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IMC rating in the Uk

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IMC rating in the Uk

Old 15th Apr 2016, 00:47
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IMC rating in the Uk

Hello,

I'm looking for a bit of advice form the GA pilot community.

I'm well aware that a good pilot is always learning, and Ive always taken that on board. I have a PPL, and I fly as often as I can.

Recently I have been thinking about investing in an IMC rating to go along with my PPL. My question to the GA community is; is an IMC rating worth getting in the UK? And for those of you who have an IMC rating, how has it helped you?


thanks,
spitfire_sl is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2016, 01:18
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Yes, absolutely. It's the single course that I learned the most from and tightened my flying up with post my first PPL.

And, in the UK, you have most of the privileges of a full IR. SO long trips in IMC finishing with an instrument approach are entirely feasible.

Yes, do it.

G
Genghis the Engineer is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2016, 01:30
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Wot Gengis said.
UK weather is not VFR friendly, the ability to legally fly on iffy days is a big advantage.
The Ancient Geek is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2016, 02:23
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+1

I had one of my most enjoyable flights recently using my IMC - it was a short hop from Cranfield (where I'd been staying nearby for a few days) back home to Cambridge. It was a miserable day, with the cloudbase at Cranfield being 6-700 feet or so - did an IFR departure into that, popping out at around 3000 feet into a clear sky with glorious sunshine, followed by an RNAV (GPS) approach onto 05 at Cambridge, popping back out the bottom at around 900' with the runway dead ahead of me.

It doesn't seem much when written down, but it left me on quite a buzz for the rest of the day as it was one of the first times I've done an approach 'for real' as opposed to for practice.

Even ignoring trips like that which would have been impossible without the IMC, the number of flights where I've been going to a VFR airfield, but gone through bits of cloud en route rather than having to avoid them or descend lower than would be ideal etc makes the rating worthwhile on its own.
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 11:43
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Go for it. It has benefitted my flying more than anything else.
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 12:44
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alexbrett. Thanks also for that. The IR(R) is something that I too am considering, and all of that makes me want to even more.

I have one question though. I'm based at Elstree which doesn't have instrument approaches, so how would I get back if the weather isn't too great? If I've understood previous discussions correctly you can use, say Southend to come out of cloud, and then fly below it to Elstree. However, carrying on from your example flight, popping out the bottom at 900', isn't feasible because you would then have to fly that low all the way from Southend to Elstree.

What am I missing?
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 12:50
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Originally Posted by londonblue
I'm based at Elstree which doesn't have instrument approaches, so how would I get back if the weather isn't too great? If I've understood previous discussions correctly you can use, say Southend to come out of cloud, and then fly below it to Elstree. However, carrying on from your example flight, popping out the bottom at 900', isn't feasible
True - I have the benefit of being based at a field with an approach, had this been you heading to Elstree you probably wouldn't have been able to do it, but you could always land at Southend and then do the short hop to Elstree at a later point when the weather clears while still allowing you to get 'close', particularly if coming from further afield.
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 13:00
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Thanks alexbrett. At least I haven't missed anything!
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 13:17
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Several answers to that, which include that...

(1) With an IMC rating, your VMC minima are actually lower.
(2) Shoot an approach somewhere nearby and do the last bit low level.
(3) Land off an approach somewhere else. You're then safe, on the ground, with a simple logistic problem to solve once the weather improves.

G

Last edited by Genghis the Engineer; 15th Apr 2016 at 14:45. Reason: Smelling Pistake
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 13:59
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I agree 100% with Genghis and others. Not only will you enjoy it, it will sharpen your flying skills no end. Landing off the back of a procedure and ILS will give you an awesome sense of achievement which is just not doable with a vanilla ppl.

Go for it!
Jetblu is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2016, 14:03
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I loved doing my IMC rating (well IR(r)). I have used it extensively over the last couple of years, it has made me much more confident of my own ability as well as given me many more options, especially for longer flights.

To have the option to depart from the UK in solid IMC, pop out on top before reaching the border to the continent, and fly VFR on top to your VFR destination on the continent suddenly greatly increases your options.

