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Landing in a snowstorm at Aspen

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Landing a CRJ 700 in a snowstorm down to about as close to minimums as one can get and still make it in. One trick to see the approach lights 3 miles out is to turn off the landing lights and strobes on your approach. That way you can see the runway lights better. When you are closer and landing is assured, turn them all back on to land. This a 4 year old video that captures a bold arrival! (www.youtube.com) 기타...

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S27481
Nicely down - gives a whole new meaning of IFR (I Follow Roads). The ground was in sight, flight vis was reasonably good. They were on a precision approach. A crew familiar with the airport knows that the road leads you to the runway and the approach plate notes tell you the same thing. The missed approach point on the RNAV is 1.5 miles from the threshold. A very nicely executed professional job.
WeatherWise
Or how rich clients can easily become stats on an NTSB report.
pilot62
CRJ 700's are Regional Jets, most likely United Express (Skywest) from LAX, SFO, or DEN.
brentlyhowell
Isn't illegal to turn your landing lights off below a certain altitude?
skyjumpr
skyjumpr 4
Navigation and collision avoidance lights are to be on in nighttime or limited visibility conditions, unless the PIC determines doing so presents a hazard to the flight. To my knowledge, there's no regulation concerning landing lights (for commercial nighttime flight, you are required to be equipped with them, but it doesn't say anything about actually having to use them), although there might be individual airline requirements I'm unaware of.
brentlyhowell
Thank you.
btweston
btweston 0
I heard "minimums" before I saw the lights, but the time difference was near instantaneous. How strict are the rules on that?
btweston
btweston 0
To clarify, by the time they hit the throttles to go around the lights would have been in sight. However, they weren't actually in sight at minimums. Is there a gray area or were these guys right or wrong?
skyjumpr
skyjumpr 3
This is where the difference between MDA and DA comes into play. On a non-precision approach, the MDA is the absolute minimum, no matter what, you are allowed to descend to until the runway environment is in sight. On a precision approach, the flying pilot must DECIDE by the altitude whether or not to continue the approach, but going slightly below is not only allowed, it's to be expected (time and altitude it takes to power up and transition to a climb).
btweston
btweston 0
Fair enough. After a little interweb searching it looks like KASE doesn't have any precision approaches, so these guys were kinda pushing it.
skyjumpr
skyjumpr 2
Indeed...you're right! Looking at the available approaches, it does make for a fun exercise on approach selection. If you're needing to get lower, the LOC/DME is the way to go, although you'll have to sacrifice visibility, which requires 3 miles. On the other hand, the RNAV and VOR approaches will get you closer (1 3/4 nm) but not get you as low...talk about some decision making!
Champdriver
In real life it's a lot easier to see the lights and other details before seeing them on some little dinky Youtube screen.
btweston
btweston 0
The cloud cover is there no matter what you're looking through.
Quidnon
Quidnon 2
In part 121 ops visibility is controlling on an approach. No one cares what the ceiling is outside of it just being informational. Also hearing the GPWS say minimums doesn't denote that you are at the missed approach point. It just means you've arrived at the MDA. The LOC at ASE is a steep approach no matter how you look at it. 4.55 degrees instead of the more normal 3 degrees. However you could still get down to your MDA inside RAFTR before hitting your missed approach point at CEYAG. Hence the possibility of the GPWS saying minimums minimums before seeing the runway or arriving at the missed approach point. Hope that clears it up a bit.
btweston
btweston 2
Seriously. Not so easy.
krispykreme
They were 1000% percent right. On my first view, I had the approach lights in sight about a second before I heard the 'minimums' call...despite the fact that the lights were blurry because the camera is focusing on the windshield wipers. But then again, I've been into ASE hundreds of times and know where to look. Watch it a couple more times and you'll see the lights before the call, too.
krispykreme
...And you can tell exactly when the flying pilot saw the lights: The instant the autopilot was disengaged. I guarantee it. Five full seconds before the minimums call. The ONLY gray area was the matter between these two pilot's ears. They deserve a lot more than what they're likely being paid for that approach.

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