and adherence to published procedures are critical when operating in
or near an airport traffic pattern. Whether the airport is towered or
non-towered, certain fundamentals apply to all pattern operations. Clear,
concise communications, see and avoid, and use of standardized arrival,
approach, and departure procedures provide a pattern for efficiency
the pilot of a homebuilt aircraft reported to ASRS, use of the correct
procedures for departing a non-towered airport can be "overshadowed"
by a less conscientious arrival. Judging from a rather terse communication
after landing, it appears that the Cessna pilot may have had an attitude
was a busy, non-towered airport with several aircraft in the pattern
and several waiting for takeoff on Runway 24.... After waiting for
several aircraft in the pattern to land, a break occurred after a
taildragger landed. I checked to see that no one was on base and announced
that I was going into position and hold on Runway 24, until the taildragger
cleared the runway. He took some time clearing and I then announced
that I was rolling on [Runway] 24 with a westbound departure. As I
was accelerating down the runway, a shadow appeared. A Cessna 172
passed 30 -- 40 feet overhead and landed right in front of me. I closed
the throttle, braked, and aborted the takeoff. The Cessna exited and
parked.... I asked [the pilot] if he saw me on the takeoff roll. After
a few seconds of radio silence, he called back, "Yeah, I saw
pilot related how an unfamiliar approach to a familiar field caused
some confusion. Proper entry into the traffic pattern is crucial and
should be based on situational awareness, not a habit pattern.
was approaching the airport from the southeast. I contacted Tower
and was told to call at three miles for a right base entry to Runway
6. At three miles southeast, I called and was told to watch for traffic
on left base for Runway 6. I told Tower that the traffic was not in
sight. When I finally saw the traffic, it was close off my left wing,
about 300 feet below me. I was told by Tower that I had flown through
the final approach course, very close to landing traffic, and that
I was to make a left 180-degree turn to enter final for Runway 6.
An uneventful landing was accomplished.
thinking about the incident, I realized what had happened. I have
been to this airport many times, but almost always approaching from
the northeast and usually landing on Runway 24. This time I approached
from the southeast for a base entry to Runway 6. I was intent on
looking for my traffic and mistook Runway 14/32 for Runway 6/24.
I was looking at the wrong runway and looking for traffic in the
wrong place. When I saw the traffic, I thought he was in the wrong
place and I became confused, until the Tower told me about flying
through the final approach course for Runway 6. I realize that orientation
is a full time job, especially when flying in the pattern. When
I didn't see the traffic, I should have called the controller and
asked for further directions...
Grumman AA5 pilot who submitted this report got a valuable assist from
an onboard traffic warning system. As the reporter pointed out, traffic
alerting systems do not replace the pilot's responsibility to see and
miles from the airport, the controller cancelled coverage with no
comments about traffic.... I switched to the Common Traffic Advisory
Frequency (CTAF) and called four miles out, then, since I was in position
to directly enter left base for Runway 29, I did so and called my
position. I saw no traffic in the pattern, although my new Traffic
Proximity Alert System (TPAS) warned me of an aircraft within two
miles. The TPAS gives only range and not bearing, so I suspected the
traffic might be heading to a nearby airport since no one was responding
on CTAF. I turned final and made the radio call; still no response
from other traffic. Now the TPAS began to display a rapidly decreasing
range, down to 0.4 miles. Suspecting that I was descending onto another
plane on final, I leveled off and went around, not climbing in case
the traffic was above me. At midfield I heard a helicopter make a
radio call on short final, then I saw him as I turned crosswind. He
completed his touch and go, then flew another tight and very low pattern,
completed another touch and go, then left the area.... I suspect that
his radio was off until he saw me pass over him on final.
failed to see and avoid traffic in the pattern (although it was
difficult to see a small helicopter flying a nonstandard pattern).
The helicopter pilot was not using his radio, apparently assuming
he was the only one around. The major factor in avoiding a collision
was the TPAS. It made me aware of traffic that I otherwise would
not have seen. While it is relatively unsophisticated, giving only
approximate range with no bearing and depends upon active transponders
in the other aircraft, it has nevertheless proved its value to me.
Still, it is not a substitute for "see and avoid." I need
to be more observant.
can be a demanding task, but the process should never demand so much
of an instructor's time and attention that safety is compromised. Several
recent ASRS reports address some of the more common "unintended"
lessons that result from flight training.
Pilots Too Busy Training
an instructor and a student pilot in a twin-engine Seneca were preoccupied
with an engine-out maneuver, a Cessna 152 occupied a growing portion
of their windscreen. Unwittingly, the flight instructor in the Seneca
also provided some free lessons to the Cessna pilot who related the
incident to ASRS.
traffic was...a Seneca beginning a missed approach over the VOR....
The Seneca initiated a right turn toward our position and reported
to Tower that they were, "looking for traffic." I turned
left to avoid a potential conflict. The Seneca called, "traffic
in sight" when approximately 500 feet horizontally and 200 feet
vertically separated from us.
was discovered later that the instructor and student on board the
Seneca were both busy with a simulated engine-out, missed approach
and failed to locate us until the last minute.... Better coordination
of traffic by the Tower, and a more vigilant lookout by the instructor/safety
pilot would have prevented this event.
for myself, I have learned that, even at a towered airport, any
doubts about other traffic must be resolved and perhaps earlier
evasive action should be taken when a conflict is possible.
Too Busy Training II
A Tower controller
reported to ASRS on another incident involving a simulated engine failure
in a light twin. Once again, a training maneuver resulted in a traffic
conflict that required an evasive maneuver.
was] working Local Control North with three aircraft inbound from
the northwest, all VFR. Local Control South coordinated a northwest
departure for a Piper, VFR. When I approved the northwest turn for
the Piper, all of my aircraft inbound from the northwest were abeam
the Piper and at 2,500 feet. The Piper was leaving 2,600 feet before
he turned. I saw the Piper's target on the D-BRITE (Digital Bright
Radar Indicator Tower Equipment) heading northeast at 2,400 feet.
I asked the Piper to report his altitudeand looked out the window
to see if he was in conflict with any of the inbound traffic. I saw
him just as he dove to miss one of the aircraft.... The [instructor
pilot in the] Piper said that he pulled an engine on the student as
they turned northwest, causing the aircraft to turn northeast and
the next report, a student pilot and a flight instructor in a Cessna
182 RG learned a hard lesson about checklists and distractions. The
instructor also shared a sound lesson about audible warnings.
the student pilot's report:
From the flight
planned on simulating an engine failure after my student started the
landing checklist at the point where he would have lowered the landing
gear. My student made a position report, however, at mid-field, downwind
where I had expected him to lower the landing gear. Without thinking
further, I simulated the failed engine by reducing the throttle to
idle. While supervising the emergency procedure, I was also critiquing
the flight path my student was taking.... I had not noticed that my
student had skipped half of the landing checklist and I did not double-check
the gear extension, as I normally would have. I also did not notice
the audible gear warning horn...
Recently Issued Alerts On...
4100 pitch down incident
auto pressurization controller failure
A100 fuel tank access plate leak
short lines obscured at a Southern airport
traffic conflict at a Southern airport
2003 Report Intake
Carrier/Air Taxi Pilots