Landing priority

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  • Landing priority

    Returning from Madison, WI yesterday, I had to stop in Rockford to pick up a passenger before returning to Dallas. As I approached Rockford, approach asked me what my slowest forward speed could be, uhhh awe. I asked what was up and was told three Cessna 172s were on practice instrument approaches to runway 19 and I was number four. I currently had a 70 knot over take. I requested runway 25 and told him we were trying to get to Dallas. I don’t know about others, but when doing practice approaches, I always defer to aircraft actually landing from a trip or trying to get out.
    Anyway, approach checks with tower and i’m told to turn left 90 degrees for spacing. I then announce I can see the airport and will take runway 25 with a short turn off. Approach clears me straight in to 19, I land short and turn off on Taxiway F quickly exiting the runway.
    Do y’all feel I wasn’t being courteous? We had four more hours to go and storms enroute to deal with.

  • #2
    I think you were being appropriately courteous Dave.

    Seeing that situation often from the other side (instructor in the Cessna doing practice instrument approaches) our controllers will let us know about non-training flights, and then work us around them. Now if they'd already cleared 3 people onto the approach before they knew you were heading towards them, that might have added to the whole "first come, first served" business. Usually it all works out, but our controllers will turn us out if there is priority traffic, and we are outside the FAF, if needed. We often will volunteer to do that too.

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    • #3
      What John said, and ... You were flying the less maneuverable aircraft (larger turn radius). That's not as clear-cut as between balloons and airplanes, but it's still a factor.

      IMO, real operations should have priority over practice, but there are times it won't work. That's up to the approach controller, of course.
      Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here, we should dance.

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      • #4
        Thanks, I did ask. Wasn’t pushy, just told them we were on a long trip. It was a severe clear day. I was IFR, but didn’t ask if the others were. Once I said I could see the airport they brought me right in. I didn’t hear anyone else break off their approach. I think we got in before then and none landed, they were all practicing in visual conditions. Since I was IFR, shouldn’t approach know I’m coming to sequence me in? That’s pretty routine around here.
        And, I do break off practice instrument approaches for others if they are actually trying to get in or depart, after all, I am practicing.
        Many times, approach here has asked if they could sequence someone in when I was out bound or well out. I usually offer to do a turn or two in a hold.

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        • #5
          There are no rules which assign priority to non-training vs. training flights. It's first-come, first-served. ATC will try to manage the total traffic load as efficiently as possible.

          Sounds like you found a good way to handle the situation with minimal inconvenience. Requesting better options will often work in your favor.

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          • #6
            Riding United into RNO for the races, on the usual ILS 16R, when the power suddenly came up and we started a turn, Crew came on the PA saying sorry about that, we've got somebody behind us who needs to land right now...and an F-4 four-ship hurried by.

            This is the unit that opens the races with a low pass timed to come smack-dab on "Home of the Brave", and there had been some delay that morning. I understand it's an airlift wing now...dunno if they do it with C-130's.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Larry sreyoB View Post
              There are no rules which assign priority to non-training vs. training flights. It's first-come, first-served
              (Spent a whole lotta years at that), concur!

              best, randy

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              • #8
                I probably should have named the thread efficient landing sequencing instead of priority. Rockford routinely prioritizes jets arriving. They have Fed Ex and some commuter traffic. They've directed me to make turns for an arriving jet 15 miles out when I was indicating 190 and much closer in. Sometimes, I've said something, others just sequenced in behind the jet when it didn't delay me a lot. They seem to have a lot of newer controllers there.

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                • #9
                  Do y’all feel I wasn’t being courteous? We had four more hours to go and storms enroute to deal with.
                  Dave,

                  The pertinent paragraph is 7110.65 paragraph 4-8-11:

                  4−8−11. PRACTICE APPROACHES

                  Except for military aircraft operating at military
                  airfields, ensure that neither VFR nor IFR practice
                  approaches disrupt the flow of other arriving and
                  departing IFR or VFR aircraft. Authorize, withdraw
                  authorization, or refuse to authorize practice
                  approaches as traffic conditions require. Normally,
                  approaches in progress should not be terminated.

                  NOTE− The priority afforded other aircraft over practice
                  instrument approaches is not intended to be so rigidly
                  applied that it causes grossly inefficient application of
                  services.
                  Some reasons you may be asked to follow a practice approach:
                  1. There was already a plan. Even though the controller knows you're coming (because your flight-progress strip printed a few minutes earlier), you're not really "in play" until your tag shows up on his scope. Some tags show up sooner than others depending on the shape of the airspace and the configuration of the controller's airspace and scope. If you show up after the plan is made, some controllers might make room for you - others may let the plan play out.
                  2. They already held them once. Maybe there had just been a different arrival that the students had been vectored or held for. The controller may not want to delay them further.
                  3. There's more traffic coming. Maybe the controller CAN see what's coming, and it's more jets and turboprops. In this case, the controller may want to get the students through, knowing that they'll be hard to sequence if he doesn't do it now.

                  These are just a few examples of what the approach controller considers in such cases.

                  I've always wondered about the lower priority given to practice approaches.Why should the student - paying dearly for the airframe and instructor - wait for anybody? Why are his dollars and time any less valuable than any other flight? I wonder the same about SVFR flights: "SVFR flights may be approved only if arriving and departing IFR aircraft are not delayed."

                  But, I'm just a cog in a machine.

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                  • #10
                    Todd: what reference is this?
                    Some airports would become training airports alone if practice approaches we allowed unabated. Businesses and GA need to get in and out. We have American Flyers on the field ay Addison. Controllers always try to work arrivals and departures to folks going somewhere around them. I had five lined up last week when going to Austin. Towered told them they needed to get two departures out and held them up. VFR, works better. Waiting for IFR clearances in the Class D under the B would have planes going somewhere going back to top off or given delayed departures for training aircraft. Training also goes away in TFRs.

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                    • #11
                      Sorry for typo, I don’t get a chance to edit on my I-phone.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dave Siciliano View Post
                        probably should have named the thread efficient landing sequencing instead of priority
                        Had figured that, we always informed the tower at the OM inbound check-in that we'd miss on that one (if that was the case) so that he/she didn't have to allow for the landing rollout for us - did what we could to fit in.

                        Come to think of it, on our flight training flights we always used "North Central Delta" as our radio call sign and IIRC, Northwest used "Northwest Charlie" so that the MSP tower wouldn't be startled by some strange/different sights/behaviors.

                        best, randy

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                        • #13
                          Todd: I found the refrenced doc. Thanks for posting.

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                          • #14
                            Agree Randy. We always try to state intentions unless I have one of those sneaky CFIs with me that won’t let me fully plan ahead :-)

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                            • #15
                              Thanks, Todd! I had never seen that .65 reference.

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