|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : dca|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 16|
msl bound upper : 17000
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : dca|
|Operator||common carrier : air taxi|
|Make Model Name||Light Transport, Low Wing, 2 Turbojet Eng|
|Flight Phase||descent : approach|
|Route In Use||approach : visual|
enroute : on vectors
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 90|
flight time total : 9200
|Function||flight crew : first officer|
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
pilot : commercial
pilot : instrument
|Anomaly||other spatial deviation|
|Independent Detector||other controllera|
|Resolutory Action||controller : issued new clearance|
flight crew : became reoriented
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
I tuned in the ATIS at approximately XX00, XX15 and XX30. I wrote down information bravo. This is what I wrote: '1700 scattered, 2700 scattered, 4700 broken, 8500 broken, visibility 10 in light rain showers. Temperature 69 degrees F, dew point 64, wind 0911, altimeter 29.88. Lda 18, frequency 109.9, tcu alquad.' the copilot and I briefed the approach and I told him of the ATIS advisory that the frequency for the lda was to be 109.9, instead of the 108.5 shown on the chart. This frequency change had not been given to me by green bay FSS, even though the briefer checked the fdc NOTAMS. In addition, I used the state of wi's terrific computer WX system to do my own flight planning and I got a complete print out of all dca NOTAMS, and this frequency change was not among them. I heard approach clear him for the VOR/DME 18. As we had just been placed on a vector, I had turned the copilot's VOR to the lda 18 frequency and set up his HSI. I got no identify on the lda and the indications were consistent with no signal, rather than a full deflection indication for out of range. I had all the approachs in my lap, so I reviewed the VOR/DME for the copilot and prepared to tune it in. Approach then cleared us for the approach. I do not recall which approach he named, but as I still had no identify nor indication on the lda and I had heard him clear the air carrier for the VOR/DME. I asked the controller if he meant us to fly the VOR/DME. He said yes, so I tuned it, idented the VOR and reset the copilot's HSI. The VOR/DME course is on the northeast side of the potomac river, and the lda/DME is on the southwest side of it. I have flown both approachs many times and am familiar with both, as well as the terrain below them. We were accurately tracking the VOR/DME for a minute or so, when approach said something about us not being on course. I stated that we were showing on centerline, and I looked again at the terrain to be sure. The controller then made a statement something like: ok, if we were on centerline, we were cleared for the lda/DME, call dca in sight for landing runway 15. (He was not being rude, rather, he was professional in all of his communications.) at about this time, I heard another aircraft ask him to confirm the frequency of the ldg/DME. The controller stated '108.5.' the other aircraft said that he showed that on his approach plate. I was in the process of tuning the lda, so I asked the controller to confirm the frequency because the ATIS was saying '109.9.' he said standby and then repeated '108.5.' the other aircraft again said that he had that on his plate. My plate also said 108.5, of course. I had already set 109.9 and got no identify or indications, so I immediately set 108.5. At first there was no identify or indication. I was just about to advise approach that I wasn't receiving the signal when the indications appeared, and then the identify was heard. But because we were now quite close to dca, I did not absolutely confirm the identify. I was busy looking for runway 15 because it is to the right of the approach course, and if you fly the course too close to the airport, you cannot easily (and in some cases safely) align yourself with the runway. I did spot the REIL at about 4 DME, and the copilot saw them at only about 2 mi from the runway end due to haze, rain and darkness caused by the heavy clouds. (He is not as familiar with the terrain as I am, and even though we could both see the area of the airport, it was all obscured, and the runways themselves and other details were very difficult to pick out.) we made an uneventful landing. Visibility varied greatly during the approach. At times we could see the 10 mi stated on the ATIS, but at others it was less than 3 mi due to rain and haze. Also, our radar was showing areas of what appeared to be heavy rain (red, on our radar) to the east of dca, and possibly over the airport. I feel that the hazard in this situation was that we, the crew, were given a confusing and conflicting set of instructions at a time and place that puts an unusually heavy workload on the crew. Dca is demanding to begin with, and the WX conditions made things even more demanding. The additional hazard was the ATIS giving what seemed to be a new frequency for the lda/DME, but this frequency was not in the NOTAMS, and it was not being confirmed by ATC, as I had half expected it to be. Somewhere, there was a lack of coordination and a failure to check the accuracy of information. I do not know why there were indication problems while we were on the vector, or why it took what seemed like a long time for our equipment to lock on to the lda/DME. Our equipment operated normally at ind, and on the VOR/DME at dca, and subsequently en route to, and on approach at mbs and mke.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: FLT CREW CONFUSED ABOUT WHICH APCH TO FLY BASED ON PERCEIVED ERRONEOUS ATIS INFORMATION.
