|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1801 To 2400|
|Locale Reference||airport : smx|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 0
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||Light Transport, Low Wing, 2 Turboprop Eng|
|Flight Phase||descent : approach|
|Route In Use||approach : visual|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
pilot : cfi
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 250|
flight time total : 2650
flight time type : 720
|Function||flight crew : first officer|
|Qualification||pilot : commercial|
pilot : instrument
|Anomaly||non adherence : far|
other spatial deviation
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : detected after the fact|
|Consequence||faa : investigated|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
Some time had passed after we had passed the rzs VOR inbound to sbp. I used my familiarization with the area's ground lighting to determine that we were approaching the smx-sbp area. Also, I determined that due to our close proximity to the area that we needed to start a des rather quickly. Otherwise, we could not have been able to meet the light transport's des limitation of a maximum 1000 FPM rate of des and still be able to maintain a reasonable speed to the airport. I asked ATC for a lower altitude and was assigned to 7000'. In my opinion this altitude was still too high to meet the light transport's limitation so I started looking for the airport in order to be assigned a visual approach and unrestricted lower altitude. When approaching the smx-sbp area from the south, sbp is the last cluster of lights sighted before continuing to the north. Both the first officer and I sighted an airport beacon in what appeared to be the last cluster of lights. We both assumed this to be sbp so I called the airport in sight to ATC. (We actually could not see sbp because of reduced visibility. I estimate flight visibility at approximately 20-25 mi. We did not realize this at the time.) we were approximately 35-40 mi away at the time of the call but ATC still issued a visual approach west/O questioning as to whether or not we really had the airport in sight. The first officer that I was flying with was one that I considered to be above average so I was reliant on him to judge distance, speed, etc, and to set us up for a normal left traffic pattern into the airport. I focused my attention on calling and completing the des check, calling for current WX, setting up the radios for a localizer back up and looking out for traffic and the terrain. We were approximately 4000' and on a high left downwind when I called, 'airport in sight, landing assured, cancel IFR,' to ATC. ATC simply cancelled and wished us, 'good night.' because of the ease at which ATC cancelled we were further led to believe that we were approaching the correct destination airport. At this point several consideration should be made as to why the controller did not question my radio call: from our position 30 mi southwest at 4000'there was no way that I could have seen sbp even during daylight unlimited visibility as the airport is surrounded by hilly-mountainous terrain, 30 mi out at 4000' in no way assured us of a successful landing at sbp, the first officer had slowed the aircraft down to our final approach speed of 120 KTS (unusual for the light transport until short final during VFR operations), and we were no longer heading to sbp but directly to smx. However, the controller cancelled west/O any hesitation or questioning. In fact, the controller gave us an audible impression that he was relieved because he no longer had to deal with us. At approximately mid-field left downwind I started making position reports on the CTAF and tried to identify the localizer. I could not receive the identifier and assumed that we were in the non-receiving area of the localizer. Because of this I commented to the first officer that the localizer would probably come in after we turned base leg. Both crew members were very familiar with the hilly-mountainous terrain surrounding sbp. Accordingly, our attention focused on the ground lighting as that was all we could see of the terrain (it was a very dark night, no moon, no horizon, etc). Both crew members continued throughout downwind and base to concentrate on judging distance from these lights and looking for traffic with the first officer quickly glancing at the runway to judge his pattern work. After turning on to final I noticed that both the HSI (captain) and the omni-indicator (first officer) still had navigation/flags. I commented to the first officer that it was strange that the localizer still had not come in. The first officer gave no response as I gave my attention to the radios and again tried to identify the localizer. I considered the possibility of a navigation radio failure and rechecked, retuned the frequency, etc. I told the first officer that we still had navigation/flags as I started to scan the other instruments. No response was given from the first officer as I noticed that we were approximately 400'. I started calling out the 500' check. Also, I briefly glanced outside during the check and noticed that both the approach lighting system (ALS) and VASI were not on. I commentedabout this to the first officer but he did not respond. Finally, the first officer looked over and noticed that he could not hear me speak. Somehow, my hot-microphone switch was clicked to the off position (a common complaint from sfar 41 light transport crews!). The first officer reached over to the left side of my control stick and turned the switch back on again keeping my attention to the inside of the cockpit. At approximately 100' and after initially calling airspeed and sinkrate I started looking back outside and concentrating on the airport. I did not recognize the normal visual clues for sbp as the runway appeared to be wider and much longer and the ramp area was dark and not lit up as that of sbp's. I tried looking for other clues but everything was moving rather quickly and was hard to identify. Consequently, I asked the first officer if this really was sbp as I figured that he had been looking out at the airport since we had turned final. The first officer responded with a somewhat undiscerning, 'I hope so.' at that point I decided the airport we were about to land at was apparently not that of sbp and called for a go around. Unfortunately, the wheels touched simultaneously as I made the call for a go around. Since the wheels had touched and I knew that we had enough runway to stop I aborted the go around and assumed control of the aircraft. During rollout my suspicions were confirmed as we both recognized the airport as smx. (The fact that I had visual contact with the ALS guaranteed us enough runway to land. Only 2 airports in the smx-sbp area have the ALS and we were supposed to be landing on the shortest of the two--sbp. The other airport is smx.) after rollout I taxied to the gate as the tower was closed, deplaned our smx bound passenger and conferred with our dispatch.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: ACR LTT LANDED AT THE WRONG ARPT, DESTINATION WAS SBP BUT LANDED AT SMX.
