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Flying VFR in Haze - remaining legal.

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Flying VFR in Haze - remaining legal.

Old 29th Aug 2017, 17:20
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Scoobster - I think that you are asking the wrong question of us, and of yourself.

Being legal does not make you safe. It is incredibly unlikely that anybody will ever make an issue of whether you were in legal VMC or not.

What is safe for you, in your aeroplane, at your experience levels, on the route you're flying? Most cases, most of the time, that will be above legal VMC minima for as long as you remain a VFR pilot.

People will criticise you for going below safe limits for the circumstances. In the highly unlikely event you hit conditions that are safe, but technically illegal - odds are nobody will criticise you for that.

Think safety, not legality. Safety is defined by:-

- Flying time en-route that you can see ahead of you
- Time you have to identify potential threats from other directions.
- Ability to navigate competently.

Not the crude, albeit necessary, legal minima for VFR.

G
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Old 29th Aug 2017, 17:46
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To paraphrase the old cricket joke

You can see the sun. How far do you want to see.
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Old 29th Aug 2017, 19:57
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Visibility - time of day and time of year can make a big difference to how well you can see. In the winter, flying into a low sun, near the surface, you may not be able to see other aircraft AT ALL!

If you intend to carry on flying power, it is a very good idea to carry on for the instrument rating. Good to know in crap viz that just possibly a controller may keep an eye out on your behalf.
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Old 29th Aug 2017, 20:03
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From my experience it has been very worthwhile flying with someone who regularly flies IMC. It has given me more confidence with my own minima.
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Old 29th Aug 2017, 20:25
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Originally Posted by Genghis the Engineer View Post

Being legal does not make you safe. It is incredibly unlikely that anybody will ever make an issue of whether you were in legal VMC or not.

What is safe for you, in your aeroplane, at your experience levels, on the route you're flying? Most cases, most of the time, that will be above legal VMC minima for as long as you remain a VFR pilot.

People will criticise you for going below safe limits for the circumstances. In the highly unlikely event you hit conditions that are safe, but technically illegal - odds are nobody will criticise you for that.
Nicely put.

Nobody will ever care about whether you were flying legal VMC or not (unless maybe you have an accident, but then this will be the least of your concerns).

And talking about a situation in which one is safe but illegal, descending through a thin overcast. One could argue it's a bad planning issue, but if TAF and forecasts say that clouds should be no more than SCT by the time you reach destination, and in reality they are OVC, with nowhere to go that's not 1 hour away because it's an "isolated" aerodrome (say, an island), I can't blame it on the pilot. Legally he should divert, but if the pilot feels safe and competent enough to descend through the deck without crashing the plane, then why not? Some might not agree on this being "safe" and will instantly say "instrument rated = safe" and "non-instrument rated = unsafe". I don't think that's so easy to say, given the fact that many instrument rated pilots have never dealt with real IMC other than the simulator and that many VFR pilots have dozens of hours flying at night, legally, in legal VMC but practically relying solely on instruments.

Many times when I hear accident CVRs in a VFR-into-IMC type accident, the controller asks the question "Are you capable of instrument flight", he doesn't ask whether the pilot is "instrument rated", he asks if he is "capable" because it's different things.
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Old 29th Aug 2017, 23:05
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Originally Posted by funfly View Post
VFR means just that and if your visibility is reduced to less than the minimum at any time for any reason e.g. flying into the sun or haze, then you are not in VFR conditions.
This sort of reply is not in the least helpful, did not address the question, nor is it correct. In perfect 9999 visibility, you are implying that pilots restricted to VFR only are only allowed to fly down sun.
It seems many of my landings into low sun have been deliberate blatant illegal acts of flying outside the previleges of my licence.
Incidentally the photographs appear pretty legal to me. Pictures always look worse than the eyeball view out the front.
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Old 29th Aug 2017, 23:48
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Doing a bit of rough trigonometry. At 4000 ft in a low wing aircraft of 30 ft span, if you can see the surface in line with the wing tip it is approx 4.7nm.
A line from your eye down to the wingtip and to the ground.
I estimated 8 deg.
Picture 8 shows the horizon a lot further than that.
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Old 30th Aug 2017, 09:59
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Originally Posted by Genghis the Engineer View Post
Scoobster - I think that you are asking the wrong question of us, and of yourself.

Being legal does not make you safe. It is incredibly unlikely that anybody will ever make an issue of whether you were in legal VMC or not.

What is safe for you, in your aeroplane, at your experience levels, on the route you're flying? Most cases, most of the time, that will be above legal VMC minima for as long as you remain a VFR pilot.

People will criticise you for going below safe limits for the circumstances. In the highly unlikely event you hit conditions that are safe, but technically illegal - odds are nobody will criticise you for that.

Think safety, not legality. Safety is defined by:-

- Flying time en-route that you can see ahead of you
- Time you have to identify potential threats from other directions.
- Ability to navigate competently.

Not the crude, albeit necessary, legal minima for VFR.

G
G,

I agree 100% with the above and appreciate all the responses. As my flying experience is growing - I am finding that I am going further and further out distance wise to new locations and I love flying there - albeit even if it is expensive!

