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Aviation => Pilot/Controller Forum => Topic started by: MasonKR on November 01, 2010, 10:05:18 PM

Title: Contoller/pilot issue
Post by: MasonKR on November 01, 2010, 10:05:18 PM
I have a question that I can't seem to understand.  I fly for a helicopter company company in Ohio, I will not say who and I won't give out what airport this is at because that is not important but the controller that I have worked with every time we work with her it seems like the pilots have a new "war story" the issue is as follows.

Controller: Helicopter turn left base for Rn wy 10 R Citation cleared for 10 mile final Rn wy 10 L

both A/C acknowledge

After getting close to turn final I ask if we were cleared for final her reply was to "continue" I asked for clarification she wants the helicopter to continue on final her response was "NO I said continue"  

After passing the runway and getting ready to cross the approach path to 10L which the citation is still on final I make a 180 turn to the left because to me I felt uncomfortable with the way things were transpiring.  I was immediately asked what I was doing and she didn't tell me to do it.  I didn't argue with her on the radio but she made it know that I was to do what she said in her airspace.  I was at a loss for words at the time I felt like there might have been some sort of issue that could happen and I know everyone makes mistakes, I also know that I am solely responsible for the souls I have on board.  There was no traffic behind me that I knew of, there was however, a jet on final that I knew was getting pretty close to where I was, and I made a snap decision and was severely reprimanded over the radio for it.  I would have much rather had her have me call the tower upon landing.  I would really like some input as to what you guys think might have been going on.  I will try my best to fill in any blanks that I may have left out .

Best Regards,
Title: Re: Contoller/pilot issue
Post by: Biff on November 02, 2010, 12:56:22 PM
I'm confused.  If you were on a left base for the right runway, that means you had to cross the final approach path for the left runway.  If you reached the point where you were ready to turn final for the right runway, the traffic that was straight-in for the left should be passing behind you.  No?
Title: Re: Contoller/pilot issue
Post by: atcman23 on November 02, 2010, 05:39:03 PM
To me, it sounds like the controller was not clear as what they wanted you to do.  Ok, they put you on base leg but you can only fly the base leg for so long,  Saying "continue" once you need to turn final does nothing.  I think what you did was probably the better decision; you were unclear of what the controller wanted as they did not make themselves clear and since you are responsible for the safety of the flight, you did what you felt was safe.  I agree that it was probably the intent that the jet would pass behind you however, had she said "turn final" or something to that degree, this conversation wouldn't be occurring.  But since she just said "continue" she really didn't do anything.  "Continue" is not much of an instruction; just used in place of giving an instruction since, for some reason, an instruction cannot be given (such as "continue for runway 6, vehicle on runway" or, "runway 6 continue, traffic holding in position").

Title: Re: Controller/pilot issue
Post by: MasonKR on November 03, 2010, 10:20:29 AM
My thought exactly, I was on a left base for runway 10 L and the jet was on final for 10 right.  I don;t know if she thought I was farther than I really was or what.  I do know that I got a funny look from the guy up front with me and I had to kinda explain how things get busy, I never bashed the woman publicly, but I am curious as to why you would want to yell on the freq, when from my understanding you guys like us to talk as little as possible on the radio so as not to block other transmissions.  Like I had mentioned I would have gladly called the tower when I landed and we could have discussed it however, that never happened

Sorry to come on here and complain, but I was just trying to find a few answers.

And, I will tell you one thing I would much rather fly than have the stress you guys have during a big push.  I love it when I can ask for a present positoion departure and here "approved as requested"  I get out of your way and the way of big metal things that go faster than me
Title: Re: Contoller/pilot issue
Post by: TC on November 03, 2010, 06:22:58 PM
Mason:  I don't understand some of your terminology, specifically "cleared for final".  I'm not familiar with a situation where that would be used.  I've worked in a vfr tower in class D and tower with radar in class B.  If you have a pattern entry and a runway assignment I would expect you to "continue" to the rwy, so I'm not clear why you'd ask if you were cleared for final.  I assume this is a VFR scenario, and you're flying VFR?  When you got to the point of crossing the 10L final approach course, was the arrival close enough that you coulda flown your base leg behind them?  I would think that'd be better than making a 180 while in the pattern.  Other than that, I can't put myself into this controller's thought process very much.

