Just a reminder.... (flying IFR during VFR)

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by farmerbrake, Nov 23, 2016.

  1. farmerbrake

    farmerbrake Line Up and Wait

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    When flying on an IFR flight plan in VFR weather you are expected to see an avoid just like you were bumbling along not talking to anybody....
    On my flight today I was flying at 6,000. There was a decent amount of haze and smoke. About my 11 to 12 position I notice a dark spot in the near distance. He looks like he's below, the all of a sudden starts climbing like crazy.
    As soon as someone got off frequency I got on and said 'I have traffic 12 o'clock looks to be climbing towards me'.
    Controller came back 'yeah he's no facto- OH he came up there quick. Showing 5800.'
    'Yeah I see him. I'm climbing and deviating to the left (he was flying towards me, still maneuvering but had moved off to my 1) to avoid and keep an eye on him'
    'Deviate as necessary' was the response.

    It wasn't too close, but it wasn't too far away either. To be honest, I'm not sure if the other guy even saw me, he was a high wing. I also don't know whey he would be doing maneuvers like he was up around 6,000 feet (ground level is ~800msl).
    The controller apologized before handing me off. I told him it wasn't a big deal because of how that guy was maneuvering. And I truly meant that.

    So don't forget to always see and avoid!
     
  2. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Good catch.
     
  3. tawood

    tawood Line Up and Wait

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    Why not? (Not trying to be a smart ass, seriously asking)
     
  4. farmerbrake

    farmerbrake Line Up and Wait

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    It just seemed unnnessarily high. I do most of my maneuvers below 4000 msl, (just for reference this is where the floor of most of the instrument approaches around our airport is, so there usually isn't much ifr traffic down there. Not that I'm doing maneuvers in line with runways).
    Plus flight visibility was pretty limited. I would estimate the lower end of marginal vfr.
    And it's not like the maneuvers he was doing required a lot of altitude to regain control if he lost control.

    I know there really isn't a regulation about how high you can or can't do maneuvers. But there's also not a regulation that says I can't go out on part 91 and take off on a 0/0 day.
     
  5. Rykymus

    Rykymus Pre-takeoff checklist

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    IFR or VFR, if I can see anything other than soup out my window, my eyes are outside. Not because of any legal requirements, but because controllers are humans as well, and can make mistakes. And I don't want to die.
     
  6. tawood

    tawood Line Up and Wait

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    Unless I'm flying without O2 or with headwinds that increase with altitude, I don't consider any maneuvering flying "unnecessarily high". Guess that's just me.
     
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  7. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Pretty sure it wasn't a Multi that was your traffic, but just as a point of interest, most will be doing engine out work at an altitude where they can expect to recover *above* 3000 AGL.

    Which is why the turbo Seminole I took my ride in is so cranky to get it restarted around here, considering we're at 6000 MSL at the airport. You're looking to recover by 9000' MSL. Restart attempts are in the 10-11,000 range.

    If it hadn't restarted on the third attempt during my Commercial ride, I'd have declared and headed for the nearest suitable airport. It started about 500' before I was going to make that call. 9500'. We were in a 120 knot dive to help the prop unfeather from 11,500 to 9,500.

    Let's be starkly and brutally honest for a sec. We had two pairs of eyeballs between us and three hands tied up doing stuff on the restart attempts. While we were VFR and "seeing and avoiding" I bet if you stuck a camera in the airplane to track our eyeballs we didn't look outside 80% of the time.

    So watch out for those twin trainees and checkride candidates in 120 knot dives headed downhill fast with a mill that doesn't want to start. Piper didn't design 'em to restart very well at altitude. I read online that they start nicely at 3000' MSL in places like Florida and Arizona where the majority of the fleet is.

    There's a lot of throttle and mixture jiggling going on in that cockpit while one hand is "stuck" holding the starter button in on the left cockpit wall. By the third attempt, everyone on board is pretty distracted. ;)

    We go way out of the way of typical VFR and IFR routes and training activities to do this, but we were headed back toward busier airspace because you don't want to be caught out in the middle of nowhere if you can't get it restarted.
     
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  8. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Are you sure it wasn't someone doing acrobatics?
     
