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View Full Version : EFR rating: When VFR rating is not anough and IFR rating is too much.



Andre Durocher
03-25-2018, 12:59 PM
Sometimes, often, lower than Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) shows up between your departure and your destination. Sometimes this is forecasted and sometimes this is not. Then, VFR pilots will turn back, continue, deviate, fly illegally in the clouds or worse hit mother Earth. After 1 or 2 years of fying around, too many VFR pilots will stop flying and many will not even start flying. Taking the IFR rating is a solution but this is a big step (training, cost, time, recurrencies, etc). What if an EFR (Enroute Flight Rules) rating could be obtain? Then, you could take-off in VMC conditions, fly in the clouds and land in VMC conditions. This type of rating exists in Europe and in Australia. This rating wuold increase Safety and Utility of GA aircraft. Any takers?

Auburntsts
03-25-2018, 01:31 PM
Personally I don't like the concept although I'm aware that there are those that do. IMO flying IFR is a binary activity--either you can or you can't. I don't cotton to concepts like lite IFR, etc. I do agree that one should establish personal minimums that one is comfortable with, but no shortcuts on the ability to perform all the necessary IFR tasks. Weather is frequently different than forecast and emergencies don't know whether you have some intermediate kind of rating. The safest thing if you are launching into IMC is to be prepared to use all the tools in the tool kit. YMMV......

Frank Giger
03-26-2018, 01:12 AM
I'm with the Tiger on this one.

If you're flying IFR at any time, it's an IFR flight and one should be both skilled and rated.

Loads of folks start out VFR, go IFR when things get bad, and then close it out and go VFR when the conditions improve.

Frank "RTR" Giger

Andre Durocher
03-26-2018, 12:46 PM
Pilots fly VFR and they follow the VFR rules, pilots fly IFR and they follow the IFR rules, pilots fly VFR OTT and they follow the VFR OTT rules. In Europe and Australia, pilots fly EFR and they folllow the EFR rules. This increase SAFETY and UTILITY for GA pilots. Getting the IFR rating is something lots of private pilots should have but is too demanding (approaches at 200 ft!) for weekend pilots. This is why they go EFR.

Auburntsts
03-26-2018, 01:11 PM
Attitude flying is attitude flying. Skill wise flying a precision approach to a 200ft DA is no more difficult or demanding to fly than a non-precision approach to an 800ft MDA. Sure mentally there’s potentially a difference and I know plenty of IFR pilots that set personal minimums higher than 200 and 1 and will not launch if the weather is forecast below whatever their mins are. However they are prepared to go to mins or divert if required if things are worse than forecast once they are in the air. You have to be prepared for the worst case scenario every time you launch into IMC.

Oh, in the US, there's no such thing as VFR over the top rules— you are simply VFR, and potentially risky VFR at that.

Andre Durocher
03-26-2018, 06:09 PM
Hello Frank,

What you wrote: start out VFR, go IFR and land VFR describe exactly what is the EFR rating. You can do that very safely without learning everything related to the approach and landing phases of the IFR rules.

Auburntsts
03-26-2018, 06:22 PM
Hello Frank,

What you wrote: start out VFR, go IFR and land VFR describe exactly what is the EFR rating. You can do that very safely without learning everything related to the approach and landing phases of the IFR rules.

The difference in Frank’s example is if things go bad, the instrument rated pilot has the option of retaining the IFR clearance and concluding the flight safely IFR and without having to resort to trying to descend through a sucker hole or scud run.

Andre Durocher
03-26-2018, 06:38 PM
DA (Decision Altitude) on precision approaches (ILS) are usually 200 ft AGL. The other approaches (non precision) have a MDA (Minimum Descent Altitude) usually higher than 200 ft. Every IFR approach is designed with protected area around the ideal final course. The closer you get to the runway the smaller is the protected area. This means that you need to fly with more precison to keep the needle inside the box the closer you are from the runway. I agree with you that flying VFR above the clouds is a risky business specially if you didn't practice instruments scanning since a while. This is another reason why the EFR rating (with proper training) could save lives.

Auburntsts
03-26-2018, 06:58 PM
Well at this point we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Without seeing some stats, I’m not buying that this EFR would truly enhance safety. My rationale is that without data to the contrary I’m thinking that for every pilot that might benefit there will be another that will make poor decisions based upon a false sense of security because they’ve had “some” additional training.

martymayes
03-27-2018, 09:04 AM
Pilots fly VFR and they follow the VFR rules, pilots fly IFR and they follow the IFR rules, pilots fly VFR OTT and they follow the VFR OTT rules.


