Vectors lesson.

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by genna, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. genna

    genna Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Messages:
    701
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ТУ-104
    Learned an interesting lesson yesterday. If you are a low time IR pilot and are in 700-5000ft soup hand flying a plane, be careful accepting vectors to final. You may get a little too many changes a little too fast and get behind. Perhaps flying full procedure is a better option.
     
    Bill Watson likes this.
  2. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    583
    Location:
    Dumfries, VA (suburb of DC)
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Auburntsts
    Were you getting a lot of heading and/or altitude changes? In my limited experience vectors simplifies approaches vs flying the entire thing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
    Let'sgoflying! likes this.
  3. genna

    genna Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Messages:
    701
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ТУ-104
    Normally, yes. I was coming from opposite direction, so the vectors were basically to turn me around. 4000 ft descent and 5-6 turns maybe 20 sec apart. Just too much to process
     
    tsts4 likes this.
  4. ntinkle

    ntinkle Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Abilene, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tink
    Two things:
    1. Let them know if you feel like you're getting behind. They will help give you some time, and you can set up the full procedure if you need to.

    2. Had a friend tell me several years ago when I was green with the IR to put "Training Flight" in the comments section. That way, when/if I messed up a bit or was behind the plane, they were more... "gentle".
     
    genna likes this.
  5. genna

    genna Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Messages:
    701
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ТУ-104

    I like that idea. I wasn't in any danger. This was really the first time I flew in this much soup going down to about 150 ft above MDA. Solo in the plane, so I decided to practice hand flying . Not the same plane type I used for IR training. They were busy. Throwing lots of instructions. It just breaks your concentration. AP was always primed. Ended up using it closer to FAF just to settle everything down.
     
    jaybee likes this.
  6. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,373
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    Best thing you can do is ask for a delaying vector. You don't have to accept anything ATC gives you.
     
    denverpilot, MetalCloud and genna like this.
  7. mscard88

    mscard88 Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Messages:
    11,035
    Location:
    Alabama
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    You have to expect and be prepared to accept things like this. If you were overloaded the AP will relieve a lot of the workload for you.
     
    genna likes this.
  8. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2012
    Messages:
    13,409
    Location:
    California central coast
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MAKG
    That's a lot of turns for opposite direction. I usually expect two or three for VTF in opposite direction.

    If you're getting behind the airplane, ask the controller to take you further out.

    Full procedure may be more or less work, depending on the procedure. There are a couple around here that are pretty dense. Say, a teardrop entry into the FAF at low altitude. ILS or LOC RWY 29L at SCK, entered from ECA, is like that. So is the VOR/DME 28R at MOD, entered from MOD VOR.
     
  9. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    13,376
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Throttle
    I've found that to be a big part of things when operating in busy airspace that is normally VMC. ATC gets stressed by the airline traffic and sometimes spam cans get a little more work as a result. It isn't intentional, just how it goes. I've flown into DEN airspace IMC/IFR midday and during the evening rush. The controllers actually have a little time to work things out or discuss planning midday. If it's busy you can barely get a word in at times. Sometimes that means a fair bit of extra flying depending on the airspace. As you mentioned, requesting the full procedure may help if it doesn't make things worse for ATC in terms of backing up or interfering with other traffic. Around here, Denver, just getting to the point we can start the procedure is often the problem for ATC and vectors to final is about the same work for them as letting us fly the full procedure if it's even possible as Nate likes to point out.
     
    Nsconductor and genna like this.
  10. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    13,520
    Location:
    Behind you!
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    James331
    This is where you should hear your old CFIIs voice in the back of your head

    "Dance monkey dance'"
     
    denverpilot and Shawn like this.
  11. genna

    genna Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Messages:
    701
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ТУ-104
    For LOC/ILS/VOR, I agree. Vectors are typically easier. GPS(this was a GPS approach) not so much. Most GPS approaches are simple and you have a well defined path to follow and prepare for at any point. VTF - not so much.
     
