|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : bur|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 3000|
msl bound upper : 6000
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : bur|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Retractable Gear|
|Flight Phase||climbout : intermediate altitude|
descent : approach
|Route In Use||enroute : on vectors|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : instrument|
pilot : commercial
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 50|
flight time total : 2800
|Function||controller : approach|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||inflight encounter : weather|
non adherence : published procedure
|Independent Detector||other controllera|
other flight crewa
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
We were about to make an IFR flight to santa rosa, 350 mi from burbank. Forcast plus PIREPS were light to moderate turbulence, light showers and light-moderate rime icing during climb over the tehachapi mountains. We have full deice equipment. Current WX in the san joaquin and sacramento valleys was relatively benign: VFR conditions on the surface and some cloud layers and occasional light showers. However, as we were loading the aircraft, moderate to strong rain showers inundated bur. A series of these squalls, or cells, seemed to be bldg around the area. After we took off and made cloud penetration, it became quite difficult to control the airplane and hold assigned headings and altitudes. Bur departure, to make it more difficult, gave us about 5 new headings over the course of about 2 mins, presumably for traffic sep. The updrafts and downdrafts were even too tough for the automatic pilot. Our onboard radar only seemed to pick up the nearby mountainous terrain and all of the turns further distorted the radar picture. We weren't able to see any of the heavy cells. The controller asked if we were radar equipped. We replied in the affirmative and told him it wasn't doing us much good. He seemed to indicate that we would be needing radar to continue safely over the tehachapis, so I asked him if la center had radar capabilities that would be helpful. He replied their radar was worse than bur's. Everything started to feel ominous at this point. We were getting beaten around, and my wife was beginning to look a bit green. Our baby was screaming pretty loudly and was obviously uncomfortable. Since we had no pressing reason to get to santa rosa, I immediately made the decision to return to bur. The WX clearly was deteriorating. I advised departure control that we would like to return to bur and that we would try it again tomorrow. The bur ILS to runway 7 is 076 degrees. At that point we were northwest of the localizer, and he turned us to a westerly heading previously assigned. We were switched to another bur controller, and she turned us to approximately a heading of 090 degrees to ultimately intercept the localizer which was, to the best of my knowledge, southeast of our position. The #1 HSI was set to bur ILS, and the #2 VOR to vny VOR, which intersects the localizer at the OM and gives you a DME readout to keep some perspective as to where you are. After reaching 090 degrees, the localizer needle was pegged all the way to the right of the compass card. We stayed faithful to our heading. We were told we were approaching the OM and should intercept the localizer and proceed inbound and contact the tower at the OM. The localizer needle, however, never moved off the right side of the compass card, but we did reach the OM at 3000', the appropriate altitude. We began to realize that the wind from a line of squalls was coming strongly out of the southeast and that we might never intercept the localizer at the speed we were going and the intercept angle we were holding. We had no idea how strong the winds were, but we clearly were not intercepting the localizer, even though we had passed the OM. We switched to the tower frequency and were advised that we were significantly to the right of course. We were confused by this as clearly my wife (also a pilot) and I both saw the needle pegged to the right, putting us to the left of course. By this time we had reached about 2000' and were halfway down the localizer, seeing flashes of mother earth below us but west/O the airport in sight and clearly not on the localizer. Finally, bur tower insisted we start a climb to make a missed approach. I admitted that it didn't seem possible for us to intercept the localizer in time and said I could only see the ground below. The decision height for a straight in landing on runway 7 on the ILS is 974'. The ceiling, if I recall, was about 500-600', and the visibility was reasonably good under the clouds. However, we finally climbed, although downdrafts made it difficult to get a good climb established. We finally got back to 3000' and then 4000', and were vectored back again for another approach, puzzled by what had happened. Having been beat up in the clouds for the past 20 or 30 mins, we were not lookingforward eagerly to making another approach. We managed, however, to make a rather good one and finally got down past the OM and halfway to the airport when we broke out and saw the approach lights. The squalls were now directly over the airport, causing winds to gust, so we asked for a circling approach to runway 15. Circling minimums are 1220', and we clearly had runway 15 in sight and met those requirements. The landing was successfully accomplished, and we realized the only other airplanes flying were the big jets, who were reporting poor braking action. Even though I have 3000 hours in both singles and twins and had just had a very good instrument proficiency check a week before, there is nothing like being in truly stormy conditions to remind you that if you don't fly for a living every day, be prepared to see your skills deteriorate quickly. The winds just a few thousand ft above the ground can adversely affect right and localizer interceptions, depending on your intercept angle and your speed. The controllers are used to handling more powerful airplanes in these conditions, and I think what happened on our first approach was that we were given an intercept close to the OM which we just were never able to accomplish because of our speed and the strong winds coming from the southeast at 3000-4000'. However, the confusing thing is that the controller said we were to the right of course. I can't be sure how that could be possible, and maybe what he meant was that we needed to be further right to be on course, because the needles seemed to be working properly and worked properly when we made the second approach. I'll probably never know what happened on that first approach. The best flying I did all day was probably the 180 degree turn to terminate the flight before things got worse. It was sloppy flying, but really educational and reminds you of how important it is to be prepared for very rough IFR conditions in a light aircraft.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: GA SMA INFLT ENCOUNTER WITH WX. PLT DECIDED TO RETURN AND HAD DIFFICULTY WITH LOC INTERCEPT CAUSING A GO AROUND. NO PROBLEM ON SECOND APCH.
