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VinceG
16-02-15, 13:08 PM
Hello people.

I am sharing this in an effort to learn from my almost fatal mistake.

I went to the airfield yesterday with a friend of mine. The idea was to fly to the coast at Scarborough, then follow the coast south, land at Beverly for a cuppa, then back to the home field of Rufforth in York.

The weather wasn't brilliant and a low cloudbase delayed our departure, but it started breaking up as forecast and the blue bits of sky started opening up all around us. So, we got in the quik, and set off for a quick circuit, the cloudbase was about 1000 ft and we quickly went through a hole and climbed above, and were above at about 2000 ft, looking out over this very clear layer of cloud, but all time in site of the surface. We dropped down under the cloud, then scooted back to Rufforth to fill the tank and make sure we were all set for the trip.

Off we set, climbed above again, it was much nicer up there, and I navigated to Scarborough via sky demon and the A64 on the ground, however as we approached Scarborough, the cloud thickened and we started to loose sight of the ground, so we turned round and went back to Rufforth. When we got there, it was completely closed in. We could not see the ground at all, in a panic, I went for a gap in the clouds that looked like a deep valley does from the air. My thoughts being that it wouldn't be far through that valley to the underside of the clouds. We were then totally blacked out in cloud and at that point I thought "stuff this" and decided to climb. I jammed my foot on the throttle and pulled the bar straight and watched the compass to tried and keep flying straight. This I couldn't manage because the compass was the other orientation, and turning left had the wheel going the other way. I didn't have a clue what sort of speed we were doing, or which way was up, but we must have been close to VNE, the wind noise indicated it.

Now we weren't going up with my foot jammed on the throttle, we were going down, and reflecting on it now, we must have done a sort of wing over as I tried to climb, but anyway, suffice to say we popped out of the bottom of the clouds within about 10 or 20 seconds. As soon as I saw the ground I steadied the ship and scooted back to the airfield with my legs literally shaking.

It could have easily been fatal. The airframe was under a lot of stress, I've just checked the log on skydemon and the maximum speed reached on the flight was 124 mph. That must have been in the spiral dive. Here is a picture of the close up of the last bit of the flight from the log on skydemon.

Not to self, stay close to the airfield in those conditions, and if the holes start closing up, find one and get below ASAP. That's what I would have / should have done differently and all would have been fine.

But now I'm reaching out to you lot to ask, how could I have gotten down safer faced with that scenario again? Spiral dived down with no throttle ( I did know it wasn't fog all the way to the ground because there were gyrocopters on the radio doing circuits at Rufforth, and the circuit height is 500 ft)

Or should I have called mayday on 121.5 and asked for a routing to an airfield that had "holes" above it? ( I had about 1.5 hours of endurance left in the tank)

I hope my mistake helps others, and not one I want to repeat, but I sincerely hope, that the answers given here will enable me to not be in the same position again.

WobbleWing
16-02-15, 14:36 PM
Thanks for sharing... That's a bit of sphincter nipper, Vince.. and a useful bit of 'human factors'!

It's always so difficult to get some kind of 'useful' post analysis, especially as a discussion on a forum. If it were me (and I stress that I'm in no way any kind of sage on the matter!) and thinking how could I avoid the same thing again, I would ask myself:

How much could you have predicted a visibility issue initially? The vis in my area was pretty poor yesterday and only started to clear later in the afternoon (but it was still crap). I wonder if it was because you were so keen to get flying in your new Quik that you couldn't resist the temptation? If it was an aircraft you'd been flying for a while and the novelty of the new toy had worn off a bit, would you have gone?.. I know you've just got it permitted so were gagging to get flying! This sounds harsh and is no way meant as a nasty criticism (apologies if it reads that way).. but the reason I say that is I have been guilty of something similar myself!

How much early warning of the clouds closing in did you have in reality? Was it a case of you knew of the clouds were closing in but you decided to wait and see how it went (you thought you could get back to Rufforth?), or was it that you had an instant close of the clouds? I would suspect the former but your decision to get below the cloud wasn't early enough?

It's so hard to say what someone else would do in the same situation of course, only you were there, so you made what you thought was the correct judgement at the time. For me, if there is anything that really scares me about flying, it's the potential for loosing control in poor vis - I'm hyper paranoid about it, but will perhaps accept wind conditions that perhaps I shouldn't sometimes.

In a 'this is a forum with the benefit of hindsight' posting situation.... I think what I would have done was stayed on top, turned back to where the cloud gaps could have been (you flew past them initially) and then called a MAYDAY to get some help from D&D. But even having said that, the situation could have got a lot worse with no 'holes' (in fact only thick cloud) available within your range.

Glad you got away with it mate. It may be a useful exercise (although perhaps a bit geeky!) to look how the METARs progressed in your area to see if there is a useful pattern to learn from.

It's a great topic to discuss.. although I fear may degenerate into a 'don't do this, don't do that' discussion as it always does.

I do wonder if in these situations that once you've made a commitment to 'descend through cloud', you've got to stick with it, so you can concentrate on keeping the wings level by looking at the instruments you have. Powering out or turning 'half way through' causes disturbance in the attitude and the 'wings level' situation which is then impossible to deduce or correct. Not sure really, but would be an interesting topic.

I await the advice from the sage's!

VinceG
16-02-15, 14:51 PM
Thanks for sharing... That's a bit of sphincter nipper, Vince.. and a useful bit of 'human factors'!

It's always so difficult to get some kind of 'useful' post analysis, especially as a discussion on a forum. If it were me (and I stress that I'm in no way any kind of sage on the matter!) and thinking how could I avoid the same thing again, I would ask myself:

How much could you have predicted a visibility issue initially? The vis in my area was pretty poor yesterday and only started to clear later in the afternoon (but it was still crap). I wonder if it was because you were so keen to get flying in your new Quik that you couldn't resist the temptation? If it was an aircraft you'd been flying for a while and the novelty of the new toy had worn off a bit, would you have gone?.. I know you've just got it permitted so were gagging to get flying! This sounds harsh and is no way meant as a nasty criticism (apologies if it reads that way).. but the reason I say that is I have been guilty of something similar myself!

None taken whatsoever. You're absolutely right. I was keen to go flying, I've not been in ages.


How much early warning of the clouds closing in did you have in reality? Was it a case of you knew of the clouds were closing in but you decided to wait and see how it went (you thought you could get back to Rufforth?), or was it that you had an instant close of the clouds? I would suspect the former but your decision to get below the cloud wasn't early enough?


We were in sight of the surface pretty much all the way to Malton, it closed in more as we got towards York. Sounds like I should have gone back.



It's so hard to say what someone else would do in the same situation of course, only you were there, so you made what you thought was the correct judgement at the time. For me, if there is anything that really scares me about flying, it's the potential for loosing control in poor vis - I'm hyper paranoid about it, but will perhaps accept wind conditions that perhaps I shouldn't sometimes.

In a 'this is a forum with the benefit of hindsight' posting situation.... I think what I would have done was stayed on top, turned back to where the cloud gaps could have been (you flew past them initially) and then called a MAYDAY to get some help from D&D. But even having said that, the situation could have got a lot worse with no 'holes' (in fact only thick cloud) available within your range.

Glad you got away with it mate. It may be a useful exercise (although perhaps a bit geeky!) to look how the METARs progressed in your area to see if there is a useful pattern to learn from.

It's a great topic to discuss.. although I fear may degenerate into a 'don't do this, don't do that' discussion as it always does.

I fear you might be right, but it's too late, what's done is done, now I need to learn from it.



I do wonder if in these situations that once you've made a commitment to 'descend through cloud', you've got to stick with it, so you can concentrate on keeping the wings level by looking at the instruments you have. Powering out or turning 'half way through' causes disturbance in the attitude which is then impossible to deduce or correct. Not sure really, but would be an interesting topic.

I await the advice from the sage's!

You and me both.

Arielarts
16-02-15, 15:15 PM
Something that catches us all out from time to time if we fly in the UK Vince. If we listened to the naysayers we would never fly. The neat thing about flexwings is you can almost close the throttle and take your hands off the bar (well try to provide no input), and they will usually stabilise into a reasonably straight decent. And one in which the compass is almost believable.
Dave

jonkil
16-02-15, 15:18 PM
Thanks Vince, brave of you to post this.
happened me years ago, sufficient to say I had to route over 100 mile south to get "down through it", on the deck I had about 3 litres of fuel. Valuable lesson learnt. To be honest I don't think there is a right way for us non instrument rated flyers to get down through it.
Remember when I owned my c42 I was going to fit an artificial horizon and get a bit of training on it....... I thought it would "get me out of trouble" if required.... but realised after talking to an experienced IFR pilot that it would get me into trouble quicker !.
put it down to experience and a valuable lesson learnt.

WobbleWing
16-02-15, 15:30 PM
...what's done is done, now I need to learn from it.


Indeed! Take time to reflect and move on.

Thanks again for sharing, always best to learn from others' mistakes! Great to post for others to read and learn!

It may be slightly sadistic, but I remember ages ago we discussed if there should be a forum section dedicated to: "I wish I hadn't have done that!", for others to read, learn and generally share each others experiences of bad choices (anonymous postings allowed!).. There was a lot of debate and it never happened for whatever reason.

FlexWing-UK
16-02-15, 16:13 PM
Interesting story Vince - Just about most pilots worst nightmare. I've been trapped and cut off from landing in the HG before now and it scared the hell out of me.

I'd had the same thought about fitting some-kind of gyro-attitude-sensor for just this situation. Jon: What were the reasons he gave that it would get you in to more trouble?

Deeekent
16-02-15, 16:18 PM
Thanks for sharing your experience Vince, as a low hour pilot I'm not in a position to comment on right or wrongs. However you did get down safely so your judgment was good.

VinceG
16-02-15, 18:05 PM
Indeed! Take time to reflect and move on.

Thanks again for sharing, always best to learn from others' mistakes! Great to post for others to read and learn!

It may be slightly sadistic, but I remember ages ago we discussed if there should be a forum section dedicated to: "I wish I hadn't have done that!", for others to read, learn and generally share each others experiences of bad choices (anonymous postings allowed!).. There was a lot of debate and it never happened for whatever reason.

I'll look into that so that we can post without signing in, I may have to incorporate some kind of capcha to prevent spam. Great idea, maybe it didn't happen before because I either forgot, or didn't see it.


Thanks for sharing your experience Vince, as a low hour pilot I'm not in a position to comment on right or wrongs. However you did get down safely so your judgment was good.

I was really lucky. If the cloud was 1000 ft thicker I don't know that I would be here to type this.

Edited:
New anonymous area is here http://www.microlightforum.com/forumdisplay.php?290-Anonymous-Safety-Area

MadamBreakneck
16-02-15, 18:42 PM
No harm in Mayday, they would have been happy to help. Better ashamed than dead.

Interesting and relevant data on pages 11 & 12 of this scary paper by Guy Gratton (http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/bitstream/2438/733/1/Tumble%20where%20Test%20Pilots%20fear%20to%20tread.pdf). It seems in the typical flexwing, Dave Arielarts' suggestion of close the throttle and stay away from the controls is indeed the least dangerous approach. (I'm not a flexwing pilot, so I must trust others' opinions on this).

As has been said, it's a mistake so many of us make at least once in our lives. I typed this into google " microlight forum cloud descent" and got an interesting(?) list of threads on related topics. Here's one on the BMAA forum (http://forums.bmaa.org/default.aspx?f=15&p=3&m=118793) I participated in a couple of years back which developed into a very interesting discussion.

Well done Vince for sharing so publicly.

Joan

Randombloke
16-02-15, 18:55 PM
Not to self, stay close to the airfield in those conditions, and if the holes start closing up, find one and get below ASAP. That's what I would have / should have done differently and all would have been fine.

But now I'm reaching out to you lot to ask, how could I have gotten down safer faced with that scenario again? Spiral dived down with no throttle ( I did know it wasn't fog all the way to the ground because there were gyrocopters on the radio doing circuits at Rufforth, and the circuit height is 500 ft)

I'm a coward as I have had visibility scares before in HG/PG and the dangers of CFIT when hill flying are enormous. I can't be bothered to fly if the base is below 1300 ft AMSL as the highest peaks near me are about 700 ft AMSL. When I take off and it does not meet this criterion I just go back to base because I can't enjoy this sort of flying.

When I fly in conditions that might change I tend to keep an eye out for all the other little strips in my area and on my flight path, if it went belly up I would land safely first then curse the inconvenience afterwards. Alternatively there is always the option of a forced landing with power in a nice big flat field.

If cloud is over 50% I don't fly above it, I have to be able to see the ground in large amounts or it's not a goer. When assessing clouds I have often look for a big gap to pop up above then I can see how "sheety" the clouds look in the middle distance before committing to flying over them.

Yesterday I planned to stay close to base (10 minutes flying) but after a look above the base lifted and by the time I'd extended to 20 minutes away the clouds were all gone.

If caught I would descend without throttle, but would need to be sure where I was.

I'd say if there aren't lots of gaps, get down, if base is too low then land out.

Flying above cloud is a thing to do only when very, very sure.

Andymackk
16-02-15, 19:50 PM
Scary Reading.. Glad you were able to write it though. Certainly shows how quick it can happen..

ajojets
16-02-15, 20:02 PM
good post Vince,
I went from Anglesey to Oxenhope by car yesterday to fly the new aircraft back, fantastic weather all the way until on the top of the M62, this was around 9:20, so carried on in the fog to the airfield and sat it out until 3pm,still not lifted so a 3 hr trip back. 6 hrs on the road for nothing.

Paul Dewhurst
16-02-15, 20:47 PM
I have posted quite a bit on this before - comes up at least once a year on various forums.

We we have had one know fatality not so long ago in cloud with a trike, and one where the chute was pulled otherwise it would have been - Robin in the PulsR - who wrote a very full and frank account if what happened, that all trikers would be advised to read. So this is a very real danger and we need to take it very seriously and have a 'best course if action plan'

When I was young and foolish I did quite a bit of deliberate flying in cloud in a trike. I try not to do it anymore..

The quickest way to make it game over is to try and climb - all aircaft experience an over bank tendency when climbing - so with no control input if a turn creeps in it will get ever steeper without corrective input. And with today's big motors and if flying solo this tendency can result in going over 60 degrees very quickly indeed - try it for yourself in clear air.

And with high torque motors like the 912 series, the trike is torqued considerably off centre to the wing when climbing straight - take a look at your bar position next time you are in a climb - it is several inches off centre. If you are blind and can only see front strut and bar it will look all wrong and lead you to try and straighten the two and induce a turn very quickly.

So it's very difficult to climb through cloud without a terminal spiral dive developing - and remember that Robin had an artificial horizon and is a pilot of many years and many hundreds of hours experience - and it still happened.

But the great thing about trikes is that power off they are all spirally stable, or at worse neutral. So they will try and stay wings level and with no input most will roll gently towards wings level in a power off gliding turn. Again go and try it and see for yourself.

So armed with this basic knowledge the answer is simple - descend power off through cloud if you are caught out.

A few other bits of prep that will help:

1. Don't accpet that nagging turn your wing has had for a while - get it trimmed out so it's straight hands off.
2. If there is any sun around make your descent into sun. The sun disc will remain as a visual reference point through quite a depth of cloud.
3. Make sure you are in a stabilised wings level idle descent before entering cloud to give you best chance to maintain it for longest.
4. Don't forget to look down ( although not exclusively as head down can increase disorientation) - you can often spy some definition some time before fully coming out of cloud. Just one reference spot can restore orientation and control.

And of course prevention is better than cure - don't fly above unless gaps are very big and numerous, and set a very generous minimum closure size to get back under. But I guess that you will be for a while at least the most attentive pilot in that regard , now that the lesson has become reality based rather than theory!

Also wlrth considering if radio equipped is to call your local LARS, or D+D. They will be able to find out how widespread the cover is and maybe find somewhere within your range to fly to to get clear.

Paul

PS 3 axis are less forgiving for descent through cloud having a rudder that can also inbalance the aircaft in roll as well as yaw, and can generate more misleading spatial disorientation to add to the problem. But the same general advice would give you best chance in my experience.

Terry Viner
16-02-15, 20:56 PM
Andy, you didnt really have a wasted 6 hrs, you could have been on a slab today, which do you prefer and the same goes for you Vince, think of all of us, we wouldnt have a forum if you croak it. the other sad part is youve only just renewed your membership, that would really have pised you off.

TV

WobbleWing
16-02-15, 21:18 PM
loads of useful stuff..

Reckon that must be the key.. If you absolutely have to descend through cloud, do it straight and level with engine at idle.
Thanks Paul.

andy dixon
16-02-15, 21:28 PM
I had a similar chat only the other week about the P+M guy who pulled his ballistic chute when he got into a cloud.

1.......Next time your out flying in relatively calm conditions, let go of the bar and then accelerate to full revs.....your trike will start to spiral up (I think to the right on a 4 stroke and left on a 2 stroke) and see how many hundreds of feet you can go before the trike becomes dangerous.

2.........Then fly straight and level again,take your foot off the throttle and your hands off the bar and you should descend straight and level..see how many hundreds of feet you can go without the trike getting out of control.

