|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : cof|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 6500|
msl bound upper : 6500
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : cof|
tower : tix
tower : grr
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Retractable Gear|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 150|
flight time total : 800
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : approach|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : anomaly accepted|
|Consequence||faa : investigated|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
I had been maneuvering over the space center executive airport at 6500' awaiting the launch of the space shuttle discovery. This area had already been reported to me by controller at space center executive to be outside of restr airport as was all the airspace west of the indian river. Due to a lower formation of clouds to the east obscuring my view of the launch area, I examined my sectional chart to determine how far north I needed to proceed before being clear of any restr airspace and able to proceed east. I observed an area depicted as R2921 on my sectional chart which was described as from 8000' to, but not including FL180 when activated. Assuming all restr airspace to be active, I considered myself legal in that area at my present altitude of 6500'. I noticed on my chart a fan shaped area extending out over the atlantic ocean which was restr from the surface to unlimited 3 hours before launch and to 3 1/2 hours after recovery. In checking to see if this fan area (depicted by a solid blue line and an obvious darker shade of blue) might also encompass R2921, I followed the solid blue edgeline inward toward the coast where it intersected the east portion of R2921. By following the borderline, R2921 could be considered to be a part of this fan area, but then so could R2930 which I knew was not restr at the surface as it included the area from the indian river west which was open to GA. I then studied the chart to see if R2921 contained the darker shade of blue contained in the fan area. I compared the blue coloring of the water in R2921 to that of R2930, again an area I knew not to be restr at the surface, and observed no difference. At this point I concluded that it was legal for me to proceed north to R2921 and then east at my present altitude believing to be beneath the restr airspace. I would like to mention here that under ordinary circumstances, I would have gone the extra of requesting radar service and verifying the legality of my intended flight path as I have always done in the past. However, on this launch day, withso many airplanes flying in the area, the patrick AFB approach controller was extremely busy and in fact some 20 or so mins later advised all aircraft that he had more airplanes on his screen than he was physically able to handle and that all aircraft should maintain their own sep. As I was previously advised this would happen, and as I was also refused flight following for the first time that I can remember while en route to the area, I did not bother the controller but merely monitored the channel. I proceeded east for approximately 1 min or less in slow flight but could barely see the launch area. I executed a left 180 degree turn (left so as to be sure to avoid R2922 which was to the south of my position and extended below my altitude) and proceeded to fly back west, still in slow flight. About 20 seconds later I noticed a twin engine airplane approaching me from behind on my left side. As the twin passed, I noticed the letters FAA on the side. I assumed they were verifying my altitude and I waved as they passed by. The FAA plane circled to the left, however, and passed by again. At this point I suspected a problem and attempted unsuccessfully to establish contact on frequency 122.9. After rechking my chart and still finding no restriction to flying in the aforementioned airspace at 6500', I contacted space center executive tower and asked if they were in contact with the FAA plane. They replied negative and suggested patrick approach, who affirmed that they were in contact. I requested patrick approach to ask if there were any problems with the airspace I had been flying in. Patrick approach issued me a squawk code, and then after radar contact advised that I was ok where I was, but not to proceed further east. I advised that I had already been further east and that my chart had showed the restriction to begin at 8000'. The controller advised that the airspace had been reworked and was now from the surface to unlimited. Realizing that I had violated restr airspace, although not clear on how, I asked the controller to request a phone # where I could reach the FAA personnel when I landed. I then landed at orlando international. In examining my chart under sufficient light, I can now detect a slight--very slight--difference in the shading of R2921 when compared with R2930, although this subtle difference was not detectable in my aircraft, even after examining the chart again after the passage of the FAA plane. I strongly feel that this special use airspace is very poorly depicted on the chart and should be more clearly defined to avoid this type of confusion in the future. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following: reporter states he called FAA after incident to clarify situation and learned of airspace change. States that on older charts area is more clearly defined. Received letter that situation is being investigated but has heard nothing since. Says he was trying to remain clear and legal at all times.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: PENETRATED RESTRICTED AIRSPACE.
