|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||navaid : mcn.vortac|
|Altitude||msl single value : 10000|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||PA-18/19 Super Cub|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Navigation In Use||other|
|Flight Phase||cruise : level|
|Route In Use||arrival : on vectors|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : approach|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||inflight encounter : vfr in imc|
inflight encounter : weather
non adherence : far
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other controllera|
other flight crewa
|Resolutory Action||controller : provided flight assist|
flight crew : exited adverse environment
flight crew : diverted to another airport
flight crew : landed in emergency condition
|Problem Areas||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
On sep/xa/99 I departed pns at about XA30 in my piper supercub (PA-18A-150) bound for dbn to take on fuel. I planned to continue on to 5w8 to again top off with fuel and arrive at my ultimate destination and home base of 2w6 before dark. I received WX data prior to departure via the automatic WX terminal at pns. The prognostic chart indicated MVFR and eventually IFR conditions moving up from the south. At the time of takeoff pns was on the northern edge of the MVFR area. Since my flight took me to the northwest, I expected to leave the poor WX behind and have only sky clear conditions with light haze for the whole trip. As I departed pns the WX was scattered at 3000 ft, winds out of the north at 9 KTS, and unlimited visibility. About 1 hour into the flight cruising at 7500 ft, the scattered layer below me became broken. Above the layer the sky was clear, visibility was unlimited, and there was no turbulence. As the flight progressed the layer became solid and the tops rose slowly. Eventually I climbed to 9500 ft to stay clear of the cloud tops. As I came into the vicinity of vienna VOR (about 32N, 84W) I tuned in the dbn AWOS. I don't recall the actual numbers but it was obvious that I would not be landing at dbn due to low ceilings and poor visibility. I had enough fuel to cruise for another 110 NM and so I tuned in the AWOS at 3j7 and hqu which only reported low (as I recall 1500 ft and 2000 ft) scattered layers and acceptable visibility. The problem was that there was a ridge of high clouds topping out at maybe 16000 ft stretching from northwest to southeast and centered over dbn. The plane, being 450 pounds under gross weight and 150 hp, might have been able to climb that high (the flight manual lists the service ceiling at FL180) but without oxygen and having no experience with hypoxia, I wasn't even going to try it. I called macon approach and alerted them to my situation and fuel state (1 hour 15 mins fuel remaining). They asked, 'are you and your aircraft IFR certified?' I responded, 'negative.' they then secured PIREPS from several aircraft in the vicinity and metars from nearby reporting stations. After several mins of discussing my options with them, they suggested 'a radar surveillance approach into robins.' I accepted and macon approach assigned me to a new frequency with a dedicated controller for the approach. Note: I do not have an attitude gyro (artificial horizon) or a gyrocompass in my supercub. The controller and I briefly discussed the procedure. I slowed to 90 mph and reduced power for a steady, approximately 750 FPM, descent. I began practicing my partial panel instrument scan keeping the turn rate indicator (needle) and slip indicator (ball) centered to maintain wings level. I reported entering full IMC at 10000 ft and almost immediately encountered moderate turbulence. I got vertigo pretty quickly but just had to keep believing the instruments and ignoring what I felt. I had trouble holding any heading until the turbulence subsided at about 6000 ft MSL. The controller cleared me down to 1500 ft MSL. Once at 1500 ft, I still couldn't see the ground so he then cleared me to 800 ft MSL (field elevation 295 ft MSL). Descended to 800 ft MSL and called ground in sight. Not until I was within less than 1/2 mi did I see the runway lights. As I crossed the threshold I noticed the row of B1 bombers off to the right. Not until then did I realize that 'robins' was an AFB. I tied down my plane at the base flying club ramp and got a room at the boq for the next 3 nights while I waited out the WX. I never did actually declare an emergency but apparently macon did because once I was on the ground in the air operations office I heard one of the air force guys talking on the phone to declare the emergency over.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: A SUPERCUB PVT PLT OBTAINS A FLT ASSIST FROM MCN APCH CTLR AND A MIL APCH CTLR TO WRB AFB WHEN THE WX AT THE PLANNED FUEL STOP AT DBN IS UNSUITABLE FOR THIS NON IFR RATED PLT.
