|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : isp|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 500|
msl bound upper : 1000
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : n90|
tower : pwk
|Operator||general aviation : instructional|
|Make Model Name||Helicopter|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : commercial|
pilot : instrument
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 75|
flight time total : 1400
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : approach|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : exited penetrated airspace|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
I departed under VFR from boston to the sandy hook, nj, area intending to pass over long island. Visibility was marginal, minimum 3-5 mi along the route, but between the LORAN. Having flown the route before, and my usual practice of contacting approach control when I am anywhere near an arsa/TCA the mission, did not seem particularly difficult. As I approached the long island coast I attempted to contact long island arsa controller, but was told that they were too busy for VFR advisories. He gave me another frequency where he thought VFR advisories may have been available. That turned out to be a controller who handled some airspace above 7000'. So now I found myself in the very complex airspace over long island in marginal visibility and no one wanted to talk to me. Also, between trying to contact approach control, then the second controller, trying to find the nearby airports in the airport/facility directory, and searching for traffic, I missed some terrain features and didn't really know exactly where I was. A short while later I reoriented myself. The rest of the flight proceeded west/O incident. I don't believe I violated any airspace, but then I am not sure I didn't. I was disoriented for about 3-5 mins. The factors contributing to this incident are nothing new, and in retrospect I should have anticipated each, but they are still issues that should be addressed. 1) just when ATC is needed most, it is saturated. If the conditions had been good VFR, I almost certainly would have had no trouble entering the system. 2) even if the controller could not give advisories, it would seem better to have a discrete code on an aircraft and know that the pilot is listening on the frequency rather than an 'unknown VFR target.' 3) the LORAN could have helped me more if I had the airport idents available. Both airports with control zones in the area were listed in the airport/facility directory under something besides what they were labeled as on the VFR TCA chart. 'Long island mac arthur' is really 'islip' (which is cross-referenced), and 'republic' is really 'farmingdale.' this flipping back and forth in the directory to figure out the 'real' name for the airport was a distraction from my navigation duties. Recommendations: 1) establish VFR corridors/arsa exclusion areas to allow n-s passage of long island for VFR traffic so long as ATC is unable to provide service during saturation periods. 2) given every airport exactly 1 name. This should really not have to be a suggestion. That it is not so is beyond my understanding. What township an airport is in is of very little consequence when one is single pilot and trying to find some airport or approach data in a hurry. A pilot should be able to reference the needed airport by name directly from the VFR chart to the rest of the publications west/O flipping back through cross-references. Every second a pilots eyes are in a book is time not navigating or avoiding traffic.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: GA HELICOPTER PLT UNAUTH PENETRATION OF AIRSPACE PLUS PLT COMPLAINT ABOUT MULTIPLE ARPT IDENTIFIERS MAKING IDENTIFICATION DIFFICULT FOR SINGLE PLT IFR TO USE LORAN NAVIGATION.
Narrative: I DEPARTED UNDER VFR FROM BOSTON TO THE SANDY HOOK, NJ, AREA INTENDING TO PASS OVER LONG ISLAND. VISIBILITY WAS MARGINAL, MINIMUM 3-5 MI ALONG THE ROUTE, BUT BTWN THE LORAN. HAVING FLOWN THE ROUTE BEFORE, AND MY USUAL PRACTICE OF CONTACTING APCH CTL WHEN I AM ANYWHERE NEAR AN ARSA/TCA THE MISSION, DID NOT SEEM PARTICULARLY DIFFICULT. AS I APCHED THE LONG ISLAND COAST I ATTEMPTED TO CONTACT LONG ISLAND ARSA CTLR, BUT WAS TOLD THAT THEY WERE TOO BUSY FOR VFR ADVISORIES. HE GAVE ME ANOTHER FREQ WHERE HE THOUGHT VFR ADVISORIES MAY HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE. THAT TURNED OUT TO BE A CTLR WHO HANDLED SOME AIRSPACE ABOVE 7000'. SO NOW I FOUND MYSELF IN THE VERY COMPLEX AIRSPACE OVER LONG ISLAND IN MARGINAL VISIBILITY AND NO ONE WANTED TO TALK TO ME. ALSO, BTWN TRYING TO CONTACT APCH CTL, THEN THE SECOND CTLR, TRYING TO FIND THE NEARBY ARPTS IN THE ARPT/FAC DIRECTORY, AND SEARCHING FOR TFC, I MISSED SOME TERRAIN FEATURES AND DIDN'T REALLY KNOW EXACTLY WHERE I WAS. A SHORT WHILE LATER I REORIENTED MYSELF. THE REST OF THE FLT PROCEEDED W/O INCIDENT. I DON'T BELIEVE I VIOLATED ANY AIRSPACE, BUT THEN I AM NOT SURE I DIDN'T. I WAS DISORIENTED FOR ABOUT 3-5 MINS. THE FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THIS INCIDENT ARE NOTHING NEW, AND IN RETROSPECT I SHOULD HAVE ANTICIPATED EACH, BUT THEY ARE STILL ISSUES THAT SHOULD BE ADDRESSED. 1) JUST WHEN ATC IS NEEDED MOST, IT IS SATURATED. IF THE CONDITIONS HAD BEEN GOOD VFR, I ALMOST CERTAINLY WOULD HAVE HAD NO TROUBLE ENTERING THE SYS. 2) EVEN IF THE CTLR COULD NOT GIVE ADVISORIES, IT WOULD SEEM BETTER TO HAVE A DISCRETE CODE ON AN ACFT AND KNOW THAT THE PLT IS LISTENING ON THE FREQ RATHER THAN AN 'UNKNOWN VFR TARGET.' 3) THE LORAN COULD HAVE HELPED ME MORE IF I HAD THE ARPT IDENTS AVAILABLE. BOTH ARPTS WITH CTL ZONES IN THE AREA WERE LISTED IN THE ARPT/FAC DIRECTORY UNDER SOMETHING BESIDES WHAT THEY WERE LABELED AS ON THE VFR TCA CHART. 'LONG ISLAND MAC ARTHUR' IS REALLY 'ISLIP' (WHICH IS CROSS-REFERENCED), AND 'REPUBLIC' IS REALLY 'FARMINGDALE.' THIS FLIPPING BACK AND FORTH IN THE DIRECTORY TO FIGURE OUT THE 'REAL' NAME FOR THE ARPT WAS A DISTR FROM MY NAV DUTIES. RECOMMENDATIONS: 1) ESTABLISH VFR CORRIDORS/ARSA EXCLUSION AREAS TO ALLOW N-S PASSAGE OF LONG ISLAND FOR VFR TFC SO LONG AS ATC IS UNABLE TO PROVIDE SVC DURING SATURATION PERIODS. 2) GIVEN EVERY ARPT EXACTLY 1 NAME. THIS SHOULD REALLY NOT HAVE TO BE A SUGGESTION. THAT IT IS NOT SO IS BEYOND MY UNDERSTANDING. WHAT TOWNSHIP AN ARPT IS IN IS OF VERY LITTLE CONSEQUENCE WHEN ONE IS SINGLE PLT AND TRYING TO FIND SOME ARPT OR APCH DATA IN A HURRY. A PLT SHOULD BE ABLE TO REF THE NEEDED ARPT BY NAME DIRECTLY FROM THE VFR CHART TO THE REST OF THE PUBLICATIONS W/O FLIPPING BACK THROUGH CROSS-REFERENCES. EVERY SECOND A PLTS EYES ARE IN A BOOK IS TIME NOT NAVIGATING OR AVOIDING TFC.
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.