I just (~ 15:00Z) landed in Frankfurt… and I’m speechless. I’m speechless because of this:
So I don’t want to blame the actual controllers here. As a pilot, I just want to point out some things which bothered me and didn’t make sense to me.
However, of course, the first excuse is going to be traffic numbers.
Well, today, this excuse won’t count. Frankfurt is capable of conducting 96 flight movements per hour. Originally EDDF was designed for a whopping count of 126 movements. When I touched down it was about 50 inbound and 30 outbound - so not even on the limits.
Frankfurt is a very capable airport, equipped with numerous STARS and Approaches to choose from while being able to use !4 runways simultaneously. And somehow, the staff still managed to cause a bit of a chaos. So I have a few questions:
- Why has RWY 18 not been used for takeoffs? (apart from like 4 to 5 aircraft around 15:00Z?) It’s been built there for a reason - favourable winds and independently from the other 3 (landing-)rwys. That’s also the reason why it’s not equipped with an ILS system at all. It’s the main runway for takeoffs.
- Why directing aircraft to 25L and 25R? 25C and 07C are used during busy hours, so while it’s not efficient to use the Centerrwy for takeoffs, it’s not entirely wrong. However, 25L and 25R are mainly landing runways.
- Landing Quadjets and other Superheavys on 25R is a big nono, in general, it’s rare to see 777’s on 25R, this runway is reserved for the 737 and A320 family and smaller jets.
So that was the trouble on the ground. Not good, but maybe understandable. The real trouble was in the sky. At this point, I will refrain from posting a timelapse and stick to my experience.
- Why haven’t there been any prefered SIDs & STARs at all? I mean that’s why they have been implemented in the first place? Planes were coming in from every direction, and there would’ve been numerous STARs to choose from - a big mistake in my opinion as that would’ve really helped to organise traffic efficiently in the first place.
- As you’ve seen in the screenshot above, I filed for the KER25N STAR. It contains the descent and approach including a big up- and downwind to have enough time for spacing. Well, after contacting approach I was cleared to continue as filed but extended my initial downwind to clear another aircraft which was already on downwind. After that approach took over and vectored me straight into the approach path of another aircraft cleared for 25R. Ok, happens, he wasn’t aware of the situation. I declared a missed approach and was about to join downwind again as usually planned. Approach had different plans and vectored me Westbound - into !parallel oncoming traffic on downwind. This time, he realised his mistake and vectored me - not back onto the up- nor downwind - but across other traffic on a southeast heading to clear me for Approach 25R. Then I got cleared not once, not twice, but three times in a row for the ILS approach. Coming in hot with 5 other planes we all managed to keep our separation on final with none having to perform a go-around - that was great.
But I feel like my story and all of that chaos could’ve been avoided.
- Why were there only 3 IFATC staff @EDDF with a total of over 100 planes inbound, but the same amount of staff at Moscow with only 30 planes inbound? Why not shifting staff from one airport to the other?
- Why was Langen Center not opened to assist the Approach, but in the meantime not only Munich Center but also Praha Center was maned simultaneously? Langen Center could have been opened to reduce the number of inbound flights to reorganise the approach pattern.
I was really looking forward to flying into Frankfurt today. But in conclusion, I feel like there was just a huge lack of organisation and preparation today afternoon. A quick look at the charts can give vital information for the proper setup of a capable airport like Frankfurt. I also feel like the staff could’ve been allocated much better.
But that’s why I opened this topic.
I don’t want to offend anyone. I really hope that this topic doesn’t get closed so that below this thread ATC staff and pilots can debate together on how to improve procedures in busy regions.