VFR and CFIT

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VFR and CFIT

Post by C.W.E. » Tue Apr 16, 2019 5:57 pm

Why do so many pilots push the weather and crash?
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by Hilroy » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:07 pm

Poor planning and inadvertant IMC... Lost of situation awareness.
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by PilotDAR » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:09 pm

Failure to maintain enough situational awareness to prevent hitting earth or an obstacle. The weather is not the problem, it's failing to keep the plane in the correct place in space, pointed the right way!

Worse, it's the temptation to allow automation to take you somewhere you should not go, because you trust the automation too much! Yeah, we're suppose to "trust our instruments", but there are times to ask yourself how sure you really are.

I did not have a CFIO (obstacle) a few summers back, flying my friend's 182 amphib (the same plane I visited C.W.E. in years earlier) down the coast of Finland. It was poor weather, VMC, but poor, and worsening. I decided to turn back, and head for my alternate. Surprise, since I'd passed it a half hour earlier, it had closed! Going 200 miles back to the origin was unattractive. So, while already in radio communication with a large airport not too far ahead (Oulu), I asked if they could accept a request for special VFR. The response was a very welcoming "Of course!". Okay, I guess I'll do that.

So this plane is full glass cockpit (G500), and full steam gauge, with a Garmin GTN750, ADF, and a King Nav/Comm with ILS, just in case. All databases right up to date, and a full set of paper Jeppeson's just in case - so, it's not like we're poorly equipped for marginal weather flying! I enter "Oulu" and shazam! a Magenta line! Now, I'm over the Baltic Sea, at 700 feet or so, and this very tempting magenta line would like me to fly direct to the really welcoming, big, well lit runway - I could follow that - trust the automation! No warning flags, I have a clearance direct, weather is deteriorating, and it's been a long day of flying. But, my little voice says "no". 'Cause my little voice knows that I've been seeing wind turbines all along the coast! Now, there are no obstacle warnings ahead on the G500 with synthetic vision, but my little voice.... So I stay out over the water. To keep the task saturation low, I ask the owner, who's right seat, to dig out the Jeppeson for runway 12 at Oulu - he finds it. I dial in the localizer to 12, and continue south over the water - 'cause I know that there are wind turbines on shore, but they don't put wind turbines in large airport departure paths. I intercept the localizer, follow it in, intercept the glideslope, and voila, nicely lit runway.

'Next day, beauty weather so off we go on 30. Owner is flying, and I'm admiring the wind turbines on both side of the departure path, which I did not fly through the day before. 'Little voice was goo, but obviously the automation let me down badly, as it painted a magenta line, and presented zero obstacle warnings. Ah, now, I am seeing wind turbines as obstacles left and right! What's different! Read the Garmin manual. It turns out that the factory default is such that when you select a 25 mile or greater screen display, all the obstacles are decluttered - and there is no flag telling you that. If terrain is disabled, you get a flag, but not obstacles! So I went in, and changed that to 50 miles, just to be sure! Still no warning flag, but 50 miles gives you lots of time to think about what you're doing!

So it was fun flying with all the tech for a few dozen hours, but I learned to trust my tried and true experience, and little voice, and then consider the information from the tech. Then, I was right seat for an accident - in perfect weather!
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by TeePeeCreeper » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:18 pm

PilotDAR wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:09 pm
Failure to maintain enough situational awareness to prevent hitting earth or an obstacle. The weather is not the problem, it's failing to keep the plane in the correct place in space, pointed the right way!

Worse, it's the temptation to allow automation to take you somewhere you should not go, because you trust the automation too much! Yeah, we're suppose to "trust our instruments", but there are times to ask yourself how sure you really are.

I did not have a CFIO (obstacle) a few summers back, flying my friend's 182 amphib (the same plane I visited C.W.E. in years earlier) down the coast of Finland. It was poor weather, VMC, but poor, and worsening. I decided to turn back, and head for my alternate. Surprise, since I'd passed it a half hour earlier, it had closed! Going 200 miles back to the origin was unattractive. So, while already in radio communication with a large airport not too far ahead (Oulu), I asked if they could accept a request for special VFR. The response was a very welcoming "Of course!". Okay, I guess I'll do that.

