Comfy in IMC

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
#41
When my dad was first learning to fly in the AF, his primary instructor used to flash a high beam flashlight in his face randomly. It pissed him off, but there wasn’t much he could do about it. Thought the guy was just being s dick so he learned to ignore it. First time he flew through IMC at night with lightening flashes, they didn’t bother him at all and he realized what the instructor was doing.

In your case, I think though that your instructor doesn’t know he can turn them off.
A regular Captain Ross.
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
#42
Okay, cool, didn't know that. Granted that I've never flown in IMC, but in my current training environment. My CFI-I always has me have strobes on, whenever we're in the air. But more especially at night. So, I was going solely from my experience.
Yeah, training environment in clear skies they should definitely be on. Those training areas are a cluster from what I hear...
 

nibake

Powder hound
#43
The weather, unfortunately, doesn't really care what your personal minimums are. And the weather is often worse than forecast. So if you are going to fly IFR, you really need to be prepared for the possibility that the flight will end in an approach to minimums and going missed.

I've had plenty of students tell me "Well, my personal minimums are 500', so I don't need to be able to go any lower than that." Nope, it doesn't work that way.
It's hard to disagree with your logic, but the whole point of minimums imo is that the margin of protection is larger. I always encouraged newly minted instrument pilots to use high personal minimums. Is the weather going to be below forecast sometimes? Sure. But using MVFR are minimums for a while vastly increases the chances of not having to encounter a minimums/go around situation early on.

Be able to meet the standards for the checkride, yes. Be comfortable doing so in actual conditions with no one / a nervous passenger in the right seat? That is a progression. I would never let a student off the hook, they need to be able to do it in order to get the certificate, but I certainly will tell them to be very conservative. It is borderline foolhardy for someone with private/instrument at 141 mins to go try single pilot flying in hard IFR.
 
#45
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?
Never felt undue stress in IMC due to the IMC itself.
Always felt hard stress in IMC due to embedded TS, bad icing, and/or beat out equipment.
Bad equipment in hard Wx is the worst day in the world.
A little stress should always be felt when flying an airplane, even on a sunny VMC day. It's what keeps you healthy.
It's always good to remember the two most important things in aviation... and act accordingly. You know what those two things are, right?
 
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Kingairer

'Tiger Team' Member
#48
You wont think twice about it once you get to a stage where you are doing it regularly. I agree with the others who say pick a day when there is a flat, thin layer that allows you to get some non-foggle real world IFR experience. Even though youre rated, you dont want to go to the limits of that rating in the first few hours. Enjoy, its my favorite type of flying.
 
#49
When my dad was first learning to fly in the AF, his primary instructor used to flash a high beam flashlight in his face randomly. It pissed him off, but there wasn’t much he could do about it. Thought the guy was just being s dick so he learned to ignore it. First time he flew through IMC at night with lightening flashes, they didn’t bother him at all and he realized what the instructor was doing.

In your case, I think though that your instructor doesn’t know he can turn them off.
Meh, I don't think he was tough enough... A real instructor/captain would make you write the clearance on a napkin... and then intermittently wave the napkin in front of the flashlight to create the flashes. ;)
 

86BravoPapa

Well-Known Member
#52
Never felt undue stress in IMC due to the IMC itself.
Always felt hard stress in IMC due to embedded TS, bad icing, and/or beat out equipment.
Bad equipment in hard Wx is the worst day in the world.
A little stress should always be felt when flying an airplane, even on a sunny VMC day. It's what keeps you healthy.
It's always good to remember the two most important things in aviation... and act accordingly. You know what those two things are, right?
Trust the instruments and fly the plane?

Never let the airplane get somewhere your brain didn't get 5 minutes earlier and fly the plane?

One of those?
 
#54
Ok, I see where you're going. You know I currently fly for a 121 carrier and am perfectly comfortable flying cat II approaches down to minimums, right? I wouldn't be comfortable doing an autoland, because I'm not trained for it, my operator isn't regulatorily-approved for them, and, more importantly, my airplane isn't equipped for them. I'm perfectly comfortable flying a cat I or II approach to minimums, though I'll certainly be at a heightened level of alertness.

What I was referring to in my post was Alaska 135 scheduled flying, where I found myself getting quite comfortable flying in conditions similar to those mentioned earlier... except enroute, in mountainous terrain, VFR, in an airplane not equipped for IFR flight.

Our dispatch requirements were 1000-1 or 500-2, but very frequently weather enroute was far worse than weather at the point of departure, and weather reporting was essentially useless. Weather behind was frequently worse than weather ahead, and sometimes you'd do what you need to do to survive, even if that meant (theoretically) chugging along at a very low altitude or going on the GPS and hoping it didn't fail (it frequently did.)

