Comfy in IMC

86BravoPapa

Well-Known Member
#1
How long did it take before you became "comfortable" in IMC? As a low time pilot with limited actual I still find myself getting a bit uneasy in the soup.

A part of me feels that it might not be uncommon, especially in a single engine piston with limited backup equipment. An instructor, former F15 and 121 pilot, once told me: if you fly with someone that doesn't tighten up a bit, that's the person to watch out for; regardless of experience you never get completely comfortable.

At the same time, the idea of flying single pilot 91 or 135 down to minimums seems like a point of comfort so far off it's almost unimaginable. Not that that's my eventual goal with this career. But those that do it certainly have my respect.

So what helped you or when did you notice a change?
 

A300Capt

Well-Known Member
#4
When I first got my instrument ticket I had very little actual IMC time. Initially, being in the soup or momentarily entering a cloud instantly gave me an uneasy feeling. It’s natural. Everyone experiences it at first.

Everything the good lord gave us to tell us if we’re right side up or upside down can no longer be trusted. You have to learn to trust the gauges regardless what your brain and body are telling you....that’s not natural.

Time, repetition and experience will make it feel more natural and more comfortable. Other than the logistical and operational aspects of flying IMC, approaches to mins, thunderstorms etc....I don’t really give it much thought anymore. Since my flights are always operated under IFR rules and the majority of my flights are at night and/or IMC it just seems normal to me now.

How long did it take? IDK....different for everyone. For me, I’d say after my first year at the commuters flying the NE US around 90-100 hrs a month without an autopilot, flight directors or FMC’s. Man, you get good really fast and I got to where I actually looked forward to a little hard IFR just to break the monotony.

Don’t worry too much about it. If you do it long enough you’ll become comfortable after a while.
 

ASpilot2be

Qbicle seat warmer
#14
It's when you find yourself getting comfortable with the things you shouldn't be comfortable with that you should start to worry.

-Fox
I kind of disagree. There is a difference between comfortable and complacent. But I agree with what you're saying though.

I am comfortable flying, but I am not complacent. Constantly in manuals and trying to improve.
 
#16
How long did it take before you became "comfortable" in IMC? As a low time pilot with limited actual I still find myself getting a bit uneasy in the soup.
Never? There's a lot of things that can go wrong in singles IMC. I don't think there has ever been a time where I didn't think I could be more proficient, have a better equipped airplane, or the weather be better.

I would say I felt "comfortable" after taking the CFI-I ride and teaching the stuff for a while.
 
#18
It's when you find yourself getting comfortable with the things you shouldn't be comfortable with that you should start to worry.

-Fox
What I’m comfortable with and what your comfortable with is completely different.

As an FAA instrument rated pilot, you should be comfortable landing at 200 and 1/2.

@86BravoPapa: you’ll be comfortable flying IMC when you can think ahead of the airplane. To this day, I still ask myself, what can I be doing next?
 
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