On 1 September 2013 the pilot of a Cessna 210 aircraft, registered VH-JMG (JMG), conducted a private flight from Port Macquarie to Bankstown, New South Wales.
The pilot regularly flew this route and was very familiar with the airspace. On this day, he was feeling unwell, so departed earlier than usual, at about 1510 Eastern Standard Time.
The flight went as planned, with the aircraft arriving at the cruise level of 8, 500 ft around Taree. The pilot requested and was issued a clearance to enter Class C controlled airspace at Williamtown.
The pilot put the aircraft on autopilot, and listened to music through the radio, whilst monitoring the aircraft.
Soon after, there was no further communication with JMG until the pilot called close to Bankstown.
The pilot had fallen asleep and re-entered Class C controlled airspace prior to waking up again. He conducted a spiral descent down to the Lane of Entry near Brooklyn Bridge. The flight then continued as planned with a safe arrival and landing at Bankstown.
This report highlights the need for all pilots to carefully consider their fitness to fly. This includes assessing fatigue and illness. The following publications provide additional information on pilot incapacitation and the ‘IMSAFE’ checklist:
- Pilot Incapacitation: Analysis of Medical Conditions Affecting Pilots Involved in Accidents and Incidents – 1 January 1975 to 31 March 2006
- Federal Aviation Administration Risk Management Handbook