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182 crashed into trees at Porepunkah

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182 crashed into trees at Porepunkah

Old 8th Jan 2023, 19:40
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The 'basic' rules of VFR say that an aircraft at or below whichever is the higher of 3,000' AMSL and 1,000' AGL must be operated in sight of ground or water. How can that be done in inky blackness? Landing lights don't help much in illuminating the land or water during climb. (Not commenting on the specific circumstances of the flight the subject of this thread. I have no insight into those circumstances.)
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Old 8th Jan 2023, 19:40
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I would say taking off without lights (if that did occur) would be a breach of CASR 91.055, “Aircraft not to be operated in a manner that creates a hazard”.
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Old 8th Jan 2023, 22:45
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The 'basic' rules of VFR say that an aircraft at or below whichever is the higher of 3,000' AMSL and 1,000' AGL must be operated in sight of ground or water. How can that be done in inky blackness
All you need is a NVMC rating and you're good to go, providing the weather report is on your side.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 00:15
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I'd say that if I'm at an unlit strip, in a dark valley, during the hours of darkness on a moonless night, I'd be silly to go, whatever the weather report. But that's just me and, as they say, there's no law against silly. (I say again: I'm not commenting on the specific circumstances of the flight the subject of this thread. I have no insight into those circumstances.)
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 07:15
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Originally Posted by outnabout
I am also fairly certain that RFDS pilots are current, confident, and at the top of their game before they get signed off for night work.

.
I know one of these guys and yes, you summed it up, as well as extremely careful and risk averse.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 11:46
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Originally Posted by compressor stall
I'm asking what the minimum amount of lighting is?.
I don't think there is any. It seems under the CASR it is a pilot responsibility to assess the operation and to conduct it safely, and availability and/or use of lights is just one thing to consider (or so they advise in AC 91-02)
Should CASA disagree, it would be either they prove it wasn't, or the pilot prove it was. Any bets on the way that discussion will end?
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 14:10
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OK zero/zero takeoff is ok (that was taught as part of restricted PPL) , next bit involves careful planning. In a 182 can plan a spiral up to LSAT - goggles make it easier.

Why?
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 15:09
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Originally Posted by Deaf
OK zero/zero takeoff is ok (that was taught as part of restricted PPL) ,
Hi Deaf. What do you mean by "zero/zero takeoff is OK"? Are you saying it's permissible / legal to depart VFR with no visibility minimum and / or no "clear of cloud" restriction? I'm not familiar with Oz regs but that's not the case in the countries / jurisdictions I'm familiar with.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 19:21
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Originally Posted by grizzled
Hi Deaf. What do you mean by "zero/zero takeoff is OK"? Are you saying it's permissible / legal to depart VFR with no visibility minimum and / or no "clear of cloud" restriction? I'm not familiar with Oz regs but that's not the case in the countries / jurisdictions I'm familiar with.
I'm not Deaf, but definitely not what I was taught as a PPL. Even IFR you can't take off with zero vis/zero cloud base. So looking forward to understanding more.
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Old 9th Jan 2023, 22:57
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Soooo... AT night when it's pitch black where are you going to turn to spiral up above? All that terrain is unlit, no obstacle lighting just black at night. Left turn at 500' will put you very close to the hills, if not in them, right turn worse, Straight Ahead to over 3000ft will put you outside 3nm with still 3000+ to climb to LSALT. Not even considering valley effects like planning for downdrafts and such, air will be subsiding down the hill sides in the morning as the temp drops and other wind effects due to the hills. We have tor remember the Military even stuffs this up, the USAF flew a Hercules into a mountain departing an airport in Colorado when they turned too early on departure. And that was with ATC.

PS the hill straight ahead and the ones to the left reach over 2000ft, close to 2500 ft. To the Right that hill/ridge leads up to Mt Buffalo above 5500 ft.


Last edited by 43Inches; 9th Jan 2023 at 23:13.
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 01:00
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More on Porepunkah

New member just throwing my 2c worth, but based at Porepunkah.

I go out from Porepunkah fairly frequently in low ceiling IMC (cloud a few hundred feet above runway). It is possible, safe and legal to do so. Pilot's responsibility until LSA reached. BUT....
I have two IFR navigators programmed with departure waypoints and terrain warning, I did it many times in VMC before doing it in IMC, and I know the area "like the back of my hand". I consider there is
only one way out in IMC (waypoints taking me essentially direct to Porepunkah township, then north west along the Great Alpine Road with maximum rate climb). There is certainly no
way back in in low cloud.

