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Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by DaveA, Jul 7, 2015.
WTF? I really hope the report really didn't say that.
I still don't know the right words for this. I just can't believe that it happened. ATC saw the cessna on the radar. It was avoidable. I can't believe there isn't a protocol to handle situations like this. Assuming no traffic immediately above him, why not just do a rapid turn or climb or both? I know ATC instructed him, but there should have been more urgency.
I didn't read the report but if that is what you're quoting from, the mil pilot was probably flying a practice TACAN approach.
Yes. Being vectored to the TACAN rwy 15 approach.
The phrasing is wrong though, no? A 'practice tactical air navigation system.'
So... a practice TACAN approach. Not a practice TACAN system.
Stand by for heavy emphasis by the NTSB for ADS-B. Between this and the SDM midair last year, it's apparently high on their agenda.
Well I suppose it's semantics but yes, a practice TACAN approach would have been better.
At any rate, the report doesn't clarify anything not already known. Two pilots collided because of a rare chain of events. Events where there isn't a known rule or regulatory procedure that could have prevented it.
In what class of airspace did this happen?
Will ADS-B out be in military a/c?
omg, what a sadly horrible call sign.
In operational aircraft, I seriously doubt it. Way too much money for something that has no tactical use, and could potentially (at least in some minds) compromise OPSEC in combat if enabled by a 3rd party. Much like the F/A-18 community has lobbied in vain for decades to get a civilian ILS kit, in DoD's mind, the juice is probably not seen as being worth the squeeze at the senior money bags levels.
Military a/c will likely be exempted well into the 2020s and beyond, especially fighter/TACAIR aircraft. I can tell you with confidence the trainer fleet has zero plans of being ADSB compliant by 2020. We have TAS and TCAS and that is as good as it's gonna get for a while. With combat aircraft, there are EMCON/OPSEC issues, so that's an even deeper rabbit hole. So yea, my vote is also for "not gonna happen".
I could search back, but maybe someone will indulge me with the
-weather at the time
-the relative a/c positions at impact
Weather was good VFR. F-16 heading SW and the C150 was heading NE. Impacted in Class E just outside the C.
That's what you get by reading an ABC WCIV "Channel 4" article.
Try the actual report:
Here's the docket:
I don't understand how anyone takes away this opinion. There was major human error involved here.
First, ATC mistakenly thought the 150 would stay below 1,000'. A stupid assumption, if true. (Although I don't see that in the actual report...only the news article)
Second, and more importantly, the jet jock didn't turn when told to do so...at least twice...
Complying with ATC's directions, especially when on an IFR plan, is a "regulatory procedure" that definitely could have prevented it.
And I certainly don't understand why ATC didn't instruct the jet to immediately climb or why he didn't do so on his own.
Of course, the entire scenario lasted 61 seconds. Easy for me to armchair quarterback while leisurely sipping coffee.
I'm not agreeing with Velocity, but you did not read the report.
Yea, Tim, its in the Controller's interview section...
"When the controller initially noticed the Cessna depart from MKS, she thought that it would remain in the local VFR traffic pattern. She described that, generally, pattern traffic at MKS was rare and, when present, typically stayed below 1,000 ft."
That's some report... I haven't read many of them but man, that's a lot of info to process!
Actually I did but apparently I didn't read it closely enough because I missed what @FlySince9 quoted above. Like he said, it was a lot to digest. (and I was still on my first cup of coffee!)
And for a controller to think a plane is going to stay in the traffic pattern, especially when they don't even know what type of plane it is, is a stupid assumption beyond belief.
It's a factual report. Read in context, it does not seem relevant.
There was 17 seconds between the the controller getting the first "conflict alert" and the first notification to the F-16 of traffic. That's a freakin' eternity and if that delay was because of a bad assumption how is it not relevant? Sure, I'm extrapolating but it all seems to fit.
