Number 290
November 2003
A Monthly Safety Bulletin from The Office of the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System
P.O. Box 189, Moffett Field, CA 94035-0189

Piper Aircraft in IMCMarginal Decisions

According to NTSB statistics, a high percentage of General Aviation weather related accidents are caused by pilots flying under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) into Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC). As noted in these ASRS reports, flight into IMC may start with a flight into marginal conditions.

"The sky is low, the clouds are mean"

Emily Dickinson NATURE

The further a pilot flies into deteriorating weather the fewer options there are to maintain or return to VFR conditions. It appears that this PA-28 pilot used up all the options but one luck.

"The conditions worsened at an
alarming rate...."

Armed with a forecast that conditions "should" remain VFR enroute and at the destination, this C172 pilot found himself surrounded by IMC.

Stuck On Top

In the aviation equivalent of painting oneself into a corner, this pilot left himself no way out. The decision to stay out of IMC must be made early, while there are still viable options available.

Thanks to a good deal of luck, the pilot was able to return to visual conditions (in controlled flight) and land without further incident.

Marginal Clearance

This C210 pilot demonstrated that while a rating can make instrument flight legal, proficiency is required to make it safe.

An Icing Warmup

Airframe icing is a well-documented hazard associated with winter weather. These recent ASRS reports suggest that it might be a good time to review the causes, probable locations, and effects of icing. Excellent articles on icing and winter flying are available from the FAA Office of System Safety and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Air Safety Foundation.

In a light aircraft, the best tactic for dealing with ice is avoidance. Once ice has been encountered, the only alternative is to get out of icing conditions. This C182 pilot was lucky to escape while his aircraft could still climb.

Popsicle Piper

Thanks to this controller's professional guidance, a frost bitten Seneca was able to land safely and, apparently, not a moment too soon.

A Chilling Sendoff

Conditions that can lead to airframe icing may not be as obvious on the ground. In this report, an alert B757 flight attendant spotted unexpected wing ice that resulted from an unusual set of circumstances.

ASRS Recently Issued Alerts On...
 B727-200 slat composite failure
 B1900D fire warning system anomaly
 Western ARTCC communications problem
 Eastern airport unmarked surface obstruction
 A330 escape slide pressure regulator problem

October 2003 Report Intake
 Air Carrier/Air Taxi Pilots
 General Aviation Pilots