|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||navaid : hot.vor|
|Altitude||msl single value : 5500|
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : zme.artcc|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Bonanza 35|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Flight Phase||descent : intermediate altitude|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 20|
flight time total : 260
flight time type : 200
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||inflight encounter : vfr in imc|
inflight encounter : weather
non adherence : far
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : exited adverse environment|
|Problem Areas||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
Event: I descended through a solid overcast layer while on a VFR flight and without an IFR rating. Background: I was heading to lit to attend the bonanza pilot proficiency course. Preflight WX indicated a scattered to broken layer at 5000 ft throughout my route of flight with a scattered taf forecast at lit. I took off and planned to stay below the layer the entire way. After takeoff from gpm; I requested and received VFR flight following from regional approach and was handed off to center at the appropriate time. Although it was perfectly safe (ie; plenty of terrain clearance) to fly under the scattered layer; I decided to climb above it for a number of reasons: higher is always better; there was light turbulence below; save fuel; take advantage of tailwinds. The layer appeared to become thicker and more solid the further east I flew. I eventually realized that I was 'stuck' above the layer with no holes to descend. I basically lied to center and requested a descending spiral 'through a hole.' they reported no traffic in my vicinity so I engaged the autoplt for a 20 degree left hand turn and descended through the 1000 ft thick layer. Contributing factors: 'get there-it is.' the course is very expensive at least 2 weeks notice to cancel. Habit: as a single engine pilot; I've always felt that altitude was my friend and gave me many more options in the event of a problem. I am predisposed to fly high even when not absolutely necessary. Overconfidence: even though I'm a low time private pilot; I have over 1600 hours in high-performance military aircraft as a navigator. I often feel that my military experience can overcome my lack of private pilot experience. In this case; I analyzed that I could safely descend because of the following circumstances: I knew the layer was thin by listening to reports from other pilots. I knew I could use my autoplt to control the descent. Although I wasn't IFR rated; I had previously received all the necessary IFR training and had been endorsed to take my check ride so I felt I had enough knowledge and experience to perform a safe descent. Corrective action: properly confess to ATC the next time. Talk to course mgrs about adjusting their refund policy to allow for WX cancellations.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: A VFR-RATED BE-35 PLT DSNDED THROUGH AN OVCST LAYER TO REACH HIS DEST.
Narrative: EVENT: I DSNDED THROUGH A SOLID OVCST LAYER WHILE ON A VFR FLT AND WITHOUT AN IFR RATING. BACKGROUND: I WAS HDG TO LIT TO ATTEND THE BONANZA PLT PROFICIENCY COURSE. PREFLT WX INDICATED A SCATTERED TO BROKEN LAYER AT 5000 FT THROUGHOUT MY RTE OF FLT WITH A SCATTERED TAF FORECAST AT LIT. I TOOK OFF AND PLANNED TO STAY BELOW THE LAYER THE ENTIRE WAY. AFTER TKOF FROM GPM; I REQUESTED AND RECEIVED VFR FLT FOLLOWING FROM REGIONAL APCH AND WAS HANDED OFF TO CTR AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME. ALTHOUGH IT WAS PERFECTLY SAFE (IE; PLENTY OF TERRAIN CLRNC) TO FLY UNDER THE SCATTERED LAYER; I DECIDED TO CLB ABOVE IT FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS: HIGHER IS ALWAYS BETTER; THERE WAS LIGHT TURB BELOW; SAVE FUEL; TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TAILWINDS. THE LAYER APPEARED TO BECOME THICKER AND MORE SOLID THE FURTHER E I FLEW. I EVENTUALLY REALIZED THAT I WAS 'STUCK' ABOVE THE LAYER WITH NO HOLES TO DSND. I BASICALLY LIED TO CTR AND REQUESTED A DSNDING SPIRAL 'THROUGH A HOLE.' THEY RPTED NO TFC IN MY VICINITY SO I ENGAGED THE AUTOPLT FOR A 20 DEG L HAND TURN AND DSNDED THROUGH THE 1000 FT THICK LAYER. CONTRIBUTING FACTORS: 'GET THERE-IT IS.' THE COURSE IS VERY EXPENSIVE AT LEAST 2 WKS NOTICE TO CANCEL. HABIT: AS A SINGLE ENG PLT; I'VE ALWAYS FELT THAT ALT WAS MY FRIEND AND GAVE ME MANY MORE OPTIONS IN THE EVENT OF A PROB. I AM PREDISPOSED TO FLY HIGH EVEN WHEN NOT ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. OVERCONFIDENCE: EVEN THOUGH I'M A LOW TIME PVT PLT; I HAVE OVER 1600 HRS IN HIGH-PERFORMANCE MIL ACFT AS A NAVIGATOR. I OFTEN FEEL THAT MY MIL EXPERIENCE CAN OVERCOME MY LACK OF PVT PLT EXPERIENCE. IN THIS CASE; I ANALYZED THAT I COULD SAFELY DSND BECAUSE OF THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES: I KNEW THE LAYER WAS THIN BY LISTENING TO RPTS FROM OTHER PLTS. I KNEW I COULD USE MY AUTOPLT TO CTL THE DSCNT. ALTHOUGH I WASN'T IFR RATED; I HAD PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED ALL THE NECESSARY IFR TRAINING AND HAD BEEN ENDORSED TO TAKE MY CHK RIDE SO I FELT I HAD ENOUGH KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE TO PERFORM A SAFE DSCNT. CORRECTIVE ACTION: PROPERLY CONFESS TO ATC THE NEXT TIME. TALK TO COURSE MGRS ABOUT ADJUSTING THEIR REFUND POLICY TO ALLOW FOR WX CANCELLATIONS.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of January 2009 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.