|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Locale Reference||airport : zzz.airport|
|Controlling Facilities||tower : zzz.tower|
|Operator||general aviation : instructional|
|Make Model Name||Skyhawk 172/Cutlass 172|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Function||instruction : instructor|
|Qualification||pilot : instrument|
pilot : cfi
pilot : multi engine
pilot : commercial
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 60|
flight time total : 725
flight time type : 75
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
instruction : trainee
|Anomaly||non adherence : far|
other spatial deviation
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||controller : provided flight assist|
flight crew : declared emergency
|Problem Areas||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
On monday; I endorsed a student pilot to execute a solo cross country from ZZZ1 to ZZZ2 to ZZZ3 to ZZZ1. She had planned on leaving earlier in the day but there was haze in the area reducing the WX below her endorsed WX minimums. By early afternoon; the WX had appeared to lift and the WX for her route was at or above her minimums and forecasted to stay that way or improve for the rest of the day. She left and flew the cross country with an expected ETA of about XA45. I received a call from her around XB00 and she told me she had just arrived in ZZZ3. I had asked what happened and she said she got a little disoriented but ended up getting to the airport safely and everything was all right. She wanted to make sure it was all right to continue. At this time the WX was still above minimums and based on her scheduled time en route; she would be back before night. I told her she could continue home after fueling. She arrived back at ZZZ1 about 10 mins into the night. After debriefing with her; I was informed that she had become extremely lost on her route from ZZZ2-ZZZ3. She had ended up approximately 40 NM north of ZZZ3 and required radar assistance from center to navigation back to ZZZ3. This added flight time also resulted in a minimum fuel issue. She also became disoriented flying from ZZZ3-ZZZ1. She told me that she believes that during that portion of the flight; visibility dropped below her endorsed minimum of 7 SM. She said that this made it difficult to find her chkpoints; resulting in the navigation issue. Due to the indirect route on her flight from ZZZ3-ZZZ1; she ended up arriving late. I feel that reduced visibility and improper navigation was the main cause of the problem. When I reviewed her planning; her navigation log chkpoints and navaids were done correctly and well. I don't feel that she was as confident in navigating and xchking her position via these navaids as she should have been. Additional and more current training in this area could have helped break this error chain and prevent this problem. The reduced visibility also probably played a role in this situation . She said it was difficult to find the chkpoints as well as xref them with additional landmarks due to the visibility. Inaccurate forecasting of WX along that route made it difficult for her and I to accurately assess her go/no-go decision. If the reduced visibilities would have been forecasted; the whole flight would have been called off and postponed until another day. Lastly; even though I feel that excessive GPS usage for student pilots can be dangerous; it would have definitely helped in this situation. Many students become over dependent on GPS; causing them to not spend enough time becoming familiar with their surroundings and looking outside for landmarks; terrain; and other aircraft. They also depend on the GPS so much that their other navigation skills never properly develop; leaving them in a very bad situation if the GPS ever fails. So even though I do strongly encourage the fundamental skills of dead reckoning; pilotage; VOR; and NDB navigation; I also feel that GPS navigation is much more accurate and user friendly for unfamiliar pilots in situation south such as this. In the future; I hope to never have a student reach the point where they could prevent becoming lost with the use of a GPS; but I do feel that a GPS equipped aircraft could have been one tool that could have helped break this error chain.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: STUDENT PLT FLYING A C172 BECAME DISORIENTED ON A SOLO CROSS COUNTRY. FLT CONDITIONS BECAME HAZY AND ASSISTANCE WAS REQUESTED FROM ATC.
