Surveilance Approach

RequestinDirect

Newcomer
Dec 7, 2018
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Hi All, I had a directional gyro problem and asked for a surveilance approach which I received. I was given turn directions along with START-STOP instructions. Between the STOP and the next START instruction I was given what seem to be comments, "Holding left of course," and "Correcting left of course," for example. My question is, what was the proper action for me to respond with to these statements? They did not seem to be actual instructions to me. Eventually I was later given "1/2 rate standard turns" as an instructions. If I was still left of course and holding, did that mean I was close enough to course so that no immediate correction was needed? I was on a discreet frequency.

When I descended below the ceiling, I was about 2 miles off course and 45 degrees to the right of the localizer and runway centerline. Is this typical for a surveilance approach? I was very glad to break out and see the rabbit as we were getting low on fuel. I appreciate the work that was done for me to get me safely onto the runway.
Clear Skies,
Gomer
 

Genot

Trusted Contributor
Feb 7, 2010
534
10
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A Dark Dark Room
As should have been explained if no communication in 10 seconds execute the missed. On course/left of course/the Guants scored a field goal serves this purpose. Half standard rate is common on final no gyros. Makes the slight corrections easier. 2 miles off is horrendous. Like I'd be fucking ashamed.

Sounds like you got the worst ASR/PAR in the history of air traffic.
 

RequestinDirect

Newcomer
Dec 7, 2018
9
0
1
Hi Genot, Thanks for the information and for responding. It's good to get an ATC perspective. I was not given the caveat to go missed after 10 seconds of silence. I know your second sentence is a joke, but I don't know enough to understand what the joke is. I think it means the controller was just giving commentary, sort of like a hockey team announcer. I did think the deviation from the runway center line was bad. If it had been down to 200-300' I wouldn't have seen the runway in time.
Gomer
 

Genot

Trusted Contributor
Feb 7, 2010
534
10
18
A Dark Dark Room
I misspelled Giants as in the NFL team. Turn left on course, local sports score is.... just so long as its every 10 seconds.

Obviously during an ASR/PAR your critical instrument is the radio and as radios don't have indications that they're broken aside from silence, hence the 10 second requirement. Note its not required as frequently if in vmc as a practice approach. In actual it's a hard requirement.
 

TimShady

Senior Analyst
Mar 12, 2009
887
5
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Chicago
The position reports are meant to keep you updated on where you are relative to the final approach course. They are informational only and don’t require any action.

The change to half standard rate as you get closer to the runway is meant for minor corrections as you should be more or less on course by that point.

A no-gyro surveillance approach from a controller perspective is based on “feel” as much as it is actually watching a clock to time the turns. They can be hit or miss and depend a lot on how much practice the controller has had recently.

When you say 2 miles off course do you mean 2 miles right or left of the runway? That doesn’t make sense that you ended up that far off. Your heading being off is understandable but you should have been a lot closer to the final approach course than that.
 

RequestinDirect

Newcomer
Dec 7, 2018
9
0
1
Hi Genot, Thanks. I understand the joke now...Anything to keep the mic open every 10 seconds. I repeated his instructions just so he knew I was hearing him each time in case my track did not reflect that. I think I'm not supposed to say anything.
Gomer
 

RequestinDirect

Newcomer
Dec 7, 2018
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Hi Tim, Thanks for your information. I was expecting to be lined up on the runway almost directly. I think I was at least 2 miles at a 45 degree angle from the runway approach lights. Part of my feeling this should be so is I had a friend who got caught in bad weather and went missed on his destination and alternate near his home base on the East side of MI. He flew to Selfridge AFB and had a PAR. He said they gave him both horizontal and vertical guidance right down to the runway. My friend said the guidance was excellent. It had gone really low that night. There were no repercussions. The controller was glad he made it down safely (so was my friend). I think he had to fill out a paper which didn't take much time. He had to wait for his wife to come pick him up anyway. I believe Selfridge AFB might have better radar for a PAR than most Class C airports. I believe the approach controllers also train regularly for the PAR.
Gomer
 

thort9ac

Newcomer
Jun 30, 2011
5
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1
I am a controller who has 3 PAR/ASR certifications. First, any “holding left of course” call should be followed by a turn (so, to answer your question you are not expected to do anything until the heading is issued. If the controller says that you are “correcting left of course” that means that the previous heading or headings that were issued are working and you are in fact coming back to the final approach course - in this case as a pilot expect to receive a counter-corrective turn so that you don’t fly through the FAC the other way.

As a trainer I can tell you that often controllers will hesitate to issue the LARGE heading that will turn the aircraft back to the FAC because in their mind the heading is a excessive number... For instance, say 360 is the FAC heading and I have given you a heading of 005 and that isn’t working - a turn to “008-010” seems quite excessive (in the unskilled ASR/PAR controllers mind) when looking at a scope zoomed all the way in.

*This is outside of your purview but for the controllers don’t be scared to give that 10 degree turn - as soon you see the aircraft turn, start to shave two degrees off of the heading very slowly. Say you issued the ”turn right heading 010” when you see the correction, turn left two degrees——wait to the aircraft gets a little closer than “turn left two degrees again” ; do this until back on course.

Remember out of all the approaches except the contact approach nothing is more inaccurate than the surveillance approach - and it has the worst tolerances for when the approach should be discontinued at the MAP (missed approach point). The approach is like looking at picture on your phone that is very small and instead of downloading the pic to see it in more detail you zoom in and it comes in very pixilated; you get the jist - it is blurry as hell!
 

RequestinDirect

Newcomer
Dec 7, 2018
9
0
1
Hi Thor, Thanks for that information. It sounds that doing an ASR is challenging for controllers. I asked for a "surveillance" approach, although I was given a "no-gyro" approach with timed turns. The no-gyro method was what I actually wanted, as the DG was not functioning properly and the whisky compass was difficult to follow with the bumps due to rain and wind shear.
Since I was on a no-gyro approach I was not given headings, just right and left turns with START/STOP if that makes any difference in your assessment of what might have been going on in terms of the poor lineup for final. I'm not really certain why it should be so difficult for a controller to see where I was in relation to the localizer line. Is the localizer line on a radar scope really that indistinct? The airport I was landing is civil-military and is an ARSA. Is there a different type of radar needed to given precise left-right guidance. I really wasn't so concerned about the vertical guidance being precise as I knew we would breakout with plenty of altitude.
Clear Skies,
Gomer