Question about an approach situation on Expert

Hi all,

I’m looking for some views on a situation that developed during final approach on a flight I did on Expert a little earlier this evening. I was Air Portugal 1436 from Lisbon LPPT to Casablanca GMMN. Unfortunately I don’t have any screenshots so you’ll just have to rely on my description.

I was vectored in for ILS 17R by the Approach controller, with their handover vector being 150° at 3,000ft (runway direction is 166°). Having turned immediately on being given the vector, that put me on course to intercept the ILS about halfway down the red cone. Not in itself a problem, but a tad unusual from my experience.

However, what was more concerning is that there was another plane that had been sent in for the GPS 17L, and I was basically going to end up right next to it with the very narrow separation between the runways. I tried slowing to give more of a separation, but was already getting down towards landing speed so it was to no avail. We ended up right alongside one another, with the other plane a glaring red on my radar given how close the two runways are.

I am used to such things from the real world at the likes of KSFO, but it is my understanding they can only allow that to happen in calm, crystal clear conditions. GMMN this evening was swathed in a dense fog layer, giving very little visibility, and also had a bit of a crosswind.

I decided to go around, and as instructed after announcing I made right traffic. I got no further instructions so wound up in right downwind at 2,000ft, still on Tower frequency. It looked like there was a right clutter of aircraft further ahead being handled by Approach, I hadn’t been instructed to change frequencies, and of course there is no option on the ATC messages along the lines of “so, what next boss?” Therefore, after I passed below the glidescope, knowing 17R was still free and with a decent gap before the next inbound plane, I turned base and announced to the tower I was on right base for 17R. I was then cleared no1 and landed fine.

I’m not sure if how I handled this was appropriate, and would appreciate any thoughts people may have. Were my misgivings about the narrow parallel approach in low visibility misplaced? Was I right to turn base when I did and try again without a specific instruction to do so? I didn’t get any kickback or ghosting from ATC but was still a little uneasy about it - I made the call that it was a better course of action than getting caught up again in a clearly busy Approach control area further out from the airport.

Thanks,
Jon

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@MarcelloM was the controller, I’m sure he can throw some light on the situation :)

How busy was the airport at the time, because there is room for error from the ATC

Fairly busy. However, this post isn’t about criticising any aspect of the ATC - I appreciated they may be pretty busy, particularly with low visibility making the Ground and Tower a whole lot more difficult. I’m just interested in whether I followed the appropriate course of action on the second attempt, and also whether others would have pulled out of the 1st approach under the circumstances. I’m Grade 4 but very much feel like I am still learning.

I wold have pulled out on the first approach

i would think shooting parallel approaches into different runways is fine. happens all the time at many airports

Not for GMMN, apparently. Here is what the charts say:

GMMN

Source: http://www.ivao-sd.net/resources/charts/africa/GMMN.pdf
Couldn’t find anything more recent, but I doubt that they made any changes regarding this issue.

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You handled yourself fine. Normally, when you’re running close parallel ops like that, a simple 1000 feet vertical difference between two planes intercepting at the same time solves the issue (when approach is vectoring, at least).

As for the halfway thing… I’m sure Marcello will explain. Good work for making the best of the situation.

Well I didn’t know. It was just a thought.

I see how parallel runways can be an issue at Casablanca…if i remember right from controlling there yesterday, unlike SFO and most other airports with parallel runways the cones for 17L and 17R overlap each other. As Josh said, sounds like you did a good job piloting.

Also FYI - when you are cleared your tag turns green for the controller. When you go around it still appears green as your wheels didn’t touch the ground. It’s a bit of a trap for the controller when busy…so good job calling in your position.

For more explanation on that, see my feature request…

Ryan

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Hi!

I remember you,are you sure about that?
keep in mind that once you have the clearence, it is the pilot’s responsibility to intercept the ILS (I gave you the 150 degree clearness with the track heading 170)so if you have centered the cone in the halfway, you should have asked Approach missed much earlier.

your other mistake: once in the tower you can not say “executing missed approach” (as mentioned before, you should have asked before) in this case (since you were 1 nm from the touchdown) you should simply ask “go around”, in fact I kept you on the tower frequency, I told you “go around, make right traffic”, what instructions were you waiting for? you were already in pattern so once given the go around my next instruction will be the sequence (if necessary) and then the landing clearence.

you did what you had to do, for my clearence, I waited until the last to make sure you had no problems with planes in Approach.

Yes was busy but everything was under control as you noticed,thanks for enquiry.
Remember IF is not real life,we try always to follow real world procedures but sometimes,especially wheis busy we use all our resources, and safety is always in the first place.
Dm if you have any question.
Thanks
Marcello M

4 Likes

First thing you made the correct decision as the PIC call ’ Going Around’ as you where not happy with the final approach, that coupled with your view of the inbound traffic shows excellent Situation Awareness.

Now in the real world once you call Go-around you follow the published procedures ( am sure you had read these as part of your flight planning?) and the Tower ATC would have transferred you DEP/ APR according. However @MarcelloM ( a first class controller who is a pleasure to fly under his guidance) reminds us that IF is not real life and there are some changes to real life procedures which keeps us all on our toes! Again great SA for you to remain in the pattern rather than get back in the approach mix.

Lastly on the topic of Grade, once you are on the Expert server there is little to separate the grades and you are right to say that you are still learning, as we all are. My Mums cousin was a Senior Captain with BA on the B747 fleet and once said to me that when he had 1000 hrs he thought he knew everything however when he got to 2000hrs he released that he was still learning!

Happy contrails.

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Thanks for the replies everyone. All useful info for the future!

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