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meaning: "in point of time" ?

m4j2t

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121.565 Engine inoperative: Landing; reporting.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, whenever an engine of an airplane fails or whenever the rotation of an engine is stopped to prevent possible damage, the pilot in command shall land the airplane at the nearest suitable airport, in point of time, at which a safe landing can be made.

I was asked this question during upgrade and I am having a hard time coming up with material to support an answer.

QUESTION: what is the difference between the nearest airport and the nearest airport in point of time?
 

viper548

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What I was told is "in point of time" means the airport that is closest timewise. For instance, suppose you are directly over an airport at 10,000 ft, it's IFR, and your destination is 30NM away. There is another airport 20NM away. If you already have the approach plate out and have already set up for it your original destination, 30nm away would probably be closest "in point of time" even though it's the third closest in distance, because in order to land at either of the two closer airports, you would have to get the chart out and set up for a different approach.
 

avbug

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The phrase "in point of time," is the same as saying "at that point in time." The meaning of the term is also the same as saying "at that time," or "at that point."

The purpose of the language of the regulation is to stipulate that at the time of occurence, the pilot must land at the nearest suitable airport.

The expression is found three times in FAA publications: twice in 14 CFR 121.565, and once in advisory circular AC 120-42A, in reference to 121.565.

The language as expressed in the regulation is really an abberation of proper English, and was made popular by those wishing to distinguish a point in space from a point in time. This expression gradually gained wide acceptance, such that today one commonly hears "At this point in time,..." instead of merely saying "at this time." This inaccuracy in language has been repeated in the regulation as an expression of the point at which one starts the search for the nearest suitable airport.

In this case, the FAA has chosen not to require the pilot to find the nearest suitable airport to the geographical location where the engine failure or shutdown has occured, but the nearest suitable airport at the time of the occurance. Perhaps only a technicality, as the aircraft continues to travel and move after the failure, but the intent of the regulation is not ambiguous and is clear:

§ 121.565 Engine inoperative: Landing; reporting.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, whenever an engine of an airplane fails or whenever the rotation of an engine is stopped to prevent possible damage, the pilot in command shall land the airplane at the nearest suitable airport, in point of time, at which a safe landing can be made.

(Plain english: Except as provided in paragraph B, when the engine quits or the pilot shuts it down to keep it from being damaged further, the PIC will land at the nearest suitable airport at the time of the engine shutdown or failure, where a safe landing can be made).

(b) If not more than one engine of an airplane that has three or more engines fails or its rotation is stopped, the pilot in command may proceed to an airport that he selects if, after considering the following, he decides that proceeding to that airport is as safe as landing at the nearest suitable airport:
(1) The nature of the malfunction and the possible mechanical difficulties that may occur if flight is continued.
(2) The altitude, weight, and usable fuel at the time of engine stoppage.
(3) The weather conditions enroute and at possible landing points.
(4) The air traffic congestion.
(5) The kind of terrain.
(6) His familiarity with the airport to be used.

(c) The pilot in command shall report each stoppage of engine rotation in flight to the appropriate ground radio station as soon as practicable and shall keep that station fully informed of the progress of the flight.

(d) If the pilot in command lands at an airport other than the nearest suitable airport, in point of time, he or she shall (upon completing the trip) send a written report, in duplicate, to his or her director of operations stating the reasons for determining that the selection of an airport, other than the nearest airport, was as safe a course of action as landing at the nearest suitable airport. The director of operations shall, within 10 days after the pilot returns to his or her home base, send a copy of this report with the director of operation's comments to the certificate-holding district office.

(Plain English: If the pilot lands somewhere other than the nearest airport at the time of the engine failure or shutdown, he needs to send two copies of a report about why he did it to the Director of Operations).