3........ Do exactly the same as in no:2 but trim fully slow,hopefully you will still descend straight and level,only this time if you hit the ground your rate of descent will be much less and your chances of survival (should you hit the ground) will be much improved.

When you accelerate with hands off your trike should always go into a spiral accent,but when you take your foot off the throttle hands off,your trike should always descend straight....

NB. We would all sh@t our pants in this situation,what ever you do,you do with the best of intent.....I'm glad you got out of it Vince ,well done.

andy dixon
16-02-15, 21:46 PM
It took me so long to type my reply,Paul has covered my reply better than I could have.....thanks paul

Keveng
16-02-15, 21:46 PM
When i was doing training , we had one of those lovely days where there were nice fluffy cloud between 3/8 & 5/8 Octa @ 1500 ft qnh , ground is around 400ft AMSL, wind @around 10 kts , so we climbed above them , basking in the sunshine instructor called engine failure, looked down bright sunshine reflected off the cloud so cant make out detail on ground , descend through hole in cloud watching out for traffic and trying to find a field, muddy fields all around grass pasture out of reach once below cloud, made a royal mess of every thing but was a very valuable lesson.
Keven

LeeMc
16-02-15, 22:40 PM
My error on Saturday. A rookie error too. Happy to get into flying I filled up and left the top off only to catch it on pre take off checks. However, i was sheepish I 'd missed it I then got flustered and when doing radio checks repeated the QFE. Took off and was the first up and the only one in the circuit. My instructor asked what altitude I was doing in the circuit and dutifully I said 700 feet after checking. Really came the reply.. anyway down wind I got told I had a serious problem. For the life of me I could not spot it. Look out side the cockpit was the clue and still I failed. With weary resignation my long suffering instructor took control and landed. On the runway I learned. My Altimeter was way off. Them QFE numbers change...go figure. So instruments lie, use my eyes more and who knows I might not fly through power lines..... no lesson wasted huh?

WobbleWing
16-02-15, 22:43 PM
My error on Saturday. A rookie error too. Happy to get into flying I filled up and left the top off only to catch it on pre take off checks. However, i was sheepish I 'd missed it I then got flustered and when doing radio checks repeated the QFE. Took off and was the first up and the only one in the circuit. My instructor asked what altitude I was doing in the circuit and dutifully I said 700 feet after checking. Really came the reply.. anyway down wind I got told I had a serious problem. For the life of me I could not spot it. Look out side the cockpit was the clue and still I failed. With weary resignation my long suffering instructor took control and landed. On the runway I learned. My Altimeter was way off. Them QFE numbers change...go figure. So instruments lie, use my eyes more and who knows I might not fly through power lines..... no lesson wasted huh?

Next week you'll make an approach with the windsock 'pointing the wrong way'. We've all done it :-)

andy dixon
16-02-15, 23:15 PM
Or the other favourite ...... You call "down wind 06" when you are down wind 24 !

pk1
17-02-15, 00:02 AM
Like most microlight pilots I have been caught above the clouds through bad judgement and on the last occasion I had flown to right overhead my home field at Sandy in the hope of a break or a gap but none appeared. I seriously contemplated descending but by listening to radio traffic worked out that I had 2000ft of cloud between me and the cloud base which would have been potentially 3-4 minutes flying time. So I am pleased to say I talked myself out of the descent and made the decision to find somewhere else.

It is so tempting when you are near home to try and get in and through the cloud and I can fully understand why many would take the chance- I very nearly did. Once resolved I used the best tool there is in this situation - the radio -- and began to call up local airfields to check on conditions. Cranfield eventually advised me to fly west and to try Turweston who then advised me it was clear. I talked to them for the whole 25 mins flight to check I could get in and when i arrived I found it bathed in sunlight. It was just wonderful to be on the ground and sitting out the weather. I guess i should have called D&D but I had 2 hours fuel and was able to seek help from a number of airfields who were all supportive in getting me to safety.

I learned a really important lesson - which was not to always 'stay below the clouds' ( cos i haven't since then) - but to always have a good reserve of fuel and, when in trouble talk to AG or ATC stations on the radio. They are your best friend in these situations.

VinceG
17-02-15, 00:08 AM
I have posted quite a bit on this before - comes up at least once a year on various forums.

But the great thing about trikes is that power off they are all spirally stable, or at worse neutral. So they will try and stay wings level and with no input most will roll gently towards wings level in a power off gliding turn. Again go and try it and see for yourself.

So armed with this basic knowledge the answer is simple - descend power off through cloud if you are caught out.

A few other bits of prep that will help:

1. Don't accpet that nagging turn your wing has had for a while - get it trimmed out so it's straight hands off.
2. If there is any sun around make your descent into sun. The sun disc will remain as a visual reference point through quite a depth of cloud.
3. Make sure you are in a stabilised wings level idle descent before entering cloud to give you best chance to maintain it for longest.
4. Don't forget to look down ( although not exclusively as head down can increase disorientation) - you can often spy some definition some time before fully coming out of cloud. Just one reference spot can restore orientation and control.



Thanks Paul. I will definitely check it out next time I go flying, which could be tomorrow!


Like most microlight pilots I have been caught above the clouds through bad judgement and on the last occasion I had flown to right overhead my home field at Sandy in the hope of a break or a gap but none appeared. I seriously contemplated descending but by listening to radio traffic worked out that I had 2000ft of cloud between me and the cloud base which would have been potentially 3-4 minutes flying time. So I am pleased to say I talked myself out of the descent and made the decision to find somewhere else.

It is so tempting when you are near home to try and get in and through the cloud and I can fully understand why many would take the chance- I very nearly did. Once resolved I used the best tool there is in this situation - the radio -- and began to call up local airfields to check on conditions. Cranfield eventually advised me to fly west and to try Turweston who then advised me it was clear. I talked to them for the whole 25 mins flight to check I could get in and when i arrived I found it bathed in sunlight. It was just wonderful to be on the ground and sitting out the weather. I guess i should have called D&D but I had 2 hours fuel and was able to seek help from a number of airfields who were all supportive in getting me to safety.

I learned a really important lesson - which was not to always 'stay below the clouds' ( cos i haven't since then) - but to always have a good reserve of fuel and, when in trouble talk to AG or ATC stations on the radio. They are your best friend in these situations.

Great lesson there PK1. Thanks for that.

BTW, I've moved this to the anonymous section, just incase someone wants to get a similar experience off their chests.

Make sure you log out first before posting if you would like to be anonymous.

goflygaz
17-02-15, 07:30 AM
Couple of years back, took off from local field, up above 50% cloud cover the base was 1000ft - I had been waiting for it to clear and it was now about 2.30pm before it cleared and with hindsight should have expected it to deteriorate later. Headed north about 10 miles, all good, in and out of very scattered cloud, no issues. Then headed back to airfield, I could just see a thickening haze hung right over the field. Foolishly tried to descend into it "to see if I could see through it", After a circuit at 800ft, never saw a thing below me, I still just about had a horizon above me. Climbed back up, had 3 hrs fuel but a bit flustered. Called Coventry (5 miles away) who were awesome, brought me straight in ahead of another aircraft already in circuit, the tower had called the light aircraft club, who had pushed some planes aside in their hanger. on touch down, tower directed me to them, Hanger doors were being opened and they stored my plane there for 5 days till the weather got better. Neither the tower or club would take any payment (except some choccies!). So don't forget the helpfulness you should receive from the bigger places when you need it. They had clear skies with 2000ft cloud base. Runway lights etc. With hind sight I could have called them, checked the conditions and circled overhead the home airfield for a break in the clouds, but I did have a "just want to get it down" moment so dashed for Coventry. Once I got back to the airfield to collect my car - guess what - sunny skies! - but I didn't care.

Rick Moss
17-02-15, 09:48 AM
I know I get a fair bit of friendly abuse on here for my spamcan missile, but...... It's equipped for this stuff. The more you fly, the further you fly and the greater your personal comfort zone, this sort of event becomes almost inevitable. That's not to say it's not avoidable, but in our nature, we are all fallible and our climate is fickle. The reason I fly with an AI is because I've experienced much the same in the past, and decided that my chances of surviving it again were far higher if I had one. That's not to say I go out in IMC (in fact on Sunday I went to go flying, and decided the weather and TAF's made staying on the ground advisable), but time spent in your own aircraft preparing a strategy suited to that aircraft is time well spent. Adopting a southerly heading before descending will make your compass respond correctly in immediately to any turn that may begin. Any other direction will give a very misleading response. All aircraft seem to have some form of stable descent profile; I'd suggest identifying yours before you have to do so under very much more stressful conditions!

Fly safely.

Paul Dewhurst
17-02-15, 10:07 AM
Lee - Don't forget what QFE means, bear it in mind and it will a avoid this mistake - which is not uncommon when training - or new to radio and a bit stressed.

With QFE set altimeter should read zero on the ground. Remember this basic principle.

Set altimeter to zero first then compare what the radio guys says it should be. If it results in anything significantly different from zero then either you have read it back wrong, or he has got it wrong, or your altimeter is buggered - which is the real reason for asking for and being given QFE when you are on the ground - to check your altimeter. Otherwise why would it be useful to be given it when you could just simply set zero like you would in a non radio environment?

likewise when being given QNH only for departure. Set the airfield elevation first, then compare what you are given with what you have. And doing these settings first will also give a clue within a hectopascal or two, so you are less likely to mess up the read back.

Get ahead of the action - anticipate and challenge any information you receive.


Paul

MadamBreakneck
17-02-15, 11:59 AM
Ever wondered what it's like to lose it in cloud? Survivors try to tell us and Vince's GPS in the OP give us a clue. In fact it reminded me of an attempt I made in the school flight simulator a couple of years back. The scenario I set was a white out during straight/level at 3500ft while initially trying to maintain altitude and heading, then I tried to descend under control while maintaining a heading. You can see the replay [here] (http://vid139.photobucket.com/albums/q305/madambreakneck/Cloud%20flight_zpsio3mmrwe.mp4). The video shows it twice, once with the white-out and then the same flight path but with the visibility set to good. I was trying to maintain control.

A few points to note: during replay of the simulation the engine instruments do not replay and stay frozen, the sound does replay however. The strange colour rendition at times is an interaction between the video camera and the DLP screen colour rendition.

Two important differences from real life: a) I didn't suffer the potentially debilitating horror of the situation (ie I knew it was a simulation) and b) I didn't suffer false motion cues, in fact no motion cues at all, so it may have been easier to keep control.

I've asked Vince and he says put it up (as he replied to me "if it saves someone...").

Watch, consider, and make underwear jokes if you must.

Joan

WobbleWing
17-02-15, 12:04 PM
This is the one.

http://youtu.be/fXzYZjpoz_E

Flyingboy
17-02-15, 12:32 PM
Thanks for sharing this Vince so soon.
Having been in that same situation of climbing, full throttle, in cloud, loosing situational awareness, situation myself, I know just how scary it suddenly becomes when you realise that you have lost this magical sense of situational awareness.

I used to say about the event... "I should be dead".
Now its "I am so lucky to be alive".
6 month from now Vince, make sure its the second statement you are saying.
If its the first, then the event is niggling away inside and could manifest itself in some-way later (he says wearing the hat of experience).

Cheers

johnny3star
17-02-15, 12:57 PM
Joans simulation video is a real eye-opener.
I would like to see it again with an AI incuded in the panel.
Reminds me, I must do some 'instrument awareness' lessons this year.

Flyingboy
17-02-15, 13:17 PM
Two important differences from real life: a) I didn't suffer the potentially debilitating horror of the situation (ie I knew it was a simulation) and b) I didn't suffer false motion cues, in fact no motion cues at all, so it may have been easier to keep control.



Joan

Joan, those two distinctions you made regarding differences from real life and your experience in the sim.....
It cant be assumed they would be different.

My experience of 11 minutes in cloud says I saw no difference (for me.)

For me, until the point of realising I had lost situational awareness (final seconds of the event), I ....
1. was not suffering ANY sense of horror.
2. I suffered no, not one false motion clue.

As I posted previous, only flipping a screen on my Enigma, seeing a vertical horizon, brought about the horror

I will post data from my event in new post, and when you see the GPS track, you will be surprised with that 2nd point .. but I truly had no false motion clue. I had no sense but also, no control.

WobbleWing
17-02-15, 13:26 PM
2. I suffered no, not one false motion clue.

As I posted previous, only flipping a screen on my Enigma, seeing a vertical horizon, brought about the horror


Isn't that a bit of a contradiction? Your false motion clue was that there wasn't anything wrong, otherwise you wouldn't be in a 90degree angle of bank..

LeeMc
17-02-15, 13:41 PM
Oh Paul,

"Get ahead of the action" I wish !!

I try I really do. Why dont you fit a auto pilot to these ruddy things then us duffers might have a hope. I have picked the wrong runway, mis-read which end of the wind sock to relate to , Got mixed up turning to a compass heading, Bounced down the runway more than the bouncing bomb and suffered brain lock! Got lost over the airfield I have done it all!! I have worn instructor to the ground and ones on the way !!!

I suspect that the human brain is not geared to sitting in these machines! Or at least mine is not :rofl:

If I ever get to leave the circuit and head to an airfield near you or if your near wickenby chaps my strong advice is to divert !!! My kids tell me it might be wise to paint an L plate on the nose :neutral:

As regards Vince I think it was really a good idea to post. I read one from a chap who mis-read the wind sock from altitude. I learned from that and hesitated to take off from a runway when someone else went merrily on it. I can still remember being worried as they drifted to the tree....

Tree is now gone! Safe flying everyone. If you see me at the airfield give us a wave. I aint quitting!!!

Lee

VinceG
17-02-15, 13:53 PM
Thanks Joan and Kev for sharing your input and the video's.

I'm more scared now than I was on Sunday.

Flyingboy
17-02-15, 13:53 PM
Isn't that a bit of a contradiction? Your false motion clue was that there wasn't anything wrong, otherwise you wouldn't be in a 90degree angle of bank..

you are correct Andy, but only when you are aware that you weren't flying as you thought.
When I thought I was turning, it felt normal. When I thought I was straight and level, it felt like I was. Nothing "felt" abnormal.
Up til seeing the 90degree bank I was glancing at an icon on a map, making corrections and then I was being distracted and frustrated, trying to flick my android device to a much higher resolution map (to aid awareness of being clear of land). Seeing the 90' horizon was only at the last seconds and the only non-normal motion I ever felt during it was letting go the bar and being forced very strongly into my seat.

Rather than discuss any of my incident in Vince's post, anything needing clarified can be made in the new post I will put up.

VinceG
17-02-15, 13:56 PM
Mike. Don't worry about this post, by all means post a new thread, but please put it in this section so that we can have anonymous replies if people feel they should do that.

Oh, for me, the wind and my weight gave me clues to my speed.

Riggers
17-02-15, 14:04 PM
Wow, cracking thread: thanks to all for the contributions & Paul for the sage advice, which I intend never to need, but....


What occurs to me is there is a theme running through most, if not all: we almost expect to get close to, or into, this quasi-IMC situation at some time. I think the topic has been discussed in different threads, on different sites, over time. I've been surprised to see suggestions of fitting some sort of AI device raise sanctimonious howls in some quarters along the lines of: "If you fly PROPERLY, within the tems of the ANO, you'll NEVER need one, and the mere fitting of one will encourage you to do it." I don't subscribe to that.

The consensus here appears to be that many of us might easily fall prey to it, when a simple (solid state?) AI would provide easy insurance. Isn't FB's comment above about "... flipping a screen on my Enigma, seeing a vertical horizon...." only describing a whizzy AI?

While we're talking true confessions: on a Fly-UK a while back, I dropped through a fool's hole in Cumbria, due to seeing endless cloud on my intended route ahead, only to change my mind, when the stupidity of the manouevre finally occurred to me. While I could see the ground below me, I couldn't see the surrounding area. My salvation then was a 912ULS: thank God it worked...

FlexWing-UK
17-02-15, 14:12 PM
Reading with interest - good thread.

Nobody has come up with a good answer as to why some form of attitude indicator is not a good idea (or at least not worse than not having one when needed). As Riggers said, we should all fly as to never need one but surely having it there is better than not should the worst ever happen?

Flyingboy
17-02-15, 14:46 PM
Totally agree with Riggers, FlexWing-UK and Rick regarding equipment.

My fitting the Enigma and access to the AH (or AI) was never the reason I thought I could climb up through the cloud.
Simple proof being the fact I was flying with the Enigma set on its map display.

But it WAS only the sighting of the horizon on the instrument, that I was shown a path out of the situation (seconds from there being no way out).

1. by being able to correctly pull from the right, rather than another left pull (and thereby taking my flexwing over the top) and then
2. maintain a relatively level profile and descend (power cut) out of the cloud/rain and continue.

Graham56
17-02-15, 17:38 PM
I've only just won my licence in December so don't have any advice to offer. Although I've found the discussion here invaluable.

But just one thought. Vince, is it worth getting the aircraft checked over? You say you almost reached VNE, which raises the possibility of you overstressing it in all the excitement

Whadd'ya reckon?

