mutiple helicopters in the traffic pattern

AustinPowers

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Nov 28, 2012
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My final thoughts on this thread. The original scenario in question was H60 vs H60 vs H60 in the pattern. When working a 100% helicopter operation things are different. That is why the 7110.65 has a special section for helicopter operations. You are able to break the airport up into numerous landing areas. A couple of landing area examples would be breaking up and assigning portions of runways or Sod areas. When doing this with helicopters everything becomes simultaneous. You must keep in mind that the only helicopter that could be cleared for the option would be the #1 helicopter and the helicopters behind the #1 going to an assigned landing area that could be in conflict with the #1 helicopter such as a portion of the runway behind the #1 need to be cleared to land. You never want the #2 helicopter to do a low approach over the #1 guy ahead of him who decided to do a stop and go. That would not be legal and not even Visual Separation would get you out of that when the #1 guy started climbing into the #2 guy.

With all that being said, when you are mixing helicopters and airplanes things do change. Such as, when the succeeding aircraft is a helicopter, visual separtaion may be applied in lieu of using distance minima. The original post was not on mixing airplanes and helicopters, it was on running 3 H60 helicopters around the pattern and staying legal. Chapter 3 section 11 of the 7110.65 was the area of concern and where the answer to the question is found. Of course the aircraft needed to be sequenced and separtared by the 200ft minima either by assigning landing areas at least 200ft from other helicopters and not having conflicting courses or instructing the pilot to land 200ft from the helicopter that he is following. Keeping in mind that the #2 helicopter is cleared to land and only cleared to land unless the #1 helicopter has exited the landing area ahead. Working a large volume of helicopters can be a ton of fun if it is done right.

This is a wonderful site if it is used right. I have just been an observer over the past years and this subject and a couple others just started to catch my attention a bit more. This site would be better served if people start making sure that they are 100% correct when giving advise. You don't have to answer every thread. The thread that caught my attention most was an aircraft being instructed to follow another aircraft on a Visual Approach. It was said by a contributor that you had to tell the #2 aircraft to Maintain Visual Separation from that traffic, follow that traffic to the airport, Cleared Visual Approach Runway 35L. If I had to say that to every aircraft that I was sequencing in a busy terminal environment I would never stop talking and the pilots would never have the chance to put in a request or try to declare an emergency on a nice VFR day.

My point is the answer should be spelled out nice and clear. When visually following a preceding aircraft, acceptance of the visual approach clearance constitutes acceptance of pilot resposibility for maintaining a safe approach interval and adequate wake turbulence separation (AIM 5-4-23.d). Our job as ATC is to issue the Visual Approach clearance. For example (Call sign) (control instructions as required/follow the Boeing 757 to the airport) Cleared Visual Approach Runway 35L.

Thank you for your time and I hope that we can all work together to provide the best ATC service possible to our users, the pilots.
 

FM_Weasel

Senior Analyst
Dec 9, 2008
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This site would be better served if people start making sure that they are 100% correct when giving advise.
Incidentally, you responded to this thread and have no way of knowing you're 100% right.

This is all just discussion here, try not to get on a soap box about it or you'll end up really cranky like one of our beloved former NATCA Rep posters.

Such as, when the succeeding aircraft is a helicopter, visual separtaion may be applied in lieu of using distance minima.
So when two helicopters are involved, the succeeding aircraft is NOT a helicopter?
 

WatchThis

Trusted Contributor
Apr 29, 2010
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LOL

So, is a helicopter not an aircraft (reference chapter 3 same runway separation)? I'll look again but I dont recall the original post talking about splitting up the runway, although that is an option where the 200' rule would be applicable. It was also asking about landing clearances, not touch and goes or other options. I'm guessing they give takeoff clearances back into the pattern individually, which would be right since they normally wouldn't want a passing situation on the runway.

I'm just trying to stay on point. I'm not sure why all this other wild stuff is being brought up.

Some decent words Austin but you too are just as right or wrong as anyone else around here.
 
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AustinPowers

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Nov 28, 2012
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My point in the second paragraph should have been spelled out a bit more clear. I agree that it could be a mixing of helicopter and helicopter. I think that the rule is better utilized when it is a helicopter following an airplane (SRS). My point was that when you have 3 helicopters all going to the same runway just using Visual Separation with the 3 is not going to keep you out of trouble. The problem would come when the #1 helicopter lands to mid-field on the runway and the #2 lands to the approach end numbers. Where does the #3 copter go utilizing Visual?
 

