Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

Reaction to TCAS RA

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

Reaction to TCAS RA

Old 1st May 2009, 10:28
  #1 (permalink)  
Nightrider
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Reaction to TCAS RA

Yesterday over Spain, busy time, ATC was handling about 12 aircraft simultaneously, several Spanish language conversations, suddenly a simple "TCAS RA" on the frequency.
Neither ATC nor any other aircraft reacting to the short and very unprominent call.
Since there was no further conversation regarding the incident we made sure it was not affecting us in any way, difficult as no info about location or altitude was available.
After about 1 minute the crew who declared the RA advised ATC that an ASR would be filed. There was no call of returning or continuing to any altitude.

Confused ATC responded that the clearance was FL230 and the conflicting one was at FL220, no mentioning of any action, no mentioning of any intervention, not showing any interest at all; as a matter of fact, we were under the impression that ATC was extremely surprised about the pilot statement and did not really know what this was all about.

TCAS RA is a very serious issue and needs immediate attention. The change in phraseology to today's simple "TCAS RA" can and does go unnoticed as seen yesterday. I doubt very much that this was the first event being handled or noticed like the one here.

Am I the only one who feels that the communication part as introduced about one and a half year ago does not provide the needed attention to attract everyone's focus on this very important issue?

Something similar to "PAN PAN PAN TCAS RA" would definately wake up more, if not all, who should get involved in the resulting action.
 
Old 1st May 2009, 12:31
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hants
Posts: 2,295
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You should get an acknowledegment of your RA. Because of the nature of an RA, you might not get traffic information, to tell the truth it matters not an iota as you have to follow the action anyways.

If ATC was busy, as you state in your first sentence, then all they should have done was 'rogered' you.

The call you gave was "TCAS RA", that has not changed. Discussing/informing ATC that you are going to file an ASR on RT is not needed, nor professonal. In the UK at the very least, ATC must fill in a report for TCAS RA, and we expect aircrew to do the same.

Saying you will do so on busy RT does not help the ATCO, especially as a lot of the time it is a nuisance RA. Believe me, when as an ATCO you know you have done nothing wrong, and you hear someone call 'TCAS RA', it can be very confusing for a couple of seconds, as you check and double check the clearance you gave on your flight progress strips.

The call "C/S TCAS RA" is not unambiguous, and if said with the correct annunciation/urgent tone, i.e. more prominently than a standard RT call, it is more than sufficient for the job. Putting a PAN PAN PAN prefix is not a good idea.

The procedure works fine as it is, Spanish ATC were busy as you state, when it happened. Changing procedures in RT to cover either poor procedures, poor technique or the lack of response of one controller is not the way ahead. Addressing the problem by speaking to the controller/reviewing procedures is what should be done or inyour case filing an ASR..

I hope in your ASR you stated very clearly that you received no response from ATC and that in your opinion it was busy. Furthermore, I do hope you mentioned that Spanish was being used on the RT as well.

I see a lot of instances now from the ATC side whereby when someone has an incident, the 'cover your arse' attitude of management is to make up some silly new procedure that doesn't actually enhance safety, but of course it means if someone in the future has an incident management can turn round and try to pass the buck and apportion blame.

What should be happening is having a chat with the controller involved and ensuring they know what went wrong, why, and how not to let it happen again.

Last edited by anotherthing; 1st May 2009 at 12:57.
anotherthing is offline  
Old 1st May 2009, 12:33
  #3 (permalink)  
Nightrider
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
The point I tried to make here is that there was certainly a second aircraft involved. No second aircraft call on the frequency, perhaps it was on a different ATC-sector.
ATC did not at all react to the TCAS RA call, no confirmation, nothing. As mentioned, after the pilot who declared the TCAS RA advised about an ASR to follow, there was only a surprised ATC response, clearly showing that ATC was at that stage completely unaware about the situation and that the TCAS RA call was unnoticed.

This is extremely dangerous and in my opinion a result of the "tame" expression "TCAS RA". A more prominent call, accompanied or followed by i.e. a PAN PAN PAN would advance this situation to a higher priority with the needed adequate attention.

anotherthing, my posting crossed you one.
 