  12. Maxed-out

    Maxed-out Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2014
    Messages:
    81
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Maxed-out
    Maybe the OP's CFII is trying to advise him about this:

    AIM 5-4-6 Approach Clearance:

    1. In anticipation of a clearance by ATC to any fix published on an instrument approach procedure, pilots of RNAV aircraft are advised to select an appropriate IAF or feeder fix when loading an instrument approach procedure into the RNAV system.

    2. Selection of “Vectors-to-Final” or “Vectors” option for an instrument approach may prevent approach fixes located outside of the FAF from being loaded into an RNAV system. Therefore, the selection of these options is discouraged due to increased workload for pilots to reprogram the navigation system. (AIM 5-4-6)

    I think Garmin and others might have recently updated software that would correct the fix removal feature when activating VTF, but not sure.
     
  13. genna

    genna Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Messages:
    701
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ТУ-104
    This I'm aware and it is not relevant here. My problem had nothing to do with navigation system, but with constant attitude changes. Situational awareness was never in question. Not sure how my CFII came into this. I'm IR.
     
  14. Maxed-out

    Maxed-out Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2014
    Messages:
    81
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Maxed-out
    My apologies!
     
  15. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    583
    Location:
    Dumfries, VA (suburb of DC)
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Auburntsts
    True. Garmin GTN software version 6.11 modified the VTF transition so that all of fixes now remain in the flightplan if you select VTF when you load an approach.
     
  16. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2012
    Messages:
    13,409
    Location:
    California central coast
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MAKG
    Something else... you may already be doing this, but you can lower your workload by slowing down. An approach flown at 120 knots is a whole lot harder to deal with than the same one at 80 knots. I don't think I'd go much slower than that, though.

    If it's busy, Approach may ask for best forward speed. That's worth refusing if the workload is an issue. They may have to resequence you, but it's worth it.
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  17. bluesky74656

    bluesky74656 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    579
    Location:
    Brecksville, OH
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Todd Kooser
    As I was getting my own "Vectors Lesson" during training, my instructor helped me keep up by making me think through what the controller was trying to accomplish. Which, from the opposite direction, usually resembles just a huge traffic pattern.

    So, if I'm southwest of the field flying heading 020 and expecting an ILS 27, I would assume at some point the controller is going to give me a right turn to 090, or thereabouts. He'll fly me out beyond the FAF, then give me a left to 360, the probably another left to 300, then tell me to intercept and clear me for the approach. That's three turns. With a strong wind aloft it's very possible that the controller will need to fine tune his headings a few times.

    It took me a while, but being able to think through where the controller was sending me helped me anticipate the next steps and ultimately reduced the workload because I had time to prepare. It also increases safety, because if what I get doesn't match what I expect, I get a chance to double check myself and the controller if necessary.
     
  18. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Messages:
    2,820
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Shawn
    Here is the real lesson...real world IFR flying is often much different than training IFR flights. ATC is gonna help you/direct you to get on the ground ASAP in the most direct fashion...which more times than not will involve NOT flying the full approaches like you do in training where you have all the time in the world from 20 miles out to think about the next step and process information.

    ALWAYS ask for a hold or delay vector to brief want you need to before getting established. Heck, I did that on my IFR check ride so I would not hesitate one second to ask for it in the real world if you need time to get your head around what you need to do....especially in IMC.
     
  19. coma24

    coma24 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2011
    Messages:
    682
    Location:
    Pompton Plains, NJ
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    coma24
    That's interesting, I've not found vectors to be disorienting or difficult to comply with. This assumes that your approach briefing is completely done, though. At that point, you're just flying headings and altitudes until you receive an approach clearance. What part, exactly, was generating workload for you? I'm trying to determine if you were multi-tasking, in which case, perhaps those tasks could've been completed sooner?
     