So this plane is full glass cockpit (G500), and full steam gauge, with a Garmin GTN750, ADF, and a King Nav/Comm with ILS, just in case. All databases right up to date, and a full set of paper Jeppeson's just in case - so, it's not like we're poorly equipped for marginal weather flying! I enter "Oulu" and shazam! a Magenta line! Now, I'm over the Baltic Sea, at 700 feet or so, and this very tempting magenta line would like me to fly direct to the really welcoming, big, well lit runway - I could follow that - trust the automation! No warning flags, I have a clearance direct, weather is deteriorating, and it's been a long day of flying. But, my little voice says "no". 'Cause my little voice knows that I've been seeing wind turbines all along the coast! Now, there are no obstacle warnings ahead on the G500 with synthetic vision, but my little voice.... So I stay out over the water. To keep the task saturation low, I ask the owner, who's right seat, to dig out the Jeppeson for runway 12 at Oulu - he finds it. I dial in the localizer to 12, and continue south over the water - 'cause I know that there are wind turbines on shore, but they don't put wind turbines in large airport departure paths. I intercept the localizer, follow it in, intercept the glideslope, and voila, nicely lit runway.

'Next day, beauty weather so off we go on 30. Owner is flying, and I'm admiring the wind turbines on both side of the departure path, which I did not fly through the day before. 'Little voice was goo, but obviously the automation let me down badly, as it painted a magenta line, and presented zero obstacle warnings. Ah, now, I am seeing wind turbines as obstacles left and right! What's different! Read the Garmin manual. It turns out that the factory default is such that when you select a 25 mile or greater screen display, all the obstacles are decluttered - and there is no flag telling you that. If terrain is disabled, you get a flag, but not obstacles! So I went in, and changed that to 50 miles, just to be sure! Still no warning flag, but 50 miles gives you lots of time to think about what you're doing!

So it was fun flying with all the tech for a few dozen hours, but I learned to trust my tried and true experience, and little voice, and then consider the information from the tech. Then, I was right seat for an accident - in perfect weather!
Sounds like you boxed yourself in and are or were confusing the lines... I don’t care if you were IFR equipped.... it’s a moot point.

With all due respect, one is either VFR or on an IFR plan.

Pretty cut and dry to me really!
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by PilotDAR » Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:03 am

Sounds like you boxed yourself in and are or were confusing the lines
Yes, I certainly boxed myself in, not realizing that my alternate airport would close minutes after I passed it, headed another 25 miles to my destination. Special VFR is still VFR, and I suppose better than landing at an airport I've just been told I may not land at. I was quite comfortable flying in the special VFR conditions, other than for wind turbines which I knew were there, but had too little information about, and preferring to not demonstrate less than ideal VFR practice to my fellow pilot (whom I was training that trip). So, yes, I boxed myself in....
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by goingnowherefast » Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:28 am

It's a great story, thanks for sharing. There are dangers of combining IFR and VFR procedures. Using navigation equipment designed for IFR, but not maintaining IFR safe altitudes in bad weather is one of them. The magic box will take you anywhere you want to go, but leaves obstacle clearance up to you. You're local knowledge and experience saved you because, flying under special VFR, obstacle clearance is your responsibility.
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by PilotDAR » Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:26 pm

Using navigation equipment designed for IFR, but not maintaining IFR safe altitudes in bad weather is one of them. The magic box will take you anywhere you want to go, but leaves obstacle clearance up to you.
Yeah, it was the obstacle clearance part which I took seriously. With all of the database up to date, and knowing that obstacle awareness was a feature of the system, my failure to know that the zoom scale would turn off obstacles, and there would not be a warning flag was the puzzling thing to me. I agree that it's IFR type equipment in a VFR (or special VFR) environment, and that mixture could be deceivingly dangerous. I will hope that in future versions of similar systems, perhaps the magenta line could flash or something, to tell you that yes, you can fly from A to B, but at your present altitude, you don't have the clearance over obstacles. The terrain awareness sort of does this by surrounding you with red until you climb, I take obstacles as seriously as terrain, I wish that Garmin displayed them with similar discipline!