In the US, there are no VFR over-the-top rules. The FAA would prefer VFR only pilots not fly VFR OTT but it's not illegal. The US does have VFR on top which is done on an IFR clearance.

Andre Durocher
03-27-2018, 12:13 PM
Training, training, training is the way to go we have no other choice. In the hope to reduce LOC (Loss Of Control) some airline pilots receive aerobatic training but as you said this sometimes gives a false sense of security.

Andre Durocher
03-27-2018, 12:16 PM
You are right, getting an IFR rating is the best a pilot can go for and I wish one for every pilot.

Andre Durocher
03-27-2018, 01:33 PM
The difference in Frank’s example is if things go bad, the instrument rated pilot has the option of retaining the IFR clearance and concluding the flight safely IFR and without having to resort to trying to descend through a sucker hole or scud run.

I agree with you. I wish an IFR rating to all pilots.

Andre Durocher
03-27-2018, 02:13 PM
Well at this point we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Without seeing some stats, I’m not buying that this EFR would truly enhance safety. My rationale is that without data to the contrary I’m thinking that for every pilot that might benefit there will be another that will make poor decisions based upon a false sense of security because they’ve had “some” additional training.

Here is what I found on the web: The training for the full Instrument Rating (IR) is vey stringent and costly. Because of this, the UK CAA also issues the Instrument Rating (Restricted), IR(R), which is a simplified version of the IR with fewer privileges. Formely know as the IMC Rating the IR(R) allows flight in IMC but only in certain classes of airspaces and with restrictions on conditions for take-off and landing

Auburntsts
03-27-2018, 02:30 PM
Here is what I found on the web: The training for the full Instrument Rating (IR) is vey stringent and costly. Because of this, the UK CAA also issues the Instrument Rating (Restricted), IR(R), which is a simplified version of the IR with fewer privileges. Formely know as the IMC Rating the IR(R) allows flight in IMC but only in certain classes of airspaces and with restrictions on conditions for take-off and landing

I meant stats that shows that the IR(R) or its equivalent enhances safety. The fact it is cheaper is obvious due to reduced training requirements but cost is but a single variable. I’m still not sold on the benefit of such a rating but it really doesn’t matter what I think. However I’d be shocked if the FAA would adopt it.

Andre Durocher
03-27-2018, 07:57 PM
I meant stats that shows that the IR(R) or its equivalent enhances safety. The fact it is cheaper is obvious due to reduced training requirements but cost is but a single variable. I’m still not sold on the benefit of such a rating but it really doesn’t matter what I think. However I’d be shocked if the FAA would adopt it.
I didn't find stats and I don't know since when this IR(R) exists. I don't know if studies were done about safety. My guess is that this IR(R) rating still exists today because it was not a problem in reducing safety. Thanks for sharing.

dougbush
03-28-2018, 01:02 AM
Sometimes, often, lower than Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) shows up between your departure and your destination. Sometimes this is forecasted and sometimes this is not. Then, VFR pilots will turn back, continue, deviate, fly illegally in the clouds or worse hit mother Earth. After 1 or 2 years of fying around, too many VFR pilots will stop flying and many will not even start flying. Taking the IFR rating is a solution but this is a big step (training, cost, time, recurrencies, etc). What if an EFR (Enroute Flight Rules) rating could be obtain? Then, you could take-off in VMC conditions, fly in the clouds and land in VMC conditions. This type of rating exists in Europe and in Australia. This rating wuold increase Safety and Utility of GA aircraft. Any takers?
i disagree with your premise that an instrument rating is more costly than necessary. You only need 40 hours of SIMULATED IMC. We still have instrument rated pilots getting disoriented in IMC. Some enroute clouds have a lot of turbulence inside, and you have to be able to recover from an upset by reference to instruments while maintaining maneuvering speed.

Moreover, the EFR rating you suggest would encourage those pilots to undertake more long cross-countries. The longer the flight, the more time for the weather to diverge from the forecast. If it gets worse, or you need to make an unplanned stop, you might be glad you learned to make an instrument approach.

I think you'd be better off looking for ways to simplify IFR.

Mike M
03-28-2018, 06:33 AM
Sometimes, often, lower than Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) shows up between your departure and your destination. Sometimes this is forecasted and sometimes this is not.....

You just explained why an aviator venturing into IMC must be fully qualified to mix it up with the other traffic on full IFR clearances. One never knows when the weather forecast will "fail" or some of the equipment will fail and one will be on one's own in the goo. It's absurd to think a minimally trained, inexperienced, non-current aviator will always be able to just follow ATC directions to a safe landing.