  20. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2012
    Messages:
    13,409
    Location:
    California central coast
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MAKG
    While you're being vectored, you have to configure for landing, slow down, and run the descent and before landing checklists. In IMC while hand flying, there may be turbulence, which makes all that take much longer. You will probably have to brief the approach as well, including setting up the GPS and relevant frequencies. It's hard to see how Genna could have anticipated an unusually large number of vectors. Every 20 seconds is bloody fast. I'd expect minutes between.
     
  21. genna

    genna Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Messages:
    701
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ТУ-104
    ^^ that.

    Not all changes were 20 sec apart and not all directional, but there was enough altitude/direction changes clustered coupled with freq. changes and checklists to get me behind for a few moments. Remember, new IR ticket, difficult to anticipate things. Now I know what to expect better.

    Funny, the next day I ended up hand flying another VTF approach. No issues. Part I was better prepared, part much better conditions. MVFR with scattered layer 1200-4000. Improving And ATC was not busy
     
  22. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,373
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    As soon as I know what approach I can expect I brief it up and get everything ready before descending. Single pilot IFR gets you good at managing your time.
     
    RotorDude likes this.
  23. coma24

    coma24 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2011
    Messages:
    682
    Location:
    Pompton Plains, NJ
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    coma24
    Not really. The descent checklist, if you use one, would've occurred before the vectors...and the pre-landing checklist wouldn't be until around FAF, long after the vectors have stopped. Slowing down in a piston single is not a workload intensive task.

    The approach brief should be completed before the FIRST vector. That was my point about being ahead.

    As for minutes between vectors as a minimum, it really depends on the terminal environment, but I routinely fly in environment with rapid fire vectors. Having a heading bug helps a lot as you dial it in while reading back and complying with the turn (I haven't used an autopilot during the arrival phase of flight since getting the rating, so I'm aware of the workload of hand flying).

    Genna, you're 100% right, it's tough when you're getting started, but you are doing the right thing in going back and asking what you could be doing better, or at an earlier stage of the flight, or more efficiently, and as you said, you now have a better idea of what to expect.

    Jordane93 had it right, SPIFR gets you good at managing your time. Ideally speaking, on any given IFR flight, there shouldn't be any particular time when you're trying to do 8 things at once. If so, it's likely that most of them could've been completed earlier when you had 0 things going on. For reference, I'm starting my briefing for an approach at least 40nm from the airport (190kt+ airplane). I rebrief altitudes as needed for altitudes and the missed only.

    Tower freq is always dialed in on stdby once I am confident that the radar controller who I'm working with is the last in the chain. A definitive sign is if you hear them handing ppl to the tower, or issuing approach clearances for the airport, but failing that, a proxy would be once you started getting vectored for the approach (although there are times that won't be 100% accurate and you'll still have one more radar controller to deal with). If you're a com1/2 person, you could throw tower and ground on the other radio as part of the approach brief and then swap to it when needed so you don't have to pull from the plate in real time.
     
  24. Rykymus

    Rykymus Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2014
    Messages:
    467
    Location:
    Northern California
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Rykymus
    Man I love this forum. I'm at the same point as the OP, so all of this is good stuff to me!

    Right now, I'm concentrating on not hand-flying the plane, as that is what I was doing during my entire training. I need to get comfortable with the AP and GPS, and especially to see how much turbulence I feel comfortable letting the AP manage. Once I get my AP/GPS skills ironed out, I'll likely go back to hand-flying when alone, and AP flying when wife is on board.
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  25. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,373
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    Sounds like a good plan. Like I said in my other post, if you're not ready, don't be afraid to ask for a delay vector.
     
  26. genna

    genna Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Messages:
    701
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ТУ-104
    This is all good info. I love it.

    I'm very comfortable with AP, so I have it dialed in if needed. It acts as a safety net and workload reducer when needed. For a while, much of my flying was with AP(wife is not a fan of hand flying), but I'm going back to hand flying in IMC.

    I always appreciate advice here , even if I don't feel that it applies. It's the next best thing to experience. And sometimes is better. This is how I learn.
     
