|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : sfo|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 2500|
msl bound upper : 2500
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : oak|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
pilot : flight engineer
|Experience||flight time total : 15000|
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
|Independent Detector||other other : unspecified|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : unable|
|Primary Problem||ATC Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
|ATC Facility||procedure or policy : unspecified|
See attached letter to the editor. It is self-explanatory of both the situation and my concerns. As a 19 yr foster city resident and a 23 yr veteran pilot for a major airline I'm afraid I cannot share your enthusiasm for foster city's new status as a noise sensitive area on FAA approach charts. While I recognize the need for our jet operations to be as good neighborly as possible it is nonetheless incumbent on my fellow pilots and myself to ensure that safety of flight is our paramount concern. The depiction of foster city as 'noise sensitive' on the approach chart for the tipp toe visibility approach to runway 28L is an invitation for disaster in the skies above foster city. Let me explain. As you are aware, the tipp toe visibility approach to runway 28L and the quiet bridge visibility approach to runway 28R are often used simultaneously during good WX to allow increased arrs at sfo. In addition, ATC routinely uses the questionable tactic of requesting that pilots adjust the speed of the arriving aircraft so that they arrive over foster city virtually wingtip to wingtip. This is a common sight over our city--one which never fails to give this veteran pilot sweaty palms. 2 large turbojet passenger aircraft less than 600' apart are a distinct hazard to one another. Should either aircraft divert from his course for any reason they are only moments from potential disaster. Lacking specific direction as to what is expected of the pilot, the inclusion of the words noise sensitive on an approach chart is practically a directive to avoid the area. For a pilot unfamiliar with the peculiar demands of the non standard simultaneous sfo visuals it would be the most logical thing in the world to simply fly around foster city, out over the high rise of the bridge, in an attempt to be a good neighbor. This is, or course, precisely where the simultaneous traffic inbound to runway 28R would cross the bridge. The possibility for a devastating midair collision is obvious and exists even under the best of conditions. Such a scenario is not idle speculation. I personally submitted a NASA flight safety awareness report describing exactly such an experience. This occurred prior to the publication of the current approach chart which invites such a deviation around noise sensitive foster city. The real solution to the aircraft noise problem in foster city is the construction of a new runway at sfo as mentioned in the last paragraph of your article. Such a runway, located nearly a mi beyond the existing 28R, would allow the vast majority of arrs to fly quietly down the middle of the bay. Pilots could then utilize safe, standard flight procedures which are subject neither to dangerous misinterp on the part of the crew nor uninformed meddling by well-meaning citizen watch dogs. I respectfully suggest that the noise abatement committee re-examine the wisdom of this perceived triumph lest it become a pyrrhic victory for which the citizens themselves must suffer.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: SFO TIPTOE APCH CHART SHOWING FOSTER CITY AS NOISE SENSITIVE PROTESTED BY REPORTER.
Narrative: SEE ATTACHED LETTER TO THE EDITOR. IT IS SELF-EXPLANATORY OF BOTH THE SITUATION AND MY CONCERNS. AS A 19 YR FOSTER CITY RESIDENT AND A 23 YR VETERAN PLT FOR A MAJOR AIRLINE I'M AFRAID I CANNOT SHARE YOUR ENTHUSIASM FOR FOSTER CITY'S NEW STATUS AS A NOISE SENSITIVE AREA ON FAA APCH CHARTS. WHILE I RECOGNIZE THE NEED FOR OUR JET OPS TO BE AS GOOD NEIGHBORLY AS POSSIBLE IT IS NONETHELESS INCUMBENT ON MY FELLOW PLTS AND MYSELF TO ENSURE THAT SAFETY OF FLT IS OUR PARAMOUNT CONCERN. THE DEPICTION OF FOSTER CITY AS 'NOISE SENSITIVE' ON THE APCH CHART FOR THE TIPP TOE VIS APCH TO RWY 28L IS AN INVITATION FOR DISASTER IN THE SKIES ABOVE FOSTER CITY. LET ME EXPLAIN. AS YOU ARE AWARE, THE TIPP TOE VIS APCH TO RWY 28L AND THE QUIET BRIDGE VIS APCH TO RWY 28R ARE OFTEN USED SIMULTANEOUSLY DURING GOOD WX TO ALLOW INCREASED ARRS AT SFO. IN ADDITION, ATC ROUTINELY USES THE QUESTIONABLE TACTIC OF REQUESTING THAT PLTS ADJUST THE SPD OF THE ARRIVING ACFT SO THAT THEY ARRIVE OVER FOSTER CITY VIRTUALLY WINGTIP TO WINGTIP. THIS IS A COMMON SIGHT OVER OUR CITY--ONE WHICH NEVER FAILS TO GIVE THIS VETERAN PLT SWEATY PALMS. 2 LARGE TURBOJET PAX ACFT LESS THAN 600' APART ARE A DISTINCT HAZARD TO ONE ANOTHER. SHOULD EITHER ACFT DIVERT FROM HIS COURSE FOR ANY REASON THEY ARE ONLY MOMENTS FROM POTENTIAL DISASTER. LACKING SPECIFIC DIRECTION AS TO WHAT IS EXPECTED OF THE PLT, THE INCLUSION OF THE WORDS NOISE SENSITIVE ON AN APCH CHART IS PRACTICALLY A DIRECTIVE TO AVOID THE AREA. FOR A PLT UNFAMILIAR WITH THE PECULIAR DEMANDS OF THE NON STANDARD SIMULTANEOUS SFO VISUALS IT WOULD BE THE MOST LOGICAL THING IN THE WORLD TO SIMPLY FLY AROUND FOSTER CITY, OUT OVER THE HIGH RISE OF THE BRIDGE, IN AN ATTEMPT TO BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR. THIS IS, OR COURSE, PRECISELY WHERE THE SIMULTANEOUS TFC INBND TO RWY 28R WOULD CROSS THE BRIDGE. THE POSSIBILITY FOR A DEVASTATING MIDAIR COLLISION IS OBVIOUS AND EXISTS EVEN UNDER THE BEST OF CONDITIONS. SUCH A SCENARIO IS NOT IDLE SPECULATION. I PERSONALLY SUBMITTED A NASA FLT SAFETY AWARENESS RPT DESCRIBING EXACTLY SUCH AN EXPERIENCE. THIS OCCURRED PRIOR TO THE PUBLICATION OF THE CURRENT APCH CHART WHICH INVITES SUCH A DEVIATION AROUND NOISE SENSITIVE FOSTER CITY. THE REAL SOLUTION TO THE ACFT NOISE PROB IN FOSTER CITY IS THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW RWY AT SFO AS MENTIONED IN THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF YOUR ARTICLE. SUCH A RWY, LOCATED NEARLY A MI BEYOND THE EXISTING 28R, WOULD ALLOW THE VAST MAJORITY OF ARRS TO FLY QUIETLY DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE BAY. PLTS COULD THEN UTILIZE SAFE, STANDARD FLT PROCS WHICH ARE SUBJECT NEITHER TO DANGEROUS MISINTERP ON THE PART OF THE CREW NOR UNINFORMED MEDDLING BY WELL-MEANING CITIZEN WATCH DOGS. I RESPECTFULLY SUGGEST THAT THE NOISE ABATEMENT COMMITTEE RE-EXAMINE THE WISDOM OF THIS PERCEIVED TRIUMPH LEST IT BECOME A PYRRHIC VICTORY FOR WHICH THE CITIZENS THEMSELVES MUST SUFFER.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of August 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.