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Old 01-18-2015, 01:04 AM
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rvmills rvmills is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Reno, NV
Posts: 2,078

Originally Posted by pierre smith View Post

Where do you instrument-rated guys/gals draw the line?


Short answer, the line is pretty fluid, and its based on judgement…of the situation, the aircraft, and the pilot's overall experience...and current readiness.

A good analogy for you would be your comfort level with low altitude ops. I'm sure you make calls on a daily basis at work on whether to take a heavy load into a specific field with challenging terrain or obstacles, or challenging temps and DA. Its a safe bet I'd make a no-go call in situations where you would go, based on your experience…and my lack thereof (in Ag Ops). For me to go when you would go may be foolish…especially since I know you are perty dern bad@$$ down low!

As many have said, good call…for you…in those conditions…on that day. You drew your line and stuck with it. Good job, and honestly, who cares where my line is! If I've been working my way to consistent 500' or lower approaches, maybe its a good decision to go for me…but that should have zero weight on your decision.

Interesting timing on the question though, as I'm installing an SL-30 now, and that will give my RV its first IFR approach capability. FWIW, it'll be a while before I go to 500', if I ever do. Time and training will tell. Single pilot IFR is work…those that do it regularly are likely some of the best, most current instrument pilots flying (IMHO). Single engine, single pilot IFR brings in even more considerations. I respect it a lot, regardless of what I do at work.

That being said, we all tend to judge ourselves, or measure ourselves by what others my or may not do. That's not all bad, as we learn from each other and reinforce each others' good decisions (and sometimes our not so good ones). Like Widget said…good for what-ifs and hangar flying. Once you pull it out of the hangar, its 100% your call!

And FWIW, airline guys make these decisions and judgement calls all the time. 121 and 91 may place different limitations, and company policy does as well. We may have different equipment and a different support structure, but when its marginal, the meat of the decision-making process is no different. Nor is the pair of shoulders on which the responsibility rests...and I don't really care what Captain Intrepid does with his jet!


Originally Posted by MarkW View Post
I don't like to wear a hood so when the days are 500' I go flying to stay current. I will fly to minimums but must always have an out.
I also don't have a problem with 0-0 departure if I know it is a thin ground layer with at least 50' RVR. Not really a 0-0.

Not a face shot, but maybe a discussion generator…one of those hangar flying sessions. Where's the out if its 50' RVR and you lose the motor on TO? 50' is pretty close to zero…heck, even at work...two engines, two pilots…and we need a lot more than 50' (not sure transmissometers go that low!). Also gotta have a takeoff alternate that the remaining motor will get us to. Just food for thought from an RV bro!

Bob Mills
RV-6 "Rocket Six" N49VM
Reno-Stead, NV (KRTS)
President/Sport 47/49, Sport Class Air Racing
President, Formation Flying Inc (FFI)
Flight Lead, Lightning Formation Airshows

Last edited by rvmills : 01-18-2015 at 01:07 AM.
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Old 01-20-2015, 02:33 PM
F1R F1R is offline
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Location: ____
Posts: 661

Pierre, for 24 miles you could have taken the Air Tractor at 300 feet and people would have thought you were just ferrying a load.

Seriously, I like post 21 for single engine IFR in IMC. It just takes the stress away if and when the fan stops making power if you can let down and see where you are going with 1000 ft clear below deck. A 1000 feet clear below deck also gives you an additional easy out if you encounter ice on let down, that you can't evade or otherwise deal with. A half hour in clear air even in air temps that are well below freezing can sublimate enough ice off the canopy to where you can see in front. A few times I have picked up trace of ice on decent and a few minutes below deck does wonders to clear it.

I do not fly in freezing rain. I only did that once about 14 years ago, for about 1 mile while racing a front to the airport. It required a curved approach to touchdown like in a pitts as there was way too much ice buildup in 30 seconds to see out the front of the canopy. As Doug R says, rules 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 are never fly in freezing rain !

Last edited by F1R : 01-20-2015 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 03-04-2015, 04:36 PM
jpowell13 jpowell13 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
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Default Building Experience

I left Baton Rouge on 2/20 for a trip to Richmond, VA and Brunswick, GA to visit various friends and relatives. Lots of heavy weather around Richmond and much too cold for IFR in a 6A, but I was blessed with clear and cold until I got ready to head home last Sunday. Obviously, the whole south was IFR and There was no way I would try it in those conditions, so, I waited until yesterday (3/3) to depart.

The weather across GA was VFR. Landed in Camilla, GA, borrowed the courtesy car, got lunch, checked conditions and my own readiness. At about noon local airports from about Pensacola to Gulfport were IFR but the forecast for BTR was marginal VFR and I didn't see any precip.; although, the briefer warned of scattered showers. No chance of ice. Several apts north and west of BTR were VFR, and I would have at least two hours fuel left on arrival.

I filed direct. It was VFR in Camilla so I activated my plan over the airport and received "as filed" 4000'. I started hitting cloud tops and asked for 6000'. Controllers began complaining about my transponder. I've had this problem before (after removing and reinstalling it) and realized the plug at the back wasn't making good contact. I reached under the panel, snugged the plug up and problem solved.

Most of the second half of the 3+ hour flight was in cloud. The Trutrak autopilot managed the light turbulence without any problem. A few drops of water on my left foot made me nervous about instruments, but I don't think any water is getting to the panel in flight. A line of showers did form just east of BTR and I was vectored north and around to the ILS 13 approach. The airport came into view at about 2300' before establishing on final and I was cleared for the visual. The crosswind was higher than the four knots reported, and I was glad not to have had to fly down to minimums in cloud.