Narrative: WE WERE ABOUT TO MAKE AN IFR FLT TO SANTA ROSA, 350 MI FROM BURBANK. FORCAST PLUS PIREPS WERE LIGHT TO MODERATE TURB, LIGHT SHOWERS AND LIGHT-MODERATE RIME ICING DURING CLB OVER THE TEHACHAPI MOUNTAINS. WE HAVE FULL DEICE EQUIP. CURRENT WX IN THE SAN JOAQUIN AND SACRAMENTO VALLEYS WAS RELATIVELY BENIGN: VFR CONDITIONS ON THE SURFACE AND SOME CLOUD LAYERS AND OCCASIONAL LIGHT SHOWERS. HOWEVER, AS WE WERE LOADING THE ACFT, MODERATE TO STRONG RAIN SHOWERS INUNDATED BUR. A SERIES OF THESE SQUALLS, OR CELLS, SEEMED TO BE BLDG AROUND THE AREA. AFTER WE TOOK OFF AND MADE CLOUD PENETRATION, IT BECAME QUITE DIFFICULT TO CTL THE AIRPLANE AND HOLD ASSIGNED HDGS AND ALTS. BUR DEP, TO MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT, GAVE US ABOUT 5 NEW HDGS OVER THE COURSE OF ABOUT 2 MINS, PRESUMABLY FOR TFC SEP. THE UPDRAFTS AND DOWNDRAFTS WERE EVEN TOO TOUGH FOR THE AUTOMATIC PLT. OUR ONBOARD RADAR ONLY SEEMED TO PICK UP THE NEARBY MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN AND ALL OF THE TURNS FURTHER DISTORTED THE RADAR PICTURE. WE WEREN'T ABLE TO SEE ANY OF THE HEAVY CELLS. THE CTLR ASKED IF WE WERE RADAR EQUIPPED. WE REPLIED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE AND TOLD HIM IT WASN'T DOING US MUCH GOOD. HE SEEMED TO INDICATE THAT WE WOULD BE NEEDING RADAR TO CONTINUE SAFELY OVER THE TEHACHAPIS, SO I ASKED HIM IF LA CENTER HAD RADAR CAPABILITIES THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL. HE REPLIED THEIR RADAR WAS WORSE THAN BUR'S. EVERYTHING STARTED TO FEEL OMINOUS AT THIS POINT. WE WERE GETTING BEATEN AROUND, AND MY WIFE WAS BEGINNING TO LOOK A BIT GREEN. OUR BABY WAS SCREAMING PRETTY LOUDLY AND WAS OBVIOUSLY UNCOMFORTABLE. SINCE WE HAD NO PRESSING REASON TO GET TO SANTA ROSA, I IMMEDIATELY MADE THE DECISION TO RETURN TO BUR. THE WX CLEARLY WAS DETERIORATING. I ADVISED DEP CTL THAT WE WOULD LIKE TO RETURN TO BUR AND THAT WE WOULD TRY IT AGAIN TOMORROW. THE BUR ILS TO RWY 7 IS 076 DEGS. AT THAT POINT WE WERE NW OF THE LOC, AND HE TURNED US TO A WESTERLY HDG PREVIOUSLY ASSIGNED. WE WERE SWITCHED TO ANOTHER BUR CTLR, AND SHE TURNED US TO APPROX A HDG OF 090 DEGS TO ULTIMATELY INTERCEPT THE LOC WHICH WAS, TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE, SE OF OUR POS. THE #1 HSI WAS SET TO BUR ILS, AND THE #2 VOR TO VNY VOR, WHICH INTERSECTS THE LOC AT THE OM AND GIVES YOU A DME READOUT TO KEEP SOME PERSPECTIVE AS TO WHERE YOU ARE. AFTER REACHING 090 DEGS, THE LOC NEEDLE WAS PEGGED ALL THE WAY TO THE RIGHT OF THE COMPASS CARD. WE STAYED FAITHFUL TO OUR HDG. WE WERE TOLD WE WERE APCHING THE OM AND SHOULD INTERCEPT THE LOC AND PROCEED INBND AND CONTACT THE TWR AT THE OM. THE LOC NEEDLE, HOWEVER, NEVER MOVED OFF THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE COMPASS CARD, BUT WE DID REACH THE OM AT 3000', THE APPROPRIATE ALT. WE BEGAN TO REALIZE THAT THE WIND FROM A LINE OF SQUALLS WAS COMING STRONGLY OUT OF THE SE AND THAT WE MIGHT NEVER INTERCEPT THE LOC AT THE SPD WE WERE GOING AND THE INTERCEPT ANGLE WE WERE HOLDING. WE HAD NO IDEA HOW STRONG THE WINDS WERE, BUT WE CLEARLY WERE NOT INTERCEPTING