Perhaps this airport needs a tower

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by DesertNomad, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    Keep your head on a swivel out there...

    I was returning from a long (8000 mile) trip and made a stop at U42 (South Valley Regional, south of SLC and under the Bravo). I had come from the east and turned south over the valley (remaining east of the Bravo) to descend. Runway 34 was in use with a left pattern.

    Once I was below the Bravo, I asked for a frequency change and went to CTAF. I called 5 miles, 3 miles, 1 mile and stated my intentions. I flew perpendicular to the runway, approaching from the east, directly toward the 16 numbers at pattern altitude. When I was about a mile away (still on the east side of the runway), another plane (also talking on CTAF), took off and remained in the pattern. I watched him turn crosswind and said I would follow him. Spacing was good and everything looked great.

    At about 3/4 mile from the runway (still on the east side), without having spoken on the radio, a 172 flies about 200-300' above me and maybe 1/4 mile in front of me, going diagonally (aiming for the point where one would turn from downwind to base). After passing me, she called to say that she "had the Dakota behind me". She was not in position to enter the pattern and ended up continuing west to sort things out and reenter the pattern. She sounded like a student pilot solo.

    It sure surprised me. Neither my wife (who is excellent at spotting traffic) nor I had seen her.

    I had never been to U42 but it seems to be a busy airport under the Bravo and I think a tower would have prevented this sort of thing. I don't think it was close enough to call it a near-miss, but it was still too close for comfort.

    Looking at AirNav, U42 has 208 operations per day. FCM (Flying Cloud) also has 208 operations per day and is similarly positioned under the Minneapolis Bravo. FCM has a tower.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
  2. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Did you post a thread on your 8000mi trip? That sounds interesting.
     
  3. champ driver

    champ driver Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I replied to your post on the AOPA Forum.
    You can't put a tower at every airport, who's going to pay for it?
     
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  4. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack Cleared for Takeoff

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    This happens everywhere. I was recently flying back into my local airport. I made a 10 mile call, 45 to downwind call, then downwind. At that point, another plane made a call saying, "I'm on downwind and don't have you in sight!" I told him I had him in sight and was no factor. I also thanked him for making his first call downwind... guys like him keep me on my toes. Maybe next time he'll be 300' above or below the pattern to make it harder for me to spot him! Gotta love 'em.
     
  5. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    What makes you think a tower was going to help? Towers do not provide separation.
     
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  6. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    A tower would have made it much more likely that she would be talking - at least someone would have heard from her.

    I'll work on a post of the trip report. The trip was Reno to Cuba and then north to Pennsylvania and west to Michigan and back to Reno.
     
  7. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Hmm always thought when I told an F15 to follow the F16 on downwind, or for a fighter to break at departure end to follow, or Cessna 12345 enter right base to follow DC 9 on short final, etc etc. Who knew. :rolleyes:
     
  8. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    I thought that was called "sequencing" ?? :confused:
     
  9. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yea guess that's not separation though eh? Maybe visual separation.
     
  10. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    I think Ron's point was that the legal responsibility for separation in the air is still on the pilot, even if there's a (Class D) tower - unlike in a Bravo. Is that untrue?
     
  11. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

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    Eh... separation, sequencing, no matter. Even if there WAS a tower and the "student" flew by without talking to anyone until she was in the pattern, it would have just been blamed on the controller. :rolleyes:
     
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  12. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Tower isn't there to separate but they're there to sequence and if equipped (radar), could have given warning to the OP about the other traffic.

    Without any in the cockpit traffic equipment, a tower would have made the OP's situation safer.
     
  13. bobmrg

    bobmrg Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    AIM 3-2-5(e): "No separation services are provided for VFR aircraft."

    Bob Gardner
     
  14. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have ADS-B on board but she did not and she was not showing up at all. I saw the other guy who I landed behind both visually and on ADS-B. Thankfully in 8000 miles, that was the closest I came to another airplane.
     
  15. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That you knew of! ;):)
     
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  16. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yes, and the fact she eventually came on the frequency means a general cluelessness rather than un unsafe attitude. In this case, it's not clear she'd have called the class D tower any sooner.

    Maybe the US should adopt MBZ's. These are in use in Australia and NZ (probably other commonwealth places). No ATC, but you're REQUIRED to make position reports.
     
  17. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    There is a guy at the home airport that the only traffic call he ever makes is, "turning final for 24". And that's it, doesn't matter if there are other planes in the pattern or not. There are those like that out there.
     
