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  #1  
Old 11-22-2013, 08:22 AM
rzbill's Avatar
rzbill rzbill is offline
 
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Location: Asheville, NC
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I have always mentally agreed with the title of this thread but yesterday it was handed to me on a platter such that it is now engrained in my heart.

I departed Asheville for a short hop to Lincolnton. It was marginal VFR but of the low ceiling-very good visibility type. I decided to go VFR. No problems encountered.

Weather was predicted to be the same or improve for the ride home. It was until I reached the mountains surrounding the Asheville valley. For some reason I could not receive ATIS (unusual). Approach said 1000' and 2.5 miles. Should be no problem. I squeezed in to take a look and decided to ask for a special and contact approach which was granted. However, I ran into a wall cloud and had to terminate. I flew back out of the valley to Rutherfordton to sit down and put on my race face for IFR. I'm positive the AVL controller would have instantly offered a local IFR clearance to shoot an approach but I was not ready. Next time I will be even if I am VFR.

Filed, programmed the 430 and GRT and took off, opened plan and headed to AVL. I have an archer nav in the left tip. It has worked fine for all previous vfr testing of approaches. Well, it did not on this flight. I was approaching intercept from the right of course and I got no needles. Missed the intercept but I had the GRT SAP programmed and moving map on the other screen so I was able to recover without vectors. As soon as I turned such that I was intercepting from the left, the needles popped up.

Centered the needles and got settled. (HITS and the velocity vector kick butt). Tower called and said the CRJ ahead of me reported breaking out at minimums. Jeez... This will be a first.

Same happened to me. I started getting worried at 250 feet but the lights and rabbit popped out right at 200. Landed and thanked the tower for the help.

So, I learned a few things both technically and operationally that I now know I need to change.
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ME/AE '82
RV-7A: Flying since April 15, 2012. 850 hrs
YIO-360-M1B, mags, CS, GRT EX and WS H1s & A/P, Navworx
Unpainted, polished....kinda'... Eyeballin' vinyl really hard.
Yeah. The boss got a Silhouette Cameo 4 Xmas 2019.

Last edited by rzbill : 11-22-2013 at 12:41 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-22-2013, 08:37 AM
txnight txnight is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: dallas
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Nice write up.

Going back and regrouping was a good idea and I'm glad you had that option available to you.


When you didn't get the needles on Nav 1 how long did you give yourself before asking for vectors or going missed? Nice work on having Nav 2 set up.
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  #3  
Old 11-22-2013, 08:45 AM
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Ironflight Ironflight is offline
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Great write-up, but your title is a bit misleading. You had plenty of options to go elswhere, right? Lots of fuel and RV speed to get to a good VFR option? That meant that you used good judgement and there is no harm poking around low conditions (as long as you are current and no when to "knock it off" due to equipment or pilot failures) - so long as you NEED to complete a minimums approach to stay alive.

That's fundamentally how I define "Light IFR" - knowing that I can always escape and go someplace VFR if everything isn't going right. Of course, you need to recognize when to quit and go find sunshine.

Paul
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  #4  
Old 11-22-2013, 08:53 AM
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flyeyes flyeyes is offline
 
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Default Light IFR

Yep

My experience is that more often than not, IFR destination forecasts aren't quite as bad as forecast when you get there, but marginal VFR forecasts are often worse.

Be especially wary when the METAR is worse than the forecast, with a tight temp/dew point spread.

Last Friday night I flew into KNEW with a marginal VFR forecast behind a front. Conditions were forecast to be around 1000' and 6 miles. The METAR was consistently a little worse all afternoon, and I was scheduled to arrive about 40 minutes after sunset.

When I got there, the ATIS was a 200 ft indefinite ceiling and 1/2 mile vis in mist.