I found myself increasingly comfortable being a professional scud runner in single-engine wheelplanes flying over unlandable terrain, in weather far worse than IFR aircraft could fly in in the same area, with a plane full of paying passengers. It wasn't complacency, as others have suggested I mean—it was comfort. Normalization of deviance, in a nutshell, which describes much of Alaska 135 flying.

That changed when the parent company decided to send us a batch of 500 hour fresh-faced commercial pilots who'd never even heard of Alaska, and I went all mother dragon, trying to beat into them that if we didn't get there, the ferry would, that the weather would get better eventually, that it was better to wait it out, not to let dispatch push them around, etc. It wasn't enough to keep one of them safe, and we had a fatal accident on one of my days off, on a day I woke up, looked out the window, and decided I was glad to not be at work today.

The NTSB report cited company culture and a lack of operational control. I was mentioned indirectly in the final report, a distinction that I would much rather have avoided. Had I been there that day, I would have absolutely told her not to even think about going—she was smart, a good stick, but two weeks off of IOE—but there were no senior pilots in the office, and the dispatcher / a VP were hounding her to go because 'It's reporting VFR, and other planes have made it.'

Normalization of deviance isn't complacency—it's being comfortable doing things that you shouldn't be doing, nearly verbatim what I said eariler. Sometimes VFR->IMC in Alaska is unavoidable, and that's just how it is. The proper response should be "If I don't do the correct thing now, I might die and kill all of my passengers," not "Eh, I've got this if I just go lower / climb into IMC and fly bootleg IFR to my destination / etc."

-Fox
Is this the story that you were telling me about over dinner?
 
#56
I found myself increasingly comfortable being a professional scud runner in single-engine wheelplanes flying over unlandable terrain, in weather far worse than IFR aircraft could fly in in the same area, with a plane full of paying passengers. It wasn't complacency, as others have suggested I mean—it was comfort. Normalization of deviance, in a nutshell, which describes much of Alaska 135 flying.

Normalization of deviance isn't complacency—it's being comfortable doing things that you shouldn't be doing, nearly verbatim what I said eariler.

-Fox
Oh, lordy. I mean, sure, try to stay comfortable while FLYING that way - if, while enroute, exigent circumstances force you to in order to get yourself back on the ground. But don't EVER get anywhere near comfortable in ACCEPTING that sort of nonsense.

Normalization of deviance might not be operational complacency, but it's sure as shootin' its own horrid kind of moral complacency.
 
#57
What @Nark said. The vacuum pressure should be in your scan when flying a piston. This has happened to me in a single flying freight at night. It was LIFR and the pump took a crap at about 300' on the climb out. It was a great learning experience, but I definitely don't want to do it again. And, it's a good story for the TMAAT question.
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
#58
Oh, lordy. I mean, sure, try to stay comfortable while FLYING that way - if, while enroute, exigent circumstances force you to in order to get yourself back on the ground. But don't EVER get anywhere near comfortable in ACCEPTING that sort of nonsense.

Normalization of deviance might not be operational complacency, but it's sure as shootin' its own horrid kind of moral complacency.
Meh.
What @Nark said. The vacuum pressure should be in your scan when flying a piston. This has happened to me in a single flying freight at night. It was LIFR and the pump took a crap at about 300' on the climb out. It was a great learning experience, but I definitely don't want to do it again. And, it's a good story for the TMAAT question.
A lot of manufacturers don’t do you any favors in this department...vacuum gauge is often a little tiny thing way on the other side of the panel.
 
#59
What @Nark said. The vacuum pressure should be in your scan when flying a piston. This has happened to me in a single flying freight at night. It was LIFR and the pump took a crap at about 300' on the climb out. It was a great learning experience, but I definitely don't want to do it again. And, it's a good story for the TMAAT question.
Yup, those asymmetric start up checks that so frequently go forgotten or ignored on sunny days?? Do those! Always.
There's a reason the items on the checklist are on the checklist. Your pre-flight and checklist discipline on VMC days should be precisely as diligent as your pre-flight and checklist discipline on IMC days. All those VMC days? They establish your habits. To a large extent, it's those habits that determine outcomes when things get froggy.
 

Urp99

Well-Known Member
#60
Next time the weather in your area has low ceilings, grab a CFII and do some flying. Maybe a cross country in the soup, and fly an approach or two. This will help you gain some confidence and do it comfortably with a double I in the seat next to you.
Great idea, but I can't hardly find a CFII around here to fly under the hood, much less one that'll file actual. 45 minute drive one direction for instrument instruction, 1 1/2 hours the other, and last time I tried to book it was 3 weeks to get onto the schedule.
 
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