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Dave Morton
22-12-10, 17:27 PM
Whilst flying on sunday in the flex the cloud base was 3800ft but between 1000 and 1200ft there was a layer of cloud/mist.
Flying through this layer took a matter of seconds but you were whited out and it was at this point that I decided to have a play at being whited out.
I was very surprised at the difficulty in maintaining a heading without turning or climbing or falling using the vsi, altimeter and compass whilst being "blind".
A good little exercise I thought and relatively safe as a push or pull on the bar quickly put me into clear sky and I was over my own territory as well.
I always thought that if I was in a real "white out situation" for a substantial period I could cope, after all how hard could it be to follow three instruments.... throw in the panic factor making it even more difficult, I'm not so sure now

Irishmicro
22-12-10, 19:01 PM
Sounds like if you had got caught out with the mist going low along ground level you could be in trouble.

VinceG
22-12-10, 19:04 PM
Hi Dave.

Please don't try it again. There's very good reason why we are VFR only. You cannot rely on the instruments we have to keep "upright" and you can quickly find yourself outside the envelope in fog.

The problem is that your inner ear tells you which way up you are. That's why you can stand up with your eyes closed. However in a banked turn in a flex you have no form of reference. The inner ear feels like you are upright but you are not.

Imagine you have a paint tin with water in it, dangling from a piece of string tied to the handle. Now carefully start rotating this tin in a circle around your head. The liquid in the tin stays stationary and does not spill. Even when you are whizzing the string round like a helicopter and the string is 90 degrees to your arms (straight out) the liquid does not spill.

If this was your inner ear you would feel as if you were still stood up straight but you could be outside the envelope of the flex. Therefore putting yourself in extreme danger of breaking something, and more importantly yourself.

If you want to fly IFR then take IFR lessons in an IFR equipped aircraft. However, if you do ever find yourself in this situation again, only watch he compass and try small imputs to keep on an exact heading.

To try and illustrate it better for yourself and get a feeling for it. Take a pilot in the back. Close your eyes and see if you can tell him how you are moving, you won't be able to. Only an artificial horizon would work (and not the one on the iphone because that's a toy that works with the acceloromiter)

Irishmicro
22-12-10, 19:07 PM
Just what Vince said, don't do it even if on local ground ;)

Dave Morton
22-12-10, 20:10 PM
The reason I attempted this was because it was a very controlled environment, you could see for miles above and below the band of mist, familiar area with no high features and the purpose was to feel the experience.
Your right about being disorientated very easily, probably should have mentioned that I could not "maintain" for more than 5-10 secs at which point I was into clear sky, made two attemps but failed each time.
I think what I have learnt from this small experience is to understand that I could not manage in a real situation at all and perhaps becoming more vigilant of cloud/mist and the difficulties/dangers associated.

Irishmicro
22-12-10, 20:12 PM
The reason I attempted this was because it was a very controlled environment, you could see for miles above and below the band of mist, familiar area with no high features and the purpose was to feel the experience.
Your right about being disorientated very easily, probably should have mentioned that I could not "maintain" for more than 5-10 secs at which point I was into clear sky, made two attemps but failed each time.
I think what I have learnt from this small experience is to understand that I could not manage in a real situation at all and perhaps becoming more vigilant of cloud/mist and the difficulties/dangers associated.
A very good lesson learned

P Kelsey
22-12-10, 22:39 PM
Sounds scary

VinceG
23-12-10, 00:50 AM
Thanks for sharing your experience Dave. I'll stick the thread so hopefully it may save a life one day.

Frank Thorne
23-12-10, 02:07 AM
Hi Dave.

You cannot rely on the instruments we have to keep "upright" and you can quickly find yourself outside the envelope in fog.



Ahem Cough cough.... Sorry Vince but if your going to fly IFR thats exactly what you have to do...... Rely on instruments to tell you what the aircraft is doing, the brain can be fooled into thinking its doing something its not. The instruments we have are exactly those if not better than most pilots had available for a very long time.

I seem to recall Brian Milton flying for long periods without visual reference points so it is possible.

Sam
23-12-10, 13:35 PM
Think Mr Milton had a turn and bank indicator fitted not something most flexs have !

