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Mist and/or fog enroute

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Mist and/or fog enroute

Old 16th Sep 2014, 08:19
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Mist and/or fog enroute

Currently faffing around in France with the Maule and deciding which direction I want to go each morning. When creating a potential plan for the day in skydemon some airfields along my intended route are designated IFR due to mist or fog. Now if I plan on overflying VFR at say 4000 feet do I really give a monkeys what the field is reporting, how would one determine from the taf/metars what the "tops" of the mist or fog is, as over flight with vfr on top is fine with me. Other than pilot reports where if anywhere could I find this info?

Probably should know this stuff, but sitting here trying to plan my day it's gotten me stumped and slowing down the party.
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 08:49
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Have you tried Orbifly?

MET'MAP - ORBIFLY FLIGHT SCHOOL - IFR ET CPL AMERICAIN EN EUROPE - FAA IFR AND CPL IN EUROPE
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 08:50
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Doesn't look too bad today
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 09:40
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@ piperboy84: I'm only just finishing up on my license so these may be stupid questions, but:

1. Don't you need to be in sight of the ground for VFR? Can you do that if there is fog over your flight path / below you - or can you see around to ground level?

2. If the fields you are flying over are IFR only would that not disbar them as possible alternatives in case of the need to put down - so choosing a different route might enhance your safety overall?

As I said - prolly daft questions but would value your feedback for my own education!
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 10:11
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Dominatio;

I you are just 'finishing' your license then maybe you haven't done your exams yet? Have a look at Air Law which covers both of your questions. Frankly your questions and the phraseology you use leads one to believe you are not very far along on your PPL. Good luck anyway.
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 10:13
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Not daft Dominatio. Personal choice, but I'd never fly over extensive fog out of gliding distance of clear air because as you say, you might need to force-land (engine failure being the most obvious possibility).

Some pilots will bet their lives on the collection of nuts, bolts, castings, bearings, pipes, mags etc that comprise a running aero engine. I'm not one of them, and it's why a not insignificant part of the PPL syllabus is dedicated to forced landings without power.
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 10:48
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I you are just 'finishing' your license then maybe you haven't done your exams yet? Have a look at Air Law which covers both of your questions. Frankly your questions and the phraseology you use leads one to believe you are not very far along on your PPL. Good luck anyway.
Why can people not just plainly answer questions instead of arbitrarily criticizing them and the person asking?

That just DISCOURAGES folks to ask more questions because they think their questions might be regarded as "stupid".

So here we go.

1. Don't you need to be in sight of the ground for VFR? Can you do that if there is fog over your flight path / below you - or can you see around to ground level?
Depends on country regulations, licenses, and airspace. For the EASA PPL in uncontrolled airspace, there is no "surface in sight" requirement for VFR flight.

2. If the fields you are flying over are IFR only would that not disbar them as possible alternatives in case of the need to put down - so choosing a different route might enhance your safety overall?
True but that's at your own discretion. The same could be said for overflying mountaineous terrain (possibly at night!). It's obviously riskier than flying over flat, rural areas with dozens of suitable landing fields in gliding distance, but it's not illegal.

Some pilots will bet their lives on the collection of nuts, bolts, castings, bearings, pipes, mags etc that comprise a running aero engine. I'm not one of them, and it's why a not insignificant part of the PPL syllabus is dedicated to forced landings without power.
But then again, we all know that the higher risk factor is the collection of water, proteins, fats, gases and such that comprise a living human body and mind. I'm one of them, and it's why an entire book and exam in the PPL syllabus are dedicated to human factors.
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 12:24
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That just DISCOURAGES folks to ask more questions because they think their questions might be regarded as "stupid".
Exactly what I was thinking too. There are a whole load of nuances and variances european wide that probably dont make themselves particuarly clear in the training material. Thats why people come to places like this for 'opinion' and to one day aim to explorer the wider world.