  18. Jimmy cooper

    Jimmy cooper En-Route

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    Yes, usually toward the bottom of the gene pool or worse, some don't use a radio at all. Really stupid and dangerous for those of us who play by the rules and use common sense.
     
  19. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Line Up and Wait

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    sounds like she was in violation of a few FAR's. if you had ADSB in you should have seen the rebroadcast of her mode c.

    bob
     
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  20. Transponder

    Transponder Guest

    Who knows... Maybe her transponder and radio were off. She seemed rather lost. I was glad to get out of her range and be on the ground.
     
  21. kkoran

    kkoran Cleared for Takeoff

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    The situation you described could have happened at any non-towered airport, regardless of the amount of traffic (well, it would require at least two aircraft).

    I don't have much confidence in traffic figures for non-towered airports. The traffic figure for U42 is what the airport reported to the FAA. I don't know how they came up with it, but I guarantee they don't have someone counting the operations.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  22. deonb

    deonb Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    out
     
  23. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    If you were in a place with ATC radar coverage at that altitude and TIS-B service was available.
     
  24. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Unless the airport is vying for certain things (like getting a control tower or justifying approaches), the FAA just takes the counts as reported by the airport operator. The ADO just updates the master record with what I tell them as airport operator.
     
  25. mkosmo

    mkosmo Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Only if ADS-R was available.
     
  26. woodchucker

    woodchucker Line Up and Wait

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    I got my PPL out of KSLC, and neither of my two instructors favored U42. I think I did a few landings there once, with each of them, and then I stopped there once more after getting my ticket. It's kind of the nightmare scenario of lots of GA traffic and lots of student pilots.
     
  27. MtnMarcus

    MtnMarcus Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Next time just fly into KSLC. The GA section of the airport is very user friendly.
     
  28. woodchucker

    woodchucker Line Up and Wait

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    Skypark is a nice quiet place if all you need is fuel and a place to kick back a bit.
     
  29. timwinters

    timwinters Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Huh. That's interesting. I guess I slept through the rules changing from "see and be seen" to "listen and be heard." :rolleyes:
     
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  30. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Line Up and Wait

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    he stated that he was below the class b in slc, i believe -r is available in all class b's now.
     
  31. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Below the class B isn't necessarily within radar coverage.
     
  32. Yeti Niner Five

    Yeti Niner Five Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There are some very good pilots flying aircraft without radios that are also playing by the rules and using common sense. Don't assume that you'll hear all traffic.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
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  33. Joshuajayg

    Joshuajayg Line Up and Wait

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    Yes, this is true. I never taxi onto a runway without looking for traffic without a radio. Lots of traffic transitions airport areas without checking the airport's CTAF. I try and assume someone is trying to run me over.

    I landed without a radio the other day because I had an electrical issue. There are reasons people who otherwise would use a radio can't at that moment.

    Follow standard pattern entry, look for people, and assume they aren't talking.
     
  34. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you aren't looking before you take the runway for departure even at a tower controlled airport you'd better change that habit. I recall being off duty once but had to run up to the tower cab for something, and the base wasn't flying due to very low visibility (fog) on a pilot training base. Boys up there weren't paying attention and cleared a truck across the runway at mid field. I looked at the runway and there was a T-37 coming out of the fog on an PAR approach. I hollered out but by then the vehicle was on the other side and the Tweet hadn't crossed the threshold yet. Be careful out there, sh** happens as Forest Gump would say.
     
  35. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Cleared for Takeoff

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    Good point. At my nontowered drome, SOP is doing a 360 after your runup is complete, to take a very good look around.
     
  36. Jimmy cooper

    Jimmy cooper En-Route

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    Most midairs occur near an airport, usually due to lack of communication and or unseen aircraft. Most occur when one aircraft overtakes another which is below it and cannot be seen . Using a radio in or near the pattern to advise others of your intentions is just common sense. It goes without saying that one should look around as much as possible when taxing, preparing to takeoff, etc. you learn all that during the first few hours of instruction.
    i hope you corrected the electrical problem before flying again. Flying without using a radio in the correct manner is bush league.,
     
  37. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Yes. Always. Look at any airport at any time. Always. That isn't the only time something like that has happened. Being on a discrete frequency on Approach which is usually the case with RADAR approaches, is pretty much the equivalent of a NORDO landing. The approach don't hear what's going on on Tower frequency and the folks on Tower frequency don't hear the plane on approach getting sequenced and cleared.
     
  38. midcap

    midcap Cleared for Takeoff

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    She must have seen you in the pattern. you think she panicked and just over took you because she didn't know what to do?