|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1801 To 2400|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : lax|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 2200|
msl bound upper : 2500
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : lax|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, Low Wing, 1 Eng, Retractable Gear|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : instrument|
pilot : commercial
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 130|
flight time total : 1200
flight time type : 40
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : approach|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||non adherence : far|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other controllera|
other flight crewa
|Consequence||faa : reviewed incident with flight crew|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
I departed from santa monica airport at approximately xxpm local time in my small aircraft. The tower was closed, however the airport remained open for VFR traffic until 11 pm. I departed from runway 21 and made a right turn out to an easterly heading for my short trip back to corona mini. I didn't file any flight plan or contact ATC prior to my departure. My first mistake. I was flying VFR and it was clear and a million, so I didn't feel there was anything to worry about. Just fly down I-10 until pomona, then follow 57 freeway to 91, and follow it east to corona. I chose to fly at 2200' MSL to stay below the lax TCA. In addition, I set in pdz 112.2 in my VOR/DME so I could check my progress. My second mistake because pdz was 45 DME away. I felt that nothing could go wrong. I am an military, mlt pilot with over 1200 hours flying all over the world. I let my guard down and didn't take this flight as seriously as I should have. If one looks at the la VFR area chart, one will notice that lax is just south of santa monica. So, when someone departs from santa monica airport, it only takes a minor misjudgment in navigation to violate lax TCA. Well, I didn't give myself any room for error. I had never departed from santa monica going eastbound. My third mistake came by deciding to fly an unfamiliar route at night. After my right turn out, I was preoccupied with aviating the airplane that my first navigation decision came at a busy time. The intersection of the interstates 405 and 10 is about 1 1/2 mi east of the approach end of runway 21 at santa monica. I looked at my dg and it showed 060 degrees heading. I didn't have a flashlight because I didn't expect to be at santa monica so long. As a result, I couldn't see my whiskey compass to verify the dg. My fourth mistake. This led to my fifth and final mistake. Looking outside at the intersection I chose to continue my right turn and follow the freeway on the right. Unfortunately, lack of preflight planning and flying at night on an unfamiliar route I got sucked into flying down the 405 sebnd right into the lax TCA. I didn't do myself any favors by choosing pdz for navigation. At 2200' and 43 DME away, the terrain didn't allow a lock on. So, I just continued following 405 thinking it was I-10 and scanning for traffic west/O the luxury of back up navaids. Next, I turned in lax approach on 134.9 with my #1 radio and turned on the cabin lights to check the whiskey compass. I discovered a 30 degree heading difference with the dg. So, I was actually flying a heading of 120 degrees. I made a correction back to 090 degrees and contacted la approach. They immediately gave me a squawk and told me not to descend. I put in the squawk code and told them I had the traffic in sight. The controller then gave me a heading of 090 degrees and to maintain 2500'. I read this back and complied. Then la tried to contact me but all I could hear was static and last 2 letters of my call sign. So, I switched to my second transmitter and contacted the now irate la controller. He informed me I was out of the TCA and, when able, to copy down the phone # he wanted me to call when I landed. Knowing this meant I was in trouble, I quickly responded and copied down the phone #. I still thought I was over I-10, so I didn't know what the controller was mad about. I continued eastbound, becoming confused because nothing looked right. Pdz was still not coming in so I assumed it was off the air. I dialed up lax VOR/DME and discovered I was 43 DME away. I then looked at an IFR chart and determined corona was only 45 DME away from lax. In addition I was southeast of course. So, I turned north and intercepted course. Soon I found familiar surroundings and landed. Pretty interesting for being what I thought was going to be a no-brainer flight. I found a phone and called up the controller at lax. I discussed with him about where I was when. I still thought I was over I-10 the whole time, so I thought he had someone else on radar. But, I said he had the radar, so he was in a better position to know where I was. I gave him my information and went home. It was not until I was on the way home in the car that while replaying in my mind what happened that I realized I had made a wrong turn at the intersection of I-10 and 405. I know that doesn't change anything. I made several easily preventable mistakes. I have a commercial certificate and have considerable aeronautical training. I know how to fly in the canned and protected environment of IFR flying. However, my experience in the VFR environment is limited. It is my contention that VFR flying actually requires more pilotage skills than IFR flying. Under VFR rules you have to determine your departure/arrival, route of fly, any airspace restrictions, traffic/terrain avoidance and you still have to fly the aircraft. This can be very task saturating. Especially when you are in a high traffic area with airspace restrictions like lax. I could have simplified my life by either filing IFR or making up an IFR route and flying it VFR. Like taking the 080 degrees radial out of santa monica until intercepting the 270 degree course inbound to pdz. My mistakes were pure stupidity on my part and I know better than this. It is kind of funny, I have learned more about pilotage, flying my small aircraft, than I ever could flying a crew aircraft in the protected IFR environment, although this lesson has come with a price tag.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: TCA PENETRATION.
