This month, CALLBACK again offers the reader a chance to “interact” with the information given in a selection of ASRS reports. In “The First Half of the Story,” you will find report excerpts describing an event up to a decision point. You may then use your own judgment to determine possible courses of action and make a decision regarding the best way to resolve the situation.
The selected ASRS reports may not give all the information you want, and you may not be experienced in the type of aircraft involved, but each incident should give you a chance to exercise your aviation decision-making skills. In “The Rest of the Story…” you will find the actions actually taken by reporters in response to each situation. Bear in mind that their decisions may not necessarily represent the best course of action. Our intent is to stimulate thought, discussion, and training related to the type of incidents that were reported.
The following reports chronicle situations where pilots, once their decisions were made, operated their aircraft into a critical phase of flight. Choices are not always clear-cut, decisions are always second guessed, and no number of rules or checklists can cover the range of decisions that a pilot may be required to make. Our hope is that thoughtful discussion of these incidents might benefit the judgment that a pilot employs while making decisions that may or may not be dictated by a regulation, rule, or checklist.
The First Half of the Story
Situation # 1 Beech 1900 Captain’s Report
■ Early during the takeoff roll, the pilot noted a right hand LOW FUEL PRESS annunciator and associated Master Warning.… All [other] aircraft instruments and indications remained normal.
■ The marine fog bank had just come in. As we were intercepting the course for the RNAV Y RWY 27 approach, several planes ahead of us all went around. Tower gave us a short delay vector off the course and re-cleared us on the LOC RWY 27 approach. We did a very quick and dirty brief, noting…managed/selected [speeds] and [a potential] missed approach. I loaded the FMC while the Captain flew. I felt we were being rushed with the last minute approach change, and…it was only my third flight [in the last month]. I was slower than normal and a bit rusty as well. I didn’t notice that the Derived Decision Altitude (DDA) I set was above the 500 feet AGL call. As we neared the minimums, I was looking to make the 500 feet call and completely missed the 100 feet above “Approaching Minimums” call and subsequently was late with the “Minimums” call also. The Captain called “Minimums” for me followed by his “Going Around” call. He pushed the thrust levers up to the go around detent, called “Flaps 3,” and began to pitch up. I was still a second or two behind him thinking about the minimums call I just missed and didn’t immediately retract the flaps. Before I could set the flaps to three, the Captain said that the runway was in sight.
■ We departed with good weather forecast for Salt Lake City with no alternate needed. We were planned with 600 pounds of taxi fuel and 1,471 pounds of contingency fuel. The flight was uneventful until we began the descent to SLC. We were being vectored north around the airport to get around a storm that was over the airport. As we broke out north of the airport, I looked down and saw it raining on the east side with more storms east of the airport. We were on downwind vectors for [runway] 16L and had just been cleared for the approach when ATC said that aircraft were reporting a loss of 20 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) on final and were going around. I told the FO to tell them we will be discontinuing the approach and would like to hold for a bit. We were still doing alright on fuel then and had 3,800 pounds on board. I figured we had 10 to 15 minutes before we had to do an approach to SLC or divert.… I was focused on whether or not we could hold long enough to get into SLC. ATC said that the storm was passing at SLC, and the winds were 16 knots and steady with no Low Level Windshear alerts. They asked if we would like to do an approach. We decided that we would try a single approach, and if we went missed, [then we would] go to ZZZ. We setup for the approach, intercepted final, and started configuring flaps. ATC advised heavy precipitation between us and the runway.
We were on the glideslope at 190 KIAS with flaps 2 passing through 7,500 feet MSL when it seems we might have encountered a microburst.… Within 5 seconds our indicated airspeed rapidly increased to 234 KIAS.
■ While on approach, we started out a little high due to thunderstorms that were on our arrival. The deviation was going to get us on the ground with about 6,400 pounds of fuel. Just north of the airport, we were turned onto a downwind and cleared to 4,000 feet MSL, and after that to 3,000 feet. Once we got close to leveling off at 3,000 feet, we were given a base turn…and cleared down to 2,600 feet. At that time we reported the airport in sight, and I noticed that we were still around 240 KIAS. I queried the Captain if he still wanted to go that fast. He said he had not realized we were still going that fast and started slowing. He dropped the gear and started slowing while also following the glide slope. I made the 1,000 foot call, but we both realized we only had flaps 15 selected up until that point. We missed that gate, but it looked like the aircraft was slowing enough to make the 500 foot gate. As we tried to get the aircraft slowed, I think we may have had only flaps 25 at the 500 foot gate.
■ The pilot rejected the takeoff, as briefed, for a Master Warning prior to V1 speed. The pilot assumed a false annunciator warning because the LOW FUEL PRESS annunciator extinguished after power was reduced…and all other remaining instruments and annunciators were indicating normal. The pilot decided to attempt a normal takeoff after taxiing back to [the] runway and receiving takeoff clearance. All operations during the second takeoff were entirely normal and routine, with no abnormal annunciations or events. The flight continued through termination under normal operating circumstances.
The First Officer's Action
■ We had hit a hole in the clouds, and the runway was there. We were still configured and in position to make a safe landing.
■ A second or two after bringing up the power, we were in the clear with the runway in sight. Since the flaps and gear had not been moved yet, I chose to pitch over gently and continued visually to land in the touchdown zone with a normal rate of descent and normal landing.
■ I would have normally broken off the approach immediately, but we were high enough off the ground that I could get stable by 1,000 feet AGL, and I also expected the [air]speed increase to immediately subside. We were both caught completely off guard when the airspeed didn’t go back to normal, but actually kept increasing. At that point, I told ATC that we were going missed and going to ZZZ.… Even though there was a flap overspeed, I elected to retract the flaps due to our fuel status and not knowing if there would be a delay getting into ZZZ with other aircraft being diverted there. I felt it would be less risky to retract the flaps than to continue flying with the flaps at 2 and burn extra fuel. We landed at ZZZ uneventfully, and I left the flaps in the landing configuration until Maintenance could look at them.
■ I should have made the go-around call per Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). However, neither of us announced the go-around, and we continued to land.… Luckily, we landed uneventfully. As we taxied clear of the runway, we both agreed that we should have gone around and, after the fact, realized our non-compliance. I realized that I should have used my training and my assertiveness to announce the go-around per SOP. I still regret not speaking up as I should have.
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CALLBACK Issue 447
ASRS Online Resources
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