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Military at civ airports

dash8driver

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does the military keep their pilots up to date much on the facilities in use at civilian airports? the reason i ask this is because of an event that happened the other night in honolulu.

it was night and there was a "reach" aircraft landing on one of the runways (8L) in honolulu. they were on short final and went around because they saw the hold short lights at the intersection with the other runway (4L). the radio conversation that followed would lead one to believe that until that night they didnt know that those hold short lights existed.

not a slam or anything.. just found this to be curious.




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RedDogC130

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Do not forget that the callsign "REACH" is also used by civilian contract companies such as World, North American, ATA, when flying troops and/or contract work for the military around the world. Did you see the a/c or just hear the callsign?
 

tumbleweed

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Not authorized...

According to AFI 11-202 Vol.3: USAF fixed wing pilots are prohibited from accepting LAHSO clearances. (waivers do exist for those with a need)

Maybe they saw the lights and were just trying to play it safe.
 

TonyC

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TUMBLEWEED said:
According to AFI 11-202 Vol.3: USAF fixed wing pilots are prohibited from accepting LAHSO clearances. (waivers do exist for those with a need)

Maybe they saw the lights and were just trying to play it safe.
Maybe if we'd all refuse to land with those LAHSO lights flashing, they'd start turning them off. They keep them on as long as LAHSO operations are in effect, even if your landing clearance is not a LAHSO. One of these days there's going to be a runway incursion and a landing aircraft that will trade paint because the landing pilot mistook the taxiing aircraft for the LAHSO lights that he has become accustomed to seeing when he lands. I don't think having the LAHSO lights on continuously is safe.

In my opinion - - if your clearance is LAHSO, turn the lights on. If it's not, turn the lights off.

Of course, that and 50¢ won't even get you a decent cup of coffee. :)




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dash8driver

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RedDogC130 said:
Do not forget that the callsign "REACH" is also used by civilian contract companies such as World, North American, ATA, when flying troops and/or contract work for the military around the world. Did you see the a/c or just hear the callsign?
i did not know that. we do get a lot of those civilian contract companies in here, but i never noticed them using reach also. i did see the aircraft and it was a KC-10.


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dash8driver

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TUMBLEWEED said:
According to AFI 11-202 Vol.3: USAF fixed wing pilots are prohibited from accepting LAHSO clearances. (waivers do exist for those with a need)

Maybe they saw the lights and were just trying to play it safe.
i know they're not authorized.. and its obvious they were playing it safe.. but only because they didnt know what the lights were and didnt understand them.

this brings us back to my original question. is the military pretty good at keeping their guys up to date or when newer things like this come around do they just leave it up to the pilots or wings to figure it out for themselves?


tony,

i'm with ya.. i have always thought it was odd that they leave the lights on all the time. it sure seems like its giving the impression of a shorter useable runway than what you have. or, like you said.. eventual confusion with real aircraft/airport vehicle lights.

i'm glad i'm not the only one that thinks they should be off when LAHSO is not issued.

do you have any insight on this?
 

RampFreeze

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Air Mobility Command (the branch of the USAF with the airlifters and tankers) does a pretty good job of keeping its pilots up to date on the newest developments and most heavy pilots read the AIM in addition to the USAF pubs. Each year, besides annual checkrides, every pilot has to take an instrument refresher course where the latest changes are covered. Airlift pilots (like C-5s, C-17s, etc.) are usually more up to speed on international airport ops since they fly to int'l airports fairly often. The tanker guys (KC-135s and KC-10s) generally fly into military airports only because of their mission. Even though trained, they aren't quite as familiar as the airlift pilots are with civil ops. (KC-10s do more airlift type flying than the KC-135 guys, but still obviously not nearly as much as the pure airlift guys do)

Short answer: yes they are trained, but my guess is that the KC-10 crew probably had not flown into Honolulu at night before and didn't remember anything from the LAHSO slides at the briefing a year ago except that they could not accept a LAHSO clearance.
 

dash8driver

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rampfreeze,

thanks for the info. they were not issued a LAHSO...they didnt seem to know that the lights were a part of the airport lighting system, let alone the LAHSO program. they just said they saw lights across the runway and thought the runway was closed or something. the controller then explained what the lights were, that they were on all the time, the runway was open and clear.

i'm sure the once a year briefing probably had something to do with it along with the fact that tanker crews dont fly into civ airports often. the other thing i thought of was we get lots of guard guys out here. could be that it was some guys that havent flown in a while... at least to an airport with this new fangled LAHSO lighting.
 

