|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0001 To 0600|
|Locale Reference||airport : sdf.airport|
|Altitude||agl single value : 0|
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||B767 Undifferentiated or Other Model|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 121|
|Flight Phase||ground : parked|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 45|
flight time total : 6000
flight time type : 400
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : first officer|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : anomaly accepted|
Flight Crew Human Performance
I was assigned late standby in sdf. After check-in; I pulled up the national radar to familiarize myself with the convection activity around the country and noted a massive line thunderstorms with tops up to 60000 ft. The line extended from the great lakes region all the way down into southern oklahoma/northern texas. At approximately xa:40Z; scheduling advised my crew to operate to the west coast and return. I picked up the paperwork and began preflight duties. The paperwork reflected that the WX radar was inoperative and deferred. The first officer and I consulted the MEL and agreed that given the very significant convective activity; it was not safe to operate the flight as planned; and that MEL compliance was questionable. I called the dispatcher; and while I was looking for him a crew came into operations and commented that they had already declined to operate the flight without an operative radar. The dispatcher came on the line and we discussed the flight. After some discussion; I stated that I did not feel that it was safe to operate the flight as currently planned; and that ended our conversation. I tried to contact the chief pilot's office; but there wasn't anyone available as they were all apparently at our assigned aircraft. Having received no further direction; I decided to proceed to the aircraft to find out the status. Upon arrival; we discovered that the engines were being started; so we returned to the building. Scheduling called and informed me that even though I had 'refused to fly;' I was still on standby. I told her that I had never 'refused to fly' but that we would resume standby status. A short time after that; we ended up operating to another gateway with a different airplane. The fom states that; 'the captain may require equipment over and above that specified MEL...' and 'the final decision to accept the aircraft rests with the captain...' it was not reasonable to expect that the extreme line of WX would remain stationary; not intensify; and that no further storms would develop. In fact; on our southerly route on the flight we operated; we noted considerable lightning in the vicinity of the flight in question's planned routing (lit area) as well as developing thunderstorms as far south as mem. The crew that had originally been scheduled to operate the flight apparently had been intimidated by management and threatened with discipline; and we fully believed that we would be as well (I will note; however; that at this time so far I have not been contacted by management). The airline operates under intense pressure from a variety of sources; and oftentimes the flight crew becomes the last line of defense when it comes to safety. We cannot make the sound decisions we are expected to make; especially when safety is a clear concern; when we have to worry about company threats to our job. I made this decision purely out of concern for the safety of my aircraft and crew. I strongly feel that I made the correct decision for the right reasons. The continued safe operation of this airline can only be assured when its employees are fully empowered by management to truly put safety first every time.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: FLT CREW OF A B767 FEEL PRESSURED TO FLY AN ACFT ALREADY REFUSED BY ANOTHER CREW DUE TO AN INOP RADAR AND SIGNIFICANT CONVECTIVE WX ENRTE.