My acute awareness was because I had no local knowledge, my first and only time in that area. But, that made me hyper aware. For the flying I do in northern Germany, I have learned to expect wind turbines everywhere! (except runway departure paths!).

The magenta line is so tempting to follow, it takes willpower to resist the force sometimes, and then it's on you to have a yet better plan!
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by TeePeeCreeper » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:51 am

DAR,

Pop quiz? (pun intended!) can one pick up an IFR clearance in Finland once airborne a la “pop up clearance” that our neighbours to the South have?

All the best,
TPC
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by PilotDAR » Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:20 am

can one pick up an IFR clearance in Finland
I truly don't know. We were only there for the overnight, passing through from the far north of Norway. As conditions were within special VFR, I was very close to the destination, and the tower was very welcoming, I kept things simple, flew at 700 feet over the sea until I intercepted the localizer, and then turned in. As I was in sight of the ground the whole time, and with adequate forward visibility for special VFR, I did not want the distraction of changing the flight plan. It had been a long day of flying, I was tired, and I did not want to prolong nor complicate things for myself. The owner was right seat, and though a very proficient pilot, he was newly licensed and not able to support me much in IFR type flying, so keeping the whole thing within my comfort level was increasing in importance.

Those weather conditions would have been "comfortable" for me flying around home. It was the combination of knowing there were wind turbines on shore, no obstacle display when I knew there were obstacles, and then a magenta line painted right across where I really believe that there could be wind turbines which alarmed me.

Interestingly, once I reset the default to the maximum of a 50 mile screen zoom, the display was cluttered with obstacles, but that's what the display is for. Later the next day we were southbound over eastern Sweden in very nice weather. At 3500 feet, I was seeing a red obstacle conflict identification ahead. As I neared with great caution, the obstacle was marked as being in a Swedish wind turbine farm. I could not imagine a wind turbine, or other tower being 3000 or so feet above ground! We gave it a mile pass anyway, but I did visually confirm that it was just one of the wind turbines with an error in the obstacle database as to its height - Then, the system worked!
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by YYZSaabGuy » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:51 am

TeePeeCreeper wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:18 pm
Sounds like you boxed yourself in and are or were confusing the lines... I don’t care if you were IFR equipped.... it’s a moot point.
With all due respect, one is either VFR or on an IFR plan.
Pretty cut and dry to me really!
He was flying VFR in VMC conditions, the weather changed, his alternate closed, he requested and was approved for SVFR, picked a new alternate that was close by, and used a the on-board tools (glass cockpit, steam gauges, and Jeppesons (and CRM!)) to come up with and then implement a workable solution while maintaining enough situational awareness to think about and avoid unflagged obstacles. Sounds like pretty heads-up flying to me!
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by Daniel Cooper » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:17 am

These answers are saying why the plane crashes but if we go back further on why the pilot puts themselves in that situation in the first place it's usually a desire to get the job done. That pressure coming from themselves, and their company culture, usually in that order. It's the nature of the type of people that do these jobs. Companies should be actively reigning people in, not allowing them to push on, and especially not encouraging them to.
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by C.W.E. » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:28 pm

That pressure coming from themselves, and their company culture, usually in that order. It's the nature of the type of people that do these jobs.
And therein lies the real problem.

These people should be fired.
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by goingnowherefast » Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:55 pm

Daniel Cooper wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:17 am
Companies should be actively reigning people in, not allowing them to push on, and especially not encouraging them to.
CWE, you forgot the important part of Daniel Cooper's post.