Narrative: SOME TIME HAD PASSED AFTER WE HAD PASSED THE RZS VOR INBND TO SBP. I USED MY FAMILIARIZATION WITH THE AREA'S GND LIGHTING TO DETERMINE THAT WE WERE APCHING THE SMX-SBP AREA. ALSO, I DETERMINED THAT DUE TO OUR CLOSE PROX TO THE AREA THAT WE NEEDED TO START A DES RATHER QUICKLY. OTHERWISE, WE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO MEET THE LTT'S DES LIMITATION OF A MAX 1000 FPM RATE OF DES AND STILL BE ABLE TO MAINTAIN A REASONABLE SPD TO THE ARPT. I ASKED ATC FOR A LOWER ALT AND WAS ASSIGNED TO 7000'. IN MY OPINION THIS ALT WAS STILL TOO HIGH TO MEET THE LTT'S LIMITATION SO I STARTED LOOKING FOR THE ARPT IN ORDER TO BE ASSIGNED A VISUAL APCH AND UNRESTRICTED LOWER ALT. WHEN APCHING THE SMX-SBP AREA FROM THE S, SBP IS THE LAST CLUSTER OF LIGHTS SIGHTED BEFORE CONTINUING TO THE N. BOTH THE F/O AND I SIGHTED AN ARPT BEACON IN WHAT APPEARED TO BE THE LAST CLUSTER OF LIGHTS. WE BOTH ASSUMED THIS TO BE SBP SO I CALLED THE ARPT IN SIGHT TO ATC. (WE ACTUALLY COULD NOT SEE SBP BECAUSE OF REDUCED VIS. I ESTIMATE FLT VIS AT APPROX 20-25 MI. WE DID NOT REALIZE THIS AT THE TIME.) WE WERE APPROX 35-40 MI AWAY AT THE TIME OF THE CALL BUT ATC STILL ISSUED A VISUAL APCH W/O QUESTIONING AS TO WHETHER OR NOT WE REALLY HAD THE ARPT IN SIGHT. THE F/O THAT I WAS FLYING WITH WAS ONE THAT I CONSIDERED TO BE ABOVE AVERAGE SO I WAS RELIANT ON HIM TO JUDGE DISTANCE, SPD, ETC, AND TO SET US UP FOR A NORMAL LEFT TFC PATTERN INTO THE ARPT. I FOCUSED MY ATTN ON CALLING AND COMPLETING THE DES CHK, CALLING FOR CURRENT WX, SETTING UP THE RADIOS FOR A LOC BACK UP AND LOOKING OUT FOR TFC AND THE TERRAIN. WE WERE APPROX 4000' AND ON A HIGH LEFT DOWNWIND WHEN I CALLED, 'ARPT IN SIGHT, LNDG ASSURED, CANCEL IFR,' TO ATC. ATC SIMPLY CANCELLED AND WISHED US, 'GOOD NIGHT.' BECAUSE OF THE EASE AT WHICH ATC CANCELLED WE WERE FURTHER LED TO BELIEVE THAT WE WERE APCHING THE CORRECT DEST ARPT. AT THIS POINT SEVERAL CONSIDERATION SHOULD BE MADE AS TO WHY THE CTLR DID NOT QUESTION MY RADIO CALL: FROM OUR POS 30 MI SW AT 4000'THERE WAS NO WAY THAT I COULD HAVE SEEN SBP EVEN DURING DAYLIGHT UNLIMITED VIS AS THE ARPT IS SURROUNDED BY HILLY-MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN, 30 MI OUT AT 4000' IN NO WAY ASSURED US OF A SUCCESSFUL LNDG AT SBP, THE F/O HAD SLOWED THE ACFT DOWN TO OUR FINAL APCH SPD OF 120 KTS (UNUSUAL FOR THE LTT UNTIL SHORT FINAL DURING VFR OPERATIONS), AND WE WERE NO LONGER HDG TO SBP BUT DIRECTLY TO SMX. HOWEVER, THE CTLR CANCELLED W/O ANY HESITATION OR QUESTIONING. IN FACT, THE CTLR GAVE US AN AUDIBLE IMPRESSION THAT HE WAS RELIEVED BECAUSE HE NO LONGER HAD TO DEAL WITH US. AT APPROX MID-FIELD LEFT DOWNWIND I STARTED MAKING POS RPTS ON THE CTAF AND TRIED TO IDENTIFY THE LOC. I COULD NOT RECEIVE THE IDENTIFIER AND ASSUMED THAT WE WERE IN THE NON-RECEIVING AREA OF THE LOC. BECAUSE OF THIS I COMMENTED TO THE F/O THAT THE LOC WOULD PROBABLY COME IN AFTER WE TURNED BASE LEG. BOTH CREW MEMBERS WERE VERY FAMILIAR