Landing at Closed Airport

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by X Marks the Spot to Land, Aug 12, 2016.

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Would you self-report if you landed on a closed runway that other planes were using?

  1. Yes

    7 vote(s)
    21.9%
  2. No

    25 vote(s)
    78.1%
  1. 100-hour private pilot took a trip with a passenger to a small town airport to visit someone and figured he would have known and told us if the airport had any problems. Didn't check notams before flying. Arrived and overflew midfield, noticed a couple of vehicles in the grass near the runway and X's on the ends of the second grass runway. There were X's in the grass off the ends of the paved runway and it didn't have any paint on it. Saw a spray plane with its door open in front of a hangar full of chemical. We debated if the airport was open or not and decided it was safe to land, other planes were operating there, and AWOS was broadcasting weather information and nothing about closure.

    Once we parked and shut down, a guy walked over and asked if we knew we had landed at a closed airport. Checked the notams then and saw that both runways were closed. He told us to move the plane off the marked parking space we were on to the other end of the airport so the spray planes could taxi through. We asked where the spray planes were taking off and landing and he said the runway. We watched a spray plane take off from the field while we waited for our ride to show up.

    So, the PIC didn't find out all the information possible before the flight. That's a rule and it was broken. But apparently the local custom is to keep using the runway even if it's closed.

    Someone told me that the FAA has some kind of anonymous self-reporting service for incidents like this. Anyone know where to find that? And who among POA would self-report this incident?
     
  2. SmashTime

    SmashTime Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If someone saw it, like stated...yes. You probably got snitched on by a do gooder.

    If no one saw it and nothing happened, no.
     
  3. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    Sounds like you're referring to ASRS. Keep in mind that enforcement immunity regarding certificate action is only for inadvertent actions. One could argue that landing at an airport with Xs on the runways was intentional. But if you think there was a safety issue to be reported, by all means report it.
     
  4. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Regarding the poll question, it sounds like you were asking if people would report themselves to the FAA, which could result in an enforcement action. The ASRS report mentioned in the thread is made to NASA, who keeps your identity confidential so that it won't lead to enforcement action. This encourages pilots to report safety issues, which can help others.
     
  5. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow En-Route

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    Been there done that... Long story short the FBO did it intentionally without filling a Notam.

    (FBO management also ran airport ops)
     
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  6. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    As Kritch mentions, it's bad when the no notam is filed. It's worse when there are no X's.

    As for the op, if the cropdusters were flying then it's a clusterflop and a nasa form is appropriate.
     
  7. Mike Smith

    Mike Smith Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    You didn't mention if this was a public or private use airport? I assume it is public. I would fill out an asrs, but in this case I don't think it would do any good because if I read your post correctly, the pilot didn't check notams before flight, landed on clearly visible X'd runways and then checked notams and found that the airport was in fact notam'd closed. The other airplanes using the runway are irrelevant to this pilots situation. However, if no one calls the friendly aviation association, I don't think anything will come of it anyway.
     
  8. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Why was the airport closed?
    What difference does it make that the ag planes got permission to depart?
     
  9. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    Landing on closed runways is only allowed for senior US senators. Unless you are one, expect to pay the piper.
     
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  10. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    1. Did you know AWOS are not like an ATIS? An AWOS is an automated weather report. It does not give NOTAMS.

    2. You saw X's on the end of the runway and were still debating if the runway was open or not? Why do you think the X's were there?

    As an airport operator, I have heard pilots use the excuse, "Well I saw the X's but it looked ok to use to me." Why do you think the airport went through the trouble of placing X's and issuing NOTAMs? Do you know why the runway is closed, or only that it is? For all you know there is a danger on the runway that may not be easy to see from a moving aircraft. There could be wires strung across the runway, a hole of trench across the runway, or debris or equipment on the runway. Maybe they are having an airshow and closed the airport.

    Now as to why they were allowing the other aircraft to operate, I have no idea. Did their NOTAM exclude agricultural aircraft from the closure?
     
  11. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yup, it's only ruling class which can break their own rules.

    Us peasants, not so much, I'd fill out a NASA and I'd also guess with the local AG op using the runway, you'll probably be fine.

    Everyone has been guilty of not checking or missing a notam at one pint or another, just be sure to check, if you have a smart phone and reception you could have checked while over the field too, or ask ATC.
     
  12. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ En-Route

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    If they did not file a NOTAM, but marked the runways? Tough question.
    Marked runways, don't land, could be an emergency closure and the NOTAM is in progress.
     
