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Flyingboy
17-02-15, 14:08 PM
As a final nail in the coffin to my incident in cloud last June, here are some images of the data from my old Enigma.


https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7300/16559411045_36c52ee417_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/reiiYZ)
GPS Track (https://flic.kr/p/reiiYZ) by flyingboy101 (https://www.flickr.com/people/44805947@N08/), on Flickr

I enter cloud and climb at the bottom right of the map.
The serious of turns near the middle of the map were unfelt other than I thought I was doing a small turn and then straightening.
Height goes from 1850 to 700ft in these 'loops'

The turn at the top of the map is my sighting water and exiting cloud.
The sharp tightening turn from heading SW'sh to flying NE (540' later) is the point where I see a vertical horizon on the Efis (Prior to this point the Efis showed a map).
A few seconds later I straighen and let the bar go and I am forced into the seat as I come out the descent and climb with my height 300ft amsl....still in cloud.


Along the X-axis, time in seconds.
I enter cloud and climb at around 4780 (just under 80 minutes into the flight.)
I exit cloud and am level at about 5500 (about 91 minutes)
Below is the rate of turn in degrees per minute.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7387/16533337496_c558a3aa1b_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rbZFe3)
Rate of turn (https://flic.kr/p/rbZFe3) by flyingboy101 (https://www.flickr.com/people/44805947@N08/), on Flickr

Bank angle. At the point of the high rate of turn in the previous image the bank angle is -90'
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8629/16373425297_ef4cce0ac4_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/qWS5Ua)
Bank angle (https://flic.kr/p/qWS5Ua) by flyingboy101 (https://www.flickr.com/people/44805947@N08/), on Flickr

To remain outside the cloud (which was actually a rain shower) I have to fly at around 50 > 200ft

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8636/16533341836_b3a5a4d34a_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rbZGvS)
Height (https://flic.kr/p/rbZGvS) by flyingboy101 (https://www.flickr.com/people/44805947@N08/), on Flickr

VinceG
17-02-15, 17:37 PM
Glad you made it out safely mate.

And what your are saying IS that the Artificial Horizon on your Enigma saved you?

Flyingboy
17-02-15, 17:44 PM
Yep, if I hadn't seen it, vertical, the moment I did, I'd never had known to yank that bar from the right. I felt no sensation of descending never mind spiralling.

johnny3star
17-02-15, 20:03 PM
I bet you bought a lottery ticket after that flight?
300' away from CFIT?

MadamBreakneck
19-02-15, 14:39 PM
Yep, if I hadn't seen it, vertical, the moment I did, I'd never had known to yank that bar from the right. I felt no sensation of descending never mind spiralling.

Firstly, I'm glad you're here to tell the tale. I've attended too many flying funerals over the years.

Yes, that's what I meant in the other cloud thread about false cues: they can be either "I feel I'm turning" when I'm not or like you had, "I'm flying straight" when in fact you were in a steep turn.

Thank you very much for your contribution to the discussion. I also think it's worth a CHIRP report - I've made several and even when I've reported being very naive and stupid they have been understanding and polite.

Joan

DavidR
19-02-15, 19:59 PM
Excuse me but what is a CHIRP report?

thank ypu for all this info & experience on this thread ( sorry this and 'caught above')great for a newb :D

Aerial
19-02-15, 20:36 PM
I knew roughly what CHIRP reports are but thought it better to look it up so see here: https://www.chirp.co.uk/

MadamBreakneck
20-02-15, 10:34 AM
Good link - I assumed people would know. The full collection of their newsletters is here: https://www.chirp.co.uk/newsletters/general-aviation


Joan

Frank Thorne
21-02-15, 01:38 AM
Thanks for posting....

So after 6 months or so to think about it if you were in the same situation what would you do differently?

Flyingboy
21-02-15, 12:29 PM
Firstly, I'm glad you're here to tell the tale. I've attended too many flying funerals over the years.