Old 1st May 2009, 13:05
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hants
Posts: 2,295
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nightrider

I have had a couple of TCAS RA's as an ATCO, in both instances, only one aircraft called it. One was a nuisance RA caused by high climb rate in the LTMA, the other was a 'real one', caused by an aircraft climbing to a FL on a low QNH pressure setting .

The worrying thing about the second one was it was the other aircraft that called the RA, the 'offending' aircraft did nothing!

In your example, I'd probably be more concerned about the fact that it seems ATC did not answer because they were

a) Too busy i.e. congested RT therefore easy for a short call to get lost
b) Mixing languages on the RT

I would hope that the ASR, when investigated, would show these as being factors, if they indeed were (I can't judge an even I haven't seen a relay of).

What should follow then (certainly would in the UK), is a rebriefing of the ATCO involved to ensure a timely splitting in sectors or reduction in traffic flow, and also hammering home the need to use one common language (maybe getting the Spanish to accept this would be too difficult though).

It sounds to me from your brief description, that the controller would not have had the capacity to deal with an emergency, which is very poor.

The problem with making it a PAN call is that an RA really is a difficult situation for an ATCO. We are not allowed to do anything though every instinct tells us to try to help!

Also, even the mere passing of traffic info to you may not actually be helpfull when you are flying the manoeuvre. Maybe a brief explanation when it's done and dusted but during the action, it is probably less confusing just to give a brief acknowledgemnt of your call
anotherthing is offline  
Old 1st May 2009, 13:10
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 1,608
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The point I tried to make here is that there was certainly a second aircraft involved. No second aircraft call on the frequency, perhaps it was on a different ATC-sector.
Perhaps a light aircraft squawk, but without TCAS himself, or even another flight transmitting without "C". Many reasons why there might be no second response.
Re-Heat is offline  
Old 1st May 2009, 13:18
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 1,608
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If this was the case then it wouldn't have been an RA, just a TA
EGPFlyer is offline  
Old 1st May 2009, 16:41
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 341
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Departing Schipol one evening we were levelling at FL230, only just as we began to level off we saw 'pop up' traffic level at FL240 in our 3 o'clock.

We triggered an RA in the other aircraft, but we only got a TA, thus we made no call to ATC. AMS did call us to confirm our clearance as FL230, which we did, and we were then promptly handed over to a different sector.

Just because you had an RA does not mean that the other a/c did as well.
jb5000 is offline  
Old 1st May 2009, 17:34
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: world citizen
Posts: 146
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As this thread so clearly shows, very few people are fully up to date on how and when the TCAS system works. THIS is the real problem.
Short Approach? is offline  
Old 1st May 2009, 22:21
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: In a nice house
Posts: 981
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Without double checking, I believe our SOP is to notify ATC when we are to submit an ASR for a TCAS RA. I think calling it flags the fact up to (particularly in this case) a busy ATCer and confirms the fact that we had an incident.

When we declare "TCAS RA" on the radio, an acknowledge is really useful because we know that ATC are now aware we are deviating from our clearance and hopefully will be moving airplanes out of our way. A response of "Roger, report clear" is useful, I thought it was now standard?

It is quite disconcerting when you get an RA and cannot hear the other aircraft but I have had one where the aircraft was on another frequency. We had to make further inquiries to find out basic info for the other aircraft to help with the report.
Airbus Girl is offline  
Old 1st May 2009, 22:53
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 378
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
That lovely transition through Nicosia airspace, are the Greek's or Turk's controlling? Who knows...

Out of the blue "TCAS Climb". The response from Ercan, or was it Nicosia "Aircraft over NICAS requesting climb say again call sign"

"Don't bother"!!
woodpecker is offline  
Old 2nd May 2009, 01:16
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Europe
Posts: 292
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The bottom line here is that standard ICAO phraseology is not fully appreciated/understood by ATC in some parts of the world. It should be fairly simple..."C/S Tcas RA"...and then "C/S Tcas RA, Clear of conflict, resuming FLxxx". The same goes for an urgency call, or PAN-PAN. In some places an alteration to standard phraseology may be required. A typical scenario when in Spain is that if you expect to dip into final reserve fuel, you declare a PAN-PAN, if this is not appreciated you declare a MAYDAY.
However, I wouldn't necessarily assume that any ATCO down south would understand. So, applying the approach of "if he didn't understand, at least we did the right thing" -kind of attitude, will not do you any good. The basics of communication will always be to make sure the recepient has understood your message. If need be use plain language.
RYR-738-JOCKEY is offline  
Old 2nd May 2009, 01:22
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 413
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So is TCAS a bad thing?

