructions, then to proceed further with uncertainty!
During a routine recovery of a few aircrafts, Tower was alerted to the activity of UAVs within the vacinity of the aerodrome, thus there was a slight deviation in the go-round procedure if there was a break-off given by Tower. But the Tower Controller on duty was a junior controller, and he was not well versed in the procedures. For a particular aircraft, the pilot requested to go-round for one circuit before landing, so the Controller told him to turn left to the dead-side before joining the circuit at upwind. But the UAVs were operating at the left of the aerodrome, about 3nm away, so the actually go-around procedure when the UAVs are operating is to climb on the runway heading before joining upwind.
But the pilot realised that the UAVs were active as they were operating in the same frequency, he quickly prompted the Controller to change the instruction to climb on the runway heading instead of turning to the deadside. The Controller acknowledged his mistake, and the pilot executed the climb before he actually started to turn left, so any airprox was avoided.
The lessons to be learnt from this incident is that as a pilot, you are at the mercy of the Controller at times. Thus it is important to maintain constant situational awareness, and if there is a need to point out others' mistakes, do not hesitate to. It could be a matter of life and death.
Today we went on a flight in a twin and each engine required extra oil. One student pilot (pilot A) hadn't put oil into the engine before whereas I had (pilot B).
Pilot A started with one engine with the assistance of pilot B. During the addition of extra oil a small amount was spilt, so pilot B started to put oil into the second engine when pilot A cleaned up the excess oil. Once pilot A had finished he came over to the second engine. Once again oil was spilt and pilot A said that he would clean it up while pilot B took the funnel and contained away to put into storage. I (Pilot B) took the funnel and containers away BUT DID NOT put the oil cap back on because I assumed that pilot A would clean up the oil AND close the cap for me so I didn't drip more oil from the used funnel.
We (pilot A, pilot B and instructor) didn't notice that there was a problem until we started to climb. As the engine was on a lean due to the climb, oil started to flow out the top of the engine. As there was only a small amount we all assumed that there was a little left-over spillage that we missed and that's all it was, so we continued.
BUT as we climbed a second time from another aerodrome (this time more steeper than the first climb), oil started to gush out of the top of the engine. This is when we all realized that the cap was NOT ON the filler, so we re-circuited to land to fix the problem.
Although there was oil leaking from the engine there was not enough loss to damage the engine and we all returned safely.
As an instructor I have had occasion to note a few pre-flights where students have skipped a step or been interupted. At other times I have caught myself, or realised after the fact that I have missed actions on a pre-flight as well. It pays to conduct a final overview of an aircraft immediately prior to sitting in the seat to check essentials such as fuel caps, oil caps, door latches, towbars and chocks. As a student don't be offended if your instructor asks you to re-check items or checks them themselves.
Several times, in situations similar to yours I have become aware of missed items- usually fuel drains for me (it's a nusience having to get out and do them with passengers or the instructor waiting). Having a helper isn't always helpful, especially if you get interupted.
For an earlier incident: on a ferry flight I decided to top up the oil just proir to departure. As I rotated and got airborne I could see oil flowing out from under the oil access flap on the cowl (single engine aircraft) so I closed the throttle and landed ahead. I had replaced the dipstick/cap but not ensured it was secured so under power and with airspeed oil was being thrown and sucked out of the engine. Having to return, refill and clean the cowl, windscreen and engine took some time, re-inforcing the idea that rushing does not get things done faster.
Other items I have found on other aircraft (done by others):
Fuel caps- loose on the wing, sitting on fuel pump, in grass on a runway.
Fuel drains- locked open and free flowing (push and twist bayonet type).
Oil cap with intergrated dipstick- on the ground, sitting on the aircraft wing/step with the oil flap closed.
Chocks- still in place prior to taxiing at the start of a flight test (testing officers find this funny- hopefully), and a few times with my own students- all strapped in and ready to go.
Tiedowns- if they are any good it's hard to taxi, or you go in circles.
Towbars- a favourite of mine- if you use one, remove it immediately you stop pushing the aircraft, don't leave it for 'just a minute' or 'just after I do…' , you WILL forget it and try and start the engine with it still attached- I have seen students through to airline training captains try to start with one attached, as well as at least one PPL try to get airborne with one sticking out the front under/IN the propellor arc. That costs a lot of money.
There was another thing that I though of over the weekend. We left with full tanks and landed within the hour. This is a problem because we would have been over max landing weight. It was a smooth and soft landing, and returning to Palmerston North the gear held up. So perhaps the plane is all good.
Monday I be advising the instructor to find if there are any other problems.
This happened to me a few weeks back on a X-country to a controlled aerodrome. The aerodrome shall not be named.
I was on the ground at NZ** and requested for latest TAF (aerodrome forecast) for Palmerston from the Tower. Firstly the controller (whom i found out later was the cheif controller at that aerodrome) took a terribly long time before reluctantly furnishing me with the information i needed. From the report, the cloud base at Palmerston was good enough to allow me to track direct back, but i had only planned to be monitored for control VFR once i was clear of the zone. I was cleared for take off and then given instructions to track south (vacating via downwind) and to remain 4500 feet and below.
Approximately 7 miles south of the airfield (still in control zone), i was approaching 4500 ft indicated when the controller asked me if I needed to climb higher. I replied, requesting for non-standard 6000 feet. The controller then replied with unneccessarily stern tone saying 'XXX, strictly maintain 4500 and do not climb until cleared.' I found this strange considering I was at 4500 feet and would definitely have not climbed without clearance. The controller then hurriedly passed me onto Christchurch control and once again warned me not to climb. Slightly frustrated and also to avoid further miscommunication, I simply acknowledge the message. Eventually christchurch cleared me for direct track at non standard 6000 feet to Palmerston (by now i was clear of NZ** control zone)
This is not a very serious incident but yet I feel it is important to note that pilots and ATC alike are only humans. Communication slips and unwanted tension can and should be eliminated as long as we as aviatiors instill a strong sense of professionalism at all times.