WatchThis

Trusted Contributor
Apr 29, 2010
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He waits until the jack-wagon on the numbers moves forward. If I'm working, I tell the J-W to move forward. Some might be shocked by that but it's a very normal thing in the helicopter world. With a little planning and adjustment of the pattern, that won't happen anyway. If its not working out, theres always a go-around but if everyone is a normal full-stop that shouldn't be needed.

Working a pattern of helicopters in training does require an active controller due to the various landing types that are requested. Don't take anything I've posted as encouragement to be lazy. Segmenting the runway is not a bad plan when you need it. I only state that specifying points or segmenting landing areas with associated 200' separation is not required on a runway as long as the chapter 3 SRS rules are followed.
 
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JoshATC

Epic Member
Jun 27, 2010
1,384
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ZLA CPC
I must be the only one that reads and quotes the .65 on these forums.. BUT HERE IT IS AGAIN.. Another direct copy and paste for you lovely people!

1−2−1. WORD MEANINGS
As used in this order:
a. “Shall” or “must” means a procedure is
mandatory.
b. “Shall not” or “must not” means a procedure is
prohibited.
c. “Should” means a procedure is recommended.
d. “May” or “need not” means a procedure is
optional.
e. “Will” means futurity, not a requirement for the
application of a procedure.
f. Singular words include the plural.
g. Plural words include the singular.
h. “Aircraft” means the airframe, crew members,
or both.


So as stupid as this sounds... the word "AIRCRAFT" does include Helicopters.. LOL
 

Hotel_Sierra

Newcomer
Dec 10, 2012
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Anytime you get a helicopter or multiple helicopters doing any sort of operation on ANY part of anything, movement or nonmovement it becomes a landing area. or departing area. or operational area. The only difference is if you can actually CLEAR them. A runway becomes a landing area and you are responsible for seperation. IF YOU MADE taxiway alpha a t/g pattern, YOU become responsible. Now, that being said theres 5 ways you can have simultaneous operations. If you give them a landing reference point that puts them about 200+ or more from the other you're gold. 10 on the runway, each at a taxiway. OR, tell them to maintain visual and follow - once is sufficient.
 

PatThompson

Newcomer
Nov 30, 2012
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Mr. Sierra,

Here's some sound advice for you:

Carry your CTO in your front shirt pocket. That way it'll be easy for you to hand over right after you get fired.
 

blakeh

Trusted Member
Feb 8, 2009
406
2
18
SLN
Mr. Sierra,

Here's some sound advice for you:

Carry your CTO in your front shirt pocket. That way it'll be easy for you to hand over right after you get fired.
What's wrong with what he said? For the most part I agree with him...
 

Hotel_Sierra

Newcomer
Dec 10, 2012
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What's wrong with what he said? For the most part I agree with him...
I like how you assume I am a him. Second, why would I hand my cto over? I've been working helos long enough that you guys are trying to make mountains out of a mole hill. Cleared to land the numbers (following helo), cleared for the option abeam Alpha taxiway (number one helo)... Its not complicated. Tell two helos in the pattern, second following and reports number one in sight - who gives a sh*t where they are on the runway - THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE to remain 200+ft apart. Thats the beauty of helicopters. Unless its an Osprey. I would NOT clear the second helo for the option to prevent any confusion.
 

Hotel_Sierra

Newcomer
Dec 10, 2012
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Once again I would like a radar controller to jump in but I have been working Local or Assist numerous times and approach jacks up on final and runs two aircraft to close on final and YES they do call up over the shout and ask us if we can provided visual.

Radar controller talking... I think your about to argue a completely different scenario. Thats a whole different story. If I send you a helo straight in for pattern work, and a guy on the base for patternwork, I don't need them to see each other, I don't need to do anything more than sequence them (as in ensure who is number one and number two). I don't need to give you three miles to make sure the first guy has plenty of time to camp. Thats your job as a tower controller. For goodness sakes, they are helos. Land midfield, land the numbers you call departure. Simple.
 

