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Thread: EASA Basic IFR

  1. #1

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    EASA Basic IFR

    EASA issue a proposal for Basic IFR this week. I don't understand all of the ins and outs of their system, but it appears to be an IFR "lite" proposal. Their goal is to get more pilots filing and flying in the IFR system. They suggest this will improve the overall safety of GA. I agree if more competent IFR rated pilots leveraged the system on every cross country flight, safety would be enhanced. However, that's a big IF. I belong to the EAA IMC club. My observation in those meetings is that most pilots are not IFR current/competent. Also, I am still baffled by the NTSB reports that indicate the IFR rated pilot continued VFR flight into IMC. Huh?
    I am not sure rule changes that make earning an IFR rating easier fixes these problems. But as suggested on another thread, perhaps I am getting old and set in my ways. (yes - I remember the good old days when a NDB approach was all that was available at a lot of airports).
    Anyway - do we need a Basic IFR rating here in America?

  2. #2
    lnuss's Avatar
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    Anyway - do we need a Basic IFR rating here in America?
    That's what we have now. "IFR Lite" sounds as if they're contemplating reduced capabilities. Given how often weather isn't as predicted, and people encounter unexpected conditions, it doesn't sound good to me.

    Perhaps someone can find a good reason for it, but it sounds dangerous to me.

    Larry N.

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    This was discussed on here not too long ago, someone proposing we create a basic IFR type rating in the US. I'd be interested in seeing someone collect data to see how viable it would be.

    On the other hand, If I ran a private ATC company, I'd want EVERY plane flying IFR if that would trigger more fees.


    edit: here's the previous discussion: http://eaaforums.org/showthread.php?...light=IFR+lite

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    One aspect that is easy to miss is that EASA's IFR is closer to US ATP and the newer rating is much closer to the US instrument rating. It does not appear to be less than the US instrument rating.

    Best of luck,

    Wes

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    Wink

    [QUOTE=WLIU;74695]One aspect that is easy to miss is that EASA's IFR is closer to US ATP and the newer rating is much closer to the US instrument rating. It does not appear to be less than the US instrument rating.

    Exactly. An IR has been - an still is, mind - a very time consuming and expensive thing to acquire in Europe. Even though our weather is pretty dismal and fast changing due to most of it being a marine climate, very few PPLs have IRs. If one wished to acquire an IR, one would have to pass an ATPL written and fly 45 hours of training. Cost being what it was and is, you would be looking at a year of ground school and approx. $25,000 in today's money.
    In Great Britain you could have an IMC-Rating, which gave you the skills and priviledges to fly IFR on top and to shoot approaches - in the UK, that is. This was a well-proven system, which saved a lot of lives. Obviously, the French and German bureaocrats couldn't stomach the thought of accepting something invented in Britain, so the IMC-Rating was killed off. EASA then came up with an "Enroute IFR" which allowed you to fly into a situation you couldn't fly out of (no approaches allowed). Now, after about 10 years, EASA is attempting to reinvent the wheel by designing a "Basic IFR". Guess what it is going to be a clone of?
    The problem here in Europe is that EASA is a mix of every nationality in the EU. Everybody has to agree and then the legal department of EASA kicks everything into a corner, where it stays, lest somebody might be blamed for allowing anything.

    The result of this over-regulation is that less than 2% of PPL holders in Europe holds a valid IR.

    Sometimes, you have no idea how well the US system works :-)

