|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : jax.airport|
|Altitude||msl single value : 9500|
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : zjx.artcc|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Skylane 182/RG Turbo Skylane/RG|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Navigation In Use||other|
|Flight Phase||cruise : level|
|Route In Use||enroute : direct|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 22|
flight time total : 194
flight time type : 194
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : radar|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||inflight encounter : vfr in imc|
inflight encounter : weather
non adherence : far
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||controller : provided flight assist|
flight crew : diverted to another airport
flight crew : exited adverse environment
|Problem Areas||Flight Crew Human Performance|
I left zephyrhills, fl (zph) in clear skies with full tanks (79 gallons). The WX and forecast indicated clear, VFR WX to my destination in georgia. I climbed to 9500 ft and followed my planned flight path utilizing GPS and VOR instruments. As I proceeded, I noticed the formation of a cloud cover far below me that closed in and became solid. I continued on course and kept looking for an opening to the ground as well as monitoring WX reports from the points I passed. I did not find any break in any direction and noted the tops of the clouds were getting higher as I headed north, so I decided to turn back south to escape the problem before it got greater and while I still had more than ample fuel. I had been in the air almost 1 1/2 hours at that point, so I had a minimum of 4 1/2 hours of fuel remaining, but more likely more than 5 hours left. Unfortunately, my ground speed at the same power settings dropped to 67 KTS when I turned south. An hour later, I was still north of jacksonville, fl. The tops were lower, but no break of any kind was visible and the reports from the ground indicated the clouds were solid at 4000 ft. I called jacksonville approach and requested flight following. I also requested they assist me down through the clouds and explained my situation (a VFR pilot with some IFR exposure and a very well IFR equipped aircraft). They suggested I fly further south until I found a clear area. I told them I could do that, but could not identify where the break might occur, and that I conservatively had 3 1/2 hours of fuel remaining and a ground speed of 67 KTS. They spent a few mins checking their WX sources and confirmed my information regarding the cloud cover was correct. They suggested I proceed south while they looked at options. A few mins later they had further information that indicated st augustine had clear sky below 4000 ft, and nothing better than that idented. My options were to continue to fly south and hope for clearing or attempt to descend through 2000 ft of cloud when I approached st augustine. My primary concern was separation from other aircraft, which I felt was covered by having flight following if I descended. I had 1 GPS set to show ground speed and altitude and the other coupled to the stec 50 autoplt to provide level wings and direction. I had some experience with an instructor present flying in fog. My other instruments were reporting fine and were my primary source of altitude, direction and descent rate, so I felt I was very safe in making the descent. The controller said it was my choice, and I opted to descend. The descent was accomplished with absolutely no problem. I entered at 6000 ft and broke out at 4200 ft. My refuel at st augustine confirmed I still had 41 gallons in my tanks. I will be sure not to allow a solid cover to develop below me in the future by immediately turning and getting below it -- at least until the time I receive my IFR certificate.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: C182 FINDS HIMSELF ABOVE AN OVCST WITHOUT AN IFR FLT PLAN OR AN INST CERTIFICATE, TURNS BACK, ASKS FOR ASSISTANCE AND USES THE SYS OF HIS WELL EQUIPPED ACFT TO DSND TO VFR CONDITIONS WITH MORE THAN ADEQUATE FUEL REMAINING.
