|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||airport : rme.airport|
|Altitude||msl single value : 4000|
|Controlling Facilities||tower : rme.tower|
tracon : zzz.tracon
|Operator||common carrier : air taxi|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Flight Phase||descent : approach|
|Affiliation||company : air taxi|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 168|
flight time total : 1584
flight time type : 294
|Anomaly||non adherence : clearance|
other anomaly other
other spatial deviation
|Independent Detector||other controllera|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : became reoriented|
flight crew : executed go around
|Problem Areas||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
While level at 4000 ft; I was advised my destination (rme) was off my 12 O'clock and 15 mi. WX was clear and a million; so I glanced out; saw the airport and was cleared for the visual approach to runway 33. I had landed at rme a dozen or more times in the past; including twice in the last 2 days. As I got lower I was told to contact griffiss tower; which I did. As I got closer to the airport I noticed that the tower and buildings were on the right side of the runway and could have sworn I remembered them on the left side; but couldn't argue with what I was seeing. The runway was wide and quite long; and as I got closer I saw the numbers for runway 33. I was fully configured for landing; gear down; and flaps down; descending through about 1000 ft when I noticed what looked like traffic cones forming X's on the runway. At this same time griffiss tower contacted me; 'say altitude;' and I realized what had happened and communicated this with tower. I had been looking at the old county airport rather than griffiss. I went around; immediately picked up the griffiss airport and landed without further incident. When I went around I glanced at my GPS which had been programmed to the griffiss airport; and it reported a distance of 6 NM. Here were 2 large airports with the exact same runway orientation only 6 NM apart. Contributing to the error was that once I saw the airport and was cleared for the visual approach; I stopped making reference to my GPS and navigation instruments. At busy airports with multiple runways; I typically set up a localizer or GPS extended centerline to aid in approaching the correct runway. However; at griffiss; which has only 1 runway and isn't very busy; I let my guard down and didn't back myself up with electronic navaids. Before this; I didn't understand how a pilot could land at the wrong airport; but now I see how it's possible.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: SMA PLT CONDUCTED A VISUAL APCH TO THE WRONG ARPT. THE ERROR WAS DISCOVERED; GAR WAS EXECUTED; AND THE PLT PROCEEDED VISUALLY TO DEST.
Narrative: WHILE LEVEL AT 4000 FT; I WAS ADVISED MY DEST (RME) WAS OFF MY 12 O'CLOCK AND 15 MI. WX WAS CLR AND A MILLION; SO I GLANCED OUT; SAW THE ARPT AND WAS CLRED FOR THE VISUAL APCH TO RWY 33. I HAD LANDED AT RME A DOZEN OR MORE TIMES IN THE PAST; INCLUDING TWICE IN THE LAST 2 DAYS. AS I GOT LOWER I WAS TOLD TO CONTACT GRIFFISS TWR; WHICH I DID. AS I GOT CLOSER TO THE ARPT I NOTICED THAT THE TWR AND BUILDINGS WERE ON THE R SIDE OF THE RWY AND COULD HAVE SWORN I REMEMBERED THEM ON THE L SIDE; BUT COULDN'T ARGUE WITH WHAT I WAS SEEING. THE RWY WAS WIDE AND QUITE LONG; AND AS I GOT CLOSER I SAW THE NUMBERS FOR RWY 33. I WAS FULLY CONFIGURED FOR LNDG; GEAR DOWN; AND FLAPS DOWN; DSNDING THROUGH ABOUT 1000 FT WHEN I NOTICED WHAT LOOKED LIKE TFC CONES FORMING X'S ON THE RWY. AT THIS SAME TIME GRIFFISS TWR CONTACTED ME; 'SAY ALT;' AND I REALIZED WHAT HAD HAPPENED AND COMMUNICATED THIS WITH TWR. I HAD BEEN LOOKING AT THE OLD COUNTY ARPT RATHER THAN GRIFFISS. I WENT AROUND; IMMEDIATELY PICKED UP THE GRIFFISS ARPT AND LANDED WITHOUT FURTHER INCIDENT. WHEN I WENT AROUND I GLANCED AT MY GPS WHICH HAD BEEN PROGRAMMED TO THE GRIFFISS ARPT; AND IT RPTED A DISTANCE OF 6 NM. HERE WERE 2 LARGE ARPTS WITH THE EXACT SAME RWY ORIENTATION ONLY 6 NM APART. CONTRIBUTING TO THE ERROR WAS THAT ONCE I SAW THE ARPT AND WAS CLRED FOR THE VISUAL APCH; I STOPPED MAKING REF TO MY GPS AND NAV INSTS. AT BUSY ARPTS WITH MULTIPLE RWYS; I TYPICALLY SET UP A LOC OR GPS EXTENDED CTRLINE TO AID IN APCHING THE CORRECT RWY. HOWEVER; AT GRIFFISS; WHICH HAS ONLY 1 RWY AND ISN'T VERY BUSY; I LET MY GUARD DOWN AND DIDN'T BACK MYSELF UP WITH ELECTRONIC NAVAIDS. BEFORE THIS; I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND HOW A PLT COULD LAND AT THE WRONG ARPT; BUT NOW I SEE HOW IT'S POSSIBLE.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of May 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.