How do you expect a manager to fire somebody when that same manager actively encourages pushing the weather? Hundreds of pilots every day tell their management to go pound sand. Usually nicely, sometimes, not so nicely. If an accountable executive was actually held accountable, we'd see the change happen tomorrow by lunch time. If an accountable executive was given a million dollar file and/or jail time after a crash, the safety culture at every company in Canada would change in record speed.
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by C.W.E. » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:26 pm

How do you expect a manager to fire somebody when that same manager actively encourages pushing the weather? Hundreds of pilots every day tell their management to go pound sand. Usually nicely, sometimes, not so nicely. If an accountable executive was actually held accountable, we'd see the change happen tomorrow by lunch time. If an accountable executive was given a million dollar file and/or jail time after a crash, the safety culture at every company in Canada would change in record speed.
The manager is not the pilot who holds the license and is responsible for every flight that said pilot accepts.

Therefore every pilot who knowingly violates the regulations should be fired.

Being fired for just cause will be detrimental to a pilots ability to get a job, being fired more than once for the same reason will really affect a pilots career.

By the way who is responsible for enforcing the regulations?

Who has the power to suspend or cancel a pilots license?

Are we getting close to how to solve the problem?

And by the way when I owned my aviation companies I had all new hire pilots sign an employment agreement that clearly stated that any deliberate noncompliance to the regulations would result in immediate dismissal.

I never had a problem with pilots breaking the law.
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by photofly » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:38 pm

TeePeeCreeper wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:51 am
DAR,

Pop quiz? (pun intended!) can one pick up an IFR clearance in Finland once airborne a la “pop up clearance” that our neighbours to the South have?

All the best,
TPC
If it's like the rest of European airspace, no. If you're VFR you're not in controlled airspace, and if you're not in controlled airspace then no control service is available. There's almost no Class E airspace, which is controlled but open to VFR flight.

However, since you're not in controlled airspace you don't need a clearance for IFR flight. Just carry on. But - you can't enter controlled airspace later in the flight.
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by trey kule » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:43 pm

As we are off topic, pilots blaming management for pressuring them is a cop out.plain and simple. No civilian job is worth killing yourself for

The challenge is weather changes. Pilots overestimate their abilities, and generally the transition is not instantaneous. It just keeps deteriorating, and the pilot kerps going until all the doors are closed. The ground is close and pilots try to fly VFR in IMC.
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by TeePeeCreeper » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:07 pm

photofly wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:38 pm
TeePeeCreeper wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:51 am
DAR,

Pop quiz? (pun intended!) can one pick up an IFR clearance in Finland once airborne a la “pop up clearance” that our neighbours to the South have?

All the best,
TPC
If it's like the rest of European airspace, no. If you're VFR you're not in controlled airspace, and if you're not in controlled airspace then no control service is available. There's almost no Class E airspace, which is controlled but open to VFR flight.

However, since you're not in controlled airspace you don't need a clearance for IFR flight. Just carry on. But - you can't enter controlled airspace later in the flight.
Thank you Photofly, appreciate your answering my query.
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by shimmydampner » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:38 pm

C.W.E. wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:26 pm
The manager is not the pilot who holds the license and is responsible for every flight that said pilot accepts.

Therefore every pilot who knowingly violates the regulations should be fired.

Being fired for just cause will be detrimental to a pilots ability to get a job, being fired more than once for the same reason will really affect a pilots career.
...
And by the way when I owned my aviation companies I had all new hire pilots sign an employment agreement that clearly stated that any deliberate noncompliance to the regulations would result in immediate dismissal.

I never had a problem with pilots breaking the law.
trey kule wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:43 pm
As we are off topic, pilots blaming management for pressuring them is a cop out.plain and simple. No civilian job is worth killing yourself for

The challenge is weather changes. Pilots overestimate their abilities, and generally the transition is not instantaneous. It just keeps deteriorating, and the pilot kerps going until all the doors are closed. The ground is close and pilots try to fly VFR in IMC.
Well, it's all very simple sitting retired behind a keyboard, but the reality is less so. And I suspect if you're both as experienced as you claim to be in old school bush operations you understand that, as black and white as these things may seem in an ideal world, that's not the world we inhabit.
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by trey kule » Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:10 am

Well Shimmy,

I agree itis not black and white. There is a diversity of colour, and, we should embrace it.
VMCIMCCFIT. Demand our. respect. It is what Canadian aviators want and expect.
Well, maybe not in Alberta.