Narrative: I LEFT ZEPHYRHILLS, FL (ZPH) IN CLR SKIES WITH FULL TANKS (79 GALLONS). THE WX AND FORECAST INDICATED CLR, VFR WX TO MY DEST IN GEORGIA. I CLBED TO 9500 FT AND FOLLOWED MY PLANNED FLT PATH UTILIZING GPS AND VOR INSTS. AS I PROCEEDED, I NOTICED THE FORMATION OF A CLOUD COVER FAR BELOW ME THAT CLOSED IN AND BECAME SOLID. I CONTINUED ON COURSE AND KEPT LOOKING FOR AN OPENING TO THE GND AS WELL AS MONITORING WX RPTS FROM THE POINTS I PASSED. I DID NOT FIND ANY BREAK IN ANY DIRECTION AND NOTED THE TOPS OF THE CLOUDS WERE GETTING HIGHER AS I HEADED N, SO I DECIDED TO TURN BACK S TO ESCAPE THE PROB BEFORE IT GOT GREATER AND WHILE I STILL HAD MORE THAN AMPLE FUEL. I HAD BEEN IN THE AIR ALMOST 1 1/2 HRS AT THAT POINT, SO I HAD A MINIMUM OF 4 1/2 HRS OF FUEL REMAINING, BUT MORE LIKELY MORE THAN 5 HRS LEFT. UNFORTUNATELY, MY GND SPD AT THE SAME PWR SETTINGS DROPPED TO 67 KTS WHEN I TURNED S. AN HR LATER, I WAS STILL N OF JACKSONVILLE, FL. THE TOPS WERE LOWER, BUT NO BREAK OF ANY KIND WAS VISIBLE AND THE RPTS FROM THE GND INDICATED THE CLOUDS WERE SOLID AT 4000 FT. I CALLED JACKSONVILLE APCH AND REQUESTED FLT FOLLOWING. I ALSO REQUESTED THEY ASSIST ME DOWN THROUGH THE CLOUDS AND EXPLAINED MY SIT (A VFR PLT WITH SOME IFR EXPOSURE AND A VERY WELL IFR EQUIPPED ACFT). THEY SUGGESTED I FLY FURTHER S UNTIL I FOUND A CLR AREA. I TOLD THEM I COULD DO THAT, BUT COULD NOT IDENT WHERE THE BREAK MIGHT OCCUR, AND THAT I CONSERVATIVELY HAD 3 1/2 HRS OF FUEL REMAINING AND A GND SPD OF 67 KTS. THEY SPENT A FEW MINS CHKING THEIR WX SOURCES AND CONFIRMED MY INFO REGARDING THE CLOUD COVER WAS CORRECT. THEY SUGGESTED I PROCEED S WHILE THEY LOOKED AT OPTIONS. A FEW MINS LATER THEY HAD FURTHER INFO THAT INDICATED ST AUGUSTINE HAD CLR SKY BELOW 4000 FT, AND NOTHING BETTER THAN THAT IDENTED. MY OPTIONS WERE TO CONTINUE TO FLY S AND HOPE FOR CLRING OR ATTEMPT TO DSND THROUGH 2000 FT OF CLOUD WHEN I APCHED ST AUGUSTINE. MY PRIMARY CONCERN WAS SEPARATION FROM OTHER ACFT, WHICH I FELT WAS COVERED BY HAVING FLT FOLLOWING IF I DSNDED. I HAD 1 GPS SET TO SHOW GND SPD AND ALT AND THE OTHER COUPLED TO THE STEC 50 AUTOPLT TO PROVIDE LEVEL WINGS AND DIRECTION. I HAD SOME EXPERIENCE WITH AN INSTRUCTOR PRESENT FLYING IN FOG. MY OTHER INSTS WERE RPTING FINE AND WERE MY PRIMARY SOURCE OF ALT, DIRECTION AND DSCNT RATE, SO I FELT I WAS VERY SAFE IN MAKING THE DSCNT. THE CTLR SAID IT WAS MY CHOICE, AND I OPTED TO DSND. THE DSCNT WAS ACCOMPLISHED WITH ABSOLUTELY NO PROB. I ENTERED AT 6000 FT AND BROKE OUT AT 4200 FT. MY REFUEL AT ST AUGUSTINE CONFIRMED I STILL HAD 41 GALLONS IN MY TANKS. I WILL BE SURE NOT TO ALLOW A SOLID COVER TO DEVELOP BELOW ME IN THE FUTURE BY IMMEDIATELY TURNING AND GETTING BELOW IT -- AT LEAST UNTIL THE TIME I RECEIVE MY IFR CERTIFICATE.
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.