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    « Video Interview: Iraqi Militants Intercepting Drone Video Feeds with $26 Software | Main | American Airlines Flight 331 Crashes after Long Landing at Kingston, Jamaica Airport; Downwind Landing May Have Been a Factor »

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    Sylvia

    Oh how awful! And almost 400 hours experience, how *could* he take off into that?

    I got trapped in France for three days once, with family, paying for hotel bills and wishing the clouds would clear. I will admit that the pressure of get-home-itis was mounting each morning as I checked the TAF. But I also knew there was the option of abandoning the Saratoga and getting a commercial flight if it really didn't improve and I never considered a VFR on top attempt which it sounds like he must have been planning.

    I suppose my decisions were helped by the fact that I was flying North and had a water crossing to take into account but although I really wanted to get everyone back to England, I could never imagine taking off into IMC in hopes of an improvement!

    Syed Mohammad Husain

    This is murder. Please have some instrument proficiency/certification incorporated in the basic license. There is no VFR flying certainty anywhere once airborne.
    I wrote three years back about being caught in the open in a cross country in fast moving weather with no radio contact(possible).

    JDW

    I disagree with Syed. There is VFR certainty if you take off into, and stay in, VFR conditions. If you decide to fly a long cross-country as a non-instrument rated pilot and you run into bad weather, then you must land while still in VFR conditions and wait out the weather.
    Also, instrument proficiency is a part of obtaining your private pilot rating. The regs require 3 hours of simulated or actual instrument time. I presume this is required so that in case you do accidentally fly into IMC, you can do a 180 and get back out of it without killing yourself.
    This accident was an easily preventable tragedy (and should be viewed as Darwin at work). No need for more laws and regulations!

    Max Trescott

    JDW, I agree, VFR flight can be completed safely under some circumstances. That's apparent to those of us who live in CA where the weather is VFR 97% of the time.
    One point on the 3 hours. While the original idea might have been to give people enough skills to do a 180, it may also have a negative effect. And that's to give people the False impression that because they did 3 hours under the hood that they don't need to worry about blundering into the clouds because they think they are Capable in doing a 180 in the clouds. 3 hours is nothing compared to the 40 hours needed to get an instrument rating and I wonder if we gave private pilots no instrument training if they'd understand better that they truly are Not equipped to fly in the clouds. This might make them less complacent about accidentally flying into a cloud.

    Sylvia

    They've taken the instrument proficiency out of the JAR PPL for exactly the reasons you describe, Max. Instead, it is reiterated time and time again to avoid ever getting into a position where you are at risk of flying into IMC.

    What I don't know is whether anyone has actually compared stats before and after.

    Patrick Flannigan

    I can't imagine taking off VFR in such conditions. Even on an ILS I'm always surprised to see the runway appear under such conditions.

    The report indicated that the weather was actually below minimums for the instrument approach going back into that airport: for airline operations we would actually require a takeoff alternate in these conditions. Accident waiting to happen for sure.

    In response to Max - I understand your point of view on removing the 3 hours of IFR training, but I would rather err in the opposite direction. I'd rather be overconfident and somewhat prepared for IMC than caught off guard when/if I got myself into a pickle. If anything, require a bit more hood time.

    But let me be clear - I would not advocate any changes unless accidental IMC becomes a dominant factor in GA accidents. Tackle the biggest problems first.

    The comments to this entry are closed.

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