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Thread: EASA Basic IFR

  1. #11

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    The challenge with flying into the clouds is currency. Getting some instruction will take the mystery out of flying through the clouds, but to have a skill that will save you when you misjudge the weather you have to practice. As with many activities, competency requires practice. The hood time you logged 20 years ago doesn't count or help enough.

    And there is another perspective. Anyone chugging along on a real IFR clearance, and none of the guys on the ATC scopes, wants to share their cloud with someone who does not have sharp enough skills fly with enough precision that they are not a hazard to the other ships that they are sharing the cloud with.

    If you haven't learned all of the skills, and have not recently practiced them, and you are concerned about flying into a cloud due to misjudging the weather, a better investment of your time and energy is learning to make better weather decisions. The FAA seems to have discovered the world of webinars and every other one offered seems to be about weather briefing and weather decision making. Free training! What's not to like for the less experienced aviator on a budget?

    Best of luck,

    Wes

  2. #12

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    Max, yes the one situation you see that might be useful and still safe enogh if you are ifr capable, but stiil not reall ifr expert, is to descend through a cloud layer to good vmc below it. The catch is you need to be sure that the vmc is there and flyable, something like 3500 and 5 miles and damn sure not 1000 and 1/2 mile. And also possible is to climb throgh an overcast layer of a few thousand feet to get to good vmc above and be able to go somewhere. Again, you have to be sure of the weather, not just take a 172 up into clouds which go above 15,000 ft and may have icing and in fact cover hundreds of miles. Also you might fly a plane that is not really that good at ifr approaches, but can fly in more basic imc. I flew a vintage one like that for 20 years and included a some marginal vmc and a small amount of imc but no low approaches. In a tight spot I could have flown a basic vor approach. but I never let us get into that tight spot, and one reason is I had limited fuel endurance, about 2 hours.

  3. #13

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    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.
    Max gave his perspective from a VFR pilot's perspective. I will give mine from an IFR pilot's perspective. I have flown 1000's of hours in IMC and in airplanes with steam gauges (mostly full panel - some partial panel) - no gps or autopilot. In those airplanes, the FAA minimums for currency are not enough to stay alive. However, as Max outlined, today's technically advanced aircraft provide a whole new level of capability. I can foresee a day in which in which certification standards will need to (or should) change for both the aircraft and the pilot.

  4. #14
    I appreciate all the opinions. But I guess I and some pilots will have to disagree with the notion that IFR needs to be "all or nothing". I like the attitude that someone stated that comes down to "you can get any training you wish or might imagine could be useful someday ... without getting any related rating". I should have said it that way too. That's pretty much the point and correct attitude ... except for one thing. What if I go get a bunch of training that makes me competent and safe flying for short (or even long) periods in IMC in my own airplane that has fancy glass cockpit, GPS, autopilot, ADS-B in, ADS-B out, 3D synthetic vision, moving maps (with coloration of terrain that might potentially get in my way, plus audible warnings that yell "terrain, terrain" and such)?

    The problem is three-fold. First, if there is not a simpler IFR rating (called IMC or XVFR rating or something similar), I cannot keep myself in good practice without breaking the law or constantly paying through the nose for a CFI to fly along with me every time I find myself in a situation where flying in simple (not-dangerous) IMC is an option. Second, if I ever do run into the unlikely situation where I cannot avoid IMC [without doing something even more dangerous in an attempt to avoid the IMC], I will technically be breaking the rules ... even though there is no safe alternative (which seems to have no point). Third, why should a VFR pilot like me, who has all the very latest and greatest advanced avionics and danger avoidance systems in my airplane not be able to climb up through a thin/modest layer of clouds to get into known excellent VFR conditions on a long flight to a far away location also with excellent VFR conditions? Or as an alternative the reverse, where I fly a long distance to a location that all weather reports indicate will be excellent VFR above and below a thin/modest layer of clouds at my target destination?

    Here is a completely independent question I have for IFR pilots of all types (including those that regularly fly into airports equipped for IFR because they like to, or because that's part of their job). Assume the airplane you are flying has all the latest and greatest gizmos. You are flying to a destination. When you get there, all the nearby big airports equipped for IFR approaches and such are in pea-soup conditions with thick fog right down to the ground. Yet you can tune into smaller airports and airstrips 20, 30, 50 miles away (and maybe even very close to where you are ultimately planning to go... by car after you land), you hear the bottom of the cloud layer is 1000 or 2000 or 3000 feet above the ground. Are you seriously NOT going to fly to one of those non-IFR airports, descend down through the clouds based upon the 3D synthetic vision and moving maps with terrain-level warning information on your displays ... and land at a clearly safe and most-conveniently-located airstrip? Seriously? And if you do, is this not an admission that landing at smaller non-IFR airports without any help from ATC or any other official entity can be perfectly safe given modern avionics and instrumentation ... even if you had no idea how to perform IFR-takeoffs, IFR-departures, IFR-routing, IFR-approach, IFR-landings?

    As a final comment, let me say this. As a pilot who pretty much only flew into remote non-airport/airstrip locations or sometimes backcountry airstrips, I really have to wonder whether you IFR / big-airport pilots really much understand the difference. I will freely admit that I don't really understand (except in the most vague way) what life is like for an IFR pilot who regularly (if not always) flies IFR-takeoffs, IFR-departurers, IFR-routes, IFR-approaches, IFR-landings under the directions of ATC and all the related IFR entities. In fact, when I watch youtube videos of pilots flying this way, it really does feel like the process is almost entirely different. They are almost always seeking and/or taking instructions from ATC or some external entity, changing settings (?bugs?) on their avoinics and autopilot gizmos, and for sure mostly looking inside the cockpit rather than outside the cockpit. And apparently the autopilot is almost always flying the airplane, not the pilot. This is sooooooo enormously different from the whole process and philosophy of the flying I was doing (and will be doing again very shortly in my new airplane). In contrast, I'm always looking out the windshield and windows at the real world, hands and feet manipulating the controls every instant... with brief glances at instruments to confirm that everything is good with the engine and airplane and such. I really do wonder whether either of us can adequately comprehend the full context of the other kind of flying.

