Am i too carefull?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by TimRF79, Feb 23, 2021.

  1. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    Messages:
    2,349
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    chemgeek
    If you are going to fly IFR in potential IMC conditions, you should ALWAYS be both proficient and prepared to fly approaches to minimums. The weather forecast doesn't care what your personal minimums are. Personal minimums are for planning and risk mitigation, not hard stops about what you are competent to fly.

    For any IFR flight, you are never committed to arrive at your planned destination. If weather conditions change and become untenable, one seeks nearest VFR or simply lands at an appropriate alternate airport with workable weather for an approach. The easiest way to get into trouble is to commit to arriving at your destination come hell or high water. Sometimes the forecast weather doesn't cooperate. On my first IFR trip after getting the rating, I flew on a fall business trip at near max range on a lovely late summer/early fall day. What was forecast to be a trip in severely VFR conditions started to go sideways when an afternoon squall line 75-100 miles west started drawing cool, moisture-laden air inland from the Atlantic, causing ceilings to drop to MVFR conditions quickly with a solid, thick undercast along the coast. I wound up being #4 or 5 on the ILS to BHB on a forecast VFR day. I had plenty of outs and PIREPS to monitor actual weather, and it was no big deal if I was late the the meeting by a few hours or even a day. But you never know what will happen en route, so you should always be prepared when filing IFR.

    In a simple light single with no icing protection, the typical use of the IR is to take the uncertainty, stress, and safety compromise out of flying in MVFR conditions. A typical IFR trip for me is departing in MVFR conditions with uncomfortably low ceilings for VFR XC, popping out on top or between layers for cruise and a smooth ride, and making an IFR descent through the cloud deck at the destination. Occasionally, you get to actually fly an approach. If significant icing is suspected or expected in the IFR climb or descent it is normally a deal-killer. BTDT, unintentionally, during an IPC, and not that much fun. (A good education, though. Lake effect clouds can ice you up in one big hurry.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021
  2. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    26,068
    Location:
    Michigan
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ed Frederick
    There absolutely is.
     
  3. TimRF79

    TimRF79 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2017
    Messages:
    259
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tim
    The key items for me was take-off and immediately go into IMC conditions.
    This being near class B, I expect not to be given an above tops altitude for 20minutes of flight.
    The next factor is that the trend was for clouds to get worse and not better as time progresses. This makes me think that there is a likely hood if having worse conditions.

    Given that my buddy and I need to take off work, we do need to make a go decision the night before.

    I have my personal minimums set on my GarminPilot, and it flagged the FC for the trip as below my personal minimums.

    And as always if you don't go, weather is better than forecast (and would have been fine)....
     
    Deelee likes this.
  4. Deelee

    Deelee Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2019
    Messages:
    1,184
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Deelee
    Cool thanks! This is great insight. I am in your situation, too. New IR pilot. Looking for those friendly IMC days to go up and fly through some nice, friendly, non-icy clouds. Then come back down through clouds to break out about 1000' or higher...
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
  5. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    2,280
    Location:
    El Paso, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    danhagan
    I did to sell the Tiger. But it was going BACK to the Tiger specialists FletchAIR in Frederisckburg area (plane had been there several times in its lifetime). Buyer was paying for fuel both ways with a deposit and contract indicated unless an airworthy item became an issue, plane would sell for "X" amount of dollars without haggling - if purchased, he covered expenses one way only on the sell.
     
  6. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Messages:
    3,179
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bob Gardner
    “If the question is “if...” the answer is NO”
     
    Daleandee likes this.
  7. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    54,895
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    Agree. Safety third. Otherwise a whole lot of stuff would never get done at all.

    But recreation, you get to choose what you like. Work on the other hand... real work... isn’t ever perfectly safe. Ever.

    Safe “enough” is really the goal.

    Don’t tell the safety “experts” who drive a desk. They don’t get it. :)
     
  8. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    54,895
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    This dude made a whole bunch of us safer by doing some incredibly unsafe things.



    The reflective safety belt people wouldn’t let him do it today. No way.
     
  9. pburger

    pburger Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    284
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Paul B.
    As others have said, if you are not comfortable, then don't go. Don't ever push yourself beyond your comfort zone in the clouds - there are no do-overs. That being said, ceilings of 1500 or 2800 are where the instrument rating really helps. You could file for 7 or 8000 and not worry about having to find a hole to get on top or finding a hole to get down. Just climb out, cruise, and then fly the approach if necessary, probably breaking out before the IAF. This would have been a great opportunity to get some actual in, without the pressure of approaches down to minimums. If these ceilings scare you off, the question you should ask is, "why do these conditions make me uncomfortable?"