DrBlagger
23-12-10, 15:05 PM
Never been in this situation (white out) and this might sound a bit naive but wouldn't the addition of an artificial horizon cure this problem ??? :confused:

I thought three axis came with them fitted and they're subject to VFR too.

goldrush
23-12-10, 18:54 PM
In my "previous life" i did have a Gliding "cloud flying" endorsement and would reitterate most strongly.
DO NOT TRY FLYING IN SUCH LACK OF VISIBILITY WITHOUT AT LEAST SOME TRAINING under the hood.. unless you wish to become yet another unfortunte statistic.

NO an artificial horizon will NOT cure the problem.. althought it will help.
Only the pilot can "cure" the problem.

It is perfectly possible to fly in such conditions without an AH.... but not easy and very tiring.

3 axis machines are really only fitted with them... because "they look good".

NO Microlight is approved for flying in the UK, (even if you are have the requisite licence) except under VFR and the OP was technically not flying under VRF

VinceG
23-12-10, 19:23 PM
Ahem Cough cough.... Sorry Vince but if your going to fly IFR thats exactly what you have to do...... Rely on instruments to tell you what the aircraft is doing, the brain can be fooled into thinking its doing something its not. The instruments we have are exactly those if not better than most pilots had available for a very long time.

I seem to recall Brian Milton flying for long periods without visual reference points so it is possible.

Not with our instruments Frank, Brian has an artificial horizon in his trike, if you don't believe me, ask him, his e-mail address is on his website. Links in the books section on the home page.

ANDY1973
24-12-10, 11:47 AM
Instrument flying is not a black art, but it certainly isn't something I'd recommend you try and teach yourself!

I think there are three basic elements to consider when people discuss instrument flying in microlight aircraft. First, you need to look at what instruments are available to the pilot to replace the visual horizon. Secondly, you need to look at the handling qualities of the aircraft; this is a complicated question in its own right, and "is this aircraft suitable to teach basic instrument flying" is a common question at test pilot schools as it involves so many elements. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, you need to look at the training, experience and currency of the pilot.

A very well trained and experienced pilot can fly a difficult aircraft with very limited instruments. An untrained or inexperienced pilot can lose control of a fully IFR equipped aircraft within seconds. It is very difficult to appreciate how unsettling it is to be disorientated in cloud unless you have been there and done it.

For many of us, learning to instrument fly in a microlight would be a bit like practising ditching techniques. If you are careful about the weather and keep a safe margin from cloud, then you're probably never going to need it. But if you are the type that thinks that one day it is "possible" that they might get caught out and enter cloud, then you might be worried about how you would cope with inadvertent IMC and think about what you would do to get back out safely.

If you are in the first category, then great! Fly safe and stay out of trouble.

If you are in the second category then you need to really appreciate what could happen if you go properly into IMC. For that, I would recommend that you get down to your local GA field and do an "instrument appreciation" lesson with a qualified instructor. At the end of the lesson, make sure you try doing some unusual position recoveries with only the instruments you have available on your own aircraft. My guessing is that this will force you into the first category of cloud avoiders!

BUT, if you are determined to take enough chances that you think you might get caught out in cloud, then you need to think about ensuring you have suitable instruments on your aircraft (I would suspect this would be an Artificial Horizon - a turn and slip requires far more instrument flying skill), suitable training for yourself (bank on 10 to 20 hours training in a suitable GA frame) and a determination to train in basic IF techniques on a very regular basis (I would think that 10 hours a year is a minimum).

There's a lot of debate about the "instruments" needed for instrument flight, and on the need for "an affordable replacement" for the Artificial Horizon. I think this is missing the point somewhat; when you total up the time and cost of suitable training, then the instrument fit for your aircraft isn't the expensive element.

Kestutis
24-12-10, 12:45 PM
Flexis are incredible ... no need for fancy instruments to fly in cloud or fog. But I'd recommend GPS as a must. It would let you keep going straight and level - just simply maintain the big fat arrow showing your course. It is also useful to mark all obstacles around - it is the must because you have to know where you are before going down from the cloud or high fog.

BUT IT REQUIRES TRAINING !!!

