|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1801 To 2400|
|Locale Reference||airport : gon|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 0
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Retractable Gear|
|Flight Phase||landing other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 50|
flight time total : 160
flight time type : 22
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : unable|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
Upon termination of radar contact pilot noticed the radio communication was poor. This did not cause concern in as much as the amp meter was showing good charge. About 10 mins out of ny the low voltage light came on. The amp meter still showed the battery was charging. No corrective action was taken. At or around bridgeport, ct, all navigation equipment stopped working. Low voltage light was still on--amp meter still showed charging. Pilot started shutting down non essential equipment. All equipment was shut down except 1 radio. Pilot advised passenger of problem and that a precautionary landing would be made. At that point pilot tired to raise FSS on radio with no response. Pilot could not establish radio communication with any station. While looking for a landing site the pilot initiated a climb. The climb started at 3500' and stopped at 5000' when an airport was sighted. The climb was started to aid in a glide in the event of engine failure. The cabin had been dark for around 10 mins when pilot established an estimate of position. Spotting what was believed to be new london, ct, the pilot again tried to use radio. The airport was circled twice at 1200' to alert tower and look for possible traffic. A standard pattern was performed with a final on what was believed to be the active runway. The gear lever was placed in the down position and emergency level was pumped. The right front passenger was asked if gear was down. Passenger could not see gear. Pilot then looked for gear, no gear could be seen. Pilot then opened window to look closer for gear. At that point the pilot's eyeglasses were blown from the aircraft. After losing eyeglasses pilot turned final and resumed pumping of gear. On what appeared to be a normal G/south the pilot suddenly encountered a ridge line. To avoid collision the pilot performed a hard pull up. After maneuvering to avoid the ridge all emergency pumping of the landing gear ceased. With a smooth flare the main landing gear failed and the aircraft slid to a stop. Contributing factors: clearly a contributing factor was the loss of the eyeglasses. However, the ridge played a part in taking the pilot's attention away from the landing gear. Another factor was the erroneous reading of the amp meter. This gauge showed charging up to the moment of complete loss of electrical power. This made the pilot ignore the low voltage light for a time. Groton-new london is next to the ocean. On a dark night the ridge fades into the blackness of the surrounding atlantic. West/O lights or markers on the ridge, it complicates one's ability to see the obstruction. The loss of electrical power was the initiating event, but the eyeglasses and ridge monopolized the pilot's time during the final moments of flight. Corrective action: this particular runway at groton-new london airport is called the widow maker by the pilots on the filed. In as much as its danger is that evident, it would seem logical for it to be marked with a light. This light would give pilots in an emergency the opportunity to spot it. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following: reporter stated the most disturbing of the events that occurred was the ridge appearing west/O warning, and the resulting maneuvers to avoid it. The approach is over water and pilots set up for a long flat approach, then suddenly the 100' ridge appears. Local pilots are aware, but even those pilots sometimes come in with tree branches in the gear. The tower personnel are the folks who used the term 'widow maker' re: the ridge. Aircraft is undergoing inspection to find source of electrical failure.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: GEAR UP LNDG, NIGHT, ELECTRICAL FAILURE.
