|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 13000|
msl bound upper : 27000
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : zny.artcc|
|Operator||general aviation : corporate|
|Make Model Name||PA-31T Cheyenne II|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Flight Phase||cruise : enroute altitude change|
|Affiliation||company : corporate|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : multi engine|
pilot : instrument
pilot : commercial
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 80|
flight time total : 2200
flight time type : 300
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||inflight encounter : weather|
inflight encounter other
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||controller : issued new clearance|
|Consequence||faa : reviewed incident with flight crew|
|Problem Areas||ATC Human Performance|
En route from lex to oxc at FL270 under control of nyc. Much of the northeast overcast/rain and embedded thunderstorms reported tops to FL300. We were cruising just at the tops in our area (just south of wilkes barre) at FL270. We were deviating to avoid higher cloud tops. Nyc controller instructed us to descend to FL250 and turn westward to williamsport (fqm). Not only was the instruction puzzling since we were heading in a northeasterly direction, it would put us into the clouds and almost certainly cause us to ice. I told the controller we were unable, yet he continued to insist that we turn and descend. Finally we agreed and as we began our descent he switched us to the next sector. Entering the clouds at FL268 we immediately began to ice (moderate and increasing). The controller refused to allow us to climb back on top and suggested that we continue at FL250. When we refused and reiterated the icing conditions he approved a descent to 13000 ft. We were then cleared to dny direct flips plus pou. When I told the controller that we weren't going to pou but to oxc, he was, at first, argumentative. I told him we had switched destinations earlier with ZDC and reiterated the change with nyc when we had been cleared to mip at FL270. I provided the controller with the frequencys of both controllers and after a min or two, he was back up and apologized for the change not having been recorded on our form. He noted that if it had, we could have stayed higher and he asked if I wanted to climb to 17000 ft. I declined. More and more, one notices the unwillingness of nyc to adjust an inexplicably rigid ATC model to existing flight/WX conditions. The irrational route and altitude requirements imposed by nyc are well known to pilots and controllers alike. Nyc has become synonymous with unusual clrncs and altitude and climb restrs that do more to assure controller convenience than to promote air traffic safety. The phrase 'new york strikes again' is understood by anyone who flies in the northeast. Usually these idiosyncratic nyc demands do no more harm than adding 100 NM to a trip segment and wasting hundreds if not thousands of pounds of jet-a fuel. In this case, the rigid demands of the nyc controller also placed our aircraft in danger. I realize that I should have continued to reply 'unable' until I was clear of the convective activity. To allow a controller who is oblivious to the larger safety picture to dictate one's actions as captain is a mistake. In this case, rigidity and obliviousness were further complicated by the failure of ATC to pass on the earlier destination and route change. The overall situation needs to be addressed, but at the moment, there is no forum available to do so.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: A BREAKDOWN IN ATC INTER/INTRAFACILITY COORD RESULTS IN A PA31 BEING ISSUED A DSCNT INTO ICY WX CONDITIONS.
Narrative: ENRTE FROM LEX TO OXC AT FL270 UNDER CTL OF NYC. MUCH OF THE NE OVERCAST/RAIN AND EMBEDDED TSTMS RPTED TOPS TO FL300. WE WERE CRUISING JUST AT THE TOPS IN OUR AREA (JUST S OF WILKES BARRE) AT FL270. WE WERE DEVIATING TO AVOID HIGHER CLOUD TOPS. NYC CTLR INSTRUCTED US TO DSND TO FL250 AND TURN WESTWARD TO WILLIAMSPORT (FQM). NOT ONLY WAS THE INSTRUCTION PUZZLING SINCE WE WERE HDG IN A NORTHEASTERLY DIRECTION, IT WOULD PUT US INTO THE CLOUDS AND ALMOST CERTAINLY CAUSE US TO ICE. I TOLD THE CTLR WE WERE UNABLE, YET HE CONTINUED TO INSIST THAT WE TURN AND DSND. FINALLY WE AGREED AND AS WE BEGAN OUR DSCNT HE SWITCHED US TO THE NEXT SECTOR. ENTERING THE CLOUDS AT FL268 WE IMMEDIATELY BEGAN TO ICE (MODERATE AND INCREASING). THE CTLR REFUSED TO ALLOW US TO CLB BACK ON TOP AND SUGGESTED THAT WE CONTINUE AT FL250. WHEN WE REFUSED AND REITERATED THE ICING CONDITIONS HE APPROVED A DSCNT TO 13000 FT. WE WERE THEN CLRED TO DNY DIRECT FLIPS PLUS POU. WHEN I TOLD THE CTLR THAT WE WEREN'T GOING TO POU BUT TO OXC, HE WAS, AT FIRST, ARGUMENTATIVE. I TOLD HIM WE HAD SWITCHED DESTS EARLIER WITH ZDC AND REITERATED THE CHANGE WITH NYC WHEN WE HAD BEEN CLRED TO MIP AT FL270. I PROVIDED THE CTLR WITH THE FREQS OF BOTH CTLRS AND AFTER A MIN OR TWO, HE WAS BACK UP AND APOLOGIZED FOR THE CHANGE NOT HAVING BEEN RECORDED ON OUR FORM. HE NOTED THAT IF IT HAD, WE COULD HAVE STAYED HIGHER AND HE ASKED IF I WANTED TO CLB TO 17000 FT. I DECLINED. MORE AND MORE, ONE NOTICES THE UNWILLINGNESS OF NYC TO ADJUST AN INEXPLICABLY RIGID ATC MODEL TO EXISTING FLT/WX CONDITIONS. THE IRRATIONAL RTE AND ALT REQUIREMENTS IMPOSED BY NYC ARE WELL KNOWN TO PLTS AND CTLRS ALIKE. NYC HAS BECOME SYNONYMOUS WITH UNUSUAL CLRNCS AND ALT AND CLB RESTRS THAT DO MORE TO ASSURE CTLR CONVENIENCE THAN TO PROMOTE AIR TFC SAFETY. THE PHRASE 'NEW YORK STRIKES AGAIN' IS UNDERSTOOD BY ANYONE WHO FLIES IN THE NE. USUALLY THESE IDIOSYNCRATIC NYC DEMANDS DO NO MORE HARM THAN ADDING 100 NM TO A TRIP SEGMENT AND WASTING HUNDREDS IF NOT THOUSANDS OF LBS OF JET-A FUEL. IN THIS CASE, THE RIGID DEMANDS OF THE NYC CTLR ALSO PLACED OUR ACFT IN DANGER. I REALIZE THAT I SHOULD HAVE CONTINUED TO REPLY 'UNABLE' UNTIL I WAS CLR OF THE CONVECTIVE ACTIVITY. TO ALLOW A CTLR WHO IS OBLIVIOUS TO THE LARGER SAFETY PICTURE TO DICTATE ONE'S ACTIONS AS CAPT IS A MISTAKE. IN THIS CASE, RIGIDITY AND OBLIVIOUSNESS WERE FURTHER COMPLICATED BY THE FAILURE OF ATC TO PASS ON THE EARLIER DEST AND RTE CHANGE. THE OVERALL SIT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED, BUT AT THE MOMENT, THERE IS NO FORUM AVAILABLE TO DO SO.
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.