I have flown for 10 min. seeing nothing but white ... My friend has landed once in very thick fog in an unknown airfield. Fixed wing pilots where shocked a lot :)

This experience is a must, but it is very dangerous ... Do not do it alone :)

Jiggles
24-12-10, 13:58 PM
"This experience is a must, but it is very dangerous ... Do not do it alone"
Quite so, if you're going to die, do it with a friend.
Flying through cloud or fog, in this country anyway, is not only illegal, but without the proper instruments and training is dangerous to the extreme. Straight and level flight is difficult enough, but any sort of maneuver could, almost certainly, result in DEATH.
John

P Kelsey
27-12-10, 19:58 PM
Interestingly Paul Leigh has decided to check out whether a Garmin 496 with the panel page being used would be useful in using the Artificial Horizon to control the Flexwing in turns whilst in a IMC situation.
( The check was made in VMC )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GRL7rWo7ec
Watch the video and then discuss :studyingbrown:

VinceG
27-12-10, 20:19 PM
The IPhone 4 (and only the iPhone 4) has a gyroscope built in and so does work in the air and Would work in a flex as the 496 above does.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M0sfZNfQcM

vicky G
27-12-10, 21:50 PM
my tuppence worth ? i pod also
gps496
, are they non toppling horizons . OR are they ANGLE OF BANK INDICATORS and to what rate of turn do they stop, also they are not rated . Not that i wish to find out in practice. no doubt good for holding position, in an emergency or helping to returning from whence you just came. Cloud flying can be fatally violent remember 1, G forces +4 ....-1. whatever. ..2 flexes most have only a lap strap ....4 nothing to stop the bar violently hitting you in the ribs , ....5, remember your cloud Minima. ....6 its unlawful to fly into cloud , therefore you are Un insured .


! :think: .sorry to be a kill joy. Happy new year and safe flying everybody , remember!........ A cloud is like a giant panda ,..... all white, cuddly and silent ,.........get on the wrong side of it and its ..VERRY NOISEY and FU##ING VIOLENT ! book , film , T -shirt bin there ! no plans to return ! :o:o:o:o:cool:

Phil Perry
28-12-10, 17:48 PM
Let's not start this one again guys PLEASE....

Yes, if you have flown for a long time, you've probably all entered clous at some tiome or other, beit intentionally or not, but there really ISN'T ANY METHOD of flying straight and level if your aircraft isn't fitted with a gyro. Iphones and other "Toys" won't work as most of them use two accellerometers, which are quickly fooled by a slow turn.

Dave, I don't know what flexwing type you fly, but I wonder, does it have the capability of a STABLE spiral dive, without it developing into a VNE busting airspeed ? some earlier flexwings can be placed ito this condition and will only speed up so much. If this is the case, that would be the only sensible way out of the cloud, providing altitude and ground clearance were a known value. My flash 2 will not do this, it rapidly develops into more of a vertical "Corkscrew" and the VNE is approached very quickly. I have had this demonstrated to me in an Alpha by a very high hours instructor, but I really don't know if the same dynamics apply to the later Hotships with 912 lumps on the back.

We have ALL heard and read the anecdotes about hero pilots who say that they have travelled through solid cloud for long distances in non - IFR equipped aircraft, but these should ALL be taken with a very large pinch of salt.

hat about the ones which never got told nor written, maybe those are the ones in the fatality statistics under the banner "Controlled Flight Into Terrain" or "major structural failure of airframe for no apparent reason...." and what about ICING ?? I have not seen any microlight aircraft which are fitted with de-icing kit. . . . If you wanna see how quicky this develops, try flying in Stratocu for a few minutes and you'd be amazed at how quickly it builds on the aircraft's fontal surfaces.....

When guys like Andy,Ginge, Paul (D) myself and a lot of other 'ancient' pilots tell you this stuff, ( not forgetting some noteworthy YOUNGER pilots too, [ like Vicki + Joan !! ] ) I think I can safely say that we are not trying to be old killjoy farts, it's just that we've been there and heard it all before, and we'd really love you to have a really loooooooooooooong and happy lifetime flying your plane, so that you can pass it on to the next generation.

