|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1801 To 2400|
|Locale Reference||airport : sbgl.airport|
|Altitude||agl single value : 0|
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : zzz.tracon|
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||B767-300 and 300 ER|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 121|
|Flight Phase||ground : parked|
ground : preflight
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 219|
flight time total : 23156
flight time type : 7700
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : less severe|
non adherence : published procedure
non adherence : far
non adherence : company policies
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : unable|
Captain was on the flight deck first and commenced initializing the ACARS. No communication light came on intermittently preventing normal load operations. This took much longer than usual. When trying to uplink the route and winds on the FMC; similar problem with the uplink as ACARS was intermittent. Captain tried using satcom in priority high and was unable to communicate with dispatch. Captain then attempted to use HF radios again to no avail. Since ACARS was operating intermittently some messages were going back and forth. Dispatch advised that comrdo was trying to call us on frequency xxyy and xxzz. The 2 first officer's and captain were unable to establish any communication on those or any other frequencys. While we had intermittent operations dispatch advised that ACARS on the ground was a problem lately in sbgl and that it may improve airborne. Captain then requested in writing authority/authorized to violate the fom and takeoff with no company communications; as it may improve airborne. Captain was concerned as another captain was taken off flight status recently for delaying a flight due to maintenance. Dispatch then responded; when we were able to receive messages that they were not authorizing anything; just advising the crew of the problem. After a short while and past departure time; captain was able to force satcom by continuous resetting and forcing the high priority gain controller enabling communication with dispatch and was satisfied that the crew could establish company communications per the fom. Since the captain is also an FAA certified a&P mechanic he has more insight into maintenance than the average line pilot; which helped resolve the issue. ACARS also seemed to now work normally. However; as always crew was never able to speak to comrdo via HF radios. Tried to communicate via HF airborne many times to no avail. Ever since air carrier elected to stop using the other HF radio operators in south america aircraft are unable for the vast majority of time to communicate via HF radios to comrdo; for a phone patch; until close to the caribbean. Communicating to south american ATC on HF does not fulfill the requirement to maintain company communications with dispatch; as those ATC contract radio operators have no clue what we are talking about to get a phone patch to dispatch. Besides they only know and speak position report english; they cannot communicate in normal english for anything else. If an aircraft has a dire emergency and has no satcom and the HF communications do not work in south america; it could be an extremely challenging situation for any crew to encounter. Per additional procedures in flight manual for relief pilot duties; at airplane; it states perform HF radio check. The new procedure the company teaches; ie; transmitting on 1 HF with any random frequency selected on 1 HF and the same frequency in the other HF receiving does not establish any contact with comrdo to obtain a SELCAL check. There is no way to get a SELCAL check from comrdo airborne either in deep south america. This procedure in my humble opinion is a direct violation of the fom and or requirement to maintain company communications; especially if satcom is inoperative. It is impossible to get a SELCAL check on the ground or in the air in brazil from comrdo. We were able to get it with houston radio in the past; but due to budget constraints we do not even have those frequencys published in our manual anymore. This begs the question as to how many company aircraft are operating in the international arena in violation of the fom requirement to establish and maintain company communications at all times?
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: AN AIR CARRIER PILOT REPORTS THAT HF COMMUNICATIONS DO NOT WORK WITH THE NEW COMMERCIAL RADIO SERVICE IN SBGL AND MOST AREAS OF SOUTH AMERICA. THE RESULT IS THIS AIR CARRIER'S AIRCRAFT ARE UNABLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH DISPATCH IN VIOLATION OF THE COMPANY'S FOM.