Yes, that's what I meant in the other cloud thread about false cues: they can be either "I feel I'm turning" when I'm not or like you had, "I'm flying straight" when in fact you were in a steep turn.

Thank you very much for your contribution to the discussion. I also think it's worth a CHIRP report - I've made several and even when I've reported being very naive and stupid they have been understanding and polite.

Joan


Thanks for you thanks...lol...

Ehm, CHIRP, the dilemma regarding my original post way back is nothing compared to the dilemma I am struggling with in vocalising my stupid self induced situation to the whole pilot community to rip to sheds.....

I am sure they would be polite in response to me, but we all know what they'd be thinking...lol......


But ... I am still undecided..........

Flyingboy
21-02-15, 12:30 PM
Thanks for posting....

So after 6 months or so to think about it if you were in the same situation what would you do differently?

Great question Frank....

I haven't time to answer right now, but I will over the next day or two...

Frank Thorne
22-02-15, 22:44 PM
Looking forward to that..

Some of the things I learnt from being a pillock and flying when I shouldnt.

1) Never ever fly into seriously deteriorating weather especially if there's rain involved. Heading into improving weather is a much better option.
2} Slowly changing deteriorating conditions is a killer and messes with your judgement... Human performance and Limitations doesnt even begin to cover it.
3) When flying in poor but stable conditions keep challenging yourself " is this Ok? What is my exit plan if needed at his point?"
4) Dont Panic... If your still flying and under control then you pretty safe even if its at 100ft terrain permitting. I have seen crashes fortunately no casualties where a pilot said " I was forced down below 500ft so landed, crops, plowed fields and even the odd hedge didnt seem to matter.

Feel free to add to the list....

Paul Dewhurst
23-02-15, 10:42 AM
Thanks for you thanks...lol...

Ehm, CHIRP, the dilemma regarding my original post way back is nothing compared to the dilemma I am struggling with in vocalising my stupid self induced situation to the whole pilot community to rip to sheds.....

I am sure they would be polite in response to me, but we all know what they'd be thinking...lol......


But ... I am still undecided..........

The whole point is that the C in CHIRP means confidential - so no names and you can even send to them anonymously in the first instance. So no blushes necessary..!

Paul

Flyingboy
23-02-15, 16:02 PM
Same (similar) situation, what would I do differently.

Well....

Number 1 .. I would NOT have departed.

The only reason I left that Monday was an external pressure to fly.
I had arranged a 'swap' at work (I was supposed to be working a night-shift), so someone else did my shift.
I took off feeling I had to at least -get away- otherwise, my colleague had cancelled his leave, for no reason!
I honestly can't imagine I'd have left without that external pressure, simply because others at Strathaven were advising "wait till tomorrow....".
"but I have to get away otherwise it means....." I was replying.

This summer I'm planning flying down the western side of France, along the south coast and into Gap and hopefully some altiports.
I have been asked by work colleagues if they could use the event to raise money for a charity.
Although initially it seems a good idea, reflecting on what happened last year, and remembering pressure added to others on ill-fated journeys, I've made the decision not to have that added pressure.
If the weather turns bad, I want the ability to forgo the whole trip if needs be.
Not having that pressure of the loss of sponsorship on my mind, local newspapers etc etc. is the external pressure I am now avoiding.

Assuming I still got airborne though, I knew the cloud base was too low to fly over any high ground, so my plan was initially to head out to Islay, Tiree and then north.
Upon seeing the weather and rain on my intended routing out towards the west, I should have realised my intended route was worse than what I thought initially.
I should have turned back at this stage, or at the very least, landed at Bute to gauge what the weather/rain was doing.
Instead I decided to head towards Tarbet and get in front of the weather.
Here I am doing exactly what I initially set out to avoid. I was going to have to hop over areas of land.
The land in question is seen in the following picture, I am aiming for the gap between the land on the LEFT side.
https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3878/14186135010_ed188965e4_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/nBzDGE)

I cleared this with no issues, but the next piece of land (which in the picture above is still showing very light coloured and clear of the 'weather') had now became darker and was closing in, so I proceeded down Loch Tarbet (SW) right into the rain I had tried to avoid.

