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I was browsing ACARS messages listed on an aviation enthusiast website in Greece (similar to FR24 and others), and noticed a message sent to UA124, a 767 from KEWR to LGAV:

ACARS message

The SAT VOR is located at (or very near) the LGAV station, and as for the KEA VOR, it's a commonly used point about 30 miles southeast.

Looking at the flight on FR24, there isn't anything out of the ordinary – the flight did not execute the procedure shown on the ACARS message, and was (presumably) vectored for a normal ILS approach, together with many others. Moreover, I didn't see a "Part 02" message until the plane landed (notice "END OF PART 01" at the bottom of the message)

My question is, what could be the reason to send such a message to a flight? I would understand certain en route messages related to (re)routing (as described in this answer, for instance), but isn't Approach responsible for things like approach and holding?

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the quick accept. I understand we have users that are more familiar with Greek procedures, so if a better answer comes along, feel free to change the accept. $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Jun 14 at 9:18
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    $\begingroup$ I happened to be online when the answer appeared, and it answers my question, so I accepted it :) And yes, as you suggested, in case anyone has more specific information, I can reconsider. $\endgroup$ – Digital Dracula Jun 14 at 9:20
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That's not a hold instruction, rather the missed approach procedure.

TRK RCL to D11.0.
SAT VOR..

Track runway centerline to distance 11 NM from SAT VOR.

TURN RT DCT KEA VOR..

Turn right direct KEA.

HOLD SE OF KEA.
ON R-157. RT TURNS..

Hold southeast of KEA on radial 157 (i.e. inbound track 337). Right turns.

Which matches the missed approach except for 11 instead of 13 DME.

enter image description here
— Jeppesen (for illustrative purposes only; do not use for flight)

Without part 2, and what initiated part 1, my only explanation is that the procedure was amended and Athens Control[a] relayed the details via ACARS instead of reading that over the frequency with all the problems associated with that – frequency congestion, message clarity, confirmations, etc.

There could have been a voice communication from control such as:

United 124, missed approach change, expect further details over ACARS.

The reason could be a military training that needed a bigger airspace buffer, among other things.


a: Athens ACC (responsible for en route ATC over Greece) uses the control suffix, not center.

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  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps that text was a NOTAM being retrieved over ACARS? Looks like the text instructions change the DME from SAT that's used for the turn to KEA from 13.0 in the diagram to 11.0 in the text. $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Jun 14 at 15:35

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