Remember however that you won't be able to fly "in any weather" there are certain factors that may sway your go / no-go. Such as fog, CB, thunderstorms, lightning, strong winds... etc... But otherwise it definitely opens up your options!

With regards to Elstree, I have read and heard of people using Northolt's ILS to break the cloud-base, and if they have sufficient height & visibility breaking off to go back to Elstree low level. Seems much closer than Southend! Even if Southend does have a train station right there.

As you can now also do the CB-IR course, some if not all the hours during your training are transferable for the full IR rating I think its even more relevant to do!!

Hope this helps!
Alex
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 14:45
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Depending on the cloud base and if you do not need to go down to an IAP MDH/MDA equivalent, you could let down to 1,500ft on e.g. the 120 radial from BNN. NB - this is not an instrument approach to Elstree but just a way of getting below cloud.

I'm not sure how easy it would be to use the Northolt ILS inside the London CTR for this? Cranfield and Oxford (or even Luton, but same comment re. CAS) are also alternatives.

But, ultimately, if the cloudbase is forecast/reported to be below 1,500 (or possibly 1,000 if you feel courageous), you should probably not be trying to get into Elstree that day...

As an aside, even with an IAP and full ILS, airfields may be below weather minima - assuming you do not have a CatII or III equipped aircraft :-)

B.
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 16:22
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Cheers guys. This is definitely food for thought.
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 17:19
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G-t-E wrote:
(1) With an IMC rating, your VMC minima are actually lower.
That is no longer the case for pilots holding Part-FCL or JAR-FCL licences, who may now fly to SERA VFR limits without being required to hold any instrument qualification.

The old restrictions still apply to those who still haven't converted their UK national licences.
BEagle is online now  
Old 15th Apr 2016, 17:27
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Thanks for that correction.

Although, in reality, still perhaps true as an IR(R) rating holder is going to be rather more competent down to VFR minima than somebody without that training.

G

Last edited by Genghis the Engineer; 15th Apr 2016 at 17:38.
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 18:17
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I would add that an IMC rating is also very valuable for flying over water or in very hazy conditions, where there may be very limited horizon - even in VMC - which occurs quite frequently in the UK.

FBW
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Old 15th Apr 2016, 23:50
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The IMCR showed me how to accurately fly height and heading.

Up until then, I thought I was a decent pilot at PPL level. I wasn't as good as I thought I was and the rating showed me that. It also improved my confidence in taking further my ability in handling an aircraft outside my comfort zone.

Whether you choose to fly in cloud or not, the rating will make you a better pilot and you will enjoy your new found competency and associated confidence.

On top of that, I have hand flown an approach from 30 odd track miles in heavy cloud (snow) down to the point of breaking out at absolute minimums at circa 2DME bang on the money at an airfield that can not accept noddy levels of performance. Hugely satisfying, but not to be repeated.

There is a downside to the training and it's called the NDB hold. The way the beacons are disappearing, there is hope that it will be consigned to the realms of history. To this day, I am still bewildered about gates.

Do it and enjoy it.
Local Variation is offline  
Old 16th Apr 2016, 01:37
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Ah yes, Fly by Wife has a very good point. I managed to get half way through an IMC rating but even that was beneficial when confronted with a full VFR flight that was totally IMC, ie the golden goldfish bowl of a glorious autumnal afternoon over the Channel, returning from Le Touquet. Plenty of visibility, but not a thing to reference at all. Oh for a puffy white cloud in the distance.

Here's another question.

Is it worth me finishing (repeating?) the IMC rating? The plane has now got nothing left that works as a nav tool.
300hrWannaB is offline  
Old 16th Apr 2016, 15:25
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Several answers to that, which include that...

(1) With an IMC rating, your VMC minima are actually lower
For EASA Licence holders this is not correct. VMC minimum (<3,000', <140Kt, In sight of the Surface, etc) is 1,500m for all pilots.
Level Attitude is offline  
Old 17th Apr 2016, 00:24
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But let's be honest here.... 1500m is NOT VMC.... It may be in writing somewhere in the mystical mind of the EASA but if you've ever landed at 2000m vis cloudbase at 600ft you realise that even that isn't VMC!

Mind you - it is useful to get a VFR departure out of an airport that doesn't have a SID to your preferred outbound routing!
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