Who Flies Real IFR?

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by Bill Greenwood, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. Bill Greenwood

    Bill Greenwood Pre-takeoff checklist

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    How many pilots fly single pilot, single engine in actual IMC conditions? I'm not asking about flying around in vcm weather and on an ifr flight plan and the only thing ifr about it is talking to control.

    I have not flown much real imc, probably less than 25 hours. Much of it is because I live in the mountains, so its a life and death matter, not so much as if I was in Florida, and also our weather is usually good, but can be awful and what you'd call hard ifr. And much of my flying has been in planes not really designed for imc.

    So, if you really get ready to go to Osh or somewhere and its 600 ft overcast for 500 miles around, do you go anyway?

    I'd like to hear where you are and what plane and avionics you use. I don't have GPS, am familiar with vor, ils, equiptment but have never done a GPS approach.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    I flew a Cessna 402 in scheduled service a couple of years and flew in any legal IFR down to 1800 rvr regularly.

    I own a well equipped fiki Mooney. Won’t fly it IFR if ceilings are widespread below 1000agl.

    If you want to know why, google the atc transmissions of the Bonanza that lost an engine above low IMC and crashed in Plainville MA a couple of years ago. Sobering.


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  3. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I concur. Single engine, single pilot, I prefer to stick to gentlemen's IFR. I want basic VFR minimums underneath. If that engine quits, I want to break out with enough time to hopefully make a controlled landing without running into something harder than myself. I'm willing to push harder in a twin, having that extra margin of safety.
     
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  4. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    I fly single pilot in SE aircraft both to conduct training and personal transportation. I have flown IFR in SE aircraft all over the US, Canada, and the Caribbean. Like any risk in aviation, you need to identify and mitigate risks and set personal minimums.

    In the end, you need proficiency for a precision approach to minimums because some days NWS is completely wrong.
     
  5. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    I’ve always gone with 400-500 and a mile under me for single engine ifr.
     
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  6. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Not current now but I’ve had my IFR for about 10 years and for the first couple of years, flew the Velocity in actual on several flights. Never anything to mins but I’ve done 600-800 ft on arrival. These days I do a lot of over the top but nothing beneath me with ceiling less than 1,000 ft. Mostly southeast area. Panel is Blue Mountain EFIS, Garmin480, backup attitude and DG, with no auto pilot.
     
  7. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pattern Altitude

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    Cessna 182. 430w, 496 with XM back up nav/com, sandel HSI, gmx200
    Autopilot with altitude hold.
    Do keep iPad/foreflight and will bring stratus when going to be in IMC or longer trips. Use iPad mostly for looking up waypoints.
    I do fly in IMC, in fact my first flight after getting rating was in hard IMC-harder then I planned. Thought I would get through a layer and be on top instead got in early and stayed in and was bumpy to boot! My friend and CFI kept telling me I got a license to scare myself a bit when I got the rating-they were right. Fortunately had a fair amount of IMC in training.
    I sometimes I’m just climbing out of an overcast layer or descending through layer though. Always planning the out. And do try to plan for weather lifting where I’m going. Never putting myself in a “have-to” situation. I’ll take off day before and day after a trip for weather wiggle room.
    I feel a bit more confident having combo of partial vacuum partial electrical. So if vacuum goes I have electrical HSI.
    Have not done nighttime IMC-that scares me a bit more.

    Sometimes I laugh as I am thinking over a plan and wonder what the voice of the guy when does the AOPA airsafety accident case studies will sound like describing my possible next mistake- part of my ADM-
     
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  8. MonkeyClaw

    MonkeyClaw Filing Flight Plan

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    When I lived in the Philly area, I used to do it all the time. IMC, approaches to minimums, IMC departures, etc. The G1K in the Columbia is very capable even today, although I never did the upgrade to WAAS... Now that I'm in AZ, I rarely get the chance, so it's under the hood for me.
     
  9. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    I do it pretty regularly.
     
  10. mcmanigle

    mcmanigle Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I do. I have the advantage of living in a pretty flat area, so even with 600-800' minimums chances are I would be able to aim at something soft after breaking out in an engine failure. I don't mind flying to minimums if I have a good backup plan, but I have had a handful of flights of that ilk where, while I had a good weather backup plan, I would have been pretty well out of luck in an engine failure.

    (One flight home to Raleigh from NYC, it was IFR to mins south of Richmond. I landed at Richmond, topped off the tanks, and flew on to RDU and shot the ILS to 200' break out and uneventful landing. But knew that if I couldn't get in, my only real alternative was going to be to turn around and go back to Richmond, which was solid MVFR.)
     
  11. AA5Bman

    AA5Bman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I think it depends on where you live. Midwest and gulf states? Probably a lot of “good” single engine, single pilot IFR weather and a pretty useful ticket. Colorado and other high mountain states? Probably not so much.

