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VFR Pilots - flight into cloud.

I haven't looked it up, but I have the feeling, CFIT is more an issue of getting killed VIFR, than a misflown 180. To be honest, I wouldn't dare to just descent, until I was very sure of the ceiling. But then again, there would be no reason to fly into that cloud VFR anyway. As I have experienced, inadvertent flight into clouds happens more often, if you are low already. So descending straight and level through the clouds isn't an option in many cases.

However, if the student has problems flying the 180 at first, the instructor can put more emphasis on these instrument manoeuvres, including situation management (e.g. straight backcourse, propably climb, if everything is stable, then call FIS, etc) No probable CAS bust excuses for losing control of the aircraft altogether.

And no AI is needed to fly in clouds, I have trained a lot with just the turn indicator (which I prefer over the turn coordinator in that scenario). Gliders do their cloud flying (there actually IS a rating for that in Germany, but you'll need a ATC clearance and I don't think that's likeley here, though) with just a turn and slip indicator and the ASI. They fly one minute "standard rate".

Then there are - at least in Germany - some pilots, who don't care at all. Mostly microlight pilots, but a couple of Cirrus owners fly VIFR, too, or parachute droppers. One of the latter once told me, he had a suction, and thus AI failure while IMC on the way up (with the jumpers still in the plane) and he mentioned to monitor bank and pitch changes of his magnetic compass, which I found to be an interesting way to "solve" a problem, to say at least. Told him, it's not cool but he wouldn't mind at all. Neither do the jumpers, who are reckless enough to demand this behaviour from the pilot and jump through clouds anyway. One reason, I stay away from cloudbase, as it gets a bit higher. (The other reason are gliders). One sometimes wonders, why that is that so few accidents occur after all.

cheers,

mh
Aufwind GmbH
EKPB, Germany

he mentioned to monitor bank and pitch changes of his magnetic compass, which I found to be an interesting way to "solve" a problem

Sounds like he survived by pure dumb luck....clearly doesn't understand the physics involved! May as well have said he flew by the seat of his pants....

To clarify, if he was on a Northerly heading, a bank to the left say would cause the magnetic heading to indicate a turn to the right...so presumably he would turn further left...and you can picture the result....

EGPD / OMDW / YPJT, United Kingdom

The pilot is officially trained to know what "MSA" is. If he busts that, all bets are off. How can the school be liable?

MSA is one of the Instrument Flight Rules and does not relate to VFR flight, there is no requirement for a VFR pilot to fly above the MSA, he can bust it as much as he likes. If a pilot is not trained to fly IFR he will not have been taught to climb to MSA when entering cloud, hence the 180 degree turn rather than climbing into more cloud and possibly icing.

If a school has standard procedures, then the place for them is the Operations Manual, that's what its for. When the CAA approves such manuals, it looks to make sure that the contents reflect good practice and procedures or they will require it to be changed.

Surely half of the interest in flying is making appropriate decisions under whatever circumstances one happens to be in. In lots of situations, doing a 180 might be a less sensible option than simply descending through cloud. In other situations, it clearly would be the better option. In a few, perhaps hitting the throttle and powering up through a layer of stratus would be the safest thing to do.

I can see that during a 45 hour PPL course, you don't want to overcomplicate matters. However, is 'cookbook' flying with only one recipe for each situation really the way ahead? Even if you only teach one single approach, is it possible to do so without giving the impression that flying is an inflexible rule-based discipline where there is only one true way?

I don't know the stats, but is a CFIT or even a loss of control in IMC significant in the plain-PPL population?

Most CFITs I know about straight off were done by IR holders, doing seemingly really stupid things which they should not have been doing.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I don't know the stats, but is a CFIT or even a loss of control in IMC significant in the plain-PPL population?

There is a quite interesting FAA Advisory Circular on this topic, claiming CFIT as a cause for 17% of the GA fatalities, with continued VFR flight into IMC being one of the leading cause for CFIT accidents: AC61-134

mh
Aufwind GmbH
EKPB, Germany

All good debate, but I think what this tells us is to get the IMC rating or an IR.