The controller stated she "thought" the Cessna would stay below 1000' and remain in the TP. I don't see anything wrong with her assumption as this is what she apparently observed routinely. And she kept the traffic (the Cessna) under observation or she wouldn't have issued a traffic advisory to the F16. As she worked the F16 and her other traffic she noticed the Cessna climbing above 1000' and began issuing traffic to the F16. At the second advisory to turn immediately the F16 driver should have kicked off his AP ( as the Cessna was I think less than 2 miles at this point) and turned manually, and believe me, F16s can turn tight. I don't fault the controller nor the Cessna pilot, although the Cessna could have called Approach and made his intentions known, but the F16 should have turned off the AP and manually turned when the controller instructed him to the first time. The controller tried to get the F16 to turn and the pilot's slow reaction I think (IMO) to turn expeditiously resulted in the midair. Unfortunate.
I was a controller in the Air Force and had a few like these but fortunately they didn't hit. Probably the worse one was a flight of 4 T38s climbing on a SID w/ an altitude restriction of 6000' and there was a recovery to the base overhead at 7000'. One of the 38s had a problem and they began climbing thru 6000' and I immediately started issuing the traffic at 7000' and to maintain 6000' Fortunately they complied and my BP began subsiding.
There's no major human error here. There were minor errors in judgment on all three parties but nothing that I would consider a major violation of regs or procedures.
Everyone keeps looking at the situation as a responsibility for ATC to keep these two separated. Technically there is no separation responsibility on their part. Only thing the controller is responsible for in this case is issuing the traffic call for the F-16. The controller's application of a proper safety alert wasn't by the book but I'm not sure anyone at the NTSB will call it a factor here.
The F-16 did comply with the turn. How promptly he complied might be an issue but based on the transcripts it's hard to tell if he began the turn at the first issuance or not. The second command to turn immediately was only 7 seconds after the first. If CHS is still using single source radar, there could be up to a 4-5 sec gap in the tapes where you can't tell if the aircraft is moving or not. Also, if the controller would've issued a proper safety alert, it would have been completely up to the pilot to comply with anyway. "Death 41, traffic alert, 2 miles opposite direction, altitude indicates 1,400, ADVISE you turn left immediately heading 180."
Nothing wrong with the controller assuming the VFR code would stay in the pattern. I'm sure her thought process was bring the F-16 in normal manner for the TACAN and if somehow the VFR code becomes a factor, issue traffic. This is where the whole process becomes subjective though. Does a controller try and use vectors or altitude adjustments early on for an IFR vs a VFR code? You really have no idea what that VFR is doing. It's a situation where you could be making matters worse because of the unknown VFR code actions. Personally, I used to give a slight offset vector or altitude assignment based on what the trend of the VFR was doing. I was taught early on as a student that while I didn't have separation responsibility for an IFR vs a VFR code, that doesn't mean you should plow them over with a flight of 4 F-18s doing 350-400 kts. Make a decision early so you're not scrambling at the last minute with a safety alert.
It doesn't say anywhere she ignored a CA for that reason (in fact it says she didn't see a CA). It only says what she thought the aircraft would do when it first took off.
I don't agree with your extrapolation. The layman reporter at Channel 4 lifted some random minutia from the report and you seem to think it's what caused the accident. It might be another year or more before the NTSB issues a probable cause...
Negative. They have already determined it.
The NTSB has announced that they will issue the probable cause for this accident as well as the SDM midair on the 15th of this month.
Indeed. Missed that, thanks.
Was the Viper in autopilot per the report?
Yes, and he executed his turn with the AP. The controller states that she was expecting him to do a maximum performance turn with her second instruction:
The other thing I don't understand is how a controller and pilot think it's okay to basically overfly "the airport environment" at 250kts (+) at less than 1500' agl. If I'm visualizing everything correctly, and properly estimating the distance a climbing 150 will travel in three minutes, the accident happened within 2 or 3 miles of the departure end of rwy 23. WTF?
Three parties? I see no error on the part of the 150 pilot. He was out for a liesurely flight with his son and got run over by a 250kt plane that's painted gray...gray...so it's harder to see...