Touch wood, I haven't so far had any sort of near miss or accident and I always want to exercise the privileges of the license safely and legally. I would be distraught if my license gets taken away for being unsafe - not that I have any intentions to be reckless.

I have been into Elstree which is roughly 650m - so will try and go into more shorter strips to perfect the Short Field Take Off and Performance Landings.

Thanks all - I have found all the responses informative and useful.

Stay safe

Scoobster
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Old 30th Aug 2017, 10:19
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It seems many of my landings into low sun have been deliberate blatant illegal acts of flying outside the previleges of my licence.
I did not suggest acts "deliberate blatant illegal acts of flying" as we have all done this, however the situation where you cannot see the minimum, be it because of sun ahead or cloud, remains outside of VFR conditions.
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Old 30th Aug 2017, 11:02
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Originally Posted by funfly View Post
I did not suggest acts "deliberate blatant illegal acts of flying" as we have all done this, however the situation where you cannot see the minimum, be it because of sun ahead or cloud, remains outside of VFR conditions.
VFR (Visual Flight Rules) have nothing to do with VMC (Visual Meteorological Conditions).
With an Instrument Rating you may be required to fly by INSTRUMENT Flight RULES in perfect Visual Met CONDITIONS, perhaps in controlled airspace. Or you may fly by Visual Flight RULES above cloud in darkness, even though you are navigating by instruments in uncontrolled airspace.
Check the difference between VFR, VMC, IFR, IMC.

Scoobster, you've got the right attitude, fly safe.

Last edited by Crash one; 30th Aug 2017 at 11:16.
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Old 30th Aug 2017, 11:09
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Scoobster, before your next flight, I recommend that you update yourself on:
  • VFR minima in Class G airspace
  • VFR minima in Class D airspace
  • Special VFR minima in Class D CTRs and how to obtain an SVFR clearance

The regulations have changed under SERA and it's a fair bet that very few instructors have kept up with the changes!
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Old 30th Aug 2017, 11:29
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Nothing to add to the wise words regarding visibility, but nice to see HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH alongside in Pompey in Photo #6.

Jack
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Old 30th Aug 2017, 18:46
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Originally Posted by Genghis the Engineer View Post
Think safety, not legality. Safety is defined by:-

- Flying time en-route that you can see ahead of you
- Time you have to identify potential threats from other directions.
- Ability to navigate competently.

Not the crude, albeit necessary, legal minima for VFR.
Probably worth adding one: the ability to control the aircraft with reference to an external visual horizon, unless you are trained in instrument flying.
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Old 30th Aug 2017, 20:27
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Cant disagree with you there Bookworm, a very good point.

G
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Old 30th Aug 2017, 20:46
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Hi Scoobster - as others have mentioned vis in your pictures looks more than 5k to me so I would say yes you were legal. I flew a fair bit over the past few days and the vis was variable (>5k) but generally poor into sun. I will usually upgrade to a traffic service if heading into sun in busy airspace (e.g. NE London class G corridor). You could also slow down to give you more time to look ahead. Happy landings!
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Old 30th Aug 2017, 21:52
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You mentioned sun in your eyes.

What can be scary for a newish pilot (certainly was for me) is to be flying in good vis late in the afternoon, then turn towards the sun and find you can't see a thing. In the UK, prevailing winds and runway directions often mean landing towards a low sun in autumn and winter.

If the wind is light (which it may be on a hazy day) then perhaps ask for a downwind landing - provided the tailwind is light and the runway long. Even a 5kt tailwind can increase landing distance by 20%.

Or wait until just after sunset: still legal and possibly better vis. But remember that after sunset, the ground quickly gets dark compared to the light aloft.
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Old 31st Aug 2017, 10:10
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Adding to FREDA's point - also that quite often the local bird population decide to hang out around the nearest runway around sunset - which can add another factor of entertainment.

G
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Old 31st Aug 2017, 10:40
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Only 1˝km vis required (in the UK) in class G at less than 140kt.
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Old 31st Aug 2017, 10:50
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Originally Posted by worrab View Post
Only 1˝km vis required (in the UK) in class G at less than 140kt.
And at 139 kts, that's 21 seconds flying time.

Nobody but a halfwit would fly in those conditions in a fast aeroplane and genuinely treat it as a visual conditions flight.

1.5km visibility is for instrument pilots in suitably equipped aeroplanes, or pilots of very slow aeroplanes who probably also know the area around them extremely well. The legality might mean that the instrument pilot is logging VFR, but that is not necessarily the practical reality. I'd do it from my microlight club at 50 knots around known terrain, or from work - which has instrument approaches, in my 100kt tourer - and treat it as instrument flight.

I'm working on being shot in bed at the age of 105 by a jealous husband. I really don't want a funeral at well under half that where people say "well he was legal, but stupid".

G

Last edited by Genghis the Engineer; 31st Aug 2017 at 11:01.
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Old 31st Aug 2017, 11:43
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I agree completely. But we were talking about the legalities as much as the practicalities. Like it or not, the legal visibility limit in the UK is under a mile.

Personally I'd hope to be safely on the ground in my day/VFR aeroplane a long time before visibility dropped to that level.
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