|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||airport : iad|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 0
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : iad|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft|
|Flight Phase||descent : approach|
|Route In Use||enroute : on vectors|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : instrument|
pilot : private
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 75|
flight time total : 600
flight time type : 25
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : approach|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||non adherence : far|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||controller : issued new clearance|
|Consequence||faa : reviewed incident with flight crew|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
We departed orlando executive airport with 2 passenger, and 2 pilots (myself as PIC), and 5.5 hours of fuel computed to be on board with prevailing winds as forecasted. Computed en route time was 4 hours, which left us with 1.5 hours of fuel reserves computed to be available upon arrival. Forecasted WX for 1 hour before arrival at washington-dulles international was 500 scattered, 2000 overcast, with occasional 700 overcast. 1 hour from dulles (i.e., 9000 ft over flat rock VOR) both our fuel computer and fuel gauges indicated 2.5 hours of fuel remaining. Reported surface observations at both washington- dulles and all surrounding airports (including richmond) was 200 overcast and 1/2 mi visibility. The last time I flew an ILS approach down to absolute mins was in worcester, ma, about 3 months ago and we had to fly a missed approach due to no runway environment in sight and had to fly to an alternate 1 hour away. So I was already planning for an alternate 1 hour flight north. As we were handed off to dulles approach and asked to expect ILS 1R, we could immediately hear that the approach controller was extremely busy with not only the controller himself continually coming on the air, but his assistant also. As we were handed off to him, we were given such diverse vectors of 340 for several mins followed by 040 for several mins. I knew we were going to be spaced and sequenced. At this point our fuel computer at 25 mi south of dulles was indicating 1 hour and 15 mins of fuel. Not sure if we were #2 or #3 in the sequencing line, or #9 or #10 (and wanting to plan accordingly) I waited till the controller gave us a right turn vector heading 040 to ask a question. Dulles approach: small aircraft, turn right heading 040 degrees. Small aircraft: right turn 040, and do you know what number we are in the sequence we have a fuel situation. I used the words 'fuel situation' carefully avoiding 'fuel emergency' and 'fuel critical' knowing we were far from either an emergency or a critical situation. But we were 30 mins from 'min' reserves as indicated by the FAA. And if we had to fly to an alternate an hour away, the situation had the potential of becoming critical. Immediately after the last exchange, the approach controller began: dulles approach: roger, you're #3 in the sequence. (I heaved a sigh of relief, knowing we weren't too far behind. But then he came back on immediately.) dulles approach: small aircraft turn left heading 270 degrees, intercept the localizer and you're cleared for the ILS 1R approach. Can you be more specific about your fuel situation? Small aircraft: identify, we are 30 mins from mins. Dulles approach: roger, keep your speed up to 150 if able during the approach. He obviously bumped us up to #1, and as we began our approach, I heard the controller vector 2 airliners around for another approach and felt a bit embarrassed. Both airliners told the controller they understood, and didn't seem to have a problem with the resequencing. After landing with no further incident, and taxiing to the FBO, the TRACON facility supervisor called me and discussed the fuel situation status. Obviously, 'low fuel' is a relative term. What is a 'fuel situation' to one pilot may not be a 'fuel situation' to another. I believe by informing the controller well in advance (although we were not required to) that we were '30 mins from mins' that we were providing an extra measure of safety to both ourselves and the controller in his supervision and direction of traffic. Again, although we were well within legal limits at the time, and a landing occurred without incident, the matter certainly had the potential of later becoming upgraded to 'critical' if a missed approach were made, and/or another was attempted and an alternate had to be chosen.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: SMA CONCERNED ABOUT VECTORS AND POS IN APCH REQUESTS NUMBER IN SEQUENCING AND STATES HAVE A FUEL SITUATION. CTLR VECTORS FOR APCH AND SENDS 2 ACRS AROUND.