Compliments of the season

Phil. ( secretary - Mitton Old Farts Aviation Society )

Bill Scott
28-12-10, 18:05 PM
Speaking as an old fart but somewhat younger in flying hours, I agree wholeheartedly with Phil. Flying up above broken clouds, dartimg between them and so forth is all very well, but I've no interest in embarking on IFR flight through a solid layer of cloud. To do so is dangerous, full stop.
However, there is a chap on this forum who has tested a pair of 'foggles' as a flying aid for more testing conditions ;)

Phil Perry
28-12-10, 18:18 PM
Thanks Bill,

And I didn't know that the Iphone FOUR had a genuine GYRO built in...... but nonetheless, I have read in this forum that some of you STILL believe that it is perfectly possible to fly in cloud without a properly fitted and calibrated gyro horizon. . . . .

It Isn't, and it never was. Physiomedical dynamics do not permit it.. . . .and never will.

The above advice from another poster with regard to Instrument Appreciation flight in a properly equipped aircraft along with an instructor, is probably the best advice I've seen today.

ANDY1973
28-12-10, 20:55 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GRL7rWo7ec

This video gives a great demonstration of why using GPS as an attitude reference is fraught with danger.

The Problem

Play the video from the start. At about 10 secs, the aircraft rolls to the right; pause the video when the wings are level (it's at about 15 sec). Try and stop it with the horizon perfectly level. Now compare the horizon with the attitude reference on the Garmin. It shows about 35 degrees left wing low with the horizon level!

Why Does This Happen

The problems all stem from the inherent delays in a GPS system.

GPS systems give a very accurate position. But they do this by averaging out lots and lots of position readings and using some very clever maths to come up with an average. This averaging out all takes a bit of time to carry out, which is the source of the problem.

GPS systems also give us a track. They do this by looking at where they are right now, and comparing that with where they were a moment ago. As they are comparing the present with the past, there is a bit of a delay in showing a change of track. To understand this, imagine that you are heading North, and then were able to turn instantly onto East. The GPS is showing your track based on where you are now with where you were, say, 1 second ago. As you start heading East, the GPS would still show you heading North. Half a second later it would show heading North-East, and only 1 second after you made the turn would it actually show you on the correct track. That's a bit of a wordy explanation, but I hope you can see that deriving track from GPS positions is always going to have a bit of lag in it.

To give the display of bank angle, the GPS looks at rate of change of track. It then makes a couple of assumptions to derive bank angle. It assumes that the change of track has all come about by a level & balanced turn being made (try turning with rudder in a 3-axis and the GPS will show an angle of bank instead; I suspect that for a flex it would just mean that the bank angle is inaccurate as the aircraft is unlikely to be in balance in a turn). If you roll the wings to a given bank angle, it takes a little bit of time for the turn to get going (adverse yaw, inertia etc) so we have yet another source of lag in the system.

Also, there in the same way that it takes a moment or two for the GPS to work out your track from two positions, it also takes a little while for the GPS to work out your rate of change of track!

So, we have lag in deriving a GPS position, we have lag in calculating an aircraft track from those positions, and we have lag in calculating the rate of change of track. That is why in the video above it takes maybe 3 or 4 secs before the GPS actually shows the attitude of the aircraft.

Is this a big problem?

Damn straight it is! But I'm going to put the kettle on before I try and convince you!

ANDY1973
28-12-10, 21:33 PM
I hope you agree from the video that there is a lag in the attitude display from the GPS system (and that's a purpose built Garmin 496 there!), and hope that the explanation why was reasonable convincing. The big question that follows is "So what!?!"

It all comes down to a bit of control theory. One way to analyse aircraft flight is to think of the aeroplane, instruments and pilot as one system. We make a control input with the stick, bar, throttle, pedals or whatever. The aircraft responds. We look to see if the response is what we wanted, then make a correcting input on the controls. In essence, we are the "feedback" in the system that keeps everything under control.

Control theory can get very mathematical and complicated very quickly, and there are very few hard or fast rules; except one, big one. Any delay or lag in the feedback loop is a very bad thing. And to illustrate why, I'd like to introduce a simple demonstration.

The Hotel Shower - No lag

Let's imagine you're in a nice 5* hotel. You step under the shower; the water's just a little bit too cold. You turn the clearly labelled temperature controller clockwise just a smidge and the water instantly responds by warming up to the perfect temperature. Sounds good, eh!

