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AviatorInsight

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In all of my civil aviation career, I can only recall ever doing one ADF approach. About a million in the sim though.
You’re lucky. Trying to do the let down into Ballina at night with coastal refraction was an absolute pain! I was glad to see it go.
 

straitman

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Had to think about that one. I recall coastal refraction being mentioned in the RAAF lectures, but whether it was nav course or pilots’ I don’t recall.
It was certainly in the pilot’s course syllabus when I did course 50 years ago.

I can’t recall ever doing an NDB approach in anger other than some NDB/Radar approaches to offshore platforms in bad weather at night.
 

jb747

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Great story, thank you. I loved flying into Kai Tak.

One clarification, the checkerboard isn't in a cemetery: Google Maps
From the Tales thread. A reminder...please make comments here, not there.

I don't know whether it still exists, but the checkerboard was quite close to the Kowloon Cemetery No.1, aka the Chinese Christian Cemetery.

It was probably where they'd bury the survivors.
 
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I don't know whether it still exists, but the checkerboard was quite close to the Kowloon Cemetery No.1, aka the Chinese Christian Cemetery.
That sounded like a challenge so I went looking for it on google maps.

You can see just the remnants of the checkerboard on the wall of the Lok Fu service reservoir wall. Hopefully in the middle of this image...


EDIT - just noticed AFF'er aisle seat already provided this reference in the other thread.


I now wonder if the tennis players realise they may be over an old cemetery ??

This pic on pinterest helped me find it, and I also wonder if this Korean 747 left the turn a little late.
 
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jb747

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This pic on pinterest helped me find it, and I also wonder if this Korean 747 left the turn a little late.
It's always difficult to say from a picture, unless you happen to be exactly ahead, with a good horizon to allow you to work out the exact bank angle. If you need more than 30º, then you're too late.

Looking through the various videos on the net, Korean do feature in some. The give-away for letting the aircraft go downwind comes when the aircraft reaches the flare. If you see a correction to the left at that time, then that's the end result of getting the initial turn wrong. A quick look amongst the YouTube offerings will show you some short arrivals too.

There are a number of in-cockpit videos too, which gives a good idea of just how little time and distance was available for any late correction. I did enjoy that place a lot.
 

Cessna 180

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Hi pilots - this aircraft was tracking back and forward across Brisbane today, any thoughts on what this flight pattern is for? Is it some sort of land survey? After this the aircraft tracked north, orbited Caboolture several times, and then returned to Archerfield. Also lately there have been AIS tracks for a number of vehicles trundling around the Brisbane airfield.

View attachment 217131
Yes, this is geospatial survey, mapping. Used extensively in all mining areas as well as by various government bodies.
Mines in the Pilbara, Bowen Basin and Hunter Valley generally map everything monthly so there is plenty of on going work.

Re the metro areas, as mentioned earlier it is much easier to get a clearance due the reduced RPT traffic. Survey is down the list of priorities for a clearance.
We often have no idea what the data is used for.
 

Vic

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Hong Kong, Kai Tak

This was a famous airport, loved by many for its last minute turn to line up for landing. The airport was nestled in a valley near hills, and the precluded the normal long finals that airliners do for most approaches.

The runway was 13/31. Landing on 31 was quite normal, as the approach path was reasonably clear. Taking off (or a go around) meant that a turn to the left was required shortly after the end of the runway. But, it was still within what most people would see as normal operations.

Landing on 13, on the other hand, made for one of the most spectacular flight paths anywhere in the world, as the aircraft seemed to be down amongst the buildings, and a 47º turn was required very late in the approach.

The actual instrument approach was called an IGS. Very much the same as an ILS, except that it didn’t lead to a runway. The vertical profile was the same as you needed to get to the runway, but it was offset. The approach ended at about 675’, at which point you had a little over two nautical miles to run. You couldn’t start the turn at the end of the approach though. That would not have given you the correct alignment as you’d cut the corner. You had to maintain your track, and descent profile, whilst heading towards the ‘checkerboard’. That was a very large checkered sign on a hill…which was right in front of you. I never went to the board, but I’m told that it was located in a cemetery.

As you continued to track towards the board, you were able to see white strobing lights. These were the only lights of their kind in that part of HK, and they stood out. The line of strobes gave you an ‘ideal’ track to the runway. Passing about 450’ you’d come to the first of the crossbars. That was a line of lights at 90º to the strobe track. That was approximately the point at which you’d have to start the turn. In calm conditions, it was only about 15-20º of bank. Bank was something you needed to have considered before you arrived at the turn. Assuming you’d done that, and held the turn, you’d arrive at a point about a kilometre from the end of the runway, pointed in the right direction.

