Tips for float flying on the West Coast

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180
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by 180 »

Cat Driver wrote:
I am going to have to respectfully disagree with this one. I can honestly say that in over 10 000 hours of float flying on the Central and North Coast, I have NEVER entered cloud. If you guys are letting it get to the point where you are entering cloud at 300 feet and then having to do a turn in cloud, then I would suggest finding a new career before this one bites you in the ass. VFR flying is what it is, VISUAL flight rules, and I stress the word visual. You should turn around long before it gets to the point of entering cloud low level.
I agree 100%.
10,000 hours of coastal float time and you've never stooged around at minimums over open water on a misty, drizzly, glassy day? Because that's what I'm talking about Bubba and Cat, not flying into a cloud.

Leading a new float pilot to the coast to believe that our weather and decision making out here is as black and white as the above post is, in my humble opinion, doing that pilot a huge disservice. It's a million shades of grey out here man.

The reality is we spend a lot of our days flying around in inclement weather and he's going to have lots of 300 foot, open water (no land in sight) misty, drizzly, glassy, same temp as dew point, stressful-as-hell days. There's no getting around it.

And every once in a while, he's going to go from 2 miles to 1/2 a mile in a split second and his ability to safely execute a 180 is going to be the difference between living to fly another day or unintentionally hitting the water.

So what's his best option now? Revert to his instruments to safely and calmly execute a 180, or ignore all the good stuff staring him in the face (VSI, T+B, ASI), bulge his eyes, try not to shit his pants, crane his neck, look out the side window and hail mary it around?

Just to be clear, I would never intentionally fly into cloud, nor do I condone flying IMC in a VFR aircraft.

Accurately gauging forward visibility and remaining clear of cloud is pretty straight forward with some vertical reference like an island or any shoreline.

Accurately gauging forward visibility at 300 feet over open water on a glassy, drizzly, misty day, not so much.

We all enter this world with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of knowledge. The trick is to fill up that bag of knowledge before your bag of luck runs out.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Cat Driver »

O.K...

Let me be more specific.

This person asked advice on how to learn to fly the west coast of Canda on floats.

My advice was to remain better than the legal VFR minimums until one learns the area well enough to know their exact location by visual reference to what one can see.

Getting yourself in a situation where outside reference is lost is not flying VFR.

As to flying IFR in a float equipped airplane on the west coast, yes I have done it day after day in IMC weather, however it was in a Twin Otter on a IFR flight plan with an IFR clearance before we took off.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by beaverbob »

If the weather is so bad that you have to do a 180 on instruments, why not just land, turn on the water then take off in the opposite direction. If its fog or drizzle the water is not likly too rough. If it is too rough you probably should have turned around already about 5 minutes ago.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by 180 »

Now we're getting into the open water (no land reference) misty, drizzly, glassy water landing scenario; another huge yuck!

Which is the lesser of the two evils?

Glassy water landings, coincidentally, being another VFR scenario where you are depending on your instruments to set you down safely. (VSI + ASI)

It's totally true Cat and Bob, avoiding the scenario all together is your best course of action. And I personally will do everything I can to avoid it, be it going well out of my way to follow shorelines for reference or cancel altogether.

But sometimes the show must go on, and arming yourself with as much training for your worst case scenarios as possible (a little refresher hood time) is better than hoping they don't happen and then shitting your pants when they do.

I wholeheartedly agree though, abstinence IS the best form of birth control. It's just not always the most realistic.

Fly safe all.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by 180 »

Dwesty has been getting more than he bargained for with this thread.

Probably a good thing...
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Dwesty »

Excellent posts!

Dare I recommend this to be a "sticky"?

Great info here guys. Thank you all for taking the time to share your opinions & experiences.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by 180 »

Having second thoughts yet? :wink: :lol:

All the good advice on this thread validates why coastal operators want someone with at least 1000 hrs PIC on floats on type and as much mountain time as possible. It's not always rainbows and puppy dogs...especially in the Fall, Winter, Spring and Faugust.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Cat Driver »

This thread shows that this forum can and does offer a very excellent platform form which new pilots can and do get valuable opinions....soooo..

First to 180:

I appreciate your input here and hope you do not take any of my comments as a negative towards you or your thoughts on this subject, so with that out of the way I would like to elaborate on what you said. :smt008
Glassy water landings, coincidentally, being another VFR scenario where you are depending on your instruments to set you down safely. (VSI + ASI)
A glassy water landing actually is setting up the airplane in a stabilized approach to a landing surface you can not see, be it water, ice, snow, sand any surface that you can not see including a runway obscured by cloud/fog.

The most critical aspect of this type of landing is the " attitude " in which the airplane contacts the surface and the rate of descent at contact.