Narrative: UPON TERMINATION OF RADAR CONTACT PLT NOTICED THE RADIO COM WAS POOR. THIS DID NOT CAUSE CONCERN IN AS MUCH AS THE AMP METER WAS SHOWING GOOD CHARGE. ABOUT 10 MINS OUT OF NY THE LOW VOLTAGE LIGHT CAME ON. THE AMP METER STILL SHOWED THE BATTERY WAS CHARGING. NO CORRECTIVE ACTION WAS TAKEN. AT OR AROUND BRIDGEPORT, CT, ALL NAV EQUIP STOPPED WORKING. LOW VOLTAGE LIGHT WAS STILL ON--AMP METER STILL SHOWED CHARGING. PLT STARTED SHUTTING DOWN NON ESSENTIAL EQUIP. ALL EQUIP WAS SHUT DOWN EXCEPT 1 RADIO. PLT ADVISED PAX OF PROB AND THAT A PRECAUTIONARY LNDG WOULD BE MADE. AT THAT POINT PLT TIRED TO RAISE FSS ON RADIO WITH NO RESPONSE. PLT COULD NOT ESTABLISH RADIO COM WITH ANY STATION. WHILE LOOKING FOR A LNDG SITE THE PLT INITIATED A CLB. THE CLB STARTED AT 3500' AND STOPPED AT 5000' WHEN AN ARPT WAS SIGHTED. THE CLB WAS STARTED TO AID IN A GLIDE IN THE EVENT OF ENG FAILURE. THE CABIN HAD BEEN DARK FOR AROUND 10 MINS WHEN PLT ESTABLISHED AN ESTIMATE OF POS. SPOTTING WHAT WAS BELIEVED TO BE NEW LONDON, CT, THE PLT AGAIN TRIED TO USE RADIO. THE ARPT WAS CIRCLED TWICE AT 1200' TO ALERT TWR AND LOOK FOR POSSIBLE TFC. A STANDARD PATTERN WAS PERFORMED WITH A FINAL ON WHAT WAS BELIEVED TO BE THE ACTIVE RWY. THE GEAR LEVER WAS PLACED IN THE DOWN POS AND EMER LEVEL WAS PUMPED. THE RIGHT FRONT PAX WAS ASKED IF GEAR WAS DOWN. PAX COULD NOT SEE GEAR. PLT THEN LOOKED FOR GEAR, NO GEAR COULD BE SEEN. PLT THEN OPENED WINDOW TO LOOK CLOSER FOR GEAR. AT THAT POINT THE PLT'S EYEGLASSES WERE BLOWN FROM THE ACFT. AFTER LOSING EYEGLASSES PLT TURNED FINAL AND RESUMED PUMPING OF GEAR. ON WHAT APPEARED TO BE A NORMAL G/S THE PLT SUDDENLY ENCOUNTERED A RIDGE LINE. TO AVOID COLLISION THE PLT PERFORMED A HARD PULL UP. AFTER MANEUVERING TO AVOID THE RIDGE ALL EMER PUMPING OF THE LNDG GEAR CEASED. WITH A SMOOTH FLARE THE MAIN LNDG GEAR FAILED AND THE ACFT SLID TO A STOP. CONTRIBUTING FACTORS: CLEARLY A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR WAS THE LOSS OF THE EYEGLASSES. HOWEVER, THE RIDGE PLAYED A PART IN TAKING THE PLT'S ATTN AWAY FROM THE LNDG GEAR. ANOTHER FACTOR WAS THE ERRONEOUS READING OF THE AMP METER. THIS GAUGE SHOWED CHARGING UP TO THE MOMENT OF COMPLETE LOSS OF ELECTRICAL PWR. THIS MADE THE PLT IGNORE THE LOW VOLTAGE LIGHT FOR A TIME. GROTON-NEW LONDON IS NEXT TO THE OCEAN. ON A DARK NIGHT THE RIDGE FADES INTO THE BLACKNESS OF THE SURROUNDING ATLANTIC. W/O LIGHTS OR MARKERS ON THE RIDGE, IT COMPLICATES ONE'S ABILITY TO SEE THE OBSTRUCTION. THE LOSS OF ELECTRICAL PWR WAS THE INITIATING EVENT, BUT THE EYEGLASSES AND RIDGE MONOPOLIZED THE PLT'S TIME DURING THE FINAL MOMENTS OF FLT. CORRECTIVE ACTION: THIS PARTICULAR RWY AT GROTON-NEW LONDON ARPT IS CALLED THE WIDOW MAKER BY THE PLTS ON THE FILED. IN AS MUCH AS ITS DANGER IS THAT EVIDENT, IT WOULD SEEM LOGICAL FOR IT TO BE MARKED WITH A LIGHT. THIS LIGHT WOULD GIVE PLTS IN AN EMER THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPOT IT. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING: RPTR STATED THE MOST DISTURBING OF THE EVENTS THAT OCCURRED WAS THE RIDGE APPEARING W/O WARNING, AND THE RESULTING MANEUVERS TO AVOID IT. THE APCH IS OVER WATER AND PLTS SET UP FOR A LONG FLAT APCH, THEN SUDDENLY THE 100' RIDGE APPEARS. LCL PLTS ARE AWARE, BUT EVEN THOSE PLTS SOMETIMES COME IN WITH TREE BRANCHES IN THE GEAR. THE TWR PERSONNEL ARE THE FOLKS WHO USED THE TERM 'WIDOW MAKER' RE: THE RIDGE. ACFT IS UNDERGOING INSPECTION TO FIND SOURCE OF ELECTRICAL FAILURE.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of August 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.