|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : nfl|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 23000|
msl bound upper : 37000
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : zoa|
|Make Model Name||Fighter|
|Flight Phase||climbout : intermediate altitude|
|Route In Use||enroute : direct|
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : non radar|
|Qualification||controller : developmental|
|Experience||controller non radar : 4|
controller radar : 2
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : radar|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||non adherence : published procedure|
non adherence : clearance
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other controllera|
|Resolutory Action||controller : issued new clearance|
flight crew : declared emergency
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
Intra Facility Coordination Failure
Aircraft involved: 2 air carrier jets and 3 military fgts. I was the assistant air traffic controller at sector 33. Sector 33 controls eastbound airline departures from the northern ca bay area on jet route 84. Another flow through sector 33 is the arrival flow from the east inbound to the bay area. The problem: a military aircraft with the call sign fgt X was departing the gabbs MOA on a military flight plan (stereo flight plan). Sector 45 handed fgt X off to sector 33 and coordinated. Fgt X was minimum fuel and requesting as high an altitude as possible, preferring FL410. I noticed fgt X data block squawking emergency. Sector 34 was not aware of an emergency. I suggested sector 45 keep fgt X on his frequency and determine fgt X's emergency. I coordinated with the radar controller at my sector (33) and advised him of the request for a higher altitude for fgt X due to minimum fuel. We then noticed fgt X's altitude indicating a rapid climb rate, even though the ATC assigned altitude was FL230. I coordinated with sector 45 and asked what fgt X was doing. He said he did not know, that the aircraft was on my frequency. The radar controller said that he was talking to him. Fgt X altitude was now at approximately 31000' and climbing. I did see fgt X identify many times. Fgt X was still heading southbound toward nlc when we realized that action had to be taken concerning the aircraft on jet 84. My radar controller turned air carrier Y left 40 degrees and used the words 'immediately to avoid any possible conflict.' I coordinated with sector 32, and told them to turn air carrier Z to a 010 degree heading immediately. The sector complied and said they were aware of fgt X. Sector 45 then coordinated with me and requested approval for fgt X flight to return to nlc at FL290. I said unable. Sector 45 said it was a minimum fuel emergency, and needed to return to nlc. I said unable, there were too many aircraft outbnd at all altitudes on J84 and in the vicinity of fgt X that were possible conflicts. I did not learn until after leaving the sector that the fgt X with the emergency squawk was not the same fgt X that sector 45 was requesting clearance for. The original fgt X was in fact returning to nfl. It departed the gabbs MOA as a single aircraft, and the second fgt X flight departed later but used the same call sign because they were supposed to depart as a flight of 3 fgts. When fgt X, the second flight, made its request to return to nlc, it had already violated the positive control area. It was at FL260 and in my sector. It should have been below FL180, maintaining VFR until given a clearance from ATC. Many problems occurred during the few mins that transpired, and much confusion was brought on by the misuse of the same call sign by 2 separate aircraft. The main problem is the freedom the military is allowed in a minimum fuel situation. Had the traffic situation been any different at the time fgt X chose to climb unrestricted west/O ATC clearance, the results could have caused conflicts. Another problem is no investigation to this date has been implemented to inquire about fgt X's actions.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: MIL FGT X EMERGENCY LOW FUEL STATE ENTERED APC WITHOUT CLRNC. PLT DEVIATION. THIS IS AN ONGOING SITUATION WITH THE MIL.
