|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1801 To 2400|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : sea|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 50|
agl bound upper : 500
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : sea|
|Operator||general aviation : instructional|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Fixed Gear|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Route In Use||enroute other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 15|
flight time total : 170
flight time type : 170
|Function||observation : observer|
|Qualification||other other : other|
|Anomaly||non adherence : far|
other spatial deviation
|Independent Detector||other other : unspecified|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : unable|
|Consequence||faa : investigated|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
4/88, I departed boeing field. I made contact with sea approach for flight following 5 mi north of the airport. After receiving my transponder code, I leveled off at 1500'. I then proceeded northeast toward the university district. After a few mins of sightseeing in that area, I turned to a southwest heading toward elliot bay. I informed ATC that I would be descending to an altitude of 500' when I reached the water. I initiated my descent after crossing the east shoreline. I observed on my altimeter an altitude of approximately 500' just north of dawamish head. With the shoreline in sight off to my left, I made one low pass remaining over the water at all times. I observed no boats in the vicinity of the shore. After the pass by alkia, I did not go over land until I climbed to approximately 1200-1300' prior to entering the traffic pattern at boeing field. When I landed, to my surprise, the police were waiting for me. The report made by the police officer said that I was at an altitude of 35-50' which is false. I think his error was due to the fact that it was dark and that I was over the water. I believe I was always in compliance with the minimum safe altitude requirements of far 91.79. Even when remaining within the regulations, there is a possible safety problem with those on the ground who possess little or no knowledge of the far's pertaining to my flight. I think this problem is increased by the paranoia caused by the press sensationalizing recent incidents involving aircraft. Low level sightseeing at night may be more of a problem for the people on the ground than in the day for the same flight. Because with the problem with depth perception at night, I think the minimum safe altitude requirements should be adjusted to avoid any confusion of just how high an aircraft actually is at night in the future.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: GA SMA PLT REPORTED TO HAVE FLOWN 35-50' ABOVE ELLIOT BAY ON A NIGHT SIGHTSEEING FLT.
Narrative: 4/88, I DEPARTED BOEING FIELD. I MADE CONTACT WITH SEA APCH FOR FLT FOLLOWING 5 MI N OF THE ARPT. AFTER RECEIVING MY TRANSPONDER CODE, I LEVELED OFF AT 1500'. I THEN PROCEEDED NE TOWARD THE UNIVERSITY DISTRICT. AFTER A FEW MINS OF SIGHTSEEING IN THAT AREA, I TURNED TO A SW HDG TOWARD ELLIOT BAY. I INFORMED ATC THAT I WOULD BE DSNDING TO AN ALT OF 500' WHEN I REACHED THE WATER. I INITIATED MY DSCNT AFTER XING THE E SHORELINE. I OBSERVED ON MY ALTIMETER AN ALT OF APPROX 500' JUST N OF DAWAMISH HEAD. WITH THE SHORELINE IN SIGHT OFF TO MY LEFT, I MADE ONE LOW PASS REMAINING OVER THE WATER AT ALL TIMES. I OBSERVED NO BOATS IN THE VICINITY OF THE SHORE. AFTER THE PASS BY ALKIA, I DID NOT GO OVER LAND UNTIL I CLBED TO APPROX 1200-1300' PRIOR TO ENTERING THE TFC PATTERN AT BOEING FIELD. WHEN I LANDED, TO MY SURPRISE, THE POLICE WERE WAITING FOR ME. THE RPT MADE BY THE POLICE OFFICER SAID THAT I WAS AT AN ALT OF 35-50' WHICH IS FALSE. I THINK HIS ERROR WAS DUE TO THE FACT THAT IT WAS DARK AND THAT I WAS OVER THE WATER. I BELIEVE I WAS ALWAYS IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE MINIMUM SAFE ALT REQUIREMENTS OF FAR 91.79. EVEN WHEN REMAINING WITHIN THE REGS, THERE IS A POSSIBLE SAFETY PROB WITH THOSE ON THE GND WHO POSSESS LITTLE OR NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE FAR'S PERTAINING TO MY FLT. I THINK THIS PROB IS INCREASED BY THE PARANOIA CAUSED BY THE PRESS SENSATIONALIZING RECENT INCIDENTS INVOLVING ACFT. LOW LEVEL SIGHTSEEING AT NIGHT MAY BE MORE OF A PROB FOR THE PEOPLE ON THE GND THAN IN THE DAY FOR THE SAME FLT. BECAUSE WITH THE PROB WITH DEPTH PERCEPTION AT NIGHT, I THINK THE MINIMUM SAFE ALT REQUIREMENTS SHOULD BE ADJUSTED TO AVOID ANY CONFUSION OF JUST HOW HIGH AN ACFT ACTUALLY IS AT NIGHT IN THE FUTURE.
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.