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Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

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Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby jjbaker » Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:16 am



-- FAASafety.gov --------------------------------------------------------

Pilot Insights - It’s just a little weather – what’s the big deal?
Notice Number: NOTC5940

There is a big misconception about the complexities of flying in clouds. There are lots of YouTube videos and flying magazine articles about flights into clouds that result in fatalities. Among them, you’ll find one that says: “I don’t understand how anyone could make that mistake. All you have to do is look at that artificial horizon thing to figure out whether your wings are level or not.” Or, perhaps you are a low-time Private Pilot. You received three hours of instrument training with a hood of some type, and you did pretty well. So, what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that flying in a cloud is very different than pretending to fly in a cloud!

Here are two things to know before you fly in a cloud for real: How flying “in the weather” differs from flying “under the hood”.How to prepare for entering the clouds.

When you were certified you demonstrated your ability to fly straight and level, make climbs and descents and fly toward a VOR without looking outside of the plane. But, that hood, in short doses, does not demonstrate that you can maintain control of the aircraft while you are: Entering data into the GPS.Talking to someone.Navigating to the correct point.Fighting the fear that something very bad is going on.Trying to calm your passengers who also know that you are in over your head.Or, doing all these things at once.And, never getting even a glimpse of the sky or ground to reorient your head.

Flying in the clouds for real, you see nothing outside but the inside of a cotton ball. Your head tells you one thing about your orientation; your instruments tell you something totally different. And, when you look away from the attitude indicator to retune a radio or GPS, the airplane has a tendency to roll into a bank without you seeing it or feeling it. When that bank degenerates into a descending spiral, all of the back pressure in the world will not stop the descent.

So, what do you do? Stay out of the clouds until you have your instrument rating. Do this by obtaining and HEEDING weather reports. Then, if you inadvertently find yourself in in a cloud, get out the same way you got in; slow turn back around, slow wings-level descent back down, or slow wings-level climb out of the cloud.

Even today, after years of flying with an instrument rating, I know that when I enter the clouds my head and my body will need a minute or so to fully accept the situation. So here’s what I do to prepare for entering the clouds:

My technique is the same whether climbing into a cloud after takeoff or descending into a cloud for an approach. About fifteen seconds before I enter the cloud, I ensure that I am wings-level, and that my eyes and my mind are focused on the attitude indicator. Then I start that familiar chant in my head: Attitude, altitude; Attitude, heading; Attitude airspeed... By being mentally “on the gauges”, before I need to be, I slide into the weather with a minimum of discomfort.

The next time you have an opportunity to fly with an instructor, ask to practice these techniques with some real clouds.

Want to see the aftereffects of inadvertent IMC? Check out this video. It has been around a while but, it truly represents the feeling of the first time in the weather. And, for pilots without adequate training, it depicts the typical ending, which comes in about three minutes. - - http://www.aopa.org/AOPA-Live.aspx?watc ... 74403E0%7D

Christopher Hope
2015 FAASTeam Representative of the Year
To contact the author, go to: http://www.chrishopefaaflightinstructor.com/
For more information on the GA Awards program go to http://www.generalaviationawards.org/
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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby RKittine » Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:42 pm

Some of these reasons I never enjoyed (thought did it many times) single pilot, HARD IFR without an autopilot with altitude hold.

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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby CFII » Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:22 pm

Ditto Bob. Least enjoyable flying, as in not at all enjoyable however, pays for the training when you salvage a flight that would have been canceled because of IMC and makes pilots so much better than VFR pilots.
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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby cubdriver2 » Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:18 am

IFR is is over rated. Scud run under it is the way to go

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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby CFII » Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:04 pm

cubdriver2 wrote:IFR is is over rated. Scud run under it is the way to go

Glenn


My preference is scud running but, that's not IMC, and one can't truly scud run unless they're prepared to go IFR.
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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby RKittine » Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:03 am

Lots of people truly scud run with or without the Instrument Rating and are not proficient to go solid IMC even with a rating. You don't even need to file IFR if below controlled airspace and I know a number of guys (knew some that are not gone) that would fly from airport to airport at 1150 feet in IMC and shoot the approach without talking to anyone. Now a days there is very little uncontrolled airspace in the U.S., but there is under 1200 or 700 feet depending on where.

