|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : lga|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 500|
agl bound upper : 700
|Controlling Facilities||tower : lga|
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||Any Unknown or Unlisted Aircraft Manufacturer|
|Flight Phase||descent : approach|
|Make Model Name||Helicopter|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Route In Use||approach : svfr|
approach : visual
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : local|
|Qualification||controller : non radar|
|Experience||controller non radar : 11|
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||oversight : supervisor|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||conflict : nmac|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : anomaly accepted|
|Consequence||faa : reviewed incident with flight crew|
|Miss Distance||horizontal : 0|
vertical : 200
|Primary Problem||ATC Human Performance|
I was working the local control (tower) position during the time of the incident. Traffic was very heavy as it was for most of the day. Departure delays were in excess of 30 mins. Air carrier X was about 3 mi from the threshold of runway 13 when I cleared him to land. At that moment there were no traffic targets on my d-bright radar display, and I was not told of any traffic that may be a factor. At about 2 mi from the runway X asked me if I had a helicopter or any traffic for him. Looking up at the radar again I did not see any targets other than X. I then turned the cabin attendant coordinator (a supervisor, working cba north and south, the associated handoff as well as the cabin attendant coordinator position) and asked him if he had anything out there near my final? I was told 'yeah, a (helicopter) Y, he has you in sight.' I looked back at the BRITE and still saw no traffic targets. I told X of traffic and advised him that the helicopter had him in sight. Then advised me that this helicopter came very close, and indicated that he should not have been there. After X landed and exited the runway he asked for the tower phone number as he was switched to ground control. X telephoned the tower shortly after landing saying that he passed over the helicopter by 200 ft and that he would be filing a near midair collision report. Subsequent arrival air carrier asked if he had traffic also. I asked if there was anything else out there and was told no. Radar now displayed previous helicopter Y at 800 ft, 1 1/2 mi north of final approach course and no factor. I told second air carrier that he had no traffic below him. Among the contributing factors are: the poor quality of the lga's radar presentation. Too often aircraft targets do not acquire. Too often radar targets 'drop off' and only appear intermittently. Too many ghost targets appear and travel across the airspace. Many portions of lga's class B airspace do not display aircraft at low altitudes. These problems have been with us for a while, and have been reported to the FAA. Several unsatisfactory condition reports (ucr's) have been filed on this problem, the most recent was in jun 1995. The staffing shortages at lga routinely require the combining of several position. Flight crew in a time manner. The overuse of visual separation, when WX conditions and other factors would indicate that maintaining visual contact is not practical. Y, a sightseeing helicopter was on a route that circles manhattan, the spuyten duyvil route. Part of this route is to travel northbound on the east and harlem rivers at 500 ft, an area where the ILS approach to runway 13 GS descends arrs to between 700 and 800 ft.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: ACR X HAD NMAC WITH SIGHTSEEING HELI WHILE ON APCH. VISUAL SEPARATION IN USE. SEE AND AVOID CONCEPT.
Narrative: I WAS WORKING THE LCL CTL (TWR) POS DURING THE TIME OF THE INCIDENT. TFC WAS VERY HVY AS IT WAS FOR MOST OF THE DAY. DEP DELAYS WERE IN EXCESS OF 30 MINS. ACR X WAS ABOUT 3 MI FROM THE THRESHOLD OF RWY 13 WHEN I CLRED HIM TO LAND. AT THAT MOMENT THERE WERE NO TFC TARGETS ON MY D-BRIGHT RADAR DISPLAY, AND I WAS NOT TOLD OF ANY TFC THAT MAY BE A FACTOR. AT ABOUT 2 MI FROM THE RWY X ASKED ME IF I HAD A HELI OR ANY TFC FOR HIM. LOOKING UP AT THE RADAR AGAIN I DID NOT SEE ANY TARGETS OTHER THAN X. I THEN TURNED THE CAB COORDINATOR (A SUPVR, WORKING CBA N AND S, THE ASSOCIATED HDOF AS WELL AS THE CAB COORDINATOR POS) AND ASKED HIM IF HE HAD ANYTHING OUT THERE NEAR MY FINAL? I WAS TOLD 'YEAH, A (HELI) Y, HE HAS YOU IN SIGHT.' I LOOKED BACK AT THE BRITE AND STILL SAW NO TFC TARGETS. I TOLD X OF TFC AND ADVISED HIM THAT THE HELI HAD HIM IN SIGHT. THEN ADVISED ME THAT THIS HELI CAME VERY CLOSE, AND INDICATED THAT HE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN THERE. AFTER X LANDED AND EXITED THE RWY HE ASKED FOR THE TWR PHONE NUMBER AS HE WAS SWITCHED TO GND CTL. X TELEPHONED THE TWR SHORTLY AFTER LNDG SAYING THAT HE PASSED OVER THE HELI BY 200 FT AND THAT HE WOULD BE FILING A NMAC RPT. SUBSEQUENT ARR ACR ASKED IF HE HAD TFC ALSO. I ASKED IF THERE WAS ANYTHING ELSE OUT THERE AND WAS TOLD NO. RADAR NOW DISPLAYED PREVIOUS HELI Y AT 800 FT, 1 1/2 MI N OF FINAL APCH COURSE AND NO FACTOR. I TOLD SECOND ACR THAT HE HAD NO TFC BELOW HIM. AMONG THE CONTRIBUTING FACTORS ARE: THE POOR QUALITY OF THE LGA'S RADAR PRESENTATION. TOO OFTEN ACFT TARGETS DO NOT ACQUIRE. TOO OFTEN RADAR TARGETS 'DROP OFF' AND ONLY APPEAR INTERMITTENTLY. TOO MANY GHOST TARGETS APPEAR AND TRAVEL ACROSS THE AIRSPACE. MANY PORTIONS OF LGA'S CLASS B AIRSPACE DO NOT DISPLAY ACFT AT LOW ALTS. THESE PROBS HAVE BEEN WITH US FOR A WHILE, AND HAVE BEEN RPTED TO THE FAA. SEVERAL UNSATISFACTORY CONDITION RPTS (UCR'S) HAVE BEEN FILED ON THIS PROB, THE MOST RECENT WAS IN JUN 1995. THE STAFFING SHORTAGES AT LGA ROUTINELY REQUIRE THE COMBINING OF SEVERAL POS. FLC IN A TIME MANNER. THE OVERUSE OF VISUAL SEPARATION, WHEN WX CONDITIONS AND OTHER FACTORS WOULD INDICATE THAT MAINTAINING VISUAL CONTACT IS NOT PRACTICAL. Y, A SIGHTSEEING HELI WAS ON A RTE THAT CIRCLES MANHATTAN, THE SPUYTEN DUYVIL RTE. PART OF THIS RTE IS TO TRAVEL NBOUND ON THE E AND HARLEM RIVERS AT 500 FT, AN AREA WHERE THE ILS APCH TO RWY 13 GS DSNDS ARRS TO BTWN 700 AND 800 FT.
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.