|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1801 To 2400|
|Locale Reference||airport : sat|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 8500|
msl bound upper : 8500
|Controlling Facilities||tower : sat|
tower : dab
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||B727 Undifferentiated or Other Model|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 121|
|Flight Phase||climbout : intermediate altitude|
|Route In Use||enroute : on vectors|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Qualification||pilot : flight engineer|
pilot : atp
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : first officer|
|Qualification||pilot : commercial|
pilot : instrument
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : unable|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
|ATC Facility||procedure or policy : unspecified|
For the last 2 days I have been flying out of sat to mem. Sat tower has 1 controller on late at night. We go to our aircraft around XX30 hours, pickup the clearance, or at least try to. For the last 2 nights the controller has been talking almost non-stop, he is saturated. Low overcast, he is vectoring aircraft for approachs, giving taxi instructions, clrncs, cutting new ATIS and even 1 night a lost airplane, in clouds that he is trying to take care of. This night was my final straw. After departure, he turned us north to intercept the 'alamo 2 - gobby transition.' as we turned 60 degrees left to 330 degrees we saw several thunderstorms painting red on our radar. I asked the first officer if he could get a word in edgewise to let sat tower/departure control know that we needed to deviate for WX. After trying for (approximately) 2 1/2 mins, the controller talked non-stop, we deviated right of course, even though we had not intercepted the alamo 2. I am not aware of any traffic conflict and sat tower was working arrival and departure frequencys too. We were changed to ZHU and told them on contact that we were deviating for WX and had been unable to tell sat. The solution to me would keep two or more controllers working later at night and earlier in the morning. A week earlier on a scheduled air carrier flight as the PNF we were run through the localizer to runway 3 while the ATC controller read an IFR clearance to an aircraft on the ground. He then turned us back toward the localizer and right at the NDB. Almost on top of the localizer he finally cleared us for the ILS to runway 3. (700 ft broken and 3 mi.) we went through GS with full localizer deflection, had to do a missed approach. The second vector was not much better and during all this he/ATC sat was giving taxi instructions and other clrncs. These controllers are working all stations, making more money, but the aircraft are losing safety with the controller's attention so divided. There needs to be a checking of the workloads at various hours of the night (how many aircraft scheduled to arrival and departure versus the actual number of aircraft) to truly see if 1 controller can safely do the job. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following information: reporter stated that traffic seemed to be on the increase in the last month at this airport. She indicated that not all controllers adhered to priority of duties like talking to an aircraft on the ground instead of communication to an aircraft in flight. Reporter felt that a controller should stay over during the busy period to assist with the traffic. She indicated the early morning period also needs someone to assist with the traffic. Reporter said the aircraft flown was a B727.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: 1 CTLR HANDLING ALL ACFT OPS ON LATE NIGHT SHIFT INCLUDING VECTORING ARRS, DEPS, AND GND TFC. FLC RPTED FREQ CONGESTION AND WAS UNABLE TO ADVISE THE CTLR OF NEED TO DEV FOR WX ON DEP RTE.
Narrative: FOR THE LAST 2 DAYS I HAVE BEEN FLYING OUT OF SAT TO MEM. SAT TWR HAS 1 CTLR ON LATE AT NIGHT. WE GO TO OUR ACFT AROUND XX30 HRS, PICKUP THE CLRNC, OR AT LEAST TRY TO. FOR THE LAST 2 NIGHTS THE CTLR HAS BEEN TALKING ALMOST NON-STOP, HE IS SATURATED. LOW OVCST, HE IS VECTORING ACFT FOR APCHS, GIVING TAXI INSTRUCTIONS, CLRNCS, CUTTING NEW ATIS AND EVEN 1 NIGHT A LOST AIRPLANE, IN CLOUDS THAT HE IS TRYING TO TAKE CARE OF. THIS NIGHT WAS MY FINAL STRAW. AFTER DEP, HE TURNED US N TO INTERCEPT THE 'ALAMO 2 - GOBBY TRANSITION.' AS WE TURNED 60 DEGS L TO 330 DEGS WE SAW SEVERAL TSTMS PAINTING RED ON OUR RADAR. I ASKED THE FO IF HE COULD GET A WORD IN EDGEWISE TO LET SAT TWR/DEP CTL KNOW THAT WE NEEDED TO DEVIATE FOR WX. AFTER TRYING FOR (APPROX) 2 1/2 MINS, THE CTLR TALKED NON-STOP, WE DEVIATED R OF COURSE, EVEN THOUGH WE HAD NOT INTERCEPTED THE ALAMO 2. I AM NOT AWARE OF ANY TFC CONFLICT AND SAT TWR WAS WORKING ARR AND DEP FREQS TOO. WE WERE CHANGED TO ZHU AND TOLD THEM ON CONTACT THAT WE WERE DEVIATING FOR WX AND HAD BEEN UNABLE TO TELL SAT. THE SOLUTION TO ME WOULD KEEP TWO OR MORE CTLRS WORKING LATER AT NIGHT AND EARLIER IN THE MORNING. A WK EARLIER ON A SCHEDULED ACR FLT AS THE PNF WE WERE RUN THROUGH THE LOC TO RWY 3 WHILE THE ATC CTLR READ AN IFR CLRNC TO AN ACFT ON THE GND. HE THEN TURNED US BACK TOWARD THE LOC AND R AT THE NDB. ALMOST ON TOP OF THE LOC HE FINALLY CLRED US FOR THE ILS TO RWY 3. (700 FT BROKEN AND 3 MI.) WE WENT THROUGH GS WITH FULL LOC DEFLECTION, HAD TO DO A MISSED APCH. THE SECOND VECTOR WAS NOT MUCH BETTER AND DURING ALL THIS HE/ATC SAT WAS GIVING TAXI INSTRUCTIONS AND OTHER CLRNCS. THESE CTLRS ARE WORKING ALL STATIONS, MAKING MORE MONEY, BUT THE ACFT ARE LOSING SAFETY WITH THE CTLR'S ATTN SO DIVIDED. THERE NEEDS TO BE A CHKING OF THE WORKLOADS AT VARIOUS HRS OF THE NIGHT (HOW MANY ACFT SCHEDULED TO ARR AND DEP VERSUS THE ACTUAL NUMBER OF ACFT) TO TRULY SEE IF 1 CTLR CAN SAFELY DO THE JOB. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING INFO: RPTR STATED THAT TFC SEEMED TO BE ON THE INCREASE IN THE LAST MONTH AT THIS ARPT. SHE INDICATED THAT NOT ALL CTLRS ADHERED TO PRIORITY OF DUTIES LIKE TALKING TO AN ACFT ON THE GND INSTEAD OF COM TO AN ACFT IN FLT. RPTR FELT THAT A CTLR SHOULD STAY OVER DURING THE BUSY PERIOD TO ASSIST WITH THE TFC. SHE INDICATED THE EARLY MORNING PERIOD ALSO NEEDS SOMEONE TO ASSIST WITH THE TFC. RPTR SAID THE ACFT FLOWN WAS A B727.
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.