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Personal VFR minimums

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Personal VFR minimums

Old 11th Aug 2017, 10:35
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Personal VFR minimums

Hi all,

Just wondering what ranges of personal minimums other private non IR pilots fly by, I am a LAPL with around 70 hours TT so pretty fresh, I describe myself as a VVFR pilot (Very VFR) as in I only really fly on very good days.

I'm quite happy doing this for now but I was wondering if there is a general consensus around good PPL minimums to go by? Legal VFR minimums are as I understand, are a recipe for VFR into IMC if you're not careful.

Maybe this is a question that doesn't have a straight answer or I should be getting some instructor time to go flying on a slightly worse day to improve my understanding.

Any help appreciated, even if it's harsh.

G
gordonquinn is offline  
Old 11th Aug 2017, 10:50
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stick with what you're comfortable and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.. I'm also quite fresh with my 150 or so hours. I was pretty much also a VVFR pilot as you describe it.. as the time goes on you notice that your minimums start to adjust to your currency, basically the more you will fly the more comfortable you will be with lower vis and cloud base and higher winds..
Martin_123 is offline  
Old 11th Aug 2017, 12:11
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Don't just pick an arbitrary number that's a percentage higher then published VFR minimums. Get a real perspective to what distances and cloud bases actually are and look like. Take your map and sit down in a location that has a lot of surrounding identifiable features like hills, mountain ranges, radio towers, towns etc. and estimate how many miles you think they are and if you would feel comfortable taking off from your position if they were obscured . Then measure them on a map, you'll be surprised just how short a distance 3 miles is and that's sitting on your arse not traveling at 100kts with the weather perhaps shortening distances. Then start figuring the cloud bases, if you have local airfields that have ATIS information via telephone, call up on different days when the weather is overcast at different levels to get a picture in your minds eye what 1500, 2000 feet etc. looks like in relationship to the terrain features around your local flying area. Listening to forecasts is one thing but being able to assess distance and heights in a realtime situation is whole different kettle of fish. Best to bone up on those skills sitting on the side of a hill with a map and flask of tea than in the air with a dry throat and white knuckles. You can learn an awful lot about flying from the safety of terra firma.
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Old 11th Aug 2017, 13:21
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The above is very good advise and very interesting... I am also a fairly fresh ppl and fly regularly and for at the stage of my flying I seem to be at the point where:

*15 knots cross wind or gusting at 20 or above is a no go

*Anything below 1800 feet (cross country) feels too low (even if it is above the "safe height")

*Vis of less than 8km isn't good enough for anything. 8-10km is fine for me, but 9999 has to be showing to take friends/family and in reality needs to be much more than this for good site seeing.

*If the weather pattern is on my marginals and the forecast is anything other than improving or if there is a worsening trend then it isn't flyable.

There have been a few days this year where I have been unsure about the weather and have taken the view that if I take off and don't like it, I can land straight back. With the decision being made whilst still in sight of the airfield.

I haven't turned back yet, but am always totally prepared to if it doesn't feel right.

But it is all very personal...
Brad2523 is offline  
Old 11th Aug 2017, 18:12
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Don't wait to do the IR (R)

IMC syllabus is likely to change very soon. By spending time and cash getting it it you will improve your skills immeasurably. And it will open up the skies to you. Without it you might end up with the many pilots who don't progress and eventually give up. Take the test and go places!
Curlytips is offline  
Old 11th Aug 2017, 18:30
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When limited to VFR, which I often am for some of the aeroplanes I fly, I tend to think in terms of time, not distance for visibility limits.

5 minutes is a reasonable figure for local area flying _ in a 60kts microlight that is 5nm. In a moderately sporty light aircraft it's 10nm.

For cross country I might double that to 10 minutes.

Change numbers to suit your flying style snd confidence, but it's a reasonably workable system.

G
Genghis the Engineer is offline  
Old 11th Aug 2017, 18:48
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I was happy flying air experience down to about 4km vis but that was in an AX3 cruising at about 52kt. As Genghis says, the faster you go, the greated the vis needed.
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Old 11th Aug 2017, 19:38
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IMC syllabus is likely to change very soon
Really? Any idea of what those changes may entail? Timescales? Information source?

Any info gratefully received.
TOO
TheOddOne is offline  
Old 11th Aug 2017, 22:58
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Originally Posted by Brad2523 View Post
*Anything below 1800 feet (cross country) feels too low (even if it is above the "safe height")
I use IFR heights for VFR flying, so 1800' is the minimum. Of course I have on occasion had to go lower than that visually but I use that as a hint that it's maybe time to start looking for a way home.
Gertrude the Wombat is offline  
Old 12th Aug 2017, 09:24
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I'm happy enough with a 1000' ceiling, less if the vis is good underneath and I know the area.
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Old 12th Aug 2017, 09:25
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Zero cloud base, but only if I have Cat 3 C auto land. 60 kts x-wind for my Bulldog, but then I'll land across the runway
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Old 12th Aug 2017, 19:44
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TOO - CHANGES TO IR (R) SYLLABUS

Sorry to be vague but went to lecture about future of the various IRs, now there are different versions to be had. Apparently "RNAV" becomes more important and that means all the newfangled GPS boxes. As ILS is closed down, more RNAV approaches will become availabe, and mandated by 2024. But meanwhile, skill tests for IR (R) probably in 2018 will need to be done in aircraft approved with RNAV. Not sure if that will effect renewals same way, but if it does, it will make mine more difficult/expensive.

