Home-grown SIDs at VNY

Interesting Letter to Airmen about pilots taking shortcuts on Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs) at Van Nuys Airport (VNY.)

In the particular example supplied by the FAA, pilots are doing an early NW departure turn instead of SW and waiting for vectors, which in this case doesn’t look too bad from a terrain standpoint, but:

  1. VNY is in a valley sandwiched by airports on 3 sides (Burbank, Santa Monica and LAX) plus it’s under the LAX veil.
  2. the local airport area topography for the example turn (see below) looks flat on terrain maps, but cranes do get parked near airports and weather obscures those surrounding hills.
  3. own navigation causes flow and communication surprises for ATC. The vector instruction may just exist to add time for the hand-off from Tower to Approach (as well as allow airport overflights to Burbank.) Reaching IPIHO before talking to Approach would get ugly.

On the other hand, we’re talking about a very compact area (4 NM x 2.2 NM according to DME) and ATC likely vectors pilots according to the shortcut anyway. Please leave a comment if you know what the real issue here is.

ainonline.com:VNY Pilots Turning Too Early on SIDs
faasafety.gov: Pilot deviations – Van Nuys Airport (VNY) – Standard Instrument Departure (SID) Procedures
faasafety.gov: Pilot deviations associated with Van Nuys Airport (VNY) Standard Instrument Departure (SID) procedures

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