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Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day
|1201 To 1800
|atc facility : p31.tracon
|msl single value : 12000
|government : faa
|controller : approach
|controller : radar
controller : non radar
|controller limited radar : 3
controller non radar : 3
controller radar : 14
controller time certified in position1 : 14
|none taken : anomaly accepted
|procedure or policy : p31.tracon
I was working the pensacola west sector (p-ar) from XA30 local to approximately XB30 local. The sector extends from the surface to 10000 ft MSL and is partially overlaid by the pensacola south MOA; which starts at 10500 ft MSL and extends upward. North of the MOA the sector is overlaid by ZJX and the western boundary of the sector follows the boundary between ZJX and ZHU. Aircraft departing pns filed above 10000 ft west and nwbound must be vectored from underneath the MOA; when active; before they may climb above 10000 ft. The western boundary of the p-ar sector abuts mobile approach control; who own surface to 10000 ft at the western edge of P31 airspace. Aircraft filed west or nwbound off pns do not automate to mobile approach; nor is it typical to hold the aircraft down to where a handoff or pointout is required to mobile approach. These aircraft are typically climbed through the MOA when it is inactive; or vectored out from underneath it and then climbed once clear. Often due to their filed route these aircraft will automate to ZJX even though in reality they will be in ZJX airspace for only a short time. In this case it is common practice to coordinate a climb above 10000 ft with ZJX and a handoff by ZJX to ZHU. Once ZHU has the handoff; ZJX will call the P31 controller and have them switch the aircraft directly to ZHU. At approximately XA40 local; aircraft X departed pns. Aircraft X was filed pns...requesting FL280. The MOA was active. I climbed the aircraft to 10000 ft and issued a heading of 310 degrees. I coordinated for higher and a handoff to ZHU with ZJX and advised that the aircraft was on a 310 degree heading. The ZJX controller approved aircraft X to climb to FL230 and told me he would call me when ZHU had the handoff. When aircraft X emerged from underneath the MOA; I climbed the aircraft to FL230. I then attended to other business at the sector for a moment. When I looked back at aircraft X I observed that he was climbing out of 10300 ft and would clear mobile's airspace. At the same time I noticed an untagged target about 20 NM west of aircraft X proceeding at high speed and descending out of approximately 14500 ft. I then called ZHU bfm lo sector to see if they had taken the handoff on aircraft X and see how they wanted to work separation between aircraft X and the unknown (to me) aircraft. The ZHU controller acknowledged that she had the handoff at 10000 ft. I informed her that ZJX had approved and I had issued a climb to FL230. She became rather belligerent and told me to give aircraft X 10000 ft. By this time; aircraft X was out of 10500 ft; and to descend the aircraft to 10000 ft would have caused a deviation by entering mobile approach airspace without coordination. I told her as such and asked her to stop her traffic at 12000 ft and that I would stop mine at 11000 ft. She did not acknowledge. I issued 11000 ft to aircraft X and answered the ZJX land line. The ZJX controller advised that I needed to expedite aircraft X to FL230; as ZHU had conflicting traffic approaching the boundary. I told the ZJX controller I was receiving varying control instructions from the 2 ctrs. By now; ZHU's aircraft was approaching 12000 ft and aircraft X was near 11000 ft with approximately 15 mi lateral separation. Since the ZHU center controller had not acknowledged stopping the descent of her aircraft; I judged that an expedited climb for aircraft X through 13000 ft to FL230 would best separate the aircraft at this point. I issued the climb and then again called ZHU. Again the ZHU controller was belligerent and upset. So I informed her that I had issued the climb to aircraft X; that proper separation was imminent; and that I was switching aircraft X to her frequency. The aircraft passed with 6 mi lateral and 1000 ft separation; well within FAA requirements. But I was not comfortable at all with how the situation developed or how it played out. In my opinion; a standardized departure procedure needs to be developed for wbound; high-altitude aircraft departing pns. That would ensure that all parties would know what to expect; and 2 ctrs would not be issuing conflicting separation instructions on one potential conflict.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: P31 CTLR EXPRESSED CONCERN REGARDING LACK OF STANDARDIZED PROCS FOR WESTBOUND HIGH ALT DEPS.
