|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : rcr|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 9000
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : zau|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, Low Wing, 1 Eng, Retractable Gear|
|Flight Phase||descent other|
|Route In Use||enroute : on vectors|
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : radar|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Experience||controller radar : 20|
flight time last 90 days : 20
flight time total : 7000
|Function||oversight : supervisor|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||controller : provided flight assist|
flight crew : declared emergency
flight crew : overcame equipment problem
|Consequence||faa : investigated|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
|ATC Facility||procedure or policy : unspecified|
I was in contact with small aircraft X en route to fwa IFR. The aircraft began to deviate from his course and altitude. I questioned him and he replied that he was trying to get VFR and that he had an emergency. I advised him that the rcr airport was 7 mi behind him, heading 240 degrees, if he wanted to divert there. He turned toward rcr and advised that he thought he had 'blown a jug.' I advised the area supervisor that I had an emergency in progress and asked him to notify the authorities in that area that an aircraft was in trouble and heading for rcr. I knew that I would lose radar contact and radio coverage before aircraft landed, so I asked for an air carrier to stand by on the frequency to relay messages. I also issued all the pertinent airport data (NDB frequency, runway alignment, etc). I believed at the time that the airport was unmanned because it was a sun eve. When the aircraft was about 2 mi from the airport at 2500', I again asked the supervisor if he had notified the indiana authorities to proceed to the airport. He replied that he had not, because it looked like he was going to make it alright. About 5 mins later the air carrier advised that aircraft had landed safely. I feel that the supervisor in charge was derelict, if not negligent in not notifying anyone that an aircraft in trouble was heading for the airport. Had the engine completely failed, if he had not found the airport, if he had landed short or long or any other number of possibilities, the potential of having a fatal accident loomed very large. When I questioned his action (or lack of it) he replied that in his judgement, the aircraft looked like he was going to make it and nobody needed to be informed. I strongly feel that this should not be a discretionary call on the part of a supervisor in a potentially life threatening situation. Had the aircraft not successfully completed his approach we would have had no way of knowing it, and critical time would have been lost in rescue operation. I am sure that the supervisor did not understand the implications (and the liability) to the FAA, had this emergency landing not been successful. His attitude appeared to be that his judgement was being questioned, and since he was in charge, no one could tell him what course of action to follow. Thus, it became a personal questioning of his authority in his mind and judgement concerning the incident was definitely flawed. I feel very strongly that the FAA should be advised of this type of situation and that corrective action be implemented for the safety of the flying public. The FAA has had a history of troubled employee relations, and this incident reinforces the fact that the management appears to be more concerned with showing everyone who is the boss rather than with the safety of the flying public.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: SMA ENGINE PROBLEM, DIVERSION TO RCR ARPT, SUCCESSFUL EMERGENCY LNDG. FLT ASSIST. REPORTER (CTLR) STATES IMPROPER ACTIONS BY AREA SUPVR.
Narrative: I WAS IN CONTACT WITH SMA X ENRTE TO FWA IFR. THE ACFT BEGAN TO DEVIATE FROM HIS COURSE AND ALT. I QUESTIONED HIM AND HE REPLIED THAT HE WAS TRYING TO GET VFR AND THAT HE HAD AN EMER. I ADVISED HIM THAT THE RCR ARPT WAS 7 MI BEHIND HIM, HDG 240 DEGS, IF HE WANTED TO DIVERT THERE. HE TURNED TOWARD RCR AND ADVISED THAT HE THOUGHT HE HAD 'BLOWN A JUG.' I ADVISED THE AREA SUPVR THAT I HAD AN EMER IN PROGRESS AND ASKED HIM TO NOTIFY THE AUTHORITIES IN THAT AREA THAT AN ACFT WAS IN TROUBLE AND HDG FOR RCR. I KNEW THAT I WOULD LOSE RADAR CONTACT AND RADIO COVERAGE BEFORE ACFT LANDED, SO I ASKED FOR AN ACR TO STAND BY ON THE FREQ TO RELAY MESSAGES. I ALSO ISSUED ALL THE PERTINENT ARPT DATA (NDB FREQ, RWY ALIGNMENT, ETC). I BELIEVED AT THE TIME THAT THE ARPT WAS UNMANNED BECAUSE IT WAS A SUN EVE. WHEN THE ACFT WAS ABOUT 2 MI FROM THE ARPT AT 2500', I AGAIN ASKED THE SUPVR IF HE HAD NOTIFIED THE INDIANA AUTHORITIES TO PROCEED TO THE ARPT. HE REPLIED THAT HE HAD NOT, BECAUSE IT LOOKED LIKE HE WAS GOING TO MAKE IT ALRIGHT. ABOUT 5 MINS LATER THE ACR ADVISED THAT ACFT HAD LANDED SAFELY. I FEEL THAT THE SUPVR IN CHARGE WAS DERELICT, IF NOT NEGLIGENT IN NOT NOTIFYING ANYONE THAT AN ACFT IN TROUBLE WAS HDG FOR THE ARPT. HAD THE ENG COMPLETELY FAILED, IF HE HAD NOT FOUND THE ARPT, IF HE HAD LANDED SHORT OR LONG OR ANY OTHER NUMBER OF POSSIBILITIES, THE POTENTIAL OF HAVING A FATAL ACCIDENT LOOMED VERY LARGE. WHEN I QUESTIONED HIS ACTION (OR LACK OF IT) HE REPLIED THAT IN HIS JUDGEMENT, THE ACFT LOOKED LIKE HE WAS GOING TO MAKE IT AND NOBODY NEEDED TO BE INFORMED. I STRONGLY FEEL THAT THIS SHOULD NOT BE A DISCRETIONARY CALL ON THE PART OF A SUPVR IN A POTENTIALLY LIFE THREATENING SITUATION. HAD THE ACFT NOT SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED HIS APCH WE WOULD HAVE HAD NO WAY OF KNOWING IT, AND CRITICAL TIME WOULD HAVE BEEN LOST IN RESCUE OP. I AM SURE THAT THE SUPVR DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE IMPLICATIONS (AND THE LIABILITY) TO THE FAA, HAD THIS EMER LNDG NOT BEEN SUCCESSFUL. HIS ATTITUDE APPEARED TO BE THAT HIS JUDGEMENT WAS BEING QUESTIONED, AND SINCE HE WAS IN CHARGE, NO ONE COULD TELL HIM WHAT COURSE OF ACTION TO FOLLOW. THUS, IT BECAME A PERSONAL QUESTIONING OF HIS AUTHORITY IN HIS MIND AND JUDGEMENT CONCERNING THE INCIDENT WAS DEFINITELY FLAWED. I FEEL VERY STRONGLY THAT THE FAA SHOULD BE ADVISED OF THIS TYPE OF SITUATION AND THAT CORRECTIVE ACTION BE IMPLEMENTED FOR THE SAFETY OF THE FLYING PUBLIC. THE FAA HAS HAD A HISTORY OF TROUBLED EMPLOYEE RELATIONS, AND THIS INCIDENT REINFORCES THE FACT THAT THE MGMNT APPEARS TO BE MORE CONCERNED WITH SHOWING EVERYONE WHO IS THE BOSS RATHER THAN WITH THE SAFETY OF THE FLYING PUBLIC.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of August 2007 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.