|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : 33n.airport|
|Altitude||agl single value : 0|
|Controlling Facilities||tower : phl.tower|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||PA-32 Cherokee Six/Lance/Saratoga|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Flight Phase||descent : approach|
landing : roll
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
pilot : instrument
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 27|
flight time total : 1169
flight time type : 760
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : approach|
|Anomaly||inflight encounter : weather|
inflight encounter other
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||controller : issued new clearance|
controller : issued advisory
flight crew : landed as precaution
Flight Crew Human Performance
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
I departed kissimmee, fl, at approximately XA30 local time. Received duats WX briefing for route and destination airports. Chs and cre first leg, 33N second leg. Filed IFR. Flight briefing NOTAM 33N closed at night. Estimated time of arrival at 33N, delaware air park was scheduled prior to nightfall. WX was forecast VFR, so no alternate was required and alternate fuel requirements were not planned for. When I arrived at 33N, the controller advised me that he could not clear me for the instrument approach because of the NOTAM. I then requested a landing at dover AFB, but was advised that prior permission was required 4 hours prior to arrival. Controller then suggested landing at either georgetown, de or middletown, de. It was already dusk. My destination airport was clearly visible even without lights. Temperature was 33 degrees, dewpoint 33 degrees. Slight traces of ground fog were appearing from the snow pack. Experience told me that in the 20 mins that it would take to fly to either suggested airport, that it would be dark and the potential for ground fog would be high. I requested a low approach to 33N to confirm no runway obstructions, and then landing at my discretion. Requested a pop-up clearance to ilg. If obstructions existed, controller advised to remain his frequency, but if I landed, to call them on land line to cancel IFR. I executed a low approach and scanned the entire runway. It was completely clear. I then climbed into the normal traffic pattern, and when on final, the airport manager turned the runway lights on and an uneventful landing took place. In retrospect, I should have declared an emergency and landed at dover AFB. However, with my home airport clearly in sight and a perfectly well running airplane in hand, an emergency did not seem logical. I do feel, however, that should I have attempted to land at either of the other 2 closest airports available, the ground fog could have created a potentially catastrophic situation. A missed approach at either might have left me so low on fuel that I could not have reached a field with an ILS approach. The airport manager at 33N was fine with my landing. The NOTAM had been issued the day before, because some of the runway lights were under snow. At the time of my landing, all were visible. I felt that the controller was as helpful as he could be under the circumstances, and by requesting landing at my discretion, it would relieve him of responsibility. I have never intentionally violated a NOTAM or a regulation of any kind, but the decision I made at the time seemed the best for safety reasons. I should have declared an emergency. What can be done to prevent this from happening again? Communicate to pilots that if they feel they have an emergency, it is not shameful to declare one. Because of the potential for ground fog, I should have.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: PA32 PLT INITIATES 'PERSONAL WELFARE' ACTION AND LANDS AT K33N ARPT DUE TO DARKNESS AND FOG CONDITIONS. ARPT MGR ALLOWS LNDG EVEN THOUGH ARPT IS NOTAMED CLOSED, BECAUSE OF SNOW.
Narrative: I DEPARTED KISSIMMEE, FL, AT APPROX XA30 LCL TIME. RECEIVED DUATS WX BRIEFING FOR RTE AND DEST ARPTS. CHS AND CRE FIRST LEG, 33N SECOND LEG. FILED IFR. FLT BRIEFING NOTAM 33N CLOSED AT NIGHT. ESTIMATED TIME OF ARR AT 33N, DELAWARE AIR PARK WAS SCHEDULED PRIOR TO NIGHTFALL. WX WAS FORECAST VFR, SO NO ALTERNATE WAS REQUIRED AND ALTERNATE FUEL REQUIREMENTS WERE NOT PLANNED FOR. WHEN I ARRIVED AT 33N, THE CTLR ADVISED ME THAT HE COULD NOT CLR ME FOR THE INST APCH BECAUSE OF THE NOTAM. I THEN REQUESTED A LNDG AT DOVER AFB, BUT WAS ADVISED THAT PRIOR PERMISSION WAS REQUIRED 4 HRS PRIOR TO ARR. CTLR THEN SUGGESTED LNDG AT EITHER GEORGETOWN, DE OR MIDDLETOWN, DE. IT WAS ALREADY DUSK. MY DEST ARPT WAS CLRLY VISIBLE EVEN WITHOUT LIGHTS. TEMP WAS 33 DEGS, DEWPOINT 33 DEGS. SLIGHT TRACES OF GND FOG WERE APPEARING FROM THE SNOW PACK. EXPERIENCE TOLD ME THAT IN THE 20 MINS THAT IT WOULD TAKE TO FLY TO EITHER SUGGESTED ARPT, THAT IT WOULD BE DARK AND THE POTENTIAL FOR GND FOG WOULD BE HIGH. I REQUESTED A LOW APCH TO 33N TO CONFIRM NO RWY OBSTRUCTIONS, AND THEN LNDG AT MY DISCRETION. REQUESTED A POP-UP CLRNC TO ILG. IF OBSTRUCTIONS EXISTED, CTLR ADVISED TO REMAIN HIS FREQ, BUT IF I LANDED, TO CALL THEM ON LAND LINE TO CANCEL IFR. I EXECUTED A LOW APCH AND SCANNED THE ENTIRE RWY. IT WAS COMPLETELY CLR. I THEN CLBED INTO THE NORMAL TFC PATTERN, AND WHEN ON FINAL, THE ARPT MGR TURNED THE RWY LIGHTS ON AND AN UNEVENTFUL LNDG TOOK PLACE. IN RETROSPECT, I SHOULD HAVE DECLARED AN EMER AND LANDED AT DOVER AFB. HOWEVER, WITH MY HOME ARPT CLRLY IN SIGHT AND A PERFECTLY WELL RUNNING AIRPLANE IN HAND, AN EMER DID NOT SEEM LOGICAL. I DO FEEL, HOWEVER, THAT SHOULD I HAVE ATTEMPTED TO LAND AT EITHER OF THE OTHER 2 CLOSEST ARPTS AVAILABLE, THE GND FOG COULD HAVE CREATED A POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC SIT. A MISSED APCH AT EITHER MIGHT HAVE LEFT ME SO LOW ON FUEL THAT I COULD NOT HAVE REACHED A FIELD WITH AN ILS APCH. THE ARPT MGR AT 33N WAS FINE WITH MY LNDG. THE NOTAM HAD BEEN ISSUED THE DAY BEFORE, BECAUSE SOME OF THE RWY LIGHTS WERE UNDER SNOW. AT THE TIME OF MY LNDG, ALL WERE VISIBLE. I FELT THAT THE CTLR WAS AS HELPFUL AS HE COULD BE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND BY REQUESTING LNDG AT MY DISCRETION, IT WOULD RELIEVE HIM OF RESPONSIBILITY. I HAVE NEVER INTENTIONALLY VIOLATED A NOTAM OR A REG OF ANY KIND, BUT THE DECISION I MADE AT THE TIME SEEMED THE BEST FOR SAFETY REASONS. I SHOULD HAVE DECLARED AN EMER. WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING AGAIN? COMMUNICATE TO PLTS THAT IF THEY FEEL THEY HAVE AN EMER, IT IS NOT SHAMEFUL TO DECLARE ONE. BECAUSE OF THE POTENTIAL FOR GND FOG, I SHOULD HAVE.
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.