Fighters have to travel at a higher rate of speed for control effectiveness. When I worked Air Force towers the fighters flew at 300 kts until slowing on downwind for landing. Plus 250 is the speed below 10K, which doesn't apply to some military aircraft if they require higher speeds.
Not an error on the C150's part, but I think it would have been beneficial to the Cessna pilot if had checked in with approach, which according to the report he usually did. Not required obviously, but if he only had.
The Cessna pilot is also responsible for see and avoid. While difficult to see an F-16, it's still his responsibility. Also, while obviously not required, if he would've contacted ATC, the collision never would have occurred. I've identified fighter aircraft just by simply monitoring the approach freq and listening to them call traffic on me.
As far as the speed and altitude, nothing unusual about 253 kts at 1,500 ft for an F-16 being vectored for an IAP. If the aircraft were doing an overhead, it would've been going much faster.
I never contact approach until I'm well outside the airport environment. i.e. I stay on CTAF until at least 5 miles out. You could make a similar argument that the F-16 should have been monitoring CTAF since he was inside "the airport environment." When I'm out bopping around at low altitude, I always tune #2 radio to the CTAF of any airport I get w/i 10 miles of. Over 3,000' agl I don't bother, under, I do.
Another consideration, the F-16 was offset at least 6 miles to the left of the extended CL of his landing runway...nowhere near anything that's depicted on The TACAN 15 approach @ CHS. I guess he was flying direct CHS and then planning outbound...
Edit, now that I review the report again, the controller was vectoring the jet for a 10 to 15 mile final.
The F16 was on a vector to intercept final.
Two more considerations:
Had the jet not busted minimums the crash woulda never happened.
Had the controller not controlled the jet in a manner that reduced her workload at the possible expense of safety, the crash woulda never happened.
Neither statement relevant.
I am not sure that I take quite the same thing from the report. Obviously, since they hit, if F16 had done anything differently, they would likely not have collided. If there was no vector at all, they would have missed. To me, the real question is why, when the 150 was to the south, ATC said to turn south. Why not have him turn to the North? Or climb? No way the 150 has the same climb rate.
I would suggest that that is not entirely accurate, at least based on the NTSB report. The salient portion states:
At 1100:16, the CHS approach controller issued a traffic advisory advising the F-16 pilot of "traffic 12 o'clock, 2 miles, opposite direction, 1,200 [ft altitude] indicated, type unknown." At 1100:24, the F-16 pilot responded that he was "looking" for the traffic. At 1100:26, the controller advised the F-16 pilot, "turn left heading 180 if you don't have that traffic in sight." At 1100:30, the pilot asked, "confirm 2 miles?" At 1100:33, the controller stated, "if you don't have that traffic in sight turn left heading 180 immediately." As the controller was stating the instruction and over the next 18 seconds, the radar-derived ground track of the F-16 began turning southerly toward the designated heading. (emphasis mine.)
Looking at the time codes, I wouldn't say the jet jock failed to comply.
133 ft low isn't a major error. Especially since the altitude assignment was never for separation purposes anyway. He probably dipped the nose slightly to try and get visual.
If the controller never would have vectored the aircraft they would've missed. If the C150 called for FF they would have missed. If the F-16 would have expedited the turn, they would have missed. These are all Monday morning quarterbacking comments. Just an unfortunate set of circumstances that came together for this accident to happen.
"She reported that the 180 heading assignment was preferred over a turn to the north because the turn was quicker."
"She chose not to direct the F 16 to climb because the altitude indicated for the Cessna's radar target was unconfirmed."
Which, IMO, is another really stupid decision.
I've never sat in a controller's seat but I have to believe that at least 75% of the time (if not 95%) a plane squawking altitude is accurately displaying said altitude.
But it's still unverified and the controller does know that planes actual altitude. It's reported as "traffic, altitude indicates 1,600, unverified". While it may be an accurate display it is still NOT verified.