Pilot’s View: A380 approach and landing at SFO

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Happy 2013!   Check out this video from Pilots Eye TV.  In this one, we watch the final 15 minutes of an A380 approach, landing, and taxi at San Francisco, complete with communications and transcript.   

The 15-35 second mark demonstrates how "readbacks" can be misunderstood, and the consequences of an inaccurate readback.  

The 1st Officer reads back the missed approach climbout heading and should acknowledge that he is to expect vectors for the visual approach to runway 28L.  Stumbling over words, like we all do at times, he says "…ILS 28 right" and doesn't realize that he just accidentally requested an ILS approach to runway 28R after being told to expect the visual approach to 28L.  

It's a calm, VMC day in SFO, and the controller simply complies with what he hears requested.  Of course, this is usually not a big deal, but on a busy, cloudy day, this could have become a serious event.  

This happens to native speakers as well as non-native speakers quite commonly.  Nevertheless, it emphasizes how critical standard phraseology and clear communications are in aviation operations.  Just imagine this communications scenario over San Francisco on an IMC day with multiple aircraft arriving and departing!

More than ICAO level 4

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
Safe skies will always depend largely on effective communication between operators and controllers. ICAO Level 4 is a good standard, but training must be constant. Otherwise, it's only a matter of time before there's an aircraft mishap in which the operators/controllers were certified level 4, nevertheless, it resulted from a communication error. 
 
Aviation industry professionals are accustomed to a routine of constant training & evaluation.  When I was in the US Air Force, I had to do an evaluation flight at least twice per year.  Additionally, I had to prove competency in various skills every 30 to 60 days.  There is no rest from training in this industry, and given the lives at stake, there should not be.   

Loving the JustPlanes cockpit videos!

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

It is fascinating to watch these landings from the cockpit.  Observe the constant language switching, from Spanish to English.