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Guest PittsburghII

For the Pros: Cleared to land at 500 ft

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Guest PittsburghII

Following the link that was posted here, and also observed in some 737 videos that I have seen on the net, I have noticed that some carriers go through the landing check list and the pilots agrees between them selves whether they will land or not by the time the decend through 500 ft. I assume this varies from airline to airline and is specified in the SOP. My question is simple: In the case where visibility is lower than 500 (i.e. no visual indication of the runway or the environment passing through 500), but still better than minimums, what is done then? Do these SOPs then force a go-around, or is it ok to not have a conclusion on landing or not until minimums according to these SOPs?Thanks,BoazEKCH

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Guest guyjr

In the U.S., the FARs are pretty clear about what to do during an instrument approach. I don't remember all of the specifics, but I do remember one thing: on an ILS approach, if you can identify one element of the approach lighting system, you can continue the approach down to 100 feet AGL (normally it's 200 feet, and that's for non Cat-II/III approaches). If you can't identify the runway by the time you reach 100 feet, you have to go around.I doubt any airline has SOPs that indicate higher levels of safety than the FARs allow (i.e., 400 ft minimum instead of 200 on an ILS approach) - after all, they want to make money first, safety second, and go around = wasted fuel. So I'd say it's pretty safe to assume that all of the minimums specified for various approaches (ILS, LOC, LOC-BC, VOR, VOR-A, NDB, GPS, GPS-A) are what you'd get from a typical airline.As far as the decision to land itself, I suspect what an airline might do is have the pilots go through their before landing checklist to insure they and the plane are properly prepared for landing, and then commit to attempting the landing. But that's different from the regulations governing instrument approaches (which involves minimums and all that other fun stuff).--Guy Elden Jr.

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Lufthansa is one airline that uses 500ft AGL as a reference point for landing. All LH aircraft have the "500" GPWS automatic callout disabled. Instead, the PNF calls "500" to improve situational awareness. The flying pilot responds with "Checked." If the airplane is configured correctly and lateral / vertical deviation from approach path is acceptable and - most importantly - the runway is in sight, he adds "Continue!". Decision Height can then be ignored. However, if the runway is not visible, they may proceed down to decision height and reassess the situation.So it's basically just a double-check... ;-)HolgerBAW0715

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Boaz-It is common to confuse "Approach Minimums" with "Stabilized Approach Criteria"Approach Minimums are regulatory in nature and are dictated by a combination of published approach minimums and the airline operating specifications. Generally, except in extraordinary circumstances (newly rated Captain who has not met "Consolidation of Experience" guidelines) the Approach Minimum can be read directly from the approach plate for that specific airport and runway.What you are asking about specifically is something known as "Stabilized Approach Criteria." This is a procedure that is also regulatory in nature but has been codified by most airlines into a more specific behavior to which the crew is reqired to adhere.Essentially it works like this:For INSTRUMENT APPROACHS (ie: to minimums or someplace on the final approach at which time visual acquisition may take place) The airplane should be fully configured for landing (Gear and Flaps) and ON FINALL APPROACH SPEED and ON FINAL APPROACH COURSE AND GLIDEPATH when the aircraft is 1000' above the Touchdown Zone for the landing runway.For VISUAL APPROACHES the airplane should be fully configured for landing and ON FINAL APPROACH COURSE and GLIDEPATH when the airplan is 500' aboce the touchdown zone for the landing runway.There may be VERY VERY rare occasions where this procedure will be modified- in which case it will be discussed in detail by the crew during the Approach Briefing. Hope that clarifies what you were seeing.


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Guest PittsburghII

Thanks to all of you for the answers :-)I think I may have been unclear in my question (rereading it again I can see that it is not the greatest piece of prose ever written). My question is not so much how to adhere to the published procedures. The example that sparked the question was actually LH, but I have seen the same happening on a 737 carrier in Europe (forget the name). In both cases I noticed that both crews were silent when the "Minimums" call out came from the GPWS as both of the crews had decided to land passing through 500 ft. Both videos that I saw, however, were in clear weather, so passing 500 ft. the runway was clearly in sight.Now, suppose that the cloud base is below said 500 ft, but above what is the published minimums for the certain approach... Let's say the published minimum is at 200 ft. My question is what those SOPs dictate the pilots do when passing 500 ft. I assume the pilots are legally allowed to continue the approach down until 200 ft. Is that correct? I was just speculating that some airlines would prohibit pilots from decending lower than, say the given 500 ft.Thanks,BoazEKCH

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Boaz,Some of us wonder what the issue here is.If there is a DH of 200 it is there for a good reason - so you can delay land/no land decision until you are at 200. Then you either land or don't land depending what you see. If you are so preoccupied with Lufthansa's (or someone else's) procedures then ask them how/what they do it when they are in a real soup at 500 AGL because saying that you can make a firm decision to land or not at that point is ludicrous. When they fly in clear weather it is all academic. And I very much doubt that some airlines invent their own (more restrictive) weather minimums - diverting an aircraft is too expensive. Most likely you are misinterpreting something you saw on those videos.Michael J.