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3892/15288640455_5f0d583fbd_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/pi1hae)
This is about 2/3rds down the loch (hills to the right disappear into the mist - very few options to land and I am simply hoping to turn north and get out the crap)

So what would I have done different here....
Stick to the plan and if that's not possible, DO NOT go down the path that was already decided as being unsuitable.

Something similar, sort of, happened few weeks ago (photo comp entry flight).
I had the choice of flying to Islay or heading to Loch Lomond. Both were good options.
I decided Islay , but approaching Arran, there was a darkening fluffy layer of cloud.
It was broken, but I was not too happy with going underneath it (as it definitely looked a lot darker).
I knew I had the Mull of Kintyre to hop over ,so I went above the cloud layer.
I contacted Scottish Information for the latest Islay weather.
The auto observation had clouds scattered, so I continued above the clouds.
Now, the layer was thickening more and more. Still gaps, but becoming solid.
I had just passed Gigha (and the last large gap in the clouds).
Ahead I saw nothing but a total solid layer of cloud.
No hills, no land, no the 'paps of Jura'. To the north though the mountains gleamed and I saw no cloud.
I dismissed the auto weather report and changed my plans, came down through the hole and headed north into glorious sunshine.
I could have stayed on top and headed north, but I wasn't certain at which point the clouds broke...

I've turned back many more times now, rather than continue into darkening skies.
If rain is a factor ahead, I now do a dog leg, or even simply orbit and wait to see if a path will clear.
Prior to this I did just continue into the rain, simply because it was never heavy or prolonged.

Leaving the Faroes it was blue sky but just south of the last island a thickening layer of cloud was slowly developing.
When confronted with this thin layer of cloud, I decided early to go up rather than down.
Visibility was great, but it was slowly becoming a thicker more stratus cloud, and maybe getting lower?...
I knew for certain south of Stornoway was in glorious sunshine, so I took the early decision to go on top.
There were many holes en-route, so I popped down a few times to have a look, I saw the base was under 500ft every time.
IF my close call going to the Faroes hadn't happened, I can not say for certain I would have taken the option to go on top, rather than under.
The cloud layer looked fine to start with, but as I later discovered it was dark, low and pretty grim (past the half way mark).
Before anyone points out the issues about 'going on top', this isn't something I do often, and never when it is solid everywhere around me (except the Faroe flight).


Probably the one huge learned point, and how I now think....
Why bother flying in this really iffy crap weather!

Wait until the sun shine's and the conditions are calmer.

The photos are far more pleasing ;-)

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5314/14186387809_83296897cd_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/nBAWRg)20140604_1508591 (https://flic.kr/p/nBAWRg) by flyingboy101 (https://www.flickr.com/people/44805947@N08/), on Flickr

Flyingboy
23-02-15, 16:07 PM
For anyone interested, here are some other views of the GPS track:

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8599/16615020441_cac2014385_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rjdjHF)

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8682/15993976424_1e173dd0c4_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/qnkiYd)

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8676/16590197826_8c1f383277_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rh26Py)

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8627/16590198206_a49593744a_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rh26W7)

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8570/16615021751_776f3944cc_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rjdk7g)
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8597/16615530072_126acbdf35_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rjfWdq)
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8624/16430362769_e45c728079_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/r2TUqH)

Flyingboy
23-02-15, 16:42 PM
The whole point is that the C in CHIRP means confidential - so no names and you can even send to them anonymously in the first instance. So no blushes necessary..!

Paul

I do realise its confidential.... But I'd know who all the comments were aimed at. Its not the fact others do or don't know me, its me, knowing what is being spoken about, is about me.
This forum IS different, as I have the opportunity to respond, correct or clarify any points made. It doesn't change the facts though.

And that actually takes me to the second reason....

We all have seen the video/statistic 178 seconds on average to live, flying VFR into IFR...... FACT...

