|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1801 To 2400|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : sfl|
airport : haf
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 1200|
msl bound upper : 1500
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : oak|
|Operator||general aviation : instructional|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, Low Wing, 1 Eng, Retractable Gear|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : cfi|
pilot : commercial
pilot : instrument
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 150|
flight time total : 575
flight time type : 60
|Qualification||other other : other|
pilot : student
|Anomaly||inflight encounter : vfr in imc|
non adherence : far
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : exited adverse environment|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
Departed haf at about yxpm. The ceiling was about 1000'. I had called oak FSS who reported our destination WX 3000' scattered (oakland) and the sfo WX the same. I figured we could fly out along the coast toward san francisco below 700' to obtain the lower minimums for uncontrolled airspace and then call bay approach for whatever clearance we needed when we reached the beach at san francisco. We couldn't reach them earlier than this due to intervening hills. Normally a good plan, but something happened that would affect my composure. I was letting a student pilot from france fly the plane while I was getting the oak ATIS prior to calling bay approach. The overcast had cleared more and more as we proceeded wnw along the coast and I told him to climb to 1200'. At some point, while switching frequencys, I noticed this guy going above 1500' and panicked, because I thought we had gone into the TCA in that small portion where it dips to 1500' along the shoreline near daly city. After checking the TCA chart later in the flight, I found that we really had not gone into the TCA. My emotion changed to total fear--I could see my career being ruined and FAA inquisitioners questioning me, and was trying to think up good excuses. I decided not to call bay due to this fear, but to try to find a way to get around the TCA in VFR. As a result we had about 7 encounters with IMC at night VFR in vicinity of clouds. After trying to find a legal way around the TCA for about 30 mins, we returned to haf, did not land, but flew southeast looking for large breaks in the overcast. No luck, so I flew back to the san francisco beach, called bay and returned to oak with no problems. My passenger and the student pilot enjoyed the flight and thought it was fun and beautiful while I was having nightmares. The 7 encounters with IMC were marginal except for 2 or 3 where we lost complete visual reference. These were all under the TCA. We had our transponder on with mode C. I had really let my fear get the best of me here, and turned what was an efficient, well planned flight into a potentially unsafe flight. We had also gone quite far out over the pacific looking for a way to get around the TCA. I was even thinking of flying low to some other part of the state! I finally put the thing into perspective when I decided to go back and call bay. Everything turned out ok, except for the IMC encounters. Next time I will file IFR on the ground and/or pay more attention to what the student pilot is doing.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: GA SMA VFR IN IMC AT NIGHT OFF SHORE NORTH OF HAF.
Narrative: DEPARTED HAF AT ABOUT YXPM. THE CEILING WAS ABOUT 1000'. I HAD CALLED OAK FSS WHO RPTED OUR DEST WX 3000' SCATTERED (OAKLAND) AND THE SFO WX THE SAME. I FIGURED WE COULD FLY OUT ALONG THE COAST TOWARD SAN FRANCISCO BELOW 700' TO OBTAIN THE LOWER MINIMUMS FOR UNCTLED AIRSPACE AND THEN CALL BAY APCH FOR WHATEVER CLRNC WE NEEDED WHEN WE REACHED THE BEACH AT SAN FRANCISCO. WE COULDN'T REACH THEM EARLIER THAN THIS DUE TO INTERVENING HILLS. NORMALLY A GOOD PLAN, BUT SOMETHING HAPPENED THAT WOULD AFFECT MY COMPOSURE. I WAS LETTING A STUDENT PLT FROM FRANCE FLY THE PLANE WHILE I WAS GETTING THE OAK ATIS PRIOR TO CALLING BAY APCH. THE OVCST HAD CLRED MORE AND MORE AS WE PROCEEDED WNW ALONG THE COAST AND I TOLD HIM TO CLB TO 1200'. AT SOME POINT, WHILE SWITCHING FREQS, I NOTICED THIS GUY GOING ABOVE 1500' AND PANICKED, BECAUSE I THOUGHT WE HAD GONE INTO THE TCA IN THAT SMALL PORTION WHERE IT DIPS TO 1500' ALONG THE SHORELINE NEAR DALY CITY. AFTER CHKING THE TCA CHART LATER IN THE FLT, I FOUND THAT WE REALLY HAD NOT GONE INTO THE TCA. MY EMOTION CHANGED TO TOTAL FEAR--I COULD SEE MY CAREER BEING RUINED AND FAA INQUISITIONERS QUESTIONING ME, AND WAS TRYING TO THINK UP GOOD EXCUSES. I DECIDED NOT TO CALL BAY DUE TO THIS FEAR, BUT TO TRY TO FIND A WAY TO GET AROUND THE TCA IN VFR. AS A RESULT WE HAD ABOUT 7 ENCOUNTERS WITH IMC AT NIGHT VFR IN VICINITY OF CLOUDS. AFTER TRYING TO FIND A LEGAL WAY AROUND THE TCA FOR ABOUT 30 MINS, WE RETURNED TO HAF, DID NOT LAND, BUT FLEW SE LOOKING FOR LARGE BREAKS IN THE OVCST. NO LUCK, SO I FLEW BACK TO THE SAN FRANCISCO BEACH, CALLED BAY AND RETURNED TO OAK WITH NO PROBS. MY PAX AND THE STUDENT PLT ENJOYED THE FLT AND THOUGHT IT WAS FUN AND BEAUTIFUL WHILE I WAS HAVING NIGHTMARES. THE 7 ENCOUNTERS WITH IMC WERE MARGINAL EXCEPT FOR 2 OR 3 WHERE WE LOST COMPLETE VISUAL REF. THESE WERE ALL UNDER THE TCA. WE HAD OUR TRANSPONDER ON WITH MODE C. I HAD REALLY LET MY FEAR GET THE BEST OF ME HERE, AND TURNED WHAT WAS AN EFFICIENT, WELL PLANNED FLT INTO A POTENTIALLY UNSAFE FLT. WE HAD ALSO GONE QUITE FAR OUT OVER THE PACIFIC LOOKING FOR A WAY TO GET AROUND THE TCA. I WAS EVEN THINKING OF FLYING LOW TO SOME OTHER PART OF THE STATE! I FINALLY PUT THE THING INTO PERSPECTIVE WHEN I DECIDED TO GO BACK AND CALL BAY. EVERYTHING TURNED OUT OK, EXCEPT FOR THE IMC ENCOUNTERS. NEXT TIME I WILL FILE IFR ON THE GND AND/OR PAY MORE ATTN TO WHAT THE STUDENT PLT IS DOING.
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.