Auburntsts
03-28-2018, 07:05 AM
Andre, just curious but are you instrument rated?

Andre Durocher
03-28-2018, 12:51 PM
i disagree with your premise that an instrument rating is more costly than necessary. You only need 40 hours of SIMULATED IMC. We still have instrument rated pilots getting disoriented in IMC. Some enroute clouds have a lot of turbulence inside, and you have to be able to recover from an upset by reference to instruments while maintaining maneuvering speed.

Moreover, the EFR rating you suggest would encourage those pilots to undertake more long cross-countries. The longer the flight, the more time for the weather to diverge from the forecast. If it gets worse, or you need to make an unplanned stop, you might be glad you learned to make an instrument approach.

I think you'd be better off looking for ways to simplify IFR.

Well, I didn't read back all of my posts but I don't think I said that IR is more costly than necessary and if I did this is not what I meant. IR is more expensive compare to an EFR rating. The pilot always has to be up to the task (VFR, EFR, IFR, floats, glider, etc) and more ratings (aerobatic, glider, etc) is the best. By the way, there is an IFR glider rating in Europe and nothing to do with take-off and landing rules and training.

I agree with you, a Private IFR (PIFR) rating not a Commercial IFR (CIFR) rating (the actual rating) would be more usefull to the weekend pilot. Example: MDA (Minimum Descent Altitude) 1500 feet AGL and 3 miles visibility.

Andre Durocher
03-28-2018, 12:59 PM
You just explained why an aviator venturing into IMC must be fully qualified to mix it up with the other traffic on full IFR clearances. One never knows when the weather forecast will "fail" or some of the equipment will fail and one will be on one's own in the goo. It's absurd to think a minimally trained, inexperienced, non-current aviator will always be able to just follow ATC directions to a safe landing.

I agree with you, a pilot should always take the right decisions before take-off, should be prepare (proficient) for the flight and have plan B, C.... The forecast is never garanty flying VFR, EFR or IFR.

Andre Durocher
03-28-2018, 01:26 PM
Andre, just curious but are you instrument rated?

Yes Todd, I am instrument rated. Got my airline licence in 1978 but never wanted to fly for the airlines. Flew Beaver and Aztec in northern Quebec. Had 3 ADFs on board and those are my specialities! Most pilots find that ADF approaches are difficult, I don't. Why? Because I practice them a lot. Practice is the key and now as a private pilot (125 hours a year), in my opinion, I don't fly IFR enough. I want to continue to fly IFR and I need to continue practicing and learn. I did a survey in my local pilot association. Most of pilots are not IFR rated but would like to fly (legally) in the clouds, instead of the ground, between point A and point B, if needed. As I said earlier, here in my area, often the wx is good at departure and destination but not VMC enroute so an EFR rating would help us a lot. Imagine taking-off from a lake, flying in the clouds and landing in VMC at destination. With today's technologies (GPS, autopilot, satellite wx and communication, etc) this is helping us a lot. I saw too many pilots flying into the mountains.

Ron Blum
03-29-2018, 05:07 PM
Any and all proper training is good. The ratings and time in your logbooks will only matter to the NTSB if you get in over your head. I know the flying you are talking about in Canada.(Does anyone ever get above 1000’ AGL?). GPS has made it easier, but I would still vote for an IFR rating. This would assure that the airplane stays shiny side up and it’s on course.

mmarien
03-29-2018, 06:38 PM
Staying within your limitations is probably key, but extra training also is a good idea. In Canada it takes and extra 5 hours (10 hours total) training under the hood to obtain a night endorsement and 15 hours of under the hood (instrument training) to obtain a VFR OTT rating. Under the hood training is similar to instrument training. The idea is to keep the shinny side up while doing maneuvers by instrument only. Both of those endorsements are a good way to obtain some more training on your way to becoming a better pilot.

VFR OTT doesn't mean you can fly through the clouds. Your departure and destination both have to be VFR and you need to stay clear of clouds en route. You never know who is in there.

I have flown both night and VFR OTT many times. I've also decided to wait out the weather. When the stuff you are flying over is full of ice and snow or the ceiling down there is 100 feet there is probably little chance of making a safe landing should you need to go down through that stuff. Even if I did have an IFR rating, I would probably make the same decisions.

I like to view the scenery on the ground while I'm in the air so IFR isn't on my bucket list.

PlaneDan
03-31-2018, 06:18 AM
Then, you could take-off in VMC conditions, fly in the clouds and land in VMC conditions. This type of rating exists in Europe and in Australia. This rating wuold increase Safety and Utility of GA aircraft. Any takers?

