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Minimum IR Test Conditions

Old 3rd Jan 2019, 13:35
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Minimum IR Test Conditions

Out of interest, what do people generally think is acceptably poor wx to cancel an IR test? I'm reckoning minimum visibility (for the examiner) of 1500m and similarly (for the examiner in general handling) a cloudbase of >3000ft (or SCT). The big one for discretion is >35kts winds aloft in the hold which I've trained in greater than though generally heard can/should be avoided for the test.
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Old 3rd Jan 2019, 16:31
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You would be best to consult your ATO's operations manual as to what minima applies.
Practically you need to assess the METARS & TAFs.
In the real world, as a professional pilot, you would launch if the conditions were at or above the necessary minima.

The TRAINING world, a somewhat more cautious approach is adopted, as there needs to be meaningful training benefit gained from the flight.
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Old 3rd Jan 2019, 17:22
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Originally Posted by Okavango View Post
Out of interest, what do people generally think is acceptably poor wx to cancel an IR test? I'm reckoning minimum visibility (for the examiner) of 1500m and similarly (for the examiner in general handling) a cloudbase of >3000ft (or SCT). The big one for discretion is >35kts winds aloft in the hold which I've trained in greater than though generally heard can/should be avoided for the test.
Isn't the IR exam intended to verify the student can operate in IFR conditions? Surface winds aside, if the visibility and cloud base are within the limits with no tendency to deteriorate rapidly, I see no reason as to why I wouldn't undertake the exam (if it's LIFR then give it some extra consideration, if it's showing a tendency to improve/decrease etc). For the wind, simply apply the necessary corrections in the hold - shouldn't be an issue the formula stays the same. And if the examiner is in anyway reasonable he will lower his expectations allowing for a reduction in accuracy correspondent with the magnitude of x wind component in the hold.
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Old 3rd Jan 2019, 17:44
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you have to be able to do a visual circuit after the single engine go around at the final stop airfield. Well that's what I got.... and I was about 45knts xwind in the hold. The first airfield was below IFR mins with RVR of 300m. In fact it was chosen because the examiner reckoned we won't have any problems getting an approach in there. He was right.. no traffic at all, into the hold, outbound round the procedure go around at NDB mins engine failure and head back. After stalling and all that stuff straight in on a radar vectored approach go-around and clear circuit to land.

I had heard that cavok low wind days were the worst for tests. Every tom dick and harry is up getting your way.
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Old 3rd Jan 2019, 18:22
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Originally Posted by tescoapp View Post
he first airfield was below IFR mins with RVR of 300m. In fact it was chosen because the examiner reckoned we won't have any problems getting an approach in there. He was right.. no traffic at all, into the hold, outbound round the procedure go around at NDB mins engine failure and head back.g
If the RVR was 300m to continue to NDB minimums would surely have been a FAIL unless the NDB MDA was exceptionally high meaning you had not continued past the altitude/location defining the approach ban when you went around? Corfu would fit the bill on a VOR approach MDA 2050ft.

The original poster mentions a cloud base of 3000ft.

When I did my IR back in 2000 it was a lot lower than that. Brisrol to Cardiff for a non precision approach with good vis below a very low cloud base of around 200ft. Back to Bristol for the ILS to visual with the cloud base being only a couple of hundred feet above that required for the circuit. We could not find a suitable location clear of cloud to do the upper air work so it was an incomplete test costing me another 40mins of expensive twin time the next day.

You have to assess the weather and decide if it is legal to operate the flight IFR. The examiner will decide if they feel the test is worth conducting from a practical perspective, don't go second guessing what they will decided. If the weather is marginal don't turn up thinking the test will not take place. Expect to fly.

Last edited by Council Van; 3rd Jan 2019 at 19:02.
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Old 3rd Jan 2019, 19:46
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Well to begin with I was saying we couldn't go and that led to a discussion about alternates and fuel.

The he said ok I am PIC lets go, his interpretation of the rule at the time which was just as JAr was coming in similar to you, was the approach ban only applied if you intended to land..... which we weren't

What did I my upper air work in I don't have a clue. But I certainly didn't see any blue sky in the cracks round the screens.

Anyway it been the only time I have busted the approach ban in my career.... but I wasn't PIC and ATC certainly didn't seem to think it was strange.
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Old 3rd Jan 2019, 19:59
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Interesting, but as a you say he was PIC you passed, happy days.

