|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : ads|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 1000
|Controlling Facilities||tower : ads|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Skyhawk 172/Cutlass 172|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Flight Phase||descent : approach|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 10|
flight time total : 310
flight time type : 14
|Function||observation : passenger|
|Qualification||other other : other|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
non adherence : far
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|
I landed at ads without landing clearance while the tower was active. This action was taken after experiencing a full electrical failure while in the traffic pattern at night. I proceeded as instructed to a point abeam the departure end of runway 15 where I executed a right turn to the east to enter the left downwind leg of the traffic pattern. During the turn, I observed the lights on the instrument panel and radios flicker. As I rolled wings level, established on the left downwind for runway 15, I called the tower to provide the position report as instructed earlier. At that time, the entire cockpit went dark. My first concern was fly the airplane and avoid other traffic. I quickly checked the circuit breakers and found all normal. I instructed my passenger to visually locate the aircraft that had entered the pattern behind us and to confirm the operation of our rotating beacon, strobes or position lights. At the same time I squawked lost communication code, 7600, and continued to transmit lost communications position reports 'in the blind.' my passenger reported no visible exterior lights and confirmed adequate traffic spacing since none of the traffic behind us was gaining on us. We were still between the mid-field and approach end of the runway when I instructed my passenger to help me watch the tower for light gun signals and to let me know of any other aircraft entering the area. (I was aware of 4 other aircraft in the pattern, 2 ahead of my position and 2 behind. I also remembered hearing 2 other aircraft reporting inbound from the northeast.) I continued my attempt to diagnose the cause of the electrical failure and re-establish communications. I turned off all electrical components individually and then recycled the switch for the primary communication radio, transponder and exterior lights to the on position. I saw no indication of power being restored. I passed the approach end of the runway with no indication that the tower was aware of my presence in the darkened sky. Passing the end of the runway I continued to periodically depress the microphone button on the yoke and transmit position reports in the blind. I also moved the landing gear handle to the gear down position. The entire time, traffic avoidance had been a primary concern as I contemplated the option of exiting the pattern area to divert to an uncontrolled airport or to allow time to diagnose and remedy the source of the electrical failure. I decided against leaving my position in the traffic pattern where I was within gliding distance of the runway to divert to an airport 20 NM away, for the following reasons: 1) there was a strong smell of overheated electrical components in the cockpit. 2) collision avoidance was a great concern. With no exterior lights, no one could see me. 3) from my position in the pattern with the spacing of the other aircraft, I could execute a normal landing without causing any aircraft to deviate in speed, heading or attitude. While continuing to watch for light gun signals from the tower, I manually lowered the landing gear and executed a normal approach to landing on runway 15, ads. When the aircraft landing in front of me exited the runway, I landed on runway 15 ads without clearance. After exiting the runway and coming to a full stop, I observed the aircraft landing behind me approximately 1 mi out on final approach. I waited several mins hoping to receive light gun signals authorizing me to taxi to the parking ramp. No light signals were received from the tower so I proceeded to my tiedown spot. Now safely on the ground at my tiedown spot, I once again recycled all the electrical components including the master switch and rechked the circuit breakers prior to stopping the engine. No indication of recovery or the source of the problem was seen. An airport security vehicle arrived as I was stopping the engine. As I exited the aircraft I realized how strong the electrical smell was compared to the fresh air. The security guard asked me to step to his vehicle and talk to the tower on his radio. I was asked to give the aircraft north number. I was further informed that I had landed without a clearance and told that the tower personnel had been unaware of my presence until my touchdown. When asked why I had not called the tower, I responded that I had experienced a total electrical failure after enteringthe pattern. I stated that I had squawked lost communications and continued to transmit in the blind while watching for light gun signals from the tower. I reminded the tower person that I had talked to them while north of the colony and had followed their instructions to enter the pattern then report mid-field on the downwind leg. His response was, 'we wondered what happened to you.' I asked if they had me on radar as a primary target while in the pattern. I was told no transponder and no primary target were observed. I asked if they needed any other information and was told no.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: C172RG PVT PLT EXPERIENCES A COMPLETE LOSS OF ALL ELECTRICAL PWR IN THE TFC PATTERN AT ADS, TX. CLRNC LNDG NOT RECEIVED, PERFORMS AN UNAUTH LNDG IN A NIGHT OP.
