|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : boi.airport|
|Altitude||msl single value : 4500|
|Controlling Facilities||tower : boi.tower|
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||B737-700|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 121|
|Flight Phase||descent : approach|
|Route In Use||approach : visual|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : first officer|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 240|
flight time total : 3500
flight time type : 1200
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : anomaly accepted|
|Problem Areas||Flight Crew Human Performance|
ATC Human Performance
|Primary Problem||ATC Human Performance|
|Airport||procedure or policy : boi.airport|
|Airspace Structure||class c : boi.c|
I would like to call attention to a practice which I believe could result in a dreadful mishap. Similar events have occurred to me at both boi and abq airports in the recent past. Specifically; approach and tower controllers are vectoring aircraft for visual approachs to the side of the airport that is in close proximity to steeply rising terrain. These vectors are causing our pilots to walk a fine line between meeting all stabilized approach criteria and avoiding deadly terrain. Today at boi we were arriving from the northwest and were directed to execute a visual approach from the north side of the airport -- forcing us to fly through a very small window in which we could safely avoid terrain and execute a stabilized approach. From that side of the airport there is an extremely small margin for error. On the other hand; the south side of the airport is wide open with no proximity to terrain. An exacerbating factor is the requirement at boi to maintain 4500 ft until established on final; presumably for noise abatement. As the valley becomes narrower east of the airport; that requirement makes it even more difficult to execute a safe approach. A similar situation is occurring at abq where aircraft from the west are directed to the north of the airport for visual approachs to runway 26. There is extremely steep terrain both north and east of the field. What was particularly troubling about the approach at abq is that it was at night. We were forced to rely in part on GPWS displays to fly down the valley and execute our base and final turns in order to complete the approach. Again; to the south of abq airport there is minimal terrain hazard. Although scores of airplanes safely complete these approachs every day; I believe that a risk is being taken unnecessarily. ATC should be able to provide (and should direct automatically) a left downwind to each of these runways in order to eliminate any chance of terrain contact. The approach to boi was marginally acceptable in the daylight if only because we could see the terrain and comfortably avoid it. At night; however; the situation is unsafe. The same comment goes for abq. At night with no visual reference to the terrain other than the absence of city lights; airplanes have no business trying to hit those gates where the penalty for even a small error is unthinkable. There must be a way to allow arriving airplanes to use the safer side of the airport while maintaining separation from departing traffic.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: B737-700 FLT CREW IS CONCERNED WITH TERRAIN CLRNC DURING A VISUAL APCH TO RWY 28R AT BOI.
Narrative: I WOULD LIKE TO CALL ATTN TO A PRACTICE WHICH I BELIEVE COULD RESULT IN A DREADFUL MISHAP. SIMILAR EVENTS HAVE OCCURRED TO ME AT BOTH BOI AND ABQ ARPTS IN THE RECENT PAST. SPECIFICALLY; APCH AND TWR CTLRS ARE VECTORING ACFT FOR VISUAL APCHS TO THE SIDE OF THE ARPT THAT IS IN CLOSE PROX TO STEEPLY RISING TERRAIN. THESE VECTORS ARE CAUSING OUR PLTS TO WALK A FINE LINE BTWN MEETING ALL STABILIZED APCH CRITERIA AND AVOIDING DEADLY TERRAIN. TODAY AT BOI WE WERE ARRIVING FROM THE NW AND WERE DIRECTED TO EXECUTE A VISUAL APCH FROM THE N SIDE OF THE ARPT -- FORCING US TO FLY THROUGH A VERY SMALL WINDOW IN WHICH WE COULD SAFELY AVOID TERRAIN AND EXECUTE A STABILIZED APCH. FROM THAT SIDE OF THE ARPT THERE IS AN EXTREMELY SMALL MARGIN FOR ERROR. ON THE OTHER HAND; THE S SIDE OF THE ARPT IS WIDE OPEN WITH NO PROX TO TERRAIN. AN EXACERBATING FACTOR IS THE REQUIREMENT AT BOI TO MAINTAIN 4500 FT UNTIL ESTABLISHED ON FINAL; PRESUMABLY FOR NOISE ABATEMENT. AS THE VALLEY BECOMES NARROWER E OF THE ARPT; THAT REQUIREMENT MAKES IT EVEN MORE DIFFICULT TO EXECUTE A SAFE APCH. A SIMILAR SITUATION IS OCCURRING AT ABQ WHERE ACFT FROM THE W ARE DIRECTED TO THE N OF THE ARPT FOR VISUAL APCHS TO RWY 26. THERE IS EXTREMELY STEEP TERRAIN BOTH N AND E OF THE FIELD. WHAT WAS PARTICULARLY TROUBLING ABOUT THE APCH AT ABQ IS THAT IT WAS AT NIGHT. WE WERE FORCED TO RELY IN PART ON GPWS DISPLAYS TO FLY DOWN THE VALLEY AND EXECUTE OUR BASE AND FINAL TURNS IN ORDER TO COMPLETE THE APCH. AGAIN; TO THE S OF ABQ ARPT THERE IS MINIMAL TERRAIN HAZARD. ALTHOUGH SCORES OF AIRPLANES SAFELY COMPLETE THESE APCHS EVERY DAY; I BELIEVE THAT A RISK IS BEING TAKEN UNNECESSARILY. ATC SHOULD BE ABLE TO PROVIDE (AND SHOULD DIRECT AUTOMATICALLY) A L DOWNWIND TO EACH OF THESE RWYS IN ORDER TO ELIMINATE ANY CHANCE OF TERRAIN CONTACT. THE APCH TO BOI WAS MARGINALLY ACCEPTABLE IN THE DAYLIGHT IF ONLY BECAUSE WE COULD SEE THE TERRAIN AND COMFORTABLY AVOID IT. AT NIGHT; HOWEVER; THE SITUATION IS UNSAFE. THE SAME COMMENT GOES FOR ABQ. AT NIGHT WITH NO VISUAL REF TO THE TERRAIN OTHER THAN THE ABSENCE OF CITY LIGHTS; AIRPLANES HAVE NO BUSINESS TRYING TO HIT THOSE GATES WHERE THE PENALTY FOR EVEN A SMALL ERROR IS UNTHINKABLE. THERE MUST BE A WAY TO ALLOW ARRIVING AIRPLANES TO USE THE SAFER SIDE OF THE ARPT WHILE MAINTAINING SEPARATION FROM DEPARTING TFC.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of January 2009 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.