Narrative: I TUNED IN THE ATIS AT APPROX XX00, XX15 AND XX30. I WROTE DOWN INFO BRAVO. THIS IS WHAT I WROTE: '1700 SCATTERED, 2700 SCATTERED, 4700 BROKEN, 8500 BROKEN, VIS 10 IN LIGHT RAIN SHOWERS. TEMP 69 DEGS F, DEW POINT 64, WIND 0911, ALTIMETER 29.88. LDA 18, FREQ 109.9, TCU ALQUAD.' THE COPLT AND I BRIEFED THE APCH AND I TOLD HIM OF THE ATIS ADVISORY THAT THE FREQ FOR THE LDA WAS TO BE 109.9, INSTEAD OF THE 108.5 SHOWN ON THE CHART. THIS FREQ CHANGE HAD NOT BEEN GIVEN TO ME BY GREEN BAY FSS, EVEN THOUGH THE BRIEFER CHKED THE FDC NOTAMS. IN ADDITION, I USED THE STATE OF WI'S TERRIFIC COMPUTER WX SYS TO DO MY OWN FLT PLANNING AND I GOT A COMPLETE PRINT OUT OF ALL DCA NOTAMS, AND THIS FREQ CHANGE WAS NOT AMONG THEM. I HEARD APCH CLR HIM FOR THE VOR/DME 18. AS WE HAD JUST BEEN PLACED ON A VECTOR, I HAD TURNED THE COPLT'S VOR TO THE LDA 18 FREQ AND SET UP HIS HSI. I GOT NO IDENT ON THE LDA AND THE INDICATIONS WERE CONSISTENT WITH NO SIGNAL, RATHER THAN A FULL DEFLECTION INDICATION FOR OUT OF RANGE. I HAD ALL THE APCHS IN MY LAP, SO I REVIEWED THE VOR/DME FOR THE COPLT AND PREPARED TO TUNE IT IN. APCH THEN CLRED US FOR THE APCH. I DO NOT RECALL WHICH APCH HE NAMED, BUT AS I STILL HAD NO IDENT NOR INDICATION ON THE LDA AND I HAD HEARD HIM CLR THE ACR FOR THE VOR/DME. I ASKED THE CTLR IF HE MEANT US TO FLY THE VOR/DME. HE SAID YES, SO I TUNED IT, IDENTED THE VOR AND RESET THE COPLT'S HSI. THE VOR/DME COURSE IS ON THE NE SIDE OF THE POTOMAC RIVER, AND THE LDA/DME IS ON THE SW SIDE OF IT. I HAVE FLOWN BOTH APCHS MANY TIMES AND AM FAMILIAR WITH BOTH, AS WELL AS THE TERRAIN BELOW THEM. WE WERE ACCURATELY TRACKING THE VOR/DME FOR A MINUTE OR SO, WHEN APCH SAID SOMETHING ABOUT US NOT BEING ON COURSE. I STATED THAT WE WERE SHOWING ON CENTERLINE, AND I LOOKED AGAIN AT THE TERRAIN TO BE SURE. THE CTLR THEN MADE A STATEMENT SOMETHING LIKE: OK, IF WE WERE ON CENTERLINE, WE WERE CLRED FOR THE LDA/DME, CALL DCA IN SIGHT FOR LNDG RWY 15. (HE WAS NOT BEING RUDE, RATHER, HE WAS PROFESSIONAL IN ALL OF HIS COMS.) AT ABOUT THIS TIME, I HEARD ANOTHER ACFT ASK HIM TO CONFIRM THE FREQ OF THE LDG/DME. THE CTLR STATED '108.5.' THE OTHER ACFT SAID THAT HE SHOWED THAT ON HIS APCH PLATE. I WAS IN THE PROCESS OF TUNING THE LDA, SO I ASKED THE CTLR TO CONFIRM THE