    Here is a example of a recent decision I made: I was at the hotel at 6 pm, planning a 364nm flight home for the next morning. The forecast was for 200-400 OVC starting in the morning and lasting all day. I was not liking that (the minimums at my home airport are 348 AGL). I checked the forecast for that night, and the ceilings were forecast to be 900 to 1500 until past midnight -- definitely do-able. I packed up and headed to the airport and made the 2.5 hr flight that night. The approach at my airport is NA at night, so I was going to land nearby and Uber home. As it turned out, conditions improved and I broke out on the initial descent and was able to make the visual to my home airport.
     
  10. AlphaMike

    AlphaMike Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2019
    Messages:
    290
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    AlphaMike
    I agree with most of the others that if you don't feel comfortable with the weather than don't go. but.... those conditions are pretty tame. defiantly get some time with your CFII. Again, I think you made the right decision but as a IR pilot that should not have been an issue. That's the kind of flights that I looked for when I got my IR (and still do). Just pop through a layer, climb above, cruise, then drop back through it with a nice 2800 ceiling and visual to land. Doing a flight like that would have been a nice confidence builder. But if you're not comfortable with it yet, get some more experience with a CFII or another IR pilot.
     
    RyanB likes this.
  11. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    2,249
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    somorris
    i think it is normal to be a little apprehensive your first time or two by yourself. But, the only way you will be able to get more comfortable is to do it. You just need to enlist the help of a CFII like others have said so you can experience it with a safety net. Just let you CFII be an observer, and not interfere unless you are about to drop the ball. You have already done all the hard work.
     
    Rgbeard and EdFred like this.
  12. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    26,068
    Location:
    Michigan
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ed Frederick
    Or even another pilots that's flown in actual conditions - especially ones like those - which I wouldn't even consider "conditions." (yes, by regulation they are, but so is flying 100' from the lone puffy cloud in the middle of the sky)
     
    Rgbeard likes this.
  13. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,942
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ and Ensenada, Mexico
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    rgbeard
    Seems to me the ceilings that are being discussed in this thread are so high that it’s really iffy whether or not the approaches are legally loggable.
     
  14. TimRF79

    TimRF79 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2017
    Messages:
    259
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tim
    All seem to focus on the ceiling at the destination.
    May concern was take-off area and enroute, what if you have an in-flight emergency and need to land quickly?
    And on top the clouds are just a little lower than FC...
     
  15. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,260
    Location:
    Hipsterdelphia PDX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mike Brannigan
    Valid concern. I assume you're selling your Bellanca to get a twin? :D
     
    Ravioli likes this.
  16. TimRF79

    TimRF79 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2017
    Messages:
    259
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tim
    This was my initial plan, given the ability to fly on one engine.
    I do have some multi hours with a CFI..
    but i think it will be a 182, given the lower operating cost and ability to flew slow enough to merge with traffic
     
  17. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    6,252
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    asicer
    Valid concern. What's underneath (ILS approaches, freeways, empty fields, flat terrain etc) matters a lot.
    You can ask for higher. On one flight, tops were higher than forecast and I picked up trace ice. I asked for higher, popped out and it stopped accumulating.
     
  18. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,942
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ and Ensenada, Mexico
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    rgbeard

    With concerns such as these how will you ever decide to take off in IMC? Would you take off with a 1,000-foot ceiling ever?
     
  19. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    3,327
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    mondtster
    Your first post suggests the ceilings on departure and enroute were 1500. Although disconcerting to many, the trip could have been done VFR under the overcast if the information you've provided was true.

    To me, the weather conditions seem pretty benign for a beginning instrument pilot. Bases at 1500, tops at 4500, freezing level above. Seems like there are plenty of outs if there is trouble? There might have been 30 or so minutes worth of IMC and the ceilings at the destination were forecast to be high enough you probably could have done a visual approach.

    I can understand the apprehension though, and it is far better to be beating yourself up about not going than it is to wish you hadn't went.
     
  20. TimRF79

    TimRF79 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2017
    Messages:
    259
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tim
    Probably not, my main reason for getting IR was to not have to worry about clouds while at altitude en-route
    I may feel different with more experience and/or a different plane/ better autopilot
     
  21. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    7,742
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    Not if your goal is ultimate safety. But there is if you value other things besides safety. Living in a plastic bubble is not really living.
     
  22. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    26,068
    Location:
    Michigan
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ed Frederick
    For you, getting the IR sounds like buying a snowplow truck, and then only driving it to the beach in the summer.
     