I have been preaching exactly that to anyone who would listen and have also suggested it to the FAA once when I had the opportunity. It is often met with the same response as the "I don't cotton to" one that you got. How often are you ready to go, and there is an overcast at 1000 ft., and tops at 3500 or so, and your destination is either VFR or at least is VFR below 1000 AGL? So you have to sit on the ground or commence on one of the most dangerous ventures in aviation known as "SCUD running".

In my opinion, IFR is the most safe way to fly. I have equipment that is probably better than most aircraft in the GA fleet that are certified IFR. I don't have a rating, but would certainly pursue the EFR ( what does that stand for? ) if there were one. There is a special VFR, and I would call this a special IFR.

To get a full IFR rating and equip my plane with the minimum required for GPS approaches, would cost a minimum of $20,000. I can fly on instruments, I do have synthetic vision and autopilot, but without adding an almost useless piece of certified equipment ( and that is all you could get for $10,000 ), it is a no go. Training for the current IFR rating would cost at least $10,000 with IFR Certified plane rental. This Special IFR or EFR rating should cost no more than half that. To be able to do what you have suggested, and what I have been preaching, for that price, I will jump on it in a minute and never again even be tempted to venture into that dangerous venture known as "SCUD running"

Thanks for bringing it up!

martymayes
03-31-2018, 06:57 AM
I have been preaching exactly that to anyone who would listen and have also suggested it to the FAA once when I had the opportunity. It is often met with the same response as the "I don't cotton to" one that you got.


PlaneDan, one of the neat things about the FAA is you, Joe Citizen can petition for a rule or rule change, not by suggestion but by a formal process to which by law they have to listen, consider and respond to. It's spelled out in step-by-step format here:

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/petition/

scroll down to the "how to petition" pdf and you're off to the races.

I think you'll come to appreciate some of the resistance by the non-cotton pickin' naysayers because it forces you to come up with workable solutions, just as the FAA will expect you to do when you write out your petition. Concerns like the ones brought up by your fellow pilots here will have to be addressed. If your petition is considered and published as an NPRM, expect a lot more comments from you peers, both for and against. Ultimately, they can put the kibosh on your idea if they think it sounds foolhardy.

Good luck! I'll be looking for the proposal!

WLIU
03-31-2018, 07:54 AM
So the original poster is in Canada. Would likely be more helpful to him to post a link to the Transport Canada rules change petition process. If there is real motivation to try to create change, he is much more likely to get the process started successfully on his home turf.

But the posters above who are in the US (Joe citizen) can indeed step up and learn how the FAA works. Warning, great persistence is required. Plan on the process taking years.

Best of luck,

Wes

PlaneDan
03-31-2018, 02:58 PM
Any and all proper training is good. The ratings and time in your logbooks will only matter to the NTSB if you get in over your head. I know the flying you are talking about in Canada.(Does anyone ever get above 1000’ AGL?). GPS has made it easier, but I would still vote for an IFR rating. This would assure that the airplane stays shiny side up and it’s on course.

The proper training for the situation would be appropriate. I applaud Canada and the other countries that have implemented this rating. However the rating only means that you have satisfactorily completed the training required for the environment in which you intend to fly. I certainly agree that no one should fly in conditions that they are not comfortable with. Safety is the key.

PlaneDan
03-31-2018, 03:13 PM
Thank you for the link and advise. I will prepare and submit a proposal. However I suffer no delusions that this will ever come to pass in my lifetime. When I get a docket number, I will post it on this site. If anyone wants to join me in this endeavor, please let me know.

WLIU
03-31-2018, 05:40 PM
Don't forget to carry over the 6 hours of currency from the requirements for being legal to file IFR. You will need to create a spreadsheet showing the Equivalent Level of Safety (ELOS) that will be maintained.

Best of luck,

Wes

Marc Zeitlin
03-31-2018, 06:24 PM
Don't forget to carry over the 6 hours of currency from the requirements for being legal to file IFR...I don't remember when they got rid of that, but to be legal to fly IFR you need to follow 14CFR Part 61.57, which only has the following three requirements for IFR:

within the past 6 months:
6 approaches
Holding Procedures and tasks
Intercepting and tracking courses using navigational electronics

No more instrument "time" requirements...

Obviously, all the general requirements apply.

WLIU
04-01-2018, 04:33 AM
Right, but my point was that guys who just fly enroute and don't do approaches will be required to have some sort of currency requirement to satisfy the ELOS. Which will be problematical for the pilots who only fly 10 hrs a year but want to fly through clouds.

