|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : slc|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 12000|
msl bound upper : 12800
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Transport, Low Wing, 2 Recip Eng|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Route In Use||enroute airway : zlc|
|Function||other personnel other|
|Qualification||pilot : cfi|
pilot : atp
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 100|
flight time total : 2800
flight time type : 250
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : commercial|
pilot : instrument
|Anomaly||altitude deviation : excursion from assigned altitude|
inflight encounter : weather
non adherence : clearance
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other controllera|
other flight crewa
|Consequence||faa : reviewed incident with flight crew|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
While cruising at 12000' MSL, I requested an en route altitude of 13000'. Traffic was very light and controller workload was also very light. I explained to the controller that higher was necessary to avoid clouds building over the mountains. A clear of clouds arwy was available, but MEA was 14000'. That arwy was requested VFR on top, but I was informed by controller VFR on top could not be below MEA on chart. I explained to the controller we were flying a nonpressurized aircraft, non-turbo charged, and had no de-icing equipment. This would require a climb to 13000'. He said roger, keep me advised! About 5 mins later I called on same frequency requesting 13000'. There was no answer. The pilot had creeped up to 12800' in the next 5 mins, to top the layer of clouds covering the mountains. Previously I had told the controller that outside air temperature at 12000' was -7 degrees C. After a few mins at 12800' the controller finally came back and asked us what we were doing at 12800'. We told him we had to deviate from the assigned altitude to avoid icing conditions. He didn't seem to care one bit. He didn't care if we loaded up with ice and crashed as long as we didn't hit the center's facility. I explained to him again that there was no way to maintain 12000' west/O risking our lives. 91.3 allows PIC to deviate whenever necessary if he feels the flight might be in jeopardy or unsafe. The controller still came back with this line about busting our altitude. At that point, I stupidly made a remark to the controller: 'I, the PIC of this aircraft, have the authority, as per the far's to deviate if I feel it is necessary. The PIC has the final say, not the controller, so why don't you continue to fly your radar seat, and let us decide how to fly the airplane!' at that point we were given the famous phone number to call the center when we got on the ground, which we did upon landing in ut. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following: reporter checked records to determine correct date, month was sept, not aug. Phone call made to ARTCC and reporter told to call back mon. At that time told that review of tapes indicated controller should have had more awareness of pilot's situation. Supervisor seemed to be apologizing for controller behavior. It was also suggested that reporter response did not help situation. No further action.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: ALT DEVIATION, INFLT ENCOUNTER WX.
Narrative: WHILE CRUISING AT 12000' MSL, I REQUESTED AN ENRTE ALT OF 13000'. TFC WAS VERY LIGHT AND CTLR WORKLOAD WAS ALSO VERY LIGHT. I EXPLAINED TO THE CTLR THAT HIGHER WAS NECESSARY TO AVOID CLOUDS BUILDING OVER THE MOUNTAINS. A CLEAR OF CLOUDS ARWY WAS AVAILABLE, BUT MEA WAS 14000'. THAT ARWY WAS REQUESTED VFR ON TOP, BUT I WAS INFORMED BY CTLR VFR ON TOP COULD NOT BE BELOW MEA ON CHART. I EXPLAINED TO THE CTLR WE WERE FLYING A NONPRESSURIZED ACFT, NON-TURBO CHARGED, AND HAD NO DE-ICING EQUIP. THIS WOULD REQUIRE A CLB TO 13000'. HE SAID ROGER, KEEP ME ADVISED! ABOUT 5 MINS LATER I CALLED ON SAME FREQ REQUESTING 13000'. THERE WAS NO ANSWER. THE PLT HAD CREEPED UP TO 12800' IN THE NEXT 5 MINS, TO TOP THE LAYER OF CLOUDS COVERING THE MOUNTAINS. PREVIOUSLY I HAD TOLD THE CTLR THAT OUTSIDE AIR TEMP AT 12000' WAS -7 DEGS C. AFTER A FEW MINS AT 12800' THE CTLR FINALLY CAME BACK AND ASKED US WHAT WE WERE DOING AT 12800'. WE TOLD HIM WE HAD TO DEVIATE FROM THE ASSIGNED ALT TO AVOID ICING CONDITIONS. HE DIDN'T SEEM TO CARE ONE BIT. HE DIDN'T CARE IF WE LOADED UP WITH ICE AND CRASHED AS LONG AS WE DIDN'T HIT THE CENTER'S FAC. I EXPLAINED TO HIM AGAIN THAT THERE WAS NO WAY TO MAINTAIN 12000' W/O RISKING OUR LIVES. 91.3 ALLOWS PIC TO DEVIATE WHENEVER NECESSARY IF HE FEELS THE FLT MIGHT BE IN JEOPARDY OR UNSAFE. THE CTLR STILL CAME BACK WITH THIS LINE ABOUT BUSTING OUR ALT. AT THAT POINT, I STUPIDLY MADE A REMARK TO THE CTLR: 'I, THE PIC OF THIS ACFT, HAVE THE AUTHORITY, AS PER THE FAR'S TO DEVIATE IF I FEEL IT IS NECESSARY. THE PIC HAS THE FINAL SAY, NOT THE CTLR, SO WHY DON'T YOU CONTINUE TO FLY YOUR RADAR SEAT, AND LET US DECIDE HOW TO FLY THE AIRPLANE!' AT THAT POINT WE WERE GIVEN THE FAMOUS PHONE NUMBER TO CALL THE CENTER WHEN WE GOT ON THE GND, WHICH WE DID UPON LNDG IN UT. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING: RPTR CHKED RECORDS TO DETERMINE CORRECT DATE, MONTH WAS SEPT, NOT AUG. PHONE CALL MADE TO ARTCC AND RPTR TOLD TO CALL BACK MON. AT THAT TIME TOLD THAT REVIEW OF TAPES INDICATED CTLR SHOULD HAVE HAD MORE AWARENESS OF PLT'S SITUATION. SUPVR SEEMED TO BE APOLOGIZING FOR CTLR BEHAVIOR. IT WAS ALSO SUGGESTED THAT RPTR RESPONSE DID NOT HELP SITUATION. NO FURTHER ACTION.
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.