Michael J.

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Guest Simuflator

Hi Boaz,Would the phrase you've heard be: "PNF: Runway PF: Landing!"?This is our procedure (MD11, The blue airline from The Netherlands):As from around 2000' HAA (so on the altitude for visual or ILS glideslope intercept):just before intercept: PF commands Flaps 28PNF sets Flaps 28PF commands Gear downPNF selects Gear downPF commands flaps 35 (this may be delayed until Outermarker)PNF selects Flaps 35PF initiates descent on the glidepath (ILS or Visual is the same)PF commands "Landing checklist"PNF performs landing checklist (it has to be completed before reaching 1000'HAT (this is a "stabilized approach" crtiteria)At the GPWS call out "500'" Both pilots verify with eachother if landing clearance has been optained:GPWS "500"PF "Cleared" or "Not Cleared"PNF "Checked" or going to tower to obtain clearancePNF calls approaching minimums 100' above DA or MDAAT DH go aroundAT MDA level off until Missed approach point and then Go-AroundOr landing at runway......And now the answer to your question (hopefully):The remark as mentioned above will be given during any phase as long as there is a visual reference to the intended landing runway.(and even much earlier if good visual ground reference is obtained) This must not be mistaken with an obtained landing clearance. It is only a "I see the runway do you see it to?" verification between the pilots. The theory behind it is; why wait for it until the very last moment if you can already make the descision earlier in a less hectic moment, the PF who needs to land the plane is on the instruments all the time, he needs a call from the PNF when he can start to include the outside scan. If you are totally IFR until DA then you call out only at DA (with adequate visual reference) and hope that the PF and PNF did a course in speed-talking.....Hope my story is clear (and this is an answer to your question) as it is easier done than said!!! If not please ask....Greetings,Remco

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Guest PittsburghII

Michael, I am sorry I didn't make my self clear enough for you. As I stated, I am fully aware of the usage of minimums. I don't see where you get the preoccupiedness from, but I will let that slide. The whole point of the post was to get pilots, who theoretically could be working under such company based procedures, to answer the question (so, yes I should be asking them -- I did). Further, you may have missed the question all together: I was asking what to do if you are not in a position to make that call at that altitude, what then? To you that may be ludicrous, but maybe not to all?Thanks for a non-informative post,Boaz

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Guest Darren Howie

Interesting to see what the Blue airline does.Well the airline with a kangaroo on the tail have a few more requirements.As Randy stated in IMC you must be stable by 1000' AAL.Stable meaning between Vref-5 and Vref+10.No if's buts or maybe's if its not there a go around is required.In IMC then the criteria are enforced at 500'AAL.On the 320 at minima the call is 100 above.At the minima PNF call minima and PF states either landing(if visual) or go around flaps(if not) as we fly stabilized flight path there is no option to fly along past a visual desecent point(vdp).The VDP is the place where a 3 degree path from the rwy threshold intercepts your current altitude.ANything passed the VDP and your ROD will be up over 1000fpm and the GPWS will not be happy if below 800'AGL.CheersDarren

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Guest Pittsburgh

Hi Remco, Now I have seen the video once again to try to figure out what they are saying. At the interesting point, the pilots have gone through the landing check list. So, at passing 500 ft. I guess the captain (he is PNF) calls out "500" and the PF responds with "Checked" to which the captain says "Continue". As they pass through the minimum (and the GPWS calls "Minimums") none of them utter anything (the runway is in sight). My guess is that it is because they have already decided to continue the approach.This is in contrast to what I have experienced being when sitting in the jump seat on the 737. The companies I have flown with all waited until minimums to decide if landing or not.So, my assumption was that the SOPs or something to that effect dictated that the pilots must make the decision earlier. The question was if that is indeed true, what is done when you are not in a condition to make that call at 500 ft.Hope that clears up confusions,Boaz

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Guest Simuflator

For landing we would need 2 things:Landing clearance + visual contact with the runway (or approach lights)We need these two items checked AT our minimums......So if we would wait until our minimums we would have to verify both items with eachother in the instant of a second....KLM pilots CHECK landing clearance ahead of minimums at 500' (which on itself is not a final descision to land or go-around, you have time left to continue). KLM pilots call to eachother the runway insight before minimums if possible.....(which practically is not a descision te land)If both items are discussed well in advance of minimums then there would be no reason to go-around at minumums or to discuss it again at minimums....A pilot is always with one hand at the go-around button during final approach until touchdown.... So if the 2 items are discussed and something changes (runway incursion, windshear etc.) he would go around even if he had previously descided to continue.....Other airlines use different SOP's so the answer to your question is always a guess until a pilot from that company answers but here I go:The call in your video tends me to think that it is more or less the landing clearance call.....Maybe they have discussed the runway in sight much earlier (If weather is clear and it is at night you would see the runways at SPL overhead Brussel.... so you could discuss runway in sight already 10 to 15 minutes before minimums)What happens sometimes is that it is so obvious that a runway is in sight that you forget to discuss it, it is a bad thing to do bud I've seen it happen....Hope it helps!!Remco

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