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Just because its legal, doesn't make it safe

Discussion in 'Air Traffic Control' started by N90-EWR, May 31, 2013.

  1. N90-EWR

    N90-EWR Well-Known Member

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    I've posted this on several other aviation forums, and felt it was appropiate to share it here as well.

    One of the biggest concerns that I have always had as an air traffic controller with 2 decades+ worth of working at the NY Tracon is VFR aircraft floating around just a hair under the class bravo, and not talking to anyone. This last week alone I witnessed 3 different very close calls that thankfully didn't end in tragedy. This latest 3 incidents involved one aircraft going at 2900 right in front, and directly below a heavy A340 coming in for landing at EWR. Now, I realize that GA aircraft need to have a way to go in, and out of all the different airports in our area, but come on..... have some common sense, and know where you are flying. If you know you're going to fly under the final of one of the busiest International airports in the NE, don't do it 100 feet under the Bravo just "because its legal"

    The 2 other incidents involved aircraft flying at 2000 right across the TEB ILS RWY 19 localizer at 6 to 7 miles out, so they were under the NY Bravo, and outside the TEB delta. Perfectly legal, yet if you ask the 2 arrivals that had the misfortune of being at 2000 on the localizer right in direct conflict with them, they'll tell a different story. One of the arrivals had to abort landing because the conflict happened just outside of TUGGZ (FAF), and the TCAS resolution advisory took him to 2500 (which btw resulted in an almost loss of separation with a EWR arrival at 3000 above).

    I have no idea how we have avoided a real tragedy involving something like this up to this point, but I fear that someday fate will put 2 together. Why does it have to take an actual tragedy, and have blood spilled before potential safety hazards get fixed? An obvious solution would be to extend the Bravo airspace out another 5 miles or so, and maybe lower the floor to 1500, so that there is less of a chance to have those close calls with traffic on the ILS 19 loc, but still give the GA flying public a way in and out of the local airports.

    When the Bravo was designed, they only considered the "big 3", and TEB, MMU final approach courses were left out of the equation. Even the EWR final has issues with that 3000 feet floor sometimes.

    For those of you that fly in and out of this area, and are familiar with the airspace, how do you feel about this? have any of you ever experienced a close call with one of those 1200 VFR's while coming in for landing at EWR, TEB, MMU, CDW, LDJ, or N07? What do you think of expanding the Bravo a bit farther out, and lower? Does anyone have any other ideas that could fix this safety issue?​
     
  2. Lightyear

    Lightyear Well-Known Member

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    Have you guys (or any pilots) filed any Aviation Safety Reports to help build a paperwork file/case for amending the airspace there?

    Normally I'd side with the GA pilot and say that as long as they are following the rules that it is the controllers responsibility to deconflict IFR traffic..... but that piece of sky in the NY metro area is a different animal all together and I'd be arguing from a position of ignorance if I tried to say that the controllers are behind the power curve on seeing these conflicts.

    It sounds like amending the airspace may be necessary if it's as bad as you say.
     
  3. N90-EWR

    N90-EWR Well-Known Member

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    I have filed, as well as others have. the problem is that making changes to the class Bravo is incredibly difficult, and cumbersome, with a lot of bureocracy, and powerful special interest groups that have a say, and usually vote against any proposed increases of class B airspace.
     
  4. KSCessnaDriver

    KSCessnaDriver Well-Known Member

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    Have you considered the flip side, that it's because some pilots have simply given up on NYC approach, because they can't ever get what they want/need to operationally. I basically gave up on trying to deal with EWR for a midfield crossing last summer, because I'd get screwed, they say sure you can, I'd get to the field and they changed their mind.
     
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  5. genot

    genot Well-Known Member

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    They do it in my Bravo as well quite a bit and we're really quite accommodating so I've never really understood at times. I'll also say its extremely difficult at times to deconflict a situation where you have control of one, but no idea what the other guy is doing. Not every 1200 code is a Skyhawk. When a 1200 code has a ground speed of 280, is climbing and descending at 2,000 feet per minute and generally maneuvering, its probably more agile than the guy I'm trying to turn base to final all dirtied up.
     
  6. z987k

    z987k TeamANC

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    When I used to fly survey we'd have to loiter in bad places for traffic for long periods of time. We'd usually try to work with the controlling facility but after hour 3 they'd usually start getting pretty annoyed. When things turned south we'd just squawk 1200 because we actully had every right to be there and had a job to do as well.
     
  7. Boris Badenov

    Boris Badenov He comes to save the day in a broken truck.

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    NYC is a freaking nightmare. AFAIC, the solution is to limit the number of departures/arrivals from the "big" airports. The amount of metal they're pushing in to and out of those places is, IMHO, not safe, whatever the VFR guys are doing.
     
  8. cmhumphr

    cmhumphr Well-Known Member

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    I get TCAS warnings all the time going into Newark. Mostly landing the 4's going over Linden.
     
  9. mad2fly

    mad2fly Well-Known Member

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    The OP talks of close tragedies and go arounds.

    Perhaps they weren't as close as you think. The VFR pilot(s) could have had the aircraft you were tracking in sight the entire time. They are pretty big.

    As for going around, that is inconvenient (I've been there myself many times) but the other trafic has just as much right to that bit of airspace outside of class B as the traffic inside.

    I just point these things out to highlight the other side. I myself on the rare occasions that I found myself VFR under class B have tried to keep in mind the possible IFR arrival and departures in the area. I would say I do that for whatever airport I'm near IFR or VFR.

    Full disclosure, I haven't flown VFR in at least 6 years.

