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Cherokee missing in the Channel, 2/4/22

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.

Cherokee missing in the Channel, 2/4/22

Old 20th May 2022, 12:57
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Neither pilot held an instrument rating or IMC qualification. The right seat pilot held a night rating.
+
Passengers who had flown with the pilots on a previous trip to Le Touquet reported that they had briefly entered cloud during that flight, but on that occasion the aircraft had continued without incident.
=
gradual normalization of a risky situation under the assumption that entering a cloud is no big deal, beacuse "I have done it earlier without any problems.".
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Old 21st May 2022, 04:30
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Almost certainly poor judgement by a pilot who most likely was taught about the dangers of flying in IMC for a pilot not having training to do so and that it is illegal.

Unfortunately, there are a certain percentage of pilots who will end up like this every year. It is just the way it is.
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Old 21st May 2022, 09:40
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We were taught that a simple 60 degrees L/R for a certin time to clear obtacle ahead, followed by 60 R/L to parallel track. Then when clear 60 R/L for the same time to regain original track with a 60 L/R and an ammended ETA. They may have then avoided the worst of the weather ahead. It seems this was not attempted and their only cloud avoidance was a vertical one.
Still, easy when on the ground. RIP
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Old 22nd May 2022, 10:31
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Originally Posted by punkalouver View Post
Unfortunately, there are a certain percentage of pilots who will end up like this every year. It is just the way it is.
I hear a distant cry from a few instructors and flight safety officials in the background, when reading this
How do you keep this percentage down? What is the acceptable loss rate due to incidents like this? How do you comfort the relatives of those, who were also on board with the pilot, but perished due to his/her poor decision making?
Probably the answer is NOT more regulation.
Probably the answer is NOT more training (we can see that inadvertent VFR-->IMC transitions can be just as deadly to instrument rated pilots, who are out of recency and practice)
I wish there was some kind of way to show these folks the feeling of vertigo, when instruments no longer make sense or suspected faulty, that would be great. But there is no such simulator on the ground, which could trick your inner ear that way. (Maybe there should be.)
I was lucky in some sense, because I experienced the typical illusions during my basic IR module training. And I can attest: no matter how one can read about it, hear about it, talk to people who had it - the real thing is still a scary experience at first.
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Old 23rd May 2022, 00:50
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post
Agree, so sad. RIP.

Back in Earnest Gann's time, crews apparently lasted only a very short time in cloud before getting into serious difficulties, before the days of IMC instrument flying. I can't now remember what instrument flying is part of the PPL? - is it enough to stay reasonably level at a constant speed and turn 180 in mist or cloud by sole reference to instruments?

Also, I don't recall microbursts from CBs being adequately taught and warned about.
I'm now a long lapsed PPL but got my licence in the 90s with about 58 hours. The PPL did indeed include enough IMC training to do a level 180 turn to get you out of a situation you shouldn't be in in the first place. At about 65 - 70 hours total time, due to poor judgement on my part, I had to make use of it. Scared the hell out of me but I gritted my teeth and did exactly what I had been trained to do - ignore everything except your instruments - and (obviously!) it worked. But as a learning experience it was invaluable.
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Old 23rd May 2022, 06:13
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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I wish there was some kind of way to show these folks the feeling of vertigo, when instruments no longer make sense or suspected faulty, that would be great. But there is no such simulator on the ground, which could trick your inner ear that way. (Maybe there should be.)

I took a long pre buy test flight from NJ to Alabama in the place I was going to buy, a TB-20. I had my PPL and maybe 100 hours. The seller , a CFII, was with me. On the flight home we had an IFR clearance and I was flying. Climbing out we entered some cloud. Within a few seconds I was all twisted around. Bob took over , leveled us out and we soon VMC and on course.
I could not believe how quickly I was totally sideways. Until you have experienced it , it is hard to comprehend.
I brought the plane and the first thing I did was get my IFR. Really no point in flying without it. Just too easy to get caught.


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Old 23rd May 2022, 10:19
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Thanks Grummaniser. Yes, I dug out my Trevor Thom books, and there appears to be sufficient instrument flying training and testing in the PPL to escape cloud or IMC. (I only did half a PPL before starting a full time ATPL).

