Ever screw up an approach?

GravityHater

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I enjoyed the 'stupidest things you've ever done in an airplane' and thought this topic would be at least as entertaining, if not informative. Also perhaps a more useful topic because if we can learn more about this particular thing - it could save your hide!
I am thinking "real approaches in imc", practice ones or training stories accepted if they show something useful.

The only one I have is I set a VOR course to 275 instead of 295. Caught it before anyone was hurt - but yikes a simple mistake can be incredibly scary! It has taught me to double check everything.... twice! ...and to never trust myself... plus if something doesn't agree (or look or feel right), go missed and start all over.
 

PAPA FOX!

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Couldn't have said it better myself. On Sat I was flying into POU and while being vectord for the ILS while in lots of turb, heavy rain and fairly low cigs & vis, I was switching back and forth between the Carmel and Kingston VOR's for situational awareness. The freq on one was 116.6 and the other 117.6. I made darn sure since the freq were so similar that I had the correct one tuned when cleared for the approach. Since the compass locator was out of service I had to use the Carmel VOR for the FAF. It wouldn't have been good if I'd tuned the wrong one although not nearly as serious if I were flying a non-prec app without radar at night in mountanious terrain. I'd have to say CFIT scars me a lot more in IMC than a classic loss of control from SD espically flying in hostile terrain in an unfamiliar location.
 

A Squared

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I watched from the engineer's seat as the captain and F/o shot an approach to the wrong NDB. No I wasn't aware of the screw-up as it was happening either. we all wondered where the airport had gone to. fortunately, it didn't happen in the mountains.
 

CitationLover

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A Squared said:
I watched from the engineer's seat as the captain and F/o shot an approach to the wrong NDB. No I wasn't aware of the screw-up as it was happening either. we all wondered where the airport had gone to. fortunately, it didn't happen in the mountains.
reminds me of the flying tigers 747 crash in kuala lampur (sp?). the fo saying, "NDB, why that son of a ...."
 

Lilah

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Witnessed a good one, the set up will take a minute though....

I was a safety pilot for a person practicing NDB apprs. at the Houston Southwest airport. After completing the procedure turn just south of the Sugarland airport we had established ourselves inboubound when the signal reception started to go weak. The pilot then switched the ADF selector to REC for a better signal. Well, the signal improved, and he shot the best appr. of his life with no deviation from the course indicated. I wasn't sure what happened myself, but just let the situation unfold.

If any of you are familiar with south Texas flying, you know you can count on a south wind, and the only thing to hit (besides other planes) below 2000' are towers, and Houston has a slew of them on the SW side of town. As the pilot declared missed, I said "my plane" and turned it to the left and cued the pilot to look outside. It was an amazing sight, a giant forest of guy wires and truss structures reaching for the heavens above us. He made an immediate right turn and was clearly shaken by the results of his "perfect" approach. Lesson: always put the ADF in REC mode for better tracking!

As an aside, I have perhaps learned more as a safety pilot than actually piloting the aircraft. In Houston, if you're above 2000 msl, you're not likely to hit anything, out west, where I fly now, the terrain is not so forgiving. In my experience, on at least two occasions pilots (under the hood) have been made efforts to fly us into the terrain.

Lilah
 

LAXSaabdude

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CitationLover said:
reminds me of the flying tigers 747 crash in kuala lampur (sp?). the fo saying, "NDB, why that son of a ...."
Don't forget the controller's instructions - "Descend two four hundred feet. (2400 feet)" Pilots interpreted it to mean "Descend to 400 feet." Really frightening if you have ever listened to the complete CVR recording.

LAXSaabdude.
 

JimG

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Lilah said:
As an aside, I have perhaps learned more as a safety pilot than actually piloting the aircraft. In Houston, if you're above 2000 msl, you're not likely to hit anything, out west, where I fly now, the terrain is not so forgiving. In my experience, on at least two occasions pilots (under the hood) have been made efforts to fly us into the terrain.

Lilah

I don't mind flying through clouds enroute and up high.

My panel is loaded to the hilt with navaids (G430, Avidyne EX500) too.

But where I live (N-Utah)... I won't take off (even IFR) unless my destination is VFR and forecasted to be VFR on arrival. Too many rocks in the clouds around here, especially at my home base.

I know some of you may call that being a wimp....but I'm I live wimp and intend to stay that way.
 