I would suggest (since you indicate this is an ongoing problem) that your company should contact the tower.  maybe you could even draft an LOA and formalize some procedures for your operations.  Of course it makes sense (and we're probably all thinking) for the jet to land 10R and you land 10L.  Maybe there was a mistake somewhere in the instructions.

From your timeline, you asked about turning final BEFORE making your 180 which was BEFORE crossing 10L, so maybe she thought you were gonna turn final to 10L in front of the traffic, so she said no, continue.  Is this a radar environment?
Title: Re: Contoller/pilot issue
Post by: TC on November 03, 2010, 06:25:02 PM
...and what runway did you pass before crossing the 10L approach course?  If you were on a left base to 10R, you'd pass 10L to get to 10R.
Title: Re: Contoller/pilot issue
Post by: MasonKR on November 03, 2010, 10:00:04 PM
I was on a left base for 10L I miss wrote earlier.  My issue was more so with after she called base she didn't say anything.  I prompted her if we were cleared for final as the runway was off my left shoulder when she had said "no continue".  This was a radar environment however. I was baffled that she had told me to continue after we were about to pass the runway.  I did what she had instructed me to do, but when I was about to fly into the approach corridor of a landing A/C I initiated a turn to my left.

So just to clarify I was intended to land on 10L just for the simple fact the pax terminal is right next to the arrival end of the runway, the citation was on final for 10R, they are a class D tower that piggy backs of CVG. 

I did the 180 in the pattern about 10 seconds or so before I would have flow through 10Rs landing corridor, I had already completely passed the runway in which I was to land on.  I had asked her if we were cleared for final shortly after we turned base, and her response being no continue I just asked for clarification if she wanted me to continue to final she again said no continue.  I took that as she would call my turn and left it at that.  After overflying the runway and about to cross another I didn't feel comfortable, and did what I thought was necessary.  I am not saying I was right or she was wrong I am just trying to figure out if I did something wrong so as not to do it again so I can make your workload easier.


Title: Re: Contoller/pilot issue
Post by: TC on November 03, 2010, 11:06:30 PM
it seems something IS wrong.  This makes no sense to me at all then.  If you were given a pattern entry AND a rwy assignment, i would think you'd continue to fly the pattern to its completion.  You're expecting a call for every turn.  I'm not exactly sure what the controller means by "no, continue".  But at least we've cleared up the confusion about you conflicting with the parallel rwy traffic!!

Did she "call" base or assign you to enter left base for 10L?  I worked a class D (HVN) many years ago but I remember we'd give pattern entry and expect the a/c to fly the pattern.  In the pattern our services were sequencing and traffic, not separation (which technically speaking was limited to the rwys).  I'm wondering if this is a VFR tower/class D and MAYBE you are incorrectly expecting vectors that are more appropriate from a B airspace, for example.

Your company and the tower (I think) need to get together and hash this out.  I don't understand why the response to your "cleared for the final" question (which gives me the impression you're misunderstanding the services they provide) wasn't simply "Helo, cleared to land rwy 10L"  Maybe that's what she meant by "no. continue" (to 10L)??  I just don't know.  But even if they "piggy back" off CVG (whatever that means) they may not be authorized to use radar for separation and this is simply a vfr tower (like I did in HVN) and they are simply sequencing to rwys. you are vfr and must maintain vfr, and you guys got a good old fashioned misunderstanding on your hands!

I hope this helps.
Title: Re: Contoller/pilot issue
Post by: TC on November 03, 2010, 11:15:13 PM I'm thinking your question "cleared for final" was interpreted as "are we cleared to land 10L?" and she's saying "no, continue" because there is any number of reasons she can't clear you to land (vehicle or other traffic) and says "continue".  personally, I prefer "stand by for landing clearance", but that's me.

