|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : ord|
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : ord|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
|Function||controller : approach|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
|Independent Detector||other controllera|
other flight crewa
|Resolutory Action||none taken : anomaly accepted|
none taken : unable
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
In your latest callback, #106, you carried a short article about how ASRS began and then defined the system in part as a method to call attention to situations and conditions incompatible with safety, and more or less invited participation by interested aviators. A significant issue that I am sure that many are interested in but that I never hear about is the literally continuous exposure we experience in commercial aviation to identical call signs. We are all supposed to prefix our flight number with the company name, but how many times do we hear just a number calling for instructions or acknowledging a clearance? I suppose I should alter my comment about 'identical' flight numbers to 'confusing' flight numbers. Just a few days ago on air carrier a flight xab there was a air carrier a axb on the frequency, also a flight ab, and on top of that there was an air carrier B xab. Thinking back, and looking over my logbook, there are many other examples such as that, but they all make the same point obvious -- these confusing similarities are becoming a major, and I mean major, factor in traffic conflicts, lost frequencys, and potential tangling of tail feathers. When you hear these multiple flts with similar flight numbers on approach control trying to get into O'hare, you cringe when the wrong flight acknowledges a frequency change, and really wonder when something is going to happen because of this communication fault. The controllers, much to their credit, are beginning to preface a flight number with the company name, and then repeat the company name after the flight number; i.e., company xab company, switch to ...... I am sure they are more aware of the magnitude of this problem than I am, but it seems to me that it is getting worse, faster. Would it not be possible for the FAA, associated with their flow control computer capabilities, to assign flight numbers to all domestic flts that do not have conflicts such as I have described? This could be done in conjunction with the carriers, who would have interests in this area also.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: A COMPLAINT ABOUT SIMILAR CALLSIGNS AND IDENTICAL FLT NUMBERS AND THE ASSOCIATED POTENTIAL PROBLEMS.
Narrative: IN YOUR LATEST CALLBACK, #106, YOU CARRIED A SHORT ARTICLE ABOUT HOW ASRS BEGAN AND THEN DEFINED THE SYS IN PART AS A METHOD TO CALL ATTN TO SITUATIONS AND CONDITIONS INCOMPATIBLE WITH SAFETY, AND MORE OR LESS INVITED PARTICIPATION BY INTERESTED AVIATORS. A SIGNIFICANT ISSUE THAT I AM SURE THAT MANY ARE INTERESTED IN BUT THAT I NEVER HEAR ABOUT IS THE LITERALLY CONTINUOUS EXPOSURE WE EXPERIENCE IN COMMERCIAL AVIATION TO IDENTICAL CALL SIGNS. WE ARE ALL SUPPOSED TO PREFIX OUR FLT NUMBER WITH THE COMPANY NAME, BUT HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HEAR JUST A NUMBER CALLING FOR INSTRUCTIONS OR ACKNOWLEDGING A CLRNC? I SUPPOSE I SHOULD ALTER MY COMMENT ABOUT 'IDENTICAL' FLT NUMBERS TO 'CONFUSING' FLT NUMBERS. JUST A FEW DAYS AGO ON ACR A FLT XAB THERE WAS A ACR A AXB ON THE FREQ, ALSO A FLT AB, AND ON TOP OF THAT THERE WAS AN ACR B XAB. THINKING BACK, AND LOOKING OVER MY LOGBOOK, THERE ARE MANY OTHER EXAMPLES SUCH AS THAT, BUT THEY ALL MAKE THE SAME POINT OBVIOUS -- THESE CONFUSING SIMILARITIES ARE BECOMING A MAJOR, AND I MEAN MAJOR, FACTOR IN TFC CONFLICTS, LOST FREQS, AND POTENTIAL TANGLING OF TAIL FEATHERS. WHEN YOU HEAR THESE MULTIPLE FLTS WITH SIMILAR FLT NUMBERS ON APCH CTL TRYING TO GET INTO O'HARE, YOU CRINGE WHEN THE WRONG FLT ACKNOWLEDGES A FREQ CHANGE, AND REALLY WONDER WHEN SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN BECAUSE OF THIS COM FAULT. THE CTLRS, MUCH TO THEIR CREDIT, ARE BEGINNING TO PREFACE A FLT NUMBER WITH THE COMPANY NAME, AND THEN REPEAT THE COMPANY NAME AFTER THE FLT NUMBER; I.E., COMPANY XAB COMPANY, SWITCH TO ...... I AM SURE THEY ARE MORE AWARE OF THE MAGNITUDE OF THIS PROB THAN I AM, BUT IT SEEMS TO ME THAT IT IS GETTING WORSE, FASTER. WOULD IT NOT BE POSSIBLE FOR THE FAA, ASSOCIATED WITH THEIR FLOW CONTROL COMPUTER CAPABILITIES, TO ASSIGN FLT NUMBERS TO ALL DOMESTIC FLTS THAT DO NOT HAVE CONFLICTS SUCH AS I HAVE DESCRIBED? THIS COULD BE DONE IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE CARRIERS, WHO WOULD HAVE INTERESTS IN THIS AREA ALSO.
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.