|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : grm|
airport : dlh
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 9000|
msl bound upper : 9000
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : zmp|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Fixed Gear|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Route In Use||enroute airway : v13|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 6|
flight time total : 371
flight time type : 371
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : instrument|
|Anomaly||inflight encounter : weather|
non adherence : far
non adherence : clearance
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : exited adverse environment|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
Checked pilot WX reports on channel 17 tv. From XA30-XF00 zm msp and dlh were continually forecast to improve by early afternoon. XD05 am I called FSS WX briefing and was told fcm was forecast to be VFR by XG00. Dlh forecast to be VFR by early afternoon 8000'. XG00 am I called WX briefing. Dlh forecast to be 3000' broken to 8000' broken by afternoon. Thunder bay was 7000' broken visibility 12 mi, -south. My passenger, a much experienced military pilot and civ pilot IFR, also called WX briefing at XC30 am and XE30 am. Also told conditions expected to improve and he would have a VFR afternoon. We filed a VFR flight plan to devil's track airport. Grand marais from fcm, mp/south. We departed fcm XG30 pm. Maintain 5500' outside the msp TCA. We encountered higher clouds and changed altitude to 7500' on top with scattered clouds and ground visible through holes, maintaining VFR. We checked with dlh about thunder bay WX and were told it was VFR 5000' broken V12. We got vectors to grand marais from dlh. We remained VFR on top over lake superior with holes in clouds. Lake and shoreline visible. 30 mi from dlh the tops rose higher. My passenger felt it was better to get an IFR clearance at this time and was cleared to 9000' and understood cleared to approach. I maintained VFR with holes. Nearing our destination we attempted to call center and received no answer. We called hib, no answer. Also tried devil's track unicom. No answer. Could not radio contact anyone. Our ADF was coming in and we had openings in which to let down. We decided an emergency approach VFR was better than other alternatives considering gas and wind conditions back to dlh. We let down through the holes in clouds and were able to maintain VFR over lake. When shoreline was visible with some bldgs on water's edge our ADF began acting very erratic. Possible magnetic disturbance. A wall of clouds was directly over the ridge leading to grand marais. Remaining VFR over lake we reversed our course and attempted radio contact with center again. Also with hib and thunder bay 133.25 previously we tried to call devil's track unicom several times. Finally an airline pilot answered us and called winnipeg who then gave us a new frequency for dlh. We called dlh while climbing to 5000' VOR over the lake. We filed IFR with dlh at this time as conditions there had deteriorated to IFR conditions and we had to return for fuel. We landed safely at dlh with 1/2 hour of fuel remaining. This was an emergency situation. All WX reports indicated conditions were to improve and be VFR. We had to leave our assigned altitude at grand marais because we lost all radio contact with anyone. According to far 91 if you lose radio contact while on IFR you can let down VFR as we did and land VFR and notify the FAA. We let down VFR, but were unable to land at grand marais because of fog over the hills and because we were running short of fuel we had to turn back and attempt to land at dlh, which we did. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following: reporter said that she probably would not have flown the trip as she did if she did not have the 'experienced' passenger with her. She said she has to learn to think for herself. She also said she would not be so eager to fly on top in the future. She plans to get her instrument rating soon.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: VFR PLT FLYING TOWARD FORECAST VFR WX GETS TRAPPED ON TOP OF A BROKEN DECK.