RampFreeze

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Probably right. The only KC-10s are Active or Reserve at Travis AFB, CA and McGuire AFB, NJ (both active and reserve squadrons share the exact same airplanes) Believe it or not, the reserve guys are usually more on the ball with respect to civil ops than the active guys since they commonly fly for the airlines when not flying in the reserves.

I wish I could say that this crew was on the ball with respect to knowing the lights, but it doesn't sound like it. The good news is that they did the safe thing and went around. The bad news is that professionally, they made USAF tanker guys look like amateurs...
 

dash8driver

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i wouldnt go as far as to say they make the USAF look like amatures. mistakes happen. who knows how long that flight was that landed them into HNL at 9pm or why it all happened. having only seen it in your last refresher course a year ago could have something to do with it. i cant say that i dont learn something "new" every time i have recurrent ground school. :)


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Huggyu2

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Dash8Driver,
You're probably right on the money. The USAF pilots were probably not familiar with the lights. I didn't get exposure to them until I had been flying in the USAF for 15+ years.
 

TonyC

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RampFreeze said:
The bad news is that professionally, they made USAF tanker guys look like amateurs...
They're not the only ones that have gone around for LAHSO lights. I think they acted quite professionally, overcoming the intense desire to "get home," i.e., land the airplane on the chosen runway after half an ocean crossing and several hours of flying. To allow the uncertainty of what they saw before them overcome the tremendous mental inertia to land the airplane, to call off the approach, was commendable.

I had an FO mistake them (LAHSO lights) for an airplane on the runway at ORD one night, and it took a quick explanation of the normal procedures (normal for ORD, anyway) with those lights to convince him that he was seeing LAHSO lights and not another airplane or emergency vehicles or construction lights. That was briefly followed by a bit of confusion about whether we were issued a LAHSO clearance (we weren't, and I wouldn't have accepted). We finally got it all sorted out and landed. This all occurred on a clear night with unlimited visibility, so we had quite a bit of time to go through the confusion-explanation-confusion-discussion-clarity process. Had this occurred in less optimum conditions, we might have gone around ourselves. I don't think it's prudent to land if one of the crewmembers thinks it's not safe - - he might have been correct.

Like I said, if we all refused to land on a runway with those pesky lights a-flashin', perhaps they's turn 'em off. Either that, or we'd all get to divert. :eek:




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dhc8fo

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Kind of unrelated, but along the same lines...my better half flies helos in the Navy and is constantly telling me how some of the guys end up flying at 200 (CIG) and 1 mile of vis because they aren't "comfortable" cold calling for an IFR (they keep pushing it until they are forced to land. worse, they don't look up obstructions on the charts or MEAs). They NEVER fly in poor weather unless they are on a cross country and are basically forced to. I can't believe more people haven't crashed....
 

TankerDriver

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It really depends on the airframe, but in my opinion, us active duty tanker guys don't get enough civilian airfield experience. Of course the information is available, but when it comes to actually doing it, we don't do much of it. We deploy for 2-3 months at a time to fight the war at a military base, come home for a month and a half to two months or so and maybe fly a "local" sortie once a week, which consists of pattern work at, you guessed it, a military airfield. Most of the time we are quite sheltered from busy airpaces and civilian airfield ops. For the most part though, things are quite similar. Coming from a CFII backround before entering the Air Force, I can tell you that they didn't teach alot of things in Air Force UPT that I had learned as a civilian. There's only so much time and $$$.
 

RampFreeze

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TankerDriver,
You hit the nail on the head. Having flown both tankers and strat air, I can tell you that the "tanker mentality" really inhibits some types of quality training. (Curtis LeMay is alive and well in the tanker world despite the fact that SAC ended 10+ years ago...) To prove the point, take the number of "approved" civil off-station training fields in your local supp to 11-2XX and compare it to the number of civil fields in the 11-2XX supp at an airlift base. I think you'll find that the airlifters have a much more diverse training outlook. (vs. flying the same ILS to the same runway 10,000 times...) In the airlift world, certifying an AC is a really big deal because the commander is telling that pilot, "You are now worldwide qualified. You are expected to be able to take an airplane and a crew on the road for a few weeks at a time, think on your feet and operate autonomously. I trust your judgment to get into and out of any suitable field anywhere, anytime and safely without supervision." In the tanker world, the attitude is much more hands-on, positive control, call home and ask permission to do anything. As such, the more regimented outlook bleeds over into training philosophy as well.