Narrative: CAPT WAS ON THE FLT DECK FIRST AND COMMENCED INITIALIZING THE ACARS. NO COM LIGHT CAME ON INTERMITTENTLY PREVENTING NORMAL LOAD OPS. THIS TOOK MUCH LONGER THAN USUAL. WHEN TRYING TO UPLINK THE RTE AND WINDS ON THE FMC; SIMILAR PROB WITH THE UPLINK AS ACARS WAS INTERMITTENT. CAPT TRIED USING SATCOM IN PRIORITY HIGH AND WAS UNABLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH DISPATCH. CAPT THEN ATTEMPTED TO USE HF RADIOS AGAIN TO NO AVAIL. SINCE ACARS WAS OPERATING INTERMITTENTLY SOME MESSAGES WERE GOING BACK AND FORTH. DISPATCH ADVISED THAT COMRDO WAS TRYING TO CALL US ON FREQ XXYY AND XXZZ. THE 2 FO'S AND CAPT WERE UNABLE TO ESTABLISH ANY COM ON THOSE OR ANY OTHER FREQS. WHILE WE HAD INTERMITTENT OPS DISPATCH ADVISED THAT ACARS ON THE GND WAS A PROB LATELY IN SBGL AND THAT IT MAY IMPROVE AIRBORNE. CAPT THEN REQUESTED IN WRITING AUTH TO VIOLATE THE FOM AND TKOF WITH NO COMPANY COMS; AS IT MAY IMPROVE AIRBORNE. CAPT WAS CONCERNED AS ANOTHER CAPT WAS TAKEN OFF FLT STATUS RECENTLY FOR DELAYING A FLT DUE TO MAINT. DISPATCH THEN RESPONDED; WHEN WE WERE ABLE TO RECEIVE MESSAGES THAT THEY WERE NOT AUTHORIZING ANYTHING; JUST ADVISING THE CREW OF THE PROB. AFTER A SHORT WHILE AND PAST DEP TIME; CAPT WAS ABLE TO FORCE SATCOM BY CONTINUOUS RESETTING AND FORCING THE HIGH PRIORITY GAIN CTLR ENABLING COM WITH DISPATCH AND WAS SATISFIED THAT THE CREW COULD ESTABLISH COMPANY COMS PER THE FOM. SINCE THE CAPT IS ALSO AN FAA CERTIFIED A&P MECH HE HAS MORE INSIGHT INTO MAINT THAN THE AVERAGE LINE PLT; WHICH HELPED RESOLVE THE ISSUE. ACARS ALSO SEEMED TO NOW WORK NORMALLY. HOWEVER; AS ALWAYS CREW WAS NEVER ABLE TO SPEAK TO COMRDO VIA HF RADIOS. TRIED TO COMMUNICATE VIA HF AIRBORNE MANY TIMES TO NO AVAIL. EVER SINCE ACR ELECTED TO STOP USING THE OTHER HF RADIO OPERATORS IN SOUTH AMERICA ACFT ARE UNABLE FOR THE VAST MAJORITY OF TIME TO COMMUNICATE VIA HF RADIOS TO COMRDO; FOR A PHONE PATCH; UNTIL CLOSE TO THE CARIBBEAN. COMMUNICATING TO SOUTH AMERICAN ATC ON HF DOES NOT FULFILL THE REQUIREMENT TO MAINTAIN COMPANY COMS WITH DISPATCH; AS THOSE ATC CONTRACT RADIO OPERATORS HAVE NO CLUE WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT TO GET A PHONE PATCH TO DISPATCH. BESIDES THEY ONLY KNOW AND SPEAK POS RPT ENGLISH; THEY CANNOT COMMUNICATE IN NORMAL ENGLISH FOR ANYTHING ELSE. IF AN ACFT HAS A DIRE EMER AND HAS NO SATCOM AND THE HF COMS DO NOT WORK IN SOUTH AMERICA; IT COULD BE AN EXTREMELY CHALLENGING SITUATION FOR ANY CREW TO ENCOUNTER. PER ADDITIONAL PROCS IN FLT MANUAL FOR RELIEF PLT DUTIES; AT AIRPLANE; IT STATES PERFORM HF RADIO CHK. THE NEW PROC THE COMPANY TEACHES; IE; XMITTING ON 1 HF WITH ANY RANDOM FREQ SELECTED ON 1 HF AND THE SAME FREQ IN THE OTHER HF RECEIVING DOES NOT ESTABLISH ANY CONTACT WITH COMRDO TO OBTAIN A SELCAL CHK. THERE IS NO WAY TO GET A SELCAL CHK FROM COMRDO AIRBORNE EITHER IN DEEP SOUTH AMERICA. THIS PROC IN MY HUMBLE OPINION IS A DIRECT VIOLATION OF THE FOM AND OR REQUIREMENT TO MAINTAIN COMPANY COMS; ESPECIALLY IF SATCOM IS INOP. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET A SELCAL CHK ON THE GND OR IN THE AIR IN BRAZIL FROM COMRDO. WE WERE ABLE TO GET IT WITH HOUSTON RADIO IN THE PAST; BUT DUE TO BUDGET CONSTRAINTS WE DO NOT EVEN HAVE THOSE FREQS PUBLISHED IN OUR MANUAL ANYMORE. THIS BEGS THE QUESTION AS TO HOW MANY COMPANY ACFT ARE OPERATING IN THE INTL ARENA IN VIOLATION OF THE FOM REQUIREMENT TO ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN COMPANY COMS AT ALL TIMES?
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of May 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.