Narrative: I WAS ASSIGNED LATE STANDBY IN SDF. AFTER CHK-IN; I PULLED UP THE NATIONAL RADAR TO FAMILIARIZE MYSELF WITH THE CONVECTION ACTIVITY AROUND THE COUNTRY AND NOTED A MASSIVE LINE TSTMS WITH TOPS UP TO 60000 FT. THE LINE EXTENDED FROM THE GREAT LAKES REGION ALL THE WAY DOWN INTO SOUTHERN OKLAHOMA/NORTHERN TEXAS. AT APPROX XA:40Z; SCHEDULING ADVISED MY CREW TO OPERATE TO THE WEST COAST AND RETURN. I PICKED UP THE PAPERWORK AND BEGAN PREFLT DUTIES. THE PAPERWORK REFLECTED THAT THE WX RADAR WAS INOP AND DEFERRED. THE FO AND I CONSULTED THE MEL AND AGREED THAT GIVEN THE VERY SIGNIFICANT CONVECTIVE ACTIVITY; IT WAS NOT SAFE TO OPERATE THE FLT AS PLANNED; AND THAT MEL COMPLIANCE WAS QUESTIONABLE. I CALLED THE DISPATCHER; AND WHILE I WAS LOOKING FOR HIM A CREW CAME INTO OPS AND COMMENTED THAT THEY HAD ALREADY DECLINED TO OPERATE THE FLT WITHOUT AN OPERATIVE RADAR. THE DISPATCHER CAME ON THE LINE AND WE DISCUSSED THE FLT. AFTER SOME DISCUSSION; I STATED THAT I DID NOT FEEL THAT IT WAS SAFE TO OPERATE THE FLT AS CURRENTLY PLANNED; AND THAT ENDED OUR CONVERSATION. I TRIED TO CONTACT THE CHIEF PLT'S OFFICE; BUT THERE WASN'T ANYONE AVAILABLE AS THEY WERE ALL APPARENTLY AT OUR ASSIGNED ACFT. HAVING RECEIVED NO FURTHER DIRECTION; I DECIDED TO PROCEED TO THE ACFT TO FIND OUT THE STATUS. UPON ARR; WE DISCOVERED THAT THE ENGS WERE BEING STARTED; SO WE RETURNED TO THE BUILDING. SCHEDULING CALLED AND INFORMED ME THAT EVEN THOUGH I HAD 'REFUSED TO FLY;' I WAS STILL ON STANDBY. I TOLD HER THAT I HAD NEVER 'REFUSED TO FLY' BUT THAT WE WOULD RESUME STANDBY STATUS. A SHORT TIME AFTER THAT; WE ENDED UP OPERATING TO ANOTHER GATEWAY WITH A DIFFERENT AIRPLANE. THE FOM STATES THAT; 'THE CAPT MAY REQUIRE EQUIP OVER AND ABOVE THAT SPECIFIED MEL...' AND 'THE FINAL DECISION TO ACCEPT THE ACFT RESTS WITH THE CAPT...' IT WAS NOT REASONABLE TO EXPECT THAT THE EXTREME LINE OF WX WOULD REMAIN STATIONARY; NOT INTENSIFY; AND THAT NO FURTHER STORMS WOULD DEVELOP. IN FACT; ON OUR SOUTHERLY RTE ON THE FLT WE OPERATED; WE NOTED CONSIDERABLE LIGHTNING IN THE VICINITY OF THE FLT IN QUESTION'S PLANNED ROUTING (LIT AREA) AS WELL AS DEVELOPING TSTMS AS FAR SOUTH AS MEM. THE CREW THAT HAD ORIGINALLY BEEN SCHEDULED TO OPERATE THE FLT APPARENTLY HAD BEEN INTIMIDATED BY MANAGEMENT AND THREATENED WITH DISCIPLINE; AND WE FULLY BELIEVED THAT WE WOULD BE AS WELL (I WILL NOTE; HOWEVER; THAT AT THIS TIME SO FAR I HAVE NOT BEEN CONTACTED BY MANAGEMENT). THE AIRLINE OPERATES UNDER INTENSE PRESSURE FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES; AND OFTENTIMES THE FLT CREW BECOMES THE LAST LINE OF DEFENSE WHEN IT COMES TO SAFETY. WE CANNOT MAKE THE SOUND DECISIONS WE ARE EXPECTED TO MAKE; ESPECIALLY WHEN SAFETY IS A CLEAR CONCERN; WHEN WE HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT COMPANY THREATS TO OUR JOB. I MADE THIS DECISION PURELY OUT OF CONCERN FOR THE SAFETY OF MY ACFT AND CREW. I STRONGLY FEEL THAT I MADE THE CORRECT DECISION FOR THE RIGHT REASONS. THE CONTINUED SAFE OPERATION OF THIS AIRLINE CAN ONLY BE ASSURED WHEN ITS EMPLOYEES ARE FULLY EMPOWERED BY MANAGEMENT TO TRULY PUT SAFETY FIRST EVERY TIME.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of January 2009 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.