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Question re: UA flight 497

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Question re: UA flight 497

Old 04-05-2011, 12:52 PM
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Default Question re: UA flight 497

In the audio, you hear the pilot or copilot:

"We've lost all our instruments right now, and we're going to need just a PAR"

I only know PAR as precision approach radar, but this wouldn't this require functioning instrumentation on the A320, or are they referring to guidance from ATC? Or is PAR something else? Something something runway?

Thanks -

- Bill
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by lyron View Post
In the audio, you hear the pilot or copilot:

"We've lost all our instruments right now, and we're going to need just a PAR"

I only know PAR as precision approach radar, but this wouldn't this require functioning instrumentation on the A320, or are they referring to guidance from ATC? Or is PAR something else? Something something runway?

Thanks -

- Bill
A PAR approach utilizes ATC precision radar to monitor the aircraft's progress on the approach. The controller verbally provides instructions to the pilot so basically the controller is shooting the approach and the pilot is just a middleman. All you need are basic instruments and a VHF radio, no onboard nav gear required.

That's not to say it would be easy (unless you were ex-military and had a lot of practice...)
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Old 04-05-2011, 02:10 PM
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Default Gyro vs No-Gyro PAR

Just a guess, but probably a prior-mil slip of the tongue, during the heat of the battle. Very few places (other than Navy) still have PAR radars. He may have meant ASR or simply "I can't see the airport, line me up."

PARs can be done with and without heading reference. It assumes you have at least a standby ADI.

No-Gyro approaches are initiated by the pilot. "I need no-gyro vectors for an (ASR/PAR)." For no-gyro, the controller would say "All turns on final are half-standard rate." (15 degrees of bank in my airplane). Once lined-up on final, the controller would say "Turn left," then would say "Stop turn." Works pretty well with a trained pilot.

Can also be done for ASRs.
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Old 04-05-2011, 02:13 PM
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I don't think I would call the pilots middlemen. The controller tells the pilots when to start and stop turns and descents. As I understand it, they were flying on standby instruments with masks and goggles on with a fairly low ceiling and a late runway change. Short of actually being on fire, this was pretty much a worst case scenario and it sounds like they did any amazing job.
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Old 04-05-2011, 02:29 PM
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You really want to be able to see your VVI/VSI too.,,
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:32 AM
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Even going waaaay back, I can't think of a single civilian based PAR or GCA as they used to be called. To my recollection they were only available to civil operations at joint use civil/military airports or military bases for practice if for low approaches only.
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:31 AM
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I think Coast Approach in Southern California used to offer PAR's to everybody who asked (and if they had the resources). I know that I did several PAR's (no-gyro) in the 1980's in a civil aircraft, albeit a USMC flying club plane into now defunct El Toro (NZJ).
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by TonyWilliams View Post
I think Coast Approach in Southern California used to offer PAR's to everybody who asked (and if they had the resources). I know that I did several PAR's (no-gyro) in the 1980's in a civil aircraft, albeit a USMC flying club plane into now defunct El Toro (NZJ).
But did they offer them to a strictly civil airport? I've never heard of a no-gyro PAR. Is/was there such a thing? I've flown several no-gyro ASR approaches.
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:59 AM
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No, El Toro was a Marine Corps Air Station in southern California. Coast Approach was an FAA facility, on the field at El Toro.

Coast is now an area at Southern California TRACON, located at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, in San Diego.
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by TonyWilliams View Post
No, El Toro was a Marine Corps Air Station in southern California. Coast Approach was an FAA facility, on the field at El Toro.

Coast is now an area at Southern California TRACON, located at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, in San Diego.
Yes, I'm quite familiar with the area. My point is, to my knowledge, PARs are exclusively operated by the military, physically located at an airport and runway specific. So unless it is a joint use airport, there would be no PAR equipment there. So Cal could probably conduct an ASR at any of the LA/San Diego airports for which they have published approach procedures.
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