Graham

andy dixon
17-02-15, 19:51 PM
Ever wondered what it's like to lose it in cloud? Survivors try to tell us and Vince's GPS in the OP give us a clue. In fact it reminded me of an attempt I made in the school flight simulator a couple of years back. The scenario I set was a white out during straight/level at 3500ft while initially trying to maintain altitude and heading, then I tried to descend under control while maintaining a heading. You can see the replay [here] (http://vid139.photobucket.com/albums/q305/madambreakneck/Cloud%20flight_zpsio3mmrwe.mp4). The video shows it twice, once with the white-out and then the same flight path but with the visibility set to good. I was trying to maintain control.

A few points to note: during replay of the simulation the engine instruments do not replay and stay frozen, the sound does replay however. The strange colour rendition at times is an interaction between the video camera and the DLP screen colour rendition.

Two important differences from real life: a) I didn't suffer the potentially debilitating horror of the situation (ie I knew it was a simulation) and b) I didn't suffer false motion cues, in fact no motion cues at all, so it may have been easier to keep control.

I've asked Vince and he says put it up (as he replied to me "if it saves someone...").

Watch, consider, and make underwear jokes if you must.

Joan

Quite a fright watching it the second time

renmure
17-02-15, 20:57 PM
Quite a fright watching it the second time

Certainly was!!

Unregistered
17-02-15, 21:32 PM
Reading through all the different opinions expressed on this subject I think that a lot of you aren't seeing things clearly ( Notably in that descending through or being in cloud is a roll of the dice every time you do it. )

I find it very interesting that a seasoned pilot who has a wealth of experience & AI pulled his ballistic chute & a relatively inexperienced pilot sorted out his uncontrollable flight by switching screens on his Enigma ( no offence flyingboy. ) The screenshot shows that flyingboy was very lucky.

Viewing the screenshot that Vince put up made me shudder. The map scale on the screen print makes me think he was in very steep bank angles and totally out of control.

The english weather is that unpredictable that it seems that some of you will take your chances just to get your flying fix.

Fwiw the advice that Paul Dewhurst posted is the only bit that should be considered as credible, it really is a toss up whether you could be safer in a 3 axis aircraft than you could be in a flexwing.

I am a great believer in the old adage " There are bold pilots and there are old pilots, but rarely will you find a old,bold pilot "
The misconceptions that artificial horizon units will save you is not correct. I don't know what benefit artificial horizons in a flexwing will have? Is the datum taken from the trike or the wing? Likewise having artificial horizon units in any aircraft where the aircraft is more capable than the pilot is also a recipe for disaster.
Personally I would feel more confident in a 3 axis set up than I would in a flexwing set up, the false securities that having the artificial horizon brings is a 50/50 gamble.

This subject gives the impression that there are a lot of pilots who are flying in weather conditions outside of their capability and invalidating their insurance in the process.

Is there a weather rating for microlight pilots that allows trained pilots to fly in certain minimums or are you all just in your enthusiasm taking to the skies and rolling the dice?

andy dixon
17-02-15, 22:13 PM
Thank you Peter for the above post

andy dixon
17-02-15, 22:16 PM
All too often in life we try to deny the fact when things go wrong and we try to pretend it never happened.

Thanks Vince for getting us all to talk about it, we are all learning something from this thread

microlightgary
17-02-15, 22:55 PM
Glad you got away with it Vince and kudos for an open and honest post; you should consider filing a CHIRP as it is a good learning point for anyone, regardless of aircraft type.
An interesting thread this one - good advice about descending wings level in the glide - although not getting caught out in the first place is the better option! Personally I'm always very hesitant to go through gaps in cloud unless I'm bloody sure I can get back down again - even though I love it up above. My 'go to' should the worst happen is to switch straight to D&D for assistance on 121.5. Even dithering for 10 minutes could make the difference between finding a gap and not - so call early... Of course the other point here is ensuring you have sufficient fuel for the unexpected - whatever that may be.
One final thought - it's not applicable to us but I found it interesting nonetheless:
A very experienced gliding instructor told me that their 'go to' is to put the glider into an erect spin and spin it all the way down until you pop out of cloud - the idea being that as a spin is a stable condition (and a lot of fun normally!) you won't overstress the aircraft or get into an attitude you can't recover from. The flaw in the plan of course is that sometimes cloud goes all the way to the ground...

regards

Gary T

Flyingboy
17-02-15, 23:02 PM
R

I find it very interesting that a seasoned pilot who has a wealth of experience & AI pulled his ballistic chute & a relatively inexperienced pilot sorted out his uncontrollable flight by switching screens on his Enigma ( no offence flyingboy. ) The screenshot shows that flyingboy was very lucky.


Absolutely no offence taken.
I'm sure the numbers could be argued, but let's say...
99% saved by being very lucky
1% saved by the Enigma, but without the Enigma,
my luck would have been 0%

Paul Dewhurst
17-02-15, 23:26 PM
Reading with interest - good thread.

Nobody has come up with a good answer as to why some form of attitude indicator is not a good idea (or at least not worse than not having one when needed). As Riggers said, we should all fly as to never need one but surely having it there is better than not should the worst ever happen?

clearly we dont all fly as if we should never need one - otherwise we would never need one! - and that is the primary fix to work on IMHO. lots of gadgets we could make a case for being maybe better off with than without - radio, transponder, collison avoidance system, PLB, life raft, BRS, auto pilot with panic button to put the plane back to level ( like a cirrus has) etc etc. but then we would be probably bankrupt and our planes would be too heavy to take off.

If we focus on the basics of brain and eyeball, training and planning then we can fly safely without them.

but it clearly it's a choice that everyone has to make for themselves and to calm their own emotions, insecurities and perceived priorities.

No one HAS to get caught out above cloud - if it's a strong enough priority for you not to. It's very simple to avoid and happens only when we push it in marginal conditions, when only a small change in those conditions means problems. That's choice to put ourselves in that position. If we work on the decision making skills then we can solve it. Steve U's post is worth re reading on that - about his decision making when to go above and when to come back down. If we were to adopt that with some discipline it's not going to happen.

The law is framed to give us guidance on this also - clear of cloud and in sight of surface - and that means continuously and clearly - not the odd glimpse every few minutes. And clearly needs biggish holes to remain to keep in compliance for coming back down again.

So if you decide that you will be truly sensible then it's not really a problem. But if we decide that that is a bit boring, and we are going to push it a bit, and not worry about the legal aspects and enjoy a bit of risk taking, or recognise a lack of moral fibre that may persuade us to follow some rather more gung ho mates when out on a trip, or succumb to a bit of get home itis, then maybe splashing a bit of cash on an AH may tip the balance in your favour when you get caught out. And maybe that BRS isn't a bad plan too. The PulsR that had loss of control in cloud had both and needed the BRS ultimately!

On evidence and reflection I am probably in the latter group - or at least used to be - which means admitting to a bit of a lack of that moral fibre. But I aspire to the former group. Age and experience however, whilst not quite getting to the wisdom stage is dragging me out of the terminally stupid zone slowly..!

Paul

rogcal
18-02-15, 00:51 AM
I did my training on Tiger Moths and was taught the art of flying in IFR conditions on a limited panel.

Needless to say that on all the occasions I got caught out and found myself well and truly in the clag, I forgot all that I'd been taught and relied instead on my backside for guidance and usually ended up exiting the clag in some very unusual positions mostly semi inverted and it's only by good fortune that I'm still here to tell the tale.

The thing I find unexplainable is that despite my having experienced such **** numbing experiences over the years, I still allowed myself to be caught out by poor weather conditions again and again with near fatal results most times.

I finally saw sense and learnt how to control my need to get to my destination no matter what and have now joined the ranks of old, bold, sometimes stupid but still alive pilots!

Glad that you came out of it OK Vince and even more glad that you are doing the right things to avoid similar incidents occurring again.:smile:

micromikeuk
18-02-15, 08:56 AM
I find it odd that someone woul be in cloud with there efis switched to map mode and not AI what good is a map if you cant see ..






Absolutely no offence taken.
I'm sure the numbers could be argued, but let's say...
99% saved by being very lucky
1% saved by the Enigma, but without the Enigma,
my luck would have been 0%

Rick Moss
18-02-15, 09:03 AM
"having artificial horizon units in any aircraft where the aircraft is more capable than the pilot is also a recipe for disaster."

Surely all aircraft are more capable than their pilot? That's akin to saying the any vfr pilot in a Cessna/pa28 is doomed. The notion that IMC equipment makes a vfr pilot dangerous is also inexplicable to me. A vfr pilot that flies in IMC is courting disaster, but the same pilot inadvertently caught out, suitably equipped and current on IMC training?

Unregistered
18-02-15, 10:13 AM
I had a salutary lesson on the first stage of a trip to Venice. Crossed the Channel at 5500 ft and then had to descend at the French coast to get under cloud. Cloud base then about 1000 feet. Proceeded towards Abbeville. Near le Touquet, cloud base lower and rising ground. Saw what I thought was a line of low darker clouds ahead, turned out to be a hill with trees on it. Flew over the trees at 200 AGL and decided to divert to le Touquet. Was held by ATC over the beach north of the airfield, in worsening conditions. Requested landing on any available runway. Advised that cloudbase at le Touquet now 200 ft. Had by then performed twelve orbits over the beach at 300 to 500 ASL, with cloudbase at about 500 ft, viz now well less than 1 k and getting worse. Decided that I could not make le Touquet and only had two choices, one to land on the beach, the other to climb clear.

Fortunately had switched on my electronic gyro artificial horizon when coming over the Channel but had no training or practice whatever on it.

Climbed up through the murk until on top at about 1700 ASL. Managed to keep the wings level but lost control twice of airspeed (too anxious to raise the nose). My GPS track shows my ground speed (virtually no wind that day) decaying to 35 mph on two occasions. Experienced prestall buffet twice, but lowered the nose and put on a burst of power.

When on top took a decision to fly straight back to Headcorn. Three hours later departed again across the Channel, Lydd to Abbeville via le Touquet, things had improved.

Not pleased with this, the decision to proceed inland with lowering cloud and increasing coastal mist was a bad one. The AH probably saved my life, but it would have been my fault.

paultheparaglider
18-02-15, 10:17 AM
The notion that IMC equipment makes a vfr pilot dangerous is also inexplicable to me.

I agree. It isn't the aircraft, it is the pilot.



On evidence and reflection I am probably in the latter group - or at least used to be

I have come to the conclusion that most people who fly, and maybe even more so for flexwingers, are in the latter group. It is the nature of the beast of someone who does something so adventurous in the first place. I also think that the capability to do something terminally stupid never really leaves us and that we have to constantly fight against that stupidity. The difference between stories like Vince's and AAIB fatality reports is often just a matter of luck.

What I find behaviourally strange is that we don't really learn from others' experiences. Most of us who have flown for any length of time have stories to tell. And a lot of them involve gross stupidity rather than simple misjudgement. I certainty have a couple of instances that I cringe when I think back on. In my case, they weren't misjudgements, they were just plain ridiculous acts of crass stupidity.

I like to think I'm older and wiser now. But, I know in my heart I'm not. That moment of complacent stupidity that might well kill me is sitting there on my shoulder every time I fly, and I need to guard against it.

goldrush
18-02-15, 10:48 AM
I think we all accept that "sh2t happens"
Having been inadvertently been caught in a similar situation to Vince 3 times in my miserable life ..... (all in 3 axis, I have no experience of "flying bedspreads")
1. going up through a hole which then closed in with no obvious let down point visible anywhere, in an aircraft with no A/H, turn and slip etc and before the days of GPS:-(
2. in a sandstorm in an fully instrumented craft.. experience being similar to being in "pretty coloured clouds"... but it also rather upsets engines:-(
3 hitting in a fog bank/sea front.... actually not far from Vince's experience..... just North of Rufforth:-)

I know that on the grounds of "better safe than sorry" I would prefer to have at least a Turn and Slip, which together with the standard instruments is, in my opinion the minimum to help... BUT if you do have any such instruments fitted, I strongly suggest you:
a. trust them at all times over your instincts and "seat of your pants"..... they will be soiled anyway:-)
b. spend a while with an instructor, or at least an experienced Safety Pilot, wearing "foggles" or a hood, in good conditions... and get used to just what the instruments are telling you....

WobbleWing
18-02-15, 10:59 AM
I have come to the conclusion that most people who fly, and maybe even more so for flexwingers, are in the latter group. It is the nature of the beast of someone who does something so adventurous in the first place. I also think that the capability to do something terminally stupid never really leaves us and that we have to constantly fight against that stupidity. The difference between stories like Vince's and AAIB fatality reports is often just a matter of luck.

Think you may have hit the nail on the head :-)



What I find behaviourally strange is that we don't really learn from others' experiences. Most of us who have flown for any length of time have stories to tell. And a lot of them involve gross stupidity rather than simple misjudgement.

It's weird isn't it. I do wonder whether it's partially due to the 'virtual' nature of the issue that makes it difficult to appreciate when reading it in a book or online, until you've actually been bitten and get to appreciate the severity in its full glory! Judging weather patterns, for me, is the hardest thing about flying... and a skill that I always aspire to get a lot better at.. It is I believe to be the elephant in the room that is our biggest threat, and we spend so much time getting hung up on airworthiness issues.

The whole decision process is so soft and subjective it's never possible to draw a hard line in a generic sense. Most of the time you don't have the full story laid out in front of you, so the turn of events is decided based upon experience of weather patterns and flying in general (which at the time always seems a reasonable thing to do).

I think most of us would confess to a handful of bad calls.. One of mine in particular - I didn't get into trouble, but it could have so easily gone badly wrong... I can remember sitting down that evening when I got back, analysing it in my mind and thinking of how it could have panned out... I changed my philosophy to flying after that.

After a (thankfully small) set of 'reminders', I seem to have become much more risk averse in my flying in the last 5-6 years. This seems to have kicked in after having kids and realising that my demise would have a dramatic effect on them (I lost my dad when I was 8, so as a kid I've been through it)....Before then it appears I was either willing to take the odd risk, or totally ignorant (or probably both)! The problem is, now I do much less flying (and remain ignorant - though hopefully slightly less so)!

FlexWing-UK
18-02-15, 11:01 AM
I am very new to microlighting - not even got my license yet (although very close). However, I did fly HG for years before crossing over so I have my fair share of stupid stories. The issue with all of my stupid stories is that they seem stupid with hindsight but at the time I generally had reasons to do what I did (maybe not good reasons but certainly reasons). More often than not it was due to a lack of information, some form of uncertainty or changing conditions that caught me off-guard. Looking back with all the facts in hand it's easy to say you made a bad call but at the time the call was made with what information was to hand. With any airsport there are a lot of variables, some in our control and others not. With experience the uncontrollable variables diminish but I don't believe you can ever eliminate them all.

That being said I would much rather fly conservatively but plan (and train) for the worst. I would hate to add task loading, panic and lack of practice to an already terrible situation.

VinceG
18-02-15, 16:33 PM
This was Kev Armstrong coming back from spamfield this year.

That's how you do it and get away with it.


http://youtu.be/BLiF2DVFess

Rick Moss
18-02-15, 17:11 PM
Out of interest, have any if the proponents of the theory that IMC instrumentation for vfr pilots is dangerous actually provided a reason? If not, I'd be interested to hear them.

The only one I can think of is that they may feel it pushes us further into IMC, but that's a fault with the pilot. Perhaps they also don't wear seatbelts when driving, so as to avoid running red lights?

Keveng
18-02-15, 17:14 PM
This was Kev Armstrong coming back from spamfield this year.

That's how you do it and get away with it.

]

Interesting video was Kev in radio contact with anyone? and was he in the vicinity of Farnborough as he refers to it in the video , bearing in mind there are great big hunks of metal who think nothing of cloud flying but may be a bit surprised to find a flexwing splattered across their windscreen.

Keveng
18-02-15, 17:42 PM
Out of interest, have any if the proponents of the theory that IMC instrumentation for vfr pilots is dangerous actually provided a reason? If not, I'd be interested to hear them.

The only one I can think of is that they may feel it pushes us further into IMC, but that's a fault with the pilot. Perhaps they also don't wear seatbelts when driving, so as to avoid running red lights?

I do believe the biggest one is the training required for the pilot to believe the instrument and not what his body is telling him , put the question another way, why do you believe that with no training whatsoever a vfr pilot is competent to fly imc when all over the world there is a specific requirement for that training? added to which in virtually all AIB reports there will be one VFR into IMC accident investigation.

woodysr2
18-02-15, 17:55 PM
Hi Kev even if he was just listening in to Farnborough and was outside airspace then the likely hood of being splattered is really not a major issue and if anyone was in his vicinity then a radio call would alert any nearby pilots.
I have been caught out in cloud twice both times due to cloud suck in a hanglider and it was probably the scariest bit of aviating I have ever done and to be honest have no wish to repeat but as has been previously stated if you are going to get caught then a flex would be my prefered choice as it is inherently more stable but if in a 3 axis I would want all the bells and whistles available whether I was imc trained or not.
A cool head a good instrument pack has got to be more of a help than a hinderence so am with Rick on this one.

rogcal
18-02-15, 18:06 PM
Out of interest, have any if the proponents of the theory that IMC instrumentation for vfr pilots is dangerous actually provided a reason? If not, I'd be interested to hear them.

