|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : zjx.artcc|
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : radar|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Experience||controller non radar : 1|
controller radar : 0.5
controller time certified in position1 : 0.5
flight time total : 100
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||oversight : supervisor|
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
|Independent Detector||other controllera|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : anomaly accepted|
|ATC Facility||procedure or policy : zjx.artcc|
staffing : zjx.artcc
At ZJX a completely unsafe situation unfolded in the south area. Severe WX moved in from the west; consisting of heavy rain; imbedded severe thunderstorms; and moderate turbulence. Severe turbulence was reported on occasion in the area throughout the shift. Traffic volume was heavy. The WX conditions greatly increased controller workload and sector complexities. ZJX tmu closed the leese arrival to mco and the tay.lzard arrival to tpa. Aircraft were rerouted to the bitho arrival for mco and the orl.lzard for tpa. This rerouted all affected aircraft into the ZJX south area. The south area was already very busy dealing with aircraft deviating far to the east on the bitho arrival and the mccoy and jag departures out of mco. Tmu issued no flow control initiatives; that I am aware of; to assist the south area (or any other ZJX area). Due to the tremendous increase in workload and complexity; d-sides and trackers were utilized at almost every position. This situation continued for several hours. As a result; I worked at R75 for a total of about 2 hours and 35 mins; all of which was extremely busy. When I was finally given a break; I realized that I was the only controller in the south area on break at the time. Half of those who were on position had been there for more than 2 hours. I took a 30 min break to eat dinner. When I returned I was assigned the R68 position; where I worked moderate to heavy traffic for just over 2 hours. This time when I was given a break; I was told by the supervisor; 'take a nature break...no more than 5 mins. We have people that go home.' I took a 4 min break and returned to R68/67 where I worked for an additional 1 hour 45 mins before finally being relieved to go home by the incoming shift. I was extremely tired during these long; busy sessions. I did not feel that I was performing as I should; due to my exhaustion; especially in light of the volume and complexity of the day. I feel that this was a very dangerous situation. There are probably about 10 other south area controllers with similar stories. There are several factors that caused this unsafe situation. First: management's refusal to use overtime. We were horribly short staffed. We need people badly on a good day; on day like this; it is absolutely necessary. Had we been properly staffed; we would have had more time away from the position; more rest. I feel that more rest would have dramatically increased the safety and efficiency of the operation on that day. The amount of time I was on position was not safe. As the night went on; I found it increasingly difficult; almost impossible; to stay focused and sharp. Second: tmu's unwillingness to help ZJX controllers by issuing flow control restrs. Had there been a miles-in-trail restr issued for arrival aircraft; the arrival sectors would have had a fighting chance. Instead they were stuck with complete chaos. Flow should have also been issued to ZMA; for single stream mit over orl VORTAC northbound. This would have given R75 enough of a break to allow them to begin sequencing mco/tpa arrs for R58. Instead; ZMA was feeding R75 dual streams with no mit. Aircraft were deviating towards each other northbound. Frequencys were clogged by pilots asking for ride reports and altitude changes due to moderate to severe turbulence. Because of this; R75 was unable to sequence or achieve any mit with the mco/tpa arrs that had been rerouted off of the leese/lzard arrs; and into the R58 sector. Again; this was not at all safe.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: ZJX CTLR DESCRIBED BUSY SHIFT WHEN STAFFING WAS LIMITED; REQUIRING LONG WORK PERIODS WITH NO FLOW CTL INITIATIVES PROVIDED BY THE TMU.
