FlightAware Discussions

GOL Flight #2092 on 4/4/20

Can anyone look at the tracking data for this flight to see why this aircraft was traveling at 51,100 ft. 15 minutes or about 200 miles from landing at the Brasilia Int. Airport. Prior to reaching this altitude, it was fluctuating from 38K feet to 41K ft. then up to 48K ft. - down to 38K feet again (approx.). It looks as though the pilot was trying to descend but was unable - and the aircraft continued to gain altitude up to 51,100 ft. - came down to about 38K - then went off the Flightaware tracking. I was sure it was going to crash - just lost control - but, it did land per GOL website and Flightaware.

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Given the switching between ADS-B and MLAT, I’d say this was a transponder problem more than anything (i.e. the reported altitudes are probably not reliable)

Was this an easy fix for the pilots or were they in trouble? I’m sure it must have been a scary 15 min. for everyone.

Just looked up “transponder” - thought it had something to do with controlling the altitude but it’s that device that gives info. about the location of the aircraft or something like that.

Yes, the transponder is what’s responsible for providing position/altitude information which FlightAware then receives to produce the tracking data. Transponder problems only really reduce the ability of secondary radar (radar that relies on hearing the transponder response - used by ATC) to track the aircraft - and even if the transponder completely fails, primary radar (seeing radio reflections off the aircraft itself) will still work.