    I live in the mountains as well, am instrument rated, and have long since gone non-current on my instrument ticket (although I am thinking about getting current again for trips to the coast). Our MEAs are so high that they are almost always near or below freezing. That plus the mountains means I don’t do a lot of IFR in IMC in our local area. It does seem like there are some pilots who find the ticket useful in the mountains in non-FIKI aircraft. I can’t figure out if they’re crazy smart or just crazy.
     
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  12. Skywalker

    Skywalker Line Up and Wait

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    I don't. My husband and I almost always fly together. So far, whenever we were in IMC the workload was shared. To be honest, I prefer it that way as I don't have a lot of IMC time. In Michigan we fight with icing conditions half the year... :(
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
  13. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    SR20/22 with Perspective avionics. Makes IFR stupid easy
     
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  14. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    No autopilot flown to minimums and even missed a number of times in PA24 and PA
    28. If I cant fly to minimums I shouldn't be in the air.
     
  15. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    I stay current and will punch a layer. As others have mentioned, I don't mind being in IMC during cruise if I can break out and find somewhere flat to put down in a reasonable amount of time, pending ice and TS.
     
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  16. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

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    I remember during instrument training the CFII and I were chatting and he said his grandfather was a pilot as well and wouldn't fly at night due to the perceived danger. I said I generally didn't fly at night either and sort of felt the same way. He responded that flying in instrument conditions is basically the same as flying at night. I'm not sure if he was hoping to make me more comfortable with instrument flying or night flying, but I definitely recall thinking yeah, I guess that's true; and I also haven't finished my instrument rating.

    Honestly I don't fly enough these days to even feel like I'm a really good VFR pilot, so it may not be wise to throw instrument flying into that mix as well. Now that I have a Skyview and a good auto-pilot, I thought I might feel better about moving forward with it, but flashy gee-gaws aren't going to do anything to actually keep me proficient.
     
  17. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    I agree that it depends on where you live. It also depends on what you're flying and the experience level of the pilot. The upper midwest might not be as good for IMC as you think though. In the winter we get ice, in the summer we get thunderstorms. Spring and fall usually produce some good, flyable IMC you could comfortably take a typical light airplane into. Having a turbo, FIKI airplane really helps improve dispatch rate but those airplanes have limitations too.

    I stick to VMC and VFR for the most part but am not afraid to fly in IMC if I have to. What airplane I'm flying on a given day is also a factor. I'd much rather fly an instrument equipped super cub at 100' AGL in good visibility than I would at 3,000' in IMC. The malibu is just the opposite.
     
  18. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    I am and have always been a fly for fun pilot. Earned the rating in a 180hp Maule which is limiting but I hand flew it in plenty of hard IFR. It had a first gen GPS Navigator and the usual Nav gear. Added a vacuum system backup since that vac gear will and did fail. But that was in my 40s and early 50s.

    Now I fly an RV10 which is equipped to the gills with EFISs and capable of fully coupled precision GPS approaches down to minimums. I file IFR on practically every flight and take advantage of local low days to shoot actual approaches. There is a lot of ‘gentleman IFR’ on my CC ventures but few low approaches into remote airports.

    What happened? Now that we’re retired I find that by moving our schedule a day here or a day there, I can generally avoid the worse weather. Most approaches to 1,000’ or less end up being on the return home flying into the 2 or 3 airports I do a lot practice at. Very little flying is done at night as I enter my mid-60s.

    Most missions these days are aimed at fairer weather than the home weather. When they go towards the nastier stuff, I tend to pick my spots.

    Planning a flight from Durham NC to Pgh last year, I got a forecast of a widespread 6,000 foot wad of clouds with 400’ to 1,000’ ceilings and the possibility of ice in spots. The plan was to takeoff and climb on top, then to fly 50 miles north of Pgh where the clouds were forecast to thin out, descend and return south to do an approach into KAGC. But when the clouds didn’t thin by the time I reached Lake Erie, I executed plan B and returned to Durham. From takeoff to landing I never entered a cloud and sunglasses were required the entire way. Some years ago I would have made it in to KAGC.

    Things change


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  19. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    I’ve made that exact same flight in the Maule with the same plan and outcome. The toughest part was getting my first slam dunk into Runway 5. Now I would refuse the tight turn into the FAF.

    Good folks at RDU ATC.



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  20. Shuswap BC

    Shuswap BC Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have been flying IFR for decades, and a lot of it solid IFR, never found it to be a problem. Currently flying a Bonanza, it is a solid IFR bird, and I don't hesitate to take off or fly an approach to minimums in it.
     
  21. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    I used to quite often. Not much anymore. I have gotten spoiled flying aircraft with multiple Jet A consumption devices.
     
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  22. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sure. For a brief summary...

