|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||airport : cle|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 300|
agl bound upper : 750
|Controlling Facilities||tower : cle|
tower : fsd
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Fixed Gear|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
pilot : instrument
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 60|
flight time total : 650
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : local|
|Qualification||controller : non radar|
|Anomaly||non adherence : far|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
other other : unspecified
|Resolutory Action||none taken : unable|
|Consequence||faa : assigned or threatened penalties|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
On 12/tue/88 I was called early in the morning by our photographer at NASA lewis research center with a request that I fly him over the center because all of our NASA planes were in use or out of service. I said I would but could take no payment or anything since I had no commercial rating. To expedite and ensure that the flight was ok I called the cle control tower and explained that I wanted to do a photo flight over our center at 750' AGL and below. I got clearance for the flight, took off, the photographer did his job and we landed. I am submitting this report out of concern and now I'm afraid ignorance. The far's state minimum altitudes or flight overpopulated areas yet ATC (control tower) cleared me for my request of low passes or photos over the lewis research center. I am now wondering if the far takes precedence as it would if being vectored into clouds or was the ATC clearance enough to keep me legal. I am concerned with doing the right thing if this comes up in the future. Also, bluntly speaking, since I just received my instrument rating I would not like to face a certificate action while trying to do a favor for NASA. I went no lower than 500' AGL over the center, but did go to about 300' AGL over the valley next to the center. Since the far's call for 1000' AGL you can understand my concern now that I have thought about the flight. I believe that I was in a position to glide onto the airport, cle at anytime should I have suffered engine failure. I would certainly appreciate feedback on the question of whether or not there was a mistake made by me. As a final item there were no close calls, no incidents, no questions from the tower and I was on tower requested at all times from takeoff to T/D. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following: reporter has been contacted by the local FSDO and enforcement action against reporter has been started. It seems that during the reported flight, 2 FSDO inspectors were outside the FSDO office, which is next door to the center and they observed the low altitude flight. FSDO's charge against reporter is that he flew lower than far's allow over an area that is considered a densely populated. Reporter flew at 300' AGL over people and dwellings. Also a violation of far. Reporter is awaiting further word from FSDO. Reporter stated that during his telephone conversation with the tower before the flight, he did not mention an altitude for the flight because he did not know what altitude the photographer would want. Therefore, he did get permission to fly in the air traffic area, but the tower did not approve an altitude below that allowed in the far.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: GA PLT FLEW BELOW MINIMUM SAFE ALT WHILE ON A PHOTO MISSION.
Narrative: ON 12/TUE/88 I WAS CALLED EARLY IN THE MORNING BY OUR PHOTOGRAPHER AT NASA LEWIS RESEARCH CENTER WITH A REQUEST THAT I FLY HIM OVER THE CENTER BECAUSE ALL OF OUR NASA PLANES WERE IN USE OR OUT OF SVC. I SAID I WOULD BUT COULD TAKE NO PAYMENT OR ANYTHING SINCE I HAD NO COMMERCIAL RATING. TO EXPEDITE AND ENSURE THAT THE FLT WAS OK I CALLED THE CLE CTL TWR AND EXPLAINED THAT I WANTED TO DO A PHOTO FLT OVER OUR CENTER AT 750' AGL AND BELOW. I GOT CLRNC FOR THE FLT, TOOK OFF, THE PHOTOGRAPHER DID HIS JOB AND WE LANDED. I AM SUBMITTING THIS RPT OUT OF CONCERN AND NOW I'M AFRAID IGNORANCE. THE FAR'S STATE MINIMUM ALTS OR FLT OVERPOPULATED AREAS YET ATC (CTL TWR) CLRED ME FOR MY REQUEST OF LOW PASSES OR PHOTOS OVER THE LEWIS RESEARCH CENTER. I AM NOW WONDERING IF THE FAR TAKES PRECEDENCE AS IT WOULD IF BEING VECTORED INTO CLOUDS OR WAS THE ATC CLRNC ENOUGH TO KEEP ME LEGAL. I AM CONCERNED WITH DOING THE RIGHT THING IF THIS COMES UP IN THE FUTURE. ALSO, BLUNTLY SPEAKING, SINCE I JUST RECEIVED MY INSTRUMENT RATING I WOULD NOT LIKE TO FACE A CERTIFICATE ACTION WHILE TRYING TO DO A FAVOR FOR NASA. I WENT NO LOWER THAN 500' AGL OVER THE CENTER, BUT DID GO TO ABOUT 300' AGL OVER THE VALLEY NEXT TO THE CENTER. SINCE THE FAR'S CALL FOR 1000' AGL YOU CAN UNDERSTAND MY CONCERN NOW THAT I HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT THE FLT. I BELIEVE THAT I WAS IN A POS TO GLIDE ONTO THE ARPT, CLE AT ANYTIME SHOULD I HAVE SUFFERED ENG FAILURE. I WOULD CERTAINLY APPRECIATE FEEDBACK ON THE QUESTION OF WHETHER OR NOT THERE WAS A MISTAKE MADE BY ME. AS A FINAL ITEM THERE WERE NO CLOSE CALLS, NO INCIDENTS, NO QUESTIONS FROM THE TWR AND I WAS ON TWR REQUESTED AT ALL TIMES FROM TKOF TO T/D. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING: RPTR HAS BEEN CONTACTED BY THE LCL FSDO AND ENFORCEMENT ACTION AGAINST RPTR HAS BEEN STARTED. IT SEEMS THAT DURING THE RPTED FLT, 2 FSDO INSPECTORS WERE OUTSIDE THE FSDO OFFICE, WHICH IS NEXT DOOR TO THE CENTER AND THEY OBSERVED THE LOW ALT FLT. FSDO'S CHARGE AGAINST RPTR IS THAT HE FLEW LOWER THAN FAR'S ALLOW OVER AN AREA THAT IS CONSIDERED A DENSELY POPULATED. RPTR FLEW AT 300' AGL OVER PEOPLE AND DWELLINGS. ALSO A VIOLATION OF FAR. RPTR IS AWAITING FURTHER WORD FROM FSDO. RPTR STATED THAT DURING HIS TELEPHONE CONVERSATION WITH THE TWR BEFORE THE FLT, HE DID NOT MENTION AN ALT FOR THE FLT BECAUSE HE DID NOT KNOW WHAT ALT THE PHOTOGRAPHER WOULD WANT. THEREFORE, HE DID GET PERMISSION TO FLY IN THE ATA, BUT THE TWR DID NOT APPROVE AN ALT BELOW THAT ALLOWED IN THE FAR.
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.