I was around 11 minutes in the cloud.... 11 minutes of just luck.. luck .. luck... the enigma and just luck.

Having that time printed and read by a much wider audience (who haven't seen, via this forum, just how lucky I was), well, they may think
"11 minutes....if he can do it, then I am sure I can keep it together and get through that layer."

Its the same worry and concern expressed by others when I said the AH saved my life...
To someone else, knowing that, may lead them to assume they would be just as lucky simply by fitting the AH.
I was over 10 minutes without seeing any AH, but still, the statistics say 178 seconds, even for aircraft with AI or AH.
My extra time may simply have been because I was actually so distracted focussing on other things.
I didn't get in the mindset of feeling something different from what any instrument was telling me (the reason for the 178 seconds)

Does that explain my dilemma a bit better?

Do you think publication in CHIRP would do more good than harm ?

Frank Thorne
24-02-15, 23:46 PM
Thanks for posting your "what could I have done better thoughts" hopefully they will be of help to someone in the future.

Forgive me if I make an error in my assumptions as I dont even know where your flight originated Strathaven? The point at which you get 2/3 down west loch Tarbert heading SW is the crunch bit. The assumptions I am making are that you entered the loch via Tarbert town for a look at the weather on the West of the Isles. Presumably the weather is from the prevailing west or so. If I got it wrong and your entering the loch from Tarbert an Gigha I apologise but I think you said you were flying SW.

So here you are rising land to the north in cloud and rain with Rising land to the south similar conditions with Gigha not visible out to the SW and I think your flying at about 1000ft or below.

Decision time.......... Going to list a few and throw it open to the forum (wolves) and see what comes back.. including yours now you have had time to play it over in your mind.

1) Orbit try and decide how fast the rain and cloud is moving up the Loch give yourself time to think of a plan

2) Backtrack NW up the Loch to Tarbert if you got in that way you might still get out. Having just flown over it (presumably) you have an idea of landing sites. Fields to the west, Road or at a push the football field. Dont admit you didnt look on the way down.

3) Descend down to the deck and have a look under the cloud see if the end of the Loch appears or even Gigha.

4) If there's decent vis at 200ft or less can I land Gigha? Turn south and hug the coast to Campletown. Go North to ? Oban - high ground to get over so is it an option?

5) Turn north and climb through cloud to get on top....


Risk assessment time which one would you choose (meaning everyone ). Can anyone come up with a better plan? This isnt a case of being wise after the event more an exploration of how our minds work when faced with a tough situation.

LeeMc
25-02-15, 17:29 PM
Thanks for you thanks...lol...

Ehm, CHIRP, the dilemma regarding my original post way back is nothing compared to the dilemma I am struggling with in vocalising my stupid self induced situation to the whole pilot community to rip to sheds.....

I am sure they would be polite in response to me, but we all know what they'd be thinking...lol......


But ... I am still undecided..........

If your embarrassment avoids a student or low hour pilot from injury its a fair trade. Professionals share experiance like this for that reason. Go for it!

Unregistered
25-02-15, 20:50 PM
The easiest thing in the World is for everyone to tell you what you should do, what these people fail to realise is that you are a fully grown adult.

Any aviation related reporting process is something you really need to think carefully about whether you want to be totally honest and tell everyone or whether you are best only telling those who really need to know or that you trust enough to not be judgemental.

The AAIB is the accident reporting process and they adopt the concept of not apportioning blame directly but are written in such a way that you draw the conclusions that they want to achieve without saying Joe Bloggs mucked up.

The Airprox Board is the reporting process for close proximity occurrences and they are very keen to apportion blame, so their system is flawed because very rarely will be conflicting pilots tell the truth.

The CHIRP process is generally the Fish Wives of Aviation and as Flyingboy says... By his openness on the forum he has served his purpose by speaking out to the direct audience without turning his incident into a Soap Opera.

The Aviation World is full of fish wives & the ' Chinese whispers ' do more damage than help, so I think Flyingboy is right in conducting himself the way he is.
The sad part is there are so many people just waiting to twist the knife that it doesn't pay to be 100% truthful to certain parties.