The Hotel Shower - With Lag

This is probably a more realistic scenario for most of us. Let's now imagine that we're in a hotel where the shower takes ages to respond to any movements of the controller. Perhaps it takes 10 secs for the boiler to respond to any command from the shower.

So get under the slightly cold water, and turn the controller clockwise to try and warm it up. Nothing happens, so we turn it a bit more, and a bit more, and a bit more. Finally it starts to warm up and it gets to a temperature we like. However, this is actually the setting we had 10 seconds ago. So although we now leave the controller alone, the water continues to get hotter and hotter. We turn the temperature controller down, but the water is still getting hotter. You can't help yourself now, as the water is burning, so you turn the controller all the way down. It starts to get cooler, then gets nice, then starts to freeze. You then turn the controller up, and the cycle starts again.....

What has this got to do with aircraft?

The delay in the attitude reference with a GPS, works just like the delay in the shower control system. When we stopped the video at 15s, the aircraft was wings level, just where we wanted it. But in cloud, with the attitude reference showing 35 degrees angle of bank we would have been putting in the control input to get the aircraft to roll. By the time the attitude reference showed wings level, we might have been at 35 degrees angle of bank in the opposite direction. This is, most definitely, a bad thing and is the start of what is known as Pilot Induced Oscillation (or aircraft-pilot coupling if you don't like the implicit blame in "pilot induced")

There's more to it than just the delay in deciding whether or not the system would have a divergent tendency to PIO. But a large delay is very, very likely to make the aircraft uncontrollable. And there is one more factor which makes PIO more likely.

In the shower example, it would be a lot easier to get out of the cycle of turning the water up then down if we weren't standing under alternately freezing then scalding water. But if the skin is blistering on your back, you won't be able to turn the tap down slowly, waiting 10 seconds between each movement. Likewise, if you are in cloud and afraid that you are imminently going to die in a ball of flame and twisted metal, you will not be able to make small control inputs then wait a few seconds between each one to see if it has had an effect.

ANDY1973
28-12-10, 21:37 PM
A GPS based attitude reference is not really an attitude reference. Rather it uses a "wings" indicator to show which way you were turning a few secs ago.

It does not provide any information that the aircraft compass does not give you more accurately.

Because of the inherent delay with the instrument it is highly likely that it would be difficult for an experienced instrument rated pilot to maintain control of the aircraft in IMC, and highly unlikely that a successful recovery from an unusual attitude could be made.

Sean McDonald
29-12-10, 09:25 AM
Thanks Andy - I've just done 10 hours initial training and obviously have a lot to learn (as opposed to being thick). I found the shower analogy very useful and I'm sure others will too.

Roger Mole
30-12-10, 20:49 PM
This old chestnut seems to keep coming up and invariably it starts in the same sort of way - someone has got into cloud either by accident or design and how, although they found it scary, say that they now reckon they'd be able to get themselves out of trouble if/when a similar thing happened to them in the future. Unfortunately though you never hear from the ones who did something similar and didn't get away with it - mainly because they're not around now to tell the story. When you read Dave's account of what he was doing it's easy to get very blase, say 'I told you so', and poo poo all the 'old farts' who then jump up and tell you not to do it. But the difference is that the ones who tell you not to do it always include people who have had some kind of IMC training whereas the ones who tell you to go ahead almost certainly do not.

I don't know if it's because when you start IMC training you need to be shocked, but in the very early stages you have an exercise when your instructor tells you to shut your eyes and tell him what the aircraft is doing while he has control. Then he asks you to open your eyes and without exception every new instrument trainee is amazed when they open their eyes and see how mistaken they are, not just once but several times to drum the lesson in. What's the lesson - you can't rely on your senses, no matter how clever or experienced you might think you are. You have to rely on your instruments.

So for starters, where does that leave us with microlights? Well, you can't just buy any old Chinese made cheap bit of kit and expect to rely on it to save your life. So that excludes a lot of the stuff that we fit into our kites. Also, for even the best quality, calibrated instruments to be fit for IMC purpose, they have to be installed in a stable instrument platform, and I'm sorry chaps but that excludes just about all microlights in my