Hello IF PAX community: I have an interesting story for you today. It’s about a time when there was an emergency when I was flying. The link to the story can be found here:
It was a brisk Monday morning on December 24th, 2018 when I got to the airport. I was scheduled for a short cross country in a Cessna 172 to Jonesboro, Arkansas with my buddy to practice instrument approaches for my instrument training. We had plan on doing with ILS 23 with the DME ARC and the VOR 23 with the holds.
After arriving at the airport, I went to by buddies hangar to brief the days plan and what I can expect the approaches and any NOTAMS. The briefing went smoothly and soon enough we were out by the airplane doing our pre-flight. After walking around the airplane and checking the oil and gas, we determined the aircraft was safe for flight and got in. After running through the pre-start checklist, I started the plane and got the weather and inputted all of my needed frequencies into the radios. Upon completion of that, we started our taxi to runway 19 as the winds were light and variable. After taxing down Alpha, we did our run-up with everything checking out nice and smoothly. After that, we lined up with runway 19 and did a left downwind departure to the northeast. Upon reaching five miles from the airport, we contacted Memphis Center for flight following. That was an easy process as they told us to maintain VFR and gave us a squawk code. It was a very calm frequency as it also happened to be Christmas Eve as well. We cruised at a wonderful five thousand five hundred feet (5,500) as we were VFR northeast bound. Once we got the airport in sight, we canceled VFR flight following.
Once we saw the airport, we flew directly to the initial approach fix for the DME ARC on the ILS and flew the approach from there. It was nine mile DME ARC and it happens very slowly at 100 knots. I flew the ILS straight on the needles all the way down until I noticed I got two flags in my CDI. Upon me noticing that, we executed the published missed approach which was climb straight ahead to two thousand feet then a left turn to two thousand three hundred feet (2,300 ) direct the JBR VOR and hold. We did a teardrop entry into the hold and after one turn in the hold, we did the VOR runway 23 approach. I did not brief the approach well enough and flew the approach like a localizer instead of a VOR. After realizing my mistake, we did the published missed again and did the approach again. This time, I flew it somewhat better and was offset the runway like the approach chart says. Upon reaching the decision height, we went visual and landed to take a quick break and to grab some fuel and a snack.
After a quick 15 minute break for fuel and a snack, we once again headed back out for Searcy. We taxied to runway 13 as the winds were 160@5 and departed shortly there after. Upon reaching 2,000 feet, we again once again contacted Memphis Center for flight following back to Searcy. It was once again very simple and got a squawk code and told to maintain VFR. We cruised at four thousand-five hundred as we were going southwest bound. Nothing abnormal happened for the next five to ten minutes while we were flying.
After those five to ten minutes of normal flying, a regional jet started talking to Memphis Center. At first, I thought nothing was wrong. Then, the controller asked the pilot if he was declaring an emergency and the pilot said yes that he was. The controller continues to go on and ask how many souls on board and how much gas (in pounds) he had on board. I believe he said he had 76 souls on board and 8,000+ pounds of gas on board. After that, the controller read it back and asked the pilot what kind of emergency it was. The pilot stated that they were having pressurization issues and that it was climbing and descending rapidly and that he needed to land at the closest airport. The controller told him that the closest airport for him was Little Rock National Airport, Adams Field. The pilot said alright we will go there and land. The controller then gave a new IFR clearance to the flight which was simply present position direct SHERR which is the Initial Approach Fix for the ILS runway 22R approach. Once he got the airplane settled, he ask a skylane that was on frequency if they could maintain VFR at five thousand which they could and did. He also told us to maintain VFR at 4,500 and to report any altitude changes before we did that. The controller did this to move everyone out of the way of the inbound emergency aircraft to Little Rock. Once the controller switched the emergency aircraft to Little Rock approach, he told us that we can just maintain VFR and to report the Searcy Airport in sight. A few moments later, we saw the Searcy Airport and we cancelled VFR flight following. Once we cancelled flight following, we went direct BOLLU which is the IF/IAF for the RNAV (GPS) Runway 19 approach into Searcy. We decided not to do the PT turn just to cut off some time and went straight in following the glideslope since we had LPV and could use LPV minimums. The approach was rather boring as well as the landing. We exited the runway at Foxtrot and taxied back to the ramp via Alpha and Charlie. Once in the parking spot, we shut off the engine and did all of the necessary paperwork as well as tieing down the airplane. A few moments later, we were done and walked to my buddies hangar and did a debrief and signed my logbook. Nothing happened after that as we just talked for a little bit and went home.
Blue Skies and A Tailwind,
Greene Brother’s Flying
Fill free to ask questions about it. Also, let me know if I should share more things like this in blog posts.