VFR/IFR Visalia to San Carlos for Cocoa Bean (PnP)

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by wayneda40, Feb 16, 2021.

  1. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Today we’re helping to relocate Cocoa Bean, a darling young husky mix, to her forever home in the Bay Area. And once again we’ll see if I can correctly copy and read back the clearance out of San Carlos (?!). If you’re looking to fly for a cause, PilotsNPaws can be a gratifying answer. Thanks for flying with us. Wayne, GeezerGeek Pilot
     
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  2. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    That ones a mouthful. On the flight into SQL that Clearance via DOCAL kind leaves you hanging. DOCAL’s only use is the Approach into Palo Alto. Let’s play what if. You’re in the goo and you go NORDO before getting the revised Clearance via AMEBY. What would you do?
     
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  3. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This is indeed interesting...

    The route I filed was AMEBY
    Expected was NTELL BLEAR V230 SNS DOCAL
    Cleared was FRAME BLEAR V230 SNS DOCAL

    As you noted, AMEBY is an IF for KSQL... and DOCAL has no connection with approaches into KSQL.
    In lost comms, I guess I'd continue to DOCAl, then direct AMEBY and fly the RNAV Z 30. Or maybe ATC would expect DOCAL JEFNY (the IAF) AMEBY?

    Good stuff to contemplate. Any controllers here have a thought on this?
    Thanks!
    Wayne
     
  4. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The one time I flew that departure procedure out of SQL, it turned out that what I had written down was clear enough for the readback, but not clear enough to decipher in the air eight minutes later, so I botched it and nearly created a conflict with traffic on final into SQL. As I wrote in my subsequent ASRS report, I should have reviewed my notes before calling ready for takeoff, to make sure that they were clear enough.
     
  5. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Richard, I've been there; done that; and filed the report :).
     
  6. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I used to be a controller. Didn't work up there though. I'm pretty sure I would expect you to go to JEFNY, an IAF rather than AMEBY, an IF. But I would keep the path clear for both. And as steep as that would make an Approach from the 8000 you were at, I'd clear the sky under you from pretty far out in case you decided to leave your last assigned altitude before reaching the fix. And assume you might reverse course on me in an ad hoc holding pattern to get down if you didn't descend early.
     
  7. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    If the failure occurs in VFR conditions, or if VFR conditions are encountered after the failure, 91.185 instructs us to "continue the flight under VFR and land as soon as practicable." The route would need to be one that would allow him to remain in VFR conditions. If VFR conditions were not encountered, 91.185 would seem to require flying to an IAF after DOCAL, but when he requested the RNAV approach starting at AMEBY, the controller told him to expect that, and cleared him direct AMEBY, so I'm guessing that would remove the requirement to include the dogleg to the IAF.
     
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  8. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just the insight I was looking for! And perfectly logical to boot. Thanks!
     
  9. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    So I'm not the only one! :cheers:
     
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  10. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The 'what if' scenario was "...in the goo...", IMC. The last assigned altitude was 8000. What would you do about Altitude? Whether you go to JEFNY or AMEBY, you are on an unpublished route without altitude information. Would you have a peek at the Sectional and decide from that how low you think it would be safe to go?
     
  11. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    As you note, assuming lost comms outside of DOCAL in continuing IMC, last cleared altitude 8000'... let's see how this might work:
    • continue direct DOCAL at 8000'
    • pull out cell phone bluetoothed to the headset... I have LA and Oakland Centers on speed dial. This has good likelihood of working in this area, even at 8000'... and certainly improving once we do descend.
    • failing cell connection, after DOCAL direct JEFNY at 8000'. Would be nice if we knew the MVA around here... it's likely ~6000', but we don't "know".
    • confirm showing Terrain and Profile on MFD and iPad (ForeFlight Profile would show me terrain clearance along the important DOCAL JEFNY leg)
    • after JEFNY, fly approach altitudes (4600, 3900), and (as you suggested) use the published hold at AMEBY if needed to get down to ~4000' leaving AMEBY inbound
    Thoughts?
     
  12. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The Missed Approach Hold at Ameby is 5400, that would be kinda steep but probably doable. Being a little lower sure seems ok in as much as the Missed Approach Procedure says you may get there lower and 'continue' climb to 5400. I would have no qualms about going down to 3900 based on the terrain and obstructions shown on the Chart. Knowing what I know now from picking this apart, I just might go DOCAL AMEBY, starting down to 3900 at DOCAL using the KPAO RNAV (GPS) Rwy 31 Approach as a reference for what is a safe altiyude.
     