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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby CFII » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:20 pm

RKittine wrote:Lots of people truly scud run with or without the Instrument Rating and are not proficient to go solid IMC even with a rating. You don't even need to file IFR if below controlled airspace and I know a number of guys (knew some that are not gone) that would fly from airport to airport at 1150 feet in IMC and shoot the approach without talking to anyone. Now a days there is very little uncontrolled airspace in the U.S., but there is under 1200 or 700 feet depending on where.

Bob


You and Cubdriver are talking MVFR, out here we don't call it scud running until it's way down very near zero/zero and it can close in around you instantly and until it does, that is still easy, slow VFR flying, not instrument, which is more demanding no matter what the pilots current level of competency is.
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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby cubdriver2 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:04 pm

I wouldn't do what I do in anything but a Cub. If you want to fly every weekend in the NE then you get used to less then 1 mile vis for about 30% of the year. No matter what it looks like on the ground I always take off and have a look, sometimes I come back, sometimes I get stuck for a few hours, sometimes I spend the night. Most of NY is full of valleys and valleys have roads and roads have straight a ways. I use what I can. If I'm on a 300 mile leg I only worry about the next safe landing area within 10 -15 miles. If that doesn't work I go back and go in a different direction. Some days I need to go 30 miles in the wrong direction to find sky that is workable. Yes I have spent some time in a few hayfields and even a parking lot but remember flying is supposed to be an adventure. 1/2 vis as I get older is starting not to be much fun so I try not to get myself into doing that if I can. Don't do anything stupid but know that you are stupid while you are doing it.

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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby TriPacer » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:20 pm

My recent engine troubles made me think a little more about scud running. If that had happened at 500' AGL, I'd definitely be a forced landing case. That might not be the end of the world in WI where there are lots of fields, but the woods of northern MN might be tricky to land in.
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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby RKittine » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:46 pm

Same thing with Single Engine IFR. I train my Instrument students that they should get air traffic control to vector them toward an airport or open space if possible, set up best glide, keep the wings level and what for break out and hope that you can maneuver to land otherwise, hope for the best.

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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby cubdriver2 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 5:43 pm

RKittine wrote:Same thing with Single Engine IFR. I train my Instrument students that they should get air traffic control to vector them toward an airport or open space if possible, set up best glide, keep the wings level and what for break out and hope that you can maneuver to land otherwise, hope for the best.

Bob


I like my chances better on the bottom

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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby KlausNW » Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:06 am

I'm back up here in Juneau, today was a typical Southeast Alaska day... You takeoff around 4 o'clock with 3000 broken +10 miles. less then an hour later a front pushes through and the weather is 300 to 500 scattered and 700 overcast with +30 knots. It's been 6 hours now and the weather has only got worst, so no waiting for it to move through.

Back in the "good 'ol days" before GPS, we just lost a pilot or two every six months. Today the pilots all comes home and tell their story of scud running back to base. Once again, the FAA is totally off base and behind the times. Technology is coming around so fast and reliable that a little snow shower pushing you down to 200 feet is not as dangerous as it use to be.

Somebody please tell the FAA none of us try to find bad weather and hit a mountain side but, to read the FAA "safety" publications you would think we're all suicidal.

:rain: :rain: :rain: :rain: :rain: :rain:
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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby RKittine » Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:48 am

That is true as long as you do not have electric failure and you are the only one down there at 200 feet. :flying: I also think that the regulations are set based on the average expected skill levels of pilots. You guys with thousands of more hours doing this are a different breed.

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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby BGH » Sat Apr 18, 2015 7:16 pm

I have had the mis/pleasure of running under the weather along the coast & calling each rock so that the traffic coming the other way didn't run into me here on the west coast & I've been fortunate enough to file & depart in minimums & climb into the beautiful blue on top,all hand flown.The hardest work is down low in marginal weather - your map is the most important document on board.Ifr flight is the easiest in controlled airspace & a radar environment from start to finish.

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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby RKittine » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:20 pm

Have flown many approaches in solid IMC with no ATC to rely on. There are a lot of small airports that are not within range of ATC. Plenty of them when there is a 0/0 take offs from fields that do not have communication available with ATC while on the ground. Call on the phone, get a Void time and make sure you run up and take off when expected. Lots of enroute areas where the minimum communication altitude is well above the minimum clearance altitude. It is true that a lot of the time you climb up through it into VFR conditions on top and have a let down through a little IMC, but I have hand flown 5 hours straight never coming out of solid IMC without an autopilot resulting in a let down to minimums and do not find it fun at all. Especially taxing when you miss an approach (2 or more time) when not in contact with ATC and then have to calculate the time to show up at your alternate and be expected. Love filling out CRAFT with R - Route being "As Filed" and then as soon as entering IMC getting, "Stand By For Routing Change". Because there are 6 Commercial Airports in this area, traffic dictates that more often then not even when in ATC contact.

