|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : zzz.airport|
|Altitude||agl single value : 1200|
|Controlling Facilities||tower : zzz.tower|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||PA-32 Cherokee Six/Lance/Saratoga|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Flight Phase||descent : approach|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 40|
flight time total : 90
flight time type : 20
|Anomaly||inflight encounter : weather|
inflight encounter : vfr in imc
non adherence : far
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : declared emergency|
|Problem Areas||Flight Crew Human Performance|
WX at takeoff was 800 ft scattered; 1900 ft broken 3 mi visibility. Radar showed light precipitation. About 200 ft in the air after takeoff; heavy rain started. Immediate decision was made to stay in traffic pattern and land. On downwind; visibility dropped to 1/4 mi and ceiling dropped to 500 ft AGL. Airport and ground visual were lost. Could not land in current conditions and now in solid IMC with 0 visibility. Decision was made to climb to try and regain visibility. Stopped at 6500 ft due to moderate turbulence which was increasing. Called 121.5 and gave mayday stating VFR pilot in IMC conditions need vectors to nearest airport. No reply to mayday. Switched to 122.0 and repeated mayday. No reply. Tried navigating to home airport but couldn't hold a heading and keep the wings level. Next decision was to descend. Set up for GPS approach and contacted CTAF. Unicom came on and advised visibility was improving on ground. Followed GPS approach and broke clear of clouds with visual of runway. Landed plane without incident.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: PA32 PILOT ENCOUNTERS HEAVY RAIN SHORTLY AFTER TKOF AND IS UNABLE TO MAINTAIN VFR CONDITIONS. AFTER ATTEMPTING TO GET ON TOP IN VAIN; PILOT IS ABLE TO FLY GPS APPROACH TO VFR CONDITIONS AND LAND.
Narrative: WX AT TKOF WAS 800 FT SCATTERED; 1900 FT BROKEN 3 MI VISIBILITY. RADAR SHOWED LIGHT PRECIPITATION. ABOUT 200 FT IN THE AIR AFTER TKOF; HVY RAIN STARTED. IMMEDIATE DECISION WAS MADE TO STAY IN TFC PATTERN AND LAND. ON DOWNWIND; VISIBILITY DROPPED TO 1/4 MI AND CEILING DROPPED TO 500 FT AGL. ARPT AND GND VISUAL WERE LOST. COULD NOT LAND IN CURRENT CONDITIONS AND NOW IN SOLID IMC WITH 0 VISIBILITY. DECISION WAS MADE TO CLB TO TRY AND REGAIN VISIBILITY. STOPPED AT 6500 FT DUE TO MODERATE TURB WHICH WAS INCREASING. CALLED 121.5 AND GAVE MAYDAY STATING VFR PLT IN IMC CONDITIONS NEED VECTORS TO NEAREST ARPT. NO REPLY TO MAYDAY. SWITCHED TO 122.0 AND REPEATED MAYDAY. NO REPLY. TRIED NAVING TO HOME ARPT BUT COULDN'T HOLD A HDG AND KEEP THE WINGS LEVEL. NEXT DECISION WAS TO DSND. SET UP FOR GPS APCH AND CONTACTED CTAF. UNICOM CAME ON AND ADVISED VISIBILITY WAS IMPROVING ON GND. FOLLOWED GPS APCH AND BROKE CLR OF CLOUDS WITH VISUAL OF RWY. LANDED PLANE WITHOUT INCIDENT.
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.