|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : dfw|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 23000|
msl bound upper : 23000
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : zfw|
|Operator||general aviation : corporate|
|Make Model Name||Light Transport|
|Flight Phase||climbout : intermediate altitude|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 80|
flight time total : 11950
|Function||flight crew : first officer|
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : less severe|
altitude deviation : overshoot
|Independent Detector||aircraft equipment other aircraft equipment : unspecified|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : overcame equipment problem|
|Consequence||faa : reviewed incident with flight crew|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
Our aircraft departed ftw for pah. While climbing eastbound we were cleared to FL230. Upon leveling off at FL230 the controller stated: 'we show you 500' high.' my altimeter showed us at FL230 and we informed the controller that we would change to our #2 transponder to see if correct altitude was displayed. We assumed it was as we had no further comments from ATC. However during another flight ATC reported it to be 1000' lower than our indicated altitude during the climb. Recently it has showed no error. This aircraft has been known to have as much as a 300' error between the captain's and coplts altimeter at higher altitudes. The mode C information is sent from either depending upon which transponder is selected, so depending upon which information is displayed there can be some deviation in mode C information from the aircraft. This error, combined with any error in ATC's equipment, can compound the error, especially when flying in turbulence. My concern is the accuracy of the combined readings of the equipment, as I hear quite often, controllers telling aircraft that they show them high or low on mode C readouts. If our equipment shows one altitude and ATC shows another, then what is the true altitude of the aircraft and is the 1000' sep safe at the lower altitudes? If 1 aircraft, for example is 300' high and 1 is 300' low, it doesn't leave much space when sep is 1000'. I would not favor decreasing sep at high altitudes to accommodate more traffic. As for our occurrence, I have no explanation for the difference in altitude readings between our aircraft and ATC's mode C display and can only guess that it is an accumulation of small errors in the equipment. I would appreciate any information that you may have on any occurrences like this. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following: maintenance feels a pitot system modification should be made, but it is very expensive and will probably not be done. The aircraft is equipped with air data computer but that does not seem to be the problem. Is going to check further with maintenance and may call with further information. Has had the same problem with another flight and seems to feel it is primarily the #2 transponder although that is not indicated in the report. All conditions were no clouds and a very rapid climb to altitude.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: ACFT REPORTED 300' HIGH ON REACHING RCA.
Narrative: OUR ACFT DEPARTED FTW FOR PAH. WHILE CLBING EBND WE WERE CLRED TO FL230. UPON LEVELING OFF AT FL230 THE CTLR STATED: 'WE SHOW YOU 500' HIGH.' MY ALTIMETER SHOWED US AT FL230 AND WE INFORMED THE CTLR THAT WE WOULD CHANGE TO OUR #2 TRANSPONDER TO SEE IF CORRECT ALT WAS DISPLAYED. WE ASSUMED IT WAS AS WE HAD NO FURTHER COMMENTS FROM ATC. HOWEVER DURING ANOTHER FLT ATC RPTED IT TO BE 1000' LOWER THAN OUR INDICATED ALT DURING THE CLB. RECENTLY IT HAS SHOWED NO ERROR. THIS ACFT HAS BEEN KNOWN TO HAVE AS MUCH AS A 300' ERROR BTWN THE CAPT'S AND COPLTS ALTIMETER AT HIGHER ALTS. THE MODE C INFO IS SENT FROM EITHER DEPENDING UPON WHICH TRANSPONDER IS SELECTED, SO DEPENDING UPON WHICH INFO IS DISPLAYED THERE CAN BE SOME DEVIATION IN MODE C INFO FROM THE ACFT. THIS ERROR, COMBINED WITH ANY ERROR IN ATC'S EQUIPMENT, CAN COMPOUND THE ERROR, ESPECIALLY WHEN FLYING IN TURB. MY CONCERN IS THE ACCURACY OF THE COMBINED READINGS OF THE EQUIP, AS I HEAR QUITE OFTEN, CTLRS TELLING ACFT THAT THEY SHOW THEM HIGH OR LOW ON MODE C READOUTS. IF OUR EQUIP SHOWS ONE ALT AND ATC SHOWS ANOTHER, THEN WHAT IS THE TRUE ALT OF THE ACFT AND IS THE 1000' SEP SAFE AT THE LOWER ALTS? IF 1 ACFT, FOR EXAMPLE IS 300' HIGH AND 1 IS 300' LOW, IT DOESN'T LEAVE MUCH SPACE WHEN SEP IS 1000'. I WOULD NOT FAVOR DECREASING SEP AT HIGH ALTS TO ACCOMMODATE MORE TFC. AS FOR OUR OCCURRENCE, I HAVE NO EXPLANATION FOR THE DIFFERENCE IN ALT READINGS BTWN OUR ACFT AND ATC'S MODE C DISPLAY AND CAN ONLY GUESS THAT IT IS AN ACCUMULATION OF SMALL ERRORS IN THE EQUIP. I WOULD APPRECIATE ANY INFO THAT YOU MAY HAVE ON ANY OCCURRENCES LIKE THIS. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING: MAINT FEELS A PITOT SYS MODIFICATION SHOULD BE MADE, BUT IT IS VERY EXPENSIVE AND WILL PROBABLY NOT BE DONE. THE ACFT IS EQUIPPED WITH AIR DATA COMPUTER BUT THAT DOES NOT SEEM TO BE THE PROB. IS GOING TO CHK FURTHER WITH MAINT AND MAY CALL WITH FURTHER INFO. HAS HAD THE SAME PROB WITH ANOTHER FLT AND SEEMS TO FEEL IT IS PRIMARILY THE #2 TRANSPONDER ALTHOUGH THAT IS NOT INDICATED IN THE RPT. ALL CONDITIONS WERE NO CLOUDS AND A VERY RAPID CLB TO ALT.
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.