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-hour 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.
Pushing on the in trail spacing
We followed precisely the heading and altitudes issued by approach control only to be pressured into reporting the airliner ahead in sight so that it would be our responsibility to provide safe separation and wake turbulence avoidance after ATC had compromised the safe in trail spacing. The airliner behind us was too close for us to slow to increase spacing. This is not the first time. Why not put me between a rock and a hard place?
_ATP, Hawker 800XP
- ATC has increasingly become the target of much public scrutiny. The pressure to increase capacity and traffic flow for busy airports is beginning to show through procedures mentioned above. Another concern raised at a recent FAA airspace meeting was the practice by ATC to request aircrews to maintain speeds up to 180 KIAS until the final approach fix (FAF) before slowing down. This may increase the flow into busy airports but can create problems for aircrews. The first prevents a continuous and stabilized descent and approach in accordance with FAA Advisory Circular AC 120-71A, which states "a stabilized approach is characterized by a constant-angle, constant-rate-of-descent approach profile ending near the touchdown point, where the landing maneuver begins. A stabilized approach is the safest profile in all except for special cases where another profile may be required by unusual conditions." Appendix 2 of the advisory circular lists several criteria for a stabilized approach. As a result of this meeting, recommended changes will be given to FAA to revise its procedures in JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control Handbook.
GPS jammers or personal privacy devices
A seemingly harmless device that is plugged into the cigarette lighter is causing interference to LAAS signals and aircraft attempting to use GPS for approaches. GPS is used in many positive ways from navigation to surveying and can be found in many other applications. Most tractor trailers have them on the cabs of trucks to show the location of the truck. Companies began using GPS to also track the speed of the driver and many other parameters using the GPS tracking signal.
Whenever someone designs a new technical marvel someone else finds an alternate way to use it. The natural evolution of technology continues and a way to counter the new technology or "threat" is designed. Enter the "personal privacy device" which can be purchased through the Internet for $75–300. It is a small device that plugs into the lighter for power and jams the GPS signal around the vehicle.
This is all well and good until the jammer moves past a LAAS antenna near an airport like EWR along the New Jersey Turnpike. These personal devices interfere with the GPS signal and certainly affect the safety of aviation operations. Be aware of anomalies when executing GPS approaches and report them to the airport authorities and FAA.
What does go-around mean?
In Mar 2011, FAA issued a Notice (N 8900.151) for all Flight Standards inspectors with oversight of Part 121, 135 and 91K operators to increase emphasis on go-around procedures by conducting a special inspection on operators to determine which operators voluntarily complied with SAFO 10005, Go-Around Callout and Immediate Response. The safety alert for operators, issued on 03-01-10, recommended operators create a written policy for a required response to a go-around callout by the PF and immediately go around.
This all stems from a recommendation by NTSB to FAA following an accident in 2007 when an Embraer 170 ran off the departure end of the runway while trying to land in snowing conditions. The captain was not flying but monitoring the approach and called the approach lights in sight followed by the runway lights in sight. At approximately 80 ft AGL, however, the captain stated he could not see the end of the runway and told the flying pilot to go around.
The flying pilot looked up and said he had the runway in sight and continued the approach.
As a result, this safety alert was issued and it stated that FAA recommends the operator "should publish or reinforce existing written policy emphasizing that (a) either the pilot flying or the pilot monitoring may make a go-around callout, and (b) the flying pilot's immediate response to a go-around callout by the nonflying pilot is execution of a missed approach."
The policy is a good idea—however, the SAFO "recommends" and the operator "should publish or reinforce existing policy" is kind of a loosey-goosey way of requiring something for a professional pilot. If you fly under Part 121, 135 and 91K, you can expect a little attention in this area. For the rest of us, if it is snowing heavily and the approach is close to minimums, if either pilot states, "Go around" or "Go missed," the prudent thing to do is take the safest course of action and execute a go-around.
What happens in Vegas doesn't stay there
VGT (North Las Vegas NV) has had more than 80 pilot deviations over the past 2 years and all have been on the "North Town 2" standard instrument departure (SID). The Las Vegas valley has 4 airports with LAS (McCarran, Las Vegas NV) as one of the busiest in the nation. LSV (Nellis AFB, Las Vegas NV) is also one of the busiest military air bases. Add general aviation HND (Henderson, Las Vegas NV) and VGT and you have a very high volume traffic area and little airspace to maneuver (over 1 million operations per year). It is imperative that the North Town 2 departure be flown "as published" to avoid loss of separation from other Las Vegas area airspace users. FAA Notice NOTC2915.
- It is imperative that pilots review all published instrument procedures especially when departing busy air traffic areas like Las Vegas. Inadequate preflight planning and poor crew briefs prior to departure have been casual factors for most of the pilot deviations to this SID. FAA advises that pilots can expect to fly the North Town 2 departure precisely as published.