Viper posted while I was preparing my response. His comments are also correct. One must think not only in terms of the nearest acceptable airfield geographically, but also in terms of time to get there. Terrain, weather, winds aloft, aircraft performance considerations, etc, may dictate that while a suitable airport is closer geographically, getting there might take longer. Clearly the intent of the regulation is to get on the ground without undue delay. If a suitable airport is a shorter flying time and one elects to go to one that's a shorter distance but takes longer (traffic delays, equipment, performance, weather, whatever)...one will be in violation of this regulation.

Ask what field, from the time of failure, provides the most expeditious soloution in consideration of safety, and go there. This is the meaning of the regulation.
 
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m4j2t

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That makes sense, but I'm loooking for some hard evidence. Like a Chief Counsel opinion,or court preceeedings, or something.


Thanks for the input thats how I understnd it also.
 

avbug

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There is no FAA paper clarifying that language...no regulation, no legal interpretation, etc. The only place outside the regulation it's found is in the advisory circular previously identified...and that talks about ETOPS.

I think Vipers comments are the most direct and to the point; the FAA is making clear that they want you on the ground, and by the most expeditious means possible, stated in terms of time. The use of "time," is done to emphasise the point that no delays should occur in getting on the ground, or in other words, to emphasise the point that you need to go to the nearest suitable location. The use of "time" only clarifies that point.
 

Spooky 1

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I agree with avbug but to apply this term to an everyday occurrance one would only have to look at the term ETP or Equal Time Point which in a zero wind condition would simply be the exact mid-point between two airports. However since wind is factored into the computation of this equation one sees that equal distance is usually not equal time and thus the nearest suitable airport in point in time is not always the closest airport in mileage. An example would be when flying from KLAX to PHNL the ETP frequently is KSFO or KOAK simply because turning around and taking advantage of the probable tailwinds are going to get you on the ground quicker that continuing on to PHNL. The stronger the forecast westerly tailwinds, the closer you will be to PHNL before you have to make that turn back to KSFO.
 

erj-145mech

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avbug said:
The purpose of the language of the regulation is to stipulate that at the time of occurence, the pilot must land at the nearest suitable airport.

So, if you loose an engine departing from say, LAX, and you're driving around a B747-400, and there is a spare engine say, in LHR, and there is a Union Jack painted on the tail, you just go to LHR? I got it.
 

avbug

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So, if you loose an engine departing from say, LAX, and you're driving around a B747-400, and there is a spare engine say, in LHR, and there is a Union Jack painted on the tail, you just go to LHR? I got it.

No, you haven't got it, but that's cute.

Perhaps you failed to read 121.565(b), as quoted it above. Let's try again...

§ 121.565 Engine inoperative: Landing; reporting.

(b) If not more than one engine of an airplane that has three or more engines fails or its rotation is stopped, the pilot in command may proceed to an airport that he selects if, after considering the following, he decides that proceeding to that airport is as safe as landing at the nearest suitable airport:
(1) The nature of the malfunction and the possible mechanical difficulties that may occur if flight is continued.
(2) The altitude, weight, and usable fuel at the time of engine stoppage.
(3) The weather conditions enroute and at possible landing points.
(4) The air traffic congestion.
(5) The kind of terrain.
(6) His familiarity with the airport to be used.
 

Spooky 1

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avbug said:
No, you haven't got it, but that's cute.

Perhaps you failed to read 121.565(b), as quoted it above. Let's try again...

Thank you avbug. This guy can't say anything intellegent so he just rambles on about nothing germain to the issue.
 

Cardinal

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Viper posted while I was preparing my response. His comments are also correct. One must think not only in terms of the nearest acceptable airfield geographically, but also in terms of time to get there. Terrain, weather, winds aloft, aircraft performance considerations, etc, may dictate that while a suitable airport is closer geographically, getting there might take longer. Clearly the intent of the regulation is to get on the ground without undue delay. If a suitable airport is a shorter flying time and one elects to go to one that's a shorter distance but takes longer (traffic delays, equipment, performance, weather, whatever)...one will be in violation of this regulation.