I think if you read my post carefully you would noticed I mentioned the transition from VMC to IMC was not instantaneous....

As to the go/no go decision , I am just tired of hearing pilots get themselves in a bind, and when it ends up badly claim they felt under pressure. My experience in decades of management was that the challenge was to hold the young fools back from trying to get themselves killed. That pendulum seems to have swung the other way in the last few years as pilots were refusing trips because it was to windy or there might possibly be, maybe , according to the GFA a cloud in the sky.

In any event, the OP was asking why pilots crash under certain curcumstances. Quite a bit of literature on the subject, but nothing I have read that offers some sort of solution.....other than TC’s. SMS for small operators, of CSO required seminars....both of which are a roaring success, as we all know.
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by Victory » Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:42 am

My friend from my first dock job transitioned from VMC to IMC. Goes by Stella now. But he'll always by Steve to me.
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by Eric Janson » Fri Apr 19, 2019 6:44 am

PilotDAR wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:20 am

Those weather conditions would have been "comfortable" for me flying around home. It was the combination of knowing there were wind turbines on shore, no obstacle display when I knew there were obstacles, and then a magenta line painted right across where I really believe that there could be wind turbines which alarmed me.
I've never been comfortable flying VFR in marginal conditions and low to the ground - IFR is the way to go imho.

In this case I would have requested an IFR clearance and climbed to the MSA (or higher) then requested vectors to intercept the localiser. Simple and safe.

Any problems getting a clearance? - Mayday call followed by me telling them what I was going to be doing. I've always found the Nordic controllers to be extremely professional and helpful - I doubt it would have come to this.

ICAO Annex 2 - if you need to defend your decision.
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Last edited by Eric Janson on Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by trey kule » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:23 am

Eric

I have to think that is a better solution. But I was not there. And as it worked out OK it seems it was at least one of the workable options....or lucky ones.

In any event, I may have to rethink and revise my comments about restraining young fools...young may not apply to them all.
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by Heliian » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:17 am

Mostly blinded by the dollar. Some are just overconfident too. Weather is also unpredictable and can turn in an instant in some places.

What do the stats say?

Why do you think they do?
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by photofly » Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:04 am

Eric Janson wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 6:44 am
Any problems getting a clearance? -
I"m not second guessing anyone's actions here. But I am pointing out that (according to Wikipedia which I have no reason to doubt) there is no class E airspace in Norway. Class A is FL195 and up, C and D are controlled and you need contact/permission to enter, and everything else is uncontrolled, class G.

This flight was in uncontrolled airspace, in which (I'm not familiar with Norwegian rules, but let's say they're the same as the UK, as part of EASA) IFR flight is permitted without planning, permission or contact with any agency. So PilotDAR was at liberty at any and all times to climb into IMC of his own free will and continue IFR, as he pleased. He could never have had a "clearance" even if he declared the direst of emergencies, nor would he require one. You don't even need to have a radio on board to fly in IMC in uncontrolled airspace. Just head on through.
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Re: VFR and CFIT

Post by goingnowherefast » Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:11 pm

The managers who pressure pilots are often licensed pilots as well. Chief pilots, operations managers, often the accountable executive is too. Too bad we aren't all perfect like CWE, or live in his utopian world. I'm glad he wants to fire the pilot after he crashed and is dead instead of holding the management accountable.

For every person who dies under the accountable executive's leadership, they get one year in prison. Make exemptions for unpreventable mechanical defects (such as the MCAS thing). I bet if you did that, the cowboy pilots would get fired pretty quickly too.
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