Narrative: WE DEPARTED ORLANDO EXECUTIVE ARPT WITH 2 PAX, AND 2 PLTS (MYSELF AS PIC), AND 5.5 HRS OF FUEL COMPUTED TO BE ON BOARD WITH PREVAILING WINDS AS FORECASTED. COMPUTED ENRTE TIME WAS 4 HRS, WHICH LEFT US WITH 1.5 HRS OF FUEL RESERVES COMPUTED TO BE AVAILABLE UPON ARR. FORECASTED WX FOR 1 HR BEFORE ARR AT WASHINGTON-DULLES INTL WAS 500 SCATTERED, 2000 OVCST, WITH OCCASIONAL 700 OVCST. 1 HR FROM DULLES (I.E., 9000 FT OVER FLAT ROCK VOR) BOTH OUR FUEL COMPUTER AND FUEL GAUGES INDICATED 2.5 HRS OF FUEL REMAINING. RPTED SURFACE OBSERVATIONS AT BOTH WASHINGTON- DULLES AND ALL SURROUNDING ARPTS (INCLUDING RICHMOND) WAS 200 OVCST AND 1/2 MI VISIBILITY. THE LAST TIME I FLEW AN ILS APCH DOWN TO ABSOLUTE MINS WAS IN WORCESTER, MA, ABOUT 3 MONTHS AGO AND WE HAD TO FLY A MISSED APCH DUE TO NO RWY ENVIRONMENT IN SIGHT AND HAD TO FLY TO AN ALTERNATE 1 HR AWAY. SO I WAS ALREADY PLANNING FOR AN ALTERNATE 1 HR FLT N. AS WE WERE HANDED OFF TO DULLES APCH AND ASKED TO EXPECT ILS 1R, WE COULD IMMEDIATELY HEAR THAT THE APCH CTLR WAS EXTREMELY BUSY WITH NOT ONLY THE CTLR HIMSELF CONTINUALLY COMING ON THE AIR, BUT HIS ASSISTANT ALSO. AS WE WERE HANDED OFF TO HIM, WE WERE GIVEN SUCH DIVERSE VECTORS OF 340 FOR SEVERAL MINS FOLLOWED BY 040 FOR SEVERAL MINS. I KNEW WE WERE GOING TO BE SPACED AND SEQUENCED. AT THIS POINT OUR FUEL COMPUTER AT 25 MI S OF DULLES WAS INDICATING 1 HR AND 15 MINS OF FUEL. NOT SURE IF WE WERE #2 OR #3 IN THE SEQUENCING LINE, OR #9 OR #10 (AND WANTING TO PLAN ACCORDINGLY) I WAITED TILL THE CTLR GAVE US A R TURN VECTOR HDG 040 TO ASK A QUESTION. DULLES APCH: SMA, TURN R HDG 040 DEGS. SMA: R TURN 040, AND DO YOU KNOW WHAT NUMBER WE ARE IN THE SEQUENCE WE HAVE A FUEL SITUATION. I USED THE WORDS 'FUEL SITUATION' CAREFULLY AVOIDING 'FUEL EMER' AND 'FUEL CRITICAL' KNOWING WE WERE FAR FROM EITHER AN EMER OR A CRITICAL SITUATION. BUT WE WERE 30 MINS FROM 'MIN' RESERVES AS INDICATED BY THE FAA. AND IF WE HAD TO FLY TO AN ALTERNATE AN HR AWAY, THE SITUATION HAD THE POTENTIAL OF BECOMING CRITICAL. IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE LAST EXCHANGE, THE APCH CTLR BEGAN: DULLES APCH: ROGER, YOU'RE #3 IN THE SEQUENCE. (I HEAVED A SIGH OF RELIEF, KNOWING WE WEREN'T TOO FAR BEHIND. BUT THEN HE CAME BACK ON IMMEDIATELY.) DULLES APCH: SMA TURN L HDG 270 DEGS, INTERCEPT THE LOC AND YOU'RE CLRED FOR THE ILS 1R APCH. CAN YOU BE MORE SPECIFIC ABOUT YOUR FUEL SITUATION? SMA: IDENT, WE ARE 30 MINS FROM MINS. DULLES APCH: ROGER, KEEP YOUR SPD UP TO 150 IF ABLE DURING THE APCH. HE OBVIOUSLY BUMPED US UP TO #1, AND AS WE BEGAN OUR APCH, I HEARD THE CTLR VECTOR 2 AIRLINERS AROUND FOR ANOTHER APCH AND FELT A BIT EMBARRASSED. BOTH AIRLINERS TOLD THE CTLR THEY UNDERSTOOD, AND DIDN'T SEEM TO HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THE RESEQUENCING. AFTER LNDG WITH NO FURTHER INCIDENT, AND TAXIING TO THE FBO, THE TRACON FACILITY SUPVR CALLED ME AND DISCUSSED THE FUEL SITUATION STATUS. OBVIOUSLY, 'LOW FUEL' IS A RELATIVE TERM. WHAT IS A 'FUEL SITUATION' TO ONE PLT MAY NOT BE A 'FUEL SITUATION' TO ANOTHER. I BELIEVE BY INFORMING THE CTLR WELL IN ADVANCE (ALTHOUGH WE WERE NOT REQUIRED TO) THAT WE WERE '30 MINS FROM MINS' THAT WE WERE PROVIDING AN EXTRA MEASURE OF SAFETY TO BOTH OURSELVES AND THE CTLR IN HIS SUPERVISION AND DIRECTION OF TFC. AGAIN, ALTHOUGH WE WERE WELL WITHIN LEGAL LIMITS AT THE TIME, AND A LNDG OCCURRED WITHOUT INCIDENT, THE MATTER CERTAINLY HAD THE POTENTIAL OF LATER BECOMING UPGRADED TO 'CRITICAL' IF A MISSED APCH WERE MADE, AND/OR ANOTHER WAS ATTEMPTED AND AN ALTERNATE HAD TO BE CHOSEN.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of July 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.