|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : sdl|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 3500|
msl bound upper : 4000
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : phx|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, Low Wing, 1 Eng, Retractable Gear|
|Flight Phase||descent : approach|
|Route In Use||enroute : on vectors|
|Function||instruction : instructor|
|Qualification||pilot : cfi|
pilot : commercial
pilot : instrument
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 125|
flight time total : 2400
flight time type : 700
|Function||instruction : trainee|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
|Anomaly||altitude deviation : excursion from assigned altitude|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : anomaly accepted|
|Primary Problem||ATC Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Operational Deviation|
On 2/sun/89 a pilot under instruction to receive both commercial and instrument ratings and I were in the process of a long cross country flight. A specified type of instrument approach for each destination was predetermined to enable the flight to fulfill the requirements of both the instrument and the commercial cross country flight experience requirements. Once we were handed off to ZAB we requested and received a modification to our clearance to terminate with a VOR approach into sdl. The center controller was told we were on an instrument training flight and that we wanted the VOR approach upon arrival. When we were handed off to phx approach a similar advisory was given. Approach advised they were giving visibility approachs into sdl but would give us a VOR approach west/O the procedure turn. 'Expect radar vectors to geltz intx' was the last routing we received before being handed off to the final approach controller. When we were handed off to the final approach controller is where real problems started. The final approach controller told us he couldn't give us the approach west/O explanation. The WX is clear and 40, I can see our destination airport from 20 mi, my student is under the hood and full well knows he must have 3 approachs for this planned 7 hour flight to qualify him for his rating. Now the student says, 'what do we do?' I advised the controller that this was an instrument check flight and we needed the approach and he replied, 'unable.' I asked if we could hold and be sequenced if there was a problem, and he told me we could expect to hold indefinitely. I asked him what indefinitely meant. Finally I asked for a supervisor. We were still going about 140 KTS and the student was definitely under heavy stress. The controller wouldn't let me talk to a supervisor, wouldn't't give me his controller identify and didn't give me a reason why he was denying us our approach, etc. He finally gave me a telephone number I could call when we landed (somewhere). At this point we had no alternative but to take an unacceptable, unpublished approach that would void the entire flight for my student. Imagine the atmosphere in the cockpit of our airplane by this time! The controller gave an altitude, a vector to 010 and told us to report the airport in sight. My student was still under the hood and we were only 3-4 mi from the runway and about 3000' above it. My student asked me what he should do and I told him to do as the controller said and we'd figure something out later. My student removed his goggles, saw the airport, turned toward it, saw he was very high and started a descent. About 30 seconds later the controller came on the radio and blasted us for descending below our assigned altitude. You could hear the 'gotcha' in his voice. I think the controller intentionally tried to get us to break a rule or commit an infraction. Yet he never gave us any reason why we couldn't fly the clearance we had initially received even though he knew we needed that approach for far compliance. This incident has created a terrible impression in my student's mind, as well as that of his wife. They now have a well earned feeling that a controller can make a PIC do whatever they want, even if the pilot thinks it is wrong or has an adverse affect on him. I have been teaching for almost 10 yrs, and this is the worst incident I have seen like this. It unnecessarily created confusion in the cockpit, west/O explanation denied a required training event, and showed a total unwillingness of a controller to work with a pilot. And ultimately it created (I believe intentionally) an altitude infraction.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: GA SMA ALT EXCURSION WHEN APCH CTLR ARBITRARILY REFUSED SERVICE.
