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Not really VMC again...

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Not really VMC again...

Old 29th Sep 2017, 10:12
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Not really VMC again...

Is it just me being pessimistic, or has the weather taken a nose dive in recent months? I like to fly long routes of 150+ miles, but have not been able to find suitable VMC days to be able to do much more than a few local circuits.
I did see one flight on FR24 from Norwich to Anglesey, by a PA28 a couple of days ago, but doubt if he was in VMC for most of it, as it was overcast here at 2000ft.asl. Which could explain why he missed Snowdon by a few miles.
Just looking at my old gliding club's webcam, shows that they are currently in low cloud, with visibility of 100 yards..
Webcams and weather MIDLAND GLIDING CLUB


Another pastime of mine is astrophotography, but again in the last eight weeks there has only been one night when the Pole Star has been visible, and even then Saturn was obscured by clouds in the South.

Have you had better conditions for some good VMC flights? Please let us know, and if you were that PA28 pilot... Well Done...!
.

Last edited by scifi; 29th Sep 2017 at 23:47. Reason: Inserted 'asl' to avoid confusion.
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Old 29th Sep 2017, 15:27
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15th Sept flew along the south coast from Eastbourne to Folkestone and return in glorious sunshine, fantastic vis and fluffy puffy clouds.
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Old 29th Sep 2017, 16:31
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Originally Posted by scifi View Post
but doubt if he was in VMC for most of it, as it was overcast here at 2000ft.
Why's that not VMC / legal VFR?
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Old 29th Sep 2017, 16:49
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Hi BE... It is sooo VMC / VFR if you live in Holland or the Lincolnshire Fenns, but here most of the ground is above 1600ft in North Wales and the Pennines. e.g. Long Myndd gliding site is 1400ft asl.... and it looks as if conditions have improved for this afternoon, as they have some aircraft out of the hangar.
.
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Old 29th Sep 2017, 21:20
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Aaah. I will always read "overcast at 2000 ft" to be referenced agl.
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Old 30th Sep 2017, 14:31
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May I suggest scifi that you get an IR(R)?

Using my IR(R), I have this week flown five and half hours (special holiday treat to myself). Half of it was in solid IMC (or head down on the ILS under a radar service) and half of the rest in glorious VMC on top. The only worrisome bits were the remaining hour or so in marginal VMC below 1500 feet. Maybe I am odd(!) but I find IMC flying exciting and satisfying. Just a thought for you.

BTW, the aeroplane I fly is a base model AA5 with no autopilot so a fancy flying machine is not required. It does have a GTN650 but I have recently also done a longish IMC flight in a non-autopilot non-GNSS PA28 purely on VOR / DME / ADF including a DME-localiser cloud break at the end.
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Old 30th Sep 2017, 14:56
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It was rather nice in Portugal on Tuesday. Just enough high cloud to stop the cockpit boiling.
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Old 1st Oct 2017, 11:20
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Hi Joe, thanks for the IR(R) suggestion, but that type of flying does not appeal to me at all. I have always thought that an IR rating was more like a stepping stone towards a commercial pilots license, and I am much to old to start that career now !


Must admit that the VFR on Top is an excellent way to travel. At 7 to 10 thousand feet the air is so much smoother, and the sunlight gives good visibility. The aircraft could also be faster and more efficient, if you get the engine mixture correctly set. Also any high altitude tailwinds can give you a very good advantage. It is a pity that the CAA have cluttered up most of this airspace with Class A airways, when they could have made it Class D for us.
.
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Old 1st Oct 2017, 13:40
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The IR(R) (aka IMC rating) needn't be a stepping stone to anything, other than climbing above the clouds. Getting the rating is not particularly onerous and greatly increases the opportunities for flying in the UK when the cloud rolls in.
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Old 1st Oct 2017, 15:06
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I'm amazed at how few pilots nowadays consider an IR(R).

Shortly after gaining a PPL many pilots even forget how to hold a heading or height.

The IR(R) will change the way you fly for the better for ever. It even sharpens up your RT.

I would have given up (attempting) to fly in Scotland years ago without it.

Last edited by dont overfil; 1st Oct 2017 at 16:50. Reason: double negative
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Old 1st Oct 2017, 15:21
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Vote in favour of IR(R).

Turns the marginal 'probably OK but won't risk it' days into flyable ones
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Old 5th Oct 2017, 09:24
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Often it is difficult to find an aircraft that is equipped for IMC flight. I have a full IR but invariably any SE aircraft I hire do not have the requisite nav kit to be able to use it in anger.
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Old 5th Oct 2017, 19:35
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Originally Posted by Parson View Post
Often it is difficult to find an aircraft that is equipped for IMC flight. I have a full IR but invariably any SE aircraft I hire do not have the requisite nav kit to be able to use it in anger.
The Cambridge Aero Club ones do. Though it's useful to say you want an IFR aircraft at the time of booking otherwise you might occasionally get a "VFR only" one with a missing or failed instrument.
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