The only one I can think of is that they may feel it pushes us further into IMC, but that's a fault with the pilot. Perhaps they also don't wear seatbelts when driving, so as to avoid running red lights?

I did the IMC course years some decades ago when I bought a share in a fully equipped (for IFR conditions) aircraft and thought it would add to the knowledge and skills that I'd gained when doing my "instrument" training on the limited panel of a Tiger Moth.

My downfall is that I didn't keep current with either regular retraining or flying IFR and by the time I actually came to use the knowledge and skills I thought I still had, I was as rusty as hell and my few near death experiences were entirely due to my not keeping current by flying regularly in IMC and having forgotten most of what I had been taught.

Gaining the IMC is a good idea but thinking you can rely on what you've learnt when you need to use those skills when you've not regularly flown in IMC is asking for trouble.

One interesting fact that I learnt when doing my IMC course all those years ago is that you can hear the sound of an F4 Phantom's engines over the noise of a C150's engine when you're both in the same bit of cloud! Sharing the same uncontrolled airspace with the Yanks out of Alconbury could be fun. Those were the days!

Keveng
18-02-15, 18:17 PM
Woody , how would listening tell you there were a/c in the vicinity? surely it would be a courtesy whenever you are going to do this to make contact before going imc to the relevant stations informing them so they can inform others who are legitimately flying imc of your position so they can plan around you. As for the instruments they may be there but can you use them and interpret them correctly? if so why is there an imc rating if its that simple? another question is do they (the instruments) work correctly? how would you know if they didn't ?

unwind-protect
18-02-15, 18:45 PM
put the question another way, why do you believe that with no training whatsoever a vfr pilot is competent to fly imc when all over the world there is a specific requirement for that training?
I don't think many people are really arguing that.

It seems to me there's a phenomenal difference between letting down through cloud in a straight line with a functioning AH due to misjudging the weather once, and flying regularly in IMC, when you will be maneuvering and (one day) have to deal with the realities of instrument failures and working with a partial panel.

Presumably the people who set the PPL syllabus also believe this, else they wouldn't bother with the "instrument appreciation" section. They'd just say (as we do) "don't fly in cloud" and that would be the end of it.

Katie
18-02-15, 18:49 PM
Out of interest, have any if the proponents of the theory that IMC instrumentation for vfr pilots is dangerous actually provided a reason? If not, I'd be interested to hear them.

Certainly most VFR into IMC fatals involve a VFR pilot with very little IMC training in an aircraft equipped for IMC, the recent TB10 one is a classic example. I'd guess the fact that these aircraft tend to be faster and have a poorer view forwards and downlands makes then harder to fly in poor vis under low cloud than most microlights.
This is not a new problem, it has been happening since blind flying instruments were invented, anyone with a copy of stick and rudder just take a look a page 326.

To me the answer is to decided you will be a VFR pilot and accept the limitations, or get qualified to fly IMC and stay current in a suitable aircraft. I honesty don't understand the risk takers, I just don't see why a VFR pilot would want to fly above cloud with just a few gaps in, or push on in very poor vis under low could. This is not meant to offend anyone who does do it, but personally I wouldn't, it seems to me like putting your head into a lions mouth and hoping it won't bite.

Flyingboy
18-02-15, 19:39 PM
I find it odd that someone woul be in cloud with there efis switched to map mode and not AI what good is a map if you cant see ..

Simplest answer Mike... inexperience.

I was using it to attempt to fly away from higher ground that might have been around me.

It never came to mind until after I realised I was disorientated.

woodysr2
18-02-15, 21:24 PM
Keveng the easy answer is you should not be going imc but up north I listen in to Scottish all the time I don't always make contact but listening in lets me know who is in the area and specifically who is near me.
If you dont trust or cant use your instruments then you should not be flying.
your sylva compass although laggy will actually let you know whether you are in a turn or not and will to a certain extent let you know pitch and bank more so in a 3 axis than a flex.
an artificial horizon a radio and a good compass when the **** hits the fan will be a godsend I am in no way condoning imc flight intentionally but if the weather shuts in around you and you are at 2500 feet over Norfolk and you know base is 2000 asl then you have 500 of cloud to negotiate personally I would firstly contact nearby airfields to see if they were clear first, if no luck then I would contact London inform them of my intentions then trim slow set a heading on the compass back off to idle and let the Quik do it's stuff and sit there with the sphincter twitching for a minute till the green started to show.
Would I do this in my 3 axis not if I had any other option, have I had the need to do this NOPE and hope I never have to. Would I try flying a course imc nope but knowing where you are and that there is plenty of clear air between base and the ground and no conflicting traffic and no other options then as a last resort.
The query in regards to the correct operation of instruments holds no water as these would be checked every time you go flying, artificial horizon compass vsi etc. are used every flight the problem is not the instruments but the instrument behind the stick trusting the instruments in front of said stick and not whats in your head.

Frank Thorne
18-02-15, 21:38 PM
Great discussion. Perhaps we need the as yet unwritten. " The Trike fliers guide of how to get into the Sh1t and hopefully extricate oneself and survive" anyone fancy a go?

Keveng
18-02-15, 21:43 PM
Keveng the easy answer is you should not be going imc but up north I listen in to Scottish all the time I don't always make contact but listening in lets me know who is in the area and specifically who is near me.
If you dont trust or cant use your instruments then you should not be flying.
your sylva compass although laggy will actually let you know whether you are in a turn or not and will to a certain extent let you know pitch and bank more so in a 3 axis than a flex.
an artificial horizon a radio and a good compass when the **** hits the fan will be a godsend I am in no way condoning imc flight intentionally but if the weather shuts in around you and you are at 2500 feet over Norfolk and you know base is 2000 asl then you have 500 of cloud to negotiate personally I would firstly contact nearby airfields to see if they were clear first, if no luck then I would contact London inform them of my intentions then trim slow set a heading on the compass back off to idle and let the Quik do it's stuff and sit there with the sphincter twitching for a minute till the green started to show.
Would I do this in my 3 axis not if I had any other option, have I had the need to do this NOPE and hope I never have to. Would I try flying a course imc nope but knowing where you are and that there is plenty of clear air between base and the ground and no conflicting traffic and no other options then as a last resort.
The query in regards to the correct operation of instruments holds no water as these would be checked every time you go flying, artificial horizon compass vsi etc. are used every flight the problem is not the instruments but the instrument behind the stick trusting the instruments in front of said stick and not whats in your head.
Woody i think we are saying the same thing with different words. i know of or have met at least 4 pilots who died flying vfr into imc , i dont subscribe to the over the top school , my quantum is not fast enough to make it viable! basically i enjoy flying for fun not to be anywhere at any time so if ni doubt go low go slow and land as soon as the minimums are met. ex 16 b was a lesson i enjoyed :)
Fly safe everyone

Rick Moss
18-02-15, 21:50 PM
I've now done 5 hours of IMC training; money very well spent, especially if the training is actually conducted in cloud as opposed to foggles. I'd heartily recommend taking an hour or so with your local GA school if you can. Even spending a little time doing 180° turns using only the instruments fitted to your own aircraft (ok; if you've got a flex fitted with SFA, that should be telling you something before you start); the glider boys happily fly about in cloud with a turn and bank indicator... And the very same instrument (combined with Skydemon) doubtless saved my life when a foolhardy (third) attempt to cross the channel and a bad case of pressonitis ended up with me flying fully whited out from 2 miles north of Le Touquet to just north of Lydd; around 35nm. 2 other pilots with better judgement than I exhibited turned back before coasting out; I should have stayed too, but one was Frank Thorne and the other was Sam Beardsell, so I made my choice and I stand by it :shootself:

andy dixon
18-02-15, 22:00 PM
Sorry if this is a "thick " question......will an electronic artificial horizon work in a flex wing aircraft ?

woodysr2
18-02-15, 22:01 PM
I love low flying as well just dont get away with it in the three axis as much as the flex but was out following the derwent water about 75 feet up on Saturday loved it.

woodysr2
18-02-15, 22:06 PM
The flexwing is not supposed to be a stable platform for an AH because the wing and trike are not fixed therefore your trike can pendulum one way and the wing the other so no true reading

Rick Moss
18-02-15, 22:35 PM
If you could use one with the AHRS unit mounted in the wing, that'd probably be close to perfect.

Unregistered
19-02-15, 00:03 AM
Rick, I think that you are being a bit naughty by coming out so positively TO MICROLIGHT PILOTS about being prepared to fly in IMC by taking a bit of 'familiarity' training. There are 3 requirements to be able to fly successfully in IMC (sucessful = not killing yourself). They are (a) proper training (b) having a suitable instrument kit (c) having a stable instrument platform. You in your Group A aircraft now probably have (b) and (c) and you may think that with a couple of hours with an instructor under your belt and a couple of sphincter tightening episodes that you're well on the way towards (a). Your microlight pilot audience on the other hand have neither (b) nor (c) and sure as hell don't have (a), so being as gung ho as you are is not IMHO doing them any favours.

I have done the IMC training and received the rating and also manually flew half the length of the UK in IMC on one occasion when I was younger and more stupid than I am now. As a result I NEVER while flying microlights now put myself in the position where there is any possibility that I will go VMC to IMC as I know that only with luck on my side will I get out of it. I think Katie's posting is very sensible and sage advice that's backed up by statistics. Taking off in marginal conditions in plain madness. If you fly above cloud with less than 50% holes for any distance you are putting yourself at risk and IMO you should not do it unless you know the cloud is clearing, or that it will be clear over your destination. Under any other circumstances I think that you are rolling the dice. Weather does not in my experience close in that quickly - not ever - what people are actually saying is that they took a decision some time before that was bad and that the chickens then came home to roost.

We all have our own flying strategies and objectives - mine are to fly in such a way that I will continue enjoying doing so for as long as possible. I can think of no reason why I would feel it necessary to press on in a microlight aircraft in marginal conditions as I think that arriving late is better for me and my loved ones than never arriving at all. Just my opinion.

Flyingboy
19-02-15, 00:08 AM
With the latest firmware in the Enigma and SP6A compass (which did not lag the same as normal compasses), there is a requirement to performer various calibrations to enable an accurate reading.
this included doing numerous complete 360 turns at various bank angles up to 60'.
This info along with attitude calibrations (I fitted the AOA tubing), aloud a pretty accurate calculated bank angle (AH) based on the changing compass headings and the AOA (and the calibration data)
Prior to correct calibration, the AH on the Enigma could be seen as erratic at times.

Something I did after the last discussion on this forum last November ?? was to check every flight I made with the Enigma (about 300 hours in 18 months) ... No 'black box' recording showed anything close to 90', and absolutely nothing like the spike in the rate of turn graph on the other post.

Flyingboy
19-02-15, 00:21 AM
The flexwing is not supposed to be a stable platform for an AH because the wing and trike are not fixed therefore your trike can pendulum one way and the wing the other so no true reading

Would that pendulum effect not simply be a short lag going into and at the start of coming out of the bank?
once banked the trike stays banked with the wing as below (I am only guessing , absolutely not an expert and happy to be corrected)
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8379/8563664545_739fcafd25_b.jpg (http://flic.kr/p/e3K27H)Microlight_20130312_130334(0) by -flyingboy101- (http://flic.kr/p/e3K27H)

Rick Moss
19-02-15, 00:31 AM
Peter,
I was referring to my Escapade microlight. Apologies, I should have been clearer.

That being said, I see little difference between the Europa, CT, Banbi or a myriad of other Microlights in this discussion.

woodysr2
19-02-15, 01:08 AM
Mike I was actually talking about descending through some really rough air whilst in the white stuff as I wouldn't want to be turning after entering the cloud but I have encountered some buffeting in a turn so once again the AH would be less than acurate

Flyingboy
19-02-15, 01:33 AM
Ah, sorry my misunderstanding... Yeah I see what you were referring too, and agree with you....
Buffeting would cause quick back and forth effects which would show and maybe exaggerate the delay error I was thinking about.
A dampening feature (if the device had one) may smooth the effect, but obviously would effect the initial response.

Paul Leigh
19-02-15, 09:47 AM
it may not be perfect but you can tell if you're in a turn with an AH or even a GPS based turn indicator - in a flexwing. No one is saying you need to be dead on balls accurate, trying to win an award for flying a straight line. You just need to be clear of the dangerous ends of the turn and this rudimentary equipment in a flex will give you the information.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GRL7rWo7ec

Unregistered
19-02-15, 09:57 AM
That's actually a turn rate indicator, not an attitude indicator or artificial horizon.
It's showing something different. Though it could possibly be of some help to a pilot used to reading it in flight.

Glider pilots in cloud usually have speed brakes and parachutes.

Paul Leigh
19-02-15, 10:06 AM
"That's actually a turn rate indicator, not an attitude indicator or artificial horizon."

I believe I say that in the first sentence, oh nameless one. And it's still providing an artificial horizon indication, regardless of the technical implementation and authorised name.

You can see the reaction of the device and the turn in the trike, clear as day - if you took away everything you can see outside of the trike, you will know which way the trike is going and if you are in a turn or not. It's not rocket science. Jeez, even when evidence is as clear as this, some pompous ass always has to try to disprove something because they know better. FFS.

VinceG
19-02-15, 10:18 AM
I wouldn't have wanted to rely on that on Sunday Paul. Better than what I had, but far too much lag for my liking.

People replying to this thread anonymously should say that their name is something like this.....

Jock, 12 yrs flex pilot....
bobby, nearly qualified...
burt, instructor 30 yrs...

otherwise, your words will be ignored by the majority, who the *uck are you????

Keveng
19-02-15, 11:10 AM
"That's actually a turn rate indicator, not an attitude indicator or artificial horizon."

I believe I say that in the first sentence, oh nameless one. And it's still providing an artificial horizon indication, regardless of the technical implementation and authorised name.

You can see the reaction of the device and the turn in the trike, clear as day - if you took away everything you can see outside of the trike, you will know which way the trike is going and if you are in a turn or not. It's not rocket science. Jeez, even when evidence is as clear as this, some pompous ass always has to try to disprove something because they know better. FFS.
Paul its not a pompous attitude , feel free to use it anytime you want but please dont advocate it as a tool for instrument flying , i really fail to see why pilots still believe they are superior than the 1000's of dead aviators who have lost control and crashed out of control hence the training . to be honest i would advocate getting it and then judge if you have the capability to do it , Joans simulation is a very good example, you may get away with it but the odds are stacked against you.

thearb
19-02-15, 11:33 AM
This was Kev Armstrong coming back from spamfield this year.

That's how you do it and get away with it.


http://youtu.be/BLiF2DVFess

.....returning from the Isle of Wight in marginal conditions. Next time he spins the wheel let's hope it doesn't come up black.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/hampshire-plane-crash-first-picture-4918610

Unregistered
19-02-15, 11:39 AM
Recommend the use of these:

http://forums.bmaa.org/attach.aspx/5875/SDC10724.JPG

Veteran Survivor of Air Incidents and Assassination attempts

paultheparaglider
19-02-15, 11:50 AM
oh nameless one.

Surely you mean, oh one of many names of which Unregistered is the most recent? ;-)

WobbleWing
19-02-15, 12:02 PM
It's important to take Paul Leigh's post with the GPS496 'AI/Turn and slip' in the correct context - it is obviously based on GPS positions, so clearly not a real attitude indicator.

He's saying it is at least some indication of whether you are in a spiral dive or not... that's all....

In Kev's video above, it would have been a useful confirmation that he was at least straight and level-ish (rather than just about to flip out into a tumble)... There is lag, yes... but only used as a means to keep your wings level, not for making coordinated turns.



I guess it's inevitable that the thread always descends into this :-) Happens every time.

woodysr2
19-02-15, 12:35 PM
Kev et all AS we already know we are both reading from the same book and yes there are hundreds of deaths attributed to flying in below marginal conditions but that is no reason to at least have some idea of what you can or cannot do if the proverbial hits the fan.It is very easy to say that the weather does not close in that fast but I have experienced it happening so can tell you catagorically that it can. I have had cloudbase drop to 200 above ground level coming back from Ghigha a snow shower appear from nowhere whilst in the circuit at Thornhill and low level cloud trapped in the valley up near Glenfinnan to name but three.
Joans simulator was telling her that there was something major going on as the compass vsi and rev counter were all over the place using gps to locate an open area settling the compass on a fixed heading(hopefully not into a mountain) set a fixed rated of descent preferably on a known QNH with a known base and then start the countdown if descent if 500 fpm and there is a 1000 layer your sphincter should only be clenched for 2 minutes. I have no doubt it will be the longest 120 seconds of your life but it could be the difference between surviving and being scraped off the side of a hill as I have previously said I am in no way advocating vfr pilots flying IMC or saying it is a good thing but when/if it all goes T1tts up a bit of fore thought/preparation might be the diference between pulling it off or not and any piece of equipment that will help me in that situation would be most welcome.
Of course we could all just fit an auto pilot and sit back:rofl:

VinceG
19-02-15, 12:39 PM
Saw this... wish I'd had it on Sunday. Then again, having been though that, I won't be going anywhere near again.

