This is an excerpt from a report made to the Aviation Safety Reporting System. The narrative is written by the pilot, rather than FAA or NTSB officials. To maintain anonymity, many details, such as aircraft model or airport, are often scrubbed from the reports.
Before I left for this trip I re-studied all the pertinent information and watched all YouTube videos I could pertaining to ZZZ. I also read all the Beech and Twin Cessna comments I could find regarding the best routing for arrival, landing, and departure information. I tried to avail myself so I was completely prepared for ZZZ.
Unfortunately, the original 1979 AMR350 Collins Audio Panel on this 1979 Baron BE58 has no sidetone, making it impossible to know how loud or how soft you are speaking to controllers or to the Tower! It will be replaced with an updated unit.
Approximately 12 miles from final I was requested to slow to approach speed, which I did. I was then instructed by Tower to plan for Runway XX. I slowed and kept it at approach speed with a tailwind as I descended to 1,500 feet for final. With gear down and full flaps as I approached into a landing flair, tower instructed me to immediately go-around at approximately 50 feet above the ground in the Baron BE58, a piston twin configured for landing, to fly straight ahead extended runway heading due to conflicting landing traffic on intersecting runway.
I saw a very large Gulfstream immediately in my left front windshield and just barely below me! It was a very close encounter due to the controller!
On the go-around climbout the mount and iPad weighing 3.5 pounds I use for traffic/IFR/VFR charts/approach plates/info/ flight planning fell from its upper pilot side window mount, hitting me in the side of my head and mouth, breaking the noise cancelling headset microphone arm. It knocked the mic arm off the headset, as well as knocking the headset off my head.
The mount and iPad then fell to the right floor of the co-pilot side.
My first concern was the iPad getting in the rudder pedals.
After looking to the left and right and at a safe altitude I reach down to pick up the iPad from the right co-pilot floor and have apparently veered approximately 10°-15° to right (maximum of 20° for a couple seconds) off course.
Mistake: I felt I needed the iPad immediately for traffic, especially for ground operations as it had been a while since I’d been into ZZZ. Also, since I thought the tower would send me back on a downwind on my next turn I would be facing the bright westward sun in my eyes. I wanted the iPad for conflicting traffic approaching me while I’m facing the sun and for the airport diagram for taxiing.
I had many, many smeared bugs on my windshield. At this point I didn’t have my headset on correctly, my eyes were watering, and within seven seconds of the start of my go-around the tower is yelling at me! I could hear tower YELLING at me about something with the headset below my ears.
I was concentrating on flying the plane and engine management power settings and altitude. I was at approximately 1,700 feet or a little above. The engines are at close to full RPM, close to full MP, and I’ve yet to open the cowl flaps to help cool the engines with a go-around after a long flight. I’d already raised the flaps and gear up of the aircraft on climb out.
It was very loud in the cockpit without the noise canceling headphones on with the engines at takeoff power! Almost stunningly so after wearing them all day.
Fortunately the mic arm wires were still connected, although my headset was off my ears. I remained calm. The only way I could communicate was for me to hold my headset mic arm under my chin to try to talk. I tried get one ear piece on and tried my best to communicate with the tower and the wires keep it from holding under my chin and putting an earpiece on, so I must communicate and turn the volume up all the way and I must have sounded like I had something in my mouth!
I believe the tower controller was upset because he caused a missed and a go-around causing a “conflict” and starts yelling at me as to why I’m off my heading course within seven seconds of the go-around and directs me to immediately leave his Class D Airspace and to contact ZZZ Approach.
I couldn’t hear the frequency he said it so fast and my headset was just barely around my head and not on my ears. Engines are at 2,500 rpm, Manifold Pressure @ max, it’s extremely noisy cockpit inside with full power.
I struggle to reply and sounded like I have something in my mouth with broken mic.
I request clearance to land and he refuses me, yelling to leave his airspace immediately! I circled hoping I was outside of Class D, but not knowing where I actually was because the iPad had lost its page.
I was finally able to contact the correct approach. With his help, the tower gives me clearance to land on Runway ZZ, report a left downwind as I try to hold mic and headset and look through the windshield. I can’t see anything but the sun!
I’m told to do a 360 and a closer downwind, I manage to find the airport in the 360 turn and close the downwind up more and report it with clearance to finally land ZZ.
As I exited the runway I ask for the FBO. Ground was giving me directions off Taxiway A and of course I was having an issue hearing and communicating.
The same tower operator then gets on the frequency and starts yelling again, stating there must something wrong with me! I can’t reply with my mic situation and don’t try. Tower guy sent the authorities, Airport Security and Airport Operations, to see if I’d been drinking or there was something wrong with me! He wanted me in jail!
I complied with all of security and the tests for drugs and drinking. They couldn’t believe they were called to me by this guy. The official was very nice and apologetic after we spoke. He just shook his head and left.
The authorities were upset about wasting their time.
My wife and I were held at the plane for over an hour before we could go to the bathroom or get anything to drink.
They had us circled like we were criminals because of whatever the tower guy said to them!
Airport security tried every trick in the book to trick me into confessing to anything.
I have gone back and listened to all the pertinent tapes regarding this flight and ground. I understand this to a degree as my voice was very weak on the tapes due to the broken mic issues. My voice doesn’t sound like it does normally does in the airplane.
However there is a better way to handle these issues than the way we were treated. I had another expensive noise-cancelling headset overnighted to me so we could return home.
- Forget the iPad if it drops and ask for help if you’re able. Figure a better mounting than what they sell. I really wasn’t able, should have just squawked 7600 and been done with it. I could not have landed at ZZZ though.
- This Baron apparently needs a new audio panel with sidetone so the pilot can hear himself.
- Practice to be even more proficient in emergency procedures — all kinds of emergencies.
- I was upset initially at the tower controller, however after listening to the tapes I understand his concern. He was in the wrong on the sequencing on the landing and caused an issue. He should have just owned up to it.
- I’m very grateful for the FAA videos on ZZZ, they are excellent. I learned many, many things prior to this trip. I should’ve known them previously years before.
- I will make it a habit to study every major airport prior to flying into it, like I did ZZZ. I value the education and am appreciative we have this opportunity.
- I’ve studied/ listen to all the recordings of my communications with ATC/ tower/ ground many times and have recorded all of the exact times of transmissions between myself and others involved to better understand exactly what transpired and how to correct the problem. It happened in the aircraft I was flying. I’m responsible in the end!
Primary Problem: Procedure