  6. #6

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    I'm a CFII so maybe I'm not the most objective guy on this thread. That said, I have a question for the proponents of Basic IFR/IFR Lite idea. What instrument skills, knowledge and proficiency currently required would you like not to have when your flying in IMC? At the risk of sounding like even more of a jerk, if your not instrument rated and have at least some actual IMC experience, you really shouldn't try to answer that question because you just don't have the frame of reference to know what is needed.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Tralika View Post
    I'm a CFII so maybe I'm not the most objective guy on this thread. That said, I have a question for the proponents of Basic IFR/IFR Lite idea. What instrument skills, knowledge and proficiency currently required would you like not to have when your flying in IMC? At the risk of sounding like even more of a jerk, if your not instrument rated and have at least some actual IMC experience, you really shouldn't try to answer that question because you just don't have the frame of reference to know what is needed.
    I can answer that for myself. I only fly VFR. So far I have never gotten close to IMC conditions. However, after watching endless flying video on youtube, I can see that maybe someday I might possibly get suckered into IMC conditions. I VERY much doubt this will happen, because I don't fly unless the weather is awesome, because I'm flying to see awesome scenery and go to gorgeous places. Plus, I want my flying to be fun, not scary. Also, I almost NEVER fly to IFR airports. For that matter, I almost never fly to an airport with ATC. I hate those kinds of airports and I hate dealing with ATC, so I simply avoid them. Another reason is... I hate cities in general (and in every possible way), and stay as far away from them as I can.

    Okay, that's the context. I may be a bit more extreme case than other rural pilots, but a great many pilots exist who are moderately close to my situation.

    Oh, I'm not sure this is very relevant, but when "under the hood" during training, I'm one of the few who intuitively trust instruments more than my own senses... assuming the instruments aren't wildly contradicting each other.

    Now. From my perspective, the part of IFR training that deals with all sorts of complex approaches and departures and such is of absolutely zero value to me... and will remain of zero value to me permanently unless I have a stroke and my personality and values completely change.

    What would be of value to me is dealing with IMC... in the unlikely event that is ever necessary.

    I'll give a few examples to illustrate, just in case:

    #1: I'm stupid enough to get my butt trapped above a cloud layer that weather forecasts swore would not exist at my intended destination. But I stupidly believed the weather reports would be somewhere remotely near true... and was wrong. What I'd like to be able to do is be safe descending through a cloud layer in situations where I can talk to pilots or controllers on the ground and confirm for sure that the bottom of the clouds is far above the ground where I want to descend. Or, if I'm double stupid and getting low on fuel, where I must descend under power to avoid having to descend without power (out of fuel).

    #2: I'm flying down a mountain valley and encounter a big honking unexpected cloud in front of me that totally fills the valley. So I make a 180 degree turn and find out that so magical weather phenomenon has filled in the valley behind me. This sounds impossible, and I've never seen anything change so quickly myself, but I've watched two youtube videos in which pilots claimed this happened to them. In such a case my airplane might not be capable of sufficient rate-of-climb to get out of the valley without passing through a portion of one of the clouds.

    #3: I am flying at night in a very rural area (over a national forest or wilderness area) and could not even see clouds in front of me due to the absolute blackness ahead. Note that the clouds ahead would necessarily have a fairly low upper altitude, because the only way I could be surprised like that is if the sky full of stars ahead of me was visible to me. If that wasn't true, if I couldn't see a sky full of stars ahead of me, then I'd know there was a cloud there. But if the cloud tops out at roughly my altitude, I could see the sky full of stars ahead, but could not see anything below the horizon because... well... there just isn't any light there in any case (civilization or otherwise). In this case a 180 degree turn would almost surely solve the problem, or a climb above the top of the cloud layer. Nonetheless, it is again possible I'd find myself inside a cloud for several few seconds or even a few minutes.

    -----

    The bottom line is... I can see great value in being able to fly by instruments in situations like these. Just in case. The key point for me is... I will never fly IFR approaches, IFR departures, or IFR routing. Never. Period. And so, I see absolutely no reason to take that part of the IFR training. For me, that seems to be 80% of the difficulty of IFR... though that's just me guessing based upon watching youtube videos of pilots flying IFR.

    I'll say this too. When I watch these youtube videos of pilots flying IFR, they seem to love it! But what they seem to love is:

    #1: Being able to understand absurdly complex instructions from ATC (that typically come so rapid-fire that I have no idea what is being said).

    #2: Enjoying the prospect of following ATC instructions like an abject slave or puppet.

    #3: Being able to program all sorts of complex goober into their avionics at breakneck speed sometimes.