Hindsight says, get on to D+D and find somewhere with holes.


http://youtu.be/TqvVgve5ctM

Woodysr2.

It all happens too fast, never mind two minutes, you would be lucky to survive 20 seconds.

woodysr2
19-02-15, 13:37 PM
Hi Wobblewing as you say it always seems to spiral into if you fit the instruments you will use them personally for me that is not the case I think I am a very conservative pilot in as much as I do set my limits and stick to them but as I am sure anyone who has been in this sport for any length of time will attest that there is nothing as fickle as the uk weather. We have had all four seasons in one day up here north of the border so to say you will never be caught out is nonsense.
As Vince said in a previous post It would be nice to know the experience/knowledge behind some of the posters. as I think this could also be a deciding factor in the survivability if /when caught out.
I have been flying for over 28 years initially hang gliding then moved to microlight when the aerotow club needed tug pilots so flexwing for over 10 years and only in the last 18 months moved to the dark side of armchair flying in total a 1000 + hours been caught out a couple of times as said in bad weather been involved in a couple of prangs one due to bird strike and another due to a badly positioned windsock. Only been sucked into cloud twice hang gliders dont have the benefit of an engine and 200+ kilos to help get away form the lift.So twice in 28 years.I am still here I had no instruments other than my vario which was screaming its T!tts out by the way and my sylva ball compass.

woodysr2
19-02-15, 13:42 PM
Hi Vince
I have been there and worn the t shirt
Can I ask if you had throttled back set a heading trimmed for slow and relaxed your grip on the bar before descending through
and secondly where can I get me one of those gizmo's and how much?
I am glad it all worked out and other than a bit of a scare you are ok.
cheers
William

FlexWing-UK
19-02-15, 13:42 PM
Saw this... wish I'd had it on Sunday. Then again, having been though that, I won't be going anywhere near again.

It all happens too fast, never mind two minutes, you would be lucky to survive 20 seconds.

That device looks awesome. I've just been on their website and that is the old version. This is the new one:

http://www.gps.co.uk/levil-aviation-ilevil-sport-ahrs/gps-for-ios/android/p-1-1717/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=base&utm_campaign=products&gclid=CMD_vKaD7sMCFUvLtAodgmkA5g

£480 to provide some degree of control should the worst happen? Seems like good value to me.

Keveng
19-02-15, 14:08 PM
While i agree getting caught short is always a possibility i will stick to my mentors instruction trim for slow reduce throttle to 200 fpm, sit on your hands and pray the cloud ends before the ground arrives , for that £480 you could get some valuable tuition with an appropriate aircraft and instructor as to what you REALLY need to do to fly imc even if you want to let down when you have been caught on top. btw for reference i have been in and around aviation from the age of 13 , lost more than a few friends along the way, i love my flex wing but recognize it for what it is. a small simple aircraft equipped to fly cheaply in vfr conditions nothing more.

MadamBreakneck
19-02-15, 14:15 PM
That device looks awesome. I've just been on their website and that is the old version. This is the new one:

http://www.gps.co.uk/levil-aviation-ilevil-sport-ahrs/gps-for-ios/android/p-1-1717/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=base&utm_campaign=products&gclid=CMD_vKaD7sMCFUvLtAodgmkA5g

£480 to provide some degree of control should the worst happen? Seems like good value to me.


Oh, I love the demonstration at about 2 minutes +
It explains what a thousand forum posts couldn't.

Joan

Unregistered
19-02-15, 14:45 PM
I was pointed to this subject by a forum member who asked me if I was the " Unregistered " poster who posted at 2132hrs on the 17th Feb 2015 ?

The question was asked because Andy Dixon hinted that it was me in his post of 2213hrs on the same day, actual following message.

Now firstly I wasn't the poster of that message, but this is a subject that I do find very interesting and find it commendable that Vince has spoken out in such a public way.
I have seen way too much evidence of microlight pilots venturing off into marginal weather without much of a care in the World, I have also seen reports from microlight pilots who have been caught out by the weather.

I am unsure which category I would put Vinces incident into as the candid report implies the weather was seen to be changing and he went beyond his comfort zone, I fully understand the situation of having just got his Quik and wanting to fly it. I am sure we have all been there ourselves ?

With regards to the very open & frank posts made by flyingboy, I spoke at great length with him about his incident and he took my rather harsh but constructive criticism onboard and I was very glad I had the opportunity to discuss his incident with him.

I don't think it is right to judge people on their errors and taking one remark from micromike about " why would someone have the map screen up when in cloud whilst you have an artificial horizon screen available ? " is a prime example of being very judgemental.
For whatever reason that flyingboy had the map screen showing instead of the Artificial Horizon screen is something that was part of his flying process that day, he was lucky that he selected the AH screen when he did and nobody is more aware of how that saved his life more than himself.

The interesting part of this debate is no one has touched upon Peer pressure or Bravado, some of you will remember that Martin Bromage spent many years planning a Charity Flight from Gloucester Staverton to Sydney Australia and was a very meticulous organiser of his flight down to the finest detail, the day he departed on his Charity Flight he had such a great amount of media coverage organised that I believe he felt under pressure to depart even though the weather was unsuitable for his first sector of his trip. Rather than let the Press and TV media down he departed on what was to be his final flight.

His attitude to not want to let down the media made him make a fatal decision, now I considered Martin a very competent pilot and his attention to detail was such that I was surprised that he departed that day.
Had he got away with getting to his first destination on his long journey to Sydney he may well have made it all the way to Sydney and then everyone would have been singing his praises in much the same way as they do about Dave Sykes.

For anyone who has read Dave Sykes book or John Hilton's descriptions of his flight to Canada & back will have seen that both of them had butt clinching incidents but had luck on their side.

The idea of microlight pilots flying into IMC scares me and anyone who knowingly sets off into such conditions needs a check up from the neck up,
the fact of the matter is the Artificial Horizon will save your life if used correctly as will the GPS derived Attitude Indicator, but & it is a big but... you would need to believe the instrument and not what your sensory nerves are telling you.
Once any aircraft is out of control without any visual references it is very hard to get back under control if the pilot is not trained in Limited Panel or Flying on Instruments.

Watching the Kev Armstrong video shows a good example of someone getting caught out and is not something I imagine Kevin would do on purpose, his subtitles say it all really about how hard it was to keep control.

With the advent of more & more microlight instrument panels having Artificial Horizons fitted could be leading to more & more pilots taking more chances. I am all for using whatever you can to enjoy your hobby but the user of such instruments needs to have a good understanding of the instrument they are using. I would like to see Instrument appreciation covered more in the microlight syllabus instead of the current situation where you are shown what to avoid and not have an insight into what happens when you get into IMC.

Anyone who has an Artificial Horizon in their panel should do some instrument appreciation training with any Instrument Rated instructor or fly with any Instrument rated pilot to witness the effects of IMC flying.

Flyers such as Paul Leigh & Rick Moss have a sufficient understanding of how to remain safe in IMC conditions and act accordingly, the strange thing about IMC flying is when you are not qualified to do it you seem to do it, but when you are qualified to do it you tend to have a better understanding of IMC and avoid IMC as much as possible.

Currently the EASA transition is granting those with the IMC Rating an EASA Rating called Instrument Rating ( Restricted ).
I am cynical that those holders of the IMC Rating will now push on into full IFR conditions under the impression that the IR (R) is as good as the full Instrument Rating. The IMC Rating is a ' get out of jail card ' whereas the Full IR is a ' go out & fly in low visibility from the outset '

So now what is the way forward ?

I would like to see some form of Instrument Rating introduced for microlight pilots as the general consensus is that to be unrestricted in flying in the UK you need to be able to cope with the changeability in our weather during any flight.


Whilst I can post this anonymously I am happy to go on record with my remarks.


Peter Kelsey
(Banned from posting on the main forum)

VinceG
19-02-15, 15:25 PM
Hi Vince
I have been there and worn the t shirt
Can I ask if you had throttled back set a heading trimmed for slow and relaxed your grip on the bar before descending through
and secondly where can I get me one of those gizmo's and how much?
I am glad it all worked out and other than a bit of a scare you are ok.
cheers
William

William, no, I didn't set a heading and throttle back. There was a valley in the clouds, my thinking being that if I descend into the valley of the clouds, that it won't be far further to be through the bottom. It was when I blacked out completely that I said in my mind "stuff this" and put my foot down to climb out. That was when it all went "tits up" and I ended up VNE+10.

woodysr2
19-02-15, 15:35 PM
I have just had a look also and I would rather have it than not have it to be honest but it is not £480 it is £576 with the dreaded vat added.
Would it encourage me to fly in dodgy weather nope our strip is in the southern uplands in a valley with 400/600 feet high hills on all sides rotor from just about every wind direction power lines a river fences..............I could go on for ages.

woodysr2
19-02-15, 15:57 PM
I hope you dont mind me analysing this but at what height did the valley in the cloud end and the cloud begin. how far therefore would you have had to be sitting reciting the OH Sh!T mantra. I am only asking as when I was sucked in my thoughts were "Oh well at least it was on the last day of my holiday so had not wasted rest of the guys weeks holiday and of course being as tight as three coats of paint that I had got my monies worth out of the holiday LOL"
If you had maintained your decent hands off knowing you were well clear of any obstruction how long would you have been whited/blacked out as, as you are now aware the torque reaction of a full power climbout without any visual clues results in the situation you found yourself in.
my situation was slightly different in as much as I was trying to spiral down before getting sucked in but when I realised that was not working I straightened up and pointed out away from the hill towards the sea as the ground below dissapeared I just kept heading in that direction and luckily came out nearly at the top of the back of the cloud and about 1/2 a mile from the coast. It is amazing just how much that focusses the mind.
You Had the added issue of how far you had decended in between the cloud (in the valley) and therefore had full height of cloud to negotiate before coming back out.
I do think the more you analyse it the better.
I also know that it will have been keeping you awake at night with all the what ifs?
The main thing is that you are here still breathing and ready to fly another day and a whole lot wiser to boot
take care
William

VinceG
19-02-15, 16:06 PM
If I had remained hands off I'm sure I would have been through the cloud in about 15 seconds or so.

Unregistered
19-02-15, 19:32 PM
Hi Vince,

On your Screenprint I am trying to work out which way you were orientated ?

Does your initial track start from the bottom of the screen or from the top right corner ?

The extremely tight turn on the lefthand side looks like you whip-stalled ( or rolled through 180degrees extremely quickly )

The triangular shaped manoeuvre in the middle of the righthand set of turns also looks excessively tight.

I am guessing they were the most uncontrolled parts of your spatial disorientation ?

With 1:8,000 scale the whole scenario looks like your Quik was getting banked excessively in your efforts to stay in control but I reckon if you was ' visual ' the bank angles and Angles of attack would be something best not seen.

You were undoubtedly very lucky to survive your ordeal and I am mighty glad you are around to regale your ordeal with us all.

Back in 2006 I attended Spamfield and when everyone was departing on the Sunday I had checked the weather all the way from the IOW to Edinburgh.
One of our club-members was flying a Quik and his estimated flight time was 4h25 to cover 341nm ( avg 77kts groundspeed )
My estimated flight time was 2h46 to cover the same 341nm ( avg 123.25kts groundspeed ) The forecast was for the weather to possibly deteriorate at Linton on Ouse so I already planned Leeds Bradford or Durham TTV as a divert if needed.
My estimated flight time to Linton was 1h33 & 1h45 to Durham so I planned to be in the Linton area about 1hr before the forecast time for it to deteriorate.
With the Quik having an estimated flight time of 2hr45 to Durham it departed 1hr before I did but would put him in the Durham area the same time as me and then I could overtake and relay weather from ahead.

When I arrived in the Linton area the weather had deteriorated to the point where I would need to either do a ' letdown ' into DTTV or carry on to Edinburgh in IMC.....My decision was to accept the procedure into DTTV. I advised the Quik pilot that I was diverting into DTTV, his reply was he was ' scud running ' in between layers of 2000 - 3000ft and continuing onto Edinburgh !!

As he had 1h40 to run to Edinburgh I got the latest Met for Newcastle, Carlisle, Edinburgh from the comfort of the flying club at DTTV and saw that his track would offer him a Butt Clencher of a flight.
As it happens he somehow managed to survive that 1hr40 although I did hear that he did get 'tumbled ' when was just north of the Pentlands.

The point is : I had the capability to continue on but chose to divert, the Quik pilot didn't have the capability to continue but chose to !!! In his mind he believes that he was the better pilot that day.

Draw your own conclusions

Peter K.

andy dixon
19-02-15, 20:26 PM
it may not be perfect but you can tell if you're in a turn with an AH or even a GPS based turn indicator - in a flexwing. No one is saying you need to be dead on balls accurate, trying to win an award for flying a straight line. You just need to be clear of the dangerous ends of the turn and this rudimentary equipment in a flex will give you the information.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GRL7rWo7ec

I always fly with a Garmin 496 with the audible warnings turned on....ie...500ft warning..... It knows the hight of the ground and audibly warns you when you are within 500ft of the ground etc...

I never thought to turn on the instrument display as you did......cheers Paul for the tip,your a star

Flyingboy
19-02-15, 21:07 PM
With regards to the very open & frank posts made by flyingboy, I spoke at great length with him about his incident and he took my rather harsh but constructive criticism onboard and I was very glad I had the opportunity to discuss his incident with him.


Peter Kelsey
(Banned from posting on the main forum)

Just to clarify publically Peter, I never once considered your comments 'rather harsh.'
They are strongly held opinions/truths/'constructive critisisms', driven by very close personal heartbreaking reasons.
I am honestly thankful of the discussions we later had on the topic...


cheers
Michael.

Unregistered
19-02-15, 23:08 PM
Just to clarify publically Peter, I never once considered your comments 'rather harsh.'
They are strongly held opinions/truths/'constructive critisisms', driven by very close personal heartbreaking reasons.
I am honestly thankful of the discussions we later had on the topic...


cheers
Michael.

Michael,

When I refer to my rather harsh comments, what I mean was I didn't 'Candy Coat ' anything to make you feel better in yourself about your impromptu soirée with the clouds.
I am probably one of the few people who can relate to what you went through as I had been there before and many people had been through the same before me, if everyone who has been in your situation can talk their errors through with someone who has done the same themselves then the experience pool fills up and more & more answers are available.

A prime example of how anybody can learn is shown by the mere fact that Andy Dixon wasn't aware that his GPS has the Instrument Panel ( as shown in Paul Leigh's video ) but was aware that it has the audible terrain warning..... So Andy would rely on his audible terrain warning to keep him aware of the terrain clearance but ( if in cloud ) be totally unaware of whether he is erect or inverted ?
To my mind this is akin to why you were looking at the mapping screen instead of the Artificial Horizon screen, it makes perfect sense to me that in a situation of not having a visual reference on the ground features that the mapping screen offered you an overlay of the terrain and that you thought you were using the Enigma wisely.
Hitting the Artificial Horizon screen at the moment you did was your saving grace and you know that, you took constructive criticism as best you could and it will have made perfect sense after the event, but hindsight is 20/20 and as I said at the time it is easy to find all the answers after sitting down to discuss something.
The decisions any pilot makes in a split second are invariably not always the best way to solve the problem but will go a long way towards getting out of the impending situation.
Whatever you did on that flight worked for you in much the same way that whatever Vince did on his flight worked out for him but it would be fair to say neither was a textbook theory. One advantage of your incident is it taught you what you need to avoid but thankfully didn't teach you how to go and do the same thing again.

The latest gizmo ( Levil AHRS ) is maybe going to be a 50% lifesaver & a 50% potential killer depending on the user. I am still not entirely convinced that the AHRS is going to be " be all & end all of Instrumentation " for fitting in a flexwing....... The prime question would be " Do you fit the AHRS Sender in the central axis of the wing ? " or "Do you fit the AHRS Sender in the trike on a level surface ? "

I have seen most of these gizmos in action but was unaware of the Levil AHRS so I don't know whether it would be reliable enough in a Push,Pull situation...... Taking that Vince did what he believed was right in opening the throttle and pushing the bar forward to climb, only to find himself descending is proof that when that situation occurs the visual reference is the only safe option that you are doing what you believe is happening.

Some Artificial Horizons do suffer from lag and whilst that lag is sorting itself out it may show you climbing whilst you are actually descending and vice versa..... I have tried the Android Apps that masquerade as Artificial Horizons and in co ordinated turns they do work, but the minute you enter an uncordinated turn the Artificial Horizon will give bogus readings....... I have seen ( in clear VFR ) the AH show a banked reading whilst the wings are level just by stepping on the rudder, I have also seen a level reading whilst having at least 30degrees of bank on by the same method.

Peter K.

VinceG
20-02-15, 00:11 AM
Some Artificial Horizons do suffer from lag and whilst that lag is sorting itself out it may show you climbing whilst you are actually descending and vice versa..... I have tried the Android Apps that masquerade as Artificial Horizons and in co ordinated turns they do work, but the minute you enter an uncordinated turn the Artificial Horizon will give bogus readings....... I have seen ( in clear VFR ) the AH show a banked reading whilst the wings are level just by stepping on the rudder, I have also seen a level reading whilst having at least 30degrees of bank on by the same method.

