|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : adw|
airport : dca
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : bal|
tracon : dca
|Make Model Name||Small Transport, Low Wing, 2 Recip Eng|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : approach|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
other anomaly other
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Consequence||faa : reviewed incident with flight crew|
|Primary Problem||ATC Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
As a chief pilot for state law enforcement agency, I fly the state's small transport into dca with regular frequency. Usually I file IFR for the trip, but taking advantage of some excellent VFR WX this summer, I flew direct on the most recent trip. As usual, when approaching from the northeast over the kenton VOR, we are handed off to bwi approach control. At 50 mi from the dca TCA boundary I initiated a request for the TCA penetration for a landing at dca. The reply I received was 'continue,' from the bwi approach controller. My copilot and I discussed the term 'continue' as probably meaning that since the bwi controller didn't own the dca TCA airspace, he would get the approval from dca on the phone line and then relay the approval to us before entering the TCA's airspace, which would be 15 mi from andrews AFB, DME flying at better than 3 mi/min, it doesn't take long to cover the distance to where the entry approval is required. Again, I inquired as to our request for TCA penetration at 22 mi and was told to 'continue.' at 17 mi from andrews, I asked, 'not to belabor the point, do I have approval to enter the TCA or not, yes or no?' the reply from the controller was a 'contact washington approach.' by this time I was into the TCA and not really sure if I had an approval or not. What concerns me is that if we need to get approval to enter the TCA and the response from the controller is to be 'you are cleared into the TCA,' and all I receive is a 'continue,' and a violation is issued or some form of communication error is noted, then the system isn't providing the safety it is intended. As a matter of fact, on a VFR flight from concord, nh, to providence, ri, at 4500' in the small transport, I requested from bos approach to enter the outer ring of the bos TCA, and the reply I received was 'continue on course.' I suppose that is an approval too?!! I would like to mention while on the subject and not to 'continue' a questionable subject, I have never been allowed to enter the ny TCA at any TCA altitude if I wasn't landing at one of the primary airports. Ny just says no.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: PHRASEOLOGY REFERENCE CLRNC TO ENTER THE TCA.
Narrative: AS A CHIEF PLT FOR STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, I FLY THE STATE'S SMT INTO DCA WITH REGULAR FREQUENCY. USUALLY I FILE IFR FOR THE TRIP, BUT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF SOME EXCELLENT VFR WX THIS SUMMER, I FLEW DIRECT ON THE MOST RECENT TRIP. AS USUAL, WHEN APCHING FROM THE NE OVER THE KENTON VOR, WE ARE HANDED OFF TO BWI APCH CTL. AT 50 MI FROM THE DCA TCA BOUNDARY I INITIATED A REQUEST FOR THE TCA PENETRATION FOR A LNDG AT DCA. THE REPLY I RECEIVED WAS 'CONTINUE,' FROM THE BWI APCH CTLR. MY COPLT AND I DISCUSSED THE TERM 'CONTINUE' AS PROBABLY MEANING THAT SINCE THE BWI CTLR DIDN'T OWN THE DCA TCA AIRSPACE, HE WOULD GET THE APPROVAL FROM DCA ON THE PHONE LINE AND THEN RELAY THE APPROVAL TO US BEFORE ENTERING THE TCA'S AIRSPACE, WHICH WOULD BE 15 MI FROM ANDREWS AFB, DME FLYING AT BETTER THAN 3 MI/MIN, IT DOESN'T TAKE LONG TO COVER THE DISTANCE TO WHERE THE ENTRY APPROVAL IS REQUIRED. AGAIN, I INQUIRED AS TO OUR REQUEST FOR TCA PENETRATION AT 22 MI AND WAS TOLD TO 'CONTINUE.' AT 17 MI FROM ANDREWS, I ASKED, 'NOT TO BELABOR THE POINT, DO I HAVE APPROVAL TO ENTER THE TCA OR NOT, YES OR NO?' THE REPLY FROM THE CTLR WAS A 'CONTACT WASHINGTON APCH.' BY THIS TIME I WAS INTO THE TCA AND NOT REALLY SURE IF I HAD AN APPROVAL OR NOT. WHAT CONCERNS ME IS THAT IF WE NEED TO GET APPROVAL TO ENTER THE TCA AND THE RESPONSE FROM THE CTLR IS TO BE 'YOU ARE CLRED INTO THE TCA,' AND ALL I RECEIVE IS A 'CONTINUE,' AND A VIOLATION IS ISSUED OR SOME FORM OF COM ERROR IS NOTED, THEN THE SYS ISN'T PROVIDING THE SAFETY IT IS INTENDED. AS A MATTER OF FACT, ON A VFR FLT FROM CONCORD, NH, TO PROVIDENCE, RI, AT 4500' IN THE SMT, I REQUESTED FROM BOS APCH TO ENTER THE OUTER RING OF THE BOS TCA, AND THE REPLY I RECEIVED WAS 'CONTINUE ON COURSE.' I SUPPOSE THAT IS AN APPROVAL TOO?!! I WOULD LIKE TO MENTION WHILE ON THE SUBJECT AND NOT TO 'CONTINUE' A QUESTIONABLE SUBJECT, I HAVE NEVER BEEN ALLOWED TO ENTER THE NY TCA AT ANY TCA ALT IF I WASN'T LNDG AT ONE OF THE PRIMARY ARPTS. NY JUST SAYS NO.
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.