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  #1  
Old 02-16-2013, 06:20 AM
pierre smith's Avatar
pierre smith pierre smith is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Louisville, Ga
Posts: 7,911
Default Finding your comfort zone.

Picture the scenario:

100 miles over open ocean in a single engine homebuilt shortly after departure.

Green and yellow bands of rain shortly after departure.

Endure this condition for an hour or more, IFR, while climbing and taking clearances over the radio.

Three trusting passengers whose lives you're responsible for!

Over the years, I've ferried many Cessna Agwagons the 1,000 miles from Wichita home and penetrated layers up and down with nothing but an airspeed, altimeter and turn coordinator....more on this very underestimated little instrument...a life saver potentially.

I asked a captain of a regional airline what he thought about the bands of green and yellow and in his opinion, not hard enough to remove any paint but hard enough to hear....hmmmm., what to do?

OK...the three dangers in flying told to me by an old, wise pilot:

Nighttime
Bad weather
Low fuel...and as long as you never get any TWO conditions simultaneously, you can handle any one of them fairly well.

So, we have not-so-good weather, but daytime and lotsa fuel and many options...as in a 180 degree turn. I also have a retired Navy carrier pilot in the right seat, with supersonic time, most night carrier landings in his squadron and none of us has a hangover...the previous night's cautionary habit.

We blast off and turn north, as instructed and soon enter low lying layers and quickly become solid IMC with light rain. I turn on the ADI 2, on "Track" mode, wings level and we were already trimmed for a 145 MPH cruise climb, so at this point we merely monitor as I lean while climbing to our assigned 8,000'.

Nevertheless, my hearbeat was higher because I don't do this very often and thoughts of a huge ocean underneath remain.

Everything was smooth and the rain varied between hearing it on the windshield to soft and comforting..if that's the correct term

I can't over-emphasize the value of a good autopilot because it made this part of the trip a literal piece-of-cake, as we marched along, in and out of clouds and rain....it seemed like days before we started seeing bits of earth and lighter-colored layers, finally comfortable VFR on top near the Florida/Georgia line. In Georgia, the last bit of cloud disappeared and we were in smooth air, severe clear and I had an opportunity to demonstrate LOP operations and the results to my carrier friend

This was another lesson for me as I took one more bite of the elephant...the way you too, should approach flying in increasingly deteriorating weather on your new IFR ticket...eat the elephant one bite at a time, cautiously and with careful planning. We knew in advance that better weather awaited. I'd much rather do this than vice-versa. Besides, the 496 showed all the precip and we were allowed to deviate a little into the lighter spots.

We were also sitting behind an Aerosport IO-540, that had been humming dependably for the last three years that I've owned it, with zero malfunction...no auto-conversions in this kind of scenario for me. YMMV.

Best,
__________________
Rv10 Sold
46 years ag pilot/CFI
Air Tractor 502/PT-6
Building RV-12, Wings, fuse, emp complete. FWF in progress.

Last edited by pierre smith : 02-16-2013 at 01:45 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-16-2013, 06:42 AM
pilottangocharlie pilottangocharlie is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Newcastle, OK
Posts: 176
Default

Excellent write-up Pierre. The greatest attraction of aviating to me is the constant room to learn more and grow in knowledge. There are many lessons for us to learn of simply moving a craft through the air. Instrument rating is next on the list. It's really a must have in order to completely rely on the aircraft for travel. Thanks for that reminder.
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  #3  
Old 02-16-2013, 07:00 AM
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pierre smith pierre smith is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Louisville, Ga
Posts: 7,911
Default Yep

We live in one of the biggest countries on earth and these 200 MPH machines can take us far from home in a short time and this time of year has so many rainy frontal systems that an instrument rating, plus a well-equipped airplane (D100/120, backup Alt/AS, 430W, SL-30, 496 w XM WX, ADI II). allows this capability.



Best,
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Building RV-12, Wings, fuse, emp complete. FWF in progress.
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  #4  
Old 02-16-2013, 07:24 AM
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RV10inOz RV10inOz is offline
 
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Location: Brisbane Qld. Aust.
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My rules of engagement are like yours.

You are normal, rational and safe.

Just be careful of that guy in the right seat, he might see a postage stamp in the dark of night and want to do something really dumb.......land on it!
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  #5  
Old 02-16-2013, 08:27 AM
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dmaib dmaib is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: New Smyrna Beach, FL
Posts: 1,341
Thumbs up

Excellent post, Pierre. Good, conservative, logical decision making. Does not get any better than that IMHO.

We are off to KEYW Wednesday to meet some friends for a few days. Your trip write up has put me in the mood!
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  #6  
Old 02-16-2013, 08:28 AM
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DonFromTX DonFromTX is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: La Feria Texas
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierre smith View Post
Picture the scenario:
We were also sitting behind an Aerosport IO-540, that had been humming dependably for the last three years that I've owned it, with zero malfunction...no auto-conversions in this kind of scenario for me. YMMV.
Best,
Oooh what a low blow Pierre, perhaps you need to get a different brand of automobile?
I sure enjoyed your narrative of the trip, thanks for sharing that with all of us.
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  #7  
Old 02-16-2013, 08:38 AM
pierre smith's Avatar
pierre smith pierre smith is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Louisville, Ga
Posts: 7,911
Default No low blow

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonFromTX View Post
Oooh what a low blow Pierre, perhaps you need to get a different brand of automobile?
I sure enjoyed your narrative of the trip, thanks for sharing that with all of us.
Don, that's why I ended with "YMMV".

I've been flying since 1969 and have seen corvairs, VW's, Chevy V-6's and inline 4 cylinder Fords and a Chevy LS engine in an RV-10, plus a few rotary-powered airplanes, but the safest, lowest maintenace engine remains the Lyc.

My comfort zone includes not crossing large bodies of water, in bad weather, with an automotive engine. Day VFR over the airport in one...whole 'nuther story.

Get your -12 done and repeat the same trip with a story for us

Best,


Best,
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46 years ag pilot/CFI
Air Tractor 502/PT-6
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  #8  
Old 02-16-2013, 10:19 AM
David Paule David Paule is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,063
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Add these to your list of three things. Make it five things --

Single engine
Bad terrain.

Dave
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  #9  
Old 02-16-2013, 01:05 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 7,856
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Note to poster #2 and all: I would remove the idea of "completely rely on the airplane for travel" from the thought process. There are times when neither the airlines nor your RV should be launching.
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  #10  
Old 02-16-2013, 01:35 PM
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Lemmingman Lemmingman is offline
 
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Location: McKinney, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pierre smith View Post
I'd much rather do this than vice-versa.
Did you mean having the poor weather at the beginning of the trip rather than have it at the end of the trip? If so, why? I dont have IFR, so I'm curious.
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