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Flying in the rain over water


Guest High Plains Drifter
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Guest High Plains Drifter

Has anybody experienced the lack of horizon effect you get when flying in rain over a large body of water.

 

HPD

 

 

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Guest High Plains Drifter

Oooooh Blueshed, I hope that wasnt in your RAAus machine 006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif

 

I was thinking of a posibility in a current event. I recall we lost a popular editer of a Ultralite magazine several years ago in a simular incident.

 

HPD

 

 

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The lack of height preception over large bodies of water such as dams & lakes when there is no wind can also cause some real grief at low level. Plenty of air between you and the water is the best way to avoid getting wet.

 

I have not read any details re the 337 accident so no disrespect

 

is intended.

 

 

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Guest pelorus32
The lack of height preception over large bodies of water such as dams & lakes when there is no wind can also cause some real grief at low level.

As I recall Byron Kennedy met his end in Warragamba Dam from just that - flying ahelicpoter that ended up hitting the surface. Maybe late 80s early 90s - someone else might remember the details.

 

M

 

 

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Rain on the windscreen creates an illusion that you are further away from objects and ground than you actually are. It's a trap for new players in low level flying, that's for sure.

 

cheers,

 

 

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It doesn't even need to be rain or fog. I remember an (English) channel crossing in a Stinson 108 in otherwise perfect conditions but with a low haze over the water that had me flying on instruments in CAVOK. Spacial disorientation can occur in conditions you wouldn't believe without actually experiencing them.

 

 

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Any time you unexpectedly lose horizon it can mean very high workload !! I remember a trip back from Avalon airshow one night - when I was very current IFR. We departed and were in cloud for about half the way back to Bankstown and then flew into beautiful night VFR conditions. I really stopped flying IFR at that point. A while later we ended up with a very high cloud cover and very low level as well - we were in between. We totally lost any sense of horizon even though in perfectly clear air. I had to concentrate on going back to IFR flying. It got me thinking at the time that a VFR pilot could very easily get caught in such a situation without the experience to be able to handle it. Wrote an article for a mag at the time. The same would be the case for the rain over water - done that many times although have always been IFR so not such a problem - but agree that you can lose all situational awareness if not careful.

 

 

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How does the VFR pilot go when he has only basic instruments, ASI. Altimeter. Balance ball. Ive never been there and with luck will keep visual. I have known the canopy to mist over on take off which can be frightening.

 

 

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Yenn.....I could be cheeky and say how does he go.....spiralling in!

 

Its not easy to fly with basic panel and no visibility. Some say use the compass and the turn co-ordinator or what ever else you have if they are there.

 

Best not to get into that situation and find out the hard way!

 

I have flown in some rain and kept the altimeter glued to 1500 feet, and when over the beach you can keep a definitive view of the world by looking out the side a lot. Maily because the view in front gets obscured a fair bit. Of course rain that still constitutes VMC is pretty light rain, however it does make the view out the front a lot worse than out the side.

 

Best to be sure of your skills and where you are if there is rain around. Too many risks in some terrain and conditions. If in doubt don't.

 

J

 

 

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How does the VFR pilot go when he has only basic instruments, ASI. Altimeter. Balance ball. Ive never been there and with luck will keep visual. I have known the canopy to mist over on take off which can be frightening.

I seem to remember some tests were done about 15 years ago in the US where they put VFR pilots in a simulator and removed all reference although they did have full panel. The idea was to measure how long they could fly in those conditions. While I don't remember the exact number it was a matter of less than a minute on average before loss of control. At the time there was no requirement for basic IF training for VFR pilots there. Things may be a bit different now with people using computer game simulators, etc but I think that answers your question. Basic VFR panel is almost useless - ask any IFR pilot who has lost vacuum pump in IF conditions !

 

 

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Basic VFR panel is almost useless - ask any IFR pilot who has lost vacuum pump in IF conditions !

True in general, but it does depend greatly on aircraft type. Pilots were climbing and descending through cloud long before the gyro horizon was invented, solely on ASI, altimeter, compass, and ball. Granted these blokes were specifically trained to do so, because at the time that's all there was, and their aircraft were often slow and stable types that basically flew themselves as long as the ball was centered, but I have read more than one account of WW1 pilots in highly instable types like the Camel entering cloud to evade or surprise an enemy. So it can be done, although not something to be recommended. And Yenn, I think it was 170 seconds, there was a recent Foxtel doco about JFK Junior's fatal, that referred to the tests you mention.

 

 

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Sounds right, 168 seconds sprang to mind for me. How do you go with a Vac Pump failure I hear you ask? Easy, revert to your electric T&B, along with ASI, VSI and Alt.

 

Hence the reason why you have to have split sources for IFR and sometimes backups.

 

 

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IFR in cloud.

 

Flying a simulator (non motion,) (or game) on instruments, can be fairly easy , You do not have the accellerations and middle ear input to deal with. Without a visual reference that you can rely on (outside visibility), or in it's absence, instruments that you are familiar with AND are prepared to TRUST, (THIS is important) these "seat of the pants" inputs will completely bring you undone. They have to be completely ignored. The more abstract and basic the old panel is, the more training and recency you need to have to keep control ,especially in rough air. After that you have to climb or descend and navigate somewhere without "losing it". The workload is high as you have to concentrate and you wouldn't be in the best frame of mind if you are unsure of where you are, you are not sure how close the hills are, you realise what an idiot you are for getting into that position, you're really sweating now, and so on . You get the idea...Nev

 

 

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Sounds right, 168 seconds sprang to mind for me. How do you go with a Vac Pump failure I hear you ask? Easy, revert to your electric T&B, along with ASI, VSI and Alt.Hence the reason why you have to have split sources for IFR and sometimes backups.

I wouldn't say easy !! I have had it happen once flying a C172 out near Broken Hill. I was descending through very turbulent cloud and had a total vac pump failure. I don't know if you have ever looked at the old turn and bank indicators that were fitted to Cessnas but in turbulence they are not well damped (to say the least) and give you no real idea. I was lucky that I was tracking to an NDB and I used that in conjunction with ASI, compass and anything else to keep situational awareness. Nev has it spot on in his append - and yes I was thinking what the hell am I doing here. Since then I have not flown IFR in anything that does not have a backup vac source, or as a minimum very good T&B !!

 

 

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A further point on instrument "quality" (interface design, useability or whatever buzzword is appropriate). The moving map GPS is a pretty common instrument and theoretically can provide direction but its slow response and reversal when the map orientation is changed is not ideal. In a situation of VFR but no horizon I found I got disorientated probably within a minute. It was more difficult than the magnetic compass (flying north at the time).

 

 

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For anyone who ever watched the doco on Brian Miltons world circumnavigation in a trike in 1998, there was a section over India where his co-pilot Keith Reynolds flew in cloud at 7000ft for 5hrs over 5000ft mountains in their Pegasus-Q 912 with IFR cockpit, they also both hold UK GA PPLs with IFR ratings which no doubt explains why they survived that very difficult leg.

 

That's well beyond most trike pilots level of training that I know and certainly beyond any trikes level of cockpit equipment that I've ever seen in the flesh, but shows that trikes can be flown in that stuff, albeit with what I would call an elite level of equipage and pilot training in the realm of triking.

 

As for me, I don't fly through any cloud I can't see through. VMC for me thanks.

 

Rgds,

 

Glen

 

 

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Guest Flyer40

Glen, your comment coincidentally reminded me of an experience I had near Goulburn during my first Navex. Directly on track was an isolated rain shower a few km wide. I could clearly see through it to the other side and it looked like no threat to maintaining VFR, but being a newby I decided to divert around it. Just as well I did because up close it became a solid grey column. I couldn't see the ground under it from 2500 agl and I doubt I could have maintained VFR if I had gone right through it. A few miles past the shower, and again we were able to see right through it. I got a bonus lesson on that trip.

 

Here's a link to the story mentioned earlier for anyone who wants to read it.

 

http://www.casa.gov.au/fsa/2006/feb/26-33.pdf

 

Mal

 

 

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Guest pelorus32

I reckon that discretion is by far the better part of valour here, for a couple of reasons:

 

First it's not enough to have an IFR panel, basic or otherwise. You have to be trained to full IFR standard AND current. I think that last little word is very important. Currency is a critical part of successful IFR flying.

 

Secondly if you are flying RAAus you are simply prohibited from flying anything but day VFR.

 

But what about inadvertent IMC you say? I think that the response would really be: that means that your planning and management was such that you were not leaving yourself sufficient margin for safety.

 

Sticking my neck out: Go for it guys and girls ;-)

 

Regards

 

Mike

 

 

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But what about inadvertent IMC you say? I think that the response would really be: that means that your planning and management was such that you were not leaving yourself sufficient margin for safety.

Sticking my neck out: Go for it guys and girls ;-)

 

Regards

 

Mike

Mike, I don't think you are sticking your neck out. Lack of planning and a push on regardless attitude has caused so many accidents from inadvertent entry to IMC. IMC doesn't know whether you were inadvertent or deliberate upon entry - it will still treat you the same way !!

 

Agree completely about the "current" word as well. That is why I let my instrument rating lapse a few years back - I was no longer flying regularly IFR so considered it dangerous. However I miss it and am just about to get it current again.

 

 

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