Flying in cloud is not a particularly difficult skill. You just need the training and some experience of it.

The story about teaching an entire IMCr without entering any actual cloud.... the mind just boggles. It is totally, totally different to flying under the hood. Not harder, not easier, just different. Like it is different to flying visually.

EGLM & EGTN

Flying in cloud is not a particularly difficult skill. You just need the training and some experience of it.

And in our wonderful EU Safety World that is something that is going to disappear because very soon there will be nobody left to teach it!

There is a quite interesting FAA Advisory Circular on this topic, claiming CFIT as a cause for 17% of the GA fatalities, with continued VFR flight into IMC being one of the leading cause for CFIT accidents: AC61-134

From which one can conclude that there will be a steady rise in fatalities due to EASA's incompetence.

I would not take the Flying in the Clouds part so easy. After all the "horror stories" are not based on ancedotes but on research done by NASA.

While it is true that not EVERY pilot will lose control of the a/c in clouds, the majority will. There are many natural talents who get it real quick but there's many more who have big problems learnin to fly in IMC. There's even pilots who can never do it really safe, and then they shouldn't do it.

I myself did not take the issue so serious until one day I suddenly developed Vertigo on a go-around in clouds close to the ground and would have killed myself FOR SURE if the instructor had not recovered the aircraft (172RG). I remember very well how i told the instructor that the Attitude Indicator had failed, how SURE iwas about it (!), and how i tried to "upright" the plane ... but actually I was starting a roll into the ground.

The problem is that nobody is really completely immune from Vertigo - and you never know when it will happen. To fly IFR without having had very competent instruction will kill any pilot sooner or later, and the statistics prove it.

We do teach the 180° Standard Rate Turn to get back. If you have a VFR Pilot who has to turn back during an attempt of scud running, he may not have a chance to go through straight and level, or even descent. If you initiate a 180 in 500ft / 1.5km vis (a.k.a. VFR-Minima) and you enter clouds or experience worsening meteorological conditions, you have to go back. No way you can survive flying through frontal weather, IMC, with just bare minimum training a couple of years ago. So my students learn this and we practice it, until it works under the hood. It might not help them with the surprise, but it helps if you have done it before and don't have to figure it out the moment you need it.

As to actually flying through clouds, we have quite a bit of IR traffic around and I'd rather have the ability to separate myself from the IR traffic, witch is hard to do in a cloud w/o ATC clearance.

In preparation for their life as a pilot and for the "instrument time" in the PPL syllabus (or for the training from LAPL / national PPL / ICAO-PPL to EASA-PPL, I usually do an eyes-shut-upset recovery training. Most of my students are really surprised, how very little you can trust your sense of motion. Many said they would have bet € 1000 that we were in a left climbing turn, when the reality was exactly opposite. This teaches to really monitor the instruments .

Then, last sunday, I was running a bit late to get the C172 from EDXE to EDKA in a 35 kt headwind. Nothing serious, for I could have filed VFR night to EHBK instead, witch I would have done anyway, if a student hadn't cancelled his lesson on short notice. On 8,5 DME inbound MHV, the suction pump broke, or, to be more precise, it's gear broke. Again, nothing serious in CAVOK, but it made me think about the outcome in VFR night, IMC or even marginal VMC. It was frightening to see the AI wander off so slowly, even in CAVOK it took me some time to realise what's going on. And I didn't train this failure in quite a while (although quite extensively back then).

So basically I included this partial panel training to my VFR students in preparation of the PPL(A) and Night VFR. My test object was an experienced pilot who holds an aerobatic glider license, as well as licenses for microlights, touring motor gliders and a LAPL(A). He has a quite good handling of plane and procedures, recieved about two hours "instrument training", a half hour of witch "under the hood". So he's not completely new to the topic.

The task: Fly straight and level to the NDB (homing) under the hood without AI/DG. The outcome:

besten Grusz,

mh
Aufwind GmbH
EKPB, Germany
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