Accidents and Close Calls Discussion on accidents, close calls, and other unplanned aviation events, so we can learn from them, and be better pilots ourselves.

VFR into IMC

Old 29th Jun 2015, 10:29
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VFR into IMC

Very good watch
https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=ggEsjoXsEWY
Do you think you landed safely because of skill or was it just luck? Um, definitely, it was a lot of luck. I would never want to go through that again.
Published on 29 Aug 2014
Flying in instrument meteorological conditions without proper navigational equipment or flight planning.

It has certainly been a dynamic and exciting year as the CAA Flight Operations Part 91 department, supported by key role players within the aviation industry, travelled around the country to meet with the general aviation fraternity.

Dubbed “Hello Winter” for the greater part of the roadshow, the educational was an exciting event that follows in the footsteps of the successful, first-of-its-kind workshops held in Gauteng and Lowveld at the end of 2013.

CAA Part 91; ATNS, The SAWS; Aeroclub of South Africa; Mayday SA; SA Search and Rescue and guest speaker Eon de Vos delivered significant safety presentations which highlighted the necessity for general aviation pilots to be even more vigilant and professional than pilots operating within the commercial sector due to the demand of the single pilot operations domain.

The screening of a first-of-its kind interview with retired SAA Captain Rob du Plooy, who survived a horrific VFR into IMC situation in a zero-panel aircraft in January this year en-route to Mossel Bay from Port Alfred, had audiences captivated as they felt every emotion of this situation in which Rob also lost his friend, and pilot-in-formation, to a CFIT accident in the Addo Elephant National Park. This video has now been released for public viewing on YouTube, and can be viewed by clicking on this link.

We trust that you find the video valuable, and we truly hope to never have events of this nature repeat themselves.
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Old 2nd Jul 2015, 09:58
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I entered IMC ( not forecast) from VFR once on a practice X country. Did I panic? Yes, very much so!
I made a very quick decision to do a 180 and went back the way I came.
I was using an information service at the time, but it was obviously not much use. I popped out into clear blue some 2 minutes after entering IMC, sweating a bit, but having learned a lesson. My instructor then gave me an hour under the hood.

Some 10 hours later, nearing PPL completion, I had the same thing again. This time in the circuit to land. Luckily I was at my home airport with radar and once I had settled myself down on instruments, told them of my predicament, I happily accepted vectors that took me away from the circuit and luckily brought me out into the blue. When I landed, I was asked by the CFI if I was ok, as it had all been heard on frequency. I have to admit, I was completely non plussed.

The thing to do is not panic, I kept telling myself that when it first happened, but panic I did. I was lucky that day and doing the 180 was the right thing to do. The second time it all came kind of naturally, head down concentrate, don't panic. Aviate, Navigate and Communicate. Although if you are in IMC I would suggest missing the Navigate initially!
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Old 20th Jul 2015, 12:39
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That's disturbing that you have had two incidents like that while training for your PPL and I would question the way you are being supervised
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 11:41
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I agree. I fail to understand how anyone can inadvertantly fly into IMC from VFR. Good, timely decision making and looking out of the window should prevent this.
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 11:49
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I sat at the hold on Jersey on a bright blue day, a Flybe aircraft went around we saw him after a few seconds as he climbed but the layer of rubbish that prevented him seeing the runway wasn't visible to us. That's how people can end up IMC without intending to.
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 12:13
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Fair enough, every day is a school day.
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 12:24
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Originally Posted by Baronbombburst
I agree. I fail to understand how anyone can inadvertantly fly into IMC from VFR. Good, timely decision making and looking out of the window should prevent this.
I used to think like that. Then it happened to me, and now I understand.

One moment I was in the blue, with pretty cumulus puffs all around. The next - bam! Solid IMC in the blink of an eye. I'd only looked inside for a few seconds to scribble down my joining info, and that's all it took.

Luckily, a smart 180 and I was out in a jiffy.
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Old 13th Oct 2015, 12:41
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I fail to understand how anyone can inadvertantly fly into IMC from VFR.
Flying along just below the cloud base, look inside for a few seconds to fiddle with maps/paperwork/radios/whatever (I don't remember which it was), look up and I'm inside apparently solid cloud.

