pilots consider visual approaches to be less demanding than instrument
approaches flown in poor weather conditions. But visual approaches can
present a number of hazards, particularly when localizer and glide slope
indications are not used to backup visual impressions.
these pilots reported to ASRS, a low altitude alert can be an unexpected
reminder to get "back up" on the proper visual approach path.
in a Haze
warning confirmed that this MD-88 flight crew should have relied more
on what the instruments indicated than on what they thought they
were asked to report the field in sight for a visual approach to Runway
12R. The First Officer stated that he saw the field ahead and we accepted
the visual approach. Conditions were very hazy and I thought I saw
the field, however the localizer showed that we were right of course.
I felt that we were on a shallow intercept and opted to maintain this
intercept (due to Runway 12L traffic, which I had visually). As we
continued what appeared to be a normal, visual descent, I noted that
we were drifting further below glide slope and not closing on the
localizer course. The First Officer asked if I saw the airport to
the left and I realized that I was looking at something other than
the airport. The controller called a low altitude alert.... I should
have remained on my original intercept heading until established on
the ILS, inbound. Haze and visual approaches just don't go together.
clearing a desert peak, this B737 Captain was able to offer some sage
advice on visual approaches.
was a clear night, and we were on vectors to intercept the localizer
for a visual approach to Runway 11L. Level at 6,000 feet, approximately
18 miles out...the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS)
gave a "Terrain, terrain" warning due to a 4,682 foot peak
just south of the localizer at 15 miles.... The First Officer had
begun a normal descent for landing prior to intercepting the localizer.
Mistake #1: As we were anticipating a visual, the ILS approach was
not thoroughly briefed. If it had been, the high terrain would have
been noted. Mistake #2: Due to a long day, some fatigue, complacency,
and a clear night with unlimited visibility, we accepted a visual
too far out and began a visual descent too soon.... The good news:
technology saved the day.
Alert Controller's Alert
slope information was in this B737 flight crew's backup plan, but not
in their scan.
We informed the controller that we should be able to fly a visual
if we could get a turn toward the field. The controller gave a descent
to 2,000 feet and a turn inbound to intercept the localizer. I immediately
began to configure the aircraft while in a descending right turn
to final. The Captain called the field in sight. I slightly overshot
the localizer while looking for the field and the controller gave
us a right turn to re-intercept. I saw a reddish-white light ahead
which I thought was the Visual Approach Slope Indicator (VASI) for
Runway12L, but I could not see the runway lights. The controller
asked us again if we had the field in sight and then advised that
he was getting a low altitude warning on our flight path.... I quickly
leveled off. We were at 1,000 feet, four miles from the airport.
I then saw the runway lights and continued for an uneventful landing.
learned: Don't attempt to fly a visual approach unless the field
is in sight.... Maintain the glide slope.
was so fixated on configuring the aircraft, looking for the field,
and maintaining the localizer course that I dropped the glide slope
out of my crosscheck....
no visual approach aids or instrument backup, this DC-10 flight crew
was drawn into the "black hole" effect on final.
The controller asked if we had a visual on the airport. The runway
was in sight at about eight miles and we were cleared for a visual
approach. The ILS to Runway 33R was not working (no electronic glide
slope). Runway 33R has no VASI, or Precision Approach Path Indicator
(PAPI). We appeared to be on a "normal sight picture" for
a visual approach when Tower advised of a low altitude alert. I leveled
off...then resumed a corrected visual glide path. Vectoring in the
local area, weather avoidance, loading multiple approaches in the
FMS (ILS Runway 26, ILS Runway 33, then VOR Runway 33) and ATC communications
led to "task saturation" and a visual descent point which
began earlier than desired. Also, the dark ground between our aircraft
and the runway produced the illusion of being high on the visual glide
the instruments on visual approaches can do more than confirm the proper
approach path, the procedure can also assist in selecting the right
place to land.