My arrival was about 4:30pm CST, I had about 20 gal in the tanks and a VFR airport with two RNAV approaches within 20 minutes. I was really glad to get the experience. I wouldn't want to have tried it without XM weather and a good autopilot though.


Last edited by jpowell13 : 03-04-2015 at 10:13 PM. Reason: changed "ifr" to vfr in second paragraph.
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Old 03-04-2015, 06:20 PM
SMRacer SMRacer is offline
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Location: Leesburg, VA
Posts: 416
Default IFR capable?

Some of our Experimental craft are very capable IFR machines. But when calculating your weather minimums, don't ever abandon common sense.

I like to compare it to this anecdote.
Q. What's the difference between your two wheel drive vehicle and a four wheel drive vehicle?

A. With the four wheel drive vehicle you get stuck even worse.

N444 JT
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:11 PM
xblueh2o xblueh2o is offline
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: SF East Bay
Posts: 775

I Think Bob Mills hit the nail on the head. The cutoff point is an ever changing target. It is much better to examine all the factors for a particular flight and generate a personal risk assessment than have a hard and fast rule.

Your minimums are your minimums and there are too many factors that feed into them to have a hard and fast rule.
RV-8 with the Showplanes Fastback conversion
Emp completed except for glass work
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Old 03-04-2015, 09:07 PM
Sig600 Sig600 is offline
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Location: KRTS
Posts: 1,798

My line is pretty simple. I don't fly my 8 IFR. 90% of my flying is joy riding, so it's easier said than done but I just don't feel comfortable doing it.

That said I fly commercially, and for the reserves behind one of the most archaic panels ever (C-130) and I hand fly 90% of the arrivals and approaches.

It's just not worth the risk to me, and the airplane does not make a good IFR platform. That said I do regularly fly practice approaches just to stay current on the bottonology if I have to.

The essence of Pierres question was where is your line? That's mine.
Next?, TBD
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Old 03-05-2015, 05:10 AM
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Arlen Arlen is offline
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Location: New Smyrna Beach, FL
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Originally Posted by Sig600 View Post
My line is pretty simple. I don't fly my 8 IFR....

It's just not worth the risk to me, and the airplane does not make a good IFR platform. .
It seems that "good IFR platform" is a function of the pilot's readiness and the plane's equipment and reliability. I'm curious as to why you feel the -8 is a poor platform...
Donation to VAF 10.29.18
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Old 03-05-2015, 08:00 AM
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ChiefPilot ChiefPilot is offline
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Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 1,499

For myself, a 400' ceiling and 1 mile vis is about the minimum I feel comfortable with for planning purposes. I don't mind doing an approach to less than those and have done so several times when the AWOS turned out to be somewhat optimistic - the key thing was planning, preparation, and cockpit organization.

Icing is a consideration, as are conditions either producing or likely to produce convective activity.

I don't like night IFR. I'll tolerate passing through a layer at night but otherwise avoid it.

I practice IFR approaches and such in actual conditions whenever I can. A "view limiting device" isn't really a substitute for the real thing.

I've often wondered if some of the apprehension about flying IFR in a single engine piston is really more about the pilot than the equipment. Single pilot IFR is challenging - it's all on you with no cross check - and it's probably frightening to go back to it when you've been living in the land of redundant everything-including-the-pilot. Not a knock at all - just human behavior. Going from the comfortable to something different is by definition uncomfortable.
Brad Benson, Maplewood MN.
RV-6A N164BL, Flying since Nov 2012!
If you're not making mistakes, you're probably not making anything

Last edited by ChiefPilot : 03-05-2015 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 03-05-2015, 03:28 PM
Sig600 Sig600 is offline
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Location: KRTS
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Originally Posted by Arlen View Post
It seems that "good IFR platform" is a function of the pilot's readiness and the plane's equipment and reliability. I'm curious as to why you feel the -8 is a poor platform...
You left out the airplane itself. Which is a better IFR platform, an Extra 300 or a Cessna 210? All the things that make it a great airplane are why I don't like it for IFR. Light wing loading, responsive controls, single engine.

Even with the auto pilot on (I have sky view and GTN650), its just very unforgiving to less than constant supervision in anything less than perfect calm.

I've got lots of single seat fighter time, and it's not a single seat/cockpit mgmt issue, for me it's just not a stable enough platform for me to take my ATP (which pays the bills) and put it on the table hoping a moment of inattention doesn't yield me a phone call or letter in the mail. There is no where I need to be that is so dire I'm willing to take on the added risk and work load of flying this thing hard IFR. I'll go when it's VFR and I can enjoy it, save the hard flying for when I'm getting paid for it.

Can I take it down to 200-1/2? Yeah, all day long. I just don't want to.
Next?, TBD
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Old 03-06-2015, 06:23 AM
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pierre smith pierre smith is offline
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Default I'm with Sig

The few times that I flew our -6A in IMC were nerve-wracking. The slightest 'twitch' on the stick had you quickly back on the attitude indicator to correct a bank or pitch input.

The RV-10 on the other hand, is rock stable and a joy to fly in IMC.

Pierre Smith
RV-10, 510 TT
RV6A (Sojourner) 180 HP, Catto 3 Bl (502Hrs), gone...and already missed
Air Tractor AT 502B PT 6-15
Air Tractor 402 PT-6-20
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Louisville, Ga

It's never skill or craftsmanship that completes airplanes, it's the will to do so,
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