IFR Aircraft vs VFR Traffic Pattern...?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by patrickw, Aug 30, 2022.

  1. David Loftus

    David Loftus Filing Flight Plan

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    This happened to me last weekend. I am on an IFR flight plan (not a practice approach), and vectored onto an ILS approach to an uncontrolled field north of Atlanta that is MVFR, overcast 1500, tops 4000. Once I acquired the localizer, I switch to CTAF before FAF, about 8 miles and 3100, and began making position reports every one to two miles. I'm also listening closely for traffic in the pattern and watching the G1000 on expanded scale for ADSB traffic. One guy had just turned downwind when I called 3-mile final. I had to get down below the cloud deck (which ATIS accuracy is potentially iffy at this airport) to even see the pattern, but no one is close to turning base when I hit two miles. No one in the pattern asked for a more detailed position report (because I had been giving them every minute). So I went ahead and came straight in. We made a low pass then went missed. While I'm climbing out toward the MAP, the guy that had earlier turned downwind started ranting on the radio that I should have broken off the approach and run the full pattern to get in behind him. He didn't like that anyone coming down through the cloud deck didn't defer to him on a downwind. Certainly I did not have priority, and not an automatic ROW since I was on an IFR plan. But that does not mean it is unsafe to continue on an instrument approach when not impeding the local pattern traffic. Common courtesy and simple logic need to be the guide.
     
  2. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I had a guy who was upset he couldn't see me because I was in the clouds on final. I told him he couldn't see me because I was in the clouds, he had just entered the downwind so he wasn't an issue for me, but he probably shouldn't have been vfr that day.
     
  3. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I had a buddy years ago who was on the ILS to an uncontrolled airport, and had a VFR airplane in the pattern offer to extend downwind for him.

    Since the weather was 300 & 1/2 at the time, my buddy declined, and asked that the traffic in the pattern land first.
     
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  4. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    I still can't comprehend the bugsmasher pilot who is offended by flying an extra .1 or .2 time in order to be kind. Win-win-win, right?
     
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  5. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    More like every day.
     
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  6. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Agree. My SOP when IFR (or for that matter, when VFR using flight following) to a nontowered field is to monitor CTAF on COM2 after getting the weather. It's a good idea even when conditions are IFR.
     
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  7. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    The FAA should amend 61.113 to require aircraft operating in the pattern for the purpose of conducting multiple landings give way to the arrivals.
     
  8. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Why would you change the private pilot compensation rules for this?
     
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  9. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    good point. 91.113.
     
  10. Country Flier

    Country Flier Line Up and Wait

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    On VFR or even MVFR days, I agree...but on solid IFR days, it shouldn't make a difference.
     
  11. Pinecone

    Pinecone Cleared for Takeoff

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    Some of the timelines and tracks show that the 152 turned final, but called turning base.
     
  12. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It shouldn't but there's something to be said for doing it consistently as an SOP. It's

    "10 mile final runway 3..." all the time

    or using excess brain cells for...

    "Hmmm. What was that weather again? Let's see 800 BKN. Let's recheck. Is this airport is Class G below 700 so there might be someone there or Class E surface area where I should be the only one...? "
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2022
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  13. Mxfarm

    Mxfarm Line Up and Wait

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    it’s the difference between talking about flying and paying for flying.
     
  14. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Line Up and Wait

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    You said it wasn’t a practice approach, but you did a low pass and went missed?
     
  15. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Perhaps he means he actually had a clearance, not just vfr
     
  16. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Line Up and Wait

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    Perhaps.
     
  17. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Communication, vigilance, cooperation, and flexibility are key in this situation, but I'm curious: Where in the FAR anticollision regs is there any reference to weather conditions?
     
  18. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And some insist on ignoring Section 11.11 of AC 90-66B.
     
  19. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you think that is the real question, then you are doing it wrong.

    Who turns onto base at 3-500' AGL??? Or did you mean turning onto final at 3-500'? If the latter, you should have identified the potential conflict well before you put yourself into that position.
     
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  20. Joe Williamson

    Joe Williamson Pre-Flight

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    i am a student pilot at a towered airport and just today I was practicing touch and go’s when I heard a call from another GA plane on a long final. He was about 8 miles out while I was on the downwind and the tower asked me to extend and follow him in. I’d rather play it safe then to try and beat any traffic coming in on long final.
     
