FIRST SOLO---IFR

SEAN

New Member
Went up last night and filed ifr for the first time solo. I logged 2.4 on the hobbs and all of it was night flight. i filed an flew a victor airways to my destination cho. Was doing great. it was a clear night with no reports of any clouds of any type. i flew the visual into charlottesville and parked, picked back up my clearance and headed back to manasssas. once i was switched to the sector controller over manassas he advised me that weather in hef was reported as 1/4 mile ground vis. then advised me that he need to check with tower and then we would discuss which approach i would use. I got real nervous, then settled inand faced the reality that i would need to fly this approach, and either go missed and land at dulles, or land at hef. as i got closer i could see the fog was evrywhere but on the runway. it felt really good to be able to know exactly what i should have done, and what would have happened.....just glad i didnt have to fly into that fog bank that was settling over dc. anyone else ever encountered an experience like this so green in the ifr system?
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
anyone else ever encountered an experience like this so green in the ifr system?

[/ QUOTE ]

Happened here too once.

Good job with your first flight.
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
Here's a dumb question related to IFR flight:

Say you are on an IFR flight plan - in VFR conditions... it's "severe clear"... and are "cleared for the visual":

Are you vectored to the active RWY like you would be for an approach or do you fly a normal pattern?

I've yet to be "cleared for the visual" in real life and was wondering how this works.

R2F
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Here's a dumb question related to IFR flight:

Say you are on an IFR flight plan - in VFR conditions... it's "severe clear"... and are "cleared for the visual":

Are you vectored to the active RWY like you would be for an approach or do you fly a normal pattern?

I've yet to be "cleared for the visual" in real life and was wondering how this works.

R2F

[/ QUOTE ]

Not a dumb question at all.

You'll be given vectors until you call "field in sight", then proceed visually. You'll be changed to tower when in their area of responsibility.

At some airports, there's charted visual approach procedures (check KPHX) in the approach books and you could be "cleared freeway visual Rwy 7L"; in this case, you just fly the charted line on the "plate" for the procedure.

http://www.myairplane.com/databases/approach/SouthWest/PHX_FREEWAY%20VISUALr7L.pdf
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
Excellent! Thanks!

I'm going to be flying the x/c for my comm. rating next weekend. I'm flying from TPF (Peter O. Knight, Tampa) to CHA (Lovell Field, Chattanooga, TN) with a stop in or near CSG (Columbus, GA).

So far, the "extended forecast" says that the wx is supposed to be "mostly sunny" (as we all know - that could change).
 

Bryan

New Member
Unless I know the area well, I would prefer to fly the approach to assure terrain clearance rather then perform a visual approach at night. Better safe then dead.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Unless I know the area well, I would prefer to fly the approach to assure terrain clearance rather then perform a visual approach at night. Better safe then dead.

[/ QUOTE ]

Same same really. Key to night is prior planning to know what's under your flight route at all times.
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
Good point, Bryan. My flight will be during the day. I am most definitely filing IFR the whole way, so terrain clearance shouldn't be an issue.

This WILL, however, be my first flight into an area with real terrain. CHA is located between to "mountains" (read: TN foothills), but terrain nonetheless.

We don't have that down here.


I'm excited as hell! Nervous too.
 

SEAN

New Member
I have flown into charlottesville(kcho) several times and i know about the 1174 foot hill/tower/homeowners estate at the and of runway 3. on approach to runway 21 at night i knew about this, but i am sure that someone who was unfamiliar with that area might descend to pattern altitude and come pretty close to that hill....probably a good idea to fly the approach in unfamiliar territory. Around manassas though the controllers get real irritated if you request an approach on a clear night....seems kinda messed up if you ask me.
 

giants_fan

New Member
Be real careful R2F! Especially at night. I was told when I was a student that IFR might allow you to fly through clouds, but not "Cumulo-Granite"
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
True enough. However, my x/c next weekend will be during the day.

I'll do my best not to become a dark spot on the side of any mountains.
 

CLR4ILS

Well-Known Member
It is pretty cool to put that training to use isn't it? I remember my first time going solo IFR in the soup. I was working on my CFII and hadn't filed in about 12 months so needless to say I had some rust to kick out. I went up a few times with my instructor to satisfy my currency. He asked if I had ever filed IFR and/or been in the soup solo. When I said no, he said, I think it is time you go fly some approaches solo. You are a good instrument pilot but will not be able to teach instruments "well" until you have experienced the IFR environment solo. He said he recommends this to all of his CFII students that have never filed IFR solo before (granted they are proficient).

The next day I rented the plane and filed from VRB to MLB for the hold followed by the ILS 9, then to TIX for the ILS 36, and back to VRB for the VOR DME RWY 29L approach. I remember being a little nervous even though my instructor and I had just logged 3.5 hours of solid IMC on the previous two 2 hour flights to include all of the approaches I would fly. The cieling was low and the tops were high but it was forecast to lift soon. Feeling ready and confident in my training I made the decision to go.