Narrative: I WAS WORKING THE PENSACOLA W SECTOR (P-AR) FROM XA30 LCL TO APPROX XB30 LCL. THE SECTOR EXTENDS FROM THE SURFACE TO 10000 FT MSL AND IS PARTIALLY OVERLAID BY THE PENSACOLA S MOA; WHICH STARTS AT 10500 FT MSL AND EXTENDS UPWARD. N OF THE MOA THE SECTOR IS OVERLAID BY ZJX AND THE WESTERN BOUNDARY OF THE SECTOR FOLLOWS THE BOUNDARY BTWN ZJX AND ZHU. ACFT DEPARTING PNS FILED ABOVE 10000 FT W AND NWBOUND MUST BE VECTORED FROM UNDERNEATH THE MOA; WHEN ACTIVE; BEFORE THEY MAY CLB ABOVE 10000 FT. THE WESTERN BOUNDARY OF THE P-AR SECTOR ABUTS MOBILE APCH CTL; WHO OWN SURFACE TO 10000 FT AT THE WESTERN EDGE OF P31 AIRSPACE. ACFT FILED W OR NWBOUND OFF PNS DO NOT AUTOMATE TO MOBILE APCH; NOR IS IT TYPICAL TO HOLD THE ACFT DOWN TO WHERE A HDOF OR POINTOUT IS REQUIRED TO MOBILE APCH. THESE ACFT ARE TYPICALLY CLBED THROUGH THE MOA WHEN IT IS INACTIVE; OR VECTORED OUT FROM UNDERNEATH IT AND THEN CLBED ONCE CLR. OFTEN DUE TO THEIR FILED RTE THESE ACFT WILL AUTOMATE TO ZJX EVEN THOUGH IN REALITY THEY WILL BE IN ZJX AIRSPACE FOR ONLY A SHORT TIME. IN THIS CASE IT IS COMMON PRACTICE TO COORDINATE A CLB ABOVE 10000 FT WITH ZJX AND A HDOF BY ZJX TO ZHU. ONCE ZHU HAS THE HDOF; ZJX WILL CALL THE P31 CTLR AND HAVE THEM SWITCH THE ACFT DIRECTLY TO ZHU. AT APPROX XA40 LCL; ACFT X DEPARTED PNS. ACFT X WAS FILED PNS...REQUESTING FL280. THE MOA WAS ACTIVE. I CLBED THE ACFT TO 10000 FT AND ISSUED A HDG OF 310 DEGS. I COORDINATED FOR HIGHER AND A HDOF TO ZHU WITH ZJX AND ADVISED THAT THE ACFT WAS ON A 310 DEG HDG. THE ZJX CTLR APPROVED ACFT X TO CLB TO FL230 AND TOLD ME HE WOULD CALL ME WHEN ZHU HAD THE HDOF. WHEN ACFT X EMERGED FROM UNDERNEATH THE MOA; I CLBED THE ACFT TO FL230. I THEN ATTENDED TO OTHER BUSINESS AT THE SECTOR FOR A MOMENT. WHEN I LOOKED BACK AT ACFT X I OBSERVED THAT HE WAS CLBING OUT OF 10300 FT AND WOULD CLR MOBILE'S AIRSPACE. AT THE SAME TIME I NOTICED AN UNTAGGED TARGET ABOUT 20 NM W OF ACFT X PROCEEDING AT HIGH SPD AND DSNDING OUT OF APPROX 14500 FT. I THEN CALLED ZHU BFM LO SECTOR TO SEE IF THEY HAD TAKEN THE HDOF ON ACFT X AND SEE HOW THEY WANTED TO WORK SEPARATION BTWN ACFT X AND THE UNKNOWN (TO ME) ACFT. THE ZHU CTLR ACKNOWLEDGED THAT SHE HAD THE HDOF AT 10000 FT. I INFORMED HER THAT ZJX HAD APPROVED AND I HAD ISSUED A CLB TO FL230. SHE BECAME RATHER BELLIGERENT AND TOLD ME TO GIVE ACFT X 10000 FT. BY THIS TIME; ACFT X WAS OUT OF 10500 FT; AND TO DSND THE ACFT TO 10000 FT WOULD HAVE CAUSED A DEV BY ENTERING MOBILE APCH AIRSPACE WITHOUT COORD. I TOLD HER AS SUCH AND ASKED HER TO STOP HER TFC AT 12000 FT AND THAT I WOULD STOP MINE AT 11000 FT. SHE DID NOT ACKNOWLEDGE. I ISSUED 11000 FT TO ACFT X AND ANSWERED THE ZJX LAND LINE. THE ZJX CTLR ADVISED THAT I NEEDED TO EXPEDITE ACFT X TO FL230; AS ZHU HAD CONFLICTING TFC APCHING THE BOUNDARY. I TOLD THE ZJX CTLR I WAS RECEIVING VARYING CTL INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE 2 CTRS. BY NOW; ZHU'S ACFT WAS APCHING 12000 FT AND ACFT X WAS NEAR 11000 FT WITH APPROX 15 MI LATERAL SEPARATION. SINCE THE ZHU CTR CTLR HAD NOT ACKNOWLEDGED STOPPING THE DSCNT OF HER ACFT; I JUDGED THAT AN EXPEDITED CLB FOR ACFT X THROUGH 13000 FT TO FL230 WOULD BEST SEPARATE THE ACFT AT THIS POINT. I ISSUED THE CLB AND THEN AGAIN CALLED ZHU. AGAIN THE ZHU CTLR WAS BELLIGERENT AND UPSET. SO I INFORMED HER THAT I HAD ISSUED THE CLB TO ACFT X; THAT PROPER SEPARATION WAS IMMINENT; AND THAT I WAS SWITCHING ACFT X TO HER FREQ. THE ACFT PASSED WITH 6 MI LATERAL AND 1000 FT SEPARATION; WELL WITHIN FAA REQUIREMENTS. BUT I WAS NOT COMFORTABLE AT ALL WITH HOW THE SITUATION DEVELOPED OR HOW IT PLAYED OUT. IN MY OPINION; A STANDARDIZED DEP PROC NEEDS TO BE DEVELOPED FOR WBOUND; HIGH-ALT ACFT DEPARTING PNS. THAT WOULD ENSURE THAT ALL PARTIES WOULD KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT; AND 2 CTRS WOULD NOT BE ISSUING CONFLICTING SEPARATION INSTRUCTIONS ON ONE POTENTIAL CONFLICT.
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.