|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : idu|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 15000|
msl bound upper : 15000
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : iah|
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||Large Transport, Low Wing, 3 Turbojet Eng|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Route In Use||enroute airway : zhu|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 160|
flight time total : 9500
flight time type : 3650
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : departure|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||controller : issued new clearance|
|Primary Problem||ATC Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Operational Deviation|
During short 30 min flight segment, aircraft was not handed off to iah center. Controller appeared to have a fairly heavy workload. Our aircraft was on vectors for spacing with speed restrictions. ATC then cleared us to 15000', direct to the industry VOR. Flight continued on course at 15000', but with no ATC handoff. Frequency was very busy, and it took us some time to request from ATC if he still wanted us on his frequency. Controller seemed surprised that we were still with him. Handed off to center frequency at this time. This sector of airspace is around a hub airport for major air carrier's. Many of the flts have the same call sign but with flight #'south that are very close. These can be easily misunderstood by both ATC and cockpit crews. Our aircraft was on the departure frequency and was never contacted to make the appropriate frequency change. It didn't appear that the center we were flying into made any attempt to find out if we had been handed off. Last controller should have inquired with us, I feel, to see if we'd received a change. There were other flts in the area with similar call signs and flight #'south. I feel this may have added to the confusion on the part of ATC. It may be beneficial to try and get the air carrier's to use flight #'south that are very close. Controller may very well have thought he handed us off, but was conveying an instruction to another flight.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: DEP CTLR FAILED TO GIVE FREQ CHANGE TO ZHU DURING SHORT FLT SEGMENT.
Narrative: DURING SHORT 30 MIN FLT SEGMENT, ACFT WAS NOT HANDED OFF TO IAH CENTER. CTLR APPEARED TO HAVE A FAIRLY HEAVY WORKLOAD. OUR ACFT WAS ON VECTORS FOR SPACING WITH SPD RESTRICTIONS. ATC THEN CLRED US TO 15000', DIRECT TO THE INDUSTRY VOR. FLT CONTINUED ON COURSE AT 15000', BUT WITH NO ATC HDOF. FREQ WAS VERY BUSY, AND IT TOOK US SOME TIME TO REQUEST FROM ATC IF HE STILL WANTED US ON HIS FREQ. CTLR SEEMED SURPRISED THAT WE WERE STILL WITH HIM. HANDED OFF TO CENTER FREQ AT THIS TIME. THIS SECTOR OF AIRSPACE IS AROUND A HUB ARPT FOR MAJOR ACR'S. MANY OF THE FLTS HAVE THE SAME CALL SIGN BUT WITH FLT #'S THAT ARE VERY CLOSE. THESE CAN BE EASILY MISUNDERSTOOD BY BOTH ATC AND COCKPIT CREWS. OUR ACFT WAS ON THE DEP FREQ AND WAS NEVER CONTACTED TO MAKE THE APPROPRIATE FREQ CHANGE. IT DIDN'T APPEAR THAT THE CENTER WE WERE FLYING INTO MADE ANY ATTEMPT TO FIND OUT IF WE HAD BEEN HANDED OFF. LAST CTLR SHOULD HAVE INQUIRED WITH US, I FEEL, TO SEE IF WE'D RECEIVED A CHANGE. THERE WERE OTHER FLTS IN THE AREA WITH SIMILAR CALL SIGNS AND FLT #'S. I FEEL THIS MAY HAVE ADDED TO THE CONFUSION ON THE PART OF ATC. IT MAY BE BENEFICIAL TO TRY AND GET THE ACR'S TO USE FLT #'S THAT ARE VERY CLOSE. CTLR MAY VERY WELL HAVE THOUGHT HE HANDED US OFF, BUT WAS CONVEYING AN INSTRUCTION TO ANOTHER FLT.
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.