I have always been 100% truthful in any Aviation reporting process but in some instances I wished I hadn't been.

Unregistered
25-02-15, 21:30 PM
Franks multiple choice questions are definitely worth looking at in detail

Decision predicament... Going to list a few and throw it open to the forum (wolves) and see what comes back.. including yours now you have had time to play it over in your mind.

Q1) Orbit try and decide how fast the rain and cloud is moving up the Loch give yourself time to think of a plan

Answer 1) What sense is there in orbiting to watch the worsening weather coming towards you.

Q2) Backtrack NW up the Loch to Tarbert if you got in that way you might still get out. Having just flown over it (presumably) you have an idea of landing sites. Fields to the west, Road or at a push the football field. Dont admit you didnt look on the way down.

Answer2 ) This is a far better option than trying answer 1. Getting safely out of the predicament is primarily the best option, if that isn't possible, land in the first visible field.

Q3) Descend down to the deck and have a look under the cloud see if the end of the Loch appears or even Gigha.

Answer 3 ) Descending down to the deck may be a good way to stay VISUAL but looking under the cloud to see if you can see the end if the loch or Gigha is just accepting that you want to roll the dice again, the sensible move is to do option 2.

Q4) If there's decent vis at 200ft or less can I land Gigha? Turn south and hug the coast to Campletown. Go North to ? Oban - high ground to get over so is it an option?*

Answer 4 ) Having been in this situation albeit at 300ft in the close proximity of Campbeltown I opted to fly up the water towards Campbeltown in low viz but being at 300ft still focused the mind and was amazed when Campbeltown expected me to fly overland to make a landing on the into wind runway when I had 3000m of runway ahead of me that had a 5kt tailwind. Not rocket science to work out what I did.

Q5) Turn north and climb through cloud to get on top....

Answer 5 ) Depending on what the MSA is in that area I would if I could maintain terrain clearance climb up to get on top ( but then I am IMC Rated ) & even though microlights are not cleared into IMC I would prefer to be going up than scudrunning under the clag.


Risk assessment time which one would you choose (meaning everyone ). Can anyone come up with a better plan? This isnt a case of being wise after the event more an exploration of how our minds work when faced with a tough situation.

Flyingboy
25-02-15, 23:41 PM
Thanks for posting your "what could I have done better thoughts" hopefully they will be of help to someone in the future.

Forgive me if I make an error in my assumptions as I dont even know where your flight originated Strathaven? The point at which you get 2/3 down west loch Tarbert heading SW is the crunch bit. The assumptions I am making are that you entered the loch via Tarbert town for a look at the weather on the West of the Isles. Presumably the weather is from the prevailing west or so. If I got it wrong and your entering the loch from Tarbert an Gigha I apologise but I think you said you were flying SW.

So here you are rising land to the north in cloud and rain with Rising land to the south similar conditions with Gigha not visible out to the SW and I think your flying at about 1000ft or below.

Decision time.......... Going to list a few and throw it open to the forum (wolves) and see what comes back.. including yours now you have had time to play it over in your mind.

1) Orbit try and decide how fast the rain and cloud is moving up the Loch give yourself time to think of a plan

2) Backtrack NW up the Loch to Tarbert if you got in that way you might still get out. Having just flown over it (presumably) you have an idea of landing sites. Fields to the west, Road or at a push the football field. Dont admit you didnt look on the way down.

3) Descend down to the deck and have a look under the cloud see if the end of the Loch appears or even Gigha.

4) If there's decent vis at 200ft or less can I land Gigha? Turn south and hug the coast to Campletown. Go North to ? Oban - high ground to get over so is it an option?

5) Turn north and climb through cloud to get on top....


Risk assessment time which one would you choose (meaning everyone ). Can anyone come up with a better plan? This isnt a case of being wise after the event more an exploration of how our minds work when faced with a tough situation.


