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VFR into IMC ATSB investigation

Old 6th Mar 2021, 02:12
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VFR into IMC ATSB investigation

https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications...r/ao-2021-009/

It just amazes me that with todays technology pilots still get caught in these dangerous situations yet it is still common scenario. Are we becoming too reliant on the technology these days? A pilot may decide to ‘press on’ into deteriorating weather, either unable or unwilling to see the increasing danger of their actions, until the aircraft suddenly enters IMC.
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 03:17
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Would love to see the ATC transcript.

The way I read it, is that the instructor said screw this scud running crap, I’ve got a Goldfish to feed, I’m heading home VFR in IMC.

Presumably they were qualified personally to do so, or experienced enough to get away with it. If the pilot and aircraft were IFR capable, you’d have to assume they would have upgraded.
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 08:33
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I cannot comment on the actual incident here but I think at times there can come a point when it may be safer to go IMC than try and stay under cloud. Obviously avoid getting into the situation in the first place but the typical scenario we teach students where it is described as you "accidentally enter cloud" so "you need to do a 180 on instruments and exit it" is not particularly realistic or reflective of what happens in real life (IMO)

I think a lot of VFR into IMC happens much more gradually and insidiously and by the time you are in IMC a 180 turn is not always going to help.

The old ASD has an article (#133 1987 "Kilmore, apt - but sad") about a pilot who kept pressing on under weather into rising terrain (Kilmore Gap) hoping it would improve.
https://www.atsb.gov.au/media/577482...133_win_87.pdf

The final accident report on that accident not quite as the detailed as the ASD is https://www.atsb.gov.au/media/27716/aair198302279.pdf

In that case pilot had many options to turn earlier but when he was really in trouble perhaps the best option may have been to climb rather than a simple 180 turn back to where he had been visual.

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Old 6th Mar 2021, 09:15
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Originally Posted by Squawk7700 View Post

The way I read it, is that the instructor said screw this scud running crap, I’ve got a Goldfish to feed, I’m heading home VFR in IMC.
Amazing insight!
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Old 6th Mar 2021, 09:27
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Originally Posted by Capt Fathom View Post
Amazing insight!
Imagine being an IFR qualified instructor in an IFR equipped aircraft being flown by a low time student and you want to get home to feed your goldfish and not spend the night at the Hamilton Golden Chain motel.

You may be right there Jonkster, we often focus on the negatives, but in this case they may have taken the safest option.
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Old 9th Mar 2021, 19:39
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The PIC took control, requested ATC assistance and landed safely “ The investigation is continuing “. What more is to investigate? Has the ATSB no other ‘crimes’ to solve?
Perhaps I could give them a list of the errors of judgement I made in my career, which (fortunately) I extricated myself from.
Now THAT would occupy their tiny minds....
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Old 9th Mar 2021, 19:53
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Originally Posted by Mach E Avelli View Post
The PIC took control, requested ATC assistance and landed safely “ The investigation is continuing “. What more is to investigate?
The instructor took control, then climbed, then entered IMC. I guess the question is why?
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 04:57
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Mach E Avelli, We all have a few of these stories we COULD share. (Sorry, not sorry CASA but I'm not going to. ) I agree with you that in this case there is nothing to see here. Well done to the Instructor.
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 05:44
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Originally Posted by Squawk7700 View Post
Imagine being an IFR qualified instructor in an IFR equipped aircraft being flown by a low time student and you want to get home to feed your goldfish and not spend the night at the Hamilton Golden Chain motel.

You may be right there Jonkster, we often focus on the negatives, but in this case they may have taken the safest option.
The most important question here is ‘Well fu*k me! What’s wrong with the Hamilton Golden Chain motel?’
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 07:32
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Originally Posted by Strainer View Post
The most important question here is ‘Well fu*k me! What’s wrong with the Hamilton Golden Chain motel?’
It must be bad if it’s worth punching into IMC and declaring an issue to ATC.
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 09:16
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Originally Posted by Strainer View Post
The most important question here is ‘Well fu*k me! What’s wrong with the Hamilton Golden Chain motel?’
No, this is the most important question; How is the Goldfish?
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 09:40
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There might be something to investigate here, and I am not talking about the PIC's command decision that saw a safe outcome.

Why did BOM get it so wrong? Are they under resourced, inexperienced etc?
Does the flying school set out on VFR flights in conditions that arenot suitable (might be a trend re the fatality a few years ago).
And maybe something else I have not thought of.
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 09:46
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Problem with BoM these days is they rely solely on computer modelling to forecast weather.

Local forecasting experience has been forgotten or ignored!
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 10:36
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Originally Posted by Capt Fathom View Post
Problem with BoM these days is they rely solely on computer modelling to forecast weather.

Local forecasting experience has been forgotten or ignored!
... which may be a factor in this incident, hence continued investigation.
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 14:54
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Is there any reason why a qualified pilot in that part of the world can't change from flying VFR to IFR after departure?

It's by no means unusual in this part of the world and certainly no reason for an official inquiry.
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 15:17
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I agree with SkyTorque, in the UK it happens all the time. Many times an aircraft operating from an airfield with no approach aids will divert into an Instrument equipped aerodrome.

We even have a thing called the Strasser Scheme which encourages it and many airfield/airports in the UK will waive landing fees for genuine weather diversions.

No questions, no inquiries, nowt!

Could it be that the Australian weather (unlike European weather) is either so settled/unsettled that this non event (to us) sparks an inquiry?
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 19:33
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Is there any reason why a qualified pilot in that part of the world can't change from flying VFR to IFR after departure
Unless things have changed since I gave up never used to be.
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Old 10th Mar 2021, 20:47
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The incident reported is of a VFR flight that went into IMC, (not that they changed from VFR to IFR).

I would assume from that wording, the aircraft or the instructor were restricted to VFR ops (eg aircraft not having suitable equipment or pilot not having a current rating etc).
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Old 11th Mar 2021, 01:06
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'I would assume from that wording, the aircraft or the instructor were restricted to VFR ops (eg aircraft not having suitable equipment or pilot not having a current rating etc)'

Yes I was wondering about that. I flew that particular aircraft a few times (although it was quite a few years ago now) and I seem to remember it as a pretty bog standard Warrior and not equipped for IFR. I guess it could have been upgraded in the years since. Hard to comment on the instructors decision making without knowing all the facts, but from what I've read so far he seems to have done well to extricate them from what could have been a nasty situation. Looking forward to the report coming out by 2024

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Old 11th Mar 2021, 11:45
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Originally Posted by Strainer View Post
The most important question here is ‘Well fu*k me! What’s wrong with the Hamilton Golden Chain motel?’
Like most motels the bed cover is carrying 120 different DNAs. Think about it.
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