Peter K.

The trouble is, the phone's gyro is simply not up to the job. This on the other hand.....


http://youtu.be/1BVY7k3yeJc

I would fit the unit under the centre of the seat, to the aluminium bar on a trike, not the wing.

Unregistered
20-02-15, 09:26 AM
"Horizons and in co ordinated turns they do work, but the minute you enter an uncordinated turn the Artificial Horizon will give bogus readings."

It's actually the other way round Peter

woodysr2
20-02-15, 09:26 AM
I would like to see a test using 2 units one in the trike and another just in front of the kingpost on the wing.the trike acts as a pendulum but in a blade 912 with me solo it flies with a bank of about 12 degrees due to torque of the prop the base bar sitting a third off flying straight and level.this returns to normal when power reduced to slower cruise speed.
the other option would be a test trying one unit in both positions to see which gives the truest reading my preference though would brobably be the wing as I think that would give better readings.
we can try it out when i buy one as the unit can be used with its own rechargeable battery so would only take minutes to swap positions between wing and trike

VinceG
20-02-15, 10:31 AM
Hi Vince,

On your Screenprint I am trying to work out which way you were orientated ?

Does your initial track start from the bottom of the screen or from the top right corner ?

The extremely tight turn on the lefthand side looks like you whip-stalled ( or rolled through 180degrees extremely quickly )

The triangular shaped manoeuvre in the middle of the righthand set of turns also looks excessively tight.

I am guessing they were the most uncontrolled parts of your spatial disorientation ?


Peter K.

I came in from where the button "Simulate" is. I then turned right and descended into the valley in the cloud that is the straight line that is to the furthest west on the image (south east to north west line) and it was there when I decided to put my boot down and climb out.

I don't know how on earth all of those other lines happened. I only know that I came out of cloud at the furthest point south in the picture. What happened in between is only subject to conjecture. I do know that the VNE bit was in that large circle that ends in me popping out of the bottom. You can see the kink in the line which is where I straightened up.

FlexWing-UK
20-02-15, 10:45 AM
This seems to be very similar in terms of price. Offers GPS, AI but also ADS-B traffic:

http://www.transair.co.uk/sp+Garmin-GDL-39-3D-unit-only+2789?utm_campaign=Googlebase&utm_medium=organic&utm_source=Googlebase&gclid=CLvyu6Oe8MMCFUT3wgodoJkALg

FlexWing-UK
20-02-15, 10:56 AM
And people may find this useful:

http://ipadpilotnews.com/2014/05/ads-b-receiver-buy/

Unregistered
20-02-15, 17:32 PM
"Horizons and in co ordinated turns they do work, but the minute you enter an uncordinated turn the Artificial Horizon will give bogus readings."

It's actually the other way round Peter

So I can understand whether I should stick to ' My tried & tested ' findings or consider you may be teaching an old dog new tricks it would be handy to know what your flying experience is ?
The balance of knowledge is key to whether you are right or wrong ? I have learnt stuff from some very experienced pilots & also learnt from newbie pilots who have the advantage of being recently taught an updated syllabus.

In terms of tried & tested methods I am all ears if that is what you are speaking from experience, but if it is from unfounded opinion I will reserve my judgement on who is right in this instance.
Let's just assume that as I have now got over 1000hrs of official Instrument flying recorded I must have some idea on how to read the instrumentation correctly.

Peter K

Unregistered
20-02-15, 22:58 PM
Now with an understanding of which way you entered the pattern I can ' visualise ' the track and the Right turn that looks like it ends in a complete reversal is something that I would want to know what manouevre put me in a complete reversed direction, but I guess as it was in cloud you probably won't know how that happened?

The other area of the track that again would really concern me is the bit that looks like a triangle in the middle of the large sweeping turn where you think you went through your VNE......That looks like a very rapid change of direction in a very tight turn, again I guess that is another area where you will probably never know what really happened ?

The only upshot of this whole situation is you somehow survived it and now it is getting debated and whilst I don't think there will ever be a concise answer to what actually happened. ....The cross section of opinions & remarks from various posters will maybe make a bit of sense to you and you will think " yeah it was a bit like that "

All I know is : If you tried to replicate the flight in VFR conditions and follow the track & profile the view you would get would make you bottle out way before you had finished replicating the route.

Can that track be overlaid onto Google Earth as that would give a far better perception of where you were and how tightly you were turning.
( I did it with my X-AIR incident and the result was far more scary than how I remembered it and I was Visual throughout my incident ).

Rick Moss
21-02-15, 10:18 AM
There's a good point there made by anonymous above; if you (Vince) were to open that track in Google Earth, it will show as a 3d representation if set to view from horizontal. If you email me the track Vince, id be happy to do so.

Flyingboy
21-02-15, 12:23 PM
Michael,

When I refer to my rather harsh comments, what I mean was I didn't 'Candy Coat ' anything to make you feel better in yourself about your impromptu soirée with the clouds.
I am probably one of the few people who can relate to what you went through as I had been there before and many people had been through the same before me, if everyone who has been in your situation can talk their errors through with someone who has done the same themselves then the experience pool fills up and more & more answers are available.

A prime example of how anybody can learn is shown by the mere fact that Andy Dixon wasn't aware that his GPS has the Instrument Panel ( as shown in Paul Leigh's video ) but was aware that it has the audible terrain warning..... So Andy would rely on his audible terrain warning to keep him aware of the terrain clearance but ( if in cloud ) be totally unaware of whether he is erect or inverted ?
To my mind this is akin to why you were looking at the mapping screen instead of the Artificial Horizon screen, it makes perfect sense to me that in a situation of not having a visual reference on the ground features that the mapping screen offered you an overlay of the terrain and that you thought you were using the Enigma wisely.
Hitting the Artificial Horizon screen at the moment you did was your saving grace and you know that, you took constructive criticism as best you could and it will have made perfect sense after the event, but hindsight is 20/20 and as I said at the time it is easy to find all the answers after sitting down to discuss something.
The decisions any pilot makes in a split second are invariably not always the best way to solve the problem but will go a long way towards getting out of the impending situation.
Whatever you did on that flight worked for you in much the same way that whatever Vince did on his flight worked out for him but it would be fair to say neither was a textbook theory. One advantage of your incident is it taught you what you need to avoid but thankfully didn't teach you how to go and do the same thing again.

The latest gizmo ( Levil AHRS ) is maybe going to be a 50% lifesaver & a 50% potential killer depending on the user. I am still not entirely convinced that the AHRS is going to be " be all & end all of Instrumentation " for fitting in a flexwing....... The prime question would be " Do you fit the AHRS Sender in the central axis of the wing ? " or "Do you fit the AHRS Sender in the trike on a level surface ? "

I have seen most of these gizmos in action but was unaware of the Levil AHRS so I don't know whether it would be reliable enough in a Push,Pull situation...... Taking that Vince did what he believed was right in opening the throttle and pushing the bar forward to climb, only to find himself descending is proof that when that situation occurs the visual reference is the only safe option that you are doing what you believe is happening.

Some Artificial Horizons do suffer from lag and whilst that lag is sorting itself out it may show you climbing whilst you are actually descending and vice versa..... I have tried the Android Apps that masquerade as Artificial Horizons and in co ordinated turns they do work, but the minute you enter an uncordinated turn the Artificial Horizon will give bogus readings....... I have seen ( in clear VFR ) the AH show a banked reading whilst the wings are level just by stepping on the rudder, I have also seen a level reading whilst having at least 30degrees of bank on by the same method.

Peter K.

Cool Peter, I was only pointing out to all that I didn't take your points as harsh sounding.
As for map and terrain clearance point, yep agree.
What always brought my attention back to the Engima map, was the Enigma screaming "Terrain Terrain.. Pull up".
I'd "climb" and turn away from the higher land, but I was simply tightening the turns (or luckily reversing some of them).

As for AHRS, the new MGL iLite which I have now correctly plumbed in, is certainly not as smooth yet as I had the Enigma set up.
I am very confident though it will be.
I haven't went through the full calibrations and levelling that is required to provide an accurate picture.
The AHRS is built into the unit itself but it also takes the same SP6A compass info the Enigma had (again, all needing to be correctly calibrated for my flex, to compensate for both units locations).
As a final +point for the iLite, additional AHRS modules can be added (to the wing?) allowing the unit to provide an averaged (and more accurate?) picture.

My incident definitely taught me valuable lessons....(a question asked on another post, which I will try answer later)

John Upex
23-02-15, 17:05 PM
Reposted by Vince, from John Upex, Jodel driver ex Rufforth.

Vince

I'll condense all the verbiage below as follows;

A If you're not about to crash don't do anything which makes a crash more likely; stay where you are and continue what you're already doing.

B Advise the world of your problem, and get both some help and the spare mental capacity that comes from the reassurance of knowing someone is out there helping you.

B.1 Call PAN on the channel you are on - and if they are going to be no further help (which safetycom isn't, having no ground station, no radar and useless communication sets) retune to someone who can help, 121.5; call PAN again and pass 2/3rds of your worries over to them. You'd have to be very unlucky to kill yourself with Drayton looking out for you.

B.2 If you have a transponder and can put 7700 on it easily do so - if not they'll find you from a DF on your radio (or plain 'ident' if you have a transponder).

C Reassure yourself that you're now in very skilful hands - and put the compass card on your GPS because that is more stable than your magnetic compass.


The explanation of all that is as follows.


With all the wisdom of an armchair warrior a million miles from the action, I've been considering the options - which come under 2 basic headings.;

1 Are you in immediate danger of killing yourself inside the next 30-60 seconds?

2 How many hands have you got spare.

If you are in danger of an immediate accident you only have 2 possible options;

a) To either avoid it or have the least bad one which you might survive;
b) To call help to the scene of the crash - which means a Mayday on whatever frequency you're already tuned to with some indication of your position.

And the real snag with safetycom is that it is not manned by a permanent ground station so you have no 'guarantee' that you'll be heard.

In your case, as you could hear the gyros under the cloud they should have been able to hear (no guarantee) and to be able to 'pass or relay a mayday' (as we ALL have to be able to do to have a radio licence - though as I have admitted before when actually faced with doing that your mind goes blank - and a single seat gyro only has one radio channel so they can't hear you and talk to a radar station at the same time so they're pretty useless.

As a matter of practice I only use safetycom over Rufforth field (or in the approach zone, or ditto if going into another field which uses safetycom). Otherwise I always (as in always) have a 'proper' station with radar as the active (even if I'm only listening). My radio has an active and standby frequency on a toggle so I can 'get to' a proper station and call for help without having to think - so in your case of coming back from Scarborough I'd have been talking (or listening) to Humberside or Linton / Leeming all the way to York Ring Road.

If you're not in absolute dire danger - the thing to do is NOT to put yourself into peril (at least until every other option has been exhausted - so 'staying where you are, doing what you've been doing happily for the last 5 minutes' is a good thing to continue doing.

Dealing with part 2

I'm not at all familiar with flexwings but deduce that you always have to have one hand on the bar; that gives you one free hand.

(One reason I have the type of aeroplane I have, a side-by-side is that my passenger has 2 spare hands so we not only have 4 eyes which can look at the map together, we have potentially 3 hands, 2 of which are attached to one brain having nothing else to do.)

The first thing to do it to get some help - and with that comes a whole lot of reassurance and a load of your overtaxed mind; you pull back from 'panic' to 'worried' just knowing that someone else is on your side, and that gives you 20% of your brain capacity back 'to start thinking sensibly with' in an instant

I've been thinking about 'the order' to do this in and come to the conclusion that if you have 3 hands it's sensible to put 7700 on the transponder first - which lights up all the radar screens for 50 miles, alerts at least a couple of ground controllers to your plight - and gets everything else routed away from you.

If you've only one hand you're better going for the radio first - if you have a transponder you can 'push ident' to identify your position and if not just 'transmit for a fix' and let a couple of radio stations triangulate your position; you'll show as a blip anyway and they can work out who and where you are fast enough from the radio call.

If you're on safetycom with time on your hands its worth sending off a PAN followed by 'switching to 121.5' to acquaint the people around that you've a problem, but safetycom isn't any help after that and you're better off on 121.5 if you have enough hands to retune - or 'the last proper station you had on the set' if that's just a toggle button; the ground stations can sort out how they're going to handle things between themselves, let them do the worrying while you do the flying.

Then send off a PAN and ask for what you want - a hole in the cloud in your case.

Then, while they're looking at finding you somewhere safe to go, twiddle your sat-nav to show the compass card - which is a million times more stable than a magnetic compass and acts like a gyro-stabilised direction indicator; that always shows North properly whatever gyrations your plane goes into.

With 90 minutes fuel you're unlikely to have to do anything else but wait; you can do some intelligent guess work as to where the holes are most likely to be (where is the weather coming from), where do you have most options, where are you best placed for an air ambulance pick up (I jest).

One of several things I have picked up from reading books on flying is that 'descending blind is most safely done over water - at least you know what surface level is." Leeds is on high ground and likely to be socked in, but I think both Humberside and Doncaster are at around 50 feet ASL and they both have huge runways, radar -very little traffic, and 'bored controllers just dying to be helpful'.

Best wishes

John

Paul Dewhurst
23-02-15, 18:16 PM
Just a point in the MGL articial horizon. I have a voyager in our demo nynja. It is prone on occasion to going abut haywire and needing the whole unit rebooting. It sometimes just freezes, and other times gets convinced I am banking when I am not. So you don't really want to rely on it too much. I guess fingers crossed that it keeps working if you need it..

paul

VinceG
23-02-15, 19:23 PM
Here is a link to the GPX file.

Rick / Flyingboy, I would really like to see the "horizontal aspect" if you are able to show it.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/j9khbk006crqtot/my_flight_01.gpx?dl=0

Unregistered
23-02-15, 19:40 PM
Blimey Vince, if that GPX file is accurate, perhaps it might be worth having a second set of eyes give your Aircraft a look over.

Russ_H (thought I was logged in)

Rick Moss
23-02-15, 20:39 PM
Alrighty then!
http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/15/02/23/4095f80a81e388b625264956ed8fa1c9.jpg

http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/15/02/23/a7879ba053a0f24a175ca44e829124a7.jpg

VinceG
23-02-15, 22:15 PM
Sorry, that's lost me altogether.

Gentreau
23-02-15, 23:12 PM
Maybe this will tell you something Vince.
I extracted the GPS data for the 2 minutes (I bet it felt like more than that) when you were all over the place.
Here's a graph of the altitude and speed (km/h) for that period.......

http://www.gentreau.com/upload/vinces_flight_in_clouds.png

There are peak speeds of 199 km/h, so I would tend to agree that you might want to get your machine looked at ....

Bob T
23-02-15, 23:38 PM
After 25 years in aviation structures I would say that you don't need to get the machine looked at but strip the wing down and check everything for bends yourself. There is no way that you can see most metal fatigue with the human eye but it does not take a professional to see a bent tube. 200 kmh (124mph) is not excessive and I would very much doubt that you have managed to even get near the stress limit of anything on the aircraft. A high G force will do much more unseen damage than a high speed.
Nice graphics Clive!

Keveng
24-02-15, 00:07 AM
Does the fact that the highest speed at the second peak coincides with a dive have a bearing ? gps measures ground speed not airspeed , so the actual speed could be higher. still its scary viewing.

Unregistered
24-02-15, 00:47 AM
I agree that the groundspeed of 199kmh = 123.67mph could quite easily have been a far higher airspeed.

The slowest groundspeed recorded was 30kmh = 18.64mph whilst fairly level @ 2000ft ish so at a guess that could have quite easily been a 88kmh ( 55mph ) airspeed.

The problem is if the same headwind component is applied to the 199kmh groundspeed it puts the airspeed at 257kmh which is a shade under 160mph, by the same theory if the groundspeed was 199kmh and a 58kmh tailwind component is applied then the actual airspeed was 141kmh which is a shade under 88mph.

To get a complete picture would take someone correlating the gs vs airspeed on the headings at specific times i.e :
13.39:23
13.39:54
13.39:55
13.39:56
13.40:19

If I can extract that data from the txt file I will look at this to see if it sheds any clues.

Gentreau
24-02-15, 06:53 AM
If anyone else wants to analyse the data from the GPS, here's the 2 minute period in Excel.

http://www.gentreau.com/upload/vinces_flight_in_clouds.xlsx

Rick Moss
24-02-15, 07:45 AM
Unregistered; you appear to forget that a vertical dive has a ground speed of zero..... Wind is not the key issue here I suspect!

paultheparaglider
24-02-15, 08:20 AM
That isn't correct, Rick. A vertical dive in a 50mph headwind would track downwind. Similarly, a descent at an airspeed of 50mph into a 50mph headwind would show as a vertical descent relative to the ground.

Rick Moss
24-02-15, 08:52 AM
We agree there Paul; I could have been clearer. Let me rephrase: a vertical dive in nil wind conditions had a ground speed of zero.

