|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : lhs|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 7000|
msl bound upper : 9000
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : zla|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Retractable Gear|
|Flight Phase||descent other|
|Route In Use||arrival star : star|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : commercial|
pilot : instrument
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 25|
flight time total : 750
flight time type : 280
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : radar|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||altitude deviation : excursion from assigned altitude|
non adherence : clearance
non adherence : published procedure
|Independent Detector||other controllera|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : anomaly accepted|
|Consequence||faa : reviewed incident with flight crew|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
My assigned altitude as I approached the lhs VOR was 9000' MSL. After crossing the VOR I descended to 7800' MSL, then 7000' MSL on the lhs 170 degree right. Immediately upon leveling off at 7000' MSL, 7 DME south of lhs, center called requesting my altitude. Center then informed me that the published altitudes on the STAR are minimums, not assigned altitudes, and that a filed STAR did not authorize descent west/O authorization by ATC. This STAR was the first I had ever flown, either in training or PIC. I always thought the STAR clearance constituted authorization to descend. Upon returning home I checked 3 popular instrument training texts I own and found none contained text outlining what the published altitudes meant. Consequently my training and experience were inadequate to the task. Center acknowledged it was a common misconception among pilots.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: GA SMA INEXPERIENCED PLT DESCENDED TO MEA ON STAR WITHOUT CLRNC.
Narrative: MY ASSIGNED ALT AS I APCHED THE LHS VOR WAS 9000' MSL. AFTER XING THE VOR I DSNDED TO 7800' MSL, THEN 7000' MSL ON THE LHS 170 DEG R. IMMEDIATELY UPON LEVELING OFF AT 7000' MSL, 7 DME S OF LHS, CENTER CALLED REQUESTING MY ALT. CENTER THEN INFORMED ME THAT THE PUBLISHED ALTS ON THE STAR ARE MINIMUMS, NOT ASSIGNED ALTS, AND THAT A FILED STAR DID NOT AUTHORIZE DSCNT W/O AUTHORIZATION BY ATC. THIS STAR WAS THE FIRST I HAD EVER FLOWN, EITHER IN TRNING OR PIC. I ALWAYS THOUGHT THE STAR CLRNC CONSTITUTED AUTHORIZATION TO DSND. UPON RETURNING HOME I CHKED 3 POPULAR INSTRUMENT TRNING TEXTS I OWN AND FOUND NONE CONTAINED TEXT OUTLINING WHAT THE PUBLISHED ALTS MEANT. CONSEQUENTLY MY TRNING AND EXPERIENCE WERE INADEQUATE TO THE TASK. CENTER ACKNOWLEDGED IT WAS A COMMON MISCONCEPTION AMONG PLTS.
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.