View Full Version : Only CAVOK is OK!!!

Bob Carolgees
20th Apr 2006, 15:07
I am doing my commercial training at a large FTO on an integrated course. I had a small amount of previous flying experience before starting the course. The training is to a very high standard and the instructors are great but does anyone else who maybe in a similar situation to me feel like you are wrapped in bubble wrap! By that i mean if the cloud base is below FL100, the wind is 5KTS plus or the visibility is less than 45km you stop flying. It just seems unbelievable at times.

In the past i'd been encouraged to go flying on days that weren't CAVOK to build experience. Never to go below minimums but at least experience something close. This definantly helped awareness, navigation, accuracy etc. The dangerous days for flying are the gin clear Sunday afternoons and bank holidays when you get the PPL pilot out who hasn't flown since last May bank holiday and who hasn't flown with the vis below 50km before. Flying round with their heads looking at their (not so) fancy GPS and not out the window.

Why aren't cross wind landings on the PPL syllabus and why generally aren't people taken up on crap weather days to show them what it's like? The only thing more dangerous than the Sunday driver, is the Sunday flyer!

Callsign Kilo
20th Apr 2006, 16:00
Are you training in America? I got that impression when I flew there. In the particular part of the States where I was if so much as a whisp of cloud appeared or the wind was >10kts instructors looked at eachother in horror. I actually had my integrity questioned when I said my PPL IMC would let me fly in controlled airspace where the viz was touching 3km. When I said my PPL instructor took me up in a variety of poor weather situations and that I was shown how to effectively land a light aircraft in a fairly strong crosswind they thought I was mad!

IMO ask to experience as much as you can as it could save you one day!

20th Apr 2006, 16:59
Crosswind landings [B]are[B]part of the PPL syllabus

During my training I was taken up in some horrible weather, I suppose it depends on the instructor themselves, student experience and the exercise objective.

However, in my flying club I have noticed extreme reluctance in some people who have had licences for many years.

20th Apr 2006, 17:11
I am yet to fly in CAVOC! so far during my PPl and Hourbuilding I am yet to have that ellusive perfect day! And as for Xwind landings well again that's all we seem to get at our FTO!

As for training, if I had waitied for CAVOC and no Xcrosswind while training I would be lucky to have done 1 hour so far! Maybe it's my training school, but the only days we didn't go up was when the was a severe weather warning or the Vis was too bad. I can remember doing some circuits with my instructors where the xcross wind was on the 12kt limit!

Guess it's a good thing then!

20th Apr 2006, 17:31
Your FTO are doing you a great dis-service. When it comes to your CPL and IR tests, on the test day the examiner is going to want you to go flying if it legal. That can mean pretty poor weather, so you need to be in a position to decide for yourself if conditions will permit your flight. If you don't have the experience of operating in marginal conditions you won't have the confidence to make the right decision. Worse still, depending on what you end up doing when you finish, if you get a job flying a light twin about, you will be expected to operate in all weathers provided it is legal. Nobody is going to thank you for refusing to fly and stranding PAX somewhere when you're legally allowed to operate.
Maybe you could have a word with them? If they are a large FTO (Oxford?) they will be experienced in training students so there might be a good reason for them doing what they're doing.

20th Apr 2006, 17:50
Wasn't there a very similar thread here recently? I can't find it now, but maybe someone else will remeber it? I wonder if it's the same school.

Anyway, I take my students flying in as much bad weather as I think they can handle. But it does depend what stage of the course they are at. A student learning about the effects of controls, for example, needs a good clear horizon which might only come with, say, 12km viz or more. A student who is just being introduced into the circuit will not benefit from have a 20kt cross-wind.

On the other hand, once my students are close to their PPL, I expect them to be able to fly in the circuit with 5km viz or less, 15kt x-wind or more. Weather outside the circuit can also be much lower than for early students, depending on exactly what exercises we are doing. I don't expect them to be comfortable in these conditions, and I wouldn't send them solo even if my school allowed me to - but I view it as an important part of their training to know what it is like to fly at or very close to their limits, and to find out what their limits are, while I am with them to keep them safe.

As Hufty says, when you are talking about the CPL/IR phase of your course, you are expected to be able to fly without any intervention from your instructor in just about any conditions which are legal.

If your school is not letting you fly in anything other than perfect weather, then have a word with your instructor, then the chief instructor, try changing instructors, and if none of this makes a difference find another school.