a Visual Approach"... to the Wrong Airport
In the following
report, a CL65 First Officer was concerned about being high on final,
but the instruments indicated that there was also another problem.
were cleared for a visual approach to Runway 31. I had what I thought
was the runway in sight, but I was high and all my concentration was
outside the cockpit in order to make the runway. As we got close,
the Captain remarked that the runway did not match what the FMS depiction
and ILS were indicating. I glanced inside and had just decided to
initiate a go-around when Approach told us to go around because we
were headed for the [Wrong] Airport. We climbed back to 2,500 feet,
lined up on the [Right] Airport Runway 31 ILS and landed. [Right]
Airport Runway 31 approach plate carries a warning about [Wrong] Airport,
but I didn't notice it. In the future, I will make a careful study
of every approach plate, even when it is "just a visual approach!"
crew reported on the hazards of a common meteorological phenomenon-
the sunny, clear day.
We were on vectors to the right base for a visual to Runway 19.
I called the field in sight and fully configured the aircraft. As
we were turning to final, Tower advised that we may be looking at
the [Wrong] Airport and called the [Right] Airport's position to
us. At this point I discontinued the approach, climbed up to 2,000
feet and proceeded to the Outer Marker for an uneventful landing
at the [Right] Airport.
there were numerous navaids to alert me to my loss of situational
awareness...I saw what I expected to see.... It would have become
obvious that the runway I was looking at didn't correlate with my
ILS, but the Tower and my First Officer spoke up first. This event
just reinforced the dangers of complacency on a sunny, VFR day and
the importance of crew assertiveness during flight deviations. Quick
action on the Tower's part made this more of a professional embarrassment
than a real incident.
Callback readers might be tempted to think, "That could never happen
to me" when readinga report on what appears to be an "obvious"
error. Professionals know better. Mistakes can happen to anyone. Take
this report from a private pilot who didn't notice the difference between
a 13,300 foot military runway and a 4,500 foot municipal strip. It could
happen to anyone. Well...almost anyone. One thing is certain, it won't
happen to this pilot...again.
I took off from [Big City] Airport to go to [Little City] Airport
and pick up a friend.... The information I had from a fellow pilot
was that there was a new runway at [Little City] Airport. Although
I had been there many times, my last time was over a year ago....
I flew a course of 080 degrees and climbed to 5,500 feet until I saw
the runway. Then I dropped down three thousand feet and landed at
[Huge] Air Force Base thinking it was the new, longer runway at [Little
City] Airport. The Military Police took me to Base Operations....
This sampling of
ASRS reports dealing with the installation of wrong parts indicates
an ongoing problem. Factors cited in these incidents include failure
to verify part numbers, lack of training, schedule pressure, and failure
to update illustrated parts catalogs and job cards.
B737-200 aircraft requested a constant speed drive change.... After
a late start, the drive unit and generator were changed.... As the
lead mechanic, I recorded the change in the logbook along with the
part number. Later it was found that the wrong part was used. It was
for a B737-300.... There were several things I overlooked after the
installation due to departure time. The part number should have been
verified, but was overlooked by myself and others....
cargo fire warning unit was removed from an MD83 and installed on
an MD82 aircraft. The MD83 uses part # xxx and the MD82 uses part
# yyy.... When the error was discovered, I notified the MD80 technician
at the next line station and informed my supervisor and manager that
the wrong part had been installed. I was told that the part would
be removed and replaced.
Another technician and I removed and replaced a filler on a B757 number
one engine between fan blades 18 and 19. Later we were told that the
wrong filler had been installed. We had never been trained on the
installation of the annulus fillers. The difference between fillers
is the number of tabs on the blade end. The filler that was installed
was one tab short. The airplane was stopped at the next line station
and the filler error was corrected.
Recently Issued Alerts On...
dual engine flame out
chart milage discrepancy
340B loss of main hydraulics
dual engine generator failures
confusion at an Eastern airport
2003 Report Intake
Carrier/Air Taxi Pilots