Best of luck,

Wes

martymayes
04-01-2018, 08:48 AM
I don't remember when they got rid of that

1997. >20 yrs ago.

martymayes
04-01-2018, 08:56 AM
Thank you for the link and advise. I will prepare and submit a proposal. However I suffer no delusions that this will ever come to pass in my lifetime. When I get a docket number, I will post it on this site. If anyone wants to join me in this endeavor, please let me know.

Not to be Debbie Downer but it could be over quite quickly if they outright reject your petition. Yes, if they give it consideration it could be a lengthy process because they have to consider all ramifications. It took from 1989 to 1995 to rewrite Part 61 so I wouldn’t think it will take that long but 1-3 yrs is probable.

Andre Durocher
07-08-2018, 10:36 AM
I have been preaching exactly that to anyone who would listen and have also suggested it to the FAA once when I had the opportunity. It is often met with the same response as the "I don't cotton to" one that you got. How often are you ready to go, and there is an overcast at 1000 ft., and tops at 3500 or so, and your destination is either VFR or at least is VFR below 1000 AGL? So you have to sit on the ground or commence on one of the most dangerous ventures in aviation known as "SCUD running".

In my opinion, IFR is the most safe way to fly. I have equipment that is probably better than most aircraft in the GA fleet that are certified IFR. I don't have a rating, but would certainly pursue the EFR ( what does that stand for? ) if there were one. There is a special VFR, and I would call this a special IFR.

To get a full IFR rating and equip my plane with the minimum required for GPS approaches, would cost a minimum of $20,000. I can fly on instruments, I do have synthetic vision and autopilot, but without adding an almost useless piece of certified equipment ( and that is all you could get for $10,000 ), it is a no go. Training for the current IFR rating would cost at least $10,000 with IFR Certified plane rental. This Special IFR or EFR rating should cost no more than half that. To be able to do what you have suggested, and what I have been preaching, for that price, I will jump on it in a minute and never again even be tempted to venture into that dangerous venture known as "SCUD running"

Thanks for bringing it up!

Hello Dan,

EFR stands for Enroute Flight Rules (my suggestion).

I did a presentation at my local club and all VFR pilots were very interested to get this licence. This may be a step towards their IFR rating. They will take instrument training and will be safer pilots. They will get more utility of their airplanes. Lots of pilots stop flying because they cannot fly nowhere because of the wx.

Andre Durocher
07-08-2018, 10:41 AM
So the original poster is in Canada. Would likely be more helpful to him to post a link to the Transport Canada rules change petition process. If there is real motivation to try to create change, he is much more likely to get the process started successfully on his home turf.

But the posters above who are in the US (Joe citizen) can indeed step up and learn how the FAA works. Warning, great persistence is required. Plan on the process taking years.

Best of luck,

Wes

Thanks!
I started to talk to my local club and my plan is to talk to larger VFR private pilot groups and at the end those groups will talk to COPA (your AOPA). I would like COPA to present this idea to TCCA (your FAA).

max_reason
04-03-2019, 04:03 PM
It seems I always have a minority opinion, so no surprise here. I agree that pilots should always stay within their abilities. BUT...

So many here completely ignore what has changed in the past 25 years. A large and increasing number of VFR pilots own VFR airplanes that contain a set of avionics that includes: 1 or 2 Dynon Skyview HDX1100 screens with modern WAAS GPS, autopilot, ADS-B out, ADS-B in, etc (or Garmin or other equivalents).

This means (assuming the pilot is familiar with his own avionics):
- the pilot always knows where he is within 10, 20, 30 meters.
- the pilot can observe his position, altitude, direction and speed on a moving map and/or 3D synthetic vision.
- the pilot can observe the position, altitude, direction and speed of every nearby airplane (unless he is in a canyon or between mountains) via ADS-B out/in.
- the pilot can push a single LEVEL button to tell the autopilot to fly straight and level (in case he becomes disoriented, or isn't sure).
- the pilot can tell the autopilot to take him to any nearby airport (or far away airport for that matter).

This is not even REMOTELY similar to what pilots used to face with a conventional 6-pack or 8-pack of instruments.

Therefore, I have to agree with the original post.

One way I look at this from my VFR perspective is the following. I have listened to dozens of youtube videos where IFR pilots fly IFR routes in, around and to large airports. They follow a blizzard of complex instructions given to them by ATC. Many of these pilots seem to love becoming a slave to ATC, and love being able to follow such complex procedures. I have ZERO interest in this, since my only interest in flying is to fly on spectacular days through gorgeous scenery. Because of this, I have never gotten even near getting trapped in IMC... not once.

However, I am a realist. Just because I never found myself in even remotely marginal conditions (even during many night flights)... doesn't mean it can't happen to me, or won't happen to me.

