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  • Landing Procedures

    OK first of all my appologies if this is in the wrong forum and if so please move it. All right now for the main question. Would someone mind explaining to me the process pilots have to go through to land. Not how they put down the landing gear, etc., but how they contact ATC. I was wondering because i am going to DCA this fall and it would save me alot of time if i knew what the pilots were talking about on the scanner. For example if DL 178 was coming in for a landing on runway 19 what would they have to say to ATC to get landing permission. If you could give me an example that would be great.

    Like this:
    DL 178:
    ATC:
    DL 178:
    ATC:
    or whatever. Thanks in advance!

    -Chris

  • #2
    This will be a very crude explanation so anyone feel free to correct me.

    All commercial flights file an IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) flight plan. The plan shows the route the flight will take in relation to airspace fixes and navaids. At the end of the plan is an approach procedure. An approach procedure can be a visual approach (such as the famous visual into DCA):
    http://204.108.4.16/d-tpp/0709/00443RIVER_VIS19.PDF

    Or an instrument:
    http://204.108.4.16/d-tpp/0709/00443VDG19.PDF

    As the aircraft descends (or it may already have descended), it follows the procedures outlined in the IAP (instrument approach procedure) chart. Once they reach the minimum decision height (as outlined on the chart) they must make visual contact with the runway. If they can see the runway, they land. If not, they execute a go around.

    As far as ATC goes, en route flights are handled by centers (New York, Cleveland, etc). As they approach the airport, They are handed over to Approach and then to the tower. The tower gives them the final clearance, which goes something like this:
    (Switch to tower frequency)
    DL 178: DCA tower, DL 178 with (ATIS update) is at 2500, inbound ILS runway 19.
    Tower: DL 178, DCA Tower, cleared ILS runway 19 approach.
    DL 178: Cleared ILS runway 19 approach, DL 178.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you Bok! My grandfather is coming in a few weeks and he was a pilot for Eastern Airlines and made his last flight into DCA the night before the strike, so he should be able to give me a good explanation of what exactly the pilots have to say, etc.

      -Chris

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bok269
        DL 178: DCA tower, DL 178 with (ATIS update) is at 2500, inbound ILS runway 19.
        Tower: DL 178, DCA Tower, cleared ILS runway 19 approach.
        DL 178: Cleared ILS runway 19 approach, DL 178.
        Actually, Bok, Approach/Departure control only can clear for instrument approaches. Because TWR is a non-radar position, they can't vector, nor give approach clearances, nor other things of that sort.
        So it might go something like:
        APP: DL178, descend and maintain 3000, turn left heading 210, report when established on the localizer.
        DL178: D/M 3000, turn left 210, report when established.
        (a moment passes...)
        DL178: Reagan APP, DL178 is established.
        APP: DL178, Reagan app., roger. Contact Reagan tower on 120.75, good day.
        DL178: Reagan tower on 120.75, see ya!
        (switches frequencies)
        DL178: Good afternoon, Reagan tower. DL178 is at 3000, inbound ILS rwy 19.
        TWR: DL178, Reagan tower. Wind is 170 at 5, altimeter 29.95, cleared to land, rwy 19.
        DL178: Cleared to land, rwy 19, DL178.

        Somethin like that.
        And somebody who flies the heavy stuff, correct me if I'm wrong.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks guys! So which frequencies should I put on my scanner? On a different note the pilots don't always use the right frequencies for the different things. For example i have heard a United pilot give his entire "welcome aboard" speech to the tower. It took them a few minutes to stop laughing so that they could tell him he picked up the wrong one. It went something like this:
          "Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome aboard United Airlines flight xxxx with nonstop service from Richmond International to Chicago O'Hare. Our flight today will last about two hours and our scheduled arrival time is 12:05pm. When we reach our cruising altitude of about 30,000 feet i will turn off the fasten seatbelt sign and you will be free to move about the cabin. Thank you for your attention and welcome aboard!"
          I can only imagine what the copilot was thinking when he did this!

          -Chris

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by z740
            Thanks guys! So which frequencies should I put on my scanner?
            Well, I don't know where you're goin, but check Airnav.com.
            It'll have all the frequencies you need.