Is it possible that ATC don't pay as much attention anymore, knowing that everyone has metal detectors on board, and crews are expected to take their own action in the event of coming too close anyway?

What is ATC's take on this? Maybe ATCers are briefed not to get involved, and this is interpreted as not needing to give a sh*t by certain (in this case, Spanish) individuals.

I'm just interested as someone who flies little planes at little-plane speeds, and uses my eyes for traffic avoidance.
sapperkenno is offline  
Old 2nd May 2009, 02:23
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 960
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As a side issue, but still part of the overall confusion issues here, what is it with the Spanish and the French with this unprofessional way of carrying on conversations in languages other than English...each and every time I've operated out of Paris CDG and ORY or Madrid MAD, there's always someone communicating not speaking English, which of course means that everybody else has no insight into what is happening, which is TCAS TA/RA country!

I was always very wary of ATC at both these places!

Cheers...FD...
Flight Detent is offline  
Old 2nd May 2009, 06:50
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: SE England
Posts: 123
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Splitting hairs,but what's a PAN PAN PAN? Surely it's a PAN-PAN, PAN-PAN, PAN-PAN if you're going to get the phraseology completely correct.
abra is offline  
Old 2nd May 2009, 07:11
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Fragrant Harbour
Posts: 4,782
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A TCAS RA is a real suprise to a controller who is either convinced he/she is doing his job properly, or terrified he/she are in the pooh for cocking up. Of the 4 I have had in my career, only one has been handled correctly by the ATC unit concerned.

And that was in China!
Dan Winterland is offline  
Old 2nd May 2009, 07:58
  #16 (permalink)  
Pegase Driver
 
Join Date: May 1997
Location: Europe
Age: 72
Posts: 3,182
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As this thread so clearly shows, very few people are fully up to date on how and when the TCAS system works. THIS is the real problem.
Absolutely correct.
I gave up correcting those posts, most of them appearing to come from PPLs or Microsoft FS experts (hopefully !).
As with everything nowadays, reading the operating manual would help.
ATC Watcher is online now  
Old 2nd May 2009, 10:18
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Cardiff, UK
Posts: 51
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As a side issue, but still part of the overall confusion issues here, what is it with the Spanish and the French with this unprofessional way of carrying on conversations in languages other than English
It may be unprofessional, but it is perfectly legal for French controllers to use French aswell as English. Not the same for the Spanish, however.
gone_fishing is offline  
Old 2nd May 2009, 12:16
  #18 (permalink)  
Plumbum Pendular
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Avionics Bay
Age: 53
Posts: 1,117
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As this thread so clearly shows, very few people are fully up to date on how and when the TCAS system works. THIS is the real problem.
Not really true, as long as you follow your RA, you don't need to know how the system works!
fmgc is offline  
Old 2nd May 2009, 14:03
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Where its at
Posts: 297
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
splitting hairs,but what's a PAN PAN PAN?
Surely it's a PAN-PAN, PAN-PAN, PAN-PAN if you're going to get the phraseology completely correct.
Yes I'd be interested to know what is a PAN x3 too. For the life of me, unless it is PAN-PAN x3, I just can't think what you're on about.

Sleepless night ahead.
Caudillo is offline  
Old 2nd May 2009, 14:06
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hants
Posts: 2,295
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Airbus Girl

In the UK, the only response from ATC to a TCAS RA call should be "C/S roger".

It used to be "C/S roger, report back under my control" but this was changed recently.

The pilot is supposed to report to ATC when the RA action is complete.

ATCOs become passengers when a TCAS RA is anounced, some used to try to 'assist' by giving instructions in the horizontal plane, but that is frowned upon now as it could detract from the TCAS action and may even reduce the effectiveness of a climb/descent.

sapperkenno

With regards to ATC taking less interest in their job because aircraft have TCAS - nothing could be further from the truth!

TCAS is a last resort safety measure, in fact I have seen replays of a couple of instances where TCAS in the LTMA has caused one incident to escalate and cause multiple losses of seperation.
anotherthing is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2022 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.