|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : ccv|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 1000|
msl bound upper : 3500
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : zdc|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Fixed Gear|
|Flight Phase||climbout : intermediate altitude|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 27|
flight time total : 1050
flight time type : 700
|Function||controller : radar|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||inflight encounter : vfr in imc|
inflight encounter : weather
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|
Patrick henry airport was 800' and 4 mi. After 2 hours lifted to 1600' and 4 mi. Incoming IFR pilot reported tops at 3000'. WX in ny area (destination) was 8000' scattered. Departed VFR with intent to make 180 if WX was too bad. Planned on going up the shoreline at 1000' or below, but just north of cape charles VOR a hole opened up, figuring in 2000' I'd be VFR on top flying towards better WX and certainly better visibility. I was too low to get newport approach for a clearance through the deck, so went up to the sucker hole. What a mistake. Hole closed up and left me IMC for about 30 seconds. At least I was mode C equipped. Then the problems began. The tops rapidly rose from about 3500 to 7500'. When I was up to 9500' and had called flight watch I found, that while long island was clear, tops just south were at 15000-16000' with icing in clouds from 800' on up. I called washington center, advised my problem, told them I would head northeast and maintain VFR. I was able to do so, but ended up 30 mi at sea east of coyle VOR at 14800'. Being the service ceiling of the small aircraft is 13100' and I had no oxygen, I'm lucky I didn't kill my wife and myself. (I wasn't lost or unable to navigation, just couldn't go higher to stay clear of clouds. I had told center I was rated, but not current, although I had current approach plates and charts.) what I lacked was currency, and the confidence of being able to maintain control in an IFR descent if I declared an emergency. I also lacked intelligence, common sense and a few other things necessary to fly west/O endangering myself and my loved ones. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following: called to find out what finally happened. He said that he pressed on northeast bound and finally got to the leading edge of the front. The WX was clear in the northeast. He made a VFR descent and landing. He is now IFR current and seems to have really learned a lesson from this incident.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: SMA CLIMBED THROUGH SUCKER HOLE AND BECAME TRAPPED ON TOP OF CLOUDS.
Narrative: PATRICK HENRY ARPT WAS 800' AND 4 MI. AFTER 2 HRS LIFTED TO 1600' AND 4 MI. INCOMING IFR PLT RPTED TOPS AT 3000'. WX IN NY AREA (DEST) WAS 8000' SCATTERED. DEPARTED VFR WITH INTENT TO MAKE 180 IF WX WAS TOO BAD. PLANNED ON GOING UP THE SHORELINE AT 1000' OR BELOW, BUT JUST N OF CAPE CHARLES VOR A HOLE OPENED UP, FIGURING IN 2000' I'D BE VFR ON TOP FLYING TOWARDS BETTER WX AND CERTAINLY BETTER VIS. I WAS TOO LOW TO GET NEWPORT APCH FOR A CLRNC THROUGH THE DECK, SO WENT UP TO THE SUCKER HOLE. WHAT A MISTAKE. HOLE CLOSED UP AND LEFT ME IMC FOR ABOUT 30 SECS. AT LEAST I WAS MODE C EQUIPPED. THEN THE PROBS BEGAN. THE TOPS RAPIDLY ROSE FROM ABOUT 3500 TO 7500'. WHEN I WAS UP TO 9500' AND HAD CALLED FLT WATCH I FOUND, THAT WHILE LONG ISLAND WAS CLR, TOPS JUST S WERE AT 15000-16000' WITH ICING IN CLOUDS FROM 800' ON UP. I CALLED WASHINGTON CENTER, ADVISED MY PROB, TOLD THEM I WOULD HEAD NE AND MAINTAIN VFR. I WAS ABLE TO DO SO, BUT ENDED UP 30 MI AT SEA E OF COYLE VOR AT 14800'. BEING THE SVC CEILING OF THE SMA IS 13100' AND I HAD NO OXYGEN, I'M LUCKY I DIDN'T KILL MY WIFE AND MYSELF. (I WASN'T LOST OR UNABLE TO NAV, JUST COULDN'T GO HIGHER TO STAY CLR OF CLOUDS. I HAD TOLD CENTER I WAS RATED, BUT NOT CURRENT, ALTHOUGH I HAD CURRENT APCH PLATES AND CHARTS.) WHAT I LACKED WAS CURRENCY, AND THE CONFIDENCE OF BEING ABLE TO MAINTAIN CTL IN AN IFR DSCNT IF I DECLARED AN EMER. I ALSO LACKED INTELLIGENCE, COMMON SENSE AND A FEW OTHER THINGS NECESSARY TO FLY W/O ENDANGERING MYSELF AND MY LOVED ONES. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING: CALLED TO FIND OUT WHAT FINALLY HAPPENED. HE SAID THAT HE PRESSED ON NE BOUND AND FINALLY GOT TO THE LEADING EDGE OF THE FRONT. THE WX WAS CLR IN THE NE. HE MADE A VFR DSCNT AND LNDG. HE IS NOW IFR CURRENT AND SEEMS TO HAVE REALLY LEARNED A LESSON FROM THIS INCIDENT.
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.