            Comment


            • #7
              http://airnav.com/airport/KDCA
              but do i really need all those? i want to know what's going on and who's coming in for a landing and who's taking off. that's just about it.

              -Chris

              Comment


              • #8
                THen just look for the tower frequencies, or ground if you'd like to know what's happening on the ground.

                Comment


                • #9
                  UNICOM: 122.95
                  ATIS: 132.65
                  WASHINGTON GROUND: 121.7 257.6
                  WASHINGTON TOWER: 119.1 120.75(HELICOPTERS) 257.6
                  POTOMAC APPROACH: 119.85(WEST) 124.2(EAST) 128.35(19,000' DOWN TO 3000' SOUTHEA
                  POTOMAC DEPARTURE: 118.95(WEST 9500' & BLO) 121.05(WEST 10,000' UP TO FL 230) 125.65(EAST 9500 ' & BLO) 126.55(EAST 10,000' UP TO FL 190)

                  CLEARANCE DELIVERY: 128.25
                  PRE-TAXI CLEARANCE: 128.25

                  CLASS B: 119.85(WEST) 124.2(EAST)
                  EMERG: 121.5 243.0
                  FINAL-APCH: 118.3(EAST)
                  FINAL-APCH IC: 124.7(WEST)

                  WX AWOS-3 at VKX (7 nm SE): 112.80
                  WX AWOS-3 at CGS (9 nm NE): 121.225
                  WX AWOS-3 at FME (19 nm NE): 123.925
                  WX AWOS-3 at GAI (20 nm N): 128.275

                  are the bold ones the ones that i need?

                  -Chris

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by z740
                    ATIS: 132.65
                    WASHINGTON GROUND: 121.7 257.6
                    WASHINGTON TOWER: 119.1 120.75

                    CLEARANCE DELIVERY: 128.25
                    POTOMAC APPROACH: 119.85 124.2 128.35
                    POTOMAC DEPARTURE: 118.95
                    Ok, unless you see lotsa smoke or fire, you won't need 121.5. And unless you'd like to hear the weather, you won't really need the ATIS (although you might want to tune to it once to see what runway(s) is/are in use.
                    And the others, well if you're only going to be in the airport, you won't have much use for those.
                    I've left the ones that I think you'll get the most use out of, and once you actually get in the airplane, if you can just follow along with your own airplane's coms, then you can jump from frequency to frequency with them.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      actually i'm going to be at Gravelly Point doing some spotting. so i would probably need potomac approach/departure. sorry for the confusion. and wouldn't they shoot me if i brought the scanner into the airport?

                      -Chris

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        No, Chris, don't worry. Scanners are totally legal in the U.S. I never go to the airport without mine. Even when I fly out of SQL, I always have my scanner running before we get in the plane.

                        And as far as the ATIS, do arriving IFR flights at a busy airport really need it? I mean ATC will give you windchecks, and obviously they've already set you up for the approach so the active runway isn't really a factor.
                        sigpic
                        http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=170

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yes, controllers get very testy when you don't have the current ATIS.

                          I agree with you though. It's a bit ridiculous.

                          One flight I wrote down everything on the ATIS except for the freakin' code. The controller (clearance delivery) asked if I had the current ATIS, then demanded the code even though I told him I had gotten it. He refused to give me my clearance, so I read back the entire ATIS transmission, then said that must mean the code is "Foxtrot Uniform". My clearance was promptly delivered.

                          As far as your trip, you'll be fine listening mostly to the tower. That will give you the best heads up on what's going on. You'll want to spend some time listening to all of it, but tower will be best while watching airplanes.

                          If I get rescheduled into DCA, I'll try to holler at you if you tell me when you'll be there. I do have one trip in there next month.
                          Bite me Airways.....

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            not sure exactly when i'll be there...sometime in November. thanks for all the help guys!

                            -Chris

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The ATIS is rather important, and vital to get it correct.

                              Things like the wind, runway in use are of course needed when you are a little further out when planning for a runway, but around the world they put lots of info on the ATIS... QNH/QFE (A rather important one... note not all contries tell you the QNH as you pass transition, they assume you have it from the ATIS, as you have read back the identifier), if there are runway exit restrictions, airspace restrictions, required reports, reduced runway length, braking action, etc.

                              All things I'd like to know about!

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