|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : sql|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 1100|
msl bound upper : 1100
|Controlling Facilities||tower : pao|
tower : sql
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, Low Wing, 1 Eng, Retractable Gear|
|Flight Phase||climbout : takeoff|
|Route In Use||approach : svfr|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : instrument|
pilot : commercial
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 40|
flight time total : 1260
flight time type : 410
|Function||controller : local|
|Qualification||controller : non radar|
|Anomaly||inflight encounter : weather|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||controller : issued new clearance|
none taken : detected after the fact
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
I needed to fly my aircraft to san carlos (sql) for its annual inspection. The WX was up and down at pao and sql. About XA30 I went to pao and started engine. When I got the ATIS I found the visibility had dropped to 1 1/4 mi. The ground controller said it had dropped in the last 20 mins or so and did not look good on runway heading. I shut down and went home. I came back to pao about XC00. The WX looked better. Before leaving home I got the computer WX which showed pao at 1/2 mi visibility. I called the pao tower by phone and they said it was 2 mi. The ATIS was calling it 1 1/2 mi visibility. By the time I got to the airport and got the engine started the ATIS was reporting it about 2 1/2 I believe. Sql was 2 1/4. I told the ground controller I wanted a SVFR to sql and asked him to coordinate with sql so they would know I was coming. Got the clearance out of pao control zone 3 mi northwest of pao, to maintain SVFR conditions at or below 1200'. I verified with the local controller (tower) that they had coordinated with sql and took off. I climbed to 1100' and was told to contact sql on 119.0. I did so and the controller (woman's voice) got confused about the call sign. When she got it straight, she said for me to remain outside the control zone to the east. These airports are 8 statute mi apart with only 2 mi between their control zone (3 mi radius). The ATIS adjoin each other. The visibility was poor, 1 1/2 mi. I could not be sure of my position due to the ground obscuration. I asked her is she wanted me to do a 360, believing that the controller had coordinated and she had me on radar. She just said to stay out of control zone and expect delay. I circled to the right trying to loop the shoreline in sight. I was concerned about being either in pao or sql control zone due to my inability to get a precise location. She asked me if I was at the salt pile. I told her I was not there yet, believing I was still southeast of it. Controller reported other traffic. I could not see it and began a left turn to better try to pick it up visually, informing the controller. The other traffic advised tower of VFR conditions and the controller cleared me to enter the sql control zone SVFR and finally cleared me to land. I picked up the sql runway 30 less than 1 mi from the approach end. An uneventful landing was made. I have flown for yrs, IFR, in all kinds of WX. Yet this was one of my most uncomfortable moments. Had I known the towers would not coordinate my arrival I would not have taken off. Reconstructing my flight I believe I was in the area between the 2 control zones, but I was not certain of it in flight. Due to the proximity of these airports, the conduct of flight between them in lowered visibility conditions needs to be well coordinated between the ATC facs and the flight crew. This was not!
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: SMA DEPARTED AN IFR ARPT FOR ANOTHER IFR ARPT ONLY 8 MILES AWAY. EXPECTED RECEIVING TWR TO GIVE IMMEDIATE STRAIGHT IN APCH. BECAME DISORIENTED WHEN TOLD TO HOLD OUTSIDE THE ZONE.
Narrative: I NEEDED TO FLY MY ACFT TO SAN CARLOS (SQL) FOR ITS ANNUAL INSPECTION. THE WX WAS UP AND DOWN AT PAO AND SQL. ABOUT XA30 I WENT TO PAO AND STARTED ENG. WHEN I GOT THE ATIS I FOUND THE VIS HAD DROPPED TO 1 1/4 MI. THE GND CTLR SAID IT HAD DROPPED IN THE LAST 20 MINS OR SO AND DID NOT LOOK GOOD ON RWY HDG. I SHUT DOWN AND WENT HOME. I CAME BACK TO PAO ABOUT XC00. THE WX LOOKED BETTER. BEFORE LEAVING HOME I GOT THE COMPUTER WX WHICH SHOWED PAO AT 1/2 MI VIS. I CALLED THE PAO TWR BY PHONE AND THEY SAID IT WAS 2 MI. THE ATIS WAS CALLING IT 1 1/2 MI VIS. BY THE TIME I GOT TO THE ARPT AND GOT THE ENG STARTED THE ATIS WAS RPTING IT ABOUT 2 1/2 I BELIEVE. SQL WAS 2 1/4. I TOLD THE GND CTLR I WANTED A SVFR TO SQL AND ASKED HIM TO COORDINATE WITH SQL SO THEY WOULD KNOW I WAS COMING. GOT THE CLRNC OUT OF PAO CTL ZONE 3 MI NW OF PAO, TO MAINTAIN SVFR CONDITIONS AT OR BELOW 1200'. I VERIFIED WITH THE LCL CTLR (TWR) THAT THEY HAD COORDINATED WITH SQL AND TOOK OFF. I CLBED TO 1100' AND WAS TOLD TO CONTACT SQL ON 119.0. I DID SO AND THE CTLR (WOMAN'S VOICE) GOT CONFUSED ABOUT THE CALL SIGN. WHEN SHE GOT IT STRAIGHT, SHE SAID FOR ME TO REMAIN OUTSIDE THE CTL ZONE TO THE E. THESE ARPTS ARE 8 STATUTE MI APART WITH ONLY 2 MI BTWN THEIR CTL ZONE (3 MI RADIUS). THE ATIS ADJOIN EACH OTHER. THE VIS WAS POOR, 1 1/2 MI. I COULD NOT BE SURE OF MY POS DUE TO THE GND OBSCURATION. I ASKED HER IS SHE WANTED ME TO DO A 360, BELIEVING THAT THE CTLR HAD COORDINATED AND SHE HAD ME ON RADAR. SHE JUST SAID TO STAY OUT OF CTL ZONE AND EXPECT DELAY. I CIRCLED TO THE RIGHT TRYING TO LOOP THE SHORELINE IN SIGHT. I WAS CONCERNED ABOUT BEING EITHER IN PAO OR SQL CTL ZONE DUE TO MY INABILITY TO GET A PRECISE LOCATION. SHE ASKED ME IF I WAS AT THE SALT PILE. I TOLD HER I WAS NOT THERE YET, BELIEVING I WAS STILL SE OF IT. CTLR RPTED OTHER TFC. I COULD NOT SEE IT AND BEGAN A LEFT TURN TO BETTER TRY TO PICK IT UP VISUALLY, INFORMING THE CTLR. THE OTHER TFC ADVISED TWR OF VFR CONDITIONS AND THE CTLR CLRED ME TO ENTER THE SQL CTL ZONE SVFR AND FINALLY CLRED ME TO LAND. I PICKED UP THE SQL RWY 30 LESS THAN 1 MI FROM THE APCH END. AN UNEVENTFUL LNDG WAS MADE. I HAVE FLOWN FOR YRS, IFR, IN ALL KINDS OF WX. YET THIS WAS ONE OF MY MOST UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS. HAD I KNOWN THE TWRS WOULD NOT COORDINATE MY ARR I WOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN OFF. RECONSTRUCTING MY FLT I BELIEVE I WAS IN THE AREA BTWN THE 2 CTL ZONES, BUT I WAS NOT CERTAIN OF IT IN FLT. DUE TO THE PROX OF THESE ARPTS, THE CONDUCT OF FLT BTWN THEM IN LOWERED VIS CONDITIONS NEEDS TO BE WELL COORDINATED BTWN THE ATC FACS AND THE FLT CREW. THIS WAS NOT!
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.