TwoDogs
24-02-15, 10:09 AM
Looking at that graph it seems that the altitude changes by around 600 ft in just over a second (1600 ft to 1000 ft between 13:40:12 and 13:40:13 ish). If we say conservatively that it took 1.5 seconds then that's a vertical speed of 400 ft per sec or about 270 mph!!! or if we say that alt changes by 500 ft in 1 sec then that's 340mph!!!

Those numbers seem way too high so there's probably a mistake somewhere; but if not then Vince might have just set a new speed record for a flexwing.

Flyingboy
24-02-15, 10:50 AM
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8624/16446671439_fc5eb87c0a_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/r4kuqF)

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8637/16606500866_e8382bd752_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/risE9s)

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8606/16445458700_ab01570a0a_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/r4egVo)

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8656/16631806632_1b00ce1e85_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rkGmEL)

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8625/16632464085_5e8eff43d1_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rkKJ7a)

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8573/16632464165_5545202ede_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rkKJ8x)

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8682/16445296468_01560f50de_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/r4drGh)

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8583/16631376841_19cd6ef339_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rkE9Uz)

Flyingboy
24-02-15, 11:03 AM
Just a point in the MGL articial horizon. I have a voyager in our demo nynja. It is prone on occasion to going abut haywire and needing the whole unit rebooting. It sometimes just freezes, and other times gets convinced I am banking when I am not. So you don't really want to rely on it too much. I guess fingers crossed that it keeps working if you need it..

paul


Paul, did you update the firmware of the SP6 last year and then the Voyagers firmware.
Then follow the NEW in flight calibration procedure? This made a huge difference to me.
Prior to this I thought the Enigmas AH was erratic or a better word, twitchy...
What it never did (with the newest updates) was show a continuous bank/turn whilst level..
In the 2 years I had the Enigma, it rebooted in flight, twice.
Can't comment on the stability or reliability of the MGL discovery iLite yet, but I've no intention of using it for anything other than an aid to VFR flying.

MadamBreakneck
24-02-15, 11:20 AM
The bit of Vince's GPS trace which strikes me as the most lucky for Vince was the bit around 13:39:56 where he was climbing rapidly and losing speed rapidly. That could have been very close to conditions to produce a whip stall and tumble (discussed on this forum in a thread here (http://www.microlightforum.com/showthread.php?6181-tumble-tumble) - warning, includes video of a fatal accident).

That was one lucky escape, Vince. Glad you and your friend are still with us.

Joan

Unregistered
24-02-15, 13:30 PM
Unless I am reading the data incorrectly the sector that Joan refers to has got some extremely startling results.
Between 1339.53 & 1339.54 the Track changes by 5degrees.
Between 1339.54 & 1339.55 the Track changes by 59degrees.
Between 1339.55 & 1339.56 the Track changes by 18degrees.

The speed rapidy decays down to a groundspeed of about 30kmh ( 18.64mph or 16.2kts ) which seems very much like a whip stall with such a rapid change of direction in the 1339.54 to 1339.55 sector.
a 59degree per second roll rate would equate to a 3540degrees a minute or 9.83 rotations in a spin per minute. Suffice to say that I am sure Vince must have lightning fast reactions to have arrested such a roll rate.

A standard rate turn is defined as a 3° per second turn, which completes a 360° turn in 2 minutes. This is known as a 2-minute turn, or rate one (180°/minute.) Fast airplanes, or aircraft on certain precision approaches, use a half standard rate ("rate half" in some countries) but the definition of standard rate does not change.

Instruments, either the*turn and slip indicator*or the*turn coordinator, have the standard rate or half standard rate turn clearly marked. Slower aircraft are equipped with 2-minute turn indicators which is what I imagine Vince's Quik has ?

Flyingboy
24-02-15, 15:05 PM
There are some very obvious scary moments in Vince's flight. There also appears to be some worrying/unusual numbers being mentioned, derived from the data, in previous posts.

As this is GPS data, has anyone considered possible loss of line of sight with a satellite or 2 during a turn, which can cause loss of accuracy and thereby erroneous data recordings.
This can cause unusual spikes in data.

I only mention this as I have witnessed on Flightradar24, my ADS(b) airspeed displaying exaggerated figures, as the accuracy of my position changes due to manoeuvring or flying in between mountains.

VinceG
24-02-15, 17:08 PM
Mike's right. Throughout the incident I did not move the bar one way or the other. Yes we got some extra "G" but there's no way it was above 2. We didn't get any "negative" at any point either. We must simply have lost satellite signal throughout the maneuver.

As I said in the first post, we were descending in the valley of cloud when it all went black and I put my foot down to climb out. The rest, well I might as well had my eyes shut. In fact, I'd probably been better off ;-)

Flyingboy
24-02-15, 17:23 PM
The errors in the trace can be seen in the 5th GPS trace above (i think)

Take the larger loop.
Within it there appears a very tight 180.

However, notice the larger length between the data points just before the tight 180 turn. Its as if some data is missing, but it isn't its just not as accurate as the the previous recordings.
The tight loop is just errors in the data.
Notice also, if the 180 tight loop wasn't there, a nice, wider turn is actually taking place.

Frank Thorne
24-02-15, 19:13 PM
Reposted by Vince, from John Upex, Jodel driver ex Rufforth.

Vince

I'll condense all the verbiage below as follows;

A If you're not about to crash don't do anything which makes a crash more likely; stay where you are and continue what you're already doing.

B Advise the world of your problem, and get both some help and the spare mental capacity that comes from the reassurance of knowing someone is out there helping you.

B.1 Call PAN on the channel you are on - and if they are going to be no further help (which safetycom isn't, having no ground station, no radar and useless communication sets) retune to someone who can help, 121.5; call PAN again and pass 2/3rds of your worries over to them. You'd have to be very unlucky to kill yourself with Drayton looking out for you.

B.2 If you have a transponder and can put 7700 on it easily do so - if not they'll find you from a DF on your radio (or plain 'ident' if you have a transponder).

C Reassure yourself that you're now in very skilful hands - and put the compass card on your GPS because that is more stable than your magnetic compass.


The explanation of all that is as follows.


With all the wisdom of an armchair warrior a million miles from the action, I've been considering the options - which come under 2 basic headings.;

1 Are you in immediate danger of killing yourself inside the next 30-60 seconds?

2 How many hands have you got spare.

If you are in danger of an immediate accident you only have 2 possible options;

a) To either avoid it or have the least bad one which you might survive;
b) To call help to the scene of the crash - which means a Mayday on whatever frequency you're already tuned to with some indication of your position.

And the real snag with safetycom is that it is not manned by a permanent ground station so you have no 'guarantee' that you'll be heard.

In your case, as you could hear the gyros under the cloud they should have been able to hear (no guarantee) and to be able to 'pass or relay a mayday' (as we ALL have to be able to do to have a radio licence - though as I have admitted before when actually faced with doing that your mind goes blank - and a single seat gyro only has one radio channel so they can't hear you and talk to a radar station at the same time so they're pretty useless.

As a matter of practice I only use safetycom over Rufforth field (or in the approach zone, or ditto if going into another field which uses safetycom). Otherwise I always (as in always) have a 'proper' station with radar as the active (even if I'm only listening). My radio has an active and standby frequency on a toggle so I can 'get to' a proper station and call for help without having to think - so in your case of coming back from Scarborough I'd have been talking (or listening) to Humberside or Linton / Leeming all the way to York Ring Road.

If you're not in absolute dire danger - the thing to do is NOT to put yourself into peril (at least until every other option has been exhausted - so 'staying where you are, doing what you've been doing happily for the last 5 minutes' is a good thing to continue doing.

Dealing with part 2

I'm not at all familiar with flexwings but deduce that you always have to have one hand on the bar; that gives you one free hand.

(One reason I have the type of aeroplane I have, a side-by-side is that my passenger has 2 spare hands so we not only have 4 eyes which can look at the map together, we have potentially 3 hands, 2 of which are attached to one brain having nothing else to do.)

The first thing to do it to get some help - and with that comes a whole lot of reassurance and a load of your overtaxed mind; you pull back from 'panic' to 'worried' just knowing that someone else is on your side, and that gives you 20% of your brain capacity back 'to start thinking sensibly with' in an instant

I've been thinking about 'the order' to do this in and come to the conclusion that if you have 3 hands it's sensible to put 7700 on the transponder first - which lights up all the radar screens for 50 miles, alerts at least a couple of ground controllers to your plight - and gets everything else routed away from you.

If you've only one hand you're better going for the radio first - if you have a transponder you can 'push ident' to identify your position and if not just 'transmit for a fix' and let a couple of radio stations triangulate your position; you'll show as a blip anyway and they can work out who and where you are fast enough from the radio call.

If you're on safetycom with time on your hands its worth sending off a PAN followed by 'switching to 121.5' to acquaint the people around that you've a problem, but safetycom isn't any help after that and you're better off on 121.5 if you have enough hands to retune - or 'the last proper station you had on the set' if that's just a toggle button; the ground stations can sort out how they're going to handle things between themselves, let them do the worrying while you do the flying.

Then send off a PAN and ask for what you want - a hole in the cloud in your case.

Then, while they're looking at finding you somewhere safe to go, twiddle your sat-nav to show the compass card - which is a million times more stable than a magnetic compass and acts like a gyro-stabilised direction indicator; that always shows North properly whatever gyrations your plane goes into.

With 90 minutes fuel you're unlikely to have to do anything else but wait; you can do some intelligent guess work as to where the holes are most likely to be (where is the weather coming from), where do you have most options, where are you best placed for an air ambulance pick up (I jest).

One of several things I have picked up from reading books on flying is that 'descending blind is most safely done over water - at least you know what surface level is." Leeds is on high ground and likely to be socked in, but I think both Humberside and Doncaster are at around 50 feet ASL and they both have huge runways, radar -very little traffic, and 'bored controllers just dying to be helpful'.

Best wishes

John


Sorry for the re-quote but so far its the best piece of advice I have seen..

Everyone has been analysing tracks and plotting against the map and one thing becomes immediately apparent everything seems pretty much out of control from the moment someone gets into that OSH!T situation.

STOP............ Deep breath and as of point 1) above if your not in immediate danger of crashing then you have time. IF YOUR STILL IN CONTROL AND CAN FLY STRAIGHT AND LEVEL KEEP DOING IT ! FLY THE AIRCRAFT or Flex in this case.

If you have the endurance - contacted people - and worked all the angles and end up with no option to descend through the cloud then prepare for it.

First off find somewhere to descend preferably over water or low ground with no known obstructions. Get regional or local QNH check ground height and DECIDE ON ABORT HEIGHT..

Now its time to practice if you have the conditions and endurance above the clouds to do so. First remember that you have been flying around pointing the trike in a straight line looking at the scenery, taking pictures, looking for other aircraft and a myriad of other thing we do while flying a leg.. and you have probably hardly touched the bar much apart from checking to course. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GRIP THE BAR IN A DEATH GRIP NOW !!!
Hopefully you spent the time and effort to have a hands off non turning trike or your going to wish right now that you had set it up properly.

So controlled decent through cloud in a flex -

Simple maneuver we have all done a thousand times Constant heading powered decent under Hands off conditions. How many times have you done this and thought I must keep the wings level? Provided its not as rough as hell then there really shouldn't be a problem unless I manage to stop the aircraft doing what it wants to naturally do!

The important bit is Constant heading - if your not turning then the wings are going to be level ( I have never managed to fly inverted or Knife edge a flex and maintain a constant heading for the smart arses among us)

1) Fly on constant Compass heading (thats the instrument with N S E W written on it that you havent used in 3 years) Have to say its not easy in a Flex try it sometime. A gps heading off a satnav might be easier.

2) Fly on a constant extended track generated by your moving map program if you have one. This would be my option with in my case skydemon line your track up with a landmark on your map and keep your track dead on it. You could I suppose drag your route and make a new leg to follow as well if you wanted.

So if it was me after a few practice descents and transition into climb as well to get the feel for any induced torque effects just in case you reach minima height I would set up for a controlled decent. Trim for speed that gives no turn in the decent preferably or best handling.. I wouldnt be doing this in a QuickR on full slow.


1 Establish constant track preferably into wind.
2 Reduce power - I would do it on the hand throttle as I wouldnt trust my foot to keep constant revs. Power for 300-400 fpm descent ,check airspeed hands off, check heading - note RPM.
3 Bar movements to the minimum only to correct track and no pitch input.
4 Constant power + Constant Track should mean constant airspeed and rate of decent unless your unlucky and hit mad lift or sink.
5 Keep on track thats your main priority and everything else should take care of itself. If its rough just try and stay as near to track and as small a rate of deviation as possible.
6 Dont get distracted.. Maintain Track small bar inputs. Check Height monitor RoD and airspeed lets face it you havent anything better to do the scenery is crap.
7 If you get to height minima and decide to climb I would do it slowly. Slow increase revs for climb of 400fpm and keep doing exaclty as you have been doing. No flooring the throttle etc everything you do needs to keep the aircraft nice and balanced.

Hopefully you will exit cloud before minima and still have some sky to play in. If not I would do the decent over an airfield with known cloudbase even if its 200ft at least then you dont have far to fly to get down.

So ......... Thats what I would do.. Feel free to shoot me down or add anything else that might be of help.. Bear in mind I am talking about flexwings 3 axis are a whole different ballgame.... Perhaps someone might like to enlighten us as to do it in a 3 axis without the correct instruments and have a reasonable chance of survival.

VinceG
25-02-15, 00:12 AM
And after all that, and been through what I've been through, then my advice is, call 121.500 and get them to send you to a gap.

Frank Thorne
25-02-15, 00:25 AM
And after all that, and been through what I've been through, then my advice is, call 121.500 and get them to send you to a gap.

Have to agree with you. If you can find an alternative even if it means a long flight then thats the correct decision. If your down to Last Resort then planning beforehand is a lot better than winging it.

andy dixon
26-02-15, 00:09 AM
Can you not get this track put on the BMAA flight simulator, a bit like Joan's video posts, so you can see what the view out of the window would have looked
Like ?

Unregistered
26-02-15, 00:58 AM
Can you not get this track put on the BMAA flight simulator, a bit like Joan's video posts, so you can see what the view out of the window would have looked
Like ?

Putting this track onto the BMAA flexwing simulator is a fairly pointless exercise as Vince by his own admission has said that very few control inputs were coordinated and with the errors that the GPS on the Skydemon has probably produced the replicating it on a Simulator that sits motionless is not going to reflect any of the flight in true form.

What everybody is missing is : A flexwing microlight is inherently unstable once a phugoid oscillation has started and without any visual references outside of the trike you are pretty well playing into the Grim reapers grasp, sometimes he will get get his prey & sometimes he narrowly misses out of getting his prey.

Anyone who thinks that they can consistently do the " staying in cloud enroute to a safer destination " is just exceeding the amount of rolls of the dice that is acceptable.

The misconceptions that a Flexwing will track straight is purile naivety, it will track straight whilst VFR but it won't track straight in IMC because there are involuntary inputs that most pilot's are unaware have been an effect on the trike.

These could be as trivial as having the nosewheel slightly kinked to one side or slightly more weight on one side of the trike.
A slight batten twist can offset the wing and once visual interpretation is lost so is stability.

andy dixon
26-02-15, 10:54 AM
Can you not get this track put on the BMAA flight simulator, a bit like Joan's video posts, so you can see what the view out of the window would have looked
Like ?

The clue is in the question peter......so you can see the view out of the window

woodysr2
26-02-15, 12:29 PM
How many flexwwing hours do you have under your belt Peter?
The whole point is that a flexwing " is" inherently stable to start with so lets forget our Phugoids shall we and again no one is advocating doing this unless forced to so where did the "consistently" come from as for purile naivety I would like to point out if it will fly hands off vfr then as with air mass aloft it doesn't that you cant see sh!t so will still fly hands off,If you have no flex experience please dont make assumptions on said aircrafts handling charecteristics if your track is true and ROD is constant along with airspeed I would think it would be a fair assumption that you are coming down in a straight line at a given rate and as long as base is above terra firma and there are no floating mountains you will pop out before you meet the green stuff.
My personal choice would always be if its dodgy stay below the clouds if caught out above and enough fuel get help find a gap and land

MadamBreakneck
26-02-15, 13:38 PM
There are some very obvious scary moments in Vince's flight. There also appears to be some worrying/unusual numbers being mentioned, derived from the data, in previous posts.

As this is GPS data, has anyone considered possible loss of line of sight with a satellite or 2 during a turn, which can cause loss of accuracy and thereby erroneous data recordings.
This can cause unusual spikes in data.

[etc].


[snip] Its as if some data is missing, but it isn't its just not as accurate as the the previous recordings.
The tight loop is just errors in the data.
Notice also, if the 180 tight loop wasn't there, a nice, wider turn is actually taking place.

So does this mean that the GPS would have been displaying erroneous data to anybody who cared to look at it during the flight, or is it just a glitch in the recorded data during the later analysis?

Reason I ask is that if the data being displayed in flight is wrong, could ths lead a pilot to make unnecessary corrections to an otherwise safe flight path? If so, it undermines any value of GPS derived data in this situation.

