One Hell Of A Steep Glideslope At Steamboat (KSBS)

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by Buck Rizvi, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It was a beautiful, calm day today so I decided make my first trip ever to Steamboat Springs (KSBS).

    I donned my oxygen and flew flight following at 14,500 with the intention of doing a practice approach on the RNAV (GPS) E.

    Everything was just dandy until I hit the final approach fix at the required 9,700 feet.

    That's when I realized that I needed to drop down at a vertical speed exceeding 1,200 feet per minute to make a visual approach to the runway.

    It's more than a bit unnerving to see the tiny postage stamp of a runway at nearly 3,000 AGL when I'm that close.

    So I did the sensible thing and went around, joined the normal pattern, and landed on runway 32.

    I guess my mistake was I didn't "dive and drive" after the FAF to 8,740 at WAKOR and then again to the MDA immediately after. The "dive and drive" would have certainly had me exceeding 1,500 fpm in order to be at the stepdown altitude before the next waypoint.

    Is this situation unique to Steamboat, or are there a lot of other super steep GPS approaches for me to explore :)
     
  2. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Steamboat is nuthin' compared to Aspen. You go from 13.7 to 7800 in 11 nm.
     
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  3. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Amen. IIRC, it’s 13.8 @DBL and then gear out and let the ride begin....
     
  4. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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  5. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    No, it's a "Circling" approach. The mistake is expecting to go straight in just because the approach coincides with the runway, imo. At 120 kts, the descent rate looks pretty normal down to circling minimums to me. To go straight in, you'd need to buy some time VFR, by S-turning before getting to the runway. At Aspen, you can square off to a base leg early to accomplish the same.
     
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  6. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips Cleared for Takeoff

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    One can always reduce the vertical speed required by reducing their horizontal speed; unpressurized, I dislike more than 1K FPM down.
     
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  7. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    As @dtuuri said, the "E" makes it a circling-only approach. It's not designed to fly straight in from MDA.

    I haven't flown the Steamboat approach, but at Aspen, many operators require ceiling and visibility to see the runway from the FAF. From there, idle thrust and all the drag they can muster will allow a straight-in approach. Just about anything beyond that requires maneuvering in the valley.
     
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  8. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    In order to lose 1900 feet in 2.2 miles at less than 1000 fpm, you'd need to be roughly 60 KIAS or slower with no wind.
     
  9. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Buck, what are you flying and how fast on the final approach? At 120 1,000 fpm should work fine to get down 960 feet in 2.4 miles. At 100 knots 700 fpm should be fine. Then you need to circle to land, which is what you did. Anything over 1,000 fpm is no bueno for an approach according to my teachers.
     
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  10. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    No thanks, I'll circle around a little. The draggier your plane is, the better.
     
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  11. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    We were surprised at Lugano! 11.7% 6.65 deg.
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    That’s the response most people would have to flying down final at about Vso. ;)
     
  13. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I flew by Aspen last week. Very calm day and I was itchin' to add it to my bucket list. I've heard the landing fees are painful, though. Last time my meager Cherokee Six was in a sea of private jets was at Teterboro. She's still recovering from that ;-)

    By comparison, Steamboat Springs airport was sleepy (at least yesterday), super friendly, and run by the City. Relatively cheap gas for a resort town. Stacie, the airport manager, is running a tight ship there!
     
  14. lancie00

    lancie00 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hershey bar Arrow. I might have to add power.
     
  15. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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  16. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Ah, duh! I realize my mistake. I decided on making a visual approach at the FAF straight into runway 32. This GPS-E approach was only meant to set me up to hit the MDA of 8140 for circling, which is essentially what I did by going around and entering the normal pattern. If I was targeting the MDA, I'm sure I would have been just fine. Thanks!
     
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  17. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I fly a Cherokee Six 300. My normal approach speed is 100 kts. The mystery is solved: I should have been flying to MDA and made a lap in the pattern, not go directly for the runway from the FAF. Notes for next time! :)
     
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  18. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My circle back around to 32 was just fine and what was called for. My mistake to get greedy and dive for RWY 32 from the FAF.
     
  19. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You'd think with my Hershey Bar Six I could land on whatever's directly below me by pulling power :)
     
  20. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Looks like the moral of the story is brief the Approach
     
  21. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Pre-Flight

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    I was scanning the thread titles in the summary view ...

    upload_2019-1-11_17-34-19.png

    Glideslope ... Buick Riviera.

    For a moment there ... :)
     
  22. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Yes, terrain can cause a number of steep approaches. While you'll more often find them in the west like you did, they even exist in the "baby" mountains in the east. When I was doing my instrument training in Pennsylvania, the VOR approach at Selinsgrove (next airport over) was a good practice because it had a very steep segment. It taught you to look at how many miles you had between each segment as well as the altitude change, so that you could plan your descent.

    In PA we had a lot of airports in valleys or otherwise surrounded by mountains where "brick approaches" were beneficial. I've often theorized that because Piper was originally based in Pennsylvania, they built their aircraft to meet the needs of pilots in the area - which included being able to do steep glide paths. Once they moved to Florida, not so much.

    The important thing is knowing the capabilities of your aircraft as well as what you're comfortable with so you can plan how you want to do the final segment of your approach (straight in, circling, etc.) and then be prepared to go around.
     
  23. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Pretty sure an Aztec still has a worse glide ratio than a Buick Riviera. :D
     
  24. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    I don't think so, because that would be a slope of
    atan((9700-8140)/(2.2+2.4)/1.15/5280) = 3.2 degrees,
    which would be consistent with flying the approach as you suggest, with a reasonable glideslope from the FAF to the MDA at the runway end, followed by circling in the pattern to the runway.