    #4: Perform all actions that make the airplane obey all the ATC instructions given.

    Remember... the C in ATC is control (or controller).

    When I fly, I want to be in control. And I want to evaluate my situation. And I want to make decisions.

    I very much advocate the X-Files theory of life, namely: TRUST NO ONE.

    I'd rather trust my own observations (of everything including the outside world ... and my instruments), and my own judgements.

    Note that I very much have a "live and let live" philosophy, which means I have absolutely no problem with pilots who love IFR more than life itself. And for sure, pilots who fly commercial airplanes with passengers to major airports... have very little choice. Whether they like it or not, the must be expert in all those other aspects of IFR that I have zero interest in (and zero need for).

    Seriously, why would I need IFR takeoff, IFR departure, IFR routing, IFR approach, IFR landing ... when I will NEVER be at an ATC airport?

    Okay, it is conceivable that someday I'll need to get some repair on my airplane that I can only get at an ATC airport, and I'll have to "grin and bear it" (fly into an IFR airport).

    Maybe once in my life. Maybe twice. Hopefully and probably zero.

    -----

    In my view, there could be two variants of "limited IFR training".

    The first would be for pilots of airplanes with minimal avionics... basically what they call "six packs" or "eight packs".

    The second would be for pilots of airplanes like mine that have a glass cockpit with:
    - dynon skyview HDX1100
    - reasonable autopilot
    - ADS-B out
    - ADS-B in
    - and etc.

    In an airplane like that, a pilot can push a button called LEVEL to instantly tell the autopilot to immediately "fly level" (meaning straight ahead (no roll) and level (no pitch)).

    Furthermore, the autopilot can be told to fly at any altitude and towards pretty much any airport (which are stored in memory in the device).

    Furthermore, the database gives the pilot all the ATIS and other frequencies on which to listen (or ask for) weather reports at endless airports within range.

    Furthermore, the skyview displays a 3D synthetic vision display of wherever the airplane is headed (including color codes to show low clearance and negative clearance of topography), plus a moving map that shows everything in every direction from the current position of the airplane (complete with an icon of the airplane showing which direction it is flying on the moving map).

    For people with this kind of avionics, one can probably get themselves to nearly any non-tower, non-ATC airport and land safely in just about every situation except pea-soup thick fog right down onto the ground.

    A friend of mine did this with a hood and copilot watching where the airplane was relative to the ground, and his conclusion is, he probably could have landed safely and without damage even IN pea-soup fog. I would never suggest anyone try any such foolish thing... unless of course they ran out of fuel and had to glide to an airport in such horrible conditions.

    -----

    The fact is, maybe the second kind of IFR is pointless. I have a feeling that every VFR pilot who has semi-advanced instrumentation like I describe learns how his instrumentation works precisely because he knows this instrumentation can safely get him into, through and out of IMC conditions as necessary, and even right to the threshold of his runway of choice at his airstrip of choice... including every little dinky airstrip in the area. Over 95% of airports/airstrips have no control tower, and presumably more than 95% have no IFR services. Many of us have no need or desire to deal with the 5% (or less) of airports that support IFR. The chances are always much greater that one of the 95% of airports/airstrips without IFR has good (or at least tolerable) weather conditions.

    Nonetheless, hopefully the above indicates a small aspect of IFR that could be very useful to VFR pilots who have no need whatsoever to go through the massive quantity of knowledge involved in IFR takeoffs, IFR departure, IFR routing, IFR approach and IFR landing. What they need to do is get their butt into, through and/or out-of IMC.

    Again, there is NOTHING wrong with full-bore IFR training. In fact, it is necessary for some kinds of flying and some kinds of flying jobs.

    But the rest of us riff-raff don't need that. All we need is to be able to get through a short stint of IMC without getting into a spin, or flying the airplane into a mountain or the ground... or otherwise lose control and/or run out of fuel. Especially with modern avionics, including ADS-B out and ADS-B in that lets us monitor all nearby aircraft, we can be more independent.