  13. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ En-Route

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    Airports can be closed and used for fire fighting or other issues, and be outside the Fire TFR.
    Were they crop dusters or fire bombers?
     
  14. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow En-Route

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    Nahh... No proper X's. They were painting.
     
  15. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Nothing prohibits you from landing on a closed runway/airport (other than TFRs). The FAA won't enforce this, it's up to the airport management to make a case. What the FAA can nail you with is careless and reckless if there was some reason the airport was closed.

    A while back a local airport was notam'd closed until 1600 for runway work. At 1602 some yahoo in a bonanza takes off narrowly missing the man removing the large X from the end of the runway. Moral: no matter what the notam says, the airport isn't open until the guy with the X gets off the runway.
     
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  16. Old Geek

    Old Geek Pattern Altitude

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    Your AWOS does not give NOTAMS, but it will broadcast a temporary message that you can record. And a situation like this would be the perfect use of that function.
     
  17. Graueradler

    Graueradler Pattern Altitude

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    Did you have a radio? Did the FBO have a radio? Some one who lands on a closed runway after seeing and recognizing the X's with no further information shouldn't be flying. Some one on the ground could get hurt or killed. Some in the plane could get hurt or killed. Consequences are deserved.

    As a former airport manager, when we closed a runway, if we could, we posted it as closed, open by prior arrangement. Call unicom X minutes out. We would get people and equipment off of the runway so the plane could land. If we couldn't interrupt what was going on or the runway was in an unsafe condition - well runway closed meant runway closed and we just posted it as closed.
     
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  18. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not all have that function, and its should not be depended on to present this information. That is why the X's exist.
     
  19. Old Geek

    Old Geek Pattern Altitude

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    I never suggested that it should be depended on. Just that a message would be thoughtful and appreciated. AFAIK all Allweather AWOS stations can record a temporary custom message.
     
  20. Graueradler

    Graueradler Pattern Altitude

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    I don't remember if we have ASOS or AWOS (it is owned by the gov't) but if it has any temporary message function, we don't know it.
     
  21. Glenn D

    Glenn D Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sounds to me like the engine was running rough, and he needed to find a place to land and check the mixture setting,,, say an airport with operating aircraft and thinks, " good, there is a place to stop and check out the plane"...
     
  22. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Do you really think anyone would fall for that?
     
  23. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Most likely not but it would be fun to watch someone try
     
  24. Old Geek

    Old Geek Pattern Altitude

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    Relevant, but without trickery:
    http://www.flyingmag.com/technique/i-learned-about-flying/x-marks-spot

    I also like the story because I grew up in Cle Elum.
     
  25. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I would have tried to raise airport management via unicom to see if I could get permission, otherwise I would have buggered off and landed someplace else. Don't need the drama.
     
  26. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Years ago I was based at APG and flew out of a flying club at Phillips Army Air Field there. Now this airport both has a control tower (an airport traffic area back in the day) and is within a restricted area (APG tests artillery and other things that go boom). Further, one of our runways was notam'd closed. Well, a Cessna 150 shows up one afternoon landing on a closed runway. Lost student pilot. She was fortunate to find the airport. She was also fortunate to get the airplane down and stopped before she hit the large trench that was cut across the middle of the runway (which is why it was closed). Anyhow, they got her directed over to the aero club where one of our instructors called her instructor and we sold her some fuel from the club pump and sent her on her way home.
     
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  27. hawk25u

    hawk25u Pre-Flight

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    About 30 years ago I was an air traffic controller in the Air Force based at Pease AFB. On a Sunday with nothing going on a C150 landed, taxied to the ramp and parked the plane on the grass at the base of the control tower. By the time he got out of the plane security police had him surrounded and by the time I got out on the catwalk he was kissing grass. His instructor came up the next day and flew him home. He was on his first solo cross country. SAC bases take security seriously.
     
  28. Wrench978

    Wrench978 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I enjoy flying into pease. Im training at Hampton, and the tower controllers are great to us rookies! I haven't tried stopping though!
     
  29. FlySince9

    FlySince9 Pattern Altitude

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    Sounds like it was a temporary closure since the X's were in the grass... (not a permanent place to paint X's) and was probably closed for the AG operations that day, week, whatever... Might be open now, but if not sure, should have passed it up and landed somewhere else... Once you saw the X's and weren't sure, would have been wise to call FS for NOTAMS before taking the plunge ...
     
  30. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    Airports are rarely closed. Runways are routinely closed.