This has always been pitched to me as the meat of the regulation. If your at FL390 and have an an engine failure overhead BFE, there is no reason to spiral down for 20 minutes to land there. You can use that 20 minutes that you'll spend descending, running checklists, briefing appraoches, etc, to go where ever you feel is prudent. This month's AOPA Pilot had an article written by an Alaska 737 pilot in just this situation. They chose to go to Sacramento, discarding several closer major airports, in order to land at a field that their company served, and had charts for. Their ETE was the same to SMF as it was to all the closer airports because of the stuff that had to be accomplished after a failure in cruise.

My take: If it takes X period of time to get ready for your approach, multiply X by your speed, and land anywhere in that radius that pleases you.
 

NoPax

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erj-145mech said:
So, if you loose an engine departing from say, LAX, and you're driving around a B747-400, and there is a spare engine say, in LHR, and there is a Union Jack painted on the tail, you just go to LHR? I got it.


Actually I believe he is referring to a British Airways 747 that shut an engine down shortly after takeoff at LAX and continued to LHR, only to divert to Manchester after the crew couldn't determine the amount of fuel available due to not being able to climb to their planned altitude.

I'm not defending this behavior however, British Airways operate under different regs, so comparing Part 121 to their actions, is not comparing apples to apples.
 

r1830

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Another issue to think about for the nearest suitable airport in point of time is what type of emergency services are available. Flying out on the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta in Alaska most of the airports served by 135 and 121 operators are not Part 139 airports. If I have an engine failure in the Twin Otter, I am flying back to Bethel were there is an ILS approach, a 7000 ft runway and CFR (Crash Fire Rescue). It is a much more suitable airport to land at than say Nightmute which is 1600 ft long 45 feet wide (when it was certified years ago - 1600X30 might be a more acurate description) and has no emergency services. The runway looks more like a dirt road and has frost heaves so large somebody with a dirtbike might confuse it for a dirt track. Not to mention only having about ten feet either side of the mains while landing single engine on a gravel/ice covered strip with a twenty knot crosswind is asking for an accident. That is exciting and challenging enough when everthing is working great. ;)

I will gladly fill out a report as to why I passed up three airports that have gravel strips less than 2000 feet long with no CFR. Although, technically I would not have to fill out a report because I did land at the nearest suitable airport in point of time.:D
 
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Dumbledore

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avbug said:
There is no FAA paper clarifying that language...no regulation, no legal interpretation, etc.
I believe there is some case law involving a couple of situatuions involving air carriers in which crews were investigated/prosecuted for not landing at the nearest suitable airport after an event that called for it. They elected instead to go where their company had facilities and tried to claim that this consideration had something to do with the "suitable" part of that phrase. The FAA didn't agree.

Anyone else remember something like this? Happened in Nebraska or something.
 

Sam Snead

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What I remember is some crew, after losing an engine, got busted when they overflew what the FAA said were 'suitable' airports. The crew landed at an mx base instead.

I believe the crew's argument was the exact meaning of the word 'suitable'. Unfortunately for them, it's pretty clear in part 121 what you're sposed to do in an emergency.

I feel bad for them. They fell victim to UNSAFE MGMT PRACTICES!
 

loflyer

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Dumbledore said:
I believe there is some case law involving a couple of situatuions involving air carriers in which crews were investigated/prosecuted for not landing at the nearest suitable airport after an event that called for it. They elected instead to go where their company had facilities and tried to claim that this consideration had something to do with the "suitable" part of that phrase. The FAA didn't agree.

Anyone else remember something like this? Happened in Nebraska or something.

I believe it was a Midwest crew. From what I remember they lost an engine and were slightly closer to an airport they didn't serve - so they instead chose to go an airport they did serve thinking that it was more "suitable". The distance difference between the two aiports was really irrelevant because they had enough altitude where they had to circle to descend to either one. The FAA went after them and - if I remember right - I think they were able to get a short suspension on the CA's license. The fed's case all hinged on fact that the crew didn't choose the closest suitable airport.
 