    Oh, and incidentally, when flying down mountain valleys, pilots are often shielded from radio contact with ATC... including IFR services. It doesn't hurt to be able to survive without outside advice, intervention or instructions.
    Last edited by max_reason; 04-07-2019 at 11:14 PM.

  8. #8
    lnuss's Avatar
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    The bottom line is... I can see great value in being able to fly by instruments in situations like these.
    You can get that kind of training without getting another rating/certificate. Just get a CFII to work with you, explaining what you're after, and spend some time (and money) getting the training you want. It also wouldn't hurt for you to, at the least, go to the FAA website and study the relevant sections (perhaps under the guidance of the CFII) of the Instrument Flying Handbook. Or, if studying on the computer isn't your thing then you can pick up a paper copy at Sporty's or such.

    Having said all that, if it makes the temptation greater to fly in poorer weather, then you'd be better off getting the rating. The knowledge and skills you develop in doing so make you a better pilot*, even if you never use it again, much like learning to fly a taildragger improves your skills, even if you normally only fly a tri-gear.


    * Yes, even learning the approach procedures and working with ATC help your flying, at least partly because you get your cockpit tasks better organized and learn to deal with some awkwardness, distractions and tasks in the cockpit under both visual and non-visual flying.

    Larry N.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by max_reason View Post
    I can answer that for myself. I only fly VFR. So far I have never gotten close to IMC conditions. However, after watching endless flying video on youtube, I can see that maybe someday I might possibly get suckered into IMC conditions. I VERY much doubt this will happen, because I don't fly unless the weather is awesome, because I'm flying to see awesome scenery and go to gorgeous places. Plus, I want my flying to be fun, not scary. Also, I almost NEVER fly to IFR airports. For that matter, I almost never fly to an airport with ATC. I hate those kinds of airports and I hate dealing with ATC, so I simply avoid them. Another reason is... I hate cities in general (and in every possible way), and stay as far away from them as I can.

    Okay, that's the context. I may be a bit more extreme case than other rural pilots, but a great many pilots exist who are moderately close to my situation.

    Oh, I'm not sure this is very relevant, but when "under the hood" during training, I'm one of the few who intuitively trust instruments more than my own senses... assuming the instruments aren't wildly contradicting each other.

    Now. From my perspective, the part of IFR training that deals with all sorts of complex approaches and departures and such is of absolutely zero value to me... and will remain of zero value to me permanently unless I have a stroke and my personality and values completely change.

    What would be of value to me is dealing with IMC... in the unlikely event that is ever necessary.

    I'll give a few examples to illustrate, just in case:

    #1: I'm stupid enough to get my butt trapped above a cloud layer that weather forecasts swore would not exist at my intended destination. But I stupidly believed the weather reports would be somewhere remotely near true... and was wrong. What I'd like to be able to do is be safe descending through a cloud layer in situations where I can talk to pilots or controllers on the ground and confirm for sure that the bottom of the clouds is far above the ground where I want to descend. Or, if I'm double stupid and getting low on fuel, where I must descend under power to avoid having to descend without power (out of fuel).

    #2: I'm flying down a mountain valley and encounter a big honking unexpected cloud in front of me that totally fills the valley. So I make a 180 degree turn and find out that so magical weather phenomenon has filled in the valley behind me. This sounds impossible, and I've never seen anything change so quickly myself, but I've watched two youtube videos in which pilots claimed this happened to them. In such a case my airplane might not be capable of sufficient rate-of-climb to get out of the valley without passing through a portion of one of the clouds.

    #3: I am flying at night in a very rural area (over a national forest or wilderness area) and could not even see clouds in front of me due to the absolute blackness ahead. Note that the clouds ahead would necessarily have a fairly low upper altitude, because the only way I could be surprised like that is if the sky full of stars ahead of me was visible to me. If that wasn't true, if I couldn't see a sky full of stars ahead of me, then I'd know there was a cloud there. But if the cloud tops out at roughly my altitude, I could see the sky full of stars ahead, but could not see anything below the horizon because... well... there just isn't any light there in any case (civilization or otherwise). In this case a 180 degree turn would almost surely solve the problem, or a climb above the top of the cloud layer. Nonetheless, it is again possible I'd find myself inside a cloud for several few seconds or even a few minutes.

