Well for sure you would be suicidal to be below the MSA when in IMC
This (terrain rising to meet the cloudbase) is what kills a lot of VFR pilots. Even if you can fly on instruments, and can thus just climb up into IMC and flip to DIFR (DIY IFR) you might still get icing (in the winter especially).
It is a really tricky issue. For example if I am flying from Shoreham to Wellesbourne and there is a fairly solid layer then I need to do it below the cloudbase entirely, the whole way. The only alternative is a DIY IAP into Wellesbourne…
How can you tell a “real CB” when you are underneath a cloud layer? What is a “real CB”? A TCU can chuck out just as much rain. This is often what is above the layer:
I thought a TCU is a cumulus cloud rapidly building, but not raining yet ??
“Towering Cumulus” cloud is the aviation term for “Cumulus Congestus” – and one stage before the CB or “Cumulonimbus”. A TCU can develop into a CB but does not necessarily have to, but it can develop rain showers and gusty winds.
They forced me down in spite of my pleas
You could have said “unable to comply”. Nobody can force you into a disaster. You are the pilot, not the guy at the radar screen.
I agree, but you don’t know it’s a disaster until rather late
“Pleas” may be too strong a word—“several requests” to ATC is more accurate
I tend to comply. These situations develop really fast. But I agree, it is important to remember who’s at risk.
But a lightning strike will do a lot of damage to a GA plane. For a start you have a mandatory shock load inspection, because the current could damage the crankshaft bearing(s), etc. And it is likely to damage a lot of other stuff; one recent DA42 case came to 20k or so and the engines were not done on that one. There is usually avionics damage.
Surely that would be covered by hull insurance?
Yes, but only after you landed