  21. David Loftus

    David Loftus Filing Flight Plan

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    Correct, I was on a clearance. Had I been flying a practice approach on a VFR day, I would certainly defer to pattern traffic. But coming out of the clouds on a clearance, with no one obviously near turning base, on the ADSB scope, or responding to my frequent position callouts, I did not enter the pattern and went straight in. Given the light traffic, we decided to make a low pass, go missed and log a hold. Canceled the clearance with Atlanta Approach during the hold (above the deck).
    I suppose a real conundrum would have been an experimental aircraft without a radio at an uncontrolled field. Then we would have mutual responsibility for avoidance (once I drop below the cloud deck). It would be interesting to know how many aircraft are still in the GA fleet with no radio. Luckily I've never experienced this issue.
     
  22. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Out of the 120 or so planes on my airport, I’d say somewhere between 5 and 10 are nordo. A few of those sometime carry a portable.
     
  23. David Loftus

    David Loftus Filing Flight Plan

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    It seems so irresponsible to be NORDO these days. If anyone does fly NORDO, I'd really love an explanation. I understand the challenges of flying vintage aircraft with no real electrical system. But you can pick up a Sportys PJ2 that you can plug in an actual headset for just over $200. And an extra $10 gets you rechargeable AA's for it.
    https://www.sportys.com/pj2-handheld-com-radio.html
    That would dramatically lower danger in the pattern. If you don't care about other pilots and their families, at least it saves your own butt. Amazing that the FAA hasn't mandated all aircraft in the pattern to have at least a portable.
     
  24. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Apparently you don’t quite understand the challenges of you think the solution is that easy.
     
  25. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    They don't have priority at a towered airport, either. But ATC provides the resolution in the form of sequencing.
     
  26. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Used to be in my signature line, but as always…..

    Good judgment rules the day.
     
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  27. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Radios break. Even if radios were required, You should always assume there is a plane around without a radio. Same is true for adsb.
     
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  28. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    NORDO is the standard, we're the fancy ones with them new fangled radio things. It isn't irresponsible to not have a radio, it's the way it is. The noise in some cockpits make portable radios non feasible unless you get an even more expensive headset.

    Just to be sure, I checked the latest Nall report. The word "radio" does not appear in the report. Maybe it isn't the NORDO aircraft that are causing accidents?

    You haven't spent much time listening to others on the radio, have you? I can't decide if the ones talking about lunch or where to get an oil change are better or worse than the people giving inaccurate position reports and taking 2 minutes to do it. It's enough to make me want to turn the radio off sometimes.
     
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  29. Witmo

    Witmo Pattern Altitude

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    I tow gliders at an uncontrolled field with aircraft based there ranging from gyrocopters to large corporate jets. For the most part we try to get along and our glider operations try to accomodate larger aircraft getting on the ground without having to burn more kerosene than they have to. When towing a glider practicing landings and staying in the pattern, our options are limited especially once the glider has released. If a turbine aircraft shows up on five mile final just after the glider has released on downwind abeam the departure end, there's a good chance the burner will be going around. In that situation, if I'm towing, I'd break out of the pattern and let the turbine and glider sort who can land in what order. If we haven't released yet, I'd tow the glider out of the pattern and let the turbine land. Still, the last time a conflict occurred after release, the turbine pilot thought I needed to know how much it cost for him to do a go around for the glider. It broke my heart, not.
     
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  30. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Yeah, that kind of garbage is uncalled for. I never complained about making a go-around (ok, so I did at least once, but the tower called my base and then made me go around for a Twin Beech crawling up my tail). I always felt if I can't maintain my distance — it's on me. Besides, sometimes you gets the elevator and sometimes... you know the rest.
     
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  31. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Roger that, I'll alert the FBO that his cruise vacation is a go.
     
  32. Deelee

    Deelee Pattern Altitude

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    You and I must fly in the same airspace.... On any busy Saturday around here (DC area), it is utter chaos on CTAF at the smaller airports in this area. Shared frequencies across airports with flight schools, people bashing the pattern, lunch runs, etc. it is almost funny how unusable CTAF can be....