Lrjtcaptain

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Shot an approach into an airport where WX was below mins. So, well, tried it again and no luck......diverted to another airport that was above mins but still socked in, I was part 91 and enroute to my new destination to come to realilze I didn't have the approach charts. Needless to say, ATC gave me all the associated crap, freq, course, DH, MA instructions which were going to be Fly RWH for vectors. I made it in but felt like a dumb ass. As a controller who issues DP's all the time to pilots that don't have the chart, they say can you read it to me, i chicken out and deny the request cause if they screw up and hit a mountain, its my ass!!!!

MK
 

Photoflight

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Worst one ever was in carlsbad CA.

The setup.
I had just refueled in orange country and was heading back to carlsbad off the shorline watching the afternoon clouds roll in off the ocean. For those of you familiar with the area the carlsbad airport seemed to go from clear and a million to 300ovc in mist in about 45 minutes time(about the time it took me to get there). Enroute I saw the clouds rolling in and new it was a thin layer as I could see through parts of it. I requested the vor approach and was granted. The vor approach has a holding pattern entry except when on the airway radial. I shot the holding pattern as I was suppost to, but due to some confusion between me and ATC(wanted me to do a straight in) I ended up having to hold for about 3 turns while a couple QS's got in on the ILS. In the time it had taken me to hold the clouds had become quite thick and down to around 500AGL however I could still see the eastern half of the airport as I start down. So I happily start down fully expecting to go through this thin layer of clouds and break out well above MDA. Long story short in the time it took me to descend(about 4 minutes or so) the airport became completly covered and I was stupidly complacent and not super familiar with the area and ended up decending below MDA by a couple hundred feet because I was expecting to break out well before. Came in and landed with no other incident except being a little shaken and with a further understanding of how CFIT actually can happen. Thats been the only major screw up I've had and it was enough.
 

Rogue5

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A few Xmas' ago...

Descending on an ILS at an uncontrolled field down to dead-nuts minimums in the middle of the night, calling out altitudes:

"500 to go," "Stabilized, cleared to land."

"400," "Roger."

Immediately, CRJ computer voice: "MINIMUMS"

"Aw $hit... Missed approach."

Flying a bit, then one of us:

"Oh man, I set 200 above DH as our minimum..."

Best part was we got in fine on the next approach (could hear them clap in the back when they heard the power pulled off before touchdown, knowing they were landing) and actually shook the hands of four passengers getting off as they were so impressed with us getting them back home for the holidays in such extreme conditions!
 

FN FAL

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JimG said:
My panel is loaded to the hilt with navaids
How many marker beacons can you put in your panel before you're weight and balance is out of omni range?
 
3

350DRIVER

Quite awhile back after doing a recurrent six month captain check I decided to sit in the back and observe a relatively young first officer's initial captain ride just for kicks and thought something was up when the check airman started the cuss words, loud voice, etc. Come to find out once we got back on the ground that instead of circling to land to a different runway coming off of a VOR-A approach he landed on the wrong runway, to add insult to injury he was cleared for a low approach only in which he was suppose to shoot the missed and enter into the hold which he said he didn't get. I guess a bell should have went off in his head when we had only been up for .5 or so when all this transpired. His defense was he apparently couldn't hear both ATC and the check airman at the same time since he claimed to right side's radios were weak and distorted and thought the upgrade ride was over.

A few years later he is still a first officer, now just a more senior first officer.
 

Fury220

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Rogue5 said:
"Oh man, I set 200 above DH as our minimum..."
That's better than setting it 200' BELOW the DH. :)
 

Goose Egg

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In answer to the question, yes, many. One of the most glaring was on my CFII checkride. If anyone is familiar with the VOR-A approach into Danielson, CT (I forget the identifier and I'm too lazy to look it up) off of the Putnam VOR, you'll know that the approach track makes a turn over the VOR. I didn't make the turn. The examiner was being a tool the whole time, but the bust was legit. I'll never do that again.

Another more recent one, I was undergoing an IPC and we were shooting an ILS in an arrow, cieling was about 900', and I was flying. The approach was fine until I put the gear down, and I failed to get three in the green. I went missed to go figure out what the problem was. Turns out that I had turned the NAV lights on and the gear position indicators were dimmed so much that we couldn't see them in the day (this one got the instructor too--he didn't realize it either). Long story short, we turned the Nav lights off, got three in the green, landed, and didn't say much about it after that.

