Dear Readers: We feel that it is important to keep
you, the aviation professionals who contribute to, and
benefit from, the Aviation Safety Reporting System,
informed about the status of the program. The ASRS has
been flat funded by the FAA since 1997 and experienced
a 20% funding shortfall in 2005. While the future budget
has not been finalized, indications are that the situation
could be even worse in FY '06
Longtime readers will recognize topics in this CALLBACK
that have been discussed many times over the years. Although
we all need frequent reminders about these safety issues,
an additional perspective has been added to this CALLBACK.
In an effort to reinforce the lessons concerning preventable,
weather related accidents, each ASRS incident report is accompanied
by a strikingly similar National Transportation Safety Board
(NTSB) accident report.
reports represent two schools of thought. ASRS offers first-hand
accounts detailing either close calls or disasters averted
by taking the proper course of action. These reports often
contain valuable insights into human factors and there is
no "cost" to those who report to ASRS. NTSB reports
are second-hand narratives that often include statements from
witnesses. Being the subject of an NTSB report can cost you
is a lesson common to both schools: it pays to learn from
the experience of others. Whichever school you prefer, learn
the lesson before you take the test. It could be a final exam
- with no opportunity for a retake.
is a commonly used term for patches of low, ragged clouds
that often form below an overcast. "Scud-running"
refers to the practice of flying beneath the scud to avoid
Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) and usually involves
a violation of Visual Flight Rules (VFR) cloud clearance criteria.
Statistically, scud-running is an extremely dangerous practice
that accounts for a high percentage of weather related, General
pilots who submitted the following ASRS reports encountered
weather similar to the conditions described in two NTSB reports.
The successful outcomes related in the ASRS reports were the
result of a wise decision in the first instance and a degree
of luck in the second.
Piper PA-28. Injuries: None
received clearance to [depart] VFR at night, flying at 2,000
feet MSL. I stayed within legal VFR limits until the weather
deteriorated within six miles of my destination. Rather than
try to scud-run under the clouds, I contacted approach, told
them the conditions, and that I needed to turn around. Approach
asked which field I wanted to land at and, after I checked
ATIS, I chose [ZZZ]. Approach was very helpful in giving me
a few vectors. I learned a great lesson; that weather can
deteriorate very quickly and you should turn around as soon
as it does and don't hesitate.
Piper PA-28. Injuries: 2 Fatal.
43 minutes after departure on a night cross-country flight,
the airplane was substantially damaged when it failed to maintain
clearance with terrain in a heavily wooded area. The non-instrument
rated private pilot and his passenger were fatally injured.
The pilot contacted theFlight Service Stationand requested an
enroute weather briefing, initially commenting, "Gonna
head over to [ZZZ], VFR. Looks like I'll be 'scudding it.'"
The specialist advised the pilot that[ZZZ2], the closest weather
reporting point to the accident site, had just dropped down
to a ceiling of 900 feet broken, 1,400 feet overcast, 2 1/2
miles visibility, and ceiling variable between about 700 feet
and 1,100 feet. A Senior NTSB meteorologist reported that it
was likely that the flight encountered IMC similar to the conditions
being reported in the [ZZZ2] area, just prior to the accident.
Beech 35. Injuries: None.
weather briefing was not obtained. I was scud-running until
the weather closed in and all visibility was lost. With concern
for ground clearance, I gained altitude, struggled with spatial
disorientation, contacted ATC on 121.5, and declared an emergency.
With ATC's assistance, we determined there was not enough
visibility at my final destination and I accepted vectors
to [ZZZ]. The flight was completed with IMC (Instrument Meteorological
Conditions) prevailing until final descent to the airport
where a VFR landing could be made. There was no damage to
the aircraft or injuries of any type. The root cause of the
problem was attempting a VFR flight when the weather clearly
did not support it. I did have 14 hours of IFR training; otherwise
this flight would probably have ended in tragedy.
Beech V35. Injuries: 1 Fatal.
pilot told the lineman he was preparing to depart since he
had to get back to work. The pilot said he was going to scud
run to his intended destinationbut would turn around if he
couldn't make it. The lineman said, "I couldn't believe
what he was telling me. I told him that every year, we get
two or three airplanes trying to scud run, and they run into
the mountains." The pilot told him that he was instrument
rated, but was not current. The pilot took offand disappeared
into clouds a mile south of the airport. The wreckage was
located the following day in a canyon. Radar data showed the
airplane tracking along an interstate highway before turning
left and entering the canyon. As it went further east into
the canyon, it made four consecutive climbing left turns before
radar contact was lost.
is another factor often cited in weather related accidents.
The following ASRS and NTSB reports deal with events in which
pilots encountered icing conditions while flying aircraft
that did not have anti-icing or de-icing capabilities. The
pilots who submitted the ASRS reports were fortunate to surviveand
to learn from their experience.