JoshATC

Epic Member
Jun 27, 2010
1,384
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ZLA CPC
Radar controller talking... I think your about to argue a completely different scenario. Thats a whole different story. If I send you a helo straight in for pattern work, and a guy on the base for patternwork, I don't need them to see each other, I don't need to do anything more than sequence them (as in ensure who is number one and number two). I don't need to give you three miles to make sure the first guy has plenty of time to camp. Thats your job as a tower controller. For goodness sakes, they are helos. Land midfield, land the numbers you call departure. Simple.
What I was getting at was Visual Separation, so ya it's a little off topic. But what I was addressing was closer rate on final between arrivals. Example: F16 following a B737. or F900 following a LJ35.
 

Hotel_Sierra

Newcomer
Dec 10, 2012
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What I was getting at was Visual Separation, so ya it's a little off topic. But what I was addressing was closer rate on final between arrivals. Example: F16 following a B737. or F900 following a LJ35.
What was the separation when you got them? Minimum with matching speeds? Then I would say its your job. If they were 5 miles with matching speeds and you let it close up when the first guy dogged it, your deal.

If they gave you 5 miles with a 120kt overtake, their deal IF and only IF, you take all steps necessary to maintain minumum separation. You are responsible to ensure separation is maintained. If you do nothing, and tell someone you didn't have tower visual, you WILL be controller B; because you let it collapse also.
 

FM_Weasel

Senior Analyst
Dec 9, 2008
988
7
18
If you're talking radar sep minima, then that would never be the tower's deal unless an LOA made them responsible for spacing.

The approach controller is responsible for radar separation of successive arrivals unless otherwise delegated. 5-9-5 a.
 

Hotel_Sierra

Newcomer
Dec 10, 2012
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I disagree to some point, if I give something to tower, adequately spaced, and tower subsequently slows the first guy (say a H/A306,) and they get the second guy with adequate spacing and they do not rectify the closure rate, they will be controller B for compression.
 

Hotel_Sierra

Newcomer
Dec 10, 2012
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Unless you'd prefer we vector to thresholds.

f. TERMINAL. In addition to subpara e, separate

an aircraft landing behind another aircraft on the

same runway, or one making a touch-and-go,
stop-and-go, or low approach by ensuring the
following minima will exist at the time the preceding
aircraft is over the landing threshold:

NOTE−
Consider parallel runways less than 2,500 feet apart as a
single runway because of the possible effects of wake
turbulence.
1. Small behind large− 4 miles.

2. Small behind B757− 5 miles.

3. Small behind heavy− 6 miles.
 
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JoshATC

Epic Member
Jun 27, 2010
1,384
7
38
ZLA CPC
Convenient you left out Sub e. let me post that for ya!

e. Separate aircraft operating directly behind, or
directly behind and less than 1,000 feet below, or
following an aircraft conducting an instrument
approach by:

NOTE−
1. When applying wake turbulence separation criteria,
directly behind means an aircraft is operating within
2,500 feet of the flight path of the leading aircraft over the
surface of the earth.

2. Consider parallel runways less than 2,500 feet apart as
a single runway because of the possible effects of wake
turbulence.

1. Heavy behind heavy− 4 miles.

2. Large/heavy behind B757− 4 miles.

3. Small behind B757− 5 miles.

4. Small/large behind heavy − 5 miles.
 

Hotel_Sierra

Newcomer
Dec 10, 2012
22
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1
Convenient you left out Sub e. let me post that for ya!

e. Separate aircraft operating directly behind, or
directly behind and less than 1,000 feet below, or
following an aircraft conducting an instrument
approach by:

NOTE−
1. When applying wake turbulence separation criteria,
directly behind means an aircraft is operating within
2,500 feet of the flight path of the leading aircraft over the
surface of the earth.

2. Consider parallel runways less than 2,500 feet apart as
a single runway because of the possible effects of wake
turbulence.

1. Heavy behind heavy− 4 miles.

2. Large/heavy behind B757− 4 miles.

3. Small behind B757− 5 miles.

4. Small/large behind heavy − 5 miles.
It was omitted because sub f is at thresholds, since we're talking local control here I felt final separation wasn't important for the sake of argument.

It still doesn't change the fact others can be just as responsible for radar separation to arriving aircraft. If you hose a radar controller and sit and watch, thats on you.