And then after next year RNAV theory becomes part of the test. This info comes from PPL/IR Europe. You could probably find more on www.pplir.org.

Sorry it's not more comprehensive, but it's probably worth researching.
Curlytips is offline  
Old 12th Aug 2017, 20:03
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Also keep in mind there can be a big difference between the reported Met visibility and the airborne viz (especially into sun).
fireflybob is offline  
Old 12th Aug 2017, 20:18
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Originally Posted by fireflybob View Post
Also keep in mind there can be a big difference between the reported Met visibility and the airborne viz (especially into sun).
Into sun vis can be effectively zero. Theoretically legal VFR but you can only see where you've been, not where you're going. Time to follow needles (or magenta lines).
Gertrude the Wombat is offline  
Old 13th Aug 2017, 06:45
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Changes to IR(R)

This info comes from PPL/IR Europe.
Ah. Right.

With all due respect to them, they have their own agenda and aspirations, which haven't always been the same as those of us promoting the IMC rating. Looking round our hangar, the vast majority of aircraft (including our own school PA28) which are perfectly capable of giving training and passing tests for the IMC rating would never qualify for RNAV and GNSS approaches. The cost of the kit would be prohibitive.

I've not seen any hint or suggestion that there's going to be changes from an 'official' source.

PPL/IR have in my opinion worked very hard to reduce the ridiculous burden for PPLs wishing to gain a Europe-wide IR qualification but only give limited support for what has been a life-saver for 50 years in the UK. I think they would still like to have the IMC rating aligned with the CBIR, which I think is still too high a bar for the ordinary PPL holder.

Just my view

TOO
TheOddOne is offline  
Old 13th Aug 2017, 07:34
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Here in the US, the talk is all about Performance Based Navigation. As airspace gets tighter and they seek to pack more airplanes into less space, the Required Navigational Performance for entry into high traffic density airspace will demand ever increasing navigational accuracy from each airspace user. In concert with ADS-B, more stringent RNP specifications are expected to increase capacity in the US National Airspace system. Just about all the countries in question have announced plans to eliminate VOR and ILS system support from their infrastructure budgets and redirect those funds to GPS/GNSS based ground equipment such as WAAS/GBAS and ADS-B related equipment. All resources will be directed toward a single NAV source if they proceed as currently planned.

The national aviation authorities in Europe, North America and most of the industrialized West are working in concert with ICAO to develop and undertake these initiatives. The date for ADS-B compliance in the USA has slipped to 2020, but the FAA claims it will slip no further. No GPS, no ADS-B. No ADS-B, no flying in most major terminal areas or the surrounding airspace. PBN, RNP, ADS-B... It all adds up to allot of currency any way you look at it. And training fleets, along with private pleasure craft face the biggest burden of all if one calculates the compliance costs as a proportion of aircraft market value.

THere's no getting around the fact that a way will have to be found to equip the training and private fleets with the new gadgets and train everyone to properly use them. The alternative is obsolescence and extinction except perhaps in a few remote areas. Good luck Europe and UK!
westhawk is offline  
Old 13th Aug 2017, 16:37
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Yes, the PPL/IR info was full of PBN, RNP, RNAV and other stuff new to me (including SBAS which is apparently a "fault finder" as part of the GPS equipment - GTN650 has it - that will be required for 3D approaches. And then there will be new approaches APR & LNAV (no height info) and LPV (a certified ILS style approach using GPS) - all previous assumes I can read and understand notes I took .

My takeaway from all this (and there was lots of it) was there will be lots of expense in kit and training IF it all goes ahead and somehow some of it becomes part of our IR (R). No doubt it will eventually come in all aspects of full IR ratings.

But it doesn't change my opinion that current IMC training and test is a no-brainer to improve your skills (and maybe save your life one day) so why not just get on and do it? Then you can build some decent instrument time safely, so that any future changes will be easier, cheaper.......and meanwhile you can really go places, rather than having to be nervous and turn back. We live in Britain, don't you know........
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Old 13th Aug 2017, 18:03
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Really not sure what the last few posts have to do with defining sensible VMC minima for either pilots or aircraft limited to VFR.

Not that I'm not also interested in the progression of IFR/IMC qualifications, I just don't think that particular discussion belongs in this thread.

G
Genghis the Engineer is offline  
Old 13th Aug 2017, 20:32
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Apologies for the thread drift. But am passionate about asking others to progress, and therefore keep flying. We lose too many that stop.....
Curlytips is offline  
Old 14th Aug 2017, 09:50
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Thanks for the replies all, some great advice for me to continue my learning!
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