The more I look at this the more I think this is what happened.  You're expecting the tower to call your turn to final.  Tower's expecting you to fly the pattern to the assigned rwy and STAND BY for landing clearance.  Your use of "cleared for final" (which is not standard) is being interpreted as "(are we) cleared TO LAND?" and she says "no, not yet, continue" and you misinterpret that as "continue PRESENT HEADING"

I could see how that could happen.  And IF this is what happened, you need to understand you are not "radar contact" (was that ever said?) and they are not vectoring you.  You're expected to fly the pattern to the assigned rwy.

I really think this is the likely explanation, but better for your company to work it out with the tower so y'all are on the same page.  After all, this is only the internet!
Title: Re: Contoller/pilot issue
Post by: MasonKR on November 03, 2010, 11:43:49 PM
She had said radar contact and assigned a squak code, I can kind of see where the breakdown was, just curious why she didn't ask me "um hey you passed the runway buddy" And you're right this is the Internet, but here, I can get the advice from lots of people versus just a few.

Thanks for the help so far.

Title: Re: Contoller/pilot issue
Post by: TC on November 04, 2010, 08:27:42 AM
Hmmm...  OK, then, you certainly are getting radar services and all.  In that case I cannot imagine what her thought process was in saying "continue".  I can certainly understand you taking it to mean continue present heading or base leg.  Were you cleared for a visual approach to 10L by any chance?

My internet crack was tongue in cheek; it's just no substitute for you guys getting together and hashing this out, which I think you MUST do, since it seems to be approaching an unsafe lack of the "meeting of minds". 

Good luck.  I admit I am really flummoxed by this scenario!
Title: Re: Contoller/pilot issue
Post by: Eric M on November 04, 2010, 12:26:49 PM
Kyle, after you or your company meets with Tower personnel, I hope you'll report back to us what the outcome is/was.
Title: Re: Contoller/pilot issue
Post by: RV1 on November 12, 2010, 01:14:36 PM
I would agree with TC that there is a misunderstanding. You should have flown a normal pattern, all she did was call your base. The rest of your pattern is just that, your pattern. We normally call a base or downwind when we need to get a sequence established, but we don't call each segment of a traffic pattern, even if we are using radar. There is also the separation distance between the two Ry 10's, that may have prevented her from clearing you to land, knowing that you will probably slow down to 80-90 knots on final and the Citation will usually do between 110-130, thereby passing you.
   "...Cleared to final?" can be misunderstood as a poor phraseology request for a landing clearance. "Are you calling my turn to final" would probably get the message out a lot quicker, and certainly cause her to see that you don't go past the final for your assigned runway! Just because radar is in use doesn't mean that we are scrutinizing the scope to make sure that you've made the turn from base to final, besides the fact that there may be a delay in that information being presented on our scopes. Often it is more accurate for us to see you, out the window, turning, than it for us to observe the turn on the radar.
Food For Thought.
Title: Re: Contoller/pilot issue
Post by: frusa on March 21, 2011, 02:51:03 PM
"Continue" means keep flying normally. If you are on base, then turn final as normal. They may be withholding clearance for some reason.

Title: Re: Contoller/pilot issue
Post by: alejosp on June 25, 2011, 07:28:06 PM
I am flying in Argentina, where communications are not the best, what can I do to communicate I am in a hangar and I need permission to tax to the runway. We are used to saying " Moron superficie CFM establecido en hangar 5, solicito rodaje a cabecera en uso destino vuelo local" Is there any suggestion to improve my communication technique? I'm just finishing my Private Pilot course!

Title: Re: Contoller/pilot issue
Post by: w0x0f on June 26, 2011, 04:57:58 PM
Press 1
Title: Re: Contoller/pilot issue
Post by: captray on September 10, 2011, 09:15:55 AM
I just fininshed reading all the above and all I can say is why didn't YOU initalize the call to the tower after landing?
That would have been the time to straighten this out. Now we are just rehashing old news.
It's been my experience that calling the tower, tracon or even center can be the best thing to help communications. We're all doing a job and we need to play nice together!