I picked up my clearance and on departure was in the soup at about 600'. It was solid as I held over MLB at 4000'. I was then cleared for the ILS 9 approach into MLB and broke out at about 350' for the low approach. Then I was back in the soup heading for TIX. I broke out at about 300' on the ILS 36 approach and then was back in the soup heading back to VRB. When I arrived in VRB fortunately the cieling stayed above MINS for the VOR DME 29L approach and I landed safely bringing my first IFR solo to a close.

I like to share this experience with other instrument students and rated pilots because I remember what it felt like to have finally taken on the IFR world on my own. For those of you who have already taken your first IFR solo flight you know what I am talking about. It is the same feeling you had when you landed an airplane for the first time.

If you have a first IFR solo experience Feel free to share it. I like to read other peoples first time IFR runs. How about you Doug? When was yours?

Good luck to all who are about to encounter that first solo IFR experience...ILS
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Be real careful R2F! Especially at night. I was told when I was a student that IFR might allow you to fly through clouds, but not "Cumulo-Granite"



[/ QUOTE ]

Night is no huge difference from day, so long as the proper planning is accomplished and SA maintained.
 

aloft

New Member
Spoken like a pilot with redundant, reliable engines.
In a piston single, night xc should be flown only after serious deliberation; should you lose your engine, your options are severely limited by the darkness. As everyone knows, the survivability of an off-field landing is directly proportional to the ability to select a good landing site. In the dark, you pretty much take what you get. As an old instructor I used to know taught his students in a night off-field landing situation: "In preparation for landing, turn your landing light on. If you like what you see, leave it on; if not, turn it off--cuz you're landing anyway."
 

giants_fan

New Member
MikeD, Aloft is right on that one.

My first xcntry at night was from FMN to ABQ and back.

Not being able to see mountains and mesas (no lights on those things) creates a "scare factor." Or should I call it a "seat cushion inhaling factor."

Stay at MEAs and on the arrivals you should be ok. DOUBLE CHECK the VOR RADIALS.

Someday I'll tell you why!
 

Center_Mid

Well-Known Member
My FBO doesn't even allow renters to fly night IFR. Is that a common restriction? I assume it's for insurance reasons.

Still, on one hand, I would think night IFR would be safer than night VFR, in the sense that you're usually flying under radar coverage and most likely will have a precision approach available. I know that workload is an issue, but it can definitely be an issue in night VFR as well since you can't just get by with navigating by visual landmarks and rough compass headings.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
MikeD, Aloft is right on that one.

My first xcntry at night was from FMN to ABQ and back.

Not being able to see mountains and mesas (no lights on those things) creates a "scare factor." Or should I call it a "seat cushion inhaling factor."

Stay at MEAs and on the arrivals you should be ok. DOUBLE CHECK the VOR RADIALS.

Someday I'll tell you why!


[/ QUOTE ]

Too many people think that night is so much more dangerous than day. It has it's inherent dangers, yes, but I flew night cargo in a 207 and PA-32R VFR/IFR out of PHX to places like SAN, ABQ, ONT, LAS and other great mountainous terrain areas for two years. MEAs at night IFR, yes; also IFR and any other time, KNOW what's under you where you're flying, KNOW where you can and can't go, KNOW how much slop you can/can't contend with. That's why I fly with a sectional day and night, VFR and IFR. For me, it was my job to operate night, single-engine, and I didn't feel for one minute a "scare factor", the engine didn't mysteriously begin to "run rough after dusk" or any other crap like that. With the proper planning to mitigate the risk to the max extent possible, and the appropriate level of SA, it was as safe as could be, all "urban legends" aside.
 

juskl

Well-Known Member
For the pilot planning their x/c flight for the comm rating, you have to be VFR for the entire flight. Check out part 61 on this. I was going to do an IFR into Carlsbad from Phoenix, but changed to Double Eagle in Albequerque because of the requirement (I was slightly bumbed). Check it out.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
For the pilot planning their x/c flight for the comm rating, you have to be VFR for the entire flight. Check out part 61 on this. I was going to do an IFR into Carlsbad from Phoenix, but changed to Double Eagle in Albequerque because of the requirement (I was slightly bumbed). Check it out.

[/ QUOTE ]

Am well aware of that. I'm talking about night single-engine ops in general.
 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
Hey RTF, when will you be in CHA?? Let me know...maybe I'll be able to swing down there!!

As far as flying Single engine night IFR....some people are really against the idea. I tend to do it quite frequently....not much of a scare factor there. If you really think about it, you have the same risks as flying day single engine IFR. True, it's all about risk management, but with lots of training, and currency (true currency, not just the last 6 months...blah,blah,blah) it can be done safely.
 
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