Therefore such landings can be described as either a VFR or IFR scenario.

It's totally true Cat and Bob, avoiding the scenario all together is your best course of action. And I personally will do everything I can to avoid it, be it going well out of my way to follow shorelines for reference or cancel altogether.
Agreed:
But sometimes the show must go on,
I do not agree, for the simple reason that if you have reached that position in any flight you have made a truly dangerous mistake by getting there in the first place.
and arming yourself with as much training for your worst case scenarios as possible (a little refresher hood time) is better than hoping they don't happen and then shitting your pants when they do.
Refresher hood time is valuable for maintaining the skills needed to fly in IMC, I personally do not recommend such training as part of VFR flying because it is subliminally setting up one to venture beyond flight in VMC conditions to flight in IMC conditions.

By the way I do not believe in the use of wearing a hood to practice flying by reference to flight instruments only..it is sort of like wearing a condom with holes in it. :mrgreen:
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Cat Driver »

There have been three times during my career when I had to land in virtually zreo zero visibility conditions.

The first time was Penticton in a Tri gear Beech 18 at night .

The second time was in Whitehorse in a DC3 in ice fog on one engine.

The third time was in Niamey Niger in a Harmattan dust storm in a PBY.

On each occasion I was on an IFR flight plan and the weather went to hell and I had no choice but land.

I was taught how to land zero zero by one of the best pilots I ever met, so that should I ever have to I could do it with confidence.

His training is part of the reason I am here now. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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The hardest thing about flying is knowing when to say no


After over a half a century of flying no one ever died because of my decision not to fly.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by warbirdpilot7 »

Cat Driver wrote:There have been three times during my career when I had to land in virtually zreo zero visibility conditions.

The first time was Penticton in a Tri gear Beech 18 at night .

The second time was in Whitehorse in a DC3 in ice fog on one engine.

The third time was in Niamey Niger in a Harmattan dust storm in a PBY.

On each occasion I was on an IFR flight plan and the weather went to hell and I had no choice but land.

I was taught how to land zero zero by one of the best pilots I ever met, so that should I ever have to I could do it with confidence.

His training is part of the reason I am here now. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Sincerley Cat, we all benefit from you being here :wink:
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Northern Flyer »

Lots of times I close my eyes just before touchdown. Could this be considered a zero zero landing?

All kidding aside, though I cannot offer any advice or input on flying on the coast, I too agree that pushing the weather is one of the biggest mistakes one can make. From my own experience, when you are successful in marginal weather it makes it easier to push it over and over until you don't even consider the weather marginal anymore. I always found that I was my own worst enemy, I always pushed myself harder than any employer ever did. It's a slippery slope, so be smart.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Cat Driver »

The hardest thing about flying is knowing when to say no


After over a half a century of flying no one ever died because of my decision not to fly.
May I add that there were times when saying no resulted in loss of employment because I would not be bullied.

However I did manage to complete many flights safely.
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The hardest thing about flying is knowing when to say no


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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by 180 »

Cat Driver wrote:First to 180:

I appreciate your input here and hope you do not take any of my comments as a negative towards you or your thoughts on this subject, so with that out of the way I would like to elaborate on what you said.
No offense taken Cat. I appreciate your input too. Life would be pretty boring if everybody thought, felt, talked, dressed, flew the same machine, lived in the same place, liked the same vacation spot...

And I also appreciate how tone, context, and sarcasm can get lost or misinterpreted in forums, e-mails and texts.
Cat Driver wrote:Refresher hood time is valuable for maintaining the skills needed to fly in IMC, I personally do not recommend such training as part of VFR flying because it is subliminally setting up one to venture beyond flight in VMC conditions to flight in IMC conditions.
Here's another eternal debate that I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on.

I think every pilot should do their IFR training. It just plain makes you a better, safer pilot. I can see where you're coming from (kind of) that if someone is IFR rated, they might push the VFR boundaries. It does create yet another grey area. But when push comes to shove and you're on a VFR flight and suddenly the rain clouds open up and now you are in the middle of a downpour and can't see shit, well at least you can calmly do what you have to do without putting yourself (and your passengers) into a spiral dive (JFK jr. syndrom?)
But sometimes the show must go on
The moment I typed those words, I knew they would get pounced on.

I wasn't saying the show must go on so let's push the weather.

Local GFA's (another great tip brought up by a previous poster), webcams, pireps, and phone calls to camps only go so far when it comes to weather reports. We all know how spotty and shifty the weather gets around here, and sometimes the only way to know whether it's flyable/doable or not is to go for a scout and check it out. This is a reality. No getting around it. Obviously if it's shitty, then turn around, land, do whatever you need to do to be safe, but sitting around the base waiting for the next high pressure system to arrive doesn't really make sense in the real world.