Last edited by Council Van; 3rd Jan 2019 at 20:27.
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Old 4th Jan 2019, 07:33
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JAR formally came into force 1July 1999. The UK had been conducting the IRTs iaw the new JAR criteria for sometime prior to that date. So no 'big bang'.
Irrepective which criteria applied an approach ban would apply. Either to a point 1000ft above the airfield, or with JAR a defined point on final be it 4nm or so, or the beacon on final.
So descending to the NDB minima with a RVR below minima for the approach would not be lawful, notwithstanding the intention NOT to land.
As the airfield is required to record all approaches when RVRs are reported, the PIC runs a serious risk of being prosecuted by the CAA.
I find this story difficult to believe.......
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Old 4th Jan 2019, 09:57
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Yes, sounds a bit odd and of course back in those days, for an initial the IRE would have been CAAFU as well so all the more surprising.
From a practical perspective, regardless of the conditions at the destination/diversion, the examiner wants to get back to the place his or her car is parked at the end of it therefore the weather at your departure point is likely to be the deciding factor and as parkfell suggests, probably best to consult your ATO Ops Manual.
Holding in winds >35kts across in most light aircraft and particularly in a DA42 is hard work - why make things difficult for yourself on test when examiners understand this and will accept a decision not to go?
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Old 4th Jan 2019, 13:20
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Jar ops didn't apply to none commercial flights in those days. IN fact I was doing dive and drive still on NPA's under a UK AOC until late 2000's.

Anyway it was a single digit exam callsign and the person more likely isn't around to argue the toss. I seem to remember it was an off airfield inner marker NDB anyway so the hard tracking bit had been done anyway the MAP was outbound of the beacon.

This was before 2002 when things were still extremely mucky with what it applied to and what it didn't. Anyway I got the bit of paper at the end and wasn't PIC.....
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Old 4th Jan 2019, 13:58
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Yes, life was a lot easier then. We used to fly multiple approaches to fog bound airfields teaching IMC ratings with RVR of one or two hundred metres.
My first attempt IR got cancelled after I had positioned the aeroplane to the test centre and landed from an ILS with 600m rvr, perfectly legal with a UK CPL but no IR, only to be told the weather was below CAAFU limits so we couldn’t fly. So perfectly legally, I got back in the aeroplane on my own and flew away again....
The good old days for PPL training before it all got complicated...
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Old 4th Jan 2019, 14:27
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a single digit exam callsign and the person more likely isn't around to argue the toss.
One or two of them are
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Old 4th Jan 2019, 14:57
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Okavango - why do you ask? If you are planning to test in the next few days you are unlikely to get better wx conditions in winter.
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Old 4th Jan 2019, 18:14
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One or two of them are around or are still arguing the toss from the grave? ;-)
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Old 4th Jan 2019, 21:22
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Dickie Snell is still with us, but no longer flying. Pat Lander is still about I believe too, and he was Exam01 for quite some time iirc.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 13:50
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Thanks all - some useful guidance in there. Current day to my understanding min RVR is 800m due single pilot IFR ops. Either way, the cloudbase and RVR don't concern me too much as long as they're in limits (a buffer for potential variation of marginal conditions is a discussion point) and as noted there is a VFR circuit involved. I was looking for more understanding of what an examiner would judge useable as the poor bugger obviously has to look out and stay safe in uncontrolled airspace at some points and also needs to safely conduct general handling. I'm close to test but doing weather briefings each day and tracking what's a go/no go day at this inclement time of year. Understood it looks good at present though my view is changeable light winds are possibly more of an issue with runway changes etc along with increased traffic. Fingers crossed on the day of reckoning for a generally poor but stable day with moderate winds and some SCT cloud!
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 14:08
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CAA Flight examiners apply more restrictive weather conditions. See Flight Examiners Handbook, Appendix 4A
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 23:33
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Pat did my last FI renewal. Utter gent.

In the day some people used to do the test returning to an uncontrolled airfield with a fiso using a none published NPA. Sometimes landing on a grass strip.


​​​​The further you took the test north there were differences. After shite loads of experience later I would say it was more real world flying not some test setup. Certainly not easier but not more difficult. I did go full power with both engines on my ils single engine because we were decending below the glide at full chat on the working engine. These days I would know it was wind shear. Them days it was both up and then one down and nothing said.
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Old 6th Jan 2019, 20:17
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Glad to hear Pat is still flying. He made the gross error of passing me on my IRT a decade ago. Fond memories of him sitting there in his V force baseball cap saying nothing all test then hooning the aircraft round a low level circuit and giving me the good news.
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