  9. farmerbrake

    farmerbrake Line Up and Wait

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    It just seemed odd to me given my personal experience and the visibility.
    Positive it wasn't a multi. We were close enough that I know for sure it was a single engine.
    It could have been. But if you were doing acrobatics wouldn't you at least call the controllers and tell them you'll be maneuvering in that area? He literally came from below in a steep climb close to my altitude head on. That's why ATC didn't call him out, they thought he was a lot lower.
    I have no experience with acrobatics at all, and I'm sure there probably isn't a regulation that you should give ATC a courtesy call, it's just seems like a good idea. And yes, I suppose there is a chance he was no radio.


    In the end the point of my thread wasn't to debate/discuss heights for maneuvers. It was to discuss the need to remain vigilant while on an IFR flight plan in VFR weather, something I'm sure some people forget about.
     
  10. farmerbrake

    farmerbrake Line Up and Wait

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    Missed seeing this earlier.
    And my point exactly. Just never had an experience like this before.
    And I know it won't be my last!
     
  11. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    I routinely go up to 5k agl to do maneuvers. That said, I typically get radar advisories from ATC to prevent this sort of situation.
     
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  12. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You have to use the starter in the Seminole to restart in the air?

    Does it not have prop accumulators?
     
  13. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Nope, just a nitrogen charge that helps push. Needs oil pressure on top of that to unfeather. And a dive helps by catching the edges of the prop and twisting at this altitude.
     
  14. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Good lord this was hastily written this morning, pre-coffee.

    Nitrogen, spring, and prop weights all push toward feather. Oil pressure pushes back. No accumulator... but...

    Just learned through a discussion, that I'd have to confirm, that apparently there IS an accumulator option available -- whether factory or not, I don't know -- but hardly anyone opts to buy it. I'd have to look and see what specific prop systems it is available for, and in what model years, since you also have the option of a two or three bladed factory installed prop.

    The particular PA-44-180T that I'm flying has the three bladed props and no accumulator. So it's oil pressure and air twisting helping out that gets it out of feather.

    Below about 900 RPM (for shutting down on the ground) the feather lock pins engage and the prop won't feather at all. Something to know in-flight... if you have a sudden engine stoppage and don't get the handle past the feather detent before the RPM falls, it's going to be stuck at low RPM almost feathered, but a lot of drag compared to all the way. Or if there's something slowing it down, etc, etc, etc. You need above 900 RPM or it won't go.
     
  15. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Final Approach

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    The thread title threw me off a bit at first with "flying IFR during VFR" but then I figured what was meant was "flying IFR during VMC". I think regardless of how one is operating, eyes outside whenever possible is always smart.
     
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  16. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Good job not burying your head in the cockpit. Thanks for the reminder
     
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  17. ChiefPilot

    ChiefPilot Pre-Flight

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    The most memorable time I've had doing acro was practicing an IAC sequence on an IFR plan (VMC, of course) in a block of airspace from 5000' to 8000'. With tops at about 5200', it was a great way to practice low level acro. The MSP TRACON controller thought it looked fun too :)
     
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  18. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Some reasons one might be at 5000 AGL maneuvering:

    1. Spins.
    2. Testing aircraft performance prior to high altitude flight (e.g., canyon turns, climb rates, IFR "numbers").
    3. Certain types of photographs.
    4. Airborne radio relay.
    5. Looking for an ELT (esp. steep turns).
    6. Instrument training (pattern A and B).
    7. Just trying to get away from all the other schmucks practicing maneuvers at lower altitude.
    8. Glider techniques (thermalling).
     
  19. Harold Rutila

    Harold Rutila Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Rhetorical question: What's the purpose of telling a controller you have traffic in sight if you weren't issued a traffic advisory?
     
  20. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    Regardless of a traffic advisory being issued, if you are IFR and see conflicting traffic (that might be on a potential collision course), you'd want to let ATC know in case you need to deviate laterally and/or vertically. That goes for VFR advisories/FF too, though less critical.
     
  21. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    I could also see it being someone doing acro. In this area, people do acro without talking to ATC. It would be safer, though, to let them know. And, doing acro you want to be high enough to recover. Six thousand feet wouldn't be unreasonable.