  23. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    10,974
    Location:
    New England
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PaulS
    Missed that post EdFred. Yup, not bad conditions. Honestly though EdFred, the guy needs some encouragement. I'd like to hear a little more from him as to why he thought this was not a good IFR day.
     
  24. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    10,974
    Location:
    New England
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PaulS
    Depends, I tell anyone I plan to fly somewhere that the flight can get cancelled even after we get off the ground. If they can't live with that then we should probably go commercial.
     
  25. dwalt

    dwalt Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Messages:
    351
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DWalt
    Can never be too careful, so I'd say if you weren't comfortable then you might the right choice. However, when I'm evaluating the risks of an IFR flight, I care much more about icing and convective activity than I do about ceilings/minimums as long as I have an out. I'm much more afraid of those two than I am about punching through clouds.
     
  26. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    9,944
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    You’re PIC. Do what is comfortable for you. Maybe take more solo local trips in IMC to get your comfort level up. I’d personally make the trip but it doesn’t matter what any of us would do.
     
  27. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,260
    Location:
    Hipsterdelphia PDX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mike Brannigan
    Not sure why OP is getting the vitriol. I've undertaken flights with high pucker-factor, and I was not better afterward for having done them. It sucks feeling nervous about rolling that power forward on a flight with an uncertain outcome. I also have ratings that I seldom use, and am no worse off for having them.

    This sort of "below my personal standards for launch" undercurrent is selling a lot of Cirrus aircraft. I still think a Cirrus is a "multi-engine equivalent level of safety" for most scenarios.

    A 182 with BRS mod would be just as sweet.
     
  28. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    26,068
    Location:
    Michigan
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ed Frederick
    He asked for opinion. Yeah, he's being too careful. If he WASN'T instrument rated, and didn't want to launch underneath and fly MVFR for 650 miles, I'm totally on board with that, and wouldn't bother doing it myself. But come on, this is about as IMC-lite as you get. With a wing leveling A/P. So yeah without question, being too careful. Getting the IR and then not flying in as "IFR-lite" as this flight is, is like a Miami resident with no drivers license, buying a 4WD SUV, and never leaving the city.

    Or did I miss an ROC amendment that says all opinions expressed have to be fairy hearts and unicorn farts?
     
    Rgbeard likes this.
  29. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,260
    Location:
    Hipsterdelphia PDX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mike Brannigan
    I don't speak with the MC hat on, I'm just the code/config janitor. I'd remove the little badge if I could since it needlessly colors conversation like this. :D

    It was my opinion that if he was reticent for any reason, then it was probably a decision he made correctly for his own mix of skills, experiences, and comfort level, the totality of which we can't know. While he says he is current and competent, that's relative to his own experiences -- I know when I am rocking an IFR "A game" and when I am not, and when I am not, I feel the nerves also and will cancel a flight I feel beyond my current level. Add in a "night before" commitment pressure for a potential aircraft buyer you don't wish to disappoint and you've got a mission that might be hotter than mustard for some pilots.

    There are pilots I would not wish to fly with on a "Light VFR" day, for what that is worth.

    I will say that the stated fear about "what to do if an emergency strikes" hints to me at some value in a bit of dual and emergency practice under the hood. I meet a lot of pilots who practice emergencies, and practice hood work, but have not once combined the two since checkride.

    $0.02
     
    mondtster and WannFly like this.
  30. TailWheelChamp

    TailWheelChamp Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2021
    Messages:
    34
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tail Wheel Chump
    The man has 0.3 hours of actual. Not 3 hours mind you, not 30, not 300 (about how many I have), and not 3,000.

    freakin', 0.3.

    cut him some slack.
     
  31. AlphaMike

    AlphaMike Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2019
    Messages:
    290
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    AlphaMike
    I agree, but he will always have 0.3 if he doesn’t take a flight like that. That was a pretty much cupcake IFR Fligh. To the OP. Get some more experience. Fly with a CFII or a more experienced IR pilot. You have to trust your training. Keep your scan and fly some light IFR flights (maybe a little shorter than this one). It’s all about experience, you will get more comfortable. If not, maybe IFR isn’t for you, and there’s nothing wrong with that!
     
    EdFred likes this.
  32. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    26,068
    Location:
    Michigan
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ed Frederick
    And would have probably had less than that on the entire flight. The training wheels have to come off sometime.

    I had 0 hours of solo IMC before I got my first hour of solo IMC. Was I supposed to stay at 0 forever because I never had it up until that point? You can't get more IMC if you don't fly IMC!
     
