|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||airport : mgm|
airport : ia9
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 3000|
msl bound upper : 3000
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : mgm|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Fixed Gear|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : cfi|
pilot : instrument
pilot : commercial
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 200|
flight time total : 1000
flight time type : 30
|Function||controller : departure|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : declared emergency|
none taken : anomaly accepted
Pilot called FSS to get a WX briefing for an IFR flight from montgomery, al's dannelly field (mgm) to dothan, al. WX was 500' and approximately 2 mi at dannelly field at the time as reported by ATIS and anniston. Generally, IMC in rain showers all the way down to dothan. Dothan had a special WX report at this time of 400 broken at approximately XB00. After fueling and preflight, the pilot and passenger boarded and prepared for departure. Clearance was received, cleared as filed (direct mgm V7 rrs), climb runway heading to requested 3000' MSL and contact departure on 124.0. At this time the clearance del controller complained that our radio was weak and barely readable. Pilot and front seat passenger who is a pilot also switched to the #1 radio and it sounded good, so we dismissed the comment about the weak radio. During taxi out we asked tower how our radio was and they heard us ok. We were cleared for takeoff and climbed out runway heading to approximately 1500' MSL and were clear direct to the mgm VOR. The radios at this time started to work intermittently, and the VOR flags started to flicker up and down from a 'to' indication to an 'off' indication. Both pilots decided we should try the localizer frequency since we thought we were still close enough to receive it and we just got an 'off' flag on both localizer and G/south needles. With the radios starting to act up and the VOR receiving very weak, the decision was made to return to dannelly field (mgm) and approach instructed us to turn to a heading of 260 degrees MHZ. At this time water was noticed coming in under the windshield and leaking on the glare shield of the instrument panel and at the time this was considered as a source of the radio problems. Meanwhile we were flying in and out of the clouds and a minute or two later we decided the radios were dead. At this time we squawked 7700 on the transponder for what seemed like a minute and then to 7600. A moment later at 3000' MSL on heading 260 degrees MHZ we broke out of the clouds and could see the ground below us through a low scattered layer. The decision was made to stay VFR and we descended to approximately 700-800' MSL and turned north to find highway 80, which we suspected was close by. We found highway 80 and a local visual landmark (ge plant) which is about 6 mi west of mgm. The pilot decided to fly north approximately 7 mi to an uncontrolled airport (1a9) which the pilot and front (pilot/passenger) was familiar with. While flying to the uncontrolled field the pilot turned off all switches including master and alternator and then turned the master back on and the transponder. The light on the transponder lit up indicating to me it could have been a loose connection. An uneventful landing was made and I called RAPCON to let them know what happened. I decided to go to an uncontrolled field so as not to endanger other aircraft there. Local pilots I've talked to believe it could be alternator or voltage regulator problems. The alternator belt was good during the preflight inspection and the alternator appeared to be working well during the run up check. One suggestion was that we were operating off the battery after the run up and it took a while to drain it enough where the radios were unusable. Before further flight in this aircraft the electrical system and radios will be checked by an avionics shop.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: GA SMA LOST NAVIGATION AND COM RADIOS AFTER INITIAL CLIMB IN IMC CONDITIONS. WHEN ENCOUNTERED VFR CONDITIONS LANDED AT CLOSEST SUITABLE ARPT.