    -----

    The bottom line is... I can see great value in being able to fly by instruments in situations like these. Just in case. The key point for me is... I will never fly IFR approaches, IFR departures, or IFR routing. Never. Period. And so, I see absolutely no reason to take that part of the IFR training. For me, that seems to be 80% of the difficulty of IFR... though that's just me guessing based upon watching youtube videos of pilots flying IFR.

    I'll say this too. When I watch these youtube videos of pilots flying IFR, they seem to love it! But what they seem to love is:

    #1: Being able to understand absurdly complex instructions from ATC (that typically come so rapid-fire that I have no idea what is being said).

    #2: Enjoying the prospect of following ATC instructions like an abject slave or puppet.

    #3: Being able to program all sorts of complex goober into their avionics at breakneck speed sometimes.

    #4: Perform all actions that make the airplane obey all the ATC instructions given.

    Remember... the C in ATC is control (or controller).

    When I fly, I want to be in control. And I want to evaluate my situation. And I want to make decisions.

    I very much advocate the X-Files theory of life, namely: TRUST NO ONE.

    I'd rather trust my own observations (of everything including the outside world ... and my instruments), and my own judgements.

    Note that I very much have a "live and let live" philosophy, which means I have absolutely no problem with pilots who love IFR more than life itself. And for sure, pilots who fly commercial airplanes with passengers to major airports... have very little choice. Whether they like it or not, the must be expert in all those other aspects of IFR that I have zero interest in (and zero need for).

    Seriously, why would I need IFR takeoff, IFR departure, IFR routing, IFR approach, IFR landing ... when I will NEVER be at an ATC airport?

    Okay, it is conceivable that someday I'll need to get some repair on my airplane that I can only get at an ATC airport, and I'll have to "grin and bear it" (fly into an IFR airport).

    Maybe once in my life. Maybe twice. Hopefully and probably zero.

    -----

    In my view, there could be two variants of "limited IFR training".

    The first would be for pilots of airplanes with minimal avionics... basically what they call "six packs" or "eight packs".

    The second would be for pilots of airplanes like mine that have a glass cockpit with:
    - dynon skyview HDX1100
    - reasonable autopilot
    - ADS-B out
    - ADS-B in
    - and etc.

    In an airplane like that, a pilot can push a button called LEVEL to instantly tell the autopilot to immediately "fly level" (meaning straight ahead (no roll) and level (no pitch)).

    Furthermore, the autopilot can be told to fly at any altitude and towards pretty much any airport (which are stored in memory in the device).

    Furthermore, the database gives the pilot all the ATIS and other frequencies on which to listen (or ask for) weather reports at endless airports within range.

    Furthermore, the skyview displays a 3D synthetic vision display of wherever the airplane is headed (including color codes to show low clearance and negative clearance of topography), plus a moving map that shows everything in every direction from the current position of the airplane (complete with an icon of the airplane showing which direction it is flying on the moving map).

    For people with this kind of avionics, one can probably get themselves to nearly any non-tower, non-ATC airport and land safely in just about every situation except pea-soup thick fog right down onto the ground.

    A friend of mine did this with a hood and copilot watching where the airplane was relative to the ground, and his conclusion is, he probably could have landed safely and without damage even IN pea-soup fog. I would never suggest anyone try any such foolish thing... unless of course they ran out of fuel and had to glide to an airport in such horrible conditions.

    -----

    The fact is, maybe the second kind of IFR is pointless. I have a feeling that every VFR pilot who has semi-advanced instrumentation like I describe learns how his instrumentation works precisely because he knows this instrumentation can safely get him into, through and out of IMC conditions as necessary, and even right to the threshold of his runway of choice at his airstrip of choice... including every little dinky airstrip in the area. Over 95% of airports/airstrips have no control tower, and presumably more than 95% have no IFR services. Many of us have no need or desire to deal with the 5% (or less) of airports that support IFR. The chances are always much greater that one of the 95% of airports/airstrips without IFR has good (or at least tolerable) weather conditions.