WITH THE HILLY-MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN SURROUNDING SBP. ACCORDINGLY, OUR ATTN FOCUSED ON THE GND LIGHTING AS THAT WAS ALL WE COULD SEE OF THE TERRAIN (IT WAS A VERY DARK NIGHT, NO MOON, NO HORIZON, ETC). BOTH CREW MEMBERS CONTINUED THROUGHOUT DOWNWIND AND BASE TO CONCENTRATE ON JUDGING DISTANCE FROM THESE LIGHTS AND LOOKING FOR TFC WITH THE F/O QUICKLY GLANCING AT THE RWY TO JUDGE HIS PATTERN WORK. AFTER TURNING ON TO FINAL I NOTICED THAT BOTH THE HSI (CAPT) AND THE OMNI-INDICATOR (F/O) STILL HAD NAV/FLAGS. I COMMENTED TO THE F/O THAT IT WAS STRANGE THAT THE LOC STILL HAD NOT COME IN. THE F/O GAVE NO RESPONSE AS I GAVE MY ATTN TO THE RADIOS AND AGAIN TRIED TO IDENTIFY THE LOC. I CONSIDERED THE POSSIBILITY OF A NAV RADIO FAILURE AND RECHECKED, RETUNED THE FREQ, ETC. I TOLD THE F/O THAT WE STILL HAD NAV/FLAGS AS I STARTED TO SCAN THE OTHER INSTRUMENTS. NO RESPONSE WAS GIVEN FROM THE F/O AS I NOTICED THAT WE WERE APPROX 400'. I STARTED CALLING OUT THE 500' CHK. ALSO, I BRIEFLY GLANCED OUTSIDE DURING THE CHK AND NOTICED THAT BOTH THE APCH LIGHTING SYS (ALS) AND VASI WERE NOT ON. I COMMENTEDABOUT THIS TO THE F/O BUT HE DID NOT RESPOND. FINALLY, THE F/O LOOKED OVER AND NOTICED THAT HE COULD NOT HEAR ME SPEAK. SOMEHOW, MY HOT-MIC SWITCH WAS CLICKED TO THE OFF POS (A COMMON COMPLAINT FROM SFAR 41 LTT CREWS!). THE F/O REACHED OVER TO THE LEFT SIDE OF MY CTL STICK AND TURNED THE SWITCH BACK ON AGAIN KEEPING MY ATTN TO THE INSIDE OF THE COCKPIT. AT APPROX 100' AND AFTER INITIALLY CALLING AIRSPD AND SINKRATE I STARTED LOOKING BACK OUTSIDE AND CONCENTRATING ON THE ARPT. I DID NOT RECOGNIZE THE NORMAL VISUAL CLUES FOR SBP AS THE RWY APPEARED TO BE WIDER AND MUCH LONGER AND THE RAMP AREA WAS DARK AND NOT LIT UP AS THAT OF SBP'S. I TRIED LOOKING FOR OTHER CLUES BUT EVERYTHING WAS MOVING RATHER QUICKLY AND WAS HARD TO IDENTIFY. CONSEQUENTLY, I ASKED THE F/O IF THIS REALLY WAS SBP AS I FIGURED THAT HE HAD BEEN LOOKING OUT AT THE ARPT SINCE WE HAD TURNED FINAL. THE F/O RESPONDED WITH A SOMEWHAT UNDISCERNING, 'I HOPE SO.' AT THAT POINT I DECIDED THE ARPT WE WERE ABOUT TO LAND AT WAS APPARENTLY NOT THAT OF SBP AND CALLED FOR A GO AROUND. UNFORTUNATELY, THE WHEELS TOUCHED SIMULTANEOUSLY AS I MADE THE CALL FOR A GO AROUND. SINCE THE WHEELS HAD TOUCHED AND I KNEW THAT WE HAD ENOUGH RWY TO STOP I ABORTED THE GO AROUND AND ASSUMED CTL OF THE ACFT. DURING ROLLOUT MY SUSPICIONS WERE CONFIRMED AS WE BOTH RECOGNIZED THE ARPT AS SMX. (THE FACT THAT I HAD VISUAL CONTACT WITH THE ALS GUARANTEED US ENOUGH RWY TO LAND. ONLY 2 ARPTS IN THE SMX-SBP AREA HAVE THE ALS AND WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE LNDG ON THE SHORTEST OF THE TWO--SBP. THE OTHER ARPT IS SMX.) AFTER ROLLOUT I TAXIED TO THE GATE AS THE TWR WAS CLOSED, DEPLANED OUR SMX BOUND PAX AND CONFERRED WITH OUR DISPATCH.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of August 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.