Would I do it at night? Nope - and this is not because of the aerial component, but because of the runway lighting requirement. Not sure of the finer points here, but I always thought there was a requirement even
under private ops for runway lights at night. I am not sure if the flight in question had arranged for portable lighting.

I haven't heard how the pilot is doing, but I hope he is pulling through from what sounded like very serious injuries.

Bob
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 03:13
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safe and legal to do so
Everything you described after that is UNSAFE and ILLEGAL.
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 03:50
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A well known Chieftain operator in Hotham used to fly via their own GPS waypoints to get in when others could not. Until one day it didn't work for whatever reason and they are no longer with us, as well as two fare paying passengers. The procedures have fat for when things go wrong, lose an engine or simply lose navigation or have an electrical failure while bungling around in IMC in valleys and you become the next statistic for the charts. Might even be as simple as a downdraft or ice in the wrong place and you can't climb as much as you would like to and its all over.

There's a well known SAAB 340 accident where they lost control while flying the valleys out of Innsbruck. They managed to stuff up the GPS tracking, and while fiddling in a panic to re-enter because of the terrain all around, they accidentally disconnected the AP and flew into the ground. If two airline crew can stuff it up, whats a single pilot PPL, IFR going to do when the nav screens don't make sense in IMC with hills around and 5000ft below LSALT.

Everything you described after that is UNSAFE and ILLEGAL.
Spot On...
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 03:56
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I'd be curious to know why it is illegal? The AIP states (for IFR flight) that terrain avoidance is the pilot's responsibility when departing on other than a SID or other procedure until least safe altitude is reached. Given I've been doing this for decades, I would very dearly like to know where it is illegal? Whether it is safe is of course open to debate (as for everything in aviation).
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 03:58
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Originally Posted by Traffic_Is_Er_Was
I don't think there is any. It seems under the CASR it is a pilot responsibility to assess the operation and to conduct it safely, and availability and/or use of lights is just one thing to consider (or so they advise in AC 91-02)
Should CASA disagree, it would be either they prove it wasn't, or the pilot prove it was. Any bets on the way that discussion will end?
FWIW, AC 61-05 is the NVFR guidebook: 9.6.1 The pilot must check that aerodrome lighting will be available at the destination at the planned time of arrival.

I don't have time to look up the exact reg right now, but runway lighting requirements apply equally for takeoff and landing since, in an emergency, you need to be able to come back around again - in which case, your "planned time of arrival" would be around 6 minutes after you took off... and if the lighting just happens to not "be available", then, well, we know the rest.

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Old 10th Jan 2023, 04:20
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you need to be able to come back around again - in which case, your "planned time of arrival" would be around 6 minutes after you took off.
Unless my memory is shot (highly possible) if the IMC take off minima was below the approach minima you needed an alternate within one hour flight time. That changed, or do I misremember?
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 04:31
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Only for aircraft that it is necessary to return in the event of engine failure. For single engined aircraft that will plop in a field after EFATO it's 2km and 300ft ceiling, good luck!.
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 04:33
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I am publishing this because of some of the responses to my original comment: "Everything you described after that is UNSAFE and ILLEGAL."

In regard ro Porepunkah departures, I sent the following to flight safety Australia 15 years ago. They did not publish it, because it showed up an ambiguity in the regulations.[note: this is a simplified version of the departure which I must use from my home base at the Porepunkah airfield in country Victoria]. Note also that this is analysed using the regulations as existed at the time. I don't believe they have materially changed in regard to this particular issue. I apologise for the single diagram not appearing, but you can look at the area on google maps to see the situation.

Regulation puzzler:

Scenario:

You wish to depart ifr from your airport at A, which is at around 1000 feet altitude. To the south-west of A, there is a bloody great lump of granite (Ob) which makes the Least Safe Altitude from A to B 8000 feet. The least safe altitude from B to the airport at C then drops down to 4000 feet. These least safe altitudes are constructed according to the regulations, and the position of B has been chosen to be the closest point to A at which the en route LSA drops to 4000 feet. A is a small country strip, and no departure procedures have been promulgated for it.