And so, my takeaway is the following. I still have ZERO interest in landing at any ATC controlled airport... ever. After all, about 95% of airports have no control towers at all. Since I hate cities, and stay away from cities (even when I'm on the ground)... I have no need or desire to land in cities. Which pretty much means "at ATC airports". So screw all that hyper-complex nonsense that I see other pilots practice until they're blue in the face. I am a "live and let live" and "to each their own" sort of guy, so those other pilots are welcome to love IFR flying and IFR training. And seriously, if they want to fly for a living, they almost need to be competent at everything IFR.

Given what I said above, if I ever get myself trapped above the clouds or otherwise find myself faked into IMC... what do I want to be able to accomplish? The answer should be obvious.

#1: I want to be able to fly to a small airport and land. So step one is to find an airport that is clear near ground level, no matter how thick the soup may be at higher altitudes in the area. That should be possible with ADS-B and/or tuning in to ATIS or equivalent at every nearby airport and/or asking flight service (or even some ATC far away) to find me an airport within a couple hundred miles that has good visibility near the ground.

#2: I want to be able to fly to whatever airport I select and safely fly to the appropriate runway. When I get close (and within 200 or 300 or 500 feet of the ground), if I can see the airport, I can land safely. If I am still in soup at 200, 300, 500 feet AGL... then on to the next airport that might work.

Obviously I don't want to get vertigo and fly into the ground, or a mountainside, or into an uncoordinated stall-spin. But I had no problem with that during the 2 or 3 hours I spent under the hood during my VFR training. For some reason I am opposite most people... I instinctively trust instruments more than my own sensations. But, that doesn't matter much with an autopilot that has a LEVEL button, much less an autopilot that will fly me to anywhere I want to go. I friend of mine ran a test where he had his autopilot fly actually land his airplane on the runway. He only took over manual control 10 or 20 feet above the runway threshhold to flare and land the airplane. I wouldn't let an autopilot actually land my airplane, but how close can we get?

So I very much DO see IFR as two very distinct sets of activities. The first is to avoid becoming disoriented and crashing the airplane (which the autopilot can do if you can't or don't want to). The second is to fly the airplane to somewhere the pilot can land. It seems like 99% of the time this simply means "fly though a limited stretch of clouds to get to a nearby airport" or "drop below a deck of clouds you flew over wrongly thinking you'd find a hole before your destination".

I don't see why full IFR training is necessary for pilots who never want to go anywhere near any ATC controller directed airports, but might someday need to pass through a deck or patch of clouds to get to a rural airport or airstrip. To convince me I'm wrong, someone will need to explain to me why I need to know all those very complex processes to land at a large ATC controlled airport... when I want to fly to one of the 95% of airports and airstrips that has no control tower or ATC at all. Maybe someone can do that. But I doubt it. Go ahead and give it a try.

I vote for EFR.

dougbush
04-05-2019, 01:36 AM
Max, your autopilot may seem reliable in clear weather, but I don't trust them. I've had autopilots shut off in turbulence during approach and turn in unexpected directions and fail to intercept a glideslope. No way mine could safely recover from an unusual attitude. Unless your autopilot can hold pitch (as opposed to vertical speed), you wouldn't want to use it in severe turbulence, probably not even then. In an updraft, most autopilots will lower the nose and accelerate above maneuvering speed.

Also, an approach at a towered airport is not usually more complicated than at a pilot-controlled airport. At towered airports, I usually get vectors to the ILS, which could not be simpler.

When you are talking about 200, 300, and 500 feet, there are all these tall antennas sticking out of the ground, so you can't safely roll your own instrument approach at a random airport, even with synthetic vision. The only safe way to do it is to follow a published procedure.

Which is okay, because getting an instrument rating is not that hard. It took me about as much effort and money as my private certificate.

Also, I don't think adsb is dependable enough for you to locate and coordinate with all conflicting traffic yet. An instrument approach is a precise course, and another aircraft could be on it at a different speed or opposite direction. Other pilots would be very upset if you did one in IMC without a clearance from ATC.

At rural airports a GPS approach is more common. It takes some training to do safely. Most of the IR training is on approaches, not on en route IFR.

Like you, I had no problem with simulated IMC during my private training and trusting my instruments. I've also been tossed around in turbulence on approaches in the soup. I can see how someone could get disoriented if they didn't focus on what they should. You could argue 40 hours under the hood is excessive, but some IR pilots still get disoriented sometimes, so maybe it's necessary.

Andre Durocher
07-10-2019, 02:05 PM
It seems I always have a minority opinion, so no surprise here. I agree that pilots should always stay within their abilities. BUT...