    The only combination of numbers I can find that gives a slope close to 7.75 degrees is from the last waypoint WAKOR to the runway surface atan((8740-6882)/2.2/1.15/5280) = 7.9 degrees

    Screen Shot 2019-01-11 at 10.12.39 PM.png
     
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  25. RussR

    RussR Cleared for Takeoff

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    That 7.75 is indeed measured from WAKOR (note the positioning of the symbol and values), but it is not measured to the runway elevation. It is measured to the TCH elevation, so 6882 + 40 = 6922.
     
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  26. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

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    I get 5.68 degrees. I believe source is incorrect. It states: WAKOR TO RWY 32: 7.75/40. FAA dutifully charted that. Jeppesen corrected it (even though they seem to be off a tad): EDIT: Jepp rounded 3.36 n.m. to 3.4 n.m.

    KSBS.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  27. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Frankly, everyone I know ( and me) flys VFR to Steamboat and comes in from HABRO. This past week has been unusually and unseasonably fall-ish with weather. Chickened out on a trip to Leadville - rule of thumb for spam cans along the Front Range....always wickd high winds in the passes during winter so no mountainpasses until spring. Not this winter.

    Wait.....yesterday 1/11 weather is back to normal....rats. Too much snow. But the eastern plains deperately needs the moisture.
     
  28. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route PoA Supporter

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    My steepest approach in Steamboat is on the Mountain, down Rolex to the lift, around 50+ degrees in sections:D

    Cheers
     
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  29. Dave Theisen

    Dave Theisen En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I had flown the approach into Aspen several times in the Pilatus sim before my first time there for real........in a Citation III. When we left Atlanta, the weather was clear and forecasted to stay that way. When we got there it was 4000’ overcast, well above the 2000’ minimums. The sight picture popping out of the clouds was eye opening to say the least. The sim, while pretty good, just doesn’t do it justice.
     
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  30. RussR

    RussR Cleared for Takeoff

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    Wally, 5.68 is the angle from the FAF (PEXSA) to the runway threshold at TCH. Since the stepdown fix WAKOR is ABOVE this descent angle, the VDA charted is the one from WAKOR to the runway threshold. FAAO 8260.3D, para 2-6-4e(1)

    8740-6922, divided by 2.2 nm gives 826.36 feet per nm, or 7.75 degrees.

    I'm not sure what you're saying about source and FAA versus Jepp. Source seems correct and both FAA and Jepp charted 7.75 degrees. Jepp does go the extra step and determines where that higher angle intercepts the PFAF altitude and charts it, in this case at 3.4 nm to the runway.
     
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  31. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yep, I've been in there. Even VFR is interesting.
     
  32. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

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    Yeah, I got wrapped around the axle. Having said that, no one is going to respect the WAKOR SD if they see the runway earlier. I'm not sure how the pilot is supposed to use this information when the vendors don't make it LNAV+V.
     
  33. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Cleared for Takeoff

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    I just did this approach today with a safety pilot in prep of my checkride. It is a fun approach that will keep you on your toes especially with the missed.
     
  34. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Bingo. You can always tell a circling-only approach because it has a letter at the end instead of a runway number, and the only minimums are circling minimums.

    There are definitely some fun approaches out that way.
     
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  35. sonopoa

    sonopoa Pre-Flight

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    It is important to brief all aspects of the approach prior to top of descent. The rate of descent in fpm is given on the approach plate for various ground speeds. Not really one to find out after the faf.

    For the prior to top of descent leaving the enroute phase of flight checks I was taught
    Whups I Freda (whoops I freda!)

    W - weather (i.e get the weather inc atis or the numbers)
    HU - heads up (self brief the approach plate)
    S - seat belts, tray tables, etc
    I - check for ice
    F - Fuel on tank(s) with sufficient contents, fuel pump a/r
    R - Radios - tuned to navaids and identified, comms on approach and standby on tower etc
    E - engine temps and pressures, vacuum etc, mixture
    D - directional gyro aligned
    A - Altimeter set to airfield QNH

    The self brief is slow and measured,e.g
    "this will be a RNAV Y 24 into .., the threshold elevation is.. the mda/da is.. the visibility is above minimums, the rod after the faf is.. the missed approach point is ...and the missed approach procedure is.."

    hth
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
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  36. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Having the banana on your MFD really makes the stepdowns easy, but the math is not that difficult and does not need to be perfect IMHO unless it is in the written. 90 to 100 knots covers about 1 1/2 miles per minute, 120 its 2 miles per minute. So if you need to drop 1,000 feet in 2 miles it's 1000 fpm at 120, or 750 to maybe 850 at 90 to 100.
     
  37. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

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    "All aspects" of your briefing on this approach would include the ROD from PEXSA to WAKOR and from WAKOR to the TCH. Only the latter is charted (as a descent angle): 7.75 degrees. The descent angle from PEXSA to WAKOR is 3.77 degrees. At 90 knots, ground speed, the RODs would be 600 fpm from PEXSA to WAKOR and 1,240 fpm (as charted by Jeppesen)) from WAKOR to the TCH. If you relied on the chart and set up 1,240 fpm at PEXSA you would cross WAKOR 1,000 feet too low. The charted descent angle is misleading.
     
  38. sonopoa

    sonopoa Pre-Flight

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    agreed

    Here is how Jepp charts it
    [​IMG]
     
  39. Hank Gibson

    Hank Gibson Pre-Flight

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    Brief the approach the night before, then you will be more prepared for your VS required on the descent. This is very common at mountain airports.
     
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  40. Buck Rizvi

    Buck Rizvi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Totally. I've not been practicing enough circling approaches because the LPV and ILS approaches to DA seem more fun.