|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||airport : jnx|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 4000|
msl bound upper : 5000
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : rdu|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Any Unknown or Unlisted Aircraft Manufacturer|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Flight Phase||climbout : intermediate altitude|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : instrument|
pilot : private
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 10|
flight time total : 360
flight time type : 250
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : departure|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
non adherence : clearance
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : declared emergency|
none taken : unable
|Consequence||faa : reviewed incident with flight crew|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
Aircraft had had maintenance for prior electrical problem. Voltage regulator was replaced and the alternator rebuilt as a result of high voltage light coming on with no high voltage. Alternator circuit breaker was not popping off. It would reset sometimes and sometimes not. Was flown back from maintenance (about 7 hours) without recurrence. Takeoff and initial climb uneventful. Picked up IFR clearance from raleigh departure at about 3000 ft. Turned on course. At about 4000 ft, high voltage light came on again. Ammeter showing no significant deflection. No circuit breakers were popped. Turned avionics off and recycled master switch twice. The second time, the alternator came back on line. Turned avionics back on. Approximately 1 min later, high voltage light came back on. Again, no circuit breakers popped. Turned avionics off. This time, alternator would not reset. Turned master on, called departure, told them I was having an electrical problem. I believe there was a second attempt at transmission and they advised that I was breaking up. At some point during this, I began smelling (but saw no) smoke. It was clearly electrical. I closed the wing root vents. The cabin air vent was already closed. I raised my voice volume in an attempt to advise them that I was turning back to the point of departure and would be shutting down all avionics. I do not know how much they heard. They advised that I was cleared to reverse course and to descend and maintain 4000. Because of the burning smell, I elected not to acknowledge or to advise that I did not want to descend yet. I simply shut everything off. The smoke smell abated when all electrical equipment was off. I never saw any smoke or any live fire. All other indications were okay, so I elected to continue on course toward jnx but at roughly the same altitude (5000). I tried my hand-held, but apparently the recharger had not been working. With no electronic navaids, and in poor visibility, I did not want to descend until I saw the field. I saw the field approximately 5 to 7 mi out. I flew the pattern NORDO. I did violate an ATC clearance to descend and maintain 4000 ft, without declaring a formal emergency. It was my belief, however, that leaving the electrical system on to transmit either a cancellation or an emergency or to squawk 7700 -- or simply to monitor what they were saying to me -- was unsafe. My first obligation was to my passenger. The only thing I can think of at this point which would have helped or which I will do differently in the future is to make sure that the hand-held is charged properly as part of the preflight checks. That way, I can at least monitor what they are saying to me.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: PRIMARY ELECTRICAL SUPPLY PROB. LOST COM PROC, LOSS OF RADIO COM.
Narrative: ACFT HAD HAD MAINT FOR PRIOR ELECTRICAL PROB. VOLTAGE REGULATOR WAS REPLACED AND THE ALTERNATOR REBUILT AS A RESULT OF HIGH VOLTAGE LIGHT COMING ON WITH NO HIGH VOLTAGE. ALTERNATOR CIRCUIT BREAKER WAS NOT POPPING OFF. IT WOULD RESET SOMETIMES AND SOMETIMES NOT. WAS FLOWN BACK FROM MAINT (ABOUT 7 HRS) WITHOUT RECURRENCE. TKOF AND INITIAL CLB UNEVENTFUL. PICKED UP IFR CLRNC FROM RALEIGH DEP AT ABOUT 3000 FT. TURNED ON COURSE. AT ABOUT 4000 FT, HIGH VOLTAGE LIGHT CAME ON AGAIN. AMMETER SHOWING NO SIGNIFICANT DEFLECTION. NO CIRCUIT BREAKERS WERE POPPED. TURNED AVIONICS OFF AND RECYCLED MASTER SWITCH TWICE. THE SECOND TIME, THE ALTERNATOR CAME BACK ON LINE. TURNED AVIONICS BACK ON. APPROX 1 MIN LATER, HIGH VOLTAGE LIGHT CAME BACK ON. AGAIN, NO CIRCUIT BREAKERS POPPED. TURNED AVIONICS OFF. THIS TIME, ALTERNATOR WOULD NOT RESET. TURNED MASTER ON, CALLED DEP, TOLD THEM I WAS HAVING AN ELECTRICAL PROB. I BELIEVE THERE WAS A SECOND ATTEMPT AT XMISSION AND THEY ADVISED THAT I WAS BREAKING UP. AT SOME POINT DURING THIS, I BEGAN SMELLING (BUT SAW NO) SMOKE. IT WAS CLRLY ELECTRICAL. I CLOSED THE WING ROOT VENTS. THE CABIN AIR VENT WAS ALREADY CLOSED. I RAISED MY VOICE VOLUME IN AN ATTEMPT TO ADVISE THEM THAT I WAS TURNING BACK TO THE POINT OF DEP AND WOULD BE SHUTTING DOWN ALL AVIONICS. I DO NOT KNOW HOW MUCH THEY HEARD. THEY ADVISED THAT I WAS CLRED TO REVERSE COURSE AND TO DSND AND MAINTAIN 4000. BECAUSE OF THE BURNING SMELL, I ELECTED NOT TO ACKNOWLEDGE OR TO ADVISE THAT I DID NOT WANT TO DSND YET. I SIMPLY SHUT EVERYTHING OFF. THE SMOKE SMELL ABATED WHEN ALL ELECTRICAL EQUIP WAS OFF. I NEVER SAW ANY SMOKE OR ANY LIVE FIRE. ALL OTHER INDICATIONS WERE OKAY, SO I ELECTED TO CONTINUE ON COURSE TOWARD JNX BUT AT ROUGHLY THE SAME ALT (5000). I TRIED MY HAND-HELD, BUT APPARENTLY THE RECHARGER HAD NOT BEEN WORKING. WITH NO ELECTRONIC NAVAIDS, AND IN POOR VISIBILITY, I DID NOT WANT TO DSND UNTIL I SAW THE FIELD. I SAW THE FIELD APPROX 5 TO 7 MI OUT. I FLEW THE PATTERN NORDO. I DID VIOLATE AN ATC CLRNC TO DSND AND MAINTAIN 4000 FT, WITHOUT DECLARING A FORMAL EMER. IT WAS MY BELIEF, HOWEVER, THAT LEAVING THE ELECTRICAL SYS ON TO XMIT EITHER A CANCELLATION OR AN EMER OR TO SQUAWK 7700 -- OR SIMPLY TO MONITOR WHAT THEY WERE SAYING TO ME -- WAS UNSAFE. MY FIRST OBLIGATION WAS TO MY PAX. THE ONLY THING I CAN THINK OF AT THIS POINT WHICH WOULD HAVE HELPED OR WHICH I WILL DO DIFFERENTLY IN THE FUTURE IS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE HAND-HELD IS CHARGED PROPERLY AS PART OF THE PREFLT CHKS. THAT WAY, I CAN AT LEAST MONITOR WHAT THEY ARE SAYING TO ME.
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.