Av Hazard publicizes safety and operational concerns to help prevent accidents but it works only if we hear from you. Use the postage-free Av Hazard card to describe the hazard and return it to Pro Pilot. To obtain an official FAA review send NASA an ASRS form. For immediate action, call the airport, FBO, ATC, FSDO or the 24-hr FAA Safety Hotline at 800-255-1111. Note: Telephone numbers for all US Towers and ARTCCs are published in Ac-U-Kwik and Pilots Express Airport/Heliport/FBO directories. To report safety concerns outside the US, contact ICAO HQ at 514-954-8219 or via fax at 514-954-6077. ICAO has worldwide telephone and fax numbers to expedite Av Hazard reports to civil aviation authorities.
Frequency, glideslope problems at STU
The CTAF for STU (Pago Pago, American Samoa) is 122.9. The chart also shows both the now-closed tower and the pilot-controlled lighting frequency as 118.3. At the same time, we are talking with ATC on a third frequency. With 2 radios and 3 frequencies that people might be talking on, something is bound to go wrong. Also, we are consistently about 115 ft low at the final approach fix on the ILS with the current altimeter setting. The altimeter appears to be correct on the ground, so I suspect the glideslope is misaligned.
__ATP. Boeing 767
- Typically, airfield CTAFs and airport lighting are on different frequencies due to interference from other aviation users near the airport or to reduce frequency congestion. The frequency may be changed so pilots don't inadvertently adjust airfield lighting at airports nearby. This has been known to happen when pilots are on short final. This Av Hazard was forwarded to Jeppesen to ensure they investigate the tower closure and adjust chart information if necessary.
Trees block view at AAF
Trees have been allowed to grow between Runways 6 and 13 at AAF (Apalachicola FL) so the aircraft at the takeoff positions are unable to see whether there is an aircraft on the other runway preparing to depart. Several years ago an FAA inspection noted this hazard but it seems to have been ignored in subsequent inspections.
- The photo on the airport website for AAF shows a significant distance between the 2 runway thresholds. Preventing brush and tree growth on an airport that size presents a problem. Many airports around the world have runway thresholds that are not visible from other departure positions, making it imperative that pilots exercise extreme caution, especially when departing non-towered airports. Listen to the CTAF prior to taxi to build your situational awareness before you even get to the departure point on the runway. Pilots should habitually make radio calls in the blind on the CTAF when approaching the takeoff position. A 360 degrees turn prior to taking the runway for departure can give you a look at the entire traffic pattern-not just traffic on final at low-use, non-towered airports. If you see traffic in the pattern but don't hear any radio traffic, check your radios because you may have inadvertently selected them off or set the volume to an inaudible level. This Av Hazard report was forwarded to the Apalachicola Airport Authority but no reply was received. Short of the airport clearing the land, maintain your vigilance while operating from all non-towered airports
Call "in sight" or go around
On my last flight into DEN (Intl, Denver CO) in late January we willingly and promptly complied with all descent, heading, altitude and other vectoring instructions from ATC. We were letting the controller do his job to set up spacing for us behind an airliner. Unexpectedly, he then forced us to call the traffic ahead "in sight" or have to go around. This is baloney! He compromised spacing and safety, then dumped the responsibility of spacing and wake turbulence on us. Perhaps there were extenuating circumstances, but I don't think so. If his manual says 5 miles in trail then give it to me!
__ATP. Hawker 800XP
- The pilot's frustration is felt by many. However, always keep in mind-safety first. As pilots we should never be "forced" into anything we feel is unsafe. If the result is a go-around and be resequenced into traffic, then we need to make that call. Many accidents have occurred because the pilot felt compelled to follow unsafe or incorrect ATC instructions or felt pressed to stay on schedule (get homeitis). ATC controllers are human too and can make "operational errors." That said, we must differentiate between a false sense of urgency and safety. In this case, if the spacing was not correct and the pilot did not see the traffic but called it anyway, the result could be a wake turbulence accident or a loss of separation error. Remember, as PIC you are the final authority for safe operation of the aircraft, not the ATC controller. Never be "forced" into anything and always leave an out for yourself.