So many here completely ignore what has changed in the past 25 years. A large and increasing number of VFR pilots own VFR airplanes that contain a set of avionics that includes: 1 or 2 Dynon Skyview HDX1100 screens with modern WAAS GPS, autopilot, ADS-B out, ADS-B in, etc (or Garmin or other equivalents).

This means (assuming the pilot is familiar with his own avionics):
- the pilot always knows where he is within 10, 20, 30 meters.
- the pilot can observe his position, altitude, direction and speed on a moving map and/or 3D synthetic vision.
- the pilot can observe the position, altitude, direction and speed of every nearby airplane (unless he is in a canyon or between mountains) via ADS-B out/in.
- the pilot can push a single LEVEL button to tell the autopilot to fly straight and level (in case he becomes disoriented, or isn't sure).
- the pilot can tell the autopilot to take him to any nearby airport (or far away airport for that matter).

This is not even REMOTELY similar to what pilots used to face with a conventional 6-pack or 8-pack of instruments.

Therefore, I have to agree with the original post.

One way I look at this from my VFR perspective is the following. I have listened to dozens of youtube videos where IFR pilots fly IFR routes in, around and to large airports. They follow a blizzard of complex instructions given to them by ATC. Many of these pilots seem to love becoming a slave to ATC, and love being able to follow such complex procedures. I have ZERO interest in this, since my only interest in flying is to fly on spectacular days through gorgeous scenery. Because of this, I have never gotten even near getting trapped in IMC... not once.

However, I am a realist. Just because I never found myself in even remotely marginal conditions (even during many night flights)... doesn't mean it can't happen to me, or won't happen to me.

And so, my takeaway is the following. I still have ZERO interest in landing at any ATC controlled airport... ever. After all, about 95% of airports have no control towers at all. Since I hate cities, and stay away from cities (even when I'm on the ground)... I have no need or desire to land in cities. Which pretty much means "at ATC airports". So screw all that hyper-complex nonsense that I see other pilots practice until they're blue in the face. I am a "live and let live" and "to each their own" sort of guy, so those other pilots are welcome to love IFR flying and IFR training. And seriously, if they want to fly for a living, they almost need to be competent at everything IFR.

Given what I said above, if I ever get myself trapped above the clouds or otherwise find myself faked into IMC... what do I want to be able to accomplish? The answer should be obvious.

#1: I want to be able to fly to a small airport and land. So step one is to find an airport that is clear near ground level, no matter how thick the soup may be at higher altitudes in the area. That should be possible with ADS-B and/or tuning in to ATIS or equivalent at every nearby airport and/or asking flight service (or even some ATC far away) to find me an airport within a couple hundred miles that has good visibility near the ground.

#2: I want to be able to fly to whatever airport I select and safely fly to the appropriate runway. When I get close (and within 200 or 300 or 500 feet of the ground), if I can see the airport, I can land safely. If I am still in soup at 200, 300, 500 feet AGL... then on to the next airport that might work.

Obviously I don't want to get vertigo and fly into the ground, or a mountainside, or into an uncoordinated stall-spin. But I had no problem with that during the 2 or 3 hours I spent under the hood during my VFR training. For some reason I am opposite most people... I instinctively trust instruments more than my own sensations. But, that doesn't matter much with an autopilot that has a LEVEL button, much less an autopilot that will fly me to anywhere I want to go. I friend of mine ran a test where he had his autopilot fly actually land his airplane on the runway. He only took over manual control 10 or 20 feet above the runway threshhold to flare and land the airplane. I wouldn't let an autopilot actually land my airplane, but how close can we get?

So I very much DO see IFR as two very distinct sets of activities. The first is to avoid becoming disoriented and crashing the airplane (which the autopilot can do if you can't or don't want to). The second is to fly the airplane to somewhere the pilot can land. It seems like 99% of the time this simply means "fly though a limited stretch of clouds to get to a nearby airport" or "drop below a deck of clouds you flew over wrongly thinking you'd find a hole before your destination".

I don't see why full IFR training is necessary for pilots who never want to go anywhere near any ATC controller directed airports, but might someday need to pass through a deck or patch of clouds to get to a rural airport or airstrip. To convince me I'm wrong, someone will need to explain to me why I need to know all those very complex processes to land at a large ATC controlled airport... when I want to fly to one of the 95% of airports and airstrips that has no control tower or ATC at all. Maybe someone can do that. But I doubt it. Go ahead and give it a try.

