Author Topic: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC  (Read 26132 times)

Offline Alex

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Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« on: March 01, 2007, 09:13:30 PM »
Alaska Airlines flight 42 was piloted by a retiring captain on his final flight and he thought it would be a good idea to do a low approach... The only problem is he told no one what his intentions were. It was not coordinated through the approach controller and no mention of it was made to the tower controller. He calls the tower on about a 4 - 5 mile final and reads back the landing clearance... nothing more. Even the passengers on board were not informed about what was going on.
Supposivly the first officer and another alaska airlines pilot that was a jump seater on flight 42 were suspended by the company. I've heard that the FAA is pursuing criminal charges against the now retired captain.

Some of the callsigns are clipped because my scanner was covering multiple frequencies at the time...


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Offline KSYR-pjr

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Re: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2007, 10:17:48 PM »
Interesting.  There could have been any number of legitimate reasons why Alaska Airlines 42 chose not to land.  My first impression after listing  to the clip is that I am slightly surprised the controller immediately assumed there was not a problem (from the tone of her terse instruction it seemed that she knew the pilots were screwing around). 

Was the frequency as busy as the clip implied or did you remove a bit of dead air between the various calls?   
Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY

Offline Alex

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Re: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2007, 10:46:17 PM »
Sorry I should have made this more clear in the original post, the captain admitted that he did it as a stunt on his last flight... That is already fact.

There was a little bit of dead air mixed with traffic on the ground frequency that I removed... But that clip is very close to real time.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2007, 10:57:39 PM by Alex »
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Offline davys747

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Re: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2007, 11:16:23 PM »
If I was the tower controller I would have gone down to his gate and laid him out for that.
David Walsh
vZLA

Offline aevins

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Re: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2007, 12:39:51 AM »
Very interesting. What was he thinking??? Definitely a bad way to go out, putting quite the end to career long reputation. Maybe getting his a/c hosed down wasn't enough for him lol

Offline blizzard242

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Re: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2007, 12:59:43 AM »
Getting your Aircraft hosed down during the winter in Alaska, Hmm sounds like a bad idea. Just kidding, although I cant imagine what kind of trouble he's going to get into.

Offline KSYR-pjr

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Re: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2007, 08:08:27 AM »
Sorry I should have made this more clear in the original post, the captain admitted that he did it as a stunt on his last flight... That is already fact.

Did the pilot admit it to the tower controller on the frequency as the low approach was happening?   No?  That is my point.

While I agree after knowing all the facts that it was a potentially dangerous lapse of judgement but at that specific moment events were unfolding (and I am not defending the pilot's move) and absent any over-the-air confession the low approach should have been just another day at the office for the controller.  Aren't tower controllers prepared to deal with every landing aircraft as a potential go-around/missed approach, as certainly there are a number of valid reasons why the pilot would execute a go-around/missed approach?   

From the pilot seat, I perceive this scenario as being similar to the "always expect an engine failure on takeoff" even though 99.9 percent of the time there won't be one. 
« Last Edit: March 02, 2007, 08:10:25 AM by KSYR-pjr »
Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY

Offline atav

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Re: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2007, 03:20:26 PM »
Newbie Question,

Is a low approach simply a visual approach at low alt??

Offline KSYR-pjr

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Re: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2007, 04:59:19 PM »
Is a low approach simply a visual approach at low alt??

In the US (including Alaska), the FAA's Pilot/Controller's Glossary defines low approach as:

Quote
LOW APPROACH- An approach over an airport or runway following
an instrument approach or a VFR approach including the go-around maneuver
where the pilot intentionally does not make contact with the runway.

As a pilot, I often hear a tower controller use the phrase when I am practicing instrument approaches and previously expressed to the approach controller my desire to fly a missed approach rather than terminate the practice approach with a landing.

Presumably, approach will pass this information on to tower and then the check in will go something like this:

me:  "Syracuse Tower, Bonanza xxx, over ZIMBY, ILS 28."

Tower:  "Bonanza xxx, Syracuse Tower, wind 280 at 15, cleared low approach."

I have also heard of pilots whose gear down-and-locked lights did not illuminate request a low approach to have tower verify that the gear appears to be extended.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2007, 05:02:10 PM by KSYR-pjr »
Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY

Offline CntrllrATC

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Re: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2007, 05:46:05 PM »
You would be amazed at how many pilots don't know what a "low approach" is. The pilot glossary is kinda vague and gives the impression that it's only a procedure that is used off an instrument approach.
Think of the low approach as the same thing as a touch & go except you don't touch the runway....lol. You can get down as close as ya want but don't touch.

And yes...the controller has to always be prepared in case an aircraft aborts their landing. The approach controller, if the aircraft is IFR, has to protect the airspace in case of a missed approach.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2007, 05:50:51 PM by CntrllrATC »
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Offline flyer_d

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Re: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2007, 05:35:42 PM »
You would be amazed at how many pilots don't know what a "low approach" is.

Reminds me of the pilot who was cleared for a low approach, and immediately dropped to the deck and skimmed the trees all the way to the threshold before landing.  Tower was not happy.

Offline bcrosby

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Re: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2007, 06:13:15 PM »
I've only heard the term "low and over" here...

Offline seanh00700

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Re: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2007, 07:02:38 PM »
it would also be know as "buzzing" the field..... :evil:

Offline Hollis

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Re: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2007, 05:06:43 PM »
...also known as a 'tower fly-by'.
Normally used for a visual inspection by the tower of the landing gear when there's a 'gear unsafe' report by a pilot.
Been there, done that.

Offline seanh00700

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Re: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2007, 07:18:54 PM »
to " fly-by" the tower would be a different thing as the tower would know the a/c was going to do it,

Buzzing the tower/field/boat or anything else for that matter is where the a/c  have not informed the atc of it's intentions....

I got called up to the tower at DAB for buzzing a boat and flying about 150 -200 off the deck  going north along the beach up to ormond beach. {KOMN} for a T&G  then on to Jax {KJAX} SOME GOOD TIMES

the FLM on duty just gave me an ear bashing over it....... :evil:

Offline scatkins

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Re: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2007, 07:11:01 PM »
A simple go around initiated late in the approach ends up looking like a low approach.  As a pilot I can initiate a go around for any reason I determine necessary to safety of flgiht

It is generally a really good Idea to tell the tower you are initiating a go-around, but that is secondary to flying the aircraft. Basically you tell them as soon as practical.

Controllers are allways PO'd when go-arounds occur in high traffic conditions because they mess up the flow. In this case the controller was upset, but upset controllers are a fact of life. Stuff happens.

Was the PIC fooling around. Don't know, but I can hear nothing from this exchange that would lead me to that conclusion.


ac2_usn

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Re: Alaska Airlines 42 unauthorized low approach at PANC
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2007, 11:07:42 AM »
So much for protecting for a go-around..... :-o