JAFI

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loflyer said:
I believe it was a Midwest crew. From what I remember they lost an engine and were slightly closer to an airport they didn't serve - so they instead chose to go an airport they did serve thinking that it was more "suitable". The distance difference between the two aiports was really irrelevant because they had enough altitude where they had to circle to descend to either one. The FAA went after them and - if I remember right - I think they were able to get a short suspension on the CA's license. The fed's case all hinged on fact that the crew didn't choose the closest suitable airport.

Were you there in the court to hear this or is this something you heard from some one's brother's barber's cousin next door neighbors girl friend? You may be correct but let's be sure it's acurate before posting "what you heard".
============
In short you must convince the Admin. Law Judge that you landed at the nearest suitable airport in point of time. The whole point is to get the aircraft safely on the ground as quickly as possible. The concern is that the "other" engine can quit and you will not be able to "make" it to the maintenance base or any where other than down.

This must be a safety decision, not a convience decision. If you can satisfy both, all well and good as long as safety is the PRIMARY reason. Again, to the satisification of the Judge....

JAFI
 

Sam Snead

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JAFI said:
Were you there in the court to hear this or is this something you heard from some one's brother's barber's cousin next door neighbors girl friend? You may be correct but let's be sure it's acurate before posting "what you heard".
============

YOU were not there EITHER!

Dude! I believe that most of the pilots on this forum have good intentions, and the use of hearsay is just fine. Pro pilots usually have excellent memories anyway.

I think you should back off, and realize that we are here to DISCUSS things. Plus, there were only 2 or 3 pilots in the airplane, and at the most, a dozen or two at a hearing.

Where does that leave the rest of the tens of thousands us?

JAFI, if you want rote accuracy, look somewhere else. I'm asking for tolerance on this forum.
 

Spooky 1

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loflyer said:
I believe it was a Midwest crew. From what I remember they lost an engine and were slightly closer to an airport they didn't serve - so they instead chose to go an airport they did serve thinking that it was more "suitable". The distance difference between the two aiports was really irrelevant because they had enough altitude where they had to circle to descend to either one. The FAA went after them and - if I remember right - I think they were able to get a short suspension on the CA's license. The fed's case all hinged on fact that the crew didn't choose the closest suitable airport.[/QUOTE

I'll try to find it but I think their was a water shed decision regarding a Merlin or Metro down in the Denver area a few years ago. It went before the NTSB/DOT/FAA and the pilots action were deemed wrong when he passed over a couple of suitable aiports while proceeding to his destination. I actually think I saw refernce to it here on this board, so it must be true!
 

avbug

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Dude! I believe that most of the pilots on this forum have good intentions, and the use of hearsay is just fine.

No, it isn't. Particularly in a discussion of law and regulation. Speculation and guesswork is juvinile and unprofessional.


Pro pilots usually have excellent memories anyway.

Then why do we use checklists?
 

JAFI

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Sam, I’m not sure where to start here. I thought I was discussing "things" when I asked a question "were you there or is this something that you heard?" and I made a suggestion that "we make sure something is accurate before posting it". I could change the words "posting it" to "betting your life on it" or "going to court with that".

If you wish to accept "hearsay" to base your decisions, I can only say good luck with that.

I have some land to sell that is "Not" a toxic waste dump. Will you believe what you hear, or would you like to check the land out before you give me the cash?

---- "Where does that leave the rest of the tens of thousands us? ---

Hopefully looking for accurate information to base your life and liberty on.

I'm not sure what "Rote Accuracy" is, but I try to be as accurate as I can to pass on correct information and not hearsay, innuendo, or rumor.

I'm at a loss on how to continue any more of a response.

edit ---
As I re-read the post I commented on, he did say "As I remember" so it was wrong of me to jump as I did. I apologize. Sometimes I read too quickly. One of my many faults.


JAFI
 
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