|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : mrb|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 7000|
msl bound upper : 7000
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : zdc|
tracon : iad
artcc : zob
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, Low Wing, 1 Eng, Retractable Gear|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Route In Use||enroute airway : v166|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : instrument|
pilot : private
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 59|
flight time total : 838
flight time type : 383
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : radar|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Consequence||faa : reviewed incident with flight crew|
|Primary Problem||ATC Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
I was flying on IFR clearance from huntington, wv (hts) to frederick, md (fdk), cleared as filed (dir hvq V4 esl V166 mrb dir fdk) at 7000'. Flight was solid IMC in clouds and rain with occasional light chop since takeoff. Flight was normal until about midway between esl and mrb on V166. Flight was being controled by washington center on 128.6. Frequency had been totally quiet long enough to make me suspicious, so I called center to make sure everything was still working. Center did not answer. I made 3 calls over about 5 min with no answer. There was no indication of any radio problem on my end. I became concerned because I knew I was entering dulles (iad) approach's airspace and was expecting a handoff. I finally switched on my own to dulles approach on 126.65 while continuing to monitor 128.6 on another radio. The dulles controller was very busy, but I finally got off a call. He did not want to talk to me. By now I was over mrb VORTAC, still IMC, and nobody wanted to talk to me. Twice dulles told me to stand by and stay clear even after I gave my position, reported being IMC on IFR flight plan and unable to contact washington center. Fortunately, I broke out of the clouds into good VFR conditions. There were more clouds ahead which I did not want to enter west/O proper ATC support in the busy dulles environment. I decided to force dulles to take my IFR cancellation and to stay VFR on into fdk, which was not far ahead. That all worked out fine. After landing, I called washington center on the telephone and spoke with a supervisor in the radar room. He checked with 2 other controllers, but nobody remembered anything unusual happening. He had my cancellation from dulles and considered everything to be normal. I believe this incident to have been potentially dangerous. Since dulles was not expecting me along my flight plan and clearance route, lost communication procedures were obviously not working. I had in fact not lost my communication capability, but nobody wanted to talk to me while IMC in a busy terminal area. I am very glad I broke out of the clouds when I did. I do not believe I violated any rules or procedures. It seems I just flew off one controller's radar scope and was forgotten by the ATC system.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: SMA IFR TO FDK APPARENTLY GOT DROPPED BY ARTCC COMPUTER AND DATA WAS NOT PASSED TO APCH CTL. ACFT UNABLE TO CONTACT ARTCC FINALLY CANCELLED IFR WITH APCH CTL.
Narrative: I WAS FLYING ON IFR CLRNC FROM HUNTINGTON, WV (HTS) TO FREDERICK, MD (FDK), CLRED AS FILED (DIR HVQ V4 ESL V166 MRB DIR FDK) AT 7000'. FLT WAS SOLID IMC IN CLOUDS AND RAIN WITH OCCASIONAL LIGHT CHOP SINCE TKOF. FLT WAS NORMAL UNTIL ABOUT MIDWAY BETWEEN ESL AND MRB ON V166. FLT WAS BEING CTLED BY WASHINGTON CENTER ON 128.6. FREQ HAD BEEN TOTALLY QUIET LONG ENOUGH TO MAKE ME SUSPICIOUS, SO I CALLED CENTER TO MAKE SURE EVERYTHING WAS STILL WORKING. CENTER DID NOT ANSWER. I MADE 3 CALLS OVER ABOUT 5 MIN WITH NO ANSWER. THERE WAS NO INDICATION OF ANY RADIO PROB ON MY END. I BECAME CONCERNED BECAUSE I KNEW I WAS ENTERING DULLES (IAD) APCH'S AIRSPACE AND WAS EXPECTING A HDOF. I FINALLY SWITCHED ON MY OWN TO DULLES APCH ON 126.65 WHILE CONTINUING TO MONITOR 128.6 ON ANOTHER RADIO. THE DULLES CTLR WAS VERY BUSY, BUT I FINALLY GOT OFF A CALL. HE DID NOT WANT TO TALK TO ME. BY NOW I WAS OVER MRB VORTAC, STILL IMC, AND NOBODY WANTED TO TALK TO ME. TWICE DULLES TOLD ME TO STAND BY AND STAY CLR EVEN AFTER I GAVE MY POS, RPTED BEING IMC ON IFR FLT PLAN AND UNABLE TO CONTACT WASHINGTON CENTER. FORTUNATELY, I BROKE OUT OF THE CLOUDS INTO GOOD VFR CONDITIONS. THERE WERE MORE CLOUDS AHEAD WHICH I DID NOT WANT TO ENTER W/O PROPER ATC SUPPORT IN THE BUSY DULLES ENVIRONMENT. I DECIDED TO FORCE DULLES TO TAKE MY IFR CANCELLATION AND TO STAY VFR ON INTO FDK, WHICH WAS NOT FAR AHEAD. THAT ALL WORKED OUT FINE. AFTER LNDG, I CALLED WASHINGTON CENTER ON THE TELEPHONE AND SPOKE WITH A SUPVR IN THE RADAR ROOM. HE CHKED WITH 2 OTHER CTLRS, BUT NOBODY REMEMBERED ANYTHING UNUSUAL HAPPENING. HE HAD MY CANCELLATION FROM DULLES AND CONSIDERED EVERYTHING TO BE NORMAL. I BELIEVE THIS INCIDENT TO HAVE BEEN POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS. SINCE DULLES WAS NOT EXPECTING ME ALONG MY FLT PLAN AND CLRNC ROUTE, LOST COM PROCS WERE OBVIOUSLY NOT WORKING. I HAD IN FACT NOT LOST MY COM CAPABILITY, BUT NOBODY WANTED TO TALK TO ME WHILE IMC IN A BUSY TERMINAL AREA. I AM VERY GLAD I BROKE OUT OF THE CLOUDS WHEN I DID. I DO NOT BELIEVE I VIOLATED ANY RULES OR PROCEDURES. IT SEEMS I JUST FLEW OFF ONE CTLR'S RADAR SCOPE AND WAS FORGOTTEN BY THE ATC SYS.
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.