Narrative: PLT CALLED FSS TO GET A WX BRIEFING FOR AN IFR FLT FROM MONTGOMERY, AL'S DANNELLY FIELD (MGM) TO DOTHAN, AL. WX WAS 500' AND APPROX 2 MI AT DANNELLY FIELD AT THE TIME AS RPTED BY ATIS AND ANNISTON. GENERALLY, IMC IN RAIN SHOWERS ALL THE WAY DOWN TO DOTHAN. DOTHAN HAD A SPECIAL WX RPT AT THIS TIME OF 400 BROKEN AT APPROX XB00. AFTER FUELING AND PREFLT, THE PLT AND PAX BOARDED AND PREPARED FOR DEP. CLRNC WAS RECEIVED, CLRED AS FILED (DIRECT MGM V7 RRS), CLB RWY HDG TO REQUESTED 3000' MSL AND CONTACT DEP ON 124.0. AT THIS TIME THE CLRNC DEL CTLR COMPLAINED THAT OUR RADIO WAS WEAK AND BARELY READABLE. PLT AND FRONT SEAT PAX WHO IS A PLT ALSO SWITCHED TO THE #1 RADIO AND IT SOUNDED GOOD, SO WE DISMISSED THE COMMENT ABOUT THE WEAK RADIO. DURING TAXI OUT WE ASKED TWR HOW OUR RADIO WAS AND THEY HEARD US OK. WE WERE CLRED FOR TKOF AND CLBED OUT RWY HDG TO APPROX 1500' MSL AND WERE CLR DIRECT TO THE MGM VOR. THE RADIOS AT THIS TIME STARTED TO WORK INTERMITTENTLY, AND THE VOR FLAGS STARTED TO FLICKER UP AND DOWN FROM A 'TO' INDICATION TO AN 'OFF' INDICATION. BOTH PLTS DECIDED WE SHOULD TRY THE LOC FREQ SINCE WE THOUGHT WE WERE STILL CLOSE ENOUGH TO RECEIVE IT AND WE JUST GOT AN 'OFF' FLAG ON BOTH LOC AND G/S NEEDLES. WITH THE RADIOS STARTING TO ACT UP AND THE VOR RECEIVING VERY WEAK, THE DECISION WAS MADE TO RETURN TO DANNELLY FIELD (MGM) AND APCH INSTRUCTED US TO TURN TO A HDG OF 260 DEGS MHZ. AT THIS TIME WATER WAS NOTICED COMING IN UNDER THE WINDSHIELD AND LEAKING ON THE GLARE SHIELD OF THE INSTRUMENT PANEL AND AT THE TIME THIS WAS CONSIDERED AS A SOURCE OF THE RADIO PROBS. MEANWHILE WE WERE FLYING IN AND OUT OF THE CLOUDS AND A MINUTE OR TWO LATER WE DECIDED THE RADIOS WERE DEAD. AT THIS TIME WE SQUAWKED 7700 ON THE TRANSPONDER FOR WHAT SEEMED LIKE A MINUTE AND THEN TO 7600. A MOMENT LATER AT 3000' MSL ON HDG 260 DEGS MHZ WE BROKE OUT OF THE CLOUDS AND COULD SEE THE GND BELOW US THROUGH A LOW SCATTERED LAYER. THE DECISION WAS MADE TO STAY VFR AND WE DSNDED TO APPROX 700-800' MSL AND TURNED N TO FIND HWY 80, WHICH WE SUSPECTED WAS CLOSE BY. WE FOUND HWY 80 AND A LCL VISUAL LANDMARK (GE PLANT) WHICH IS ABOUT 6 MI W OF MGM. THE PLT DECIDED TO FLY N APPROX 7 MI TO AN UNCTLED ARPT (1A9) WHICH THE PLT AND FRONT (PLT/PAX) WAS FAMILIAR WITH. WHILE FLYING TO THE UNCTLED FIELD THE PLT TURNED OFF ALL SWITCHES INCLUDING MASTER AND ALTERNATOR AND THEN TURNED THE MASTER BACK ON AND THE TRANSPONDER. THE LIGHT ON THE TRANSPONDER LIT UP INDICATING TO ME IT COULD HAVE BEEN A LOOSE CONNECTION. AN UNEVENTFUL LNDG WAS MADE AND I CALLED RAPCON TO LET THEM KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. I DECIDED TO GO TO AN UNCTLED FIELD SO AS NOT TO ENDANGER OTHER ACFT THERE. LCL PLTS I'VE TALKED TO BELIEVE IT COULD BE ALTERNATOR OR VOLTAGE REGULATOR PROBS. THE ALTERNATOR BELT WAS GOOD DURING THE PREFLT INSPECTION AND THE ALTERNATOR APPEARED TO BE WORKING WELL DURING THE RUN UP CHK. ONE SUGGESTION WAS THAT WE WERE OPERATING OFF THE BATTERY AFTER THE RUN UP AND IT TOOK A WHILE TO DRAIN IT ENOUGH WHERE THE RADIOS WERE UNUSABLE. BEFORE FURTHER FLT IN THIS ACFT THE ELECTRICAL SYS AND RADIOS WILL BE CHKED BY AN AVIONICS SHOP.
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.