“Anticipated Separation”? I don’t like it.

The mission was to get two planes back from Batavia, one of which was the Lance. We tried on Friday and Saturday and Sunday, but the weather didn’t cooperate. The weather was fine today, but only two of us could make it, so we only managed to bring back the Lance.

Don was going to fly us out on one of the Archers, 39Z, but when he attempted to start it all we got was a click from under the cowling. I think that means the bendix isn’t coming out far enough to engage and spin. We tried moving the prop a bit and jump starting it, but to no avail. So we switched over to the Dakota.

On the flight in, Don checked the AWOS at Batavia and decided to land on runway 10. A couple of planes checked in on the CTAF and the closer one said he’d be landing on 10 as well, but the one further out came in straight in on 28, landed, turned around, and took off on 10, then came around and landed on 10 again.

With its new magnetos, the Lance started pretty well, and I’m not 100% sure but I think it’s developing more power as well.

Don and I taxied out on 10, and took off while somebody else checked in coming in on 10. Don headed home, but I stayed in the pattern and did another landing. As I was taxing back to take off on 10, somebody else announced he was taxiing out to 28. The Cessna that had just landed on 10 came on the CTAF and said “I don’t know if you guys realize this, but one of you is taxiing out to 10 and one of you is taxiing out to 28.” The guy going to 28 came on all haughty and said “Standard procedure at this airport is that when the wind is less than 5 knots, you take off on 28.” I came back and said “my standard procedure is that when everybody else is using 10, I use 10.” When I reached the end of the runway, I said that I was ready to go, and if he wasn’t ready yet I’d depart 10 first. He agreed that he wasn’t quite done his run-up, so he’d wait.

I circled around to runway 28 and did another two touch and goes, and then went back to Rochester. Which is when the other strange thing happened. Runway 7 is closed, so I was assigned to land on runway 4 which is the longest runway at ROC. As I landed, there was a North West Airlines MD80/90 waiting to take off at the hold short line. As my wheels were touching down, the tower controller cleared the MD80 to take off. HEY! I didn’t think that was allowed, so I clicked on the radio and said “Lance 43977 has not cleared runway 4 yet”. The tower controller seemed unconcerned. I was expecting him to revoke the MD80s take off clearance, but instead he just gave me my taxi instructions. I got off the runway as quickly as I could, expecting to get a MD80 up my backside if I wasn’t fast enough.

I asked about it on rec.aviation.piloting, and a controller said that controller can issue a take-off clearance under a rule called “Anticipated Separation” based on their knowledge of how long it’s likely to get off the runway and how long it’s likely to take an airliner to do their final pre-takeoff checks and spool up the jets. So what if I’d decided to slow down and dawdle to the next high speed taxiway instead of getting off as quickly as I can, and the North West pilots had actually done their pre-takeoff checks in anticipation of the clearance or something? After what happened at Tenerife, I hope there are rules that don’t allow them to do that sort of thing unless they can see both aircraft and both aircraft can see each other.

3 thoughts on ““Anticipated Separation”? I don’t like it.”

  1. Yep, I agree…this “anticipated separation” idea is bogus. Of course, I am really not a fan of the “land and hold short” rules either. I am all about efficiency, but I will never lose sleep declining a hold short clearance if I am not 100% comfortable with the idea. I feel your pain on the local yokels bucking safety for convenience as well. I have been in the same situation, and reacted pretty much the same to someone who wanted to take off opposite the traffic that was still in the pattern. Worse, are the morons that pull out onto the active (even after calling all your turns) while you are on base or final and advises you to “land long.” What happens if my engine fails on final, you jerk!?

  2. Was it busy enough that the controller rushing clearances made sense, or did this seem like a controller who may be preoccupied with something else and simply wanted to turn his attention elsewhere right away?

    I’ve had situations where planes have been cleared to “Position and hold” behind me as I was on the rollout, but never cleared for takeoff.

  3. It was afternoon, probably around 4:30. I don’t remember any inbound traffic that would make him want to rush – he’d cleared me to land while I was still 2 miles out, so they probably weren’t that busy. I’ve seen the position and hold turned into a take-off clearance as soon as I clear before, but this was the first time I’d seen this.

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