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  #1  
Old 10-21-2013, 12:44 PM
N546RV's Avatar
N546RV N546RV is offline
 
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Location: Brookshire, TX
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Default Filled out my first NASA report yesterday

Short story: I may have inadvertantly slipped into the Atlanta class B. I didn't get a phone number or anything upon returning to PDK, so I imagine I'm probably OK. Still, there are lessons to be learned about complacency here.

The long version sort of starts about a year ago. My partner's nieces were in town, and she'd asked me if could take them up for a little sightseeing flight locally. I ended up calling that flight at the last minute because the winds were pretty stiff that day. Since then, I've wanted to take them up another time they were in town, and this weekend was the perfect time.

My plan for the flight was pretty simple: Take off, head over to Stone Mountain, run up to Lake Lanier, and then back home. A short local flight, and not really going anywhere I haven't gone plenty of times before. Well, sort of...while I've flown around Lanier and used it as a practice area frequently, I've never really specifically flown around Stone Mountain for sightseeing. Let's call this mild unfamiliarity factor #1.

Since, in my mind, I was just doing yet another casual local flight, my preflight planning was pretty light. I checked the weather/NOTAMS/TFRs and that was about it. Critically, what I didn't do was even a cursory review of the local sectional, to refresh my memory on the class B floors. This is especially important since the Atlanta class B was recently restructured, with many of the floors being lowered. I've flown a number of times since the change, but never anywhere where the airspace would be a problem. Let's call my failure to properly brief myself factor #2.

So, duly "prepared" for the flight, I met the girls at the airport, preflighted, got gas, and took off without incident. I climbed to 3500 MSL, a fairly typical altitude for local flying, while heading for Stone Mountain. I initially passed by the mountain on the north side, then started a gradual right turn, with the intent of flying a circle around the mountain to let them get a good view. During this time, I was mostly focusing on looking outside the airplane, and I was not being very disciplined about maintaining altitude. I drifted up to 3600 or so a few times. We can call this failure to maintain altitude factor #3.

So anyway, I continued my gradual turn around the mountain until I was on the south side. I was merrily flying along like this when I glanced down at the GPS and observed that I was right on a border line between class B sectors. I knew that the rectangular east-west sections like the one I was either close to or actually within laterally had increasingly lower floors. Because I hadn't briefed myself, I didn't know the floor of the sector I was possibly flying into. I vaguely recalled it being a 500-foot increment, but was it 3500 or 4500? Hopefully not 3500, as a quick glance at the altimeter had me up around 3600 again.

Unsure of whether I had just busted the airspace or not, I immediately turned north towards the area where I knew the floor was higher. I realized in that moment that my failure to brief myself was a huge problem. I thought that maybe the sector I was leaving was a 3500' floor, but I wasn't sure if I'd crossed it or not. But what about the sector north of that? What if I was still violating now, in a different sector? I didn't have the information. All I could really do was head north, clear the area, and hope I hadn't fouled up.

The rest of the flight went without incident. We saw some nice sights, headed back to PDK, and I made a quite lovely landing, in spite of having relatives watching and on board. Once I got back home, I confirmed that the sector I possibly entered had a 3500' floor. So if I really did cross the lateral boundary, then I definitively violated the airspace.

I'm not sure if I did cross the boundary. In the moment, when I looked at the GPS, my brain told me that I was south of the line. I don't know if that was an accurate interpretation or not. I didn't get the dreaded "I have a phone number for you" message from PDK controllers, so I suspect that I'm OK, but it still seemed prudent to do the ASRS form regardless, both as a way to cover myself and, much like writing this post, to tell a story of small mistakes combining into a bigger one.
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-8 fuselage in progress (remember when I thought the wing kit had a lot of parts? HAHAHAHAHA)
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Last edited by N546RV : 10-21-2013 at 02:41 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-21-2013, 12:59 PM
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rv7boy rv7boy is offline
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Thumbs up Good Job!

One...I'm thinking from looking at the map and from your description that you probably did just barely get into the 3500 foot floor of that sector.

Two...I'm thinking you did the right thing by filing the ASRS report.

Three...I'm thinking you will probably never hear anything from the authorities about this.

Four...I'm thinking you feel better that you have filed the report, slept on it one night, and have "confessed" it to your VAF brotherhood...and anyone else who may read this.

