|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : ubg|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 3000|
msl bound upper : 3200
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : pdx|
|Operator||general aviation : instructional|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Fixed Gear|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : student|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 20|
flight time total : 52
flight time type : 52
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : approach|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
|Independent Detector||other other : unspecified|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
Am student pilot. Was on 300 NM plus solo x-country. Was using sea center for flight following. Center instructed me to contact portland approach. I was flying from eugene, or to chehalis, wa. I contacted pdx approach. They said they didn't see me on radar. They asked me to verify my 3000' altitude. They asked if I would be able to maintain legal VFR at that altitude. I indicated yes. They then requested I report any altitude changes. Then they asked my position again. I told them 2 mi east of henry hagg lake. They advised me they did have me on radar but that I was still at an illegal VFR altitude. I told approach I was a student on solo x-country and asked him to explain what he was taking about the illegal VFR altitude. He then said I could fly any altitude I wanted and have a good trip. Then he said he showed me at 3200' not the 3000' I showed. I still do not understand any (or very much) of this dialogue. I think the approach controller thought I was some IFR traffic or was requesting an IFR clearance. Then when he realized I was VFR student x-country in good VFR WX and was just using flight following everything seemed to be okay and become more relaxed and, to me, normal. It seems that perhaps the ground coordination between sea center for flight following and pdx approach for flight following was not executed very smoothly and that pdx approach thought I was something and/or someone I was not. In any case, because the FAA controller used words like 'illegal VFR altitude', I believe I must file this report. What I think must be taught to all pilots is that whenever anything funny is noted it should be clarified right then. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following: reporter has discussed situation with instructor and is now aware of what controller was talking about. Reporter actually was not 3000' above terrain which was 300', so considered was legal. Instructor advised reporter to remain at 2800' or below so that there will be no confusion in the future.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: STUDENT PLT ON LONG CROSS COUNTRY USING FLT FOLLOWING QUESTIONED BY CTLR REGARDING ALT AND TOLD IT WAS AN ILLEGAL ALT. THEN CLEARED TO FLY ANY ALT REPORTER WANTED.
Narrative: AM STUDENT PLT. WAS ON 300 NM PLUS SOLO X-COUNTRY. WAS USING SEA CENTER FOR FLT FOLLOWING. CENTER INSTRUCTED ME TO CONTACT PORTLAND APCH. I WAS FLYING FROM EUGENE, OR TO CHEHALIS, WA. I CONTACTED PDX APCH. THEY SAID THEY DIDN'T SEE ME ON RADAR. THEY ASKED ME TO VERIFY MY 3000' ALT. THEY ASKED IF I WOULD BE ABLE TO MAINTAIN LEGAL VFR AT THAT ALT. I INDICATED YES. THEY THEN REQUESTED I REPORT ANY ALT CHANGES. THEN THEY ASKED MY POSITION AGAIN. I TOLD THEM 2 MI E OF HENRY HAGG LAKE. THEY ADVISED ME THEY DID HAVE ME ON RADAR BUT THAT I WAS STILL AT AN ILLEGAL VFR ALT. I TOLD APCH I WAS A STUDENT ON SOLO X-COUNTRY AND ASKED HIM TO EXPLAIN WHAT HE WAS TAKING ABOUT THE ILLEGAL VFR ALT. HE THEN SAID I COULD FLY ANY ALT I WANTED AND HAVE A GOOD TRIP. THEN HE SAID HE SHOWED ME AT 3200' NOT THE 3000' I SHOWED. I STILL DO NOT UNDERSTAND ANY (OR VERY MUCH) OF THIS DIALOGUE. I THINK THE APCH CTLR THOUGHT I WAS SOME IFR TFC OR WAS REQUESTING AN IFR CLRNC. THEN WHEN HE REALIZED I WAS VFR STUDENT X-COUNTRY IN GOOD VFR WX AND WAS JUST USING FLT FOLLOWING EVERYTHING SEEMED TO BE OKAY AND BECOME MORE RELAXED AND, TO ME, NORMAL. IT SEEMS THAT PERHAPS THE GND COORDINATION BETWEEN SEA CENTER FOR FLT FOLLOWING AND PDX APCH FOR FLT FOLLOWING WAS NOT EXECUTED VERY SMOOTHLY AND THAT PDX APCH THOUGHT I WAS SOMETHING AND/OR SOMEONE I WAS NOT. IN ANY CASE, BECAUSE THE FAA CTLR USED WORDS LIKE 'ILLEGAL VFR ALT', I BELIEVE I MUST FILE THIS REPORT. WHAT I THINK MUST BE TAUGHT TO ALL PLTS IS THAT WHENEVER ANYTHING FUNNY IS NOTED IT SHOULD BE CLARIFIED RIGHT THEN. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH REPORTER REVEALED THE FOLLOWING: REPORTER HAS DISCUSSED SITUATION WITH INSTRUCTOR AND IS NOW AWARE OF WHAT CTLR WAS TALKING ABOUT. REPORTER ACTUALLY WAS NOT 3000' ABOVE TERRAIN WHICH WAS 300', SO CONSIDERED WAS LEGAL. INSTRUCTOR ADVISED REPORTER TO REMAIN AT 2800' OR BELOW SO THAT THERE WILL BE NO CONFUSION IN THE FUTURE.
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.