United A320 hail incident ORD

Cherokee_Cruiser

Well-Known Member
Who flies airplanes, again?
Do you know how often ATC radar updates?
I know who flies the plane. This was United, I was trying to give them a break. If this was Delta, it would have been “Oh Delta XXIV - Delta pilots let ATC fly them into a cell full of hail.”
 

KLB

Well-Known Member
Im just a Center guy, but the pilot doesn't sound anywhere near assertive enough to me. It didnt sound to me like he was making some pressing urgent request to stay away from Severe weather. Controllers comment about the "Guys behind you, I need you on course" isnt helpful, but my understanding is basically the Pilot has to step up there and not fly through weather that is going to cause this kind of damage.

At the end of the day, Im sitting in a dark room in Palmdale.....you guys are the ones up there strapped to a metal tube. Im not going to approve WX Deviations into our warning areas, or into other traffic....but youre the PIC. Do what you need to do. I can pretty much guarantee nothing is ever going to happen to a pilot at least from my facilities POV if you declare an emergency for WX and do something to keep yourself safe.

We do have a bunch of setups that are pretty hairy....Hot airspace with Live Fire exercises on both sides of an 8 mile wide Control Extension that occasionally gets weather. LAX Arrivals ask to Deviate and all I can really do is say "Unable for hot airspace on your left and right". It feels crappy because we arent trying to be unhelpful, but it is what it is.
With the "Guys behind you...I need you on course" comment. It would get a one word answer from me. "Unable".

I will declare if I have to. I haven't had to go there yet. It comes with experience from my single pilot freight days of saying to a higher power "if you let me get out of this one, I'll never do something as stupid as this again...." moments.

I don't want to screw up you guys' flow down there. But I also don't want to be at the big brown desk explaining why I flew through a thunderstorm and disregarded the FAA recommendation/company procedure of flying at least 20 miles around one....or end up in an even worse predicament. Plus, it would not be good for my employment if the bosses are catching air in the back riding through bumps.
 

Comair 100ER

Well-Known Member
I was talking with a buddy of mine at Spirit and he couldn't believe we still have to run the tilt for ourselves and we don't have the fancy automatic radar. The weather radar installed on UA's Airbus fleet leaves a lot to be desired...
Aren’t Spirit’s Airbii all 2005 models or newer? What year did they enhance the radar?
 

bLizZuE

Working the high speed buffet to happy hour.
I was responding like that is what you meant. There is certainly no lag time for airplanes. Edited to avoid confusion.
I’m no expert but it was my impression that terminal weather radar could be as much as 6 minutes old. That was my point and maybe I’m wrong.
 

GypsyPilot

Well-Known Member
I was talking with a buddy of mine at Spirit and he couldn't believe we still have to run the tilt for ourselves and we don't have the fancy automatic radar. The weather radar installed on UA's Airbus fleet leaves a lot to be desired...
Does anyone know if it’s worse than CRJ WX Radar?

I mostly fly the 767 with “automatic” WX radar, and it does work quite well. We also fly the 757 at my base, and that does not have automatic radar. It reminds me very much of the CRJ Radar, and works decently if you know how to tilt it (just as you would the CRJ).

You would not believe how many guys basically don’t ever tilt it though and complain how crappy it is.
 

Baronman

Well-Known Member
Does anyone know if it’s worse than CRJ WX Radar?

I mostly fly the 767 with “automatic” WX radar, and it does work quite well. We also fly the 757 at my base, and that does not have automatic radar. It reminds me very much of the CRJ Radar, and works decently if you know how to tilt it (just as you would the CRJ).

You would not believe how many guys basically don’t ever tilt it though and complain how crappy it is.
I doubt that it's worse than the CRJ radar purely based on the size of the antenna. At B6 our oldest planes are of a similar vintage as the UAL plane involved in this hail incident. It has the same radar as the other 129 A320s in the fleet (the A321s have the newer automatic radar). In short, at close ranges <40miles it seems effective.

IMO the CRT screen on the older planes (especially when sun is hitting it) is the weak spot. Even with the screens turned up all the way and weather displayed as bright as it'll go, it can require some squinting to see what's being displayed. The scenarios where I see it's weakness are out over the water trying to make longer range planning decisions. It just doesn't give you much to work with till closer in whereas the automatic can start giving you good hints at 120 miles.

But in a scenario like the UAL plane, I don't know....it'll usually do the job provided it's aimed the right way. I don't think the automatic radar would have provided some vastly different presentation of the weather. Probably more a question of hail reflectivity etc.
 

greg1016

Trustworthy Source
I’m no expert but it was my impression that terminal weather radar could be as much as 6 minutes old. That was my point and maybe I’m wrong.
Maybe at one time, but the STARS which most terminal facilities have at this point is no more than a minute behind and paints precip from light to extreme. Center weather only paints moderate to extreme and does not update as often, I'd still say no more than 3 or so minutes behind but it's been a long time since I've seen a center scope.
 

jtrain609

Uniting the black vote.
Maybe at one time, but the STARS which most terminal facilities have at this point is no more than a minute behind and paints precip from light to extreme. Center weather only paints moderate to extreme and does not update as often, I'd still say no more than 3 or so minutes behind but it's been a long time since I've seen a center scope.
I can't tell you how many times I've been staring at a wall of death where the controller told me they didn't see anything.
 

KLB

Well-Known Member
Maybe at one time, but the STARS which most terminal facilities have at this point is no more than a minute behind and paints precip from light to extreme. Center weather only paints moderate to extreme and does not update as often, I'd still say no more than 3 or so minutes behind but it's been a long time since I've seen a center scope.
I believe that's the disconnect between pilots and controllers when discussing deviations. There doesn’t have to be precipitation in a cloud to make it nasty to fly through. Hail may not paint at all. And then there's getting around anvils so that you are not flying underneath them...
 

greg1016

Trustworthy Source
@KLB and @jtrain609 it is true the radar only picks up precipitation and does not differentiate between types. If the buildup has not yet begun to produce precipitation-sized droplets, it won't show up. Lightning strikes are also not shown.
 

Cherokee_Cruiser

Well-Known Member
Pet peeve...... guys who turn down the terrain/WX display knob all the way down.

Leave that at full bright. Turn your ND display knob to adjust screen brightness.
 

Space Monkey

Well-Known Member
The ATC NEXRAD radar updates constantly, but we are trained that there are a few minutes lag between what we see on the scope and what is outside. My experience says the terminal radar has less lag and more sensitivity than the center radar.

What we are taught is that although our NEXRAD is slightly behind what you see in the cockpit, we have a more complete picture of what is going on. Because our antenna is on the ground looking up, we get a better visualization of the whole picture, where your radar shows you a wall and you have less of an idea of what is behind that wall. The takeaway is if you think it is better to go right, but ATC tells you everyone is going left, you should put some good consideration of going left. That said, there does not seem to be much excuse for this incident.

Once in my center days everyone was going left and getting into NY relatively easy from WATRS and one guy insisted on going right and they got a scenic view of Cape Cod on the way into NY.

Here I thought you were going to say, "The takeaway is to use both ship's radar, and ATC radar.".. and anything else that might help you suss out to true big picture and act accordingly.
 
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