    Maybe it seems strange that I so look forward to GPS, 3D synthetic vision, moving maps, altitude and trajectory color-coded terrain warnings, views of other traffic via integration of ADS-B out and ADS-B in with the synthetic vision and moving maps and other advances. But I definitely do! Perhaps it is funny, but my initial reason for loving this was that I can spend even more time looking out the windshield and windows because I will no longer need to have this big honking paper chart opened up and triangulating VOR signals to figure my position and compare to where I expected to be ... and so forth (all the crap I used to have to do when flying somewhere not totally familiar). Now I can just glance at the moving map, expand the scale to see whatever context I need to see to understand my location, contract the scale to see as much detail as I need to see to understand my immediate environment and the environment I'm heading for, and so forth. And pretty awesome to know whether that canyon I want to turn into is a dead end or not long before I get there. And not to wonder whether the canyon just ahead is the one I think it is or not, because the GPS and moving map make that 100% explicit for me. Way back when in those rented airplanes I'd often have to fly over and around in circles well above the whole area to be sure I had the full and precise context in my head before I could even think about safely flying down into the canyons. Now, as long as one is flying an airplane with all the nifty gizmos, much time and climbs and descents that were necessarily wasted to remain safe... will no longer be needed. Freaking awesome.

    But this is off the main topic. The main point I'm trying to make is what DRGT is saying. That WITH the latest and greatest avionics and instrumentation, it can be safe to fly in ways that would not be safe previously. And this should be accounted for, in my opinion. It isn't right for classical IFR pilots to prevent those of us who ONLY need to deal with simple short-term IMC conditions AND are flying an airplane that is well equipped to safely cope with simple short-term IMC conditions ... to pass through simple short-term IMC conditions. As a side note, on youtube I've seen quite a few VFR pilots in VFR conditions get IFR clearances from ATC to climb up or down through a cloud deck to get back into VFR conditions. I have to assume ATC doesn't know who is the pilot in each airplane, and apparently they often don't ask if a pilot is IFR rated when they ask for a short-term IFR clearances for short-term purposes like flying up or down through a cloud deck. So in a way, it seems that informally an intermediate type of flying between VFR and IFR is already happening ... behind the curtain or under the covers as it were.
    Last edited by max_reason; 05-23-2019 at 07:15 PM.

  5. #15
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    It isn't right for classical IFR pilots to prevent those of us who ONLY need to deal with simple short-term IMC conditions AND are flying an airplane that is well equipped to safely cope with simple short-term IMC conditions ... to pass through simple short-term IMC conditions.
    To start with, it isn't the "classical IFR pilots" who prevent you. Second, I might agree that what you propose would be great IF you can guarantee that those "simple short-term IMC conditions" will stay that way until you're in VFR that will last until you're on the ground. Regardless of what the forecasts say, all too often the weather is NOT as forecast, and often it's worse than what is reported via PIREPS. Sooner or later you'll be in over your head, though it might work for a year or six.

    Also, how can you enforce that this situation you propose is met. It's tough enough now to enforce the rules the way it is now.

    Larry N.

  6. #16
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    Not being able to maintain currency is a silly reason to relax standards. The IFR currency standards are not more onerous than they need to be and frankly, they would likely persist even if the FAA were to come up with IFR-lite. I was never wanting for an IFR-lite rating even before I got my instrument rating (which I only did after 25 years of VFR flying). It's not the instrument rating pilots who are oppressing you.

    You seem to want an autopilot-only rating and frankly, those who operate in that mode even when they are trained to the current IFR standards end up in trouble.

  7. #17

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    Todd, do you ever fly in turbulence, ever at all? If so, is it always extreme? So in fact its mostly light with some moderate and maybe once in a "Lord help me get out of here" severe, and never losing a wing extreme. Just as there are degrees of turbulence there are degrees of imc. Lite might be flat land like Florida, airports every 40 miles, no ice or freezing rain, and ceilings near vmc of 1000 and 3, with lots of long runways and atc available in lots of places and maybe even vmc within couple of hundred mile. Now if you have "lite" skills maybe you have to make sure to stay out of low vis and ceilings , thunderstorms high winds, or night and of course dangerous terrain. But it doesn't have to be

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Greenwood View Post
    Todd, do you ever fly in turbulence, ever at all? If so, is it always extreme? So in fact its mostly light with some moderate and maybe once in a "Lord help me get out of here" severe, and never losing a wing extreme. Just as there are degrees of turbulence there are degrees of imc. Lite might be flat land like Florida, airports every 40 miles, no ice or freezing rain, and ceilings near vmc of 1000 and 3, with lots of long runways and atc available in lots of places and maybe even vmc within couple of hundred mile. Now if you have "lite" skills maybe you have to make sure to stay out of low vis and ceilings , thunderstorms high winds, or night and of course dangerous terrain. But it doesn't have to be
    Was this question directed to me or someone else that posted in this thread?
    Last edited by Auburntsts; 05-25-2019 at 12:28 PM.
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