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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby CFII » Fri May 08, 2015 5:21 am

BGH wrote:I have had the mis/pleasure of running under the weather along the coast & calling each rock so that the traffic coming the other way didn't run into me here on the west coast & I've been fortunate enough to file & depart in minimums & climb into the beautiful blue on top,all hand flown.The hardest work is down low in marginal weather - your map is the most important document on board.Ifr flight is the easiest in controlled airspace & a radar environment from start to finish.

Daryl


That wasn't too hard for someone with a cool head to properly correct the last sentence stating the reality that scud running, one the more challenging of VFR tasks, is indeed more difficult than one of the easier of IFR tasks -controlled IFR flight with professional outside assistance. As opposed to single pilot IFR tasks outside the controller and radar assisted environment that Robert and others pointed out.
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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby BGH » Mon May 11, 2015 1:33 pm

RKittine wrote:Have flown many approaches in solid IMC with no ATC to rely on. There are a lot of small airports that are not within range of ATC. Plenty of them when there is a 0/0 take offs from fields that do not have communication available with ATC while on the ground. Call on the phone, get a Void time and make sure you run up and take off when expected. Lots of enroute areas where the minimum communication altitude is well above the minimum clearance altitude. It is true that a lot of the time you climb up through it into VFR conditions on top and have a let down through a little IMC, but I have hand flown 5 hours straight never coming out of solid IMC without an autopilot resulting in a let down to minimums and do not find it fun at all. Especially taxing when you miss an approach (2 or more time) when not in contact with ATC and then have to calculate the time to show up at your alternate and be expected. Love filling out CRAFT with R - Route being "As Filed" and then as soon as entering IMC getting, "Stand By For Routing Change". Because there are 6 Commercial Airports in this area, traffic dictates that more often then not even when in ATC contact.

Bob


Bob:

In my country there is no one authorized to make 0/0 departures, even if transport has authorized cat 3 for you. The lowest departure value is an rvr of 600 (for cat 3 authorized only), for the rest of us private people the lowest departure value from an assessed airport is 1/2 statute mile & for a non assessed airport the visibility for departure depends on what category of aircraft you are on climbout - the 185 climbs at about 80 knots so that make it a category A which requires a minimum of 1 statute mile.

Radar coverage in the lower part of the country can be decent, but in some area such as around Castlegar you may not have radar coverage any lower than 13000 feet, pal coverage is getting better so there has only been a few places in the last 6 years that I've been both outside radar & communication coverage. As for heading to the alternate after the missed approach ,well I was taught that your routing & paperwork; including trip log should be completed before departure so that you just put that sheet on the clipboard & follow the plan - if the weather is that bad then plan 2 alternates with the paperwork.

I've owned my aircraft for almost 32 years & it as of yet does not have an autopilot so all my flying is hands on & it has been to both ends of my country, through some very rough weather & in very poor visibility. In my country you have to demonstrate your knowledge of regs & your skills to a designated examiner every 2 years whether you fly every day, or your last flight was 2 years ago. On a ride a few years ago we took off at minimums, missed on the ndb because of poor weather & just made the ils at minimums.Back to the examiners airport & the weather was just above minimums for straight in ,but below for circling which the tower asked me to do - I took the straight in with a crosswind, on the debrief of my pass the examiner told me that if I accepted the circling from the tower he would of failed me. (We reference & carry the cap gen on all flights)
Radar & communication coverage up here is getting better, but because of the size of my country & the varying terrain & vast areas of absolutely nothing - it will never have the level of service that the usa does, just a part of every day life up here.

Regards;

Daryl
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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby RKittine » Mon May 11, 2015 7:15 pm

Hi Daryl,

I understand the issues that we all sometimes get stuck with. My point was only that IFR flight even when filed, CAN, but may not be grueling. After 55 years of flying, my being conservative has kept me safe.

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Re: Just A Little Weather - Whats The Deal?

Unread postby BGH » Wed May 13, 2015 2:40 pm

I agree with you 100% Bob, I am not yet 55 but I also believe that being conservative & safe helps make the flight a bit more enjoyable. My father was in search & rescue for 25 years & he instilled in me that there is nothing more frustrating than finding the missing aircraft on the side of a hill, or mountain on a bright sunny day.

Regards;

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