I've flown two approaches to minimums in the last year, both were with VFR forecasts. Significantly, both times there were marginal VFR or better airports within 10 miles
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  #5  
Old 11-22-2013, 09:04 AM
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KatieB KatieB is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rzbill View Post
However, I ran into a wall cloud and had to terminate. I flew back out of the valley to Rutherfordton to sit down and put on my race face for IFR. I'm positive the AVL controller would have instantly offered a local IFR clearance to shoot an approach but I was not ready. Next time I will be even if I am VFR.
At my old flight school we used to teach scenario based training, back when SBT was new and we were all bad at it... anyway, this would have been an excellent example. You knew you were not prepared for an IFR approach, so rather than just winging it, you opted to go land VFR and prepare for the approach the right way. Given the terrain around AVL, getting lost and confused in IMC around there is not an option.

I also like the fact that you were able to use your GRT Synthetic Approach as it was intended-- a secondary tool for situational awareness to help you get onto the ILS needles to shoot the approach. Nice job!
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  #6  
Old 11-22-2013, 09:39 AM
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MarkW MarkW is offline
 
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My instrument instructor taught belts and suspenders.
Any time I have had an issue it has been because I was not as prepared as I should have been. I always try to stay two steps ahead.
I still fly with that CFII on occation and he almost always trips me up just to remind me to stay two steps ahead. Your alternate was a good decision to allow you to get caught up.
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  #7  
Old 11-22-2013, 09:58 AM
60av8tor 60av8tor is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironflight View Post
Great write-up, but your title is a bit misleading…
That's fundamentally how I define "Light IFR" - knowing that I can always escape and go someplace VFR if everything isn't going right. Of course, you need to recognize when to quit and go find sunshine.
I enjoy reading your comment, Paul. I know some here are extremely adamant that there is no such thing as various gradiations of IFR. To me there is. With today’s technology and the abundance (at times over abundance) of preflight information, one is able to assess risk and make an informed decision to launch or not – icing level, area forecasts, front location/movement, cloud types, actual precipitation or not, VFR conditions within ALT range, etc. Just like going out for a local VFR flight with winds light and variable has a different risk level than a 20G35 crosswind, so does, in my opinion, a large, stable stratus layer bumping 1000’ vs. heavy showers, embedded TS, low icing levels, etc.

This is not to say one must not be prepared with back equipment/plan, etc – IMC is IMC. And as others have said, conditions are fluid and are not always found as expected. But I disagree that all IFR flight is the same.
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Last edited by 60av8tor : 11-22-2013 at 05:56 PM.
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  #8  
Old 11-22-2013, 12:08 PM
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John Clark John Clark is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironflight View Post
That's fundamentally how I define "Light IFR" - knowing that I can always escape and go someplace VFR if everything isn't going right. Of course, you need to recognize when to quit and go find sunshine.
Paul
Several years ago I was flamed for using the term "light IFR." Paul's definition is perfect. Being a left coaster there are plenty of times that an IFR departure is required, but there isn't any real weather for a thousand miles. Having spent way too much time slogging through real weather, keeping one eye on the flight instruments and radar and the other on the anti-ice and de-ice systems, trust me, there are different levels of IMC.

John Clark ATP, CFI
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  #9  
Old 11-22-2013, 12:15 PM
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mburch mburch is offline
 
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I tend to agree with Paul also... Maybe a more apt term would be "localized IMC" instead of "light IFR".

- Matt
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  #10  
Old 11-22-2013, 12:41 PM
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rzbill rzbill is offline
 
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I get the point about being able to bail out to MVFR as a definition of light IFR.
HOWEVER, my definition of light IFR has always been punching a layer down to an approach with high cielings meaning at or above non-precision cielings of 6 to 800 feet. So from that aspect, this was not light IFR.

Once commited to IFR after filing, I was in the soup until I broke out at 200 feet. I could not legally bail out to VFR because the minimum vectoring altitudes were all above the cieling. Thats much different than punching a thin layer and landing visually.
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Bill Pendergrass
ME/AE '82
RV-7A: Flying since April 15, 2012. 850 hrs
YIO-360-M1B, mags, CS, GRT EX and WS H1s & A/P, Navworx
Unpainted, polished....kinda'... Eyeballin' vinyl really hard.
Yeah. The boss got a Silhouette Cameo 4 Xmas 2019.

Last edited by rzbill : 11-22-2013 at 12:43 PM.
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