|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||airport : ahn|
|Controlling Facilities||tower : dfw|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Fixed Gear|
|Flight Phase||descent : approach|
ground other : taxi
|Route In Use||enroute : direct|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : student|
|Anomaly||non adherence : far|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other other : unspecified|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : detected after the fact|
|Consequence||faa : reviewed incident with flight crew|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
|Airport||procedure or policy : unspecified|
I am a student private pilot and have recently begun to do my cross country flying. I have a recent experience that occurred during my first solo cross country that may be of interest to you. I departed fty, for athens, GA, on 10/sat/88 in an small aircraft. The itinerary for the trip was identical to the one my instrument and I had flown together about 3 weeks earlier. The flight progressed according to plan, and as I arrived at the athens airport at 3500' MSL (2700 AGL) I called FSS on the radio and closed my flight plan. I then tuned my radio to the unicom frequency listed on the sectional and in the commercial guide and asked for an airport advisory. Meanwhile, while descending, I watched a departing airplane and positioned myself to join downwind for that runway. After 3 calls on the unicom frequency resulted in no response, I began wondering if the radio was not working or set incorrectly. After assuring myself the radio was operating, I worked my way around the pattern, calling my positions, and landed. It still seemed strange that I had not even heard the 2 airplanes that I saw in motion call their positions or intentions. As I taxied back to the end of the runway to depart the FBO called on unicom and told me to 'come again soon.' then he asked if I was receiving him 'loud and clear,' and if I heard tower calling. I knew a tower existed at the airport but had been told by everyone that it had never operated in the 5 or more yrs since it was built. The sectional does not indicate a tower, nor does it give a tower frequency, and the commercial guide shows the tower as being OTS. I asked the FBO to give me the tower frequency and I called the tower. The controller told me that the tower operates any time there is a university of GA football game (!) and that I should have received a NOTAM for this. The FSS told me there were no NOTAM's for the athens area during my briefing. Next time I fly to athens, I'll be sure to check the sports page first! Other than that, the cross country went extremely well. I find it surprising that the control tower frequency is not listed on the sectional, nor does the tower monitor unicom. What happened to me certainly must have happened time and again to others flying in on certain saturdays in the fall. This experience taught me to be even more alert when operating in a controled area, since there may be others flying near me who may not be in radio contact with the tower for sep and vectoring.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: SMA LAND AHN WOC. PLT UNAWARE OF SEASONAL CTL TWR OPERATION.
Narrative: I AM A STUDENT PVT PLT AND HAVE RECENTLY BEGUN TO DO MY XCOUNTRY FLYING. I HAVE A RECENT EXPERIENCE THAT OCCURRED DURING MY FIRST SOLO CROSS COUNTRY THAT MAY BE OF INTEREST TO YOU. I DEPARTED FTY, FOR ATHENS, GA, ON 10/SAT/88 IN AN SMA. THE ITINERARY FOR THE TRIP WAS IDENTICAL TO THE ONE MY INSTR AND I HAD FLOWN TOGETHER ABOUT 3 WKS EARLIER. THE FLT PROGRESSED ACCORDING TO PLAN, AND AS I ARRIVED AT THE ATHENS ARPT AT 3500' MSL (2700 AGL) I CALLED FSS ON THE RADIO AND CLOSED MY FLT PLAN. I THEN TUNED MY RADIO TO THE UNICOM FREQ LISTED ON THE SECTIONAL AND IN THE COMMERCIAL GUIDE AND ASKED FOR AN ARPT ADVISORY. MEANWHILE, WHILE DSNDING, I WATCHED A DEPARTING AIRPLANE AND POSITIONED MYSELF TO JOIN DOWNWIND FOR THAT RWY. AFTER 3 CALLS ON THE UNICOM FREQ RESULTED IN NO RESPONSE, I BEGAN WONDERING IF THE RADIO WAS NOT WORKING OR SET INCORRECTLY. AFTER ASSURING MYSELF THE RADIO WAS OPERATING, I WORKED MY WAY AROUND THE PATTERN, CALLING MY POSITIONS, AND LANDED. IT STILL SEEMED STRANGE THAT I HAD NOT EVEN HEARD THE 2 AIRPLANES THAT I SAW IN MOTION CALL THEIR POSITIONS OR INTENTIONS. AS I TAXIED BACK TO THE END OF THE RWY TO DEPART THE FBO CALLED ON UNICOM AND TOLD ME TO 'COME AGAIN SOON.' THEN HE ASKED IF I WAS RECEIVING HIM 'LOUD AND CLEAR,' AND IF I HEARD TWR CALLING. I KNEW A TWR EXISTED AT THE ARPT BUT HAD BEEN TOLD BY EVERYONE THAT IT HAD NEVER OPERATED IN THE 5 OR MORE YRS SINCE IT WAS BUILT. THE SECTIONAL DOES NOT INDICATE A TWR, NOR DOES IT GIVE A TWR FREQ, AND THE COMMERCIAL GUIDE SHOWS THE TWR AS BEING OTS. I ASKED THE FBO TO GIVE ME THE TWR FREQ AND I CALLED THE TWR. THE CTLR TOLD ME THAT THE TWR OPERATES ANY TIME THERE IS A UNIVERSITY OF GA FOOTBALL GAME (!) AND THAT I SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED A NOTAM FOR THIS. THE FSS TOLD ME THERE WERE NO NOTAM'S FOR THE ATHENS AREA DURING MY BRIEFING. NEXT TIME I FLY TO ATHENS, I'LL BE SURE TO CHK THE SPORTS PAGE FIRST! OTHER THAN THAT, THE CROSS COUNTRY WENT EXTREMELY WELL. I FIND IT SURPRISING THAT THE CTL TWR FREQ IS NOT LISTED ON THE SECTIONAL, NOR DOES THE TWR MONITOR UNICOM. WHAT HAPPENED TO ME CERTAINLY MUST HAVE HAPPENED TIME AND AGAIN TO OTHERS FLYING IN ON CERTAIN SATURDAYS IN THE FALL. THIS EXPERIENCE TAUGHT ME TO BE EVEN MORE ALERT WHEN OPERATING IN A CTLED AREA, SINCE THERE MAY BE OTHERS FLYING NEAR ME WHO MAY NOT BE IN RADIO CONTACT WITH THE TWR FOR SEP AND VECTORING.
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.