Narrative: ON MONDAY; I ENDORSED A STUDENT PLT TO EXECUTE A SOLO XCOUNTRY FROM ZZZ1 TO ZZZ2 TO ZZZ3 TO ZZZ1. SHE HAD PLANNED ON LEAVING EARLIER IN THE DAY BUT THERE WAS HAZE IN THE AREA REDUCING THE WX BELOW HER ENDORSED WX MINIMUMS. BY EARLY AFTERNOON; THE WX HAD APPEARED TO LIFT AND THE WX FOR HER RTE WAS AT OR ABOVE HER MINIMUMS AND FORECASTED TO STAY THAT WAY OR IMPROVE FOR THE REST OF THE DAY. SHE LEFT AND FLEW THE XCOUNTRY WITH AN EXPECTED ETA OF ABOUT XA45. I RECEIVED A CALL FROM HER AROUND XB00 AND SHE TOLD ME SHE HAD JUST ARRIVED IN ZZZ3. I HAD ASKED WHAT HAPPENED AND SHE SAID SHE GOT A LITTLE DISORIENTED BUT ENDED UP GETTING TO THE ARPT SAFELY AND EVERYTHING WAS ALL RIGHT. SHE WANTED TO MAKE SURE IT WAS ALL RIGHT TO CONTINUE. AT THIS TIME THE WX WAS STILL ABOVE MINIMUMS AND BASED ON HER SCHEDULED TIME ENRTE; SHE WOULD BE BACK BEFORE NIGHT. I TOLD HER SHE COULD CONTINUE HOME AFTER FUELING. SHE ARRIVED BACK AT ZZZ1 ABOUT 10 MINS INTO THE NIGHT. AFTER DEBRIEFING WITH HER; I WAS INFORMED THAT SHE HAD BECOME EXTREMELY LOST ON HER RTE FROM ZZZ2-ZZZ3. SHE HAD ENDED UP APPROX 40 NM N OF ZZZ3 AND REQUIRED RADAR ASSISTANCE FROM CTR TO NAV BACK TO ZZZ3. THIS ADDED FLT TIME ALSO RESULTED IN A MINIMUM FUEL ISSUE. SHE ALSO BECAME DISORIENTED FLYING FROM ZZZ3-ZZZ1. SHE TOLD ME THAT SHE BELIEVES THAT DURING THAT PORTION OF THE FLT; VISIBILITY DROPPED BELOW HER ENDORSED MINIMUM OF 7 SM. SHE SAID THAT THIS MADE IT DIFFICULT TO FIND HER CHKPOINTS; RESULTING IN THE NAV ISSUE. DUE TO THE INDIRECT RTE ON HER FLT FROM ZZZ3-ZZZ1; SHE ENDED UP ARRIVING LATE. I FEEL THAT REDUCED VISIBILITY AND IMPROPER NAV WAS THE MAIN CAUSE OF THE PROB. WHEN I REVIEWED HER PLANNING; HER NAV LOG CHKPOINTS AND NAVAIDS WERE DONE CORRECTLY AND WELL. I DON'T FEEL THAT SHE WAS AS CONFIDENT IN NAVING AND XCHKING HER POS VIA THESE NAVAIDS AS SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN. ADDITIONAL AND MORE CURRENT TRAINING IN THIS AREA COULD HAVE HELPED BREAK THIS ERROR CHAIN AND PREVENT THIS PROB. THE REDUCED VISIBILITY ALSO PROBABLY PLAYED A ROLE IN THIS SITUATION . SHE SAID IT WAS DIFFICULT TO FIND THE CHKPOINTS AS WELL AS XREF THEM WITH ADDITIONAL LANDMARKS DUE TO THE VISIBILITY. INACCURATE FORECASTING OF WX ALONG THAT RTE MADE IT DIFFICULT FOR HER AND I TO ACCURATELY ASSESS HER GO/NO-GO DECISION. IF THE REDUCED VISIBILITIES WOULD HAVE BEEN FORECASTED; THE WHOLE FLT WOULD HAVE BEEN CALLED OFF AND POSTPONED UNTIL ANOTHER DAY. LASTLY; EVEN THOUGH I FEEL THAT EXCESSIVE GPS USAGE FOR STUDENT PLTS CAN BE DANGEROUS; IT WOULD HAVE DEFINITELY HELPED IN THIS SITUATION. MANY STUDENTS BECOME OVER DEPENDENT ON GPS; CAUSING THEM TO NOT SPEND ENOUGH TIME BECOMING FAMILIAR WITH THEIR SURROUNDINGS AND LOOKING OUTSIDE FOR LANDMARKS; TERRAIN; AND OTHER ACFT. THEY ALSO DEPEND ON THE GPS SO MUCH THAT THEIR OTHER NAV SKILLS NEVER PROPERLY DEVELOP; LEAVING THEM IN A VERY BAD SITUATION IF THE GPS EVER FAILS. SO EVEN THOUGH I DO STRONGLY ENCOURAGE THE FUNDAMENTAL SKILLS OF DEAD RECKONING; PILOTAGE; VOR; AND NDB NAV; I ALSO FEEL THAT GPS NAV IS MUCH MORE ACCURATE AND USER FRIENDLY FOR UNFAMILIAR PLTS IN SITUATION S SUCH AS THIS. IN THE FUTURE; I HOPE TO NEVER HAVE A STUDENT REACH THE POINT WHERE THEY COULD PREVENT BECOMING LOST WITH THE USE OF A GPS; BUT I DO FEEL THAT A GPS EQUIPPED ACFT COULD HAVE BEEN ONE TOOL THAT COULD HAVE HELPED BREAK THIS ERROR CHAIN.
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.