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  13. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    /u/luvflyin,
    What would ATC expectations be regarding IAS in this lost comms scenario? Given there are 18 nm from JEFNY to rwy 30, if we slow down before JEFNY and get in both notches of flaps (~90 KIAS), then the descent thru AMEBY without the hold is certainly doable on a slow but stabilized approach. But would slowing from say 130+ KIAS to 90 KIAS cause ATC any issues?
     
  14. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The approach is only authorized for categories A and B, so there should be no reason for them to expect high speed.
     
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  15. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Oops, I overlooked that!

    Looking at 91.185(c)(1)(iii), I see that the instruction to follow an expected route only applies in the absence of an assigned route. His assigned route initially included DOCAL direct SQL, but he was cleared direct AMEBY in the vicinity of San Luis Reservoir, with no stated route assignment after that until he was cleared for the approach. So the situation gets complicated by exactly where in the flight the lost comm occurs. It might not be safe to try to parse all this out in single-pilot IFR, so I would probably fall back on the AIM hint to rely on emergency authority to do whatever I thought would keep myself and others safe.

    I had the same thought as you about using the missed-approach hold. The minimum altitude from JIKPE to AMEBY is 3900, and that combined with the terrain depictions on the approach chart suggests that this would be a safe altitude in the hold.

    I wouldn't try to calculate this during a single-pilot lost-com situation, but the stated minimum-climb gradient for the missed approach is 302 ft/nm, which combined with the distance suggests that a plane on the missed approach could be as low as 2100 MSL or so when entering the hold, which confirms that the 3900 should be safe in the protected airspace of the hold.

    If the lost com were to occur while he was still on an assigned route to DOCAL, I would fly from DOCAL to the IAF, descend as charted from there to AMEBY, and continue the descent in the hold if needed.
     
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  16. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Couldn't you use the MSA?
     
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  17. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    By the way, if I was in an unfamiliar area, I would definitely have a peek at the sectional, and would probably join the nearest published route in the interest of safety and reducing workload.
     
  18. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    If slowing caused any ATC issues it would be their fault. They would have a lot 'splainin' to do. "Well, he was goin a hunnert and twenty so I tucked another hunnert and twenty plane in behind him. How was I suppossed to know he'd slow down." But yeah, depending on what plane yer flyin, what your skills are, maybe 8000 at JENFY isn't all that bad.
     
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  19. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Ah Ha!! Of course. 5200 at JENFY would be no thang, even AMEBY wouldn't be extremely steep. DOCAL is within 25 miles of KIZEM. Problem solved. Disregard all that complicated stuff I said above
     
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  20. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    If you felt that the situation required exercising your emergency authority, the 5200 MSL within 25 NM of KIZEM looks like it would be a safe option.
     
  21. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Chapter 6 of the AIM suggests that treating lost com as an emergency could be justified:

    Section 4. Two-way Radio Communications Failure

    a. It is virtually impossible to provide regulations
    and procedures applicable to all possible situations
    associated with two-way radio communications
    failure. During two-way radio communications
    failure, when confronted by a situation not covered in
    the regulation, pilots are expected to exercise good
    judgment in whatever action they elect to take.
    Should the situation so dictate they should not be
    reluctant to use the emergency action contained in
    14 CFR Section 91.3(b).

    b. Whether two-way communications failure
    constitutes an emergency depends on the circumstances,
    and in any event, it is a determination made
    by the pilot. 14 CFR Section 91.3(b) authorizes a
    pilot to deviate from any rule in Subparts A and B to
    the extent required to meet an emergency.
     
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  22. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    From my in-air experience, there's a very good likelihood that by JEFNY we'd have cell reception and in contact with Oakland Center (I have their number on speed dial). If we were en-route over remote country and couldn't get voice cell reception, I also include my cell number in my filed flight plan... and I've heard that ATC has had good success reaching lost-comm pilots via text messages (works with weaker reception than voice does). Just an additional avenue to restore communications.

    What an interesting discussion this thread has become... thanks to all!
    Wayne
     
  23. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just a quick add-on to the video at the top of this thread... The departure clearance from San Carlos presents a pretty well-known challenge for many of us. Here are my latest two -- still unsuccessful -- tries. Thanks for flying with us. Wayne, GeezerGeek Pilot
     
  24. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The most interesting part of that San Carlos departure is that it is published. It's not official but it is published in a SID-like format which makes it easy - if you at least know it exists. That's the catch. There's a fledgling site, https://whispertrack.com/ which collects noise abatement information. While the San Carlos VFR abatement procedures are there, this IFR departure (which is really just an IFR version of the "Woodside" VFR departure) is not (I sent them a message about it - we'll see if they add it).