Narrative: ON SEP/XA/99 I DEPARTED PNS AT ABOUT XA30 IN MY PIPER SUPERCUB (PA-18A-150) BOUND FOR DBN TO TAKE ON FUEL. I PLANNED TO CONTINUE ON TO 5W8 TO AGAIN TOP OFF WITH FUEL AND ARRIVE AT MY ULTIMATE DEST AND HOME BASE OF 2W6 BEFORE DARK. I RECEIVED WX DATA PRIOR TO DEP VIA THE AUTOMATIC WX TERMINAL AT PNS. THE PROGNOSTIC CHART INDICATED MVFR AND EVENTUALLY IFR CONDITIONS MOVING UP FROM THE S. AT THE TIME OF TKOF PNS WAS ON THE NORTHERN EDGE OF THE MVFR AREA. SINCE MY FLT TOOK ME TO THE NW, I EXPECTED TO LEAVE THE POOR WX BEHIND AND HAVE ONLY SKY CLR CONDITIONS WITH LIGHT HAZE FOR THE WHOLE TRIP. AS I DEPARTED PNS THE WX WAS SCATTERED AT 3000 FT, WINDS OUT OF THE N AT 9 KTS, AND UNLIMITED VISIBILITY. ABOUT 1 HR INTO THE FLT CRUISING AT 7500 FT, THE SCATTERED LAYER BELOW ME BECAME BROKEN. ABOVE THE LAYER THE SKY WAS CLR, VISIBILITY WAS UNLIMITED, AND THERE WAS NO TURB. AS THE FLT PROGRESSED THE LAYER BECAME SOLID AND THE TOPS ROSE SLOWLY. EVENTUALLY I CLBED TO 9500 FT TO STAY CLR OF THE CLOUD TOPS. AS I CAME INTO THE VICINITY OF VIENNA VOR (ABOUT 32N, 84W) I TUNED IN THE DBN AWOS. I DON'T RECALL THE ACTUAL NUMBERS BUT IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT I WOULD NOT BE LNDG AT DBN DUE TO LOW CEILINGS AND POOR VISIBILITY. I HAD ENOUGH FUEL TO CRUISE FOR ANOTHER 110 NM AND SO I TUNED IN THE AWOS AT 3J7 AND HQU WHICH ONLY RPTED LOW (AS I RECALL 1500 FT AND 2000 FT) SCATTERED LAYERS AND ACCEPTABLE VISIBILITY. THE PROB WAS THAT THERE WAS A RIDGE OF HIGH CLOUDS TOPPING OUT AT MAYBE 16000 FT STRETCHING FROM NW TO SE AND CTRED OVER DBN. THE PLANE, BEING 450 LBS UNDER GROSS WT AND 150 HP, MIGHT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO CLB THAT HIGH (THE FLT MANUAL LISTS THE SVC CEILING AT FL180) BUT WITHOUT OXYGEN AND HAVING NO EXPERIENCE WITH HYPOXIA, I WASN'T EVEN GOING TO TRY IT. I CALLED MACON APCH AND ALERTED THEM TO MY SIT AND FUEL STATE (1 HR 15 MINS FUEL REMAINING). THEY ASKED, 'ARE YOU AND YOUR ACFT IFR CERTIFIED?' I RESPONDED, 'NEGATIVE.' THEY THEN SECURED PIREPS FROM SEVERAL ACFT IN THE VICINITY AND METARS FROM NEARBY RPTING STATIONS. AFTER SEVERAL MINS OF DISCUSSING MY OPTIONS WITH THEM, THEY SUGGESTED 'A RADAR SURVEILLANCE APCH INTO ROBINS.' I ACCEPTED AND MACON APCH ASSIGNED ME TO A NEW FREQ WITH A DEDICATED CTLR FOR THE APCH. NOTE: I DO NOT HAVE AN ATTITUDE GYRO (ARTIFICIAL HORIZON) OR A GYROCOMPASS IN MY SUPERCUB. THE CTLR AND I BRIEFLY DISCUSSED THE PROC. I SLOWED TO 90 MPH AND REDUCED PWR FOR A STEADY, APPROX 750 FPM, DSCNT. I BEGAN PRACTICING MY PARTIAL PANEL INST SCAN KEEPING THE TURN RATE INDICATOR (NEEDLE) AND SLIP INDICATOR (BALL) CTRED TO MAINTAIN WINGS LEVEL. I RPTED ENTERING FULL IMC AT 10000 FT AND ALMOST IMMEDIATELY ENCOUNTERED MODERATE TURB. I GOT VERTIGO PRETTY QUICKLY BUT JUST HAD TO KEEP BELIEVING THE INSTS AND IGNORING WHAT I FELT. I HAD TROUBLE HOLDING ANY HDG UNTIL THE TURB SUBSIDED AT ABOUT 6000 FT MSL. THE CTLR CLRED ME DOWN TO 1500 FT MSL. ONCE AT 1500 FT, I STILL COULDN'T SEE THE GND SO HE THEN CLRED ME TO 800 FT MSL (FIELD ELEVATION 295 FT MSL). DSNDED TO 800 FT MSL AND CALLED GND IN SIGHT. NOT UNTIL I WAS WITHIN LESS THAN 1/2 MI DID I SEE THE RWY LIGHTS. AS I CROSSED THE THRESHOLD I NOTICED THE ROW OF B1 BOMBERS OFF TO THE R. NOT UNTIL THEN DID I REALIZE THAT 'ROBINS' WAS AN AFB. I TIED DOWN MY PLANE AT THE BASE FLYING CLUB RAMP AND GOT A ROOM AT THE BOQ FOR THE NEXT 3 NIGHTS WHILE I WAITED OUT THE WX. I NEVER DID ACTUALLY DECLARE AN EMER BUT APPARENTLY MACON DID BECAUSE ONCE I WAS ON THE GND IN THE AIR OPS OFFICE I HEARD ONE OF THE AIR FORCE GUYS TALKING ON THE PHONE TO DECLARE THE EMER OVER.
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.