    pilots who can't figure out where they are and take two minutes to call up - "Cezzznaaa N123SP 15 miles.... no 13 miles west.. no.. east... no, yeah, west of.... west of Culpepper... no.. Warrenton... inbound for the 45 runway twenty two.. i mean two two.... no.... runway four... now ten miles east.. no west...."
    student pilots (or just pilots who can't use a radio) - "Cezzznaaa.... 123SP.. no I mean November 123SP.... we are... uhhhhhhhhhhh we are going to be ten miles from the airport....... we are uhhhhhhhhh going to do a touch and go at the airport............ then uhhhhhhhhhh stop at ..... Culpepper...... and we are abouuutt........... let's see............. uhhhhh five miles away and uhhhhhhhhhh going to be entering the pattern for a left downwind.........."
    pilots who recognize another pilot on the same CTAF freq - "Bill? Is that you up? Been a long time man! You going to JGG for lunch man? How you been? How are those hemorrhoids'? Man that sounded painful. Hope they are getting better! How's the wife? Oh. Divorced now? The mailman?? Ah man sorry... Hey let's catch up."
    stuck mics - "squeeeeeaaaaaakwaaaaaaaaaaaaawksqueeeeeeeeeaaaaa"
    everybody just barging in and stepping all over each other - "Cezzzzna 123SP is turning left base for runw.. " ** switches freqs and doesn't listen just barges in with - "CHEROKEE 324R IS ON THE 45 FOR THE LEFT DOWNWIND 04 FULL STOP!"
    IFR practice approaches calling out fixes most pylots have never heard of - "Twin Cezzzzzna123Q crossing FUBAR at 3 thousand on the RNAV Z 22 gonna go missed"
    Warbirds doing crazy sh*t - "Avenger 213 overhead break at the numbers.... " ** student pylots be like - he's doing what?? where is this guy?? **
    All on a freq shared by many airports all well within reception range...

    Yeah, turning off the radio sounds like a good idea some days.
     
  33. danhagan

    danhagan En-Route

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    I watch landing aircraft at my field on occasion from the hangar area ... ALL of the traffic states "Right base runway 28" after they are WELL on the base. The remark that the 152 turned after hearing the call is probably wrong. He probably was already on base, then announced the base, like I see 99% of other landing traffic do ...

    Our CTAF changed years ago, and we had planes using the old CTAF for several years after the change :eek::eek:
     
  34. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    another good point
     
  35. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That reminds me of flying rides at the museum here.

    We share the same freq as Currituck and First Flight plus it is also used as an advisory freq for people flying up and down the beach.

    I can go from downwind to base to final in the Stearman inthe time it takes some of these yahoos to finish a single transmission. Thankful the museum isn't open to the public because I can't even get in on the freq if I tried half the time!
     
  36. TommyG

    TommyG Pattern Altitude

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    Another debate of what pilots have the bigger we we complex. All pilots need to lose the entitled attitude that other people have to give way. Big deal if you have to expand downwind for an extra 2 miles. If you are doing a straight in, maybe slow it down so the other guy can land ahead of you. All should communicate what they intend, and all should have a little more courtesy.
     
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  37. Pinecone

    Pinecone Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes. I call when TURNING from downwind to base and from base to final. The other good thing is, when turning you are more visible, so calling while turning gets others looking and more likely to see you.
     
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  38. John Collins

    John Collins En-Route

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    There is no prohibition for "straight-in during VMC when traffic is present". 91.113 specifies the right of way rules and 91.126 specifies: Operating on or in the vicinity of an airport in Class G airspace. 91.126 specifies the direction of turns in the pattern when approaching to land and these apply only when making a turn, but does not prohibit straight in that does not make a turn. The 91.126 does require the pilot to circle in the direction of the pattern if they are circling to land. So everyone has to follow the same rules.

    Pilots on an IFR approach need to coordinate with other traffic at a non towered airports, as they have no special priority when conditions are VFR in the pattern. VFR conditions at a non towered airport in class G airspace are quite low, 700 AGL and below, all that is required for VFR is 1 SM visibility and remain clear of clouds. The default pattern altitude is 1000 AGL, which puts the regular pattern in class E airspace that requires 500 foot below cloud separation and 3 SM visibility. There isn't a requirement to fly the pattern at the default pattern altitude, so aircraft can be operating at a lower than standard pattern altitude and remain legal, but it is less likely to be a full pattern doing touch and goes under these conditions where IFR and VFR traffic mix. When conditions are good VFR is when mixing of IFR and VFR traffic is more likely and that see and avoid is essential and proper etiquette is most helpful. It is a fact of life that IFR traffic will most likely use straight in procedures and have to share the pattern. Good self reporting of position and good manners for all are called for in addition to following the regulations.
     
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  39. chemgeek

    chemgeek En-Route

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    I agree. Our airport has a mix of large turbine aircraft, piston transients and locals, plus flight training and glider ops. You can elect to fly in this environment NORDO legally, but it's not very smart. The gliders all carry portables, and it makes for a more orderly and safe use of the airport. Turbines arriving straight in is usually much less disruptive than having them fly enormous patterns that risk running down slower aircraft in the pattern. Talk, see, and be seen.
     
  40. O2 Birddog

    O2 Birddog Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There's truth in this but you also have the fact that SOP's give everyone a basic set of guidelines to work from which if everyone adheres eliminates confusion and the likelihood of accidents or even near misses.

    Fortunately you have to work pretty hard to find busy airspace in my part of the world so such things are rarely an issue.