|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Locale Reference||airport : mci.airport|
|Altitude||agl single value : 0|
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : local|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
controller : non radar
|Experience||controller non radar : 2|
controller radar : 22
flight time total : 250
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
|Independent Detector||other controllera|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : anomaly accepted|
|ATC Facility||procedure or policy : mci.tower|
staffing : mci.tower
Our staffing levels were very low (we no longer have a prescribed number of controllers as we had in the past). I reported to the tower to begin working local west control. We were on an unusual flow (west) due to very strong winds out of the west; northwest; which precluded our use of the ns parallel runways for anything other than a few departures. We were in 'deicing' conditions as well having received several pilot reports on turbulence and some windshear. Our tower staffing was only 3 with my arrival. Ideally; we try to staff the tower with 5 during these kind of conditions so that we can have 4 position open. The ground controller was combined with clearance delivery and sc; making that job even more task oriented rather than being able to focus on the separation of their ground traffic. On top of that; tmu was requiring that we 'call for release' even though we were in deicing conditions which our deicing order dictates that we just give tmu a courtesy call to let them know another aircraft for the designated airports is about to enter the system. That in itself could present a problem during known icing conditions. I took a quick break as the other controller's shift was over and that would leave only 2 controllers in the tower; period. While working ground; clearance; and the in charge position; I notified the supervisor in charge of the TRACON operation that we were having a discrepancy with tmu about the releases. At that time he realized that our tower staffing was only 2 and he came up to the tower to assist as well as shifting the already low staffing in the TRACON so that we could have a 3RD person in the tower for breaks. The short staffing continued for the duration of the evening even though we had steady traffic since we were on a 1 runway operation. The strong winds and only 1 runway basically in use; increased the complexity of not only the tower's operations; but the radar room's operations as well. The unusual flow confign (west) is a confign that we are not as familiar with; so procedures can be confusing. It always helps to have other controllers staffing the sc position during this type of confign to assist local; ground; and clearance delivery with those prescribed procedures. Several times while I was working ground; clearance; and sc (answering phones; talking to tmu about releases; etc) I had to advise pilots requesting clrncs to 'stand by' as I was unable to do all my required duties at once. Managing my ground traffic and ensuring that I was following prescribed procedures was foremost in my priorities. I believe that staffing numbers were unacceptable for this type of operation. And furthermore; the requirement for us to 'call for release' during deicing conditions was also unsafe in the event that a release time was beyond the time limit for an aircraft's deicing fluid. It contradicted the established procedure during deicing conditions.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: MCI TWR CTLR CHRONICLES DIFFICULT EVENING SHIFT WITH VERY LOW STAFFING ALONG WITH NON STANDARD TMC RELEASE PROCS DURING DEICING OPS.
Narrative: OUR STAFFING LEVELS WERE VERY LOW (WE NO LONGER HAVE A PRESCRIBED NUMBER OF CTLRS AS WE HAD IN THE PAST). I RPTED TO THE TWR TO BEGIN WORKING LCL W CTL. WE WERE ON AN UNUSUAL FLOW (W) DUE TO VERY STRONG WINDS OUT OF THE W; NW; WHICH PRECLUDED OUR USE OF THE NS PARALLEL RWYS FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN A FEW DEPS. WE WERE IN 'DEICING' CONDITIONS AS WELL HAVING RECEIVED SEVERAL PLT RPTS ON TURB AND SOME WINDSHEAR. OUR TWR STAFFING WAS ONLY 3 WITH MY ARR. IDEALLY; WE TRY TO STAFF THE TWR WITH 5 DURING THESE KIND OF CONDITIONS SO THAT WE CAN HAVE 4 POS OPEN. THE GND CTLR WAS COMBINED WITH CLRNC DELIVERY AND SC; MAKING THAT JOB EVEN MORE TASK ORIENTED RATHER THAN BEING ABLE TO FOCUS ON THE SEPARATION OF THEIR GND TFC. ON TOP OF THAT; TMU WAS REQUIRING THAT WE 'CALL FOR RELEASE' EVEN THOUGH WE WERE IN DEICING CONDITIONS WHICH OUR DEICING ORDER DICTATES THAT WE JUST GIVE TMU A COURTESY CALL TO LET THEM KNOW ANOTHER ACFT FOR THE DESIGNATED ARPTS IS ABOUT TO ENTER THE SYS. THAT IN ITSELF COULD PRESENT A PROB DURING KNOWN ICING CONDITIONS. I TOOK A QUICK BREAK AS THE OTHER CTLR'S SHIFT WAS OVER AND THAT WOULD LEAVE ONLY 2 CTLRS IN THE TWR; PERIOD. WHILE WORKING GND; CLRNC; AND THE IN CHARGE POS; I NOTIFIED THE SUPVR IN CHARGE OF THE TRACON OP THAT WE WERE HAVING A DISCREPANCY WITH TMU ABOUT THE RELEASES. AT THAT TIME HE REALIZED THAT OUR TWR STAFFING WAS ONLY 2 AND HE CAME UP TO THE TWR TO ASSIST AS WELL AS SHIFTING THE ALREADY LOW STAFFING IN THE TRACON SO THAT WE COULD HAVE A 3RD PERSON IN THE TWR FOR BREAKS. THE SHORT STAFFING CONTINUED FOR THE DURATION OF THE EVENING EVEN THOUGH WE HAD STEADY TFC SINCE WE WERE ON A 1 RWY OP. THE STRONG WINDS AND ONLY 1 RWY BASICALLY IN USE; INCREASED THE COMPLEXITY OF NOT ONLY THE TWR'S OPS; BUT THE RADAR ROOM'S OPS AS WELL. THE UNUSUAL FLOW CONFIGN (W) IS A CONFIGN THAT WE ARE NOT AS FAMILIAR WITH; SO PROCS CAN BE CONFUSING. IT ALWAYS HELPS TO HAVE OTHER CTLRS STAFFING THE SC POS DURING THIS TYPE OF CONFIGN TO ASSIST LCL; GND; AND CLRNC DELIVERY WITH THOSE PRESCRIBED PROCS. SEVERAL TIMES WHILE I WAS WORKING GND; CLRNC; AND SC (ANSWERING PHONES; TALKING TO TMU ABOUT RELEASES; ETC) I HAD TO ADVISE PLTS REQUESTING CLRNCS TO 'STAND BY' AS I WAS UNABLE TO DO ALL MY REQUIRED DUTIES AT ONCE. MANAGING MY GND TFC AND ENSURING THAT I WAS FOLLOWING PRESCRIBED PROCS WAS FOREMOST IN MY PRIORITIES. I BELIEVE THAT STAFFING NUMBERS WERE UNACCEPTABLE FOR THIS TYPE OF OP. AND FURTHERMORE; THE REQUIREMENT FOR US TO 'CALL FOR RELEASE' DURING DEICING CONDITIONS WAS ALSO UNSAFE IN THE EVENT THAT A RELEASE TIME WAS BEYOND THE TIME LIMIT FOR AN ACFT'S DEICING FLUID. IT CONTRADICTED THE ESTABLISHED PROC DURING DEICING CONDITIONS.
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.