Narrative: AT ZJX A COMPLETELY UNSAFE SITUATION UNFOLDED IN THE S AREA. SEVERE WX MOVED IN FROM THE W; CONSISTING OF HVY RAIN; IMBEDDED SEVERE TSTMS; AND MODERATE TURB. SEVERE TURB WAS RPTED ON OCCASION IN THE AREA THROUGHOUT THE SHIFT. TFC VOLUME WAS HVY. THE WX CONDITIONS GREATLY INCREASED CTLR WORKLOAD AND SECTOR COMPLEXITIES. ZJX TMU CLOSED THE LEESE ARR TO MCO AND THE TAY.LZARD ARR TO TPA. ACFT WERE REROUTED TO THE BITHO ARR FOR MCO AND THE ORL.LZARD FOR TPA. THIS REROUTED ALL AFFECTED ACFT INTO THE ZJX S AREA. THE S AREA WAS ALREADY VERY BUSY DEALING WITH ACFT DEVIATING FAR TO THE E ON THE BITHO ARR AND THE MCCOY AND JAG DEPS OUT OF MCO. TMU ISSUED NO FLOW CTL INITIATIVES; THAT I AM AWARE OF; TO ASSIST THE S AREA (OR ANY OTHER ZJX AREA). DUE TO THE TREMENDOUS INCREASE IN WORKLOAD AND COMPLEXITY; D-SIDES AND TRACKERS WERE UTILIZED AT ALMOST EVERY POS. THIS SITUATION CONTINUED FOR SEVERAL HRS. AS A RESULT; I WORKED AT R75 FOR A TOTAL OF ABOUT 2 HRS AND 35 MINS; ALL OF WHICH WAS EXTREMELY BUSY. WHEN I WAS FINALLY GIVEN A BREAK; I REALIZED THAT I WAS THE ONLY CTLR IN THE S AREA ON BREAK AT THE TIME. HALF OF THOSE WHO WERE ON POS HAD BEEN THERE FOR MORE THAN 2 HRS. I TOOK A 30 MIN BREAK TO EAT DINNER. WHEN I RETURNED I WAS ASSIGNED THE R68 POS; WHERE I WORKED MODERATE TO HVY TFC FOR JUST OVER 2 HRS. THIS TIME WHEN I WAS GIVEN A BREAK; I WAS TOLD BY THE SUPVR; 'TAKE A NATURE BREAK...NO MORE THAN 5 MINS. WE HAVE PEOPLE THAT GO HOME.' I TOOK A 4 MIN BREAK AND RETURNED TO R68/67 WHERE I WORKED FOR AN ADDITIONAL 1 HR 45 MINS BEFORE FINALLY BEING RELIEVED TO GO HOME BY THE INCOMING SHIFT. I WAS EXTREMELY TIRED DURING THESE LONG; BUSY SESSIONS. I DID NOT FEEL THAT I WAS PERFORMING AS I SHOULD; DUE TO MY EXHAUSTION; ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF THE VOLUME AND COMPLEXITY OF THE DAY. I FEEL THAT THIS WAS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION. THERE ARE PROBABLY ABOUT 10 OTHER S AREA CTLRS WITH SIMILAR STORIES. THERE ARE SEVERAL FACTORS THAT CAUSED THIS UNSAFE SITUATION. FIRST: MGMNT'S REFUSAL TO USE OVERTIME. WE WERE HORRIBLY SHORT STAFFED. WE NEED PEOPLE BADLY ON A GOOD DAY; ON DAY LIKE THIS; IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. HAD WE BEEN PROPERLY STAFFED; WE WOULD HAVE HAD MORE TIME AWAY FROM THE POS; MORE REST. I FEEL THAT MORE REST WOULD HAVE DRAMATICALLY INCREASED THE SAFETY AND EFFICIENCY OF THE OP ON THAT DAY. THE AMOUNT OF TIME I WAS ON POS WAS NOT SAFE. AS THE NIGHT WENT ON; I FOUND IT INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT; ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE; TO STAY FOCUSED AND SHARP. SECOND: TMU'S UNWILLINGNESS TO HELP ZJX CTLRS BY ISSUING FLOW CTL RESTRS. HAD THERE BEEN A MILES-IN-TRAIL RESTR ISSUED FOR ARR ACFT; THE ARR SECTORS WOULD HAVE HAD A FIGHTING CHANCE. INSTEAD THEY WERE STUCK WITH COMPLETE CHAOS. FLOW SHOULD HAVE ALSO BEEN ISSUED TO ZMA; FOR SINGLE STREAM MIT OVER ORL VORTAC NBOUND. THIS WOULD HAVE GIVEN R75 ENOUGH OF A BREAK TO ALLOW THEM TO BEGIN SEQUENCING MCO/TPA ARRS FOR R58. INSTEAD; ZMA WAS FEEDING R75 DUAL STREAMS WITH NO MIT. ACFT WERE DEVIATING TOWARDS EACH OTHER NBOUND. FREQS WERE CLOGGED BY PLTS ASKING FOR RIDE RPTS AND ALT CHANGES DUE TO MODERATE TO SEVERE TURB. BECAUSE OF THIS; R75 WAS UNABLE TO SEQUENCE OR ACHIEVE ANY MIT WITH THE MCO/TPA ARRS THAT HAD BEEN REROUTED OFF OF THE LEESE/LZARD ARRS; AND INTO THE R58 SECTOR. AGAIN; THIS WAS NOT AT ALL SAFE.
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.