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Guest jrewing

Question about Southwest Airlines

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Flew into Sacramento last night on America West, but got rerouted to Oakland because of fog. Someone said Southwest was still landing in Sacramento. Does Southwest have some kind of special equipment that allows them to land in lower visibility than normal??Matt

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yes and no...America West (along with many other airlines) have adopted procedures which are more stringent then the government published procedures which are considered legal minima.Southwest have not implemented a higher factor of safety except at a very few airports. This has been discussed at lenth in the airline industry for years and is considered inherently unsafe by many.I have at my desk here a set of west coast approach charts specifically published for Alaska Airlines. All of these are not published by the government but by Jepp, and only for ASA (thus are only for approved ASA use). Many other plates show (in a different color) the legal minima while shown in bold is the ASA minima.Very interesting to review and I would love to post an image here but I feel that it would not be the correct thing to do. I can say that I have seen airline specific plates for Horizon, Delta and just recently United Express.

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Interesting...thanks for the info. I didn't realize different airlines had different minimums.Matt

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SW is an interesting case. Thier pilots taxi like they are driving Corvettes, the airline, as noted, does not use as stringent minimums at some airports as other carriers, their planes are not auto throttle equipped - yet they have never had a fatal accident.

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SWA aircraft all have heads up displays installed also. So they can land in almost any weather. I fly them all the time and never been disatisfied.

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Also the aircraft have to be certified for certain minimums. Even with newer avionics and equipment in both aircraft and airports, some airlines adopt their own policies in ADDITION to those minimum requirements set forth by the FAA. Each airline's policy's are probably just as safe, but are tailored to that airlines particular way of operating as well.

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Well in MPO, SWA are one of the most profitable and economic airlines in the US. They fly to almost every major airport, at a very cheap price. They only have one type of aircraft, this cuts down on cost and number of personnell. Pilots can cross the other aircraft within the company quickly. They haven't had a major crash, the only time I can remember an incident is when a SWA 737 ran off the runway and stopped in a gas station, no one was hurt. All my experiences with SWA have been outstanding, the pilots give tours to anyone requesting one, and the FA's are always in a good mood. I wouldn't choose any other airline for my domestic travel.

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Hi Matt,Sacramento International has a CAT II and a CAT III approach for RWY 16L, but to execute those approaches, the pilots must be authorized (see 14 CFR 61.67 and 61.68), the aircraft must be properly equipped and certified, and the gound equipment must be functioning.Since another flight got in to SMF that night, one likely explanation is that a piece of equipment on the America West flight that was required for a CAT II or CAT III approach was inoperative or not functioning within tolerances. That's probably why the pilots diverted to Oakland, which was VFR that night.John

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