Narrative: ACFT INVOLVED: 2 ACR JETS AND 3 MIL FGTS. I WAS THE ASSISTANT AIR TFC CTLR AT SECTOR 33. SECTOR 33 CTLS EBND AIRLINE DEPS FROM THE NORTHERN CA BAY AREA ON JET RTE 84. ANOTHER FLOW THROUGH SECTOR 33 IS THE ARR FLOW FROM THE E INBND TO THE BAY AREA. THE PROB: A MIL ACFT WITH THE CALL SIGN FGT X WAS DEPARTING THE GABBS MOA ON A MIL FLT PLAN (STEREO FLT PLAN). SECTOR 45 HANDED FGT X OFF TO SECTOR 33 AND COORDINATED. FGT X WAS MINIMUM FUEL AND REQUESTING AS HIGH AN ALT AS POSSIBLE, PREFERRING FL410. I NOTICED FGT X DATA BLOCK SQUAWKING EMER. SECTOR 34 WAS NOT AWARE OF AN EMER. I SUGGESTED SECTOR 45 KEEP FGT X ON HIS FREQ AND DETERMINE FGT X'S EMER. I COORDINATED WITH THE RADAR CTLR AT MY SECTOR (33) AND ADVISED HIM OF THE REQUEST FOR A HIGHER ALT FOR FGT X DUE TO MINIMUM FUEL. WE THEN NOTICED FGT X'S ALT INDICATING A RAPID CLB RATE, EVEN THOUGH THE ATC ASSIGNED ALT WAS FL230. I COORDINATED WITH SECTOR 45 AND ASKED WHAT FGT X WAS DOING. HE SAID HE DID NOT KNOW, THAT THE ACFT WAS ON MY FREQ. THE RADAR CTLR SAID THAT HE WAS TALKING TO HIM. FGT X ALT WAS NOW AT APPROX 31000' AND CLBING. I DID SEE FGT X IDENT MANY TIMES. FGT X WAS STILL HDG SBND TOWARD NLC WHEN WE REALIZED THAT ACTION HAD TO BE TAKEN CONCERNING THE ACFT ON JET 84. MY RADAR CTLR TURNED ACR Y LEFT 40 DEGS AND USED THE WORDS 'IMMEDIATELY TO AVOID ANY POSSIBLE CONFLICT.' I COORDINATED WITH SECTOR 32, AND TOLD THEM TO TURN ACR Z TO A 010 DEG HDG IMMEDIATELY. THE SECTOR COMPLIED AND SAID THEY WERE AWARE OF FGT X. SECTOR 45 THEN COORDINATED WITH ME AND REQUESTED APPROVAL FOR FGT X FLT TO RETURN TO NLC AT FL290. I SAID UNABLE. SECTOR 45 SAID IT WAS A MINIMUM FUEL EMER, AND NEEDED TO RETURN TO NLC. I SAID UNABLE, THERE WERE TOO MANY ACFT OUTBND AT ALL ALTS ON J84 AND IN THE VICINITY OF FGT X THAT WERE POSSIBLE CONFLICTS. I DID NOT LEARN UNTIL AFTER LEAVING THE SECTOR THAT THE FGT X WITH THE EMER SQUAWK WAS NOT THE SAME FGT X THAT SECTOR 45 WAS REQUESTING CLRNC FOR. THE ORIGINAL FGT X WAS IN FACT RETURNING TO NFL. IT DEPARTED THE GABBS MOA AS A SINGLE ACFT, AND THE SECOND FGT X FLT DEPARTED LATER BUT USED THE SAME CALL SIGN BECAUSE THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO DEPART AS A FLT OF 3 FGTS. WHEN FGT X, THE SECOND FLT, MADE ITS REQUEST TO RETURN TO NLC, IT HAD ALREADY VIOLATED THE PCA. IT WAS AT FL260 AND IN MY SECTOR. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN BELOW FL180, MAINTAINING VFR UNTIL GIVEN A CLRNC FROM ATC. MANY PROBS OCCURRED DURING THE FEW MINS THAT TRANSPIRED, AND MUCH CONFUSION WAS BROUGHT ON BY THE MISUSE OF THE SAME CALL SIGN BY 2 SEPARATE ACFT. THE MAIN PROB IS THE FREEDOM THE MIL IS ALLOWED IN A MINIMUM FUEL SITUATION. HAD THE TFC SITUATION BEEN ANY DIFFERENT AT THE TIME FGT X CHOSE TO CLB UNRESTRICTED W/O ATC CLRNC, THE RESULTS COULD HAVE CAUSED CONFLICTS. ANOTHER PROB IS NO INVESTIGATION TO THIS DATE HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED TO INQUIRE ABOUT FGT X'S ACTIONS.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of July 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.