No big deal as I have the IR(R) and had planned for IFR navigation anyway, just in case I needed it, and to be fair I wasn't trying desperately hard to avoid IMC because I knew it would be no big deal.

It was nonetheless a slight surprise.
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Old 14th Oct 2015, 12:58
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I ask this question not to patronise or belittle the situation (I have an hour's experience and have yet to build on it) but how bad actually is this situation if you fly into IMC for a short amount of time? What are the main dangers?


Is it icing? Lack of situational awareness? Disorientation?


I ask because I want to learn.
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Old 14th Oct 2015, 13:27
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An immediate danger if that you can't be sure that the clouds aren't obscuring the top of a large hill!!!
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Old 14th Oct 2015, 13:56
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That's very true!!
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Old 14th Oct 2015, 15:56
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That's disturbing that you have had two incidents like that while training for your PPL and I would question the way you are being supervised
Somebody told me lately that the current EASA PPL syllabus contains three to five hours of training for instruments based flying, but I don't know wether this includes only hood or actual IMC training - anybody more firm on that knowledge?
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Old 14th Oct 2015, 16:19
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how bad actually is this situation
I don't know the numbers for outside the USA, but I remember reading that 3/4 of all accidents in the USA for general aviation involve flight in IMC with either no IF rating or being ill prepared for IMC (not current, plane not certified for IFR, etc.)

Accidents when on a planned IMC flight are not included in that figure, it was just "mistaken" transitions into IMC.

If you have an hour training, don't worry about this, your instructor will ensure that you don't end up in IMC before you're ready. (if not, s/he won't be an instructor for long)

The idea of this thread, and the original video, is to remind people that it happens to EVERYONE at some time, so be prepared for it on "every" flight.

Even with just one hour of experience, think about what you would do if it happened to you. Right now, the answer is to give the controls to the instructor, but once you're flying solo, you'll need a plan of attack. And your instructor is required to give you that plan before allowing you to solo, so don't worry about it. Just learn it, and follow it when it happens to you.

I've not had it happen to me, yet, but I'm sure it will some day. I have had a similar situation at night though, where the lights on the ground were "sloping" so it looked like the horizon was sloping, and as such I started to feel strange, my internal "level" was telling me one thing, the artificial horizon was telling me something different, and the external horizon was telling me something different again. When I realised what was happening, and straightened out the aeroplane (put the wings level again), I felt very strange, and had to focus very intently to keep flying straight and level. This was before I had an IR, and was part of the impetus for getting my IR.

Interestingly, this was on a trip from Van Nuys to North Las Vegas, at night, about 7500 feet. I didn't realise how tired I was, or how much more oxygen you need at night (for your eyes), until landing and feeling a "rush" of oxygen in my blood.
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 03:06
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I've kind of intentionally flown VFR into IMC. It was what looked like a thin layer of cloud and I had decided that it would be a great idea to just fly up through it rather than stay low and follow the longer valley route to my destination. Needless to say the cloud layer was significantly thicker than I thought. What did I do? I locked my eyes onto the AH and climbed through it while beads of sweat appeared on my forehead and neck as I realised just what an idiot I was.

That's the only time I've flown VFR into cloud, but I've probably been technically IMC a few other times while scud running, but only because it didn't meet the VMC criteria.

I like to think that my decision making has improved in the intervening 21 years!
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 03:09
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Originally Posted by TShan1
I ask this question not to patronise or belittle the situation (I have an hour's experience and have yet to build on it) but how bad actually is this situation if you fly into IMC for a short amount of time? What are the main dangers?


Is it icing? Lack of situational awareness? Disorientation?
All of those things but mainly disorientation.
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 13:28
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Darkroomsource, AerocatS2A, thank you both for the answers.


Very much appreciated.
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Old 16th Oct 2015, 23:21
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http://youtu.be/fXzYZjpoz_E

Good video if you're considering chancing your arm without the appropriate training and rating.
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