Narrative: I DEPARTED FROM SANTA MONICA ARPT AT APPROX XXPM LCL TIME IN MY SMA. THE TWR WAS CLOSED, HOWEVER THE ARPT REMAINED OPEN FOR VFR TFC UNTIL 11 PM. I DEPARTED FROM RWY 21 AND MADE A RIGHT TURN OUT TO AN EASTERLY HDG FOR MY SHORT TRIP BACK TO CORONA MINI. I DIDN'T FILE ANY FLT PLAN OR CONTACT ATC PRIOR TO MY DEP. MY FIRST MISTAKE. I WAS FLYING VFR AND IT WAS CLEAR AND A MILLION, SO I DIDN'T FEEL THERE WAS ANYTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. JUST FLY DOWN I-10 UNTIL POMONA, THEN FOLLOW 57 FREEWAY TO 91, AND FOLLOW IT E TO CORONA. I CHOSE TO FLY AT 2200' MSL TO STAY BELOW THE LAX TCA. IN ADDITION, I SET IN PDZ 112.2 IN MY VOR/DME SO I COULD CHK MY PROGRESS. MY SECOND MISTAKE BECAUSE PDZ WAS 45 DME AWAY. I FELT THAT NOTHING COULD GO WRONG. I AM AN MIL, MLT PLT WITH OVER 1200 HRS FLYING ALL OVER THE WORLD. I LET MY GUARD DOWN AND DIDN'T TAKE THIS FLT AS SERIOUSLY AS I SHOULD HAVE. IF ONE LOOKS AT THE LA VFR AREA CHART, ONE WILL NOTICE THAT LAX IS JUST S OF SANTA MONICA. SO, WHEN SOMEONE DEPARTS FROM SANTA MONICA ARPT, IT ONLY TAKES A MINOR MISJUDGMENT IN NAV TO VIOLATE LAX TCA. WELL, I DIDN'T GIVE MYSELF ANY ROOM FOR ERROR. I HAD NEVER DEPARTED FROM SANTA MONICA GOING EBND. MY THIRD MISTAKE CAME BY DECIDING TO FLY AN UNFAMILIAR ROUTE AT NIGHT. AFTER MY RIGHT TURN OUT, I WAS PREOCCUPIED WITH AVIATING THE AIRPLANE THAT MY FIRST NAV DECISION CAME AT A BUSY TIME. THE INTXN OF THE INTERSTATES 405 AND 10 IS ABOUT 1 1/2 MI E OF THE APCH END OF RWY 21 AT SANTA MONICA. I LOOKED AT MY DG AND IT SHOWED 060 DEGS HDG. I DIDN'T HAVE A FLASHLIGHT BECAUSE I DIDN'T EXPECT TO BE AT SANTA MONICA SO LONG. AS A RESULT, I COULDN'T SEE MY WHISKEY COMPASS TO VERIFY THE DG. MY FOURTH MISTAKE. THIS LED TO MY FIFTH AND FINAL MISTAKE. LOOKING OUTSIDE AT THE INTXN I CHOSE TO CONTINUE MY RIGHT TURN AND FOLLOW THE FREEWAY ON THE RIGHT. UNFORTUNATELY, LACK OF PREFLT PLANNING AND FLYING AT NIGHT ON AN UNFAMILIAR ROUTE I GOT SUCKED INTO FLYING DOWN THE 405 SEBND RIGHT INTO THE LAX TCA. I DIDN'T DO MYSELF ANY FAVORS BY CHOOSING PDZ FOR NAV. AT 2200' AND 43 DME AWAY, THE TERRAIN DIDN'T ALLOW A LOCK ON. SO, I JUST CONTINUED FOLLOWING 405 THINKING IT WAS I-10 AND SCANNING FOR TFC W/O THE LUXURY OF BACK UP NAVAIDS. NEXT, I TURNED IN LAX APCH ON 134.9 WITH MY #1 RADIO AND TURNED ON THE CABIN LIGHTS TO CHK THE WHISKEY COMPASS. I DISCOVERED A 30 DEG HDG DIFFERENCE WITH THE DG. SO, I WAS ACTUALLY FLYING A HDG OF 120 DEGS. I MADE A CORRECTION BACK TO 090 DEGS AND CONTACTED LA APCH. THEY IMMEDIATELY GAVE ME A SQUAWK AND TOLD ME NOT TO DSND. I PUT IN THE SQUAWK CODE AND TOLD THEM I HAD THE TFC IN SIGHT. THE CTLR THEN GAVE ME A HDG OF 