From the radar plots, this flight appears to have descended to 3000', presumably to have a look underneath the cloud, then tried to climb above it*
According to the AAIB report, the accident happened as the aircraft was entering what looks on the radar plot to be a large embedded CB, (Fig 12). I am assuming they had no weather radar, so wouldn't have seen they were approaching this. I imagine they got caught in a microburst, and/or severe turbulence and lost control. RIP.

*Even passenger jet aircraft cannot out-climb a rapidly developing CB.
.
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Old 23rd May 2022, 11:12
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For what it's worth and only to pass on my experience so others may learn.
During my qualifying cross country some years ago, I flew into IMC over Kent.
I immediately did a 180 and made a call to the station I was talking to.
After about 1 minute or so, I popped out into clear blue and returned to my home base.
I had lost no height and was feeling pleased with myself.
It was only after, that I realised that I hadn't stuck my head down in the cockpit at all after I had completed the 180
and I kept straight and level whilst looking ahead into thick cloud. Not he best thing to have done.

A few years later and after a bit of IMC training, I was caught in cloud whilst turning base leg. This time I reverted solely to
inside the cockpit and with help from a radar service I came out of cloud at 300' on finals.

The first time I didn't panic, the second time I didn't panic, but the first time I didn't follow what I had been taught.

I was solo both times and I am sure that helped my concentration.
These experiences also taught me to quickly react to the situation, don't sit there, don't panic, act.
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Old 23rd May 2022, 19:40
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The ex RAF WW2 pilot who did most of the instructing for recovering my PPL after 21 years not flying, did not include the mandatory loss of control in cloud in my instrument training - just the PPL instrument stuff.
In my first few months as a PPL, I twice got into cloud, went on to instruments, and got out with no problem.Next year I got my IMC, but didn't use it. 5 years later I again got into cloud, and again got out of it, despite sluggish vacuum instruments.n
Convincing people that they WILL lose control makes the PPL and IMC training useless.
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Old 27th May 2022, 11:07
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I think Earnest Gann or someone around then stated that before instrument flying and flight attitude instruments, pilots lasted an average of 30 seconds in cloud before inadvertently and unknowingly banking steeply over or pitching up/down, and being unable to recover from those extreme attitudes.

I don't think enough emphasis is placed on the dangers to PPL pilots. It is all very well passing a meteorology test but I never had an instructor check my understanding and actions if I flew into cloud, before sending me off on a solo exercise.

A proper training and appreciation of the dangers of CBs etc only came when I did full IMC instrument rating(s) as part of commercial airline flying.

Keep WELL AWAY from CBs ! And remember they can be embedded, so you can't see them without a weather radar.
.

Last edited by Uplinker; 27th May 2022 at 11:24. Reason: clarification
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Old 1st Jun 2022, 09:41
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After forty years plus of holding military and civil instrument ratings I have elected not to hold a UK IRR(IMC) qualification as it is no longer relevant to the flying I undertake - if the weather is not good enough then I'll have a coffee on the ground. Whether this is the right thing to do I will leave to others to judge.

What does worry me however, is the attitude that some private pilots have to their shiny new IRR which they use carte blanche to fly light aircraft for prolonged periods in serious IMC conditions - usually in aeroplanes which are not designed for such conditions with no autopilot or icing protection. I never hand flew large jets in IMC, thats why we had multiple autopilots. Currency and practice is vital.
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Old 1st Jun 2022, 11:09
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The good pilots turn around and go back to the crew room when they encounter the bad weather where they join the the experienced pilots who turned around before they encountered the bad weather and they both join the really experienced and wise pilots who had decided not to go flying that day.

MM
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Old 1st Jun 2022, 12:27
  #33 (permalink)  
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I have elected not to hold a UK IRR(IMC) qualification as it is no longer relevant to the flying I undertake - if the weather is not good enough then I'll have a coffee on the ground. Whether this is the right thing to do I will leave to others to judge.
I made the same decision decades ago, when I left flying in the corporate hard IFR flying I had been doing. I decided that I would not fly enough actual IMC, and would not maintain my skills, so should not pretend myself into thinking that I was maintaining currency in that environment. Each pilot must make their own choice, and must maintain skills appropriate to the flying that they undertake. Sometimes deciding either not to go, or to turn around, is the better choice for that pilot.
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