-Goose
 

User546

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I was flying a King Air 90 into an uncontrolled field in solid IMC (weather right at mins) to pick up a couple of our guys who had flown one of our Citations to the paint shop.

It was a VOR approach, which included a procedure turn to get established. From the time I entered the clouds descending down to the initial altitude, I was having trouble keeping the aircraft level. I kept trimming, and trimming, but never could get it to level out very well. Then I started the procedure turn inbound to the intercept and was cleared for the approach. As I started inbound I was still fighting to hold 3,000 feet, and now was crazily banking to the left and right. I would "level" the wings, only to realize I was in a 20-30 bank. I was paying so much attention to the trying to stabilize the altitude that I hadn't realized the leans had snuck up on me, and in an ugly way. I could literally level the wings, look away from the attitude indicator at the altimeter for two seconds, and look back and was in a 30+ deg bank again.

I crossed the first fix, descended to 1,800 feet, now fighting with keeping the VOR centered - which furthered agrravated the leans. Leveled off at my next altitude, and once again was crazily over banking. Didn't seem like anything I could do would right the situation. The second I got the altitude in line, I'd be in a big bank, the second the bank corrected, now my altitude was off again, and now I'm banking again, etc.. My body was screaming that the instruments had to be wrong, but I knew better, and had to just keep reminding myself "trust the instruments!"

Finally, I looked up and for the second time the airplane was going thru 45 degrees bank, and I was obviously way too far into the approach and too low to be continuing in this manner, so I just leveled off the airplane, got everythign stablized, then cranked in the power and climbed out of the clouds and went missed. I just remember before I went missed that I had the thought "if you continue this, your probably going to kill yourself..." and that was all the reasoning I needed to go missed.

I came back around and used the autopilot to shoot the approach and handflew it uneventfully the last couple miles inbound.

Never had the leans before or since, but I have an extremely healthy respect for them now, and always take a quick check of myself before handflying approaches in IMC now.
 
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starchkr

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A flight not too long ago going into a NE airport with ceilings 100' VV and 1800 RVR (appraoch) and 1800-0 RVR (mid)...brought us down for the first approach with nothing in sight...no lights, no ground (this was all at night, so the lights usually will help)... missed to go around and try it again. Cleared for the approach with the warning that the ILS Crit area "is not protected." Yeah, that's right, an airport down to minimums and they are not protecting the Crit area. So this appraoch goes well and at DH we are a little right of course (1/2 dot) and we get the rabbits in sight, shortly after we see the runway end lights, AND the 737 sitting right in front of us holding for the runway. I quickly put it in a bank to line up with the runway and as we touch down my co-pilot says he could have reached out and touched the 73 if we had continued any longer without that correction. So two points to this story... 1. try your damndest to keep that course centered on an approach, and 2. always make sure that the Crit area is clear if you are shooting a super low appraoch like that.

"dangdest" huh..man the censor even got that?!
 

JimG

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"How many marker beacons can you put in your panel before you're weight and balance is out of omni range?"

Oops.....I guess I shouldn't have been in such a hurry to post so I could go to bed last night....



"I came back around and used the autopilot to shoot the approach and handflew it uneventfully the last couple miles inbound."

Out of curiosity, why wouldn't you have done that the first time?

As a habit, all the approaches I have flown, or flights through clouds have been with an autopilot either tracking the course, or a heading bug on the approach and me on the edge of my seat watching it.
 

Fury220

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JimG said:
As a habit, all the approaches I have flown, or flights through clouds have been with an autopilot either tracking the course, or a heading bug on the approach and me on the edge of my seat watching it.
Really? What's wrong with hand-flying in a little IMC?
 

JimG

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Fury220 said:
Really? What's wrong with hand-flying in a little IMC?

Nothing I guess if it's "a little IMC" and there are no rocks in the clouds.

Problem is, IMC out west isn't usually "little" and the clouds all have rocks in them down low (when climbing/decending).

All of the approaches I have flown have been surrounded by rocks too, so there's not alot of room for error. Even the few along the California coast I've flown in/out of (SAN comes to mind first) are surrounded by hills.

Plus....I don't have alot of actual IMC time for the above reasons combined with ice that's usually found in clouds here from October through April.

It's a personal thing I guess. I hand fly most of the time when practicing approaches, or flying cross country (with a check pilot) under a hood, but when it's the real thing, I want all the help I can get.
 
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