090 DEGS AND TO MAINTAIN 2500'. I READ THIS BACK AND COMPLIED. THEN LA TRIED TO CONTACT ME BUT ALL I COULD HEAR WAS STATIC AND LAST 2 LETTERS OF MY CALL SIGN. SO, I SWITCHED TO MY SECOND XMITTER AND CONTACTED THE NOW IRATE LA CTLR. HE INFORMED ME I WAS OUT OF THE TCA AND, WHEN ABLE, TO COPY DOWN THE PHONE # HE WANTED ME TO CALL WHEN I LANDED. KNOWING THIS MEANT I WAS IN TROUBLE, I QUICKLY RESPONDED AND COPIED DOWN THE PHONE #. I STILL THOUGHT I WAS OVER I-10, SO I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THE CTLR WAS MAD ABOUT. I CONTINUED EBND, BECOMING CONFUSED BECAUSE NOTHING LOOKED RIGHT. PDZ WAS STILL NOT COMING IN SO I ASSUMED IT WAS OFF THE AIR. I DIALED UP LAX VOR/DME AND DISCOVERED I WAS 43 DME AWAY. I THEN LOOKED AT AN IFR CHART AND DETERMINED CORONA WAS ONLY 45 DME AWAY FROM LAX. IN ADDITION I WAS SE OF COURSE. SO, I TURNED N AND INTERCEPTED COURSE. SOON I FOUND FAMILIAR SURROUNDINGS AND LANDED. PRETTY INTERESTING FOR BEING WHAT I THOUGHT WAS GOING TO BE A NO-BRAINER FLT. I FOUND A PHONE AND CALLED UP THE CTLR AT LAX. I DISCUSSED WITH HIM ABOUT WHERE I WAS WHEN. I STILL THOUGHT I WAS OVER I-10 THE WHOLE TIME, SO I THOUGHT HE HAD SOMEONE ELSE ON RADAR. BUT, I SAID HE HAD THE RADAR, SO HE WAS IN A BETTER POS TO KNOW WHERE I WAS. I GAVE HIM MY INFO AND WENT HOME. IT WAS NOT UNTIL I WAS ON THE WAY HOME IN THE CAR THAT WHILE REPLAYING IN MY MIND WHAT HAPPENED THAT I REALIZED I HAD MADE A WRONG TURN AT THE INTXN OF I-10 AND 405. I KNOW THAT DOESN'T CHANGE ANYTHING. I MADE SEVERAL EASILY PREVENTABLE MISTAKES. I HAVE A COMMERCIAL CERTIFICATE AND HAVE CONSIDERABLE AERONAUTICAL TRNING. I KNOW HOW TO FLY IN THE CANNED AND PROTECTED ENVIRONMENT OF IFR FLYING. HOWEVER, MY EXPERIENCE IN THE VFR ENVIRONMENT IS LIMITED. IT IS MY CONTENTION THAT VFR FLYING ACTUALLY REQUIRES MORE PILOTAGE SKILLS THAN IFR FLYING. UNDER VFR RULES YOU HAVE TO DETERMINE YOUR DEP/ARR, ROUTE OF FLY, ANY AIRSPACE RESTRICTIONS, TFC/TERRAIN AVOIDANCE AND YOU STILL HAVE TO FLY THE ACFT. THIS CAN BE VERY TASK SATURATING. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE IN A HIGH TFC AREA WITH AIRSPACE RESTRICTIONS LIKE LAX. I COULD HAVE SIMPLIFIED MY LIFE BY EITHER FILING IFR OR MAKING UP AN IFR ROUTE AND FLYING IT VFR. LIKE TAKING THE 080 DEGS RADIAL OUT OF SANTA MONICA UNTIL INTERCEPTING THE 270 DEG COURSE INBND TO PDZ. MY MISTAKES WERE PURE STUPIDITY ON MY PART AND I KNOW BETTER THAN THIS. IT IS KIND OF FUNNY, I HAVE LEARNED MORE ABOUT PILOTAGE, FLYING MY SMA, THAN I EVER COULD FLYING A CREW ACFT IN THE PROTECTED IFR ENVIRONMENT, ALTHOUGH THIS LESSON HAS COME WITH A PRICE TAG.
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.