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VFR Pilots - flight into cloud.

You should share that story as much as possible. So many pilots are afraid of confessing that they are in trouble of fear for the consequences.


I didn’t talk about it for years, same reason.

I subsequently had a bunch of training!


Actually I just remembered some of the conversation with the Lyon controller.

“Do you have instrument rating?”
“Are you Able to maintain straight and level”
“Are you Able to steer a heading”
“Steer xxx degrees. We have blue sky above Lyon brun”

Then every 30 seconds he kept asking if I was ok!

What a brilliant service. I was just staring at the glass horizon and keeping things steady. I was on high alert but not panicked. My wife was not amused and didn’t like IMC. She kept telling me to get out of the cloud!


You did very well, considering the extra stress imposed by your wife.

Also very good to hear that ATC was very helpful. I think French ATC is great (if they are not on strike. Someone will explain me why that happens so regularly. Whoops, sorry about the thread drift).

Private field, Mallorca, Spain

Post #53 is amazing, Carl.

Incidentally, and I think we did this before but I can’t find it, I doubt you can get prosecuted for something you post on a forum – because you could always just say you made it up. They would need to find some supporting evidence e.g. find out the date/time, dig out radar tracks, etc. I don’t think they bother; I say that because of the large amount of evidence of illegal flying (e.g. extensive IFR around Europe, supported by photos posted all over on UK site, by a high profile UK pilot with no IR at the time) which resulted in nothing.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom


thanks for sharing.

I do agree, a good glass cockpit (the bigger the ADI the better) has a lot speaking for it. Tiny horizons on the other hand seem not enough for many to keep control.

I wonder why that is. I never experienced problems with this, neither in my original IMC training nor today when I fly under the hood or simulators without outside reference. I wonder if my large experience flying flight sims have something to do with this. The sensations flying a sim are very different from the real plane, one oes not get “clues” like gravity or the motion of the airplane mostly, so it IS flying insturments after a fashion. It may well be a good training for attitude keeping and all that, as long as one manages to ignore that “butt feeling” on the real airplane.

I do sim sessions for professionals from time to time and very recently had one with a guy who is an avid gamer but never had been on the controls of any plane. The aircraft was a Boeing 777 FTD type of device (no motion but full visual). He flew that flight director beautifully for the whole duration of the flight and did a totally unassisted landing at the end. (I did all the PNF duties for him, but he handflew the airplane all the time on FD.) I’ve done similar stuff often enough and it is totally weird how some non-pilots do immensely better than some PPL’s who get confronted with this scenario.

Generally, I see two kinds of folks. One is those who will get the FD under control within a few minutes (or less in the case of the gentleman I had last week) and then do fine. The other are folks who struggle to the point where they totally loose control (even with the visual on full VMC). There are in-betweens but not that many.

I wonder how the latter kind, particularly if they hold PPL’s, get on with flying in the real world and similarily wonder how the former would do if properly instructed.

LSZH, Switzerland

I actually think it’s very easy to explain.

I was at Friedrichshafen and stuck my head in a simulator. The pilot banked the aircraft and I nearly fell over. Quite simply my brain was taking queues from the multiple screens and believed what it saw. Now imagine looking at a tiny little three inch Horizon – not gonna happen. However, look at a 10 inch glass screen which is right next to your face, and it kind of gives the same effect. I actually can’t understand how anyone half sensible could lose control with a ten inch horizon in their face.


Yes; I got very nauseous when in a CJ3 sim, when they stopped the motion but the video continued That happened whenever they changed the config and I soon learnt to just close my eyes for a few seconds, until the video motion stopped. However I suspect this problem is universal. It would not explain why some people get the leans, which I never seem to get.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I was taught the 180 turn during PPL training, never found it to be a difficult manoeuvre.

Like kwlf I had significant flight simulator time to back me up. Including about 30 attempts at the IR checkride in FS2000 which had a big part on partial panel – that was a bitch with tight tolerances :D

Last Edited by Berto at 04 Jun 07:40

Most people can fly basic manoeuvres if all they do is stare at the AI, regardless of size. It is when they start to do other things and look elsewhere when things fall to pieces, even when they start scanning and get a bit distracted. So beginners don’t lose control when turning, but when trying to roll out on a specific heading and they look at the DI a bit too much, or worse, look at the moving map on their iPad or on the MFG / GNS430 / whatever.

This is where the G1000 style huge AI helps – it is always somewhere in the field of view when scanning, even behind the airspeed indicator and altitude tape, and even when looking elsewhere it is looming somewhere in the peripheral vision.

Biggin Hill
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