  33. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2020
    Messages:
    1,101
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dale Andee
    I agree. But truth be told I have (and likely many have) made a flight where they knew at tree top level they should have left it in the hangar.

    Just the other day I went up into some rather blustery winds. I needed a bit of "up my game" airtime and all ended well but I did have my hands full for a moment or two fighting the wind and flying directly into the setting sun while looking for the runway. It was interesting!
     
  34. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,956
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brian
    Quasi Quote from a book I just read about commercial pilot operations, "I checked the weather hoping it was bad enough to cancel, because I knew it wasn't good enough to be a fun flight, flying in less than ideal weather is just a lot of work"

    The piece of information I didn't have in my original post (actually it was posted while I was writing it) was that it was VFR well between the freezing level and cloud tops. So in theory this is nearly the ideal IFR flight to start using an instrument rating. That said I am not a big fan of just jumping into these condition while the ink is still wet on the instrument rating. Taking even just a VFR rated pilot a long could go a long way to making sure you don't make any dumb mistakes and practice being the PIC under IFR conditions. An experienced instrument rated pilot as a right seater would be even better.

    Actually I watched one of my former students snag a right seat ride from Boise to Seattle under almost this exact scenario. Ironically in a Bellanca Viking. There was a pilot sitting in our Lobby and he started talking to him. Turns out the pilot had just got his Instrument rating and had flown down that morning to drop his wife off for an event. He needed to return to Seattle and then fly back the next day to pick her up. But the weather had closed in, in Seattle and he was debating about having to shoot the approach to near minimums. My friend/former student was just killing time and wanting to build time so offered to fly up with him and then back the next day. I think they both had a great time and he felt much better having someone in the right seat backing him up.

    Brian
    CFIIG/ASEL
     
    mondtster likes this.
  35. TimRF79

    TimRF79 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2017
    Messages:
    259
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tim
    Maybe i have read/hear about to many horror stories where people get in IMC and suffer from spatial disorientation, also the fact that I am in one of the highest group for fatal accidents (Complex SE pilots with 200-300hours) may make me skiddish.
    Isn't it statistically that non IFR pilots have 178 seconds to live once the got in IMC?
    So, do I trust my training that potentially 1 minute after take-off I am in IMC and I will be fine? How do I know I would not get airsick, disoriented, confused?

    If any of this happens, I would not be able to just turnaround, i probably would not be cleared to go above the layer as this is class B where they don't like GA in.
    So then I could descent below, in an area where towers could be or other aircraft zipping under clouds.
    If I had a panic moment, would i check my terrain? would i check my ADS-B?

    Not to forget the BSV will descent into the yellow arc real quick, it is a slippery plane, so now I am coming out of IMC with over 200mph...
    Under VFR, i can descent at 200mph and slow down for landing any day, can i do that after i just freaked out and got airsick?

    While I reflect on the posts, I come to think that easy IFR is where you can fly in and descent out in an open area. Not where you are in the soup after t/o in the vicinity of class B airspace.
    And yes taking a CFII or another pilot is ideal, but my CFII has to be booked about 2 month in advance, so whatever the weather is that day is what it is.
     
  36. AlphaMike

    AlphaMike Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2019
    Messages:
    290
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    AlphaMike
    Tim. You need to get comfortable and confident that you can do it. I would suggest you go out on a vfr day, just you, by your self. File a IFR flight into 5 or 6 different airports and put yourself through the “ringer”. Shoot one approach after the other in vmc. Go missed and on to the next. You just need some confidence.
     
  37. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,829
    Location:
    North Carolina once again.
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tarheelpilot
    No joke. I don’t understand the issue. Just highlights how different we can be as people. To each their own.
     
  38. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    6,252
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    asicer
    Wow, you too? What a coincidence!
    If it's VFR above the cloud tops, does the freezing level matter much?
     
  39. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2013
    Messages:
    13,165
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    eman1200
    I don't think he is. he asked a question and people have provided thought-provoking answers that are both for and against the OP's opinion. nothing wrong with that. if you don't want answers other than your own, why bother asking?

    I think maybe you WERE better afterward......now you know what you shouldn't be flying in, that's a step in the right direction.

    I'm in agreement that it's a flight the OP should be taking. but he isn't, so that's cool too, in a weird "I'm an IR pilot but I don't want to fly in essentially benign conditions" kinda way.

    ok, you can ban me now.
     
  40. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    6,201
    Location:
    KFAR
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Priyo
    OP, it’s your comfort level and your arse on the line. I suggest you find another CFII and get some actual experience. Not sure whether it’s readily available in your area or not. Don’t let SGOTI force you into doing something you aren’t comfortable with.