|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1801 To 2400|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : las|
airport : vgt
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 9500|
msl bound upper : 9500
|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|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 35|
flight time total : 1700
flight time type : 1000
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : less severe|
other anomaly other
other spatial deviation
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : returned to intended course or assigned course|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
Ferried small aircraft to a remote airport to have a new LORAN installed. Installation did not go smoothly. When we pulled navigation/communication transponder radios out of their mounting cans we found loose screws. I did not want radios re-installed since I was afraid of shorting something out or electrical fire (I had that happen to me in an small aircraft once). I thought they would be unnecessary since I knew the area well. I took off and climbed up a long broad (rural) valley to gain altitude to get over the mountains separating me from my home base. I played with the new LORAN. I didn't really know how to use it, so foolishly I was trying to learn on a night VFR. Since I had my pre-programmed 2 or 3 chkpoints in test prior to takeoff I thought I knew where I was. I had my head down in the cockpit way too much and all of a sudden (in clear night VFR) I experienced the worse case of vertigo I'd ever experienced. At about that time I noticed the engine was running real rough. I quit playing with the LORAN and turned towards the lights of las. I noticed that my egt gauge was at full scale deflection--and was doing so on all but one of the cylinders. We had reinstalled the communication radio, but I couldn't contact ATC. To be honest, I only tried once. I was too busy trying to find one of the airports in the las vegas valley. I had entered the valley from a different angle than I normally do and everything looked different. When I finally located my base airport (vgt) I turned towards it and tried to keep plenty of altitude so that I could make it in. Next day an a&P checked out and reinstalled the radios. The screws holding the antenna connectors had fallen out. This kept the radio from working when it was plugged back into the can. The egt gauge was reading high, but the mechanic said that on a cheap gauge they sometimes changes their sensitivity, or that messing around installing the LORAN bent a lead connector. The roughness was attributed to my automatic fuel stc (not much range in leaving) and the fact that this was the first real cold WX I had flown high in with the automatic stc, so the engine was acting differently. When I landed another pilot came up to me and informed me that I had busted the TCA and that I should call ATC. I didn't give him my name or call ATC. It doesn't do any good to try to explain an emergency to those people. They no longer have any leeway, they just violate you. I actually thought (and still do) that I was clear of TCA airspace. The other pilot told me he followed me in (I was the last one in the pattern to land) so he could have mistaken me for one of the other aircraft. If I did bust the TCA, it was due to severe disorientation and multiple minor problems in the cockpit that seemed worse than they actually were. The act of turning towards the city lights to get my bearings and find my location seemed reasonable at the time. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following: FAA has not contacted reporter reference the alleged TCA penetration. He had been flying at 9000+' and was in the descent. Recall passing a known mount potosi and feels strongly at no time was he near the TCA. Was the last aircraft to land at north las vegas. Aircraft has a transponder, but he does not feel it was working because of the loose screws found when the LORAN was installed. Engine problem caused by leaning to much with the automatic fuel stc and on further investigation found the carburetor float was sticking. Aircraft is still being repaired.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: NIGHT OPERATION PLT BECOMES DISORIENTED AND COMES CLOSE TO PENETRATING TCA.