Five...I'm thinking you are a better pilot than you may have thought yesterday when you probably thought you were a dunce for not briefing yourself better.

Six...I'm thinking you need to go pound some rivets to make you feel better about yourself.

Congratulations, I think you gave your passengers a ride they'll never forget, and they probably didn't even know you were kicking yourself mentally on the way home.
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?Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights;
it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living." Miriam Beard
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  #3  
Old 10-21-2013, 01:09 PM
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Steve Ashby Steve Ashby is offline
 
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Default Lessons we will all learn from

Phillip,
What a great post. Not only will this make you safer, your account will help all of us keep our eyes on the ball.
I live in Stone Mountain and would love to come see your project some time. You are also welcome in my shop, where I am trying to put the finishing touches on my 8A canopy.
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  #4  
Old 10-21-2013, 01:14 PM
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pmccoy pmccoy is offline
 
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Default

Philip

Thanks for posting. This helps to remind me to prep for EVERY flight. Even those quick local ones that I have done many times before. A lesson learned and a good reminder to plan the flight and fly the plan.
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Last edited by pmccoy : 10-21-2013 at 01:16 PM.
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  #5  
Old 10-21-2013, 01:21 PM
Sid Lambert Sid Lambert is offline
 
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Default

PDK is not for the faint of heart. Everything about that airport from it's proximity to ATL Class B to the crazy crossing runways and taxiways keeps you on your toes.

I'm not saying people should avoid it. They just need to prepare for it.

The OP is not the first person to mess up there.
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  #6  
Old 10-21-2013, 01:30 PM
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N546RV N546RV is offline
 
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid Lambert View Post
PDK is not for the faint of heart. Everything about that airport from it's proximity to ATL Class B to the crazy crossing runways and taxiways keeps you on your toes.

I'm not saying people should avoid it. They just need to prepare for it.

The OP is not the first person to mess up there.
Another way to put this that reflects my experience might be: Just because you've done all your training at a busy airport in complex airspace, and you're quite comfortable there, doesn't change the fact that it's a busy airport and complex airspace.

Again, complacency.
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-8 fuselage in progress (remember when I thought the wing kit had a lot of parts? HAHAHAHAHA)
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  #7  
Old 10-21-2013, 01:42 PM
aircrazedpilot aircrazedpilot is offline
 
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Location: Jacksonville, FL
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Default It was you!

Your the one who set off my TCAS on 26R and caused a go-around. Tower was calling you on guard and I had to fill out company paperwork. Just kidding, you did the right thing. Also don't be to hard on yourself, everyone makes mistakes, after all you are human! You took the proper steps by recognizing and taking action. The odds of hearing something is slim and most ga aircraft keep on going through the approach coarse. For you to share your experience not only helps others avoid the same mistakes but shows your true character, one that the whole RV community should be **** proud of!
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  #8  
Old 10-21-2013, 01:54 PM
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Mel Mel is offline
 
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Default

My first NASA report was because of the first flight of my RV-6.
I took off at Aero Country Airport (DFW class B floor is 4,000').
Not being used to the ROC of the RV, I was busy watching engine parameters when I suddenly realized that I was climbing through 5,200'.
This was on Saturday. The report went into the mail Monday morning.
That was in May of 1993. I think I can relax now.
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  #9  
Old 10-21-2013, 02:32 PM
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N546RV N546RV is offline
 
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel View Post
My first NASA report was because of the first flight of my RV-6.
I took off at Aero Country Airport (DFW class B floor is 4,000').
Not being used to the ROC of the RV, I was busy watching engine parameters when I suddenly realized that I was climbing through 5,200'.
This was on Saturday. The report went into the mail Monday morning.
That was in May of 1993. I think I can relax now.
So what you're saying is that I should be able to relax some time in late 2033?

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-8 fuselage in progress (remember when I thought the wing kit had a lot of parts? HAHAHAHAHA)
http://rv.squawk1200.net
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  #10  
Old 10-21-2013, 02:50 PM
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Mel Mel is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N546RV View Post
So what you're saying is that I should be able to relax some time in late 2033?
At least!!!!
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EAA Flight Advisor/Tech Counselor, Friend of the RV-1
Recipient of Tony Bingelis Award and Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award
USAF Vet, High School E-LSA Project Mentor.
RV-6 Flying since 1993 (sold)
<rvmel(at)icloud.com>
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