Narrative: I LANDED AT ADS WITHOUT LNDG CLRNC WHILE THE TWR WAS ACTIVE. THIS ACTION WAS TAKEN AFTER EXPERIENCING A FULL ELECTRICAL FAILURE WHILE IN THE TFC PATTERN AT NIGHT. I PROCEEDED AS INSTRUCTED TO A POINT ABEAM THE DEP END OF RWY 15 WHERE I EXECUTED A R TURN TO THE E TO ENTER THE L DOWNWIND LEG OF THE TFC PATTERN. DURING THE TURN, I OBSERVED THE LIGHTS ON THE INST PANEL AND RADIOS FLICKER. AS I ROLLED WINGS LEVEL, ESTABLISHED ON THE L DOWNWIND FOR RWY 15, I CALLED THE TWR TO PROVIDE THE POS RPT AS INSTRUCTED EARLIER. AT THAT TIME, THE ENTIRE COCKPIT WENT DARK. MY FIRST CONCERN WAS FLY THE AIRPLANE AND AVOID OTHER TFC. I QUICKLY CHKED THE CIRCUIT BREAKERS AND FOUND ALL NORMAL. I INSTRUCTED MY PAX TO VISUALLY LOCATE THE ACFT THAT HAD ENTERED THE PATTERN BEHIND US AND TO CONFIRM THE OP OF OUR ROTATING BEACON, STROBES OR POS LIGHTS. AT THE SAME TIME I SQUAWKED LOST COM CODE, 7600, AND CONTINUED TO XMIT LOST COMS POS RPTS 'IN THE BLIND.' MY PAX RPTED NO VISIBLE EXTERIOR LIGHTS AND CONFIRMED ADEQUATE TFC SPACING SINCE NONE OF THE TFC BEHIND US WAS GAINING ON US. WE WERE STILL BTWN THE MID-FIELD AND APCH END OF THE RWY WHEN I INSTRUCTED MY PAX TO HELP ME WATCH THE TWR FOR LIGHT GUN SIGNALS AND TO LET ME KNOW OF ANY OTHER ACFT ENTERING THE AREA. (I WAS AWARE OF 4 OTHER ACFT IN THE PATTERN, 2 AHEAD OF MY POS AND 2 BEHIND. I ALSO REMEMBERED HEARING 2 OTHER ACFT RPTING INBOUND FROM THE NE.) I CONTINUED MY ATTEMPT TO DIAGNOSE THE CAUSE OF THE ELECTRICAL FAILURE AND RE-ESTABLISH COMS. I TURNED OFF ALL ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS INDIVIDUALLY AND THEN RECYCLED THE SWITCH FOR THE PRIMARY COM RADIO, XPONDER AND EXTERIOR LIGHTS TO THE ON POS. I SAW NO INDICATION OF PWR BEING RESTORED. I PASSED THE APCH END OF THE RWY WITH NO INDICATION THAT THE TWR WAS AWARE OF MY PRESENCE IN THE DARKENED SKY. PASSING THE END OF THE RWY I CONTINUED TO PERIODICALLY DEPRESS THE MIKE BUTTON ON THE YOKE AND XMIT POS RPTS IN THE BLIND. I ALSO MOVED THE LNDG GEAR HANDLE TO THE GEAR DOWN POS. THE ENTIRE TIME, TFC AVOIDANCE HAD BEEN A PRIMARY CONCERN AS I CONTEMPLATED THE OPTION OF EXITING THE PATTERN AREA TO DIVERT TO AN UNCTLED ARPT OR TO ALLOW TIME TO DIAGNOSE AND REMEDY THE SOURCE OF THE ELECTRICAL FAILURE. I DECIDED AGAINST LEAVING MY POS IN THE TFC PATTERN WHERE I WAS WITHIN GLIDING DISTANCE OF THE RWY TO DIVERT TO AN ARPT 20 NM AWAY, FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS: 1) THERE WAS A STRONG SMELL OF OVERHEATED ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS IN THE COCKPIT. 