FREQ BECAUSE THE ATIS WAS SAYING '109.9.' HE SAID STANDBY AND THEN REPEATED '108.5.' THE OTHER ACFT AGAIN SAID THAT HE HAD THAT ON HIS PLATE. MY PLATE ALSO SAID 108.5, OF COURSE. I HAD ALREADY SET 109.9 AND GOT NO IDENT OR INDICATIONS, SO I IMMEDIATELY SET 108.5. AT FIRST THERE WAS NO IDENT OR INDICATION. I WAS JUST ABOUT TO ADVISE APCH THAT I WASN'T RECEIVING THE SIGNAL WHEN THE INDICATIONS APPEARED, AND THEN THE IDENT WAS HEARD. BUT BECAUSE WE WERE NOW QUITE CLOSE TO DCA, I DID NOT ABSOLUTELY CONFIRM THE IDENT. I WAS BUSY LOOKING FOR RWY 15 BECAUSE IT IS TO THE RIGHT OF THE APCH COURSE, AND IF YOU FLY THE COURSE TOO CLOSE TO THE ARPT, YOU CANNOT EASILY (AND IN SOME CASES SAFELY) ALIGN YOURSELF WITH THE RWY. I DID SPOT THE REIL AT ABOUT 4 DME, AND THE COPLT SAW THEM AT ONLY ABOUT 2 MI FROM THE RWY END DUE TO HAZE, RAIN AND DARKNESS CAUSED BY THE HEAVY CLOUDS. (HE IS NOT AS FAMILIAR WITH THE TERRAIN AS I AM, AND EVEN THOUGH WE COULD BOTH SEE THE AREA OF THE ARPT, IT WAS ALL OBSCURED, AND THE RWYS THEMSELVES AND OTHER DETAILS WERE VERY DIFFICULT TO PICK OUT.) WE MADE AN UNEVENTFUL LNDG. VIS VARIED GREATLY DURING THE APCH. AT TIMES WE COULD SEE THE 10 MI STATED ON THE ATIS, BUT AT OTHERS IT WAS LESS THAN 3 MI DUE TO RAIN AND HAZE. ALSO, OUR RADAR WAS SHOWING AREAS OF WHAT APPEARED TO BE HEAVY RAIN (RED, ON OUR RADAR) TO THE E OF DCA, AND POSSIBLY OVER THE ARPT. I FEEL THAT THE HAZARD IN THIS SITUATION WAS THAT WE, THE CREW, WERE GIVEN A CONFUSING AND CONFLICTING SET OF INSTRUCTIONS AT A TIME AND PLACE THAT PUTS AN UNUSUALLY HEAVY WORKLOAD ON THE CREW. DCA IS DEMANDING TO BEGIN WITH, AND THE WX CONDITIONS MADE THINGS EVEN MORE DEMANDING. THE ADDITIONAL HAZARD WAS THE ATIS GIVING WHAT SEEMED TO BE A NEW FREQ FOR THE LDA/DME, BUT THIS FREQ WAS NOT IN THE NOTAMS, AND IT WAS NOT BEING CONFIRMED BY ATC, AS I HAD HALF EXPECTED IT TO BE. SOMEWHERE, THERE WAS A LACK OF COORD AND A FAILURE TO CHK THE ACCURACY OF INFO. I DO NOT KNOW WHY THERE WERE INDICATION PROBS WHILE WE WERE ON THE VECTOR, OR WHY IT TOOK WHAT SEEMED LIKE A LONG TIME FOR OUR EQUIP TO LOCK ON TO THE LDA/DME. OUR EQUIP OPERATED NORMALLY AT IND, AND ON THE VOR/DME AT DCA, AND SUBSEQUENTLY ENRTE TO, AND ON APCH AT MBS AND MKE.
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.