|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : btl|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 1000|
msl bound upper : 1000
|Controlling Facilities||tower : btl|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Fixed Gear|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 13|
flight time total : 1132
flight time type : 515
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : local|
|Qualification||controller : non radar|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : declared emergency|
none taken : anomaly accepted
|Consequence||faa : reviewed incident with flight crew|
Small aircraft X while flying between athens and battle creek, the aircraft apparently had wires burn as pilot smelled strong odor of burning and immediately shut the master switch off and then the burning odor decreased. Checking of equipment revealed a total electrical failure: no radios, lights, flaps or anything electrical. Because battle creek kellogg airport has emergency equipment and an FAA control tower to summon what is needed as well as long runways for a no-flap landing, it was decided to go there rather than to attempt landing at shorter fields with no emergency services such as crash rescue. Understand that the pilot had no idea what had actually burned or if it would start again. Pilot entered traffic pattern for runway 23 about 200 ft higher than the pattern altitude to avoid conflict if other traffic and then proceeded to fly the pattern and rocked aircraft wings to attract the attention of the controllers while maintaining altitude and not descending. All the time pilot watching tower for a light signal and not receiving any. After 1 circuit of the pattern pilot observed 2 military fgt's approaching the field and extended the downwind leg and remained clear. Subsequently, 2 more fgt's approached and pilot remained clear again, then observed a flight of 6 fgt's approaching so pilot left the area of the airport and circled to the east over battle creek until the fgt's had landed. Pilot returned and entered the downwind leg at mid- field and then observed a red light from the control tower briefly so continued in pattern and then received a green light and proceeded to land. (It should be noted that on 1 circuit of the pattern I observed a small plane sitting in takeoff position on the end of runway 23.) pilot telephoned the control tower upon engine shutdown and found that the controller on phone was upset and was told that pilot should have gone to another field like marshall or athens and then phoned in and not try to land at battle creek as they were very busy. At no time was the controller apparently interested in hearing that I was unable to declare an emergency because of the radio failure and that it was not just a radio failure problem. I asked him what happened to the rule that would let a plane without radio circle the field until receiving light signals but he went back to the 'we are busy' and that 'they had planes stacked up for 10 mi.' (one of my fellow pilots was in a plane waiting on the ground for takeoff and all he saw was a long wait for the fgt's to all land. He did hear the tower say something about, 'what's that guy doing up there?) I can only say that I did all I could to properly attract tower attention and rocked my wings (big wing rocking) on each fly-by in each direction.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: SMA X EMER. ACFT EQUIP PROB. ELECTRICAL LOSS OF COM.
Narrative: SMA X WHILE FLYING BTWN ATHENS AND BATTLE CREEK, THE ACFT APPARENTLY HAD WIRES BURN AS PLT SMELLED STRONG ODOR OF BURNING AND IMMEDIATELY SHUT THE MASTER SWITCH OFF AND THEN THE BURNING ODOR DECREASED. CHKING OF EQUIP REVEALED A TOTAL ELECTRICAL FAILURE: NO RADIOS, LIGHTS, FLAPS OR ANYTHING ELECTRICAL. BECAUSE BATTLE CREEK KELLOGG ARPT HAS EMER EQUIP AND AN FAA CTL TWR TO SUMMON WHAT IS NEEDED AS WELL AS LONG RWYS FOR A NO-FLAP LNDG, IT WAS DECIDED TO GO THERE RATHER THAN TO ATTEMPT LNDG AT SHORTER FIELDS WITH NO EMER SVCS SUCH AS CRASH RESCUE. UNDERSTAND THAT THE PLT HAD NO IDEA WHAT HAD ACTUALLY BURNED OR IF IT WOULD START AGAIN. PLT ENTERED TFC PATTERN FOR RWY 23 ABOUT 200 FT HIGHER THAN THE PATTERN ALT TO AVOID CONFLICT IF OTHER TFC AND THEN PROCEEDED TO FLY THE PATTERN AND ROCKED ACFT WINGS TO ATTRACT THE ATTN OF THE CTLRS WHILE MAINTAINING ALT AND NOT DSNDING. ALL THE TIME PLT WATCHING TWR FOR A LIGHT SIGNAL AND NOT RECEIVING ANY. AFTER 1 CIRCUIT OF THE PATTERN PLT OBSERVED 2 MIL FGT'S APCHING THE FIELD AND EXTENDED THE DOWNWIND LEG AND REMAINED CLR. SUBSEQUENTLY, 2 MORE FGT'S APCHED AND PLT REMAINED CLR AGAIN, THEN OBSERVED A FLT OF 6 FGT'S APCHING SO PLT LEFT THE AREA OF THE ARPT AND CIRCLED TO THE E OVER BATTLE CREEK UNTIL THE FGT'S HAD LANDED. PLT RETURNED AND ENTERED THE DOWNWIND LEG AT MID- FIELD AND THEN OBSERVED A RED LIGHT FROM THE CTL TWR BRIEFLY SO CONTINUED IN PATTERN AND THEN RECEIVED A GREEN LIGHT AND PROCEEDED TO LAND. (IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT ON 1 CIRCUIT OF THE PATTERN I OBSERVED A SMALL PLANE SITTING IN TKOF POS ON THE END OF RWY 23.) PLT TELEPHONED THE CTL TWR UPON ENG SHUTDOWN AND FOUND THAT THE CTLR ON PHONE WAS UPSET AND WAS TOLD THAT PLT SHOULD HAVE GONE TO ANOTHER FIELD LIKE MARSHALL OR ATHENS AND THEN PHONED IN AND NOT TRY TO LAND AT BATTLE CREEK AS THEY WERE VERY BUSY. AT NO TIME WAS THE CTLR APPARENTLY INTERESTED IN HEARING THAT I WAS UNABLE TO DECLARE AN EMER BECAUSE OF THE RADIO FAILURE AND THAT IT WAS NOT JUST A RADIO FAILURE PROB. I ASKED HIM WHAT HAPPENED TO THE RULE THAT WOULD LET A PLANE WITHOUT RADIO CIRCLE THE FIELD UNTIL RECEIVING LIGHT SIGNALS BUT HE WENT BACK TO THE 'WE ARE BUSY' AND THAT 'THEY HAD PLANES STACKED UP FOR 10 MI.' (ONE OF MY FELLOW PLTS WAS IN A PLANE WAITING ON THE GND FOR TKOF AND ALL HE SAW WAS A LONG WAIT FOR THE FGT'S TO ALL LAND. HE DID HEAR THE TWR SAY SOMETHING ABOUT, 'WHAT'S THAT GUY DOING UP THERE?) I CAN ONLY SAY THAT I DID ALL I COULD TO PROPERLY ATTRACT TWR ATTN AND ROCKED MY WINGS (BIG WING ROCKING) ON EACH FLY-BY IN EACH DIRECTION.
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.