Narrative: FERRIED SMA TO A REMOTE ARPT TO HAVE A NEW LORAN INSTALLED. INSTALLATION DID NOT GO SMOOTHLY. WHEN WE PULLED NAV/COM XPONDER RADIOS OUT OF THEIR MOUNTING CANS WE FOUND LOOSE SCREWS. I DID NOT WANT RADIOS RE-INSTALLED SINCE I WAS AFRAID OF SHORTING SOMETHING OUT OR ELECTRICAL FIRE (I HAD THAT HAPPEN TO ME IN AN SMA ONCE). I THOUGHT THEY WOULD BE UNNECESSARY SINCE I KNEW THE AREA WELL. I TOOK OFF AND CLBED UP A LONG BROAD (RURAL) VALLEY TO GAIN ALT TO GET OVER THE MOUNTAINS SEPARATING ME FROM MY HOME BASE. I PLAYED WITH THE NEW LORAN. I DIDN'T REALLY KNOW HOW TO USE IT, SO FOOLISHLY I WAS TRYING TO LEARN ON A NIGHT VFR. SINCE I HAD MY PRE-PROGRAMMED 2 OR 3 CHKPOINTS IN TEST PRIOR TO TKOF I THOUGHT I KNEW WHERE I WAS. I HAD MY HEAD DOWN IN THE COCKPIT WAY TOO MUCH AND ALL OF A SUDDEN (IN CLEAR NIGHT VFR) I EXPERIENCED THE WORSE CASE OF VERTIGO I'D EVER EXPERIENCED. AT ABOUT THAT TIME I NOTICED THE ENG WAS RUNNING REAL ROUGH. I QUIT PLAYING WITH THE LORAN AND TURNED TOWARDS THE LIGHTS OF LAS. I NOTICED THAT MY EGT GAUGE WAS AT FULL SCALE DEFLECTION--AND WAS DOING SO ON ALL BUT ONE OF THE CYLINDERS. WE HAD REINSTALLED THE COM RADIO, BUT I COULDN'T CONTACT ATC. TO BE HONEST, I ONLY TRIED ONCE. I WAS TOO BUSY TRYING TO FIND ONE OF THE ARPTS IN THE LAS VEGAS VALLEY. I HAD ENTERED THE VALLEY FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE THAN I NORMALLY DO AND EVERYTHING LOOKED DIFFERENT. WHEN I FINALLY LOCATED MY BASE ARPT (VGT) I TURNED TOWARDS IT AND TRIED TO KEEP PLENTY OF ALT SO THAT I COULD MAKE IT IN. NEXT DAY AN A&P CHKED OUT AND REINSTALLED THE RADIOS. THE SCREWS HOLDING THE ANTENNA CONNECTORS HAD FALLEN OUT. THIS KEPT THE RADIO FROM WORKING WHEN IT WAS PLUGGED BACK INTO THE CAN. THE EGT GAUGE WAS READING HIGH, BUT THE MECH SAID THAT ON A CHEAP GAUGE THEY SOMETIMES CHANGES THEIR SENSITIVITY, OR THAT MESSING AROUND INSTALLING THE LORAN BENT A LEAD CONNECTOR. THE ROUGHNESS WAS ATTRIBUTED TO MY AUTO FUEL STC (NOT MUCH RANGE IN LEAVING) AND THE FACT THAT THIS WAS THE FIRST REAL COLD WX I HAD FLOWN HIGH IN WITH THE AUTO STC, SO THE ENG WAS ACTING DIFFERENTLY. WHEN I LANDED ANOTHER PLT CAME UP TO ME AND INFORMED ME THAT I HAD BUSTED THE TCA AND THAT I SHOULD CALL ATC. I DIDN'T GIVE HIM MY NAME OR CALL ATC. IT DOESN'T DO ANY GOOD TO TRY TO EXPLAIN AN EMER TO THOSE PEOPLE. THEY NO LONGER HAVE ANY LEEWAY, THEY JUST VIOLATE YOU. I ACTUALLY THOUGHT (AND STILL DO) THAT I WAS CLR OF TCA AIRSPACE. THE OTHER PLT TOLD ME HE FOLLOWED ME IN (I WAS THE LAST ONE IN THE PATTERN TO LAND) SO HE COULD HAVE MISTAKEN ME FOR ONE OF THE OTHER ACFT. IF I DID BUST THE TCA, IT WAS DUE TO SEVERE DISORIENTATION AND MULTIPLE MINOR PROBS IN THE COCKPIT THAT SEEMED WORSE THAN THEY ACTUALLY WERE. THE ACT OF TURNING TOWARDS THE CITY LIGHTS TO GET MY BEARINGS AND FIND MY LOCATION SEEMED REASONABLE AT THE TIME. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING: FAA HAS NOT CONTACTED RPTR REF THE ALLEGED TCA PENETRATION. HE HAD BEEN FLYING AT 9000+' AND WAS IN THE DSCNT. RECALL PASSING A KNOWN MOUNT POTOSI AND FEELS STRONGLY AT NO TIME WAS HE NEAR THE TCA. WAS THE LAST ACFT TO LAND AT NORTH LAS VEGAS. ACFT HAS A TRANSPONDER, BUT HE DOES NOT FEEL IT WAS WORKING BECAUSE OF THE LOOSE SCREWS FOUND WHEN THE LORAN WAS INSTALLED. ENG PROB CAUSED BY LEANING TO MUCH WITH THE AUTO FUEL STC AND ON FURTHER INVESTIGATION FOUND THE CARB FLOAT WAS STICKING. ACFT IS STILL BEING REPAIRED.
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.