Diverted flight marked as arrived when it never did


#1

Not sure if this is a problem or expected behavior.

flightaware.com/live/flight/SWA2 … /KHOU/KJAN

Was tracking this flight watching it spin circles for my wife who was waiting at the airport. Airplane never landed at KJAN as displayed in text, it diverted to New Orleans as displayed in the map picture. Arrival time was at KMSY, not KJAN.

Another problem (may not be?) is that the status had arriving shortly while in the hold. No track log available was during this status. Is this to be expected? I was hoping to watch the altitude history to see how far down (or up) the holding stack it was in. The FL in the graphic was erratic at best jumping randomly 1000’s of feet up and down in each lap during the hold.


#2

Hi Allen;
I remember this being discussed some time ago. I see the same problem at SBP. Aircraft sitting in the holding pattern on liveatc but showing arrived here. Turns out sometimes approach control, or the tower, will hit the “arrived” button on their computer a little early which in turn sends that message out to the world.
I saw it last week at LAX when the morning fog was lower than usual. A Sky West RJ came in but the visibility went below CAT II minimums after they were handed off to the tower but before the FAF so they diverted to SBA. Meanwhile somebody hit the “arrived” button. It took a while but a second flight plan popped up on them but since it was from the LAX 255/15 to SBA it never linked to the original flight here.

hope winter is treating you well,

John in Saudi


#3

There is no “Arrived Button” in a tower.

What is happening here is a function of the ATC radar systems ( ARTS). When an aircraft gets close to an airport at a fairly low altitude the data block will disappear. ( It will appear on the controllers “Coast/Suspend” list). The controllers can restart the track in the event of a go-around, or the computer will recognize the transponder and restart the track. It is the ARTS computer that marks the aircraft “arrived” ( there are lots of different parameters for this).

I think the correct question here is: How does the data feed used by Flightaware pick up tracks that may have been in the Coast/Suspend list, especially in the case of a Go-Around?

The Sky West RJ is a perfect example. The aircraft descended and went around. The track might have went to the Coast/Suspend list. After the Go-Around, the track was re-started, and the aircraft headed for SBA. The departure controllers worked their magic and entered a route to SBA… LAX255015…SBA.

So, the controller never lost a data block. I’m guessing the FAA feed that Flightaware gets doesn’t have anything until the new flight plan data is entered, and then the tracking continues for Flightaware users.

On a lighter note: If controllers had to use an “Arrived Button” the controller handbook would have an entire chapter devoted to when or when not to press the button, who to call when the button was or was not pushed, appropriate strip marking for the button status, and which position in the tower should be responsible for the button. And an entire new ATC glossary entry.


#4

Not to mention what procedures come into effect when the button is inop.


#5

Now that the flight log is available, I don’t even think this flight ever was in touch with KJAN in the hold for KJAN to push the button to mark it as arrived seeing it held at 15K :laughing: Guess we will have to blame center for pushing that arrived button.

FAA made a brilliant decision to do maintenance on ground based equipment during a travel season so approaches are now non precision minimums at KJAN. Viz was below LOC minimums so flight was logically put in hold. Gotta give SWA credit, they did keep their pax informed of the flight status per my wife.

Warm down here John, miss my ole Sundowner. Weather doesn’t get any better than what we are having for some good ole fashion IA work. No complaints, I been there and done it so it helps the day dreaming looking at 400 ice free OVC outside my window. 8)

'preciate everybody’s input.