    I got my ticket in northern Connecticut and had a good number of hours of actual, including two real missed approaches, during training. A week after getting my ticket, I took off with 1000 OVC, flew across Long Island Sound, and broke out at night 350 above minimums on the ILS into ISP (a far more memorable flight than my first solo). Plane was a carbureted 172 with dual VORs, one with a glideslope, and an ADF. No DME. GPS wasn't even a word. Autopilot? Ha!

    a week later I moved to Colorado. As you know, opportunities for flyable IFR were few and far between, but I got what I could. Not much. A few flights here and there. Equipment varied rentals/club aircraft and the changing times. Everything from the same as I trained with to IFR approach capable GPS.

    Fast forward to moving to the southeast where we get a decent amount if flyable IFR. Plus I'm older and more conservative. My personal minimums are above the published ones but if mine are forecast, I have no problem going if it's a planned trip. And I have sought those conditions out for local proficiency flights. Equipment wise, a WAAS GPS and functioning autopilot are requirements, although I have waived the autopilot.
     
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  23. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

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    Put me down as another who flies single pilot, single engine IFR all the time. I think my plane is well equipped for the task - 2-screen EFIS, backup PFD, SL 30, GTN 650, ADS-B in/Out, and 2-axis autopilot. I use GarminPilot on my tablet as my EFB with backup on my iPhone. That covers the plane and for me I have a RedBird TD BATD configured with a G1000 panel at home for 61.57(c) currency and general proficiency.
     
  24. FORANE

    FORANE Pattern Altitude

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    Dang, BMA EFIS? I had a BMA gen 3 EFIS roll inverted about 50 AGL in IMC before I decided it needed to go.
     
  25. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Back when I was current, I had no issues flying to minimums. I need to get back to that place...
     
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  26. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    Jerry Wagner does... and when he does he you tubes it for all to enjoy :)
     
  27. wayne

    wayne Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yep. I avoid ice and thunderstorms. Clouds and light rain are no big deal, and I'll cut through a short bit of moderate rain; even if it's not bumpy it's hard on the paint. Most often it is climbing or descending through clouds and on top or in between layers in cruise. Sometimes it's flying in cruise in clouds.

    My family is very used to it. They prefer a good view out the window, although often the girls are doing homework or playing games on the phone. Or they and my wife nap. They are not surprised any more that we descend through clouds, pop out and see a runway, sometimes on short final.

    IMC in Florida is tough, as often it's thunderstorms or at least convective; not always though. In the mountains it can be tough at times due to ice.

    Most of my flying has been in a SR22 (six pack and PFD models), then in a Baron 58 with six pack and Garmin 750, then in an Arrow with a six pack, Garmin 530 and very limited AP (heading bug only).
     
  28. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    When I first got the rating If the propeller would turn and the wings stay on I'd take off into a low overcast. I've gotten a lot more conservative as I've gotten older. But I've always been very wary of ice and tstorms.
     
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  29. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    It’s not about being able to fly to mins, it’s about risk management - what happens if the engine quits...


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  30. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    What happens if it quits when I'm 40 miles from the nearest landout area? What happens when it quits when I'm over the middle of lake michigan? What happens when it quits over a heavily populated area with no wide streets?

    If I wanted to be a giant vajayay I'd just flight sim and sit at home in the safety of my couch. IF you're flying aircraft where you're worried the engine is going to quit, maybe you shouldn't be flying that aircraft at all. I realize there's a crap ton of people scared of their own shadow; I'm not one of them.
     
  31. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    Hey if you wanna use names like that about half the pilots here, seems like a hazardous attitude... if you wanna dead stick to the ground in IMC and don’t see why that’s different... all you.


    https://forums.liveatc.net/atcaviation-audio-clips/bonanza-5626d-crash-plainville-ma-2015-06-28/


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  32. CMongoose

    CMongoose Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I disagree. If you're flying an aircraft (especially single engine) where you are NOT worried that the engine is going to quit or at least thinking about what happens if it does (among other risks that may materialize), then are you really in command of that aircraft?
     
  33. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    There it is. Was waiting for the "you think differently than me, hazardous attitude!" And yeah, I wouldn't want probably half (or more) of the pilots on here next to me if the SHTF.
     
  34. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    You have all the buzzwords. Next you’ll bring out the macho, are you triggered snowflake? lol


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  35. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I have a plan, but I don't WORRY about it. If it's my time to go, then it's my time to go. Been in a number of situations way more life threatening (nearer to immediate death) than an engine quitting.
     
  36. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    Hope you don’t self admittedly roll the dice with unsuspecting passengers on board...


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  37. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Nope. Not at all. You're scared to fly SE. That's fine. I'm not.
     
  38. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    We are ALWAYS rolling the dice.
     
  39. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    No, I never roll the dice in an airplane. I fly twins to the limits. It has nothing to do with fear or proficiency. It has to do with not being one common failure away from oblivion. Like the guy and his young daughter in that Bo.


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  40. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yeah I had a gen 3 on my Glasair and it was total crap as well. My gen4 on the Velocity is quite reliable though. Plus I have a back up altitude indicator.

    Met a couple of former BMA employees one day since they used to make them in my area. A sad story about a company that had so much promise.