Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Another Case Of VFR Into IMC With Sadly Predictable Results

Flying as a VFR pilot into IMC conditions is still one of the top killers of pilots, most especially if you're not instrument rated. On July 15, it killed a pilot and his passenger.

The Detroit Free Press: NTSB: Pilot of crashed airplane in west Michigan was not instrument-rated.

The pilot of this accident was indeed not rated for instrument flight, and he took off in conditions I wouldn't even try to take off in even with an instrument rating.

Two commercial pilots at the airport observed the departure, the report said: One reported that the ceiling at the time was no higher than 100 feet and the other said the plane entered "instrument meteorological conditions" as it crossed a road about 1,300 feet past the departure end of the runway.

The pilot likely had a bad case of get-there-itis and didn't want to wait for the weather to clear.

Yes, while under Part 91 you can legally takeoff IFR in 0/0 conditions but it's really not recommended to do so. 

100 feet AGL is not much better than 0/0 and not good takeoff weather as it doesn't leave you an out to safely and legally return to the airport if something bad occurs.  It's below the visibility needed for non-precision and precision approaches both.  Oceana has RNAV approaches, but 100 feet is way below minimums for it.  

If you're not instrument rated don't try and fly instrument conditions, especially don't try to fly in very bad instrument conditions.  

Instrument flying really is different from VFR flying and it's likely not going to work out how you would prefer it to go.


B said...

My rule is that it needs to be AT LEAST the worst case instrument minimums (usually VOR/localizer) and if it isn't that good, then I don't leave the ground.

But I like to live, and keep my plane in one piece, so there is that.

drjim said...

Never flew into IFR conditions. I did my absolute BEST in avoiding them, including aborting my first solo cross-country flight due to deteriorating weather.

Aaron said...

B: Yep, for me I'm going to be very conservative starting out when flying IFR.

drjim: When I was VFR only, I wouldn't even do VFR-Over-The-Top as I was always concerned I wouldn't be able to find a hole to get back down near my destination.