Beech 35. Injuries: None
solid stratus at 4,000 feet, the temperature is -4 degrees
C and I start picking up some trace ice.... As I continue
down to 2,300 feet for an approach, the precipitation increases
significantly and I quickly load up with ice. So at eight
miles south of [ZZZ], I tell ATC I'm loading up with ice and
request direct [ZZZ2]. No delay at all, cleared direct; climb
to 3,000 feet; contact approach. At 2,800 feet, I cease climbing.
Requested lower; given 2,300 feet. I keep climb power and
140 MPH and continue losing altitude.... Drifting through
2,300 feet, I go to full power, tell approach I can't maintain
2,300, and get a left turn to 090 [degrees] to avoid an antenna
farm. Finally, at 1,800 feet with max power, I'm holding altitude.
And hey, the ILS for Runway 16 comes in. Great! Break out
hot and high at about 600 feet (the runway is over 9,000 feet
long), fling down the gear, and hold about 120 'till flare.
After landing, big chunks of ice begin falling off the leading
edges.... I give the tower a brief explanation; thank them
profusely for their very quick professional help. Hindsight:
First sign of ice, I should have done the famous 180. In part
I had a mind-set to get to [ZZZ], and with the information
I had, thought this has got to be just a little patch of precipitation,
soon to be left behind. I was just too damn slow to make the
180 degree divert decision. Could have possibly stayed high
'till over [ZZZ], and then done the approach, but maybe then
wind up low, not breaking out, and 600 feet over [ZZZ] with
a load of ice, and no place to go.
little older, a little smarter, I'll screw something up again,
but it won't be a repeat of this little story. If it's ice,
I'm "outta" here!
Beech A36. Injuries: 2 Fatal.
pilot reported to ATC that the airplane had accumulated structural
ice. The pilot passed several airports before ultimately diverting
to a nearby airport because of degraded aircraft performance.
The pilot told ATC, "We're going to need vectors...We're
not going to make it up there. We're already in stall modeThis
airplane is full of ice." The airplane impacted trees and
terrain about 4.3 nautical miles south of the airport. The accident
occurred at night in IMC. An AIRMET for icing conditions had
been issued for occasional moderate rime and mixed icing while
in clouds and precipitation below 15,000 feet MSL. Several Pilot
Reports (PIREP's) indicated moderate rime and mixed icing between
2,500 and 6,000 feet MSL. The airplane was not equipped with
deicing equipment and was not approved for flight into known
icing conditions. The aircraft's Pilot Operating Handbook states,
"Flight into icing conditions is prohibited."
Piper PA-32. Damage: None. Injuries: None
encountered light to moderate rime icing in clouds on the approach
into [ZZZ]. The aircraft I was flying was not equipped with
deice or anti-ice equipment. I was able to land, however it
was a hair-raising experience. While there were AIRMETS for
possible icing on my flight weather briefing, I foolishly dismissed
them for two reasons. First, the weather was clearing from the
west and secondly, in all my years of flying a "no flight
into known icing" airplane, I have never actually encountered
ice. Icing AIRMETS are common in this area and from now on I
will consider every one a real possibility.
Piper PA-32. Damage: Substantial. Injuries: 1 Minor
airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing
in a field. The private pilot received a weather briefing....
The pilot reported, "It seemed that there were only a few
reports of light icing and layers between the clouds with no
moisture." There was an AIRMET for icing and instrument
meteorological conditions along the route of flight. Thirty
minutes after departure, the pilot noticed light mixed icing
on the wings. The airplane's airspeed had dropped to 130 knots
and it was unable to maintain a climb. The airspeed continued
to drop to 120 knots, and the pilot requested to divert to a
nearby airport with an instrument approach. The pilot reported
that he flew the approach at 3,000 feet at 120 knots until he
reached the final approach fix. He then lowered the landing
gear and selected 10 degrees of flaps. When the airplane was
about 500 feet AGL it began to buffet and the pilot reported
that he began to lose directional control. The pilot chose to
land in a field that was about 100 yards to the south of the
runway. The landing gear was sheared off and the propeller struck
the ground.... One witness reported, "I observed large
amounts of ice on the antennas, on the wings and other portions
of the airplane." The airplane was equipped with a placard
in full view of the pilot that stated, "THIS AIRCRAFT APPROVED
FOR V.F.R., I.F.R., DAY AND NIGHT NON-ICING FLIGHT WHEN EQUIPPED
IN ACCORDANCE WITH FAR 91 AND FAR 135."
Alerts Issued in July 2005
or aircraft equipment
facility or procedure
procedure or equipment
Publication, or Nav Database
policy or maintenance procedure
July 2005 Report Intake
Carrier/Air Taxi Pilots