  27. genna

    genna Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Messages:
    701
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ТУ-104
    This 1500mile trip that I'm on right now is a huge experience builder. Weather decisions to get hotel or go, IFR, LIFR, refused approaches due to active MOA, ice considerations, all new places...

    Flying alone forces you to think and be prepared. It also allows me to push my previous boundaries
     
    denverpilot and jordane93 like this.
  28. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,830
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    aterpster
    I believe that modification added the fix prior to the FAF only.
     
  29. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    40,051
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    1500 mile trip sounds great. So many people never do that. Lots of little XCs between airports with decisions at each one as to whether or not to proceed.

    Here's a quick thought from another local instructor...

    Vectors and ATC rapid fire of all sorts, is learned much easier by students who's instructors have made an effort to give headings, altitudes, and other maneuvering instructions whenever possible as simulated ATC calls (and student responses) from day one of primary training, than those who casually say things like, "Lets turn south and down to 7,500."

    Make it :

    "Cessna 12345, turn right heading one eight zero and descend and maintain seven-thousand fife hundred." ... instead.

    And have the student respond/acknowledge with the appropriate readback.

    If all you've ever done is say things like a controller to them whenever possible (it's not always possible, of course)... the pump is already primed for the days when they start talking to ATC themselves, and by the time they have their Private certificate and we working on an Instrument rating, ATC Comm and vectors is so well ingrained, that it's nearly automatic and takes up almost zero brainpower to process or acknowledge, and there's lots of brain time left over to fly the airplane.
     
    genna likes this.
  30. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    583
    Location:
    Dumfries, VA (suburb of DC)
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Auburntsts
    Not just the fix prior, unless there's only one, but all fixes along the final approach course. From the GTN 650 Manual rev K:
    6.10 Vectors to Final
    With “Vectors-To-Final” (VTF) selected, the CDI needle remains off center
    until you’re established on the final approach course. With the approach
    activated, the Map Page displays an extension of the final approach course in
    magenta (remember, magenta is used to depict the active leg of the flight plan)
    and “vtf” appears as part of the active leg on the Map page (as a reminder that
    the approach was activated with vectors-to-final).

    NOTE: In software version 5.13 and earlier, once VTF is activated all waypoints
    in the approach prior to the FAF are removed.

    NOTE: In software version 6.00 and later, all waypoints along the final
    approach course, including waypoints before the FAF, are included in the flight
    plan and the final approach course to the FAF is activated
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  31. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,830
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    aterpster
    Didn't know that. That is a significant improvement.
     
  32. bobmrg

    bobmrg Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Messages:
    2,431
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bob Gardner
    Once upon a time a young lady whom I had trained for her commercial came back to me for some ATP checkride prep...she had been back in the midwest flying for a commuter. I set up an IFR trip that I knew to be demanding in terms of a lot of things happening very quickly. As soon as Boeing Tower turned her over to Seattle Departure...frequency change...they gave her a vector to intercept final at Tacoma Narrows...tune the ILS, tower freq to standby...she asked Departure for delay vectors, just as Jordane93 recommends. I knew right then that she was up to the tasks she would face on her ATP checkride. Too many applicants turn themselves inside out trying to do everything at once for fear of upsetting ATC.

    Bob
     
    denverpilot, genna and ntinkle like this.
  33. Cpt_Kirk

    Cpt_Kirk En-Route

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Messages:
    3,257
    Location:
    Georgia
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ted Striker
    3 years later and you finally have an avatar. lol
     
    mscard88 likes this.
  34. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,577
    Location:
    Durham NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MauleDriver
    .... except now you face the daunting task of remembering when to press the 'talk' button for ATC or just recite the response for your CFII!
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  35. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,373
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    I'm a little slow
     
  36. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    40,051
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    LOL! Can't make it TOO easy. May have to use half a brain cell. ;-)
     
  37. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    3,588
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PPC
    I wish my Coms had standby.