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2
     
  10. N90-EWR

    N90-EWR Well-Known Member

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    Yeah well, its never a tragedy until it really happens. That has always been the prevailing attitude, which is why nothing ever gets done until after something happens, and blood has been spilled. Pretty much every single rule, or procedure on our 7110.65 was put there as a consequence of some accident. I guess I'm just a fool for thinking they'll change the NY Bravo before an accident happens.:bang:
     
  11. N90-EWR

    N90-EWR Well-Known Member

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    It never ceases to amaze me how so many pilots always use that argument about "we have as much right to that bit of airspace". To put it into perspective..would you go drive around in a moped at 40mph in and out of the middle and left lane of an interstate cutting off 18 wheelers doing 65mph+? When one of those runs you over....how's that "I have as much right as he does over this space" going to hold?

    Flying a C172 100 feet in front of a heavy, doing less that half his speed is about as stupid as that is, even if its legal, and "you have as much right". I just pray to god I'm nowhere near a radar scope when somebody like you goes to "exercise his rights to be there" and something goes wrong.
     
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  12. jtrain609

    jtrain609 Director of Operations at Tycho Station.

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    Ga aircraft that have a mode c turned on don't cocern me so much, it's the cats flying around without a transponder that scare me. I can respond to an ra, but I'm unlikely to see all the ga traffic in the NYC airspace.

    For reference I've been based in ewr on and off since 2007.
     
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  13. Dan208B

    Dan208B Well-Known Member

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    What I'll never understand is GA pilot's desire to avoid using flight following. More often than not, non-professional pilots I talk to don't use it. Reasons seem to be either they don't want to bother with it, don't want to bug ATC because they're busy, or they aren't comfortable using it. Make all the arguments you want that people should be comfortable with it, I'll agree with you, but the simple truth is that many private pilots are not comfortable with using the ATC environment if they regularly fly out of an uncontrolled airport. I always try to encourage people to get flight following whenever possible and practical as it's a free service that will help improve safety. I understand controllers are busy at times, but most controllers I talk to would rather be able to provide traffic services to 2 aircraft than 1.
     
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  14. killbilly

    killbilly Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens

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    Well....legally, they do, don't they?

    Your analogy here is flawed. Low-powered mopeds aren't allowed on the interstate. It would be illegal. The moped DOES NOT have a right to that space at all.

    That being said, I do get your point. Don't freak out on me. Keep reading. :)


    But here's the thing. Somewhere along the line, someone decided that it was, in fact, legal and - at least at one point, safe. Times have changed, perhaps, and the original call to alter the airspace and thus, change the behavior, is absolutely the right thing to do if things are as dangerous as you say.

    Pilots are taught - to varying degrees, I assume - a level of aeronautical decision making. And I can remember several occasions where my instructor told me that something which was LEGAL was not always SMART. And for me, "smart" and "safe" were generally synonymous things. Change the operating parameters and you will change the behavior.
     
  15. jtrain609

    jtrain609 Director of Operations at Tycho Station.

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    You know the kind of person that goes charging into a crosswalk without looking both ways to make sure that a car isn't going to hit them, and then rant on and on about how they have a right to be there?

    They're right, they do.

    But Hohfeldian Rights ALWAYS give way to Newtonian Physics, and in this case when somebody wants to push things and there's a mistake, everybody ends up dead. So in the same way that when the person walks into the cross walk, gets hit, and dies, and had a right to be there, they are still in the end deceased. The same thing applies here, and is all the more real when you're flying at 250 knots, doing 5 legs a day, for 1,000 hours a year through this airspace.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. killbilly

    killbilly Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens

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    Like I said, I get it, and I agree.
     
  17. jtrain609

    jtrain609 Director of Operations at Tycho Station.

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    Sorry about that, I should have prefaced that I was just using your post as a jumping off point to MAKE a point, not going after you. In addition to being a keyboard ninja, I'm also taking care of a sick infant, so I'm not exactly thinking straight.
     
  18. KSCessnaDriver

    KSCessnaDriver Well-Known Member

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    Again, it comes back to ATC. Keep telling guys that they can't get what they want or need operationally, and they'll give up and take every inch of ground they can legally use to get the job done.

    I've done it, especially when EWR screws me over by saying that sure I can get a midfield crossing, then changing their mind when I'm 2 miles from the field.
     
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  19. N519AT

    N519AT Ahh! This is how I change this!

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    I don't get that either. I would always talk to ATC if I could. Doing cross countries, maneuvers, whatever. My local TRACON was happy to provide their services. An extra set of eyes was definitely comforting.
     
  20. inigo88

    inigo88 Composite-lover

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    You have to understand that average pilot training extensively stipulates that there is some rhyme or reason to airspace design which intelligently allocates appropriate margins of safety. Class G airspace extends up to at least 1200 ft AGL even over mountainous terrain, airways are 8 nm wide, IFR MEAs, MOCAs and MSAs all assure a certain amount of terrain clearance, etc.

    So naturally when looking at Class B airspace, we expect it to be designed in such a way as to contain participating aircraft on instrument approaches with an acceptable amount of altitude clearance between each of the step-down fixes on the approach and the corresponding floors of the shelves of the Bravo.

    If that is not the case, then this is clearly an airspace design issue, and no pilot in their right mind would fight it. I really don't think AOPA is the evil monster standing in the way of progress you make it out to be (Meigs was bulldozed and we frequently lose local airports all around the country that are never coming back - General Aviation is shrinking and AOPA isn't doing enough to save it IMHO).

    I would highly recommend taking a more educational approach to this issue. Why not compare the approach in question with the floors of the Class B in that area and explain how close pilots are actually getting to your air carrier traffic. Show us some ASRS reports. You sound pretty jaded by having to deal with this so much, but I can guarantee most of the VFR pilots in question are probably not doing this out of any nefarious intent (we just assume that surely the airspace is designed properly!). I would be very interested to learn where and why this happens the most, and what safer alternatives there are.
     
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