As others have said, there is nothing illegal there, but unless you have an IR, or in the UK an IMCr or an IR(R), I would be very careful about overflying a destination that is fogged in, especially if a) it was going to be a planned or even unplanned alternative b) other airfields are reporting low viz / low cloud. Worse case, you might have to use some of your instrument skills to aid you in a safe landing somewhere. It is a judgement call but fog will either get worse, or better, but its a gamble which way it might go. It probably wont lift when the TAF says it will either ;-)

There was an incident here in the UK a few years ago where the TAF's had almost no claims about predictin of fog, and mid afternoon, and an amended TAF later (no use when you have already taken off), almost the whole of the south east quarter of the UK was a big sheet of fog, causing at least one fatality if my memory is correct.

So good on you for asking the questions and seeking opinion, and always be careful.
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 12:45
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Depends on country regulations, licenses, and airspace. For the EASA PPL in uncontrolled airspace, there is no "surface in sight" requirement for VFR flight.
But I know the VMC minima is always to have surface in sight if you remain below 3000 feet.

I too am part way through (just gone solo) and am still a little muddled with the different rules between what a PPL is allowed to do, what the VFR rules are and what VMC is.

By all means send me back to the books, but can anyone describe these three things in a simple way?

Is it as simple as "fly above 3000 feet and you're exempt the 'ground in sight' rule"?
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 13:03
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Is it as simple as ...
It's as simple as "the rules keep changing, and at any given moment it depends on which of 17 different types of licence you have, what medical you've got, the type of aircraft, the state of registration of the aircraft, which of 6 different instrument qualifications you've got, whether it's day or night, whether there's an R in the month, and what you had for breakfast".
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 13:12
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Gertrude.

Is that last one right?
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 15:41
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But I know the VMC minima is always to have surface in sight if you remain below 3000 feet.
Have a look at http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/64/VFR_Guide_2011_update.pdf - while you can be VMC if you are below 3000 feet, clear of cloud and in sight of the surface, you are also compliant if you have 1000 feet vertical / 1500m horizontal separation from cloud without sight of the surface.

(Note that doc is a bit old now, so you'd need to check the actual EASA info (which I can't find off hand) to confirm the current minima)
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 15:51
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Just don't bust any CAS if you try to climb above it!
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 16:09
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Just don't bust any CAS if you try to climb above it!
Done that!


(I was already talking to the controller of the CAS at the time so it only took seconds to resolve.)
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 16:17
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Mist and/or fog enroute

Oh you heard about that slight oversight FBW !!

Thanks for the others showing concern that some of the responses may make me feel, stupid,inadequate or hurt my pride, fortunately I'm pretty much immune to sarcasm,belittlement and unwarranted put downs as I've been married 3 times one of which was to a battle axe fae Falkirk. On a lighter note I used that orbifly (thanks deecee )and had a dashed pleasant flight today from Rennes to San Sebastián VFR for miles all the way, which is more that I can say for the VFR forecasted channel crossing , I could not see a frigging thing for haze and was on instruments for most of the crossing . All ended well with the sultry tones of what I imagine is a smoking hot French ATC bird on approach to Cherbourg , makes a nice change from listening to the buggers on Sco,,, Think i,ll quit while I'm ahead here !!!

Last edited by piperboy84; 16th Sep 2014 at 17:01.
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 19:40
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Originally Posted by rhino
But then again, we all know that the higher risk factor is the collection of water, proteins, fats, gases and such that comprise a living human body and mind. I'm one of them, and it's why an entire book and exam in the PPL syllabus are dedicated to human factors.
I don't know about you, Rhino, but I'm in charge of the decisions my collection human components makes. One of those is "if there's no 'out' if the engine quits (they do, you know, as I know from first hand experience), then don't do it".

Those who are happy to fly over a an extensive fog bank in an SEP when the collection of mechanical bits, which looked fine at pre-flight with all fluids etc present and correct, but the reliability of which is something over which they have no control lets go (they do, you know) might also be in charge of their own decisions. Most of the time there won't be a problem - but what a total prick you'll be (just before you die) if there IS a problem and you didn't have an 'out'.

