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By Anon
#1461669
So yesterday was a big big learning experience for me. Apologies if this thread is a long one but it has really affected me, in a good and bad way..

I decided I wanted to fly to this airfield from my home base for ages. Booked the aircraft for the whole day practically and did all my pre-flight planning as per usual.. Skydemon, Plog, VFR Chart Plotted, M&B, Performance, NOTAMS, Weather etc.

Now, I've got an IR but this flight would be the first time I would properly use it, albeit I think I did, for a short period and that's what this is all about.

Yesterday arrived and the weather was quite nice. Cloudy and hazey to start off with but it improved as the day continued. The departure airfield is at 800ft AMSL and has no official weather or ATC, just A/G. An airfield nearby which is much lower down provides METARS, which I have to rely on. They were reporting FEW030 and above 10km visibility.

When I departed the aircraft was very sluggish to acceleration and get off the ground, but I did with no problems at all. I'm putting this down to a warm temperature and a high-ish altitude. Probably should've used some flaps?

The cloud and haze then started getting quite bad at around 1,800ft (1000ft AAL) so I stayed at this level as I was still visual with the ground and decided my options. My initial thoughts were to navigate below the cloud and in the haze using my skydemon and use a nearby military radar to get a traffic service. But then I thought, well.. I have an IR, I can legally climb above the cloud and fly IFR on top. The trouble is, I don't really have any limitations for myself.. but I think I do now after this flight!

Now, I hadn't submitted a flightplan, no booking out at Departure airfield, just start up and go.. (Not a fan to be honest..)

I was above the clouds now, no icing at all, and it was just me, the aircraft and skydemon.. It was a really interesting feeling of achievement but also more importantly.. stupidity.

Single Engine, above the cloud tops, no icing and well above MSA, I was under a traffic service and technically I was legal. I using Skydemon to navigate and that was it.

Then a feeling came over me that made me wonder 'How do I get down if I need to get down'? Well the initial thought was, I'll navigate over to the water, and descend to a lower MSA until I break cloud and fly visually. I will say now, that I checked the METAR for the airport I was flying to and the weather was lovely there, so I knew exactly that the weather was going to improve as I carried on.. Which it did.

But this was real now, this was the first time I was flying on top of cloud, single engine, and I hadn't properly planned for it. Properly planned, that being I had NO approach plates for any airfields, no plan really for if I had to descend through the cloud. I did program some navigate aids, NDB and DME but I was routing to a VRP on my Skydemon. When I was over this VRP, I couldn't see it, so just turned and carried on.

I felt, and still slightly do, terrible that I had no plan whatsoever but it was a massive learning experience. I was thinking all the time 'Is this legal?, Am I doing ok?, Am I doing the right thing?'

In all my training, I remembered we would always take our approach plates up with us as that's what the aim of the training was about.

In hindsight, I think I was fine. I asked for an IFR zone transit and ATC were extremely relaxed and helpful by handing me off easily to the next unit. Once outside controlled airspace and the weather improved, I descended and carried on VFR to my destination which was lovely!

The reason I felt terrible after is that I didn't have a plan at all, whatsoever.. If I had approach plates I probably would've felt a little more comfortable, and this is something I am looking into.

Single engine in IMC is pretty risky, and I now know this. And I have learnt that you should always have a plan of how to break cloud before you enter that cloud.

So as I said, a big learning experience.. The flight back was lovely, VFR all the way, and when I got back I took the aircraft out again for a quick local flight down the coast which was absolutely lovely!

Any advice/comments would be lovely! Thank you :)
#1461712
GrahamB wrote:Download all the plates into SkyDemon, and you will have them with you as a back up.


I fly single engine IMC all over the place and have for yonks. In Skydemon I have the whole of the European AIP and keep it up to date. I also have a GTN 650 on the dashboard which has all the approaches etc. in it of course.

