Number 287
August 2003
A Monthly Safety Bulletin from The Office of the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System
P.O. Box 189, Moffett Field, CA 94035-0189

The Lowdown on Visual Approaches, Back Them Up

Eye with Runway ReflectionMany 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.

As these pilots reported to ASRS, a low altitude alert can be an unexpected reminder to get "back up" on the proper visual approach path.

Drifting in a Haze

A controller's warning confirmed that this MD-88 flight crew should have relied more on what the instruments indicated than on what they thought they saw outside.

A Peak Experience

After clearing a desert peak, this B737 Captain was able to offer some sage advice on visual approaches.

An Alert Controller's Alert

Glide slope information was in this B737 flight crew's backup plan, but not in their scan.

A Lofty Illusion

With no visual approach aids or instrument backup, this DC-10 flight crew was drawn into the "black hole" effect on final.

Airport Selection, The Right and Wrong of It

Cross-checking 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.

"Just 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.

Right Base, Wrong Airport

A B737 crew reported on the hazards of a common meteorological phenomenon- the sunny, clear day.

Airport Selection 2, The Long and Short of It

Aircraft on Short Final to RunwaySome 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.

From the Maintenance Desk

The Wrong Parts

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.


ASRS Recently Issued Alerts On...
BE90 dual engine flame out
NACO chart milage discrepancy
SAAB 340B loss of main hydraulics
MD80 dual engine generator failures
NOTAM confusion at an Eastern airport
July 2003 Report Intake
 Air Carrier/Air Taxi Pilots
 General Aviation Pilots