Unsafe ILS Landing Practices at Detroit Metro Airport (KDTW)

It was recently discovered that Detroit Metro Airport, a hub for Delta Airlines and a focus city for Spirit Airlines, is currently using very dangerous and unsafe landing practices while aircraft are on the ILS Approach runway 22R.

The offset ILS antennas for runway 22R are located in close proximity to taxiways Alpha and November, causing major disruptions to signals sent to aircraft on the approach for that runway, causing them to overshoot the runway, or fail to align themselves correctly on a regular basis. The danger is especially imminent when widebody aircraft taxi, causing a larger disruption. If in very poor weather, such disruption and inaccurate approaches could cause a devastating accident.

Opinions had been voiced by pilots and controllers for years, and in 2015 the FAA shut down the ILS procedures for that runway. However back in August, 2018, the FAA declared the runway’s ILS procedure active again, despite any change.

Because of this, veteran air traffic controller filed a “whistleblower complaint” with the US Office of Special Counsel, saying “the FAA has prioritized airport efficiency and capacity over the safety of the flying public…”. He claims that if the antenna was just moved, that the problem would resolve itself.

The FAA says these claims are unsubstantial, and that these procedures are deemed within acceptable risk. The US Office of Special council disagrees, and believes there to be substantial risk to the flying public. Now, a letter has been written to President Donald Trump, about these findings. Special Council member Henry J. Kerner said the following in the letter to President Trump: “I urge the FAA to further review the safety issues associated with the ILS Y approach procedure and take the steps necessary to resolve them”.

From this point forward, it is now up to the President, and or Congress, to decide whether the FAA needs oversight on this situation.

The full report by ABC7 WXYZ Detroit’s Heather Catallo can be found below:

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Great to know I’ve landed on 22R probably over 10 times in my life. If they shut it down 22L would just get more strained from departures and arrivals from the west

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I watched a video about this incident on youtube. They really need to confirm it’s safety before putting the ILS system to use. And then the FAA wonder why there will be aircraft collisions at Detroit in the future.

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It absolutely would be an issue traffic wise, and that’s probably why the FAA is trying to pass the current option as safe. Clearly though, it isn’t.

I completely agree. I feel as though something is bound to happen. It really is a matter of when. It also kinda makes you think, if the FAA is ok with this safety risk, what other risks are they ok with?

Certifying the 737 MAX because they trusted Boeing too much.


Very interesting read @bcc.123. I am very concerned about what is allowed to “slide” and pass as safe when it’s really not.

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What I don’t understand is, they have a solution to fix the problem. Rather than actually fixing the issue, they are choosing to do nothing about it, which is frustrating.

Why continue to operate with a known risk, rather than eliminate the risk all together, and have safe operations?

I hope this is resolved before anything serious happens

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Exactly. It really is quite weird. Especially considering it would be such an easy fix.

You’re absolutely right. It’s not like there isn’t a known solution. All they have to do is move the ILS antennas. They’re being stubborn about it at this point. I really have no idea why they’re willing to operate the risk. It’s not like they have a reason to continue operating like this. It’s not as though “ohh it’ll be even more inaccurate if we move the antennas to the other side of the runway”. There literally is no excuse.

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I’ve watched that video before and they demonstrate how easy it is to fix the problem! Moving the antennas would fix it completely but for whatever reason, they won’t. Expensive? Maybe. Worth saving (possibly) hundreds of lives? Definitely.

Well if you think about it, moving the antennas wouldn’t even be that expensive in comparison to how much is spend on all other airport operations. The antennas are just a little part of the entire system.

I heard about this yesterday on… youtube.

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thank god the news lady didnt say TaRmAc

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I saw this on the news a bit ago also, that one recording of the pilot “Well, you gotta fix it - it’s going to kill people soon” while he’s on the ground, then the FAA’s response was something like “it’s all good”… lol

IF should update the ILS 22R @ KDTW to intermittently have interference and misguide the aircraft - you know, for accuracy… ;)

Does someone want to make a Vote about this? haha… jk

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No, no, he’s got a point

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Apparently 22R is CAT II rated as well? That just doesn’t sound good.

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