Narrative: CHKED PLT WX RPTS ON CHANNEL 17 TV. FROM XA30-XF00 ZM MSP AND DLH WERE CONTINUALLY FORECAST TO IMPROVE BY EARLY AFTERNOON. XD05 AM I CALLED FSS WX BRIEFING AND WAS TOLD FCM WAS FORECAST TO BE VFR BY XG00. DLH FORECAST TO BE VFR BY EARLY AFTERNOON 8000'. XG00 AM I CALLED WX BRIEFING. DLH FORECAST TO BE 3000' BROKEN TO 8000' BROKEN BY AFTERNOON. THUNDER BAY WAS 7000' BROKEN VISIBILITY 12 MI, -S. MY PAX, A MUCH EXPERIENCED MIL PLT AND CIV PLT IFR, ALSO CALLED WX BRIEFING AT XC30 AM AND XE30 AM. ALSO TOLD CONDITIONS EXPECTED TO IMPROVE AND HE WOULD HAVE A VFR AFTERNOON. WE FILED A VFR FLT PLAN TO DEVIL'S TRACK ARPT. GRAND MARAIS FROM FCM, MP/S. WE DEPARTED FCM XG30 PM. MAINTAIN 5500' OUTSIDE THE MSP TCA. WE ENCOUNTERED HIGHER CLOUDS AND CHANGED ALT TO 7500' ON TOP WITH SCATTERED CLOUDS AND GND VISIBLE THROUGH HOLES, MAINTAINING VFR. WE CHKED WITH DLH ABOUT THUNDER BAY WX AND WERE TOLD IT WAS VFR 5000' BROKEN V12. WE GOT VECTORS TO GRAND MARAIS FROM DLH. WE REMAINED VFR ON TOP OVER LAKE SUPERIOR WITH HOLES IN CLOUDS. LAKE AND SHORELINE VISIBLE. 30 MI FROM DLH THE TOPS ROSE HIGHER. MY PAX FELT IT WAS BETTER TO GET AN IFR CLRNC AT THIS TIME AND WAS CLRED TO 9000' AND UNDERSTOOD CLRED TO APCH. I MAINTAINED VFR WITH HOLES. NEARING OUR DEST WE ATTEMPTED TO CALL CENTER AND RECEIVED NO ANSWER. WE CALLED HIB, NO ANSWER. ALSO TRIED DEVIL'S TRACK UNICOM. NO ANSWER. COULD NOT RADIO CONTACT ANYONE. OUR ADF WAS COMING IN AND WE HAD OPENINGS IN WHICH TO LET DOWN. WE DECIDED AN EMER APCH VFR WAS BETTER THAN OTHER ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERING GAS AND WIND CONDITIONS BACK TO DLH. WE LET DOWN THROUGH THE HOLES IN CLOUDS AND WERE ABLE TO MAINTAIN VFR OVER LAKE. WHEN SHORELINE WAS VISIBLE WITH SOME BLDGS ON WATER'S EDGE OUR ADF BEGAN ACTING VERY ERRATIC. POSSIBLE MAGNETIC DISTURBANCE. A WALL OF CLOUDS WAS DIRECTLY OVER THE RIDGE LEADING TO GRAND MARAIS. REMAINING VFR OVER LAKE WE REVERSED OUR COURSE AND ATTEMPTED RADIO CONTACT WITH CENTER AGAIN. ALSO WITH HIB AND THUNDER BAY 133.25 PREVIOUSLY WE TRIED TO CALL DEVIL'S TRACK UNICOM SEVERAL TIMES. FINALLY AN AIRLINE PLT ANSWERED US AND CALLED WINNIPEG WHO THEN GAVE US A NEW FREQ FOR DLH. WE CALLED DLH WHILE CLBING TO 5000' VOR OVER THE LAKE. WE FILED IFR WITH DLH AT THIS TIME AS CONDITIONS THERE HAD DETERIORATED TO IFR CONDITIONS AND WE HAD TO RETURN FOR FUEL. WE LANDED SAFELY AT DLH WITH 1/2 HR OF FUEL REMAINING. THIS WAS AN EMER SITUATION. ALL WX RPTS INDICATED CONDITIONS WERE TO IMPROVE AND BE VFR. WE HAD TO LEAVE OUR ASSIGNED ALT AT GRAND MARAIS BECAUSE WE LOST ALL RADIO CONTACT WITH ANYONE. ACCORDING TO FAR 91 IF YOU LOSE RADIO CONTACT WHILE ON IFR YOU CAN LET DOWN VFR AS WE DID AND LAND VFR AND NOTIFY THE FAA. WE LET DOWN VFR, BUT WERE UNABLE TO LAND AT GRAND MARAIS BECAUSE OF FOG OVER THE HILLS AND BECAUSE WE WERE RUNNING SHORT OF FUEL WE HAD TO TURN BACK AND ATTEMPT TO LAND AT DLH, WHICH WE DID. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING: RPTR SAID THAT SHE PROBABLY WOULD NOT HAVE FLOWN THE TRIP AS SHE DID IF SHE DID NOT HAVE THE 'EXPERIENCED' PAX WITH HER. SHE SAID SHE HAS TO LEARN TO THINK FOR HERSELF. SHE ALSO SAID SHE WOULD NOT BE SO EAGER TO FLY ON TOP IN THE FUTURE. SHE PLANS TO GET HER INSTRUMENT RATING SOON.
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.