Sorry Frank, I have been relating 2 situations.
The first and the one where I made all the wrong decisions, was made last June whilst heading to the Faroe Islands (from Strathaven)
On that occasion, the winds were directly south to north (perfect for the Faroes, if leaving from Stornoway, my destination leaving Strathaven.)
As I mentioned, aware of lowish cloud, planned on heading west, southern side of Arran, Islay, Mull, Tiree, out to the Western Isles, and then north to Stornoway.
Seeing the weather to the south of Arran was 'down to the ground', I changed my mind and headed to north of Arran.
It was at Skipness I crossed towards Loch Tarbet, height about 1700ft coasting in.
Visibility was worsening, and although there was a gap between land and cloud at the next area beyond Loch Tarbet on my current track, this was shrinking.
At the point I coast out into Loch Tarbet, I am at 1000ft descending.
I therefore, decided to drop low and follow the coastline down and out Loch Tarbet.
Initially I thought nothing of this.
I had flown this way, at that height before.
I am level at 500ft for a short time, but at half way along my track of Loch Tarbet, I descent further to 269ft at about 2/3rds the way along.
(This is around the area where the image was taken.(The camera was mounted on the bar, so its a case of simply pressing a button)
The last 1/3 of the loch, height varies between 339ft and at the point I start to turn and enter cloud, 274ft

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8651/16439251627_a4b955c310_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/r3FsLT)another (https://flic.kr/p/r3FsLT)

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8657/16621193616_920a3ac561_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rjKXMJ)Untitled2 (https://flic.kr/p/rjKXMJ)

The 2nd situation I was relating was a flight a few weeks ago.
I had two choices, Loch Lomond or Islay.
I decided Islay, so transited Prestwick zone, crossing the southern side of Arran.
For this I was basically relating my decision to climb above the cloud, rather than continue towards the much darker uncertain conditions under the cloud.
Then, again rather than simply press on to Islay, and hope the auto weather report was correct and not a solid layer, I descended at Gigha, turned away from the conditions that weren't good and headed to the sunshine further north.


So answering your points for the incident last June,

1. Once I was in Loch Tarbet, flying SW (with a headwind), things initially look ok. but slowly I am being forced lower so see the 'light' ahead.
At the point where I see no lighter sky in front of me, I am in it, flying 269ft > 339ft.
Believe it or not the 500ft rule made me weary of flying lower (whilst so close to land), hence the reason I was flying just at the of base of cloud (and making it so easy to enter cloud as I turned).
So if had I decided to orbit, prior to being forced lower, I think the weather would have enclosed the loch anyway. I was already further west than the weather I had seen south of of Arran.
Even now, I don't think orbiting over the Loch would have been best, as I would still end up in the crap.

I did orbit later at Loch Alsh as weather completely obscured the Skye Bridge... I was in the clear and after 2 large orbits of the Loch, it had passed and Skye bridge was now visible.

2. The land I had just flown over, was harsh. Marshy, rocky, forest. Definitely not good terrain to land on. - I guess this shows another bad choice in flying over areas with so few options to land.


3. Yep I should have went down further. As I mentioned thinking then of the 500ft rule kept me as high as I could.
I had actually got to the exit of the loch and was turning north. I remember looking down and right at the land as I made the turn, but when I looked up, I saw just white.


When I finally got out of the cloud, I was still in the same CRAP weather.
For the next 15 miles I fly at a max height of 231ft down to 56ft. The average of the whole 15 miles is 130ft.
I honestly did this with no further worry though. I climbed or descended ensuring I kept the water directly below me in view and land to my right (most of the time).
A few times, where I needed to cross a bay (rather than fly all the way around the inlet), I focused on the the water directly below, keeping the same short view/distance in front of me in sight. I descended to keep this short distance ahead in view.
Descending further did not gain further visibility, but any creep higher resulted in a reduction of visibility.
It might sound stupid or sound obvious, but looking directly down from the pod made the flying so much easier.
OBVIOUSLY this is something impossible to do when flying over land.