You had to be careful throughout to ensure that you kept your descent rate. It was very easy in the turn to raise the nose slightly and so end up high as you rolled out. I don’t think I saw anyone tending low. In calm conditions, it was about 650 fpm, so from the end of the IGS to touchdown was only about one minute.

Of course, calm days in HK weren’t all that common. Wind would funnel down the valleys, and there was often severe shear as you climbed above, or went below, the ridge lines. Tailwinds down the IGS, which would swing around to either a headwind or strong crosswind at the runway were common. And that’s why you had to have a think about the bank angle, and general dynamics of the turn, before you go to it.

With a tailwind, the temptation was to turn earlier, but that would pull you off the strobes, cut the distance, and overall make it harder to convert the turn into a decent finals. In that case, you could go to the normal point, but use slightly more bank. You’d also need to have considered your sink rate. A big trap would come at the end. Not only did you have to complete the turn, but you needed to ensure the track was aligned with the runway, not the aircraft’s heading. So, in the case of the tailwind becoming crosswind, you’d need to turn through the runway, perhaps by as much as 15º. Stopping the turn too early, would have you starting to drift downwind, and there was very limited time to fix it.

While I was an FO on the 747, I only ever flew IGS approach. It wasn’t that the Captains didn’t give that sector away (although that was the case with some), but simply luck. So, it turned out that the very first IGS I did was actually the second last time I went there in a 747. Only a month later, I started command training on the 767. It was a requirement at the time that all command trainees on the 767 would go to HK, so for me the second landing off that approach was on my pre-final command check. After checking out though, HK was almost a second home, with the 767 going there from numerous ports. Whilst 747 FOs rarely got a go, on the 767 the approach was so common, that it was a regular FO sector. I recall giving it to one bloke on his very first sector after picking up that third bar. He did a good job too.

How could it go wrong? A few ways, but the most common was letting the aircraft get downwind, on the eastern side, of the ideal finals. What was generally caused by misjudging the bank required, and made much worst by failing to ‘turn through’ when you had a crosswind. It is always difficult to get an aircraft back on centreline if it’s downwind, and as the rollout point was at about 200’ there’s very little time left to fix it. My standard briefing was that if I were out by more than half of the distance from the centre of the runway to the edge, that I’d go around. I never had to, but it meant there was a solid limit point that the cockpit would work to.

Not everyone felt that way though… On one occasion the weather in HK had been atrocious for the past few days. We’d actually been unable to leave a couple of days previously, but had eventually flown to Bangkok. On this day we were to fly from BKK to HK, and then on to Singapore. We had a couple of hours on the ground in HK.

The weather was now clear, but there was a 30 plus knot tailwind down the IGS. At the ground, that swung to a final wind of a 15-20 knot crosswind. It was planned to be the FO’s sector, so I left it as that, but we had a talk about bank angles and speed control. I also suggested that instead of actually aiming for the middle of the runway throughout the turn, that he initially use the UPWIND side, and use the last few seconds of the turn to readjust to the normal point. He flew the approach, and did a lovely job of it. We then parked in one of the remote bays, which, luckily gave us a tremendous view of the sky from the end of the approach to the runway. We figured that we could feel smug as we’d done our arrival, and now we could watch everyone else.

Most of the operators had obviously thought about what they were doing, and didn’t give us much to talk about. But three certainly did. I won’t name the airlines. The first was an A310. That series of aircraft tends to have quite a pronounced nose up attitude during the approach. This guy flew the correct track, but throughout he had a nose low attitude, which he maintained right to the runway. From our point of view, he actually seemed to land nose gear first, which is a huge no-no. The reason for the attitude would be his speed. He was much faster than he should have been. After disgorging his passengers, he was airborne before us, so I guess the nose gear didn’t fall off, though I rather doubt that they looked.

The next was a VC-10ski (aka Ilyushin IL62). He simply turned too late. But, not to be defeated, he rolled on a lot of bank, and you could see a heavy smoke trail as the engines spooled up. He ended up in the correct spot, but you just had to wonder how close he was to the stall limit in the turn. Looked good though.

And the prize winner for the day was a European 747. He turned at about the right spot, but without sufficient bank. He ended up appreciably downwind, but kept coming. As he arrived over the runway, he still hadn’t corrected his track, but he tried to do that in the flare. The left outboard engine impacted the ground. There’s a good reason that you don’t use more than few degrees of bank near terra firma. He ultimately taxied past us, trailed by a couple of fire tenders, with the offending engine looking a bit second hand.

In 1997 it all came to an end, and all operations moved to the new airport built at Chep Lak Kok. This was a vastly better airport, with decent approaches to all of its runways. It’s still subject to some pretty nasty windshear, but is nowhere near the fun of Kai Tak.
Nice, Always wished I had paxed to Kai Tak. Used to do Archery with a bloke who'd done a few landings there. My girlfriend's (at the time) brother worked on the new airport. Some pretty grisly stories about the value placed on cheap labour.
 

jb747

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Used to do Archery with a bloke who'd done a few landings there.
Pilot, was he? Passengers don't do landings. Generally.