Do GPS-derived turn indicators use inertial data as well to validate what they display? Genuine question; I don't know the answer.

Joan

Unregistered
26-02-15, 13:59 PM
Whilst I am pleased I am being extended the use of posting as ' unregistered ' I feel I am being attributed to some posts that are not penned by my quill.

To answer both Andy & William I have a very limited amount of Flexwing flying experience but that doesn't refrain me from applying logic to any Flexwing question.
Logically replaying the Vince incident on the BMAA Flexwing simulator would probably be a lot of fun but serve no purpose in determining exactly what went on during his flight. This will not replicate the flight in any shape or fashion.

Now to cover the other points raised, the gradual descent on a set heading will only work if it started as a coordinated situation, immediately you lose the coordinated situation then you will be chasing the heading because of compass lag etc, if for example you are on an easterly or westerly heading and you accelerate the compass will turn toward North, decelerating will turn the compass toward South. There would also be an element of lead or lag when turning from North towards East or West. All rather trivial in VFR but in IMC this would initiate the chasing a heading situation.

Somewhere on the forum Rick M mentions that descending on a North or South heading is best as it creates the least lead & lag on the compass, that is extremely important advice to remember.

Maybe I am applying too much logic to this subject and overcomplicating the subject, maybe I don't understand the finer workings of the simple flexwing and am misreading that no point did Vince say his control bar was full left or full right which means his trike was in his opinion vertically under his wing, but was the wing & trike always horizontal to the horizon? The Flight track record shows there were some fairly rapid roll changes which if replicating on the sim would require the control bar being slapped around like a banshee.

Ask yourself would you be questioning the posts of other's in the same way as you do mine? I don't expect you to agree with everything spoken on these forums but when on a subject of such importance it pays to read into what others are saying.

Paul Leigh
26-02-15, 14:11 PM
snipped



Do GPS-derived turn indicators use inertial data as well to validate what they display? Genuine question; I don't know the answer.

Joan

No Joan, they only use the GPS signal. There is however a marked difference in capabilities of a GPS (and antenna) in say and iPad or iPhone to external GPS receivers and especially in devices built specifically for GPS navigation, like the Garmin 496 in the video I posted.

I use both the Garmin and an iPad for nav but I would not rely on the iPad one iota for accurate positioning and in a turn, it will never give anything like the accuracy of the Garmin type devices. We're not comparing like for like - SkyDemon, as good and as pretty as it is MAY be able to be used for this purpose but without better GPS hardware, it will always be substandard.

Here's a nice comparison of the iPhone and BadELf external receiver to illustrate the differences.
http://anatumfieldsolutions.com/2015/01/04/bad-elf-gps-compared-iphone-ipad/

Unregistered
26-02-15, 16:23 PM
GPS heights are based on an ellipsoid (a mathematical representation of the earth's shape), while USGS map elevations are based on a vertical datum tied to the geoid (or what is commonly called mean sea level). Basically, they are two different systems, although they have a relationship that has been modeled.

The main source of error has to do with the arrangement of the satellite configurations during fix determinations. The earth blocks out satellites needed to get a good quality vertical measurement. Once the vertical datum is taken into account, the accuracy permitted by geometry considerations remains less than that of horizontal positions. It is not uncommon for satellite heights to be off from map elevations by +/- 400 ft. Use these values with caution when navigating and more so when analysing the data afterwards

renmure
26-02-15, 16:28 PM
Whilst I am pleased I am being extended the use of posting as ' unregistered ' I feel I am being attributed to some posts that are not penned by my quill.

You could always put your initials to your post so we would all know who was quilling. You would be surprised at the number of family members and random strangers who share a similar posting style to your own over the years ;)

My understanding was that the "anonymous unregistered area" was to allow folk to post safety related info without fear of identification if that was their desire. It wasn't so that banned members could take advantage of an open backdoor into the forum.

Given that you have no need to remain anonymous and already have a foot in the door, I am sure that both you and Rick will have some / many worthwhile contributions to make, why not moniker your posts so we all know who is contributing? I imagine it may work in your favor to show you can integrate and play well with others, hopefully leading to an opportunity to post in the wider Forum.

Unregistered
26-02-15, 19:36 PM
Jim ( Renmure ),
I am more than happy to ' moniker ' my posts and if the process allows me I will go back over the posts made and ' initial ' those from my quill.

Someone pointed out that in the Anonymous section ANYONE CAN EDIT A POST, which is one reason I didn't keep annotation on my posts, prior to that I had initialed my posts.

woodysr2
26-02-15, 20:26 PM
I am quite happy to enter into dialogue with any poster on the forum but as I have previously said I don't think that someone who has no practical experience on the type of aircraft being discussed feel that they are qualified to tell people what they should do.I certainly would not feel comfortable telling experienced 3 axis pilots what they should or should not be doing in this situation I would however be following the discussion with great interest as I am a relative newbie to armchair flying so any relevant info would be welcomed.
Please feel free to keep posting any relevant info but you really need to get your butt into a flexwing and watch said aircraft once set up into a hands off descent exactly how stable and true it tracks so the inference that there would be major bar input in my experience would not happen unless any major turbs were encountered

Unregistered
26-02-15, 21:46 PM
I am quite happy to enter into dialogue with any poster on the forum but as I have previously said I don't think that someone who has no practical experience on the type of aircraft being discussed feel that they are qualified to tell people what they should do.I certainly would not feel comfortable telling experienced 3 axis pilots what they should or should not be doing in this situation I would however be following the discussion with great interest as I am a relative newbie to armchair flying so any relevant info would be welcomed.
Please feel free to keep posting any relevant info but you really need to get your butt into a flexwing and watch said aircraft once set up into a hands off descent exactly how stable and true it tracks so the inference that there would be major bar input in my experience would not happen unless any major turbs were encountered

Whilst I am happy to admit that my Flexwing experience is extremely insignificant compared to anyone who has completed the flexwing course and then continued to fly flexwings thereafter, I am confident enough that having done familiarization training on a flexwing in Italy I would be safe enough to fly around sensibly but would invariably kill myself if I was to put myself into the situation that Vince or Flyingboy got into.

My comfort zone is : Flying in 3 Axis aircraft of any class and that I would be 99.9% certain that I can cope with any weather enroute, so yes I would take calculated risks in that kind of flying.

My analysis of any flexwing incident is based on commonsense & my limited experience on flexwings and a sprinkling of 3 axis wisdom.

Perhaps I am from a different camp to flexwing pilots, so I am looking at flexwings from a different viewpoint but I never really had a great urge to fly in flexwings.... I first flew in a Medway Raven at Plaistows, then after a long lay-off I ventured into a Quantum with Pete Jarvis ( The sole purpose of flying with Pete Jarvis was because I said " I felt like I was sitting in an Aerial Deckchair " when I was in the Raven ).
Years later I spent a lot of time at the Farmstrip near Kirknewton where 4 flexwings were hangared & not once did I ever get the urge to go for a flight with any of the flexwing pilots from there for varied reasons from having to be confident that the pilot would be competent to maybe thinking the pilot exudes too much confidence. I did the familiarization course on flexwings in much the same frame of mind as someone who does a PADI Scuba course just so they get a basic insight into what is needed to enjoy something without being too hellbent on being the top dog.


Without naming names we have a couple of very experienced flexwing pilots in the Central Belt who whilst their training may have been unorthodox I would put my total faith in them if I had to fly with them. I would probably feel reasonably relaxed if they strayed into cloud as well.

PJK
( Tried to initial past posts but Edit post is disabled once post is posted )

WobbleWing
26-02-15, 21:55 PM
This thread has run its course. Before we have to read more pjk bile, suggest it's closed.

Anonymous posting was intended for confessions of the flying kind, not a method for anonymous posting of (dubious) opinion.

Dave Morton
26-02-15, 22:31 PM
What everybody is missing is : A flexwing microlight is inherently unstable once a phugoid oscillation has started and without any visual references outside of the trike you are pretty well playing into the Grim reapers grasp, sometimes he will get get his prey & sometimes he narrowly misses out of getting his prey.

Anyone who thinks that they can consistently do the " staying in cloud enroute to a safer destination " is just exceeding the amount of rolls of the dice that is acceptable.

The misconceptions that a Flexwing will track straight is purile naivety, it will track straight whilst VFR but it won't track straight in IMC because there are involuntary inputs that most pilot's are unaware have been an effect on the trike.

These could be as trivial as having the nosewheel slightly kinked to one side or slightly more weight on one side of the trike.
A slight batten twist can offset the wing and once visual interpretation is lost so is stability.





Without naming names we have a couple of very experienced flexwing pilots in the Central Belt who whilst their training may have been unorthodox I would put my total faith in them if I had to fly with them. I would probably feel reasonably relaxed if they strayed into cloud as well.

PJK



relaxed in cloud onboard a killer flexwing, surely not....

Flyingboy
27-02-15, 00:18 AM
So does this mean that the GPS would have been displaying erroneous data to anybody who cared to look at it during the flight, or is it just a glitch in the recorded data during the later analysis?

Reason I ask is that if the data being displayed in flight is wrong, could ths lead a pilot to make unnecessary corrections to an otherwise safe flight path? If so, it undermines any value of GPS derived data in this situation.

Joan

Joan,
the data is normalized before being displayed (think of it as ironing out kinks of bad data), however the log files record the actual data derived from the satellites.
It might be only for a second or two at most thereby pretty unnoticeable.
if you have a GPS device in you car, quickly accelerate,.
You will notice is a small lag, but definite lag. This is the software ensuring the changes are real, and not based on signal or traingulation issues.
have a quick glance at ...

https://strava.zendesk.com/entries/22645314-Bad-GPS-Data-What-Why-How

woodysr2
27-02-15, 00:32 AM
So you would put your faith in someone who has had unorthodox training but would not get into a quik of a pilot who had 20 years experience who was based at the same strip as you?(not that I am saying said pilot would actually have asked you)
Peter you really need to have a word with yourself As Andy has said this was meant to be a method of sharing information that would help possibly save the lives of future pilots.Not hypothesizing on the handling of a machine that you were not familiar with also there are far more than a couple of very experienced flex pilots in the central belt

Unregistered
27-02-15, 01:31 AM
Without naming names we have a couple of very experienced flexwing pilots in the Central Belt who whilst their training may have been unorthodox I would put my total faith in them if I had to fly with them. I would probably feel reasonably relaxed if they strayed into cloud as well.

PJK
( Tried to initial past posts but Edit post is disabled once post is posted )

William,

If we are being pedantic I said " Without naming names we have a couple of very experienced flexwing pilots in the Central Belt who whilst their training may have been unorthodox I would put my total faith in them if I had to fly with them."

I believe that statement was quite clear ?

I think there are quite a few very experienced flexwing pilots in the Central Belt, but they aren't the ones who underwent unorthodox training ( I would hope they were students of reputable microlight schools ) so I stand by my initial statement.

On the subject of those who hangared in the Farmstrip hangar with the flexwings I wouldn't have flown with the person I think you are referring to purely because he was a Billy No Mates and the skies brightened when he foxtrot oscar'ed.

The only palatable one who was based on the Farmstrip recently sold his 80hp flexwing to a Yorkshireman. ;-)


PJK

Frank Thorne
27-02-15, 02:05 AM
I wish people people would stop shouting about what you cant do rather than what you can do.

Went up for a flight yesterday just to put the Gps through some paces. Interestingly I flew the tracks out to sea in crappy vis so there was no visible horizon just grey and grey. Yes I can fly a straight track from the information it supplies and pilot input in my case was minimal or almost non existent over a 5 minute leg. I also ran some turning tests to see how much lag there was. Once you equate the gps turn rate to actual its pretty consistent on my setup. For information my ipad connects to an external gps unit and logger.

Just out of interest the recorded tracks of Vince and others that are plotted are not not sampled at a high enough rate to give a proper flight path hence the sometimes impossibly tight turns and crazy indicated speeds. I think my highest recorded speed via a log in my Blade was around 155mph which is slightly optimistic... No I never exceeded or came close to VNE in reality. If I remember someone managed close to 200mph in a GT450

Paul Dewhurst
27-02-15, 09:11 AM
I wish people people would stop shouting about what you cant do rather than what you can do.

Went up for a flight yesterday just to put the Gps through some paces. Interestingly I flew the tracks out to sea in crappy vis so there was no visible horizon just grey and grey. Yes I can fly a straight track from the information it supplies and pilot input in my case was minimal or almost non existent over a 5 minute leg. I also ran some turning tests to see how much lag there was. Once you equate the gps turn rate to actual its pretty consistent on my setup. For information my ipad connects to an external gps unit and logger.

Just out of interest the recorded tracks of Vince and others that are plotted are not not sampled at a high enough rate to give a proper flight path hence the sometimes impossibly tight turns and crazy indicated speeds. I think my highest recorded speed via a log in my Blade was around 155mph which is slightly optimistic... No I never exceeded or came close to VNE in reality. If I remember someone managed close to 200mph in a GT450

be careful about thinking that flying over the sea with no visible horizon simulates the same disorientation as flying in cloud. Just one bit of definition , texture change, cloud edge, or variation in brightness from the sun angle gives orientation - conscious or not, and is quite different to flying in cloud where powerful disorientation sets in quite quickly.

Paul

Unregistered
27-02-15, 11:08 AM
I wish people people would stop shouting about what you cant do rather than what you can do.

Went up for a flight yesterday just to put the Gps through some paces. Interestingly I flew the tracks out to sea in crappy vis so there was no visible horizon just grey and grey. Yes I can fly a straight track from the information it supplies and pilot input in my case was minimal or almost non existent over a 5 minute leg. I also ran some turning tests to see how much lag there was. Once you equate the gps turn rate to actual its pretty consistent on my setup. For information my ipad connects to an external gps unit and logger.

Just out of interest the recorded tracks of Vince and others that are plotted are not not sampled at a high enough rate to give a proper flight path hence the sometimes impossibly tight turns and crazy indicated speeds. I think my highest recorded speed via a log in my Blade was around 155mph which is slightly optimistic... No I never exceeded or came close to VNE in reality. If I remember someone managed close to 200mph in a GT450

Frank,
I would be inclined to agree that the plot update rate is crucial to get a complete and full analysis of the flight.
I am shooting from the hip when I make this next statement as it's just an educated guess.
It looks to me that Vince had his GPS set to a distance update rate rather than a timed update which unless I am mistaken would account for the rapid heading changes in the screen print of his flight and would also account for the spikes in the graph that Gentreau put up of a 2 minute section of Vince's flight
My assumption is based on that I have my GPS set to specific seconds to update at all times to get continuity, when I have tried it on distance updates obviously the seconds between updates vary depending on groundspeed. ( This is how Vince's readout looks like is set, but I am sure Vince can confirm or refute this )

Paul Dewhurst is 100% correct in saying Grey on Grey over water isn't the same as being in cloud, in the greyout situation there is always an element of poor viz that will subconsciously give you a reference, in a whiteout/blackout situation there is a definite no viz that will consciously give you no reference to use.

On your point of a Flexwing achieving 200mph, yes it would be possible for a Quik to achieve 200mph groundspeed if it had a TAS of 100mph & 100mph tailwind, but the airspeed in the pocket of air is still only 100mph so remains below VNE by a fair margin.

Arielarts
27-02-15, 11:48 AM
Interesting snippet that the GPS averages and smooths the incoming data for track and speed readouts, but logs the actual information. So some of these plots we see above, and importantly, in AAIB red-tops do need to be taken with some caution.

An interesting phenomenon, and one that brings it all home, is flying towards a cloud bank that is sloped. It's just amazing how quickly the brain adopts to this new 'horizon' and attempts to 'level' the aircraft to it...

Was once flying across the channel with minimal vis of a horizon with my buddy PIC. He kept banking the aircraft and after a bit I suggested I'd take control and give him a rest. It was only afterwards that he realised that, in the poor vis, he'd latched onto the AH which was effectively useless, with a 5degree bank error. He'd been completely unaware of it at the time. We removed it from the panel after that.

Frank Thorne
03-03-15, 09:11 AM
I think everyone missed the point once again. I was testing the gps and and the flex tracking to see exactly what was required of the pilot In this case the external weather conditions didnt matter a jot but what was quite obvious was that apart from the need to keep a look out I could probably have flown each leg with my eyes shut and let the aircraft fly itself. With that knowledge if I was ever faced with a last resort situation of descending through cloud I would be more likely to let my flex do the the flying and remind the pilot not to bugger it up.

WobbleWing
03-03-15, 09:31 AM
Spot on Frank. That is what kevs video demonstrates perfectly. The key is to let the aircraft do the flying. Don't add power because this induces torque steering, only descend at idle. Also, it's why Paul said keep your wing well tuned for straight and level, don't put up with niggling turns.

Arielarts
03-03-15, 11:01 AM
Frank said: With that knowledge if I was ever faced with a last resort situation of descending through cloud I would be more likely to let my flex do the the flying and remind the pilot not to bugger it up.
Just an incredibly difficult thing to do when your backside is telling you 'different'.
Dave