|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1801 To 2400|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : ttn|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 1500|
msl bound upper : 1500
|Controlling Facilities||tower : ttn|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Fixed Gear|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 4|
flight time total : 675
|Anomaly||non adherence : far|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : exited penetrated airspace|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
I departed mmu for a 20 min night cross country to princeton airport to attend a scheduled FAA safety seminar. No detailed navigation was worked out as I know the area--tracking to the ard VOR will readily bring the airport into view. About 20 mi out I picked up 2 rotating beacons which presented themselves where I expected to see, respectively the princeton and mercer county beacons. Visually tracking to the leftmost beacon, I picked out the e-w runway while monitoring princeton unicom. While descending from 2500' to 1500' through the last 5 mi, I puzzled over the seemingly large number of taxiway lights and the fact that the highway which crosses the final approach course of 28 was in fact at the wrong end of the runway! Entering a high left downwind for '28,' as I was about to call my position on unicom, the pieces suddenly fell into place, as I picked up the neon 'ronson' sign which told me in no uncertain terms that I was smack in the middle of the mercer county air traffic area. I immediately halted my descent, switched to tower frequency and departed to the northeast. I considered confessing my predicament but then decided not to identify myself in light of the current enforcement atmosphere. Instead I monitored the tower, kept my eyes open and departed the area. I decided I wasn't quite ready for the safety seminar and instead opted for some landing practice at my home base. Cold front passage last night left uncommonly good visibility. I was actually seeing the pne beacon about 17 mi past mercer county. I had just experienced a short but severe head cold which seemed to end on the previous day. Vestiges of the gen' spaciness and lethargy of thought obviously remained however. Familiarity breeds complacency, despite a paucity of recent experience I allowed myself to adopt a casual approach to the flight. My preflight was adequate, I brought 2 flashlights, and appropriate sectionals, but I neglected to properly utilize them.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: GA SMA UNAUTH PENETRATION OF AIRSPACE.
Narrative: I DEPARTED MMU FOR A 20 MIN NIGHT XCOUNTRY TO PRINCETON ARPT TO ATTEND A SCHEDULED FAA SAFETY SEMINAR. NO DETAILED NAV WAS WORKED OUT AS I KNOW THE AREA--TRACKING TO THE ARD VOR WILL READILY BRING THE ARPT INTO VIEW. ABOUT 20 MI OUT I PICKED UP 2 ROTATING BEACONS WHICH PRESENTED THEMSELVES WHERE I EXPECTED TO SEE, RESPECTIVELY THE PRINCETON AND MERCER COUNTY BEACONS. VISUALLY TRACKING TO THE LEFTMOST BEACON, I PICKED OUT THE E-W RWY WHILE MONITORING PRINCETON UNICOM. WHILE DSNDING FROM 2500' TO 1500' THROUGH THE LAST 5 MI, I PUZZLED OVER THE SEEMINGLY LARGE NUMBER OF TXWY LIGHTS AND THE FACT THAT THE HWY WHICH CROSSES THE FINAL APCH COURSE OF 28 WAS IN FACT AT THE WRONG END OF THE RWY! ENTERING A HIGH LEFT DOWNWIND FOR '28,' AS I WAS ABOUT TO CALL MY POS ON UNICOM, THE PIECES SUDDENLY FELL INTO PLACE, AS I PICKED UP THE NEON 'RONSON' SIGN WHICH TOLD ME IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS THAT I WAS SMACK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MERCER COUNTY ATA. I IMMEDIATELY HALTED MY DSCNT, SWITCHED TO TWR FREQ AND DEPARTED TO THE NE. I CONSIDERED CONFESSING MY PREDICAMENT BUT THEN DECIDED NOT TO IDENT MYSELF IN LIGHT OF THE CURRENT ENFORCEMENT ATMOSPHERE. INSTEAD I MONITORED THE TWR, KEPT MY EYES OPEN AND DEPARTED THE AREA. I DECIDED I WASN'T QUITE READY FOR THE SAFETY SEMINAR AND INSTEAD OPTED FOR SOME LNDG PRACTICE AT MY HOME BASE. COLD FRONT PASSAGE LAST NIGHT LEFT UNCOMMONLY GOOD VIS. I WAS ACTUALLY SEEING THE PNE BEACON ABOUT 17 MI PAST MERCER COUNTY. I HAD JUST EXPERIENCED A SHORT BUT SEVERE HEAD COLD WHICH SEEMED TO END ON THE PREVIOUS DAY. VESTIGES OF THE GEN' SPACINESS AND LETHARGY OF THOUGHT OBVIOUSLY REMAINED HOWEVER. FAMILIARITY BREEDS COMPLACENCY, DESPITE A PAUCITY OF RECENT EXPERIENCE I ALLOWED MYSELF TO ADOPT A CASUAL APCH TO THE FLT. MY PREFLT WAS ADEQUATE, I BROUGHT 2 FLASHLIGHTS, AND APPROPRIATE SECTIONALS, BUT I NEGLECTED TO PROPERLY UTILIZE THEM.