|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : ga i|
airport : gai
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 700|
agl bound upper : 700
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Fixed Gear|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 20|
flight time total : 130
flight time type : 130
|Function||observation : passenger|
|Qualification||other other : other|
|Anomaly||inflight encounter : weather|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : regained aircraft control|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
As a low time private pilot, I had begun taking taildragger lessons in a C170. My instructor had had me fly low and slow over potomac/monocacy rivers following the channel to improve slow flight ability. This proved seductive in that I subsequently followed the same route with passenger to fdk as it was lovely sightseeing. On the flight in question, departed gai with 1 passenger intending to duplicate earlier flts. However, at the confluence of potomac and monocacy rivers, offered passenger the option of continuing up the potomac to the mountains. I had never flown this route before. On the day of the flight, there was slight turbulence and a wind of approximately 10 KTS at ground level. As we continued upstream, and approached the town of harpers ferry, I became entranced with the scenery and did not give a thought to the wind venturi effect present in the gorge ahead. Soon we were in the mouth of the gorge at harpers ferry and had to turn left or right, lest we fly into main street. I banked right, thinking it was way past time to get out of what was becoming a tenuous situation. At that time the wind lifted my left wing and rotated the aircraft to a bank angle of from 60-75 degrees. I fought for control and avoided a stall/spin, but not by much. Next min is unclr -- full power and attempt to regain airspeed and a survivable altitude. I may well have busted minimum altitude regulations, but I have no idea just what I flew over, nor how high I was at the time. In retrospect, I feel I lost control of the situation just before I entered the most dangerous portion of the flight, due to my absorption in the scenery. The only reason I am still alive at this moment is the reactions engendered by lots of stall/spin avoidance training, and mostly, good luck. Some mountain training, with emphasis on overflying potential danger spots at a decent altitude before committing to low flight, would have kept me out of trouble.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: THE PLT DEPARTED GAI, MD, ARPT WITH 1 PAX TO DO SOME LOW ALT RIVER FLYING ALONG THE POTOMAC RIVER AT 700 FT ABOVE THE WATER TO THE MOUNTAINS. AS HE CONTINUED UPSTREAM ENGROSSED IN THE SCENERY NEAR HARPERS FERRY, HE ENCOUNTERED VENTURI WINDS FROM THE MOUNTAINS THAT TIPPED HIM TO ABOUT 75 DEGS OF BANK. IN THE PROCESS OF RECOVERING IN THE TURB HE MAY HAVE BUSTED FAA ALT REGS.
Narrative: AS A LOW TIME PVT PLT, I HAD BEGUN TAKING TAILDRAGGER LESSONS IN A C170. MY INSTRUCTOR HAD HAD ME FLY LOW AND SLOW OVER POTOMAC/MONOCACY RIVERS FOLLOWING THE CHANNEL TO IMPROVE SLOW FLT ABILITY. THIS PROVED SEDUCTIVE IN THAT I SUBSEQUENTLY FOLLOWED THE SAME RTE WITH PAX TO FDK AS IT WAS LOVELY SIGHTSEEING. ON THE FLT IN QUESTION, DEPARTED GAI WITH 1 PAX INTENDING TO DUPLICATE EARLIER FLTS. HOWEVER, AT THE CONFLUENCE OF POTOMAC AND MONOCACY RIVERS, OFFERED PAX THE OPTION OF CONTINUING UP THE POTOMAC TO THE MOUNTAINS. I HAD NEVER FLOWN THIS RTE BEFORE. ON THE DAY OF THE FLT, THERE WAS SLIGHT TURB AND A WIND OF APPROX 10 KTS AT GND LEVEL. AS WE CONTINUED UPSTREAM, AND APCHED THE TOWN OF HARPERS FERRY, I BECAME ENTRANCED WITH THE SCENERY AND DID NOT GIVE A THOUGHT TO THE WIND VENTURI EFFECT PRESENT IN THE GORGE AHEAD. SOON WE WERE IN THE MOUTH OF THE GORGE AT HARPERS FERRY AND HAD TO TURN L OR R, LEST WE FLY INTO MAIN STREET. I BANKED R, THINKING IT WAS WAY PAST TIME TO GET OUT OF WHAT WAS BECOMING A TENUOUS SIT. AT THAT TIME THE WIND LIFTED MY L WING AND ROTATED THE ACFT TO A BANK ANGLE OF FROM 60-75 DEGS. I FOUGHT FOR CTL AND AVOIDED A STALL/SPIN, BUT NOT BY MUCH. NEXT MIN IS UNCLR -- FULL PWR AND ATTEMPT TO REGAIN AIRSPD AND A SURVIVABLE ALT. I MAY WELL HAVE BUSTED MINIMUM ALT REGS, BUT I HAVE NO IDEA JUST WHAT I FLEW OVER, NOR HOW HIGH I WAS AT THE TIME. IN RETROSPECT, I FEEL I LOST CTL OF THE SIT JUST BEFORE I ENTERED THE MOST DANGEROUS PORTION OF THE FLT, DUE TO MY ABSORPTION IN THE SCENERY. THE ONLY REASON I AM STILL ALIVE AT THIS MOMENT IS THE REACTIONS ENGENDERED BY LOTS OF STALL/SPIN AVOIDANCE TRAINING, AND MOSTLY, GOOD LUCK. SOME MOUNTAIN TRAINING, WITH EMPHASIS ON OVERFLYING POTENTIAL DANGER SPOTS AT A DECENT ALT BEFORE COMMITTING TO LOW FLT, WOULD HAVE KEPT ME OUT OF TROUBLE.
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.