Kai Tak was in the days before the 9/11 restrictions, so it was rare to leave a seat empty for the arrival. There were some regular passengers who would ask for a seat before you’d even taken off.
 
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Vic

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Pilot, was he? Passengers don't do landings. Generally.

Kai Tak was in the days before the 9/11 restrictions, so it was rare to leave a seat empty for the arrival. There were some regular passengers who would ask for a seat before you’d even taken off.
Sorry, wrong terminology. Too rushed in composing the reply. Landed there as a passenger.
 

27mrpc27

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Hi pilots, thanks for all the work you do keeping us regular commuters safe.

Just a question about landings, in particular rough ones. I fly domestically almost weekly pre COVID and as such have many flights that blend together, but the ones I seem to remember long after are the ones with particularly rough landings.

My question is, while I'm sure a rough landing can have many causes and is likely of more concern to the backsides of the pax than the crew, what is the reaction in the cockpit ? Are there degrees of impact that dictate whether it's even mentioned ? Does a severe one have to be reported to maintenance ?

Thanks again for the best forum around.
 

straitman

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Hi pilots, thanks for all the work you do keeping us regular commuters safe.

Just a question about landings, in particular rough ones. I fly domestically almost weekly pre COVID and as such have many flights that blend together, but the ones I seem to remember long after are the ones with particularly rough landings.

My question is, while I'm sure a rough landing can have many causes and is likely of more concern to the backsides of the pax than the crew, what is the reaction in the cockpit ? Are there degrees of impact that dictate whether it's even mentioned ? Does a severe one have to be reported to maintenance ?

Thanks again for the best forum around.
I am happy to let the airline guys elaborate some more but you have touched upon a bit of truth. Suffice to say that a good or bad landing for a pilot can be substantially different to a passenger's perception of a good or bad landing.
 

jb747

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Just a question about landings, in particular rough ones. I fly domestically almost weekly pre COVID and as such have many flights that blend together, but the ones I seem to remember long after are the ones with particularly rough landings.

My question is, while I'm sure a rough landing can have many causes and is likely of more concern to the backsides of the pax than the crew, what is the reaction in the cockpit ? Are there degrees of impact that dictate whether it's even mentioned ? Does a severe one have to be reported to maintenance ?
Your idea of a good landing, and mine, are quite different.

Basically, for a passenger (or cabin crew), the only factor that they use is the 'smoothness' of the landing. Fair enough given that's the only factor that they can actually see (or feel).

Within the cockpit, that's almost the last thing we grade it on.

As a generalisation, really smooth landings are done by extending the flare into a longer 'hold off'. That increases the risk of tail scrape, lengthens the overall landing distance, makes handling any crosswind much more difficult, and increases the likelihood of aquaplaning on a wet runway.

Some aircraft are also quite prone to sitting down pretty firmly. The 767 was renowned for firm arrivals, even though everything should have led to a smooth touchdown. The general theory for that related to the way the gear translated during the landing, and the spoiler actuation.

The are limits beyond which maintenance action is required. For the 747 and 767 there were two figures. 1.4 and 1.8g. Basically at the lower figure, a very quick look was all that was required, whilst the higher one required a visit to the hangar. The vast majority of landings, even ones you consider firm, are under 1.1g.
 

Hvr

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Removal of landmarks:

Yesterday the Hazelwood power station chimneys were removed. Apparently they were a landmark for local pilots to look out for.
When landmarks such as this are removed are charts updated or a notice issued to the nearest airports to remind pilots of the change?

In this instance pilots using TGN and probably SXE would be most affected.

TIA.
 

AviatorInsight

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My question is, while I'm sure a rough landing can have many causes and is likely of more concern to the backsides of the pax than the crew, what is the reaction in the cockpit ? Are there degrees of impact that dictate whether it's even mentioned ? Does a severe one have to be reported to maintenance ?

Thanks again for the best forum around.
No two landings are ever the same. Even for us doing domestic where we can do around 20-30 landings a month, can get the same exact landing two times in a row, so you get to know through experience what’s a good landing vs what is considered bad.

The reaction is usually quick, we don’t dwell on it. There’s still the act of stopping (especially if it’s a short runway), and taxiing in. It’s a big threat and distraction if pilots let the landing get in their head. It’s not until the park brake is set and engines shut down that we can then talk about it.

We don’t have access to any g meter readings, so we gather as much info as we can. If we’ve suspected a hard landing (note that it has to be actually hard), this is different to a firm landing, then a quick write up in the maintenance log and a quick check by the engineers is all that’s required to get going again.
 

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