|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : sjt|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 9500|
msl bound upper : 9500
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : maf|
artcc : mhtg
|Make Model Name||Cessna 318 (T-37)|
|Operating Under FAR Part||other : other|
|Flight Phase||descent : approach|
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : approach|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Experience||controller military : 4|
controller non radar : 3
controller radar : 3
|Affiliation||government : military|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : military|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : less severe|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other controllera|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : unable|
|Consequence||faa : investigated|
|Primary Problem||Navigational Facility|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
I was working numerous aircraft on the san angelo approach position of midland approach ctrl on april xx, 1994. One of the aircraft under my control was military X T-37 doing a practice hi VOR DME approach to runway 3 at san angelo airport (sjt). I observed rapid movement of X's target on the ASR-9 radar display. X radar target advanced from 15 NM to 10 NM from the sjt airport in under 30 seconds. During this time X had both a primary and secondary radar target, a complete data block, and the target was not in `coast' mode, and the ground speed readout indicated 860 KTS. There was no indication, other than the ground speed, that the radar display was inaccurate until after the event. Approximately 10 to 15 seconds after the target returned to normal speed it appeared that X had changed his transponder code. The pilot confirmed that he had not changed the code. X's target was the only one to display this erratic performance. A maintenance tech checked the radar immediately after the event and could find no cause for the display error. The ats on duty refused to call the radar our of service and blamed the event on the aircraft's faulty transponder. I do not believe a faulty transponder could cause this error. The only proof we had that the transponder was malfunctioning is a radar display that had just proven its accuracy. To my knowledge, the only information the radar actually receives from the aircraft is the altitude and beacon code, all other information (airspeed, radar targets, etc.) is generated by the radar and its associated system. The ASR-9 radar at sjt has a history of false targets, ring around on beacon targets, short periods of radar outage (the sweep on the display slowing for a few seconds), and aircraft targets jumping. Our maintenance people are finding it very difficult to find the problems with the ASR-9 system. A perfect example of the problems we are having with the sjt approach position happened on the same morning. I arrived at the facility to find both radar channels in alarm on the sjt radar. The radar was called OTS. We quickly learned that the telephone lines were only working intermittently, and the radios were not working at all. We returned the approach control responsibility to ZFW. Approximately an hour later, the radar position appeared to be operating normally and maintenance returned the radar to service. While discussing the X incident, the air traffic supervisor told me that maintenance had not found a problem with the radar. The radar appeared to be working normally, and since they could not find the problem, they returned the radar to service.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: ATC EQUIP PROB RADAR ASR-9. MIL X MALFUNCTIONING XPONDER CAUSED FALSE RADAR POS AND AIRSPD.
Narrative: I WAS WORKING NUMEROUS ACFT ON THE SAN ANGELO APCH POS OF MIDLAND APCH CTRL ON APRIL XX, 1994. ONE OF THE ACFT UNDER MY CTL WAS MIL X T-37 DOING A PRACTICE HI VOR DME APCH TO RWY 3 AT SAN ANGELO ARPT (SJT). I OBSERVED RAPID MOVEMENT OF X'S TARGET ON THE ASR-9 RADAR DISPLAY. X RADAR TARGET ADVANCED FROM 15 NM TO 10 NM FROM THE SJT ARPT IN UNDER 30 SECONDS. DURING THIS TIME X HAD BOTH A PRIMARY AND SECONDARY RADAR TARGET, A COMPLETE DATA BLOCK, AND THE TARGET WAS NOT IN `COAST' MODE, AND THE GND SPD READOUT INDICATED 860 KTS. THERE WAS NO INDICATION, OTHER THAN THE GND SPD, THAT THE RADAR DISPLAY WAS INACCURATE UNTIL AFTER THE EVENT. APPROX 10 TO 15 SECONDS AFTER THE TARGET RETURNED TO NORMAL SPD IT APPEARED THAT X HAD CHANGED HIS XPONDER CODE. THE PLT CONFIRMED THAT HE HAD NOT CHANGED THE CODE. X'S TARGET WAS THE ONLY ONE TO DISPLAY THIS ERRATIC PERFORMANCE. A MAINT TECH CHKED THE RADAR IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE EVENT AND COULD FIND NO CAUSE FOR THE DISPLAY ERROR. THE ATS ON DUTY REFUSED TO CALL THE RADAR OUR OF SVC AND BLAMED THE EVENT ON THE ACFT'S FAULTY XPONDER. I DO NOT BELIEVE A FAULTY XPONDER COULD CAUSE THIS ERROR. THE ONLY PROOF WE HAD THAT THE XPONDER WAS MALFUNCTIONING IS A RADAR DISPLAY THAT HAD JUST PROVEN ITS ACCURACY. TO MY KNOWLEDGE, THE ONLY INFO THE RADAR ACTUALLY RECEIVES FROM THE ACFT IS THE ALT AND BEACON CODE, ALL OTHER INFO (AIRSPD, RADAR TARGETS, ETC.) IS GENERATED BY THE RADAR AND ITS ASSOCIATED SYS. THE ASR-9 RADAR AT SJT HAS A HISTORY OF FALSE TARGETS, RING AROUND ON BEACON TARGETS, SHORT PERIODS OF RADAR OUTAGE (THE SWEEP ON THE DISPLAY SLOWING FOR A FEW SECONDS), AND ACFT TARGETS JUMPING. OUR MAINT PEOPLE ARE FINDING IT VERY DIFFICULT TO FIND THE PROBS WITH THE ASR-9 SYS. A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF THE PROBS WE ARE HAVING WITH THE SJT APCH POS HAPPENED ON THE SAME MORNING. I ARRIVED AT THE FACILITY TO FIND BOTH RADAR CHANNELS IN ALARM ON THE SJT RADAR. THE RADAR WAS CALLED OTS. WE QUICKLY LEARNED THAT THE TELEPHONE LINES WERE ONLY WORKING INTERMITTENTLY, AND THE RADIOS WERE NOT WORKING AT ALL. WE RETURNED THE APCH CTL RESPONSIBILITY TO ZFW. APPROX AN HR LATER, THE RADAR POS APPEARED TO BE OPERATING NORMALLY AND MAINT RETURNED THE RADAR TO SVC. WHILE DISCUSSING THE X INCIDENT, THE AIR TFC SUPVR TOLD ME THAT MAINT HAD NOT FOUND A PROB WITH THE RADAR. THE RADAR APPEARED TO BE WORKING NORMALLY, AND SINCE THEY COULD NOT FIND THE PROB, THEY RETURNED THE RADAR TO SVC.
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.