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the controllers did not confuse me by any means.....i was aware of what i was supposed to be doing but what got me was i was 10 out and on vectors.... i was asked if i had to report the field in sight. i said i didn't have it yet. i was told it was 10 miles and at my 11....i saw the beacon but even though i had been to this airport 2 other times during the day i was a bit mixed up with where i was in relation to the runways......which i know is my fault. I told the controller i had the beacon but not the runways.......i than was told again 9 miles at your 12. So being young and dumb i reported it insight...... at that point i was given to tower.......switched to tower and asked for the vectors to continue........at that point a second controller came on the radio and asked if i really had the airport; i said yes because at that point i had a visual on a runway..... and  i thought that runway was 31 after a quick look at my diagram. i than did a checklist and than turned final looked over my checklist and than glanced at my heading indicator and saw it....at that point the tower saw it as well..... i was given the option to land 34 as this airport is not busy. the attitude of the controllers toward me as a pilot negatively affected my decision making because the approach and second tower controller were both in my mind agitated i could not have the visual on the airport when i was expected to. this is dumb to a seasoned pilot, but i was trying not to make anybody mad. this is 99% my fault.


--- Quote from: anthonychibnikC172 on November 18, 2008, 03:27:08 PM ---the attitude of the controllers toward me as a pilot negatively affected my decision making because the approach and second tower controller were both in my mind agitated i could not have the visual on the airport when i was expected to. this is dumb to a seasoned pilot, but i was trying not to make anybody mad. this is 99% my fault.

--- End quote ---

Never, ever let a controller get inside your head in that manner.  There will be other times as a pilot, even as an experienced pilot, that you will be on the receiving end of some type of actual or perceived attitude.  Sometimes it may be justified but most times it may not (as this perceived attitude may have to do with a controller's personal issues or mood that day).

You should not allow your concern for the controller's opinion of you affect your flying and your focus.   If you did not have the runway in sight it is your responsibility to your safety and that of your passengers to never call it in sight, despite the controllers' perceived or actual annoyance.  It is my friendly advice coming from a 1,200 hour GA pilot to never answer a controller's question with the answer he or she expects (impatiently or otherwise) unless you actually mean it, be this a question of sighting traffic, the airport, an obstacle, or any other safety of flight issue.

There have been documented and discussed cases of a pilot's interpretation of a controller's off-handed comments and expectations possibly contributing to accidents.  One that comes immediately to mind is the fatal accident a few years ago where a GA pilot attempted an instrument landing, despite the lower than minimum weather conditions that were present.   Prior to the pilot starting the approach, the pilot queried the controller and was told, "Other aircraft have made it in with no difficulties."

It was surmised by the author of the Aviation Safety article (or what is IFR? I cannot recall the mag now) discussing this accident that the pilot may have interpreted this comment as a challenge or possibly as an offhanded statement about his piloting abilities.

In the end, you are the ultimate authority of your aircraft's safety, which is why I originally questioned your comment that the controller shared some of the blame.  Do not let a controller distract you from that primary goal, even if it means that the controller has to spend a few extra minutes with you than s/he had originally planned.   The alternative is much less acceptable.

Thank you very very much for that advise...........you explained that very well. the reason i didn't explain about the controller right off the bat is because i knew it was dumb of me to act in the manner that i did because of how a controller responded to me. at the time i made a dumb decision due to lack of experience... you explaining that was a bigger lesson for me than the fact i lined up on the wrong runway.
                                                     thanks again,

This is probably the most important lesson out of this situation. There will always be situations where you feel "dumb" for not having accomplished something when expected to by the controller (ie. have the field and runway in sight in this situation...) while the controller expected you to have in sight, your mistake was really to give in to the controller's "need" for you to see it so as not to dissapoint him... this is a GREAT example of how one can be lead down the pipe just based on expectations of either the controller or the pilot. This is why experience will make a big difference because it will teach you that it's ok to tell the controller that you don't have the field or the runway in sight... even if the controller is upset, or even if he has to spin you and get you to try it again, at least you'll be safe and avoid an incident. I've seen this situation in enroute control where you ask a pilot to do something such as maintain a certain speed for a sequence, and realize later that your plan is not working. More experienced controllers will look for the "what if"s in situations and have an out in case the pilot doesn't comply wiht the restrictions. Pilots have to be reminded sometimes to maintain a certain speed or pass over a fix at a certain altitude... I guess it's important to realize early on that both controllers and pilots will make mistakes from time to time and the important thing is to remain vigilant in order to spot your mistakes and to be honest with the controller/pilot when you DO make a mistake, despite his sounding irritated.

Thanks for sharing this with us, it takes a lot of courage for someone to face up to his mistakes in such a public manner for the benefit of others... I think you're more mature than you think...

Thanks you very much. The advise i got on this forum has helped me a lot. I'm very glad i posted this. i got advise from this forum that i didn't get in training. i flew from a towered airport a bit bigger than the one this happened at, so it was not inexperience on the radio or anything like i had just never encountered a controller who got mad with me. I now understand what to do as a pilot when this happens because 1. it happened to me. 2. the advise i got on this forum. The lesson that i got from this was huge..... i learned a lot. When i have other things like this i will for sure ask about them here. I would usually say my decision making in a plane is good but in this case inexperience got the best of me. Also for anyone that was wondering this occurred at KRDG; Reading airport(Reading, Pa). The food there is good and its a nice place to go, and i did my private pilot training at KCXY, Capital City airport. (Harrisburg, Pa).
Thanks Again,Anthony


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