How close is too close for pilots

greg1016

Trustworthy Source
I'm fairly certain the corporate guys at my old airport would intentionally set off RAs to PIT arrivals. Our departures climbed to 3000 while the PIT arrivals went over the departure path at 4. I swear the traffic call I'd make triggered a "let's see if we can set off that guy's TCAS." Saw it happen more than once. Had to do with the climb rate of the departure. I'd see the arrival start climbing while the departure still had well over 1000 ft of separation.
 

Stone Cold

Well-Known Member
I'm fairly certain the corporate guys at my old airport would intentionally set off RAs to PIT arrivals. Our departures climbed to 3000 while the PIT arrivals went over the departure path at 4. I swear the traffic call I'd make triggered a "let's see if we can set off that guy's TCAS." Saw it happen more than once. Had to do with the climb rate of the departure. I'd see the arrival start climbing while the departure still had well over 1000 ft of separation.
It's one of the frustrating things I've seen over the years. We're supposed to slow our climb rate when leveling off, but most don't do it. My current company is basically a VNAV climb only company, unless there are extenuating circumstances. Heaven forbid you select V/S during a climb. You'd think the world is ending.

I'm surprised we don't set off more RAs, especially when we're light. A light 747 can climb like a Lear 60. It's pretty impressive to see.
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
I'm surprised we don't set off more RAs, especially when we're light. A light 747 can climb like a Lear 60. It's pretty impressive to see.
I found that out the hard way. Told A to climb, told FedEx MD11 who was 2000’ below to climb to A’s vacated altitude. FedEx was level at A’s vacated altitude while A had only climbed 300’. A had all sorts of questions lol
 

greg1016

Trustworthy Source
I found that out the hard way. Told A to climb, told FedEx MD11 who was 2000’ below to climb to A’s vacated altitude. FedEx was level at A’s vacated altitude while A had only climbed 300’. A had all sorts of questions lol
That sounds like legal separation to me. I think the wording is "reported or observed vacating previously assigned altitude." Let me guess...you had to pull out the .65 to show that to some QA person or your FLM that you were legal?
 

greg1016

Trustworthy Source
It's one of the frustrating things I've seen over the years. We're supposed to slow our climb rate when leveling off, but most don't do it. My current company is basically a VNAV climb only company, unless there are extenuating circumstances. Heaven forbid you select V/S during a climb. You'd think the world is ending.

I'm surprised we don't set off more RAs, especially when we're light. A light 747 can climb like a Lear 60. It's pretty impressive to see.
I am 95% certain that in all of these instances the plane had no paying passengers aboard.

An empty E55P can climb off the ground like a bat out of hell too.
 

jtrain609

Uniting the black vote.
not asking you not to. I’m not aggravated with pilots following the RA, I’m aggravated with you getting one in the first place with legal separation
TCAS isn't programmed for FAA legal separation, it's programmed for a collision happening within X seconds. I don't know how many it's programmed for, but the internet seems to think 15-30 seconds depending on what mode it's in.

So if that guy 600' below you starts a momentary climb, your TCAS will plot out what the climb will produce in X seconds, and if a collision is estimated to happen, you'll get the RA.

They could even stay within 100' of their assigned altitude, if the momentary climb rate is high enough you can get an RA.
 

DPApilot

GUYSH! GUYSH! GUYSH!
Speaking of RA's when you get one when the autopilot is on, does the autopilot respond to the alert or does the autopilot turn off and the pilot manually responds?
At Yellow Bus, when we get a RA* we have to disconnect the autopilot and hand fly.
 
Last edited:
Top