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Taxi instructions from tower during short final

Why do we have to fly “professionally” please?

If you are unable to comply with the complexity of big airport then you should avoid it. Simple as that. When I landed first time at Vienna LOWW I realized how it looked like to land at busy airport. Although I had many landings before at various international airports in many countries before that, this was an eye-opener how the preparation should’ve been done. Landing after Embrayer and before Airbus when the other Airbus was waiting to line-up, expediting taxi and following taxi clearance issued on short final – of course I missed one taxiway crossing but it was immediately corrected by tower. My conclusion after that was that my preparation was sloppy and I did my homework to taxi-out properly on departure.

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

We have to be well prepared and act professionally if we want to be welcome at a big airport.

While I fully agree with that statement, ATC must play their part too. They are not supposed to give taxi instructions on short final to the big boys (for obvious reasons) so they shouldn’t be doing it to the small guys.

I suppose the problem here might be that nobody has defined short final. If it’s using the ICAO defination of Final (as distinct from long final) then it’s 4nm. I’d have no problem whatsoever taking complicated taxi instructions while established on a 4nm final. In fact, I’d be quite happy to talk politics and other controversal issues to pass the time. But if I’m given taxi instructions when at 100ft or during the flare, then I’m going to concentrate on my flying.

As a matter of personal SOP, I don’t read back clearances or taxi instructions from memory. I always write them done, and read back what I’ve written. That way if there is any doubt later, I know that I read back what was written down. I’m not going to write down anything whan at 100ft.

Having said that, if I thought that my most likely exit point (having briefed before hand) was going to be T, and at 100ft I was told to exit T, then I’d acknowledge it and continue as nothing has changed. If I was told to “Exit L and continue on B, and hold short C”, and that was something totally unexpected, then I’d just tell them to standby. 100ft isn’t the place to be looking at taxi diagrams to figure out something new.

Perhaps more clarity could be brought to this debate if we know what “short final” was in the original post.

Why do we have to fly “professionally” please?

As for flying “professionally” I think the poster might have been playing on words. While “Professional” is usually taken to mean “Good” and “Amatuer” is taken to be “Bad”, those aren’t the real meaning of the words. Professional=paid to do the task and Amatuer=not paid to do the task. I think the poster might simply have been pointing out that just because we aren’t “Professionals” in the real meaning of the word, doesn’t mean that our flying isn’t just as good.

EIWT Weston

Yes, I absolutely agree on the preparation part. As soon as I got the “taxi via T” instruction during short final I also realized that Tango is quite down the runway. So I did know where to go.

However, and that is the big conflict that was probably going through my brain somewhere, I was configured and following the ILS down to the touchdown zone. Upon touching down I realized the conflict between landing correctly and not slowing down traffic. The controller gave me a different instruction and I did execute that with the utmost professional attitude/voice. No problem that far.

So the remaining question for me is about the ILS and the need for a long landing.

First, ATC makes me follow the STAR, then tells me to do one orbit for spacing, then vectors me onto the ILS, let’s me fly down the long way and I help them per their request with 160 IAS until 3 NM out.

Personally I would happily do a long landing but is that correct when flying IFR on an ILS? Instead of having full flaps at the end I would probably just use 50% for that.

What I’m trying to say is: I’m more than happy on a CAVOK day to do whatever helps and is within my abilities. But what am I allowed to do when flying IFR?

Up at FLxxx I am expected to ask when I want to avoid WX and not do it just so – unless it’s critical and can’t get the call in. So what changes during landing?

Frequent travels around Europe

If you are unable to comply with the complexity of big airport then you should avoid it.

The worst thing I have ever witnessed in this regard was at Basel (LFSB) some years ago. While we were waiting in the queue for takeoff, a formation of three biplanes (don’t remember the types, but I think it was a mix of Bückers and Tiger Moths) was cleared to land. CAVOK, fairly light wind, a beautiful view. After touchdown, they received their taxi instructions, but instead they stop dead on the runway and the one with the radio replies “too much wind, request taxi assistance”. Immediately two airliners already on final were instucted to go around (one of them replying “we have fuel for one more approach, thereafter we must divert!”), all traffic on the ground had to hold position, all approaching traffic joined the holding patterns… Within five to ten minutes the airport was able to scramble three wingwalkers for those biplanes and drive them to the runway, another five minutes it took them to get the aeroplanes off the runway. The financial damage caused by this action must have been in the six-figure range, closing a large airport for fifteen minutes during busy times.

No, you don’t have to fly professionally if you fly to a big airport. But even an amateur has to know the limitations of his aircraft. If you can’t taxi your taildragger on a hard surface in light winds, then you must not land on a hard surface in light winds. Or have someone stand by to assist you and inform the people who need to know about it. This has nothing do do with professionalism, just plain common sense.

EDDS - Stuttgart

First, ATC makes me follow the STAR, then tells me to do one orbit for spacing,

That’s another one. Asking IFR traffic to orbit is not good. Sometimes they do that while you’re in IMC and that is outright dangerous due to gyro drift and disorientation. On a nice VMC day it’s OK but be very careful with such requests. Under IFR, only standard rate turns are allowed and only 180° or so.

But what am I allowed to do when flying IFR?

When you’re visual you don’t have to follow the glidepath, I rarely do that on large airports precisely for the fact that am rarely expected to touch down in the touch down zone. Also I generally offer visual approaches at busy airports on a nice day, knowing that this gives ATC more options to squeeze me in. I also tell them that I can do up to 160 KIAS on final, just to make it more attractive to them to squeeze me in.

Asking IFR traffic to orbit is not good. Sometimes they do that while you’re in IMC and that is outright dangerous due to gyro drift and disorientation.

Gyro drift should be no factor because you are supposed to fly three-degree-per-minute-turns (or a maximum of 25 degrees of bank whichever requires the lesser bank) just as in a holding pattern. IFR approved gyros must be able to cope with that. I once had to hold over the outer marker at Milano Linate becuase the preceding aircraft had sufferd a major birdstrike over the runway. No problem at all and easier to handle than a go-around (which would have been the alternative) because no re-configuring of the aircraft and no changes to the navaid setting were necessary.

EDDS - Stuttgart

“Under IFR, only standard rate turns are allowed and only 180° or so”

That’s new ?

EBZW EBST

That’s new ?

No!

“Under IFR, only standard rate turns are allowed and only 180° or so”

For holding purposes the standard rate and 25 degree bank limit applies (and always appiled). I quote from Wikipedia, that’s easier to find than the relevant ICAO document:

Outside holdings you can turn as you please as long as you stay within the limitations of your instruments and don’t perform aerobatic maneuvers without an aerobatic rating…

EDDS - Stuttgart

Gyro drift should be no factor because you are supposed to fly three-degree-per-minute-turns

It is a factor and precisely for that reason, a holding pattern includes two zero bank legs. Mechanical gyros have mechanical erection mechanisms and they work by feeding a “we’re level most of time” bias. If you circle for an extended time, your gyro will indicate level. I’m sure you know all that

Never circle in IMC…

Last Edited by achimha at 07 May 13:22

I once had to hold over the outer marker at Milano Linate becuase the preceding aircraft had sufferd a major birdstrike over the runway.

An “orbit”, to me, is a 360° turn. In a hold, you are only turning half the time and only 180° (approximately) at a time.

Edit: Like achimha said.

Last Edited by Airborne_Again at 07 May 13:24
ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden
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