|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1801 To 2400|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : rbs|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 22000|
msl bound upper : 22400
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : zau|
tower : msn
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||Medium Large Transport, Low Wing, 2 Turbojet Eng|
|Flight Phase||climbout : intermediate altitude|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
pilot : flight engineer
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 150|
flight time total : 9000
flight time type : 1900
|Function||flight crew : first officer|
|Qualification||pilot : instrument|
pilot : commercial
|Anomaly||altitude deviation : overshoot|
non adherence : clearance
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : returned to intended course or assigned course|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
I was captain of a medium large transport flight from ord to stl. We were approximately 35 mi north of the roberts VOR when we were cleared to climb to 22000'. The DFGS (digital flight guidance system) was set up on autoplt with EPR limit (climb power) and IAS hold. We were climbing through 21000' as we were approaching the roberts VOR. The first officer called 1000' to go and we both noted the altitude arm light on. I turned to look at my arrival page to stl, to check the outbnd from the VOR. As I looked back to the panel, I noticed the aircraft was climbing through 22000' the altitude arm light was off and the altitude cap light was not on. I disconnected the autoplt, pushed the nose over,and the altitude topped out at 22400'. The pushover was made more difficult because the throttles remained in EPR limit with climb power selected. I have been a captain on the medium large transport for three years and have been very much aware of this problem. It disturbs me that a system that is supposed to help the workload in a two man cockpit is also a trap waiting to create a violation for that crew. I do not understand why we need to select an altitude and arm an altitude. I am not aware of any condition where I would like to level at an altitude that is not selected. Furthermore, it does not make any sense to me that a 'flight guidance system' would be designed to climb or descend through a selected altitude, armed or not armed. I will continue to be diligent with the medium large transport DFGS, but the need to focus so much attention on a possible altitude 'bust' is a set-up to miss some other important event. I also learned, from this experience, not to disconnect the autoplt and pushover. Next time (hopefully, there won't be any) I will reach over and select altitude hold. After the aircraft levels off, I will roll the vertical speed select knob to descend to the assigned altitude. Please help us medium large transport pilots escape from this design trap. This is not the first time that the altitude arm light has gone out on me without a crew action.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: ACR MLG OVERSHOT ALT ON CLIMB.
Narrative: I WAS CAPT OF A MLG FLT FROM ORD TO STL. WE WERE APPROX 35 MI N OF THE ROBERTS VOR WHEN WE WERE CLRED TO CLB TO 22000'. THE DFGS (DIGITAL FLT GUIDANCE SYS) WAS SET UP ON AUTOPLT WITH EPR LIMIT (CLB PWR) AND IAS HOLD. WE WERE CLBING THROUGH 21000' AS WE WERE APCHING THE ROBERTS VOR. THE F/O CALLED 1000' TO GO AND WE BOTH NOTED THE ALT ARM LIGHT ON. I TURNED TO LOOK AT MY ARR PAGE TO STL, TO CHK THE OUTBND FROM THE VOR. AS I LOOKED BACK TO THE PANEL, I NOTICED THE ACFT WAS CLBING THROUGH 22000' THE ALT ARM LIGHT WAS OFF AND THE ALT CAP LIGHT WAS NOT ON. I DISCONNECTED THE AUTOPLT, PUSHED THE NOSE OVER,AND THE ALT TOPPED OUT AT 22400'. THE PUSHOVER WAS MADE MORE DIFFICULT BECAUSE THE THROTTLES REMAINED IN EPR LIMIT WITH CLB PWR SELECTED. I HAVE BEEN A CAPT ON THE MLG FOR THREE YEARS AND HAVE BEEN VERY MUCH AWARE OF THIS PROB. IT DISTURBS ME THAT A SYS THAT IS SUPPOSED TO HELP THE WORKLOAD IN A TWO MAN COCKPIT IS ALSO A TRAP WAITING TO CREATE A VIOLATION FOR THAT CREW. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY WE NEED TO SELECT AN ALT AND ARM AN ALT. I AM NOT AWARE OF ANY CONDITION WHERE I WOULD LIKE TO LEVEL AT AN ALT THAT IS NOT SELECTED. FURTHERMORE, IT DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE TO ME THAT A 'FLT GUIDANCE SYS' WOULD BE DESIGNED TO CLB OR DSND THROUGH A SELECTED ALT, ARMED OR NOT ARMED. I WILL CONTINUE TO BE DILIGENT WITH THE MLG DFGS, BUT THE NEED TO FOCUS SO MUCH ATTN ON A POSSIBLE ALT 'BUST' IS A SET-UP TO MISS SOME OTHER IMPORTANT EVENT. I ALSO LEARNED, FROM THIS EXPERIENCE, NOT TO DISCONNECT THE AUTOPLT AND PUSHOVER. NEXT TIME (HOPEFULLY, THERE WON'T BE ANY) I WILL REACH OVER AND SELECT ALT HOLD. AFTER THE ACFT LEVELS OFF, I WILL ROLL THE VERTICAL SPD SELECT KNOB TO DSND TO THE ASSIGNED ALT. PLEASE HELP US MLG PLTS ESCAPE FROM THIS DESIGN TRAP. THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME THAT THE ALT ARM LIGHT HAS GONE OUT ON ME WITHOUT A CREW ACTION.
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.