Back in the day, we actually had a KC-135 AC brief something non-standard on the arrival, a visual approach to the home drome. The Nav nearly blew a gasket because he'd never done that before and spouted "IFR to the max extent possible, you can't just cancel and fly VFR because you want to." (Obviously clueless to the fact that a visual approach is part of an IFR clearance) But, it speaks volumes as to the environment in the tanker community where visual approaches are the exception rather than the norm they are in the airlift world. As a strat-air IP, I found that my co-pilots got a lot more (energy management, airmanship, etc.) out of telling them to "fly me to the runway" on a visual approach than taking vectors/full procedure to the same old instrument approach. Anyway, I could go on for hours.

Don't accept the tanker community/SAC party line. They do some things well, but also look at how to reverse some of the decades-old B.S. (i.e. Get rid of briefing normal procedures ad nauseum every mission and dedicate your resources on training that matters like going through the latest changes in the AIM) Take your civil experience and try and improve tanker training at your squadron! (and don't be bullied by the inertia of the SAC Iron Fist)

My long-winded 2 cents...
 

TankerDriver

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RampFreeze said:
TankerDriver,

Don't accept the tanker community/SAC party line. They do some things well, but also look at how to reverse some of the decades-old B.S. (i.e. Get rid of briefing normal procedures ad nauseum every mission and dedicate your resources on training that matters like going through the latest changes in the AIM) Take your civil experience and try and improve tanker training at your squadron! (and don't be bullied by the inertia of the SAC Iron Fist)

My long-winded 2 cents...
I hear you and trust me, I try to figure out why we still do some of the things we do, but a lot of times the only thing I come up with is that we've been doing it for 50 years, everyone is used to doing it that way and/or noone has the cajones to stand up and say, "Why are we still doing this?". In this day and age where we have new tanker AC's with 1,000 hours of only deploying to the "sand box" (and that only takes a year or so to build), you don't find many pilots with real world experience outside the AOR. Everything is canned when we fly over there. It's the same thing, day in and day out. Same routes, same base, same receivers. It's funny when I hear some of our pilots talk about airline pilots having it easy with all the automation and I usually have to raise the BS flag and remind them that they'd :puke: in the airspaces and airport environments the airlines operate in.

It's funny you mention that about the visual approach because we still have a "bean" (requirement) for logging a visual approach. We also have to log "visual overheads", which you know, is something different and lots of pilots don't know the difference between the two. I was flying with a relatively new AC a few months ago (I'm a co) and it was a clear and a million day out. Approach control was pretty busy and rather than get vectors for an ILS, I suggested we just request a visual because I already had the airport in site. The AC said no because he didn't want to do an overhead break (of course this is not what I was planning on doing) and I tried to explain we would just do a straight in, but he didn't understand what I was talking about. Like you said, we're programmed to do ILS after ILS after ILS in clear and a million weather.

Boy, this is what makes me miss civilian flying. I need to get into a guard unit. ;)
 

RampFreeze

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Or find a way to get out of the tanker and into the airlift world... I couldn't stand the SAC/tanker mentality and that's why I left the tanker as soon as I could. No more repetitive crew briefs that no one listens to because they've heard the same words a million times, no more mission planning days to go to the same AR track you've gone to a million times, and no more B.S. like, "Tower, say temp, PA and winds at unstick" (Like the ATIS isn't good enough, especially in an airplane that is overpowered!) The Dash One is still written for an A model and reflects years of inputs from the guys who had way too much time on their hands while sitting around on alert. The airlift world is radically different, you are treated like a big boy and fly airplanes like the rest of the world does. On my first 7-day trip in the C-5 I flew to more OCONUS airfields than I did in 3 years of flying the KC-135. The breadth of experience is incomparable.
 
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