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:
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.