4. When I did get out the cloud, I told myself... "right forget it. Thats happened... its the past...."
So I continued north. I decided I would land at Oban though.
Having done it before, I knew its possible to get to Oban without crossing land.
After the 15 miles (mentioned in part 3), conditions improve slightly.
For the next 22 miles I fly between 144ft and 679ft. Average is 367ft.
Finally south of Easdale weather improves and I climb to 2000ft.
I Inform EGPX I am diverting to Oban. However as I get closer to Oban... things look sooooooo much better
I inform Oban of a change of mind, and I press on towards Stornoway.


5. This is the option I initially went for. I got to 1800ft when I then remembered, whilst checking the cloud height/profile for the route Strathaven to Stornoway, some of the upper limits of the clouds were 10000ft+ ....
Having no idea if I was in such a cell....
I changed my plans to try manoeuvre out to sea and descend.

So ....
Upon making the hop into Loch Tarbet and flying SW, at the point I actually realise things are going downhill fast, its probably too late to do options 1 or 2 safely with definite good outcomes.
There might have been a small window to execute turning around and finding a landing spot, but that window was closing just as quick as the light ahead was.

Option 3 did eventually get me out of the WHOLE situation and I did feel comfortable with it (following an O/S 1/50,000 detailed map in FLYisFUN on a Nexus 7), looking directly below etc etc.
It definitely isn't a choice I want to ever take again though, and definitely impossible whilst over land.

Flyingboy
26-02-15, 00:55 AM
I have just re-read my answer and the previous reply's and it seems to me I am almost advocating the decisions I made on the day.
Had I seen the situation encroaching, landing is the best option if it is possible.

Reviewing the actual track I took very closely, a few more details which might be distorting the understanding of why I didnt pick option 2.
When referencing 2/3's or 1/3 previously etc I have been referring to 2/3 of my track along the loch, not 2/3 of the loch.
Also, any distances mentioned are track distances, not direct line distances.

I coast out into the loch (west abeam Whitehouse) at 1000ft. I then cross to the north side of the Loch.
I am certain, at the point I cross into the loch, I can easily see the 5 miles ahead to the point where I then turn north.
As I mentioned already, I could see a gap over the next bit of land, but it was lowering, so I chose not to chance it.
Crossing the loch and following the northern side I am at 500ft.
Initially this was not due to weather. It is what I would have flown along the loch at anyway.

It is only as I fly SW, the conditions deteriorate fast.
As I am at 500ft already, only when the cloud base gets to 500ft do I find myself having to descent further.

This occurs another 2.2 miles down the loch, 2.8 miles from the point I turn north

The following image show land to the south of Loch Tarbet, looking north.

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8607/16460889808_97b3e815d4_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/r5An3Y)Untitled2 (https://flic.kr/p/r5An3Y)

The eye view is 602ft and the land in the foreground is 500>580ft

What I think this shows is, that at the point the crap weather occurs, it happens with the low cloud quickly encrouching from the higher land south of me.
In other words, as I was flying at 500ft, the cause of my problem was obscured by the higher land to the south.
When it rolled in it was quick, and unexpected (I was visual with the southern tip of the loch to start until 2.8 miles from it)

Looking around for landing fields at this point might just have been possible if I made a 180 etc, but it isnt certain the weather behind hasn't already closed in.

Frank Thorne
08-03-15, 22:02 PM
Thanks for taking the time and effort thats gone into your last couple of posts Mike.

I think its important to look at the whole decision making process that gets us into crap so hopefully it might make everyone aware of compounding errors. Interesting to see your reaction to the 500ft rule.

So can we surmise that flying at 50ft if need be over "safe" terrain while maintaining some reasonable visibility is infinitely better than flying into cloud. Having got trapped in the loch I can understand turning south to the exit - going north meant heading into a dead end with higher ground not so good. Going south would also mean getting onto the weather side of the islands with a probability of better visibilty. Best option would probably have been to exit the loch on the deck and hop along the shoreline at minimal height until you could find someplace to land or weather improved as you outrun it.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing as they say.