|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : zau.artcc|
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : radar|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Experience||controller radar : 25|
|Independent Detector||other controllera|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : anomaly accepted|
|ATC Facility||procedure or policy : zau.artcc|
The FAA issued a national NOTAM regarding upcoming special event in joliet; il. The NOTAM contains explicit instructions that controllers shall not issue IFR pickup clrncs to aircraft departing airports within 100 NM of jot VOR; nor shall controllers provide VFR flight following within 100 NM of the jot VOR. This morning when I came in to work; I worked the plano/streator sectors combined. Within 10 mins I had a request for flight following which I denied based on the NOTAM. Within 1/2 hour; this had occurred several times. I then denied an IFR clearance to a VFR departure off of the vys airport; a departing westwind jet. In all cases; I explained to the pilot why I was doing this; what frequency they would be able to contact ATC on at the 100 mi mark; to assure compliance with the NOTAM by both the pilots and the controllers. I also provided each pilot the manager's telephone number if they wanted to contact him. Needless to say; each pilot and every other pilot on the frequency took the number to call. About 1 hour later I was ordered to 'follow the ATP;' regarding flight following by my supervisor. I asked him; 'what do you mean?' he stated; 'you should disregard the NOTAM as it applies only to airmen; not to controllers.' I was incredulous. We have NOTAMS for a reason; so that both sides; controller and pilot; know what is happening. I was eventually relieved from position and spoke to the area manager regarding this matter. He told me that 'the NOTAM as issued is not very good.' I agreed. I informed him that as a controller it is not up to me to decide what a NOTAM means; but to relay the contents verbatim to the pilot affected by it if it affected his flight. He told me he would have it canceled. While we were verbally informed by management that the NOTAM was canceled we never received confirmation via message that it had been canceled. In my professional opinion the NOTAM wording creates a very unsafe situation. As worded; it encourages VFR pilots not to ask for VFR flight following; when and where we will have large number of high speed turboprop/jet aircraft operating at 4000 ft/5000 ft. Visibility in the area this time of the yr with heat and humidity is not at all unusual to be in the 3/4 mi range with haze. I would prefer to talk to all of the aircraft in the area to keep all informed of each other. I have worked busy sessions during each of the last 6 yrs for the special event; and at no time did my workload exceed my or my co-workers' ability to provide additional services. If it did; we would have said so to the pilot. The NOTAM as written implies; 'don't call us; we don't have time for you.' a controller's job is to provide separation and TA's to pilots. This NOTAM as written takes away that opportunity. I hope someone does not die in a midair collision because of it. Further; there seems to be a significant lack of experience and knowledge on the part of the new supervisors who are ordering us to ignore NOTAMS.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: ZAU CTLR VOICED CONCERN REGARDING NOTAM PROCS AND HANDLING OF TFC DURING AN ANNUALLY SCHEDULED SPECIAL EVENT.
Narrative: THE FAA ISSUED A NATIONAL NOTAM REGARDING UPCOMING SPECIAL EVENT IN JOLIET; IL. THE NOTAM CONTAINS EXPLICIT INSTRUCTIONS THAT CTLRS SHALL NOT ISSUE IFR PICKUP CLRNCS TO ACFT DEPARTING ARPTS WITHIN 100 NM OF JOT VOR; NOR SHALL CTLRS PROVIDE VFR FLT FOLLOWING WITHIN 100 NM OF THE JOT VOR. THIS MORNING WHEN I CAME IN TO WORK; I WORKED THE PLANO/STREATOR SECTORS COMBINED. WITHIN 10 MINS I HAD A REQUEST FOR FLT FOLLOWING WHICH I DENIED BASED ON THE NOTAM. WITHIN 1/2 HR; THIS HAD OCCURRED SEVERAL TIMES. I THEN DENIED AN IFR CLRNC TO A VFR DEP OFF OF THE VYS ARPT; A DEPARTING WESTWIND JET. IN ALL CASES; I EXPLAINED TO THE PLT WHY I WAS DOING THIS; WHAT FREQ THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO CONTACT ATC ON AT THE 100 MI MARK; TO ASSURE COMPLIANCE WITH THE NOTAM BY BOTH THE PLTS AND THE CTLRS. I ALSO PROVIDED EACH PLT THE MGR'S TELEPHONE NUMBER IF THEY WANTED TO CONTACT HIM. NEEDLESS TO SAY; EACH PLT AND EVERY OTHER PLT ON THE FREQ TOOK THE NUMBER TO CALL. ABOUT 1 HR LATER I WAS ORDERED TO 'FOLLOW THE ATP;' REGARDING FLT FOLLOWING BY MY SUPVR. I ASKED HIM; 'WHAT DO YOU MEAN?' HE STATED; 'YOU SHOULD DISREGARD THE NOTAM AS IT APPLIES ONLY TO AIRMEN; NOT TO CTLRS.' I WAS INCREDULOUS. WE HAVE NOTAMS FOR A REASON; SO THAT BOTH SIDES; CTLR AND PLT; KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING. I WAS EVENTUALLY RELIEVED FROM POS AND SPOKE TO THE AREA MGR REGARDING THIS MATTER. HE TOLD ME THAT 'THE NOTAM AS ISSUED IS NOT VERY GOOD.' I AGREED. I INFORMED HIM THAT AS A CTLR IT IS NOT UP TO ME TO DECIDE WHAT A NOTAM MEANS; BUT TO RELAY THE CONTENTS VERBATIM TO THE PLT AFFECTED BY IT IF IT AFFECTED HIS FLT. HE TOLD ME HE WOULD HAVE IT CANCELED. WHILE WE WERE VERBALLY INFORMED BY MGMNT THAT THE NOTAM WAS CANCELED WE NEVER RECEIVED CONFIRMATION VIA MESSAGE THAT IT HAD BEEN CANCELED. IN MY PROFESSIONAL OPINION THE NOTAM WORDING CREATES A VERY UNSAFE SITUATION. AS WORDED; IT ENCOURAGES VFR PLTS NOT TO ASK FOR VFR FLT FOLLOWING; WHEN AND WHERE WE WILL HAVE LARGE NUMBER OF HIGH SPD TURBOPROP/JET ACFT OPERATING AT 4000 FT/5000 FT. VISIBILITY IN THE AREA THIS TIME OF THE YR WITH HEAT AND HUMIDITY IS NOT AT ALL UNUSUAL TO BE IN THE 3/4 MI RANGE WITH HAZE. I WOULD PREFER TO TALK TO ALL OF THE ACFT IN THE AREA TO KEEP ALL INFORMED OF EACH OTHER. I HAVE WORKED BUSY SESSIONS DURING EACH OF THE LAST 6 YRS FOR THE SPECIAL EVENT; AND AT NO TIME DID MY WORKLOAD EXCEED MY OR MY CO-WORKERS' ABILITY TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL SVCS. IF IT DID; WE WOULD HAVE SAID SO TO THE PLT. THE NOTAM AS WRITTEN IMPLIES; 'DON'T CALL US; WE DON'T HAVE TIME FOR YOU.' A CTLR'S JOB IS TO PROVIDE SEPARATION AND TA'S TO PLTS. THIS NOTAM AS WRITTEN TAKES AWAY THAT OPPORTUNITY. I HOPE SOMEONE DOES NOT DIE IN A MIDAIR COLLISION BECAUSE OF IT. FURTHER; THERE SEEMS TO BE A SIGNIFICANT LACK OF EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE ON THE PART OF THE NEW SUPVRS WHO ARE ORDERING US TO IGNORE NOTAMS.
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.