    Basically, it's a visual departure off 30, flying runway heading until past the diamond shaped waterway, followed by a turn to right downwind, remaining at 1100' until abeam the numbers on 30.
     
  25. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Mark, the VFR-to-IFR Departure Procedure is also posted at the Sky Kitchen restaurant... and I understand it's also available to purchase as a T-shirt, with the diagram upside down so the pilot wearing it can look down and read the diagram :).

    With all the productivity lost (by controllers and pilots) with reading (and mis-reading back!!) this lengthy clearance... you'd think there would be a better way.
     
  26. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I love the T-shirt idea. This procedure has gotten me curious and that's always a bad thing :D

    Looking further, the NORCAL TRACON Letter to Airmen which says full readback is not required expired last year and if you read it, it makes no sense:

    This Letter to Airmen reiterates that it is not necessary to read back the SQL Noise Abatement Departure verbatim, unless specifically requested by Air Traffic Control (ATC).

    FAA Air Traffic Order 7110.65, Chapter 2, Pilot Acknowledgement/Read Back, Air Traffic Control (ATC) states, “…pilots may acknowledge clearances, control instructions, or other information by using “Wilco,” “Roger,” “Affirmative,” or other words or remarks with their aircraft identification.”​

    I love the second sentence. We don't have to read back IFR departure clearances? Really? I'd love to try that and see how far "Cleared to XYZ. Wilco. Thanks." will get me :D Oh, I guess "specifically requested" will come into play. I guess in this case, it might be worth trying, "Cleared to Santa Barbara, Woodside VFR/IFR departure, vectors Woodside..." Climb via the procedure (pretend it's a SID), then maintain 2100, expect..." as see what happens.

    It's too bad these things aren't easily accessible. The Chart Supplement and Jepp 10-9 do say there are noise abatement procedures and to contact the airport manager for information. I guess that's at least a prompt to inquire further. So yeah, if I'm going to San Carlos and I read the CS or 10-9 as part of my planning, I might Google "SQL noise abatement" which will take me there. But I wonder how many pilots actually do that. Funny tough, if you go to the official airport page (not the Airport Association page) you don't get the VFR/IFR procedure, just the VFR pamphlet. But at least they are aailable at the restaurant where transients and read them over lunch.

    It would be nice to take noise abatement out of the closet and incorporate procedures into official publications.
     
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  27. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Mark, I love the ""Cleared to XYZ. Wilco. Thanks."... yea, that's gonna work ;).

    Any NorCal locals (calling Jason Miller)? Would Mark's suggestion work?, e.g.
    "Cleared to Santa Barbara, Woodside VFR/IFR departure, vectors Woodside... Climb via the procedure (pretend it's a SID), then maintain 2100, expect..."
     
  28. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    I've always gotten AMEBY in clearances to SQL. I'm betting they left one off when reclearing you. If you did lose comms, however, you would proceed from DOCAL to JEFNY and start the approach there.
     
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  29. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My limited experience would agree... I've filed/flown IFR 8 times into KSQL and here are my "expected" clearances (I don't have a good record of "cleared" clearances):

    ROBIE DOCAL AMEBY
    NTELL BLEAR V230 SNS DOCAL
    GVO ROBIE DOCAL AMEBY
    GVO DOCAL AMEBY
    GVO BRALY DOCAL AMEBY
    PMD V197 EHF AVE V137 ROM V485 SJC
    PMD V197 EHF AVE V137 ROM V485 SJC
    GVO V27 MQO V113 PRB SNS GILRO AMEBY

    ... and only one (2nd from top) finished with DOCAL.
     
  30. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    Being knowledgeable.about flying IFR into SQL, which I've now done about 5 times, I just file to AMEBY in some way. They don't always give you DOCAL - that depends on if SJC is busy and they need to keep you further West.
     
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  31. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    They could do something like the COZY ONE at Aspen KASE or the SOLEDAD at Montgomery KMYF. See pages 433 and 434 of the Southwest Chart Supplement. I think the TSHIRT ONE would be a good name.
     
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  32. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    Yeah, that VFR to IFR procedure is pretty easy to fly, but the way they make you read it back is kinda annoying.
     
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  33. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    How does it work there? Start out with you requesting your Clearance and requesting the ‘Soledad Departure.’
     
  34. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    I don't think I've ever heard someone request the Soledad departure and I've not flown it in literally hundreds of IFR flights from MYF. The whole point of that departure is to get out IFR when the airspace is busy, but the tower at MYF does such a good job assuring our releases are dealt with in a timely manner that we generally have to wait for pattern beaters to clear out more than the release itself.