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Thread: Aeroflot AFL2578 - airming for Heathrow

  1. #1
    Passenger
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    Jun 2018
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    Aeroflot AFL2578 - airming for Heathrow

    I live just north of Heathrow and occasionally get go-arounds coming straight overhead and other aircraft en-route to central London including VVIP helicopters so close that I can see the occupants of them including Marine One escorted by Ospreys.


    On Friday 8th June at about 12:02 (BST), I was in the garden when an A330 came overhead on a strange track, both direction and altitude which I guessed was maybe 5000 to 6000 feet and there was something very odd about it.

    So, back at my desk I check for aircraft in the vicinity and found Aeroflot SU 2578 was the aircraft in question. It was in the hold over Brentwood in Essex the released and was on a track of 265 to take it across to the West of London and join the approach in over Windsor. When overhead Enfield, it appeared to make a significant left turn to heading 237 aiming direct for the Heathrow terminal and continued on the course for a few minutes until over Hayes and close to the M4, when a very sharp right turn was executed, bring it right over here. The aircraft continued north westerly before turning left again to join the path of the original track of 265

    I cannot post a link to the data for teh flight, however, the flight reference is: su2578#11a6e03e

    Any thoughts on what might have been happening - it certainly appeared strange and the tracking confirms it.

  2. #2
    Flight attendant
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Can only guess without the benefit of ATC recording, but it could have been a sequencing vector to get some more space between other inbound aircraft or to facilitate climb/descent of some other (priority?) traffic. Leaving Lambourne heading 265 is certainly the normal instruction, doesn't seem to have changed since I worked there in the 70's.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stealth View Post
    Can only guess without the benefit of ATC recording, but it could have been a sequencing vector to get some more space between other inbound aircraft or to facilitate climb/descent of some other (priority?) traffic. Leaving Lambourne heading 265 is certainly the normal instruction, doesn't seem to have changed since I worked there in the 70's.
    That was my initial thought, but straight towards Heathrow? especially as any aircraft approaching on the north runway that decided to go around would have been going directly towards with an unknown vertical separation.

  4. #4
    Flight attendant
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    Dec 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabrach View Post
    That was my initial thought, but straight towards Heathrow? especially as any aircraft approaching on the north runway that decided to go around would have been going directly towards with an unknown vertical separation.
    Fortunately ATC is three dimensional, so you'll see on the playback that he remained at 7000' throughout that 'dog leg' manoeuver. This keeps him above departing aircraft who are limited to 6000' by the SID and any aircraft carrying out a missed approach is limited to a climb of 4000' (at least it was in my day). Deviating to the right i.e. to the north of the 265 track significantly, would probably cause more issues with other aircraft than the left option. So what occurred may have been unusual, but not dramatic. It would be nice to know the whole story.

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