The GTN also has an OBS capability linked to the HSI, so it's perfectly possible to orientate to a circuit and runway and organise a cloud break assuming the cloud bases are high enough.

IFR flying is all about a procedural systematic approach, so I always fly that way and sometimes I can see out of the window :D

So all you needed to do was follow your plan using your instrument skills to cope with the fact that you couldn't see out of the window. The only potential gotcha is if the cloud base at destination is too low, then you need to have the option of flying an approach into there or somewhere else, that's a diversion and you were trained how to do that weren't you?
By Anon
#1461723
johnm wrote:
GrahamB wrote:Download all the plates into SkyDemon, and you will have them with you as a back up.


I fly single engine IMC all over the place and have for yonks. In Skydemon I have the whole of the European AIP and keep it up to date. I also have a GTN 650 on the dashboard which has all the approaches etc. in it of course.

The GTN also has an OBS capability linked to the HSI, so it's perfectly possible to orientate to a circuit and runway and organise a cloud break assuming the cloud bases are high enough.

IFR flying is all about a procedural systematic approach, so I always fly that way and sometimes I can see out of the window :D

So all you needed to do was follow your plan using your instrument skills to cope with the fact that you couldn't see out of the window. The only potential gotcha is if the cloud base at destination is too low, then you need to have the option of flying an approach into there or somewhere else, that's a diversion and you were trained how to do that weren't you?


GrahamB wrote:Download all the plates into SkyDemon, and you will have them with you as a back up.


100% I was trained to do that, I just didn't have any approach plates for anywhere at all.. That's what caught me out and made me feel a little uncomfortable.

I wasn't aware Skydemon had the ability to show approach charts/plates such as this. I've just had a look and I have a Pooleys Guide subscription but can't see anywhere that I can get approach plates on there, such as an NDB or ILS Approach.
#1461724
Skydemon will download the whole European AIP.

On an ipad if you tap the airfields tab and then all documents and then tools you should see the option to download the AIP you'll then get the option to download all or individual countries. I assume Android will be similar.
#1461748
There's a bit of a quirk that was introduced in the last set of changes that result in that setting becoming a bit obscure.

You need to have at least one airfield's info available in the 'Airfields' tab (either by having a route planned or by individually selecting it/them), then it's:

> Tools (top right of open Airfields tab)
> Filtering
> Flick on the sliders for the required type of plates

By default, I believe that only the VFR items are selected on.

It would be more intuitive to move this feature into the 'All documents - Tools' menu within the Airfields tab IMHO.
#1461790
GrahamB wrote:There's a bit of a quirk that was introduced in the last set of changes that result in that setting becoming a bit obscure.

You need to have at least one airfield's info available in the 'Airfields' tab (either by having a route planned or by individually selecting it/them), then it's:

> Tools (top right of open Airfields tab)
> Filtering
> Flick on the sliders for the required type of plates

By default, I believe that only the VFR items are selected on.

It would be more intuitive to move this feature into the 'All documents - Tools' menu within the Airfields tab IMHO.


Many thanks, I have found this now.
#1461818
I do think you have overthought this,
Well the initial thought was, I'll navigate over to the water, and descend to a lower MSA until I break cloud and fly visually. I will say now, that I checked the METAR for the airport I was flying to and the weather was lovely there, so I knew exactly that the weather was going to improve as I carried on.. Which it did.


Not a perfect plan, but one that many pilots go with, though it is not a recommended way to go. You have learnt from the experience and with the tips above you will be far better prepared for the future. You have learnt the lesson, take it on board and stop beating yourself up over it.
#1466211
I may be missing the point here, but it appears to me that you set out on a VFR flight suitably prepared, then the weather turned out to be worse. You used you IR to remain safe and fly above the cloud. I can't see why you would be "required" to have any approach charts in this case, it mike have been helpful.

If things got worse, assuming you had a map and the appropriate instruments, you could have simply requested a radar vectored approach to a suitable ILS.