John Deakin’s Response to “Another View of CANPA”

AVweb columnist John Deakin ("Pelican's Perch") responds to an article by Capt. Erik Reed-Mohn.


My compliments to Mr. Erik Reed-Mohn for a very well-written response to my columns on this subject. He eloquently expresses the factors behind the drive to adopt new (to most of the world) procedures. I remain unconvinced, but rather than flog this horse to death, I have but a few comments, and will thereafter move on, allowing readers to make their own judgments.

All of the examples and all of the theory seem to revolve around LOC approaches, and nice, well-aligned straight-in approaches, usually with DME. When these factors are present, all my objections regarding safety go away, leaving only my objection on the grounds of not getting the job done as often as with the old way. I keep wondering about that “last chance” approach, where youve gone to the alternate, and you really do need to get in, with only an NPA available. I guess modern airlines dont do that anymore.

The statistics quoted may be correct, but I believe there may be reasons other than the approach type itself. Primarily, I suspect that most of them occurred because of a lack of proficiency with the classic method of doing an NPA, with far too many pilots doing only ILSs day after day, and in the simulator.

It also seems to me that the CANPA procedures were developed from an initial starting point of something like “We must make these fully stabilized approaches, just like an ILS.” Some will call that “good,” I call it “less effective – and sometimes unsafe.”

Im fully aware that BA and KLM have “bought into” CANPA, even in classic aircraft. It was a conversation with a KLM pilot that triggered my disbelief, a little research, and then those two columns. Again, the vast majority of the approaches theyre doing seem to be the LOC-only and well-aligned straight-ins, with excellent VOR and DME available.

I judge the workload about equal between the “classic” method, and the CANPA with distance vs. DME checks each mile, in addition to the other things that need to be tracked.

I utterly and totally reject a descent based solely on timing. Ive seen far too many real-world cases where the wind would put that out of limits, leaving the CANPA approach “long” or “short.” Using timing as the basis for a missed approach is bad enough, but to use it for descent is madness.

To me, the answer is training. DO some real NPAs in the simulator, and do them to proficiency, to a level of comfort. Skip a few of the auto-coupled approaches in the simulator, for any monkey can do those.