Just as the more common “get-home-itis” can lead to poor decision making, so can the desire to get to a destination other than home. In this case, family commitments pressured a Private Pilot to act against better judgment.
■ OK, I did it; the dumbest thing I have ever done in my entire life. I busted the MDA on [a GPS approach]. I can’t believe I did this. I am now a statistic. At least I’m a live statistic. It was a classic case of “get-there-itis” to the extreme. My wife and I had booked a bed and breakfast and I was blinded by my desire to please her…. I knew the ceilings, as reported by ATIS, were half of what the minimums were on the plates. ATC cleared me for the approach and I went ahead and shot the approach anyway. The ironic thing is that it was probably the best approach I ever shot in my life. That doesn’t dismiss the fact that it was also the dumbest decision I probably ever made and I am not short on doing dumb things.
I am, by nature, a safe and conservative pilot. On this day my brain went dead. I’m pretty sure I know what led me to the bad decision making process. The advance booking pretty much set a deadline that I subconsciously determined I was going to make. The rest is history. I feel like an alcoholic who has just recognized he has a problem. I can only hope this experience shakes the dumbness out of my head for the rest of my life.