Narrative: I HAD BEEN MANEUVERING OVER THE SPACE CENTER EXECUTIVE ARPT AT 6500' AWAITING THE LAUNCH OF THE SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY. THIS AREA HAD ALREADY BEEN RPTED TO ME BY CTLR AT SPACE CENTER EXECUTIVE TO BE OUTSIDE OF RESTR ARPT AS WAS ALL THE AIRSPACE W OF THE INDIAN RIVER. DUE TO A LOWER FORMATION OF CLOUDS TO THE E OBSCURING MY VIEW OF THE LAUNCH AREA, I EXAMINED MY SECTIONAL CHART TO DETERMINE HOW FAR N I NEEDED TO PROCEED BEFORE BEING CLR OF ANY RESTR AIRSPACE AND ABLE TO PROCEED E. I OBSERVED AN AREA DEPICTED AS R2921 ON MY SECTIONAL CHART WHICH WAS DESCRIBED AS FROM 8000' TO, BUT NOT INCLUDING FL180 WHEN ACTIVATED. ASSUMING ALL RESTR AIRSPACE TO BE ACTIVE, I CONSIDERED MYSELF LEGAL IN THAT AREA AT MY PRESENT ALT OF 6500'. I NOTICED ON MY CHART A FAN SHAPED AREA EXTENDING OUT OVER THE ATLANTIC OCEAN WHICH WAS RESTR FROM THE SURFACE TO UNLIMITED 3 HRS BEFORE LAUNCH AND TO 3 1/2 HRS AFTER RECOVERY. IN CHKING TO SEE IF THIS FAN AREA (DEPICTED BY A SOLID BLUE LINE AND AN OBVIOUS DARKER SHADE OF BLUE) MIGHT ALSO ENCOMPASS R2921, I FOLLOWED THE SOLID BLUE EDGELINE INWARD TOWARD THE COAST WHERE IT INTERSECTED THE E PORTION OF R2921. BY FOLLOWING THE BORDERLINE, R2921 COULD BE CONSIDERED TO BE A PART OF THIS FAN AREA, BUT THEN SO COULD R2930 WHICH I KNEW WAS NOT RESTR AT THE SURFACE AS IT INCLUDED THE AREA FROM THE INDIAN RIVER W WHICH WAS OPEN TO GA. I THEN STUDIED THE CHART TO SEE IF R2921 CONTAINED THE DARKER SHADE OF BLUE CONTAINED IN THE FAN AREA. I COMPARED THE BLUE COLORING OF THE WATER IN R2921 TO THAT OF R2930, AGAIN AN AREA I KNEW NOT TO BE RESTR AT THE SURFACE, AND OBSERVED NO DIFFERENCE. AT THIS POINT I CONCLUDED THAT IT WAS LEGAL FOR ME TO PROCEED N TO R2921 AND THEN E AT MY PRESENT ALT BELIEVING TO BE BENEATH THE RESTR AIRSPACE. I WOULD LIKE TO MENTION HERE THAT UNDER ORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES, I WOULD HAVE GONE THE EXTRA OF REQUESTING RADAR SVC AND VERIFYING THE LEGALITY OF MY INTENDED FLT PATH AS I HAVE ALWAYS DONE IN THE PAST. HOWEVER, ON THIS LAUNCH DAY, WITHSO MANY AIRPLANES FLYING IN THE AREA, THE PATRICK AFB APCH CTLR WAS EXTREMELY BUSY AND IN FACT SOME 20 OR SO MINS LATER ADVISED ALL ACFT THAT HE HAD MORE AIRPLANES ON HIS SCREEN THAN HE WAS PHYSICALLY ABLE TO HANDLE AND THAT ALL ACFT SHOULD MAINTAIN THEIR OWN SEP. AS I WAS PREVIOUSLY ADVISED THIS WOULD HAPPEN, AND AS I WAS ALSO REFUSED FLT FOLLOWING FOR THE FIRST TIME THAT I CAN REMEMBER WHILE ENRTE TO