Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It started with a RA

Four day trip done. My first 4 day trip in a while. I don't care for them....but I do them when needed to get a few extra hours of pay.

My first turn was interesting. While on a localizer approach I was descending to MDA when I saw the runway about 400 above minimums. The autopilot was on....and then it wasn't.

"I didn't do that." were the first words out of my mouth. My right hand had been holding the yoke for the entire approach.

A quick scan of the instruments showed the localizer on the ground had turned off...which turned off lateral guidance on the autopilot. Thankfully this happened AFTER we had the runway in sight. If it happened before I would have been forced to go missed approach. It came back on....and then off again.

Landed normally. I then advised the tower that the localizer had turned off.

"Are you sure, the alarm hasn't gone off." replied the tower. Right then an alarm was going off in the background.

"Nevermind...gotta love this equipment." the tower controller continued.

While on final during the the return flight we were cleared to 3000 which is the base of the class B shelf. There is a glass G airport under the shelf.

"Traffic! Traffic!" barked the TCAS computer. I saw a yellow blip on the screen climbing toward us. I looked outside (clear VFR day) and saw a plane coming up at us. Not just any plane...but a Piper Seminole from AllATPs.

"Traffic! Traffic! Climb! Climb Now!" barked the TCAS. My Captain clicked off the autopilot and began an escape maneuver. I got on the radio with approach and advised we were responding to a RA.

The seminole climbed to about 2700 feet and about a 1/2 mile away laterally. The RA likely came due to the rapid climbing ascent it was doing.

We landed normally. I then filled out the airline required paperwork. Anytime there is a RA event I have to fill out a form. Done.

The rest of the trip was nice. Overnighted right on a beach on the first night. The second night was in a forgotten downtown area...which was kinda crappy as everything was closed....and my crew was hungry. We had to wait for the hotel resturant to open at 5:30PM to eat. Glad I pack snacks!

The last overnight was in Lexington, KY....the site of the most recent United States crash by an airliner. Spooked me out a bit as I lined up with runway 4 I could see the fields where the Comair flight came to rest.

The airport has had a lot of changes since the accident including the removal of runway 8/26.

My four day trip ended uneventfully. Flew 21 hours over 4 days. Off till Saturday when I start a 17 hour 3 day trip.


  1. Hi there, firstly, thanks for the great posts! Always full of interesting detail to an Aviation Addict such as myself!

    How often have you had to deal with RA's? I haven't seen you mention them before so I'm guessing it's rare?

    All the best!

    Dave from the UK

  2. I've only had one other RA...also general aviation related and near the base of the Class B airspace.  TA's happen often in the terminal airspace but rarely outside of that.

  3. Also, I would think the Colgan 3407 crash in 2009 should be considered the most recent "airliner" crash in the US.  Yes, I know the Q400 is a turboprop, not a jet, but that crash resulted in 50 fatalities, more than Comair 5191, and the Colgan/Continental Connection flight was a scheduled regional flight operated under a major airline's brand, just like Comair/Delta Connection 3407 was.

  4. Good point. Not sure how 5191 left my mind.


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