Narrative: ON 2/SUN/89 A PLT UNDER INSTRUCTION TO RECEIVE BOTH COMMERCIAL AND INSTRUMENT RATINGS AND I WERE IN THE PROCESS OF A LONG CROSS COUNTRY FLT. A SPECIFIED TYPE OF INSTRUMENT APCH FOR EACH DEST WAS PREDETERMINED TO ENABLE THE FLT TO FULFILL THE REQUIREMENTS OF BOTH THE INSTRUMENT AND THE COMMERCIAL CROSS COUNTRY FLT EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS. ONCE WE WERE HANDED OFF TO ZAB WE REQUESTED AND RECEIVED A MODIFICATION TO OUR CLRNC TO TERMINATE WITH A VOR APCH INTO SDL. THE CENTER CTLR WAS TOLD WE WERE ON AN INSTRUMENT TRNING FLT AND THAT WE WANTED THE VOR APCH UPON ARR. WHEN WE WERE HANDED OFF TO PHX APCH A SIMILAR ADVISORY WAS GIVEN. APCH ADVISED THEY WERE GIVING VIS APCHS INTO SDL BUT WOULD GIVE US A VOR APCH W/O THE PROC TURN. 'EXPECT RADAR VECTORS TO GELTZ INTX' WAS THE LAST ROUTING WE RECEIVED BEFORE BEING HANDED OFF TO THE FINAL APCH CTLR. WHEN WE WERE HANDED OFF TO THE FINAL APCH CTLR IS WHERE REAL PROBS STARTED. THE FINAL APCH CTLR TOLD US HE COULDN'T GIVE US THE APCH W/O EXPLANATION. THE WX IS CLEAR AND 40, I CAN SEE OUR DEST ARPT FROM 20 MI, MY STUDENT IS UNDER THE HOOD AND FULL WELL KNOWS HE MUST HAVE 3 APCHS FOR THIS PLANNED 7 HR FLT TO QUALIFY HIM FOR HIS RATING. NOW THE STUDENT SAYS, 'WHAT DO WE DO?' I ADVISED THE CTLR THAT THIS WAS AN INSTRUMENT CHK FLT AND WE NEEDED THE APCH AND HE REPLIED, 'UNABLE.' I ASKED IF WE COULD HOLD AND BE SEQUENCED IF THERE WAS A PROB, AND HE TOLD ME WE COULD EXPECT TO HOLD INDEFINITELY. I ASKED HIM WHAT INDEFINITELY MEANT. FINALLY I ASKED FOR A SUPVR. WE WERE STILL GOING ABOUT 140 KTS AND THE STUDENT WAS DEFINITELY UNDER HEAVY STRESS. THE CTLR WOULDN'T LET ME TALK TO A SUPVR, WOULDN'T'T GIVE ME HIS CTLR IDENT AND DIDN'T GIVE ME A REASON WHY HE WAS DENYING US OUR APCH, ETC. HE FINALLY GAVE ME A TELEPHONE NUMBER I COULD CALL WHEN WE LANDED (SOMEWHERE). AT THIS POINT WE HAD NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO TAKE AN UNACCEPTABLE, UNPUBLISHED APCH THAT WOULD VOID THE ENTIRE FLT FOR MY STUDENT. IMAGINE THE ATMOSPHERE IN THE COCKPIT OF OUR AIRPLANE BY THIS TIME! THE CTLR GAVE AN ALT, A VECTOR TO 010 AND TOLD US TO RPT THE ARPT IN SIGHT. MY STUDENT WAS STILL UNDER THE HOOD AND WE WERE ONLY 3-4 MI FROM THE RWY AND ABOUT 3000' ABOVE IT. MY STUDENT ASKED ME WHAT HE SHOULD DO AND I TOLD HIM TO DO AS THE CTLR SAID AND WE'D FIGURE SOMETHING OUT LATER. MY STUDENT REMOVED HIS GOGGLES, SAW THE ARPT, TURNED TOWARD IT, SAW HE WAS VERY HIGH AND STARTED A DSCNT. ABOUT 30 SECS LATER THE CTLR CAME ON THE RADIO AND BLASTED US FOR DSNDING BELOW OUR ASSIGNED ALT. YOU COULD HEAR THE 'GOTCHA' IN HIS VOICE. I THINK THE CTLR INTENTIONALLY TRIED TO GET US TO BREAK A RULE OR COMMIT AN INFRACTION. YET HE NEVER GAVE US ANY REASON WHY WE COULDN'T FLY THE CLRNC WE HAD INITIALLY RECEIVED EVEN THOUGH HE KNEW WE NEEDED THAT APCH FOR FAR COMPLIANCE. THIS INCIDENT HAS CREATED A TERRIBLE IMPRESSION IN MY STUDENT'S MIND, AS WELL AS THAT OF HIS WIFE. THEY NOW HAVE A WELL EARNED FEELING THAT A CTLR CAN MAKE A PIC DO WHATEVER THEY WANT, EVEN IF THE PLT THINKS IT IS WRONG OR HAS AN ADVERSE AFFECT ON HIM. I HAVE BEEN TEACHING FOR ALMOST 10 YRS, AND THIS IS THE WORST INCIDENT I HAVE SEEN LIKE THIS. IT UNNECESSARILY CREATED CONFUSION IN THE COCKPIT, W/O EXPLANATION DENIED A REQUIRED TRNING EVENT, AND SHOWED A TOTAL UNWILLINGNESS OF A CTLR TO WORK WITH A PLT. AND ULTIMATELY IT CREATED (I BELIEVE INTENTIONALLY) AN ALT INFRACTION.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of August 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.