THE AREA, I DID NOT BOTHER THE CTLR BUT MERELY MONITORED THE CHANNEL. I PROCEEDED E FOR APPROX 1 MIN OR LESS IN SLOW FLT BUT COULD BARELY SEE THE LAUNCH AREA. I EXECUTED A LEFT 180 DEG TURN (LEFT SO AS TO BE SURE TO AVOID R2922 WHICH WAS TO THE S OF MY POS AND EXTENDED BELOW MY ALT) AND PROCEEDED TO FLY BACK W, STILL IN SLOW FLT. ABOUT 20 SECS LATER I NOTICED A TWIN ENG AIRPLANE APCHING ME FROM BEHIND ON MY LEFT SIDE. AS THE TWIN PASSED, I NOTICED THE LETTERS FAA ON THE SIDE. I ASSUMED THEY WERE VERIFYING MY ALT AND I WAVED AS THEY PASSED BY. THE FAA PLANE CIRCLED TO THE LEFT, HOWEVER, AND PASSED BY AGAIN. AT THIS POINT I SUSPECTED A PROB AND ATTEMPTED UNSUCCESSFULLY TO ESTABLISH CONTACT ON FREQ 122.9. AFTER RECHKING MY CHART AND STILL FINDING NO RESTRICTION TO FLYING IN THE AFOREMENTIONED AIRSPACE AT 6500', I CONTACTED SPACE CENTER EXECUTIVE TWR AND ASKED IF THEY WERE IN CONTACT WITH THE FAA PLANE. THEY REPLIED NEGATIVE AND SUGGESTED PATRICK APCH, WHO AFFIRMED THAT THEY WERE IN CONTACT. I REQUESTED PATRICK APCH TO ASK IF THERE WERE ANY PROBS WITH THE AIRSPACE I HAD BEEN FLYING IN. PATRICK APCH ISSUED ME A SQUAWK CODE, AND THEN AFTER RADAR CONTACT ADVISED THAT I WAS OK WHERE I WAS, BUT NOT TO PROCEED FURTHER E. I ADVISED THAT I HAD ALREADY BEEN FURTHER E AND THAT MY CHART HAD SHOWED THE RESTRICTION TO BEGIN AT 8000'. THE CTLR ADVISED THAT THE AIRSPACE HAD BEEN REWORKED AND WAS NOW FROM THE SURFACE TO UNLIMITED. REALIZING THAT I HAD VIOLATED RESTR AIRSPACE, ALTHOUGH NOT CLEAR ON HOW, I ASKED THE CTLR TO REQUEST A PHONE # WHERE I COULD REACH THE FAA PERSONNEL WHEN I LANDED. I THEN LANDED AT ORLANDO INTL. IN EXAMINING MY CHART UNDER SUFFICIENT LIGHT, I CAN NOW DETECT A SLIGHT--VERY SLIGHT--DIFFERENCE IN THE SHADING OF R2921 WHEN COMPARED WITH R2930, ALTHOUGH THIS SUBTLE DIFFERENCE WAS NOT DETECTABLE IN MY ACFT, EVEN AFTER EXAMINING THE CHART AGAIN AFTER THE PASSAGE OF THE FAA PLANE. I STRONGLY FEEL THAT THIS SPECIAL USE AIRSPACE IS VERY POORLY DEPICTED ON THE CHART AND SHOULD BE MORE CLEARLY DEFINED TO AVOID THIS TYPE OF CONFUSION IN THE FUTURE. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING: RPTR STATES HE CALLED FAA AFTER INCIDENT TO CLARIFY SITUATION AND LEARNED OF AIRSPACE CHANGE. STATES THAT ON OLDER CHARTS AREA IS MORE CLEARLY DEFINED. RECEIVED LETTER THAT SITUATION IS BEING INVESTIGATED BUT HAS HEARD NOTHING SINCE. SAYS HE WAS TRYING TO REMAIN CLEAR AND LEGAL AT ALL TIMES.
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.