Hey Peter, thanks for your comment. The weather was not nearly as bad as one could think seeing this wx chart. The tops were not much above my FL60 cruising level, there was virtually no precipitation and no convective clouds. The 0°-isotherm was well above, and the hills were not obscured by clouds along my route. The trough in front of the cold front had been quite active, but it had crossed the area a couple of hours before my departure. It was exactly the kind of weather you can use the EIR for: fly comfortably at mid-levels under IFR to avoid bad weather and airspace issues enroute vs scud running under marginal VFR in difficult airspace.
Interestingly my non-flying-friend thinks the IFR fight was super busy and a little spooky with all the communication and flying in the clouds while the VFR diversion to an unknown grass field in locally very marginal weather “was what I thought flying was like, low level and great views”.
Yeah, the SIDs and STARs are technically off-limits for me, but I mostly fly to and from non-controlled airfields in Germany that don´t have the comfort of published instrument procedures, so it does not matter to me until next year when I (hopefully) complete my IR. The most limiting issue for me at the moment is that I don´t have an FAA IR, which keeps me restricted to Germany when flying IFR in our club´s N-reg Cirrus…but there´s got to be goals I can thrive for.
The EIR, but especially the training for it with a great instructor, showed its value not just while flying IFR, but especially while doing the VFR 180° with the possibility of briefly going IMC (which we didn´t). I had a similar situation a couple of years ago in a non-instrument airplane and without the training, and my level of stress as I remember it was a LOT higher back then.
I might have missed something but is there a reason you did a 180° when VFR with deteriorating weather instead of going IFR ?
The E-IR does have two advantages:
1 getting rid of complex airspaces; you just fly, reply to radio, and enjoy the music. As much as I can I can recommend the CB IR, not having to jiggle yourself around or through complex airspace limits does have its merits.
2 helping to realize that clouds aren’t evil incarnate after all. There’s a huge difference between what a cloud looks like from the outside when you’re obliged to fly underneath it (forced by VFR rules) and that same cloud once you legally fly through it and see what’s on the other side. Which is often not much, or not as much as you thought. I was always a bit doubtful of the general “clouds mean instant death” approach of initial PPL VFR training. Now I know it. It would be much much safer to train PPL pilots to fly under instruments, than forcing them into scud running.
My two cents.
Quote I might have missed something but is there a reason you did a 180° when VFR with deteriorating weather instead of going IFR ?
I could have gone IFR, but I could not have cancelled at my destination due to the high MVA, so we preferred staying VFR. And it was no problem, since the weather behind us was ok.
getting rid of complex airspaces; you just fly, reply to radio, and enjoy the music. As much as I can I can recommend the CB IR, not having to jiggle yourself around or through complex airspace limits does have its merits
One has to wonder, exactly who are those complex airspace limits for? And why do some countries have them while others don’t? What’s the problem of flying into controlled airspace VFR? I think this is old habit more than anything else.
EIR looks interesting though, but there are practical problems with it. At the point of switching you have to be in minimum VFR conditions as well as minimum IFR conditions. IFR minimum is 1000 feet above the highest obstacle within 8 km form the current position. This means you have to be in VFR conditions at that point, thus the ceiling has to be at least 1000 feet. Add some terrain to this, and the ceiling has to be potentially several thousand feet. Add some real terrain, and the IFR minimum is 2000 ft above the obstacle.
Most of Europe has airspace which is either [almost] too complex to work out from the chart depiction (some examples here) or there are local ATC policies, mostly undocumented, to simply not let VFR traffic in there. Sometimes these are documented e.g. the large area of France which bans VFR above FL115 (Class D). Then there is the UK, and Italy, with large parts of Class A for no current logical reason.
Hence many European pilots get the IR (of which the EIR is one form) even if they never enter IMC.
It is bizzare…
Italy as far as I know doesn’t have full primary radar coverage, therefore they define most of the airspace where there’s commercial traffic as airspace A. Problem solved…..
Progress has been slow but steady and the exam is slowly approaching. It’ll be a full IR not the EIR. I did some 35 hours on the Mooney with a FI and did around 16 hours with a ATO on their Cessna. Can I do the exam on my own Mooney, or does it need to be the ATO Cessna?
Can I do the exam on my own Mooney, or does it need to be the ATO Cessna?
You can do the exam with any examiner on any plane, respecting stuff like:
Once the ATO has signed the recommendation for the exam, you can literally slam the door and never see them again (if you pass the exam! if you fail, you need the ATO again)
EDIT: I forgot about issues of your airplane being N-reg; I have no advice on that.
Your Mooney is N-reg? The ATO may insist on some additional arial work stuff…, but overall you can push to do the exam on it, why you did not sort out the stuff to do all the training in it?
If you are happy with flying their Cessna and make thing easy for you/instructor/examiner just go for it…also, bear in mind the examiner may not know how to fly your airplane (never been checked on it??), so you need to be at the top of the game on avionics and flying elements…