THE LOC, EVEN THOUGH WE HAD PASSED THE OM. WE SWITCHED TO THE TWR FREQ AND WERE ADVISED THAT WE WERE SIGNIFICANTLY TO THE RIGHT OF COURSE. WE WERE CONFUSED BY THIS AS CLEARLY MY WIFE (ALSO A PLT) AND I BOTH SAW THE NEEDLE PEGGED TO THE RIGHT, PUTTING US TO THE LEFT OF COURSE. BY THIS TIME WE HAD REACHED ABOUT 2000' AND WERE HALFWAY DOWN THE LOC, SEEING FLASHES OF MOTHER EARTH BELOW US BUT W/O THE ARPT IN SIGHT AND CLEARLY NOT ON THE LOC. FINALLY, BUR TWR INSISTED WE START A CLB TO MAKE A MISSED APCH. I ADMITTED THAT IT DIDN'T SEEM POSSIBLE FOR US TO INTERCEPT THE LOC IN TIME AND SAID I COULD ONLY SEE THE GND BELOW. THE DECISION HEIGHT FOR A STRAIGHT IN LNDG ON RWY 7 ON THE ILS IS 974'. THE CEILING, IF I RECALL, WAS ABOUT 500-600', AND THE VIS WAS REASONABLY GOOD UNDER THE CLOUDS. HOWEVER, WE FINALLY CLBED, ALTHOUGH DOWNDRAFTS MADE IT DIFFICULT TO GET A GOOD CLB ESTABLISHED. WE FINALLY GOT BACK TO 3000' AND THEN 4000', AND WERE VECTORED BACK AGAIN FOR ANOTHER APCH, PUZZLED BY WHAT HAD HAPPENED. HAVING BEEN BEAT UP IN THE CLOUDS FOR THE PAST 20 OR 30 MINS, WE WERE NOT LOOKINGFORWARD EAGERLY TO MAKING ANOTHER APCH. WE MANAGED, HOWEVER, TO MAKE A RATHER GOOD ONE AND FINALLY GOT DOWN PAST THE OM AND HALFWAY TO THE ARPT WHEN WE BROKE OUT AND SAW THE APCH LIGHTS. THE SQUALLS WERE NOW DIRECTLY OVER THE ARPT, CAUSING WINDS TO GUST, SO WE ASKED FOR A CIRCLING APCH TO RWY 15. CIRCLING MINIMUMS ARE 1220', AND WE CLEARLY HAD RWY 15 IN SIGHT AND MET THOSE REQUIREMENTS. THE LNDG WAS SUCCESSFULLY ACCOMPLISHED, AND WE REALIZED THE ONLY OTHER AIRPLANES FLYING WERE THE BIG JETS, WHO WERE REPORTING POOR BRAKING ACTION. EVEN THOUGH I HAVE 3000 HRS IN BOTH SINGLES AND TWINS AND HAD JUST HAD A VERY GOOD INSTRUMENT PROFICIENCY CHK A WK BEFORE, THERE IS NOTHING LIKE BEING IN TRULY STORMY CONDITIONS TO REMIND YOU THAT IF YOU DON'T FLY FOR A LIVING EVERY DAY, BE PREPARED TO SEE YOUR SKILLS DETERIORATE QUICKLY. THE WINDS JUST A FEW THOUSAND FT ABOVE THE GND CAN ADVERSELY AFFECT R AND LOC INTERCEPTIONS, DEPENDING ON YOUR INTERCEPT ANGLE AND YOUR SPD. THE CTLRS ARE USED TO HANDLING MORE POWERFUL AIRPLANES IN THESE CONDITIONS, AND I THINK WHAT HAPPENED ON OUR FIRST APCH WAS THAT WE WERE GIVEN AN INTERCEPT CLOSE TO THE OM WHICH WE JUST WERE NEVER ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH BECAUSE OF OUR SPD AND THE STRONG WINDS COMING FROM THE SE AT 3000-4000'. HOWEVER, THE CONFUSING THING IS THAT THE CTLR SAID WE WERE TO THE RIGHT OF COURSE. I CAN'T BE SURE HOW THAT COULD BE POSSIBLE, AND MAYBE WHAT HE MEANT WAS THAT WE NEEDED TO BE FURTHER RIGHT TO BE ON COURSE, BECAUSE THE NEEDLES SEEMED TO BE WORKING PROPERLY AND WORKED PROPERLY WHEN WE MADE THE SECOND APCH. I'LL PROBABLY NEVER KNOW WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT FIRST APCH. THE BEST FLYING I DID ALL DAY WAS PROBABLY THE 180 DEG TURN TO TERMINATE THE FLT BEFORE THINGS GOT WORSE. IT WAS SLOPPY FLYING, BUT REALLY EDUCATIONAL AND REMINDS YOU OF HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO BE PREPARED FOR VERY ROUGH IFR CONDITIONS IN A LIGHT ACFT.
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.