|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : sna|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 0
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||Medium Large Transport|
|Flight Phase||landing other|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : first officer|
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 100|
flight time total : 4000
flight time type : 200
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
|Anomaly||non adherence : far|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other controllera|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : unable|
|Primary Problem||Chart Or Publication|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
I was the PNF on our medium large transport aircraft from sfo to sna. We left sfo at XA55 local time. At the time of departure there were no NOTAMS listed for the sna runway lights. About 20 mi west of sna, we were advised by coast approach that the runway lights on all runways were not turning on. The WX was unlimited ceiling and visibility around 6-10 mi on the surface, and unlimited aloft. We could plainly see the airport, and there was still plenty of sunlight left. The captain elected to continue and had me tell this to approach when they asked our intentions. He then directed me to see if I could find my rules governing this situation in our flight manual. Meanwhile, coast approach handed us off to sna approach, and they asked us again if we wanted to hold and wait till the runway lights came on. The captain asked me if I had found any information, and I had told him no. He then asked approach what time sunset was, and they informed him 3 mins ago. We could still see the airport, and it was still light out, so the captain told approach we would continue. We were now about 10 mi west of sna at 5000', and I had my head buried in a book in the world's busiest airspace, looking up if we could legally land at an airport that we could easily see. On a high right base approach handed us over to tower and tower asked us again if we wanted to land because of the runway light outage. The captain said yes, so I told the tower we had the airport plainly in sight, and would land, so they cleared us from our visual approach to land. At that point I put away my book, and asked the captain if he really wanted to do this, because of all the trouble approach and tower had given us, and the fact that we still had not found out definitely if we were legal to land. He said yes, he would, 'what can they do,' he said, 'throw us in jail?' I found this trite, but considering the circumstances, it still being light out, I could not argue with him. If it was not legal, it sure was not unsafe. We landed at about XB02 which was 10 mins after official sunset. I could not find any specific regulations in part 91 or 121 governing runway lights. Operations manual has a page in the WX chapter that deals with inoperative runway lights. It says that at night you can have a certain # of lights out, but not all. As we know, night is defined as the 'end of evening civil twilight as published in the american air almanac.' we as flight crews do not possess this document, nor does approach control or tower or FSS, at least not handy. If we would have held in the air for them to get the light working, we would have had to wait almost 50 mins to get the lights working again. I am not sure if landing was legal or not, I am still looking into this (I have not found anyone who possesses a copy of the american air almanac), but I am convinced it was safe, and that is the dilemma.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: ACR WDB LANDED AFTER SUNSET BUT BEFORE END OF CIVIL TWILIGHT WITH RWYS LIGHT INOPERATIVE. QUESTIONS IF LNDG LEGAL.
Narrative: I WAS THE PNF ON OUR MLG ACFT FROM SFO TO SNA. WE LEFT SFO AT XA55 LCL TIME. AT THE TIME OF DEP THERE WERE NO NOTAMS LISTED FOR THE SNA RWY LIGHTS. ABOUT 20 MI W OF SNA, WE WERE ADVISED BY COAST APCH THAT THE RWY LIGHTS ON ALL RWYS WERE NOT TURNING ON. THE WX WAS UNLIMITED CEILING AND VIS AROUND 6-10 MI ON THE SURFACE, AND UNLIMITED ALOFT. WE COULD PLAINLY SEE THE ARPT, AND THERE WAS STILL PLENTY OF SUNLIGHT LEFT. THE CAPT ELECTED TO CONTINUE AND HAD ME TELL THIS TO APCH WHEN THEY ASKED OUR INTENTIONS. HE THEN DIRECTED ME TO SEE IF I COULD FIND MY RULES GOVERNING THIS SITUATION IN OUR FLT MANUAL. MEANWHILE, COAST APCH HANDED US OFF TO SNA APCH, AND THEY ASKED US AGAIN IF WE WANTED TO HOLD AND WAIT TILL THE RWY LIGHTS CAME ON. THE CAPT ASKED ME IF I HAD FOUND ANY INFO, AND I HAD TOLD HIM NO. HE THEN ASKED APCH WHAT TIME SUNSET WAS, AND THEY INFORMED HIM 3 MINS AGO. WE COULD STILL SEE THE ARPT, AND IT WAS STILL LIGHT OUT, SO THE CAPT TOLD APCH WE WOULD CONTINUE. WE WERE NOW ABOUT 10 MI W OF SNA AT 5000', AND I HAD MY HEAD BURIED IN A BOOK IN THE WORLD'S BUSIEST AIRSPACE, LOOKING UP IF WE COULD LEGALLY LAND AT AN ARPT THAT WE COULD EASILY SEE. ON A HIGH RIGHT BASE APCH HANDED US OVER TO TWR AND TWR ASKED US AGAIN IF WE WANTED TO LAND BECAUSE OF THE RWY LIGHT OUTAGE. THE CAPT SAID YES, SO I TOLD THE TWR WE HAD THE ARPT PLAINLY IN SIGHT, AND WOULD LAND, SO THEY CLRED US FROM OUR VISUAL APCH TO LAND. AT THAT POINT I PUT AWAY MY BOOK, AND ASKED THE CAPT IF HE REALLY WANTED TO DO THIS, BECAUSE OF ALL THE TROUBLE APCH AND TWR HAD GIVEN US, AND THE FACT THAT WE STILL HAD NOT FOUND OUT DEFINITELY IF WE WERE LEGAL TO LAND. HE SAID YES, HE WOULD, 'WHAT CAN THEY DO,' HE SAID, 'THROW US IN JAIL?' I FOUND THIS TRITE, BUT CONSIDERING THE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT STILL BEING LIGHT OUT, I COULD NOT ARGUE WITH HIM. IF IT WAS NOT LEGAL, IT SURE WAS NOT UNSAFE. WE LANDED AT ABOUT XB02 WHICH WAS 10 MINS AFTER OFFICIAL SUNSET. I COULD NOT FIND ANY SPECIFIC REGS IN PART 91 OR 121 GOVERNING RWY LIGHTS. OPS MANUAL HAS A PAGE IN THE WX CHAPTER THAT DEALS WITH INOP RWY LIGHTS. IT SAYS THAT AT NIGHT YOU CAN HAVE A CERTAIN # OF LIGHTS OUT, BUT NOT ALL. AS WE KNOW, NIGHT IS DEFINED AS THE 'END OF EVENING CIVIL TWILIGHT AS PUBLISHED IN THE AMERICAN AIR ALMANAC.' WE AS FLT CREWS DO NOT POSSESS THIS DOCUMENT, NOR DOES APCH CTL OR TWR OR FSS, AT LEAST NOT HANDY. IF WE WOULD HAVE HELD IN THE AIR FOR THEM TO GET THE LIGHT WORKING, WE WOULD HAVE HAD TO WAIT ALMOST 50 MINS TO GET THE LIGHTS WORKING AGAIN. I AM NOT SURE IF LNDG WAS LEGAL OR NOT, I AM STILL LOOKING INTO THIS (I HAVE NOT FOUND ANYONE WHO POSSESSES A COPY OF THE AMERICAN AIR ALMANAC), BUT I AM CONVINCED IT WAS SAFE, AND THAT IS THE DILEMMA.
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.