    Nonetheless, hopefully the above indicates a small aspect of IFR that could be very useful to VFR pilots who have no need whatsoever to go through the massive quantity of knowledge involved in IFR takeoffs, IFR departure, IFR routing, IFR approach and IFR landing. What they need to do is get their butt into, through and/or out-of IMC.

    Again, there is NOTHING wrong with full-bore IFR training. In fact, it is necessary for some kinds of flying and some kinds of flying jobs.

    But the rest of us riff-raff don't need that. All we need is to be able to get through a short stint of IMC without getting into a spin, or flying the airplane into a mountain or the ground... or otherwise lose control and/or run out of fuel. Especially with modern avionics, including ADS-B out and ADS-B in that lets us monitor all nearby aircraft, we can be more independent.

    Oh, and incidentally, when flying down mountain valleys, pilots are often shielded from radio contact with ATC... including IFR services. It doesn't hurt to be able to survive without outside advice, intervention or instructions.
    We're going to have to agree to disagree here. I'm instrument rated and fly IFR quite a bit and staunchly believe that there is no such thing as "lite" IFR, there's just IFR and an IFR pilot best be prepared to use all the tools in the tool kit. That's why currency and proficiency aren't synonyms. If an instrument rated pilot chooses to only fly in VFR or marginal VFR conditions so be it, but don't kid yourself that some half baked IFR rating is going to make folks safer or better pilots. IFR is more mental than physical--honing your stick and rudder skills is the easy part. Watching a bunch of youtube videos won't convey that. YMMV.....
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by lnuss View Post
    You can get that kind of training without getting another rating/certificate. Just get a CFII to work with you, explaining what you're after, and spend some time (and money) getting the training you want. It also wouldn't hurt for you to, at the least, go to the FAA website and study the relevant sections (perhaps under the guidance of the CFII) of the Instrument Flying Handbook. Or, if studying on the computer isn't your thing then you can pick up a paper copy at Sporty's or such.

    Having said all that, if it makes the temptation greater to fly in poorer weather, then you'd be better off getting the rating. The knowledge and skills you develop in doing so make you a better pilot*, even if you never use it again, much like learning to fly a taildragger improves your skills, even if you normally only fly a tri-gear.


    * Yes, even learning the approach procedures and working with ATC help your flying, at least partly because you get your cockpit tasks better organized and learn to deal with some awkwardness, distractions and tasks in the cockpit under both visual and non-visual flying.
    This would be my approach: get the training but maybe not the rating.

    I've done this a couple times in my pilot life: learning things I will never do intentionally, but would like to have enough familiarity with the skills involved to not wig out. For example, I've taken spin training, learned how to perform aileron rolls, and for my recent Flight Review did it out of a Class D airport.

    First off, understand I hate roller coasters and most fair rides. So aerobatics of any sort are not my cup of tea. But if I'm going to spin an aircraft, let's make my first couple in a controlled environment with an instructor.

    On the latter, I didn't get the Controlled Airspace endorsement (as a Sport Pilot, it's an add-on endorsement). It wasn't my goal to get it, as I explained to the instructor. I've just never flown out of a controlled field and wanted to get a feel for it, a familiarization. Who knows, I might get into a bind and need to land at one.

    I've also sat in a couple of times with a pilot on our field who practices instrument landings. It's very educational, and I recommend everyone to do it. Not that I'll ever shoot an instrument approach myself, but it taught me what's going on - and the importance of looking at instrument approaches on airfields to learn where to expect those aircraft. One of my formerly favorite little flying spots has been abandoned, as it turns out that it's pretty close to the instrument approach for a neighboring field, and a pilot flying it is probably paying attention to widgets rather than stuff around him.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

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