The weather is IMC, and you establish a clear lateral separation from Ob - which is the only obstruction requiring an LSA greater than 4000 feet - during departure. Which of the following are valid departure procedures?:
  1. Climb at maximum climb rate to establish at 8000 feet before reaching B (you may need a rocket to do this), then descend to 4000 at B.
  2. Climb at a more achievable climb rate to pass through 4000 feet before reaching B, and then descend back down to 4000 feet at B.
  3. Climb on the AB leg to reach 4000 feet before B, then cruise at 4000 feet, or
  4. Climb at a lower climb rate to not reach 4000 before B, then cruise at 4000.
And, for an extra 10 points: Would your answer change if you were flying night VFR?
Answer:
A, B and D are valid, C is not. And probably, a night VFR operation could adopt alternative (c).
Analysis: Probably to allow IFR departures from the myriad of smaller airports for which a formal IFR departure is not prescribed, the regulations allow (CAR188):
An aircraft may be flown along a route segment at a height less than (en-route lsa):
....
(b) during arrival or departure, if the aircraft is being flown:
(i) at a safe height above the terrain; and
(ii) in accordance with any instructions published in AIP; ...
Since no procedures have been promulgated specifically for this airport, (ii) does not apply, other than the statement (AIP en-route 4.3.2):
Note 4. The pilot in command is responsible for ensuring that :
a. terrain clearance is assured until reaching either en route LSALT or departure aerodrome MSA...
This allows pilots to depart in a way which is safe, but which involves less than the en-route lsa. Typically a pilot initially applies clear lateral separation (high hills to the south, climb out to the north).

The problem is back in CAR188, which defines “departure means the time during which an aircraft is climbing after take-off at a rate that is reasonable under the circumstances.”

Although most pilots would not like doing it, climbing at a lower rate of climb is OK, provided terrain clearance is ensured by the pilot using lateral separation. This is likely one of those crash and burn situations – if you crash, then you may be committing an offense as clearly you were not ensuring a reasonable under the circumstances climb rate. So while alternative (d) is OK, alternative (c) clearly is not, as it involves proceeding below the calculated LSA after cruise altitude is reached, and therefore is no longer (in the context of this regulation) part of the departure.

The situation with Night VFR is slightly different, as there is an allowance for step-down after a critical obstacle has been passed(CAAP 5.13-2(0)):
10.4.10 However, NVFR procedures allow for a step down descent based on a new LSALT when the aircraft's position has been positively determined by a visual fix as having passed a critical en-route obstacle.
In the context of “passed” I interpret this as “abeam to the aircraft's actual track”, though an expensive lawyer – and possibly even a reasonable man - may be equally able to be interpret it as “of no further threat to flight”. I did attempt to find reference to this NVFR step-down procedure higher up the regulatory chain and looked in all the usual places, but couldn't find it (I didn't look under the rock at the end of my garden however – never sure where all the caveats are located). NVFR is also slightly more ambiguous as the regulatory material place more emphasis on takeoff and landing, and less on departure.

So there you have it. I would suggest that most ifr pilots would probably adopt alternative (c) for their departure in this case, and yet it is the only one which is clearly invalid. Yes, the regulations are complex.

I would prefer to see departure defined along the lines of: “ departure means the time during which an aircraft is moving away from terrain in the vicinity of the airport, either by climbing or establishing lateral separation” however while this would allow (c), I wonder what the aforementioned expensive lawyer would make of “in the vicinity”?
---
Professor Bob Pascoe retired from Charles Darwin University in 2007. His area of expertise includes design of aviation software, and he continues involvement in a couple of university research projects. Bob owns a PA32 aircraft and has an instrument rating.

Last edited by rsvpInBright; 10th Jan 2023 at 05:12. Reason: spelling
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 04:47
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Quite correct Mr Meagan, it’s called a ‘Departure Alternate’ by my current employer.

I have never had anything to do with NVMC always avoided it like the plague. Some of the most difficult IFR flying is taking off on a moonless night on a country strip with no visible horizon and no lights anywhere (apart from RW lights).

I flew into Porepunkah in the early seventies in a Navajo with Bill Borthwick a State Minister of something when Australian Aircharters had the State Premiers contract. The reason I remember it so well was trying to get out safely with low cloud and rain. (Was one of many scary moments learning the trade in my youth).

Trying it at night in a 182, no thanks.
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Old 10th Jan 2023, 04:49
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I am publishing this because of some of the responses to my original comment: "Everything you described after that is UNSAFE and ILLEGAL."
One part you miss from your original comment is that using user defined waypoints for navigation below LSALT is illegal, among other things. So plotting GPS waypoints in valleys to avoid terrain in IMC below MSA/LSALT is not allowed, for obvious reasons, that simple errors will put you in hills.
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