2) COLLISION AVOIDANCE WAS A GREAT CONCERN. WITH NO EXTERIOR LIGHTS, NO ONE COULD SEE ME. 3) FROM MY POS IN THE PATTERN WITH THE SPACING OF THE OTHER ACFT, I COULD EXECUTE A NORMAL LNDG WITHOUT CAUSING ANY ACFT TO DEVIATE IN SPD, HEADING OR ATTITUDE. WHILE CONTINUING TO WATCH FOR LIGHT GUN SIGNALS FROM THE TWR, I MANUALLY LOWERED THE LNDG GEAR AND EXECUTED A NORMAL APCH TO LNDG ON RWY 15, ADS. WHEN THE ACFT LNDG IN FRONT OF ME EXITED THE RWY, I LANDED ON RWY 15 ADS WITHOUT CLRNC. AFTER EXITING THE RWY AND COMING TO A FULL STOP, I OBSERVED THE ACFT LNDG BEHIND ME APPROX 1 MI OUT ON FINAL APCH. I WAITED SEVERAL MINS HOPING TO RECEIVE LIGHT GUN SIGNALS AUTHORIZING ME TO TAXI TO THE PARKING RAMP. NO LIGHT SIGNALS WERE RECEIVED FROM THE TWR SO I PROCEEDED TO MY TIEDOWN SPOT. NOW SAFELY ON THE GND AT MY TIEDOWN SPOT, I ONCE AGAIN RECYCLED ALL THE ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS INCLUDING THE MASTER SWITCH AND RECHKED THE CIRCUIT BREAKERS PRIOR TO STOPPING THE ENG. NO INDICATION OF RECOVERY OR THE SOURCE OF THE PROB WAS SEEN. AN ARPT SECURITY VEHICLE ARRIVED AS I WAS STOPPING THE ENG. AS I EXITED THE ACFT I REALIZED HOW STRONG THE ELECTRICAL SMELL WAS COMPARED TO THE FRESH AIR. THE SECURITY GUARD ASKED ME TO STEP TO HIS VEHICLE AND TALK TO THE TWR ON HIS RADIO. I WAS ASKED TO GIVE THE ACFT N NUMBER. I WAS FURTHER INFORMED THAT I HAD LANDED WITHOUT A CLRNC AND TOLD THAT THE TWR PERSONNEL HAD BEEN UNAWARE OF MY PRESENCE UNTIL MY TOUCHDOWN. WHEN ASKED WHY I HAD NOT CALLED THE TWR, I RESPONDED THAT I HAD EXPERIENCED A TOTAL ELECTRICAL FAILURE AFTER ENTERINGTHE PATTERN. I STATED THAT I HAD SQUAWKED LOST COMS AND CONTINUED TO XMIT IN THE BLIND WHILE WATCHING FOR LIGHT GUN SIGNALS FROM THE TWR. I REMINDED THE TWR PERSON THAT I HAD TALKED TO THEM WHILE N OF THE COLONY AND HAD FOLLOWED THEIR INSTRUCTIONS TO ENTER THE PATTERN THEN RPT MID-FIELD ON THE DOWNWIND LEG. HIS RESPONSE WAS, 'WE WONDERED WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU.' I ASKED IF THEY HAD ME ON RADAR AS A PRIMARY TARGET WHILE IN THE PATTERN. I WAS TOLD NO XPONDER AND NO PRIMARY TARGET WERE OBSERVED. I ASKED IF THEY NEEDED ANY OTHER INFO AND WAS TOLD NO.
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.