I vote for EFR.
March 22, 2019,I met Transport Canada and they are interested in the EIR (Enroute IFRRating: T-O in VMC, fly in or above the clouds and land in VMC) project. They want me todo a study and present to them a report.

Yesterday, COPA (Canada Owners and Pilots Association) sent a survey to theirmembers to see who is interested to fly EIR. My own survey shows thatlots of pilots would like to fly EIR.


My project is moving...slowy. Andre.

Mike M
05-19-2020, 11:44 AM
"(assuming the pilot is familiar with his own avionics)"

Many are not. The new avionics are much too capable for those who fly VMC - work for a living - have families - to remain proficient with the button sequences. Next up, voice command? "Alexa, you know where I am. I want to go to........ Make a flight plan, get the weather briefing, interpret it for me, file the flight plan, program the avionics, and change the frequencies as we go along the flight path. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot - use that new Garmin Autoland when we get there and make a reservation for dinner at the airport restaurant." :)

WLIU
05-20-2020, 03:53 PM
The Canadian situation might be self-inflicted. In the US I can depart VFR, climb on top through legal holes, and so long as I know that my destination is VFR and open enough so that I can legally descend, I can fly VFR on top. If I understand correctly, in Canada that is a no-no. If my understanding is correct, the first step might be to remove the prohibition against VFR-on-top. With modern navigation, that is GPS and moving maps and instant enroute weather, VFR-on-top can be done safely.

Best of luck,

Wes

mmarien
05-20-2020, 10:15 PM
In Canada we have VFR OTT and Night endorsements, both of which require more instrument training. A PPL requires a minimum of five hours instrument training. A night rating requires 5 more hours instrument training "under the hood" for a total of ten hours instrument training. VFR OTT requires five more instrument hours on top of Night for a total of fifteen. I have both my Night and VFR OTT endorsements and fly OTT all the time. I've been caught a couple of times and had to climb over ten thousand feet to stay out of the clouds. I've also turned back when I couldn't get through VFR. I would be a lot more cautious if I didn't have an AP. I would like to see a further step with more training without going to full IFR. The training should include some training for approaches and holds. Your destination could be VFR (in a couple hours) but the diversion (for what ever reason) may not be.

martymayes
05-23-2020, 05:51 AM
A night rating requires 5 more hours instrument training "under the hood" for a total of ten hours instrument training. VFR OTT requires five more instrument hours on top of Night for a total of fifteen.

In the US, the FAA made it easier to obtain an instrument rating. That sorta obviates the need for all those increments !

mmarien
05-24-2020, 10:27 PM
I was just correcting the misinformation from WLIU. Every few years I get some additional training to keep from forming bad habits. If I obtain an endorsement or two on the way all the better.

martymayes
05-25-2020, 04:42 PM
I was just correcting the misinformation from WLIU. Every few years I get some additional training to keep from forming bad habits. If I obtain an endorsement or two on the way all the better.

But at some point, does it not make more sense to get an instrument rating? [ I dunno how difficult it is to obtain an instrument rating in CA].

FlyingRon
05-26-2020, 01:54 PM
In the US, there are no VFR over-the-top rules. The FAA would prefer VFR only pilots not fly VFR OTT but it's not illegal. The US does have VFR on top which is done on an IFR clearance.


Really, where did the FAA make that preference known? It's not even an event if you're instrument capable and even if not, it's just another thing you have to do adequate planning for.

Mike M
05-27-2020, 11:46 AM
"where did the FAA make that preference known?" I infer that from the FAA restrictions on over the top flight for Pt135 ops. Might be wrong.

FlyingRon
05-28-2020, 04:53 AM
"where did the FAA make that preference known?" I infer that from the FAA restrictions on over the top flight for Pt135 ops. Might be wrong.
Lots of additional restrictions for 135 ops, but that doesn't mean the FAA is against the alternative for non-commercial ops.

Mike M
05-28-2020, 04:50 PM
If the FAA was "against" VFR OTT for Pt91 pilots, I believe they'd issue a NPRM. If they "prefer" no VFR OTT they'd keep the restrictions on it for "for hire" ops and talk up the dangers when giving Pt 91
training presentations.

martymayes
05-28-2020, 08:16 PM
Just to clarify, I originally said: "would prefer VFR only pilots not fly VFR OTT" We know it shouldn't substantially increase risk for an IR pilot.

The FAA has restricted student pilots, recreational pilots and sport pilots from flying VFR OTT. That wasn't always the case for student pilots. The FAA slipped in a change when nobody was looking. Looks like they prefer student pilots not do that.

The preference became known to me at a safety meeting several yrs ago when it was indicted by an FAA rep. while giving a presentation.