Old, bold pilots, etc. It's not new, it's not rocket science - it's just "how lucky do you feel, punk?".

Cowardice preserves active life.

An aeroplane has thousands of way to kill you. Just be sure you don't give it the chance.
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 20:20
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SSD

I agree to an extent, however 99 out of 100 deaths are probably attributed to the nut attached to the yoke and when it does happen it will be regardless if your over terra firma or the drink
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 20:51
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PB84, yes of course. But those 'nut attached to the yoke (stick, in my case ) accidents are down to poor decision making by the 'nut'. Perhaps including deciding that flying over an extensive fog bank in a SEP is an OK thing to do?

In other words, if the 'nut' decides it's an OK thing to do, and dies when the engine fails and he can't see the ground to perform a safe forced landing, his death won't have been caused by the engine failure (that possibility is something his decision making should have taken into account). His death will be a direct result of poor decision making. Or unwise risk taking, if you prefer.

So the accident would come under the 'nut attached to the stick / yoke' category, one of the 99%.
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 21:09
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still a little muddled with the different rules between what a PPL is allowed to do, what the VFR rules are and what VMC is.
A brand new (EASA) PPL Holder will be entitled to fly VFR by Day only.
Therefore learn the definition of night and learn, learn, learn, understand and implement the Visual Flight Rules!

Does the weather allow me to fly VFR if I wish?
Ans Yes = VMC
Ans No = IMC

VFR does change a little depending on Class of Airspace and Altitude flown, but for flight below FL100 (10,000') in uncontrolled (Class G) airspace:

VFR requires you to fly:
1) In a minimum Visibility of 5km and at least 1,000' vertically (both above or below) from Cloud and at least 1.5km horizontally from Cloud.
OR
2) Below 3,000'amsl (or below 1,000'agl, whichever is higher) and at, or slower than, 140kt and in a minimum visibility of 1.5km and clear of Cloud (NB: No distance specified) and In Sight of the Surface.

The reasons for the above are to try and ensure that pilots will always have sufficient time for 'See and Avoid' (though 1.5km viz is really Clag City) and to ensure there is a margin to enable pilots to always have sufficient outside visual references/cues to enable them to control the aircraft.

Flight by IFR doesn't care about cloud or viz which is why it is not permitted (under EASA) unless the pilot also holds some form of Instrument Rating (for which the training course(s) require a lot of time flying by sole reference to the instruments - ie not being able to see out).
NB: This does not mean that IFR flight must be by sole reference to instruments.

Example:
Layer of 8/8 Cloud with defined, flat, top at 1,900'amsl and excellent (20km+) visibility above.
Bottom of Cloud varying between 1,700' and 1,800' with whispy tendrils going lower merging with a generally misty atmosphere such that the visibility is 4km to 5km.

Choice 1) VFR 'On Top' at 2,900' or above (Not in sight of surface, so must be 1,000' vertically from Cloud)
Choice 2) VFR at 1,700' or lower

Provided Navigation is not a problem (ie usable GPS, preferably more than one, on board) then Choice 1) would be a much more pleasant flight - the problem being How do you get there VFR and, more importantly, how would you get back down again.
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Old 16th Sep 2014, 22:20
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Simples really EASA now says above a layer is OK, fog is just a layer usually attached to the ground. (see above for technical discussion on distance from layer etc).

As an aside in the old days the CAA said no, VFR was in sight of surface, the rest of Europe said yes, and that is where some confusion originates.

Air law aside, flying above fog is fine until / if / when the engine fails. You will do very well to land in fog without a lot of damage (or be very lucky because it will be mostly down to luck). So you have only to decide whether the very small risk is worth it, because after all around one engine failure in every 1,000 hours is about the mark, but with a good maintenance regime you will beat those stats. considerably.
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