Being a commercial pilot means flying when most private pilots would wait for another day. (I imagine this one will get pounced on too, but I'm getting used to saying what other experienced guys know to be true.)
Northern Flyer wrote:Lots of times I close my eyes just before touchdown. Could this be considered a zero zero landing
Ha ha. I've laughed out loud at a couple of your comments recently. Good one. I like the Johnny Depp as Hunter S Thompson pic too. A couple more very funny guys.

It takes about 50 hours to learn HOW to fly, but it can take a lifetime to learn WHEN to fly.

It's better to be on the ground wishing you were flying, rather than flying and wishing you were on the ground

Fly safe all.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Cat Driver »

180:

We both think the same basically, and I agree that the more training one receives and the more skills one is competent in the better the chance to survive...including learning to fly IFR.

However in that I post in my own name I try and give advice based on suggesting the most safe way to do things when a new pilot asks a question. :mrgreen:

I'm sure you already have figured that out. :mrgreen:
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The hardest thing about flying is knowing when to say no


After over a half a century of flying no one ever died because of my decision not to fly.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by 180 »

Ya, for sure Cat.

And I very much respect that you post as a genuine person rather than remaining anonymous.

People who've pm'd me know who I am, I'm definitely not hiding anything.

Posting as an anonymous user allows me to be more forthright, honest and straight forward about a subject rather than having to tip toe around an issue for fear of affecting the reputation of the company I am affiliated with.

My handle, 180, was how much I weighed when I joined this forum over a decade ago. I should probably update it to 195. Ha ha.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Cat Driver »

Actually the only reason I started here and used my real name was to expose the way TCCA is managed at the top and how morally corrupt their system is.

I was allowed to post here and tell it like it is because I know the owner of this forum and could provide irrevocable documentation on every statement I made.

Much of my documentation came right straight from the top management in TCCA in letter form signed by them, their arrogance is only exceeded by their stupidity.

As time passes I still post here and hope that maybe I can help some young person in their career, knowing who to trust and who not to trust is important and it is very important that people know the facts about the regulator.

For sure one must never ever trust those at the top of TCCA , and those who you can trust in the lower levels are shackled by the system and dare not go against their superiors...sad but true.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by skybaron »

The Old Fogducker wrote:Although the legal min vis for the west coast is 2 miles, you'll quickly learn that regulation is totally meaningless, and there will be nobody that you can turn to for assistance if the boss kicks you out the door in 1/4 mile vis or less in fog. It will be up to you to say no and be prepared to be threatened by some operators who will behave as if they had just escaped from a mental institution .... lots of yelling & screaming, red faced ranting with forehead veins bulging, threatening you with your job, calling you a coward, snide comments like ... "makes 'ya wonder how they got around in the old days doesn't it?" ... showing you a drawer full of resumes and saying each one of these guys wants your job, "well if you won't go now, when will you feel its good enough?" .... etc. Don't be afraid to walk away from a job ... its better than being shrimp food on the bottom of the ocean.

You'll get ZERO help from Transport Canada if you try and talk to them. In some ways, its still the last of the wild west, where only survivors survive.

Been there. Sad but true.

TC is absolutely useless in their so-called governance of 703 ops.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by buck82 »

Actually Legal min on the south coast will be 1 mile vis in special vfr while in the control zone. As for the previous post suggesting there are operators screeming with bulging veins at their pilots to fly in fog.. cant think of anyone around here that would do this.. and clearly if you encounter an employer this senile go public wiht the information, Im sure the press would have a feild day with it.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by skybaron »

buck82 wrote:Actually Legal min on the south coast will be 1 mile vis in special vfr while in the control zone. As for the previous post suggesting there are operators screeming with bulging veins at their pilots to fly in fog.. cant think of anyone around here that would do this.. and clearly if you encounter an employer this senile go public wiht the information, Im sure the press would have a feild day with it.
Laughable.

I doubt you've been employed with every operator out on the coast. Don't kid yourself, this stuff (pushing weather) does happen, and will continue to happen as it always has for the past 50 years.

Why else would drivers push weather. Ego? Maybe. Or, it's the unwritten, never spoken of company doctrine that says if you don't fly in this, then there are plenty of people who want your job, and will. Could be a combination of both, Ego and Pressure.
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Re: Tips for float flying on the West Coast

Post by Cat Driver »

and clearly if you encounter an employer this senile go public wiht the information, Im sure the press would have a feild day with it.
The truth is flying in weather that is below legal limits on the west coast is so common the press would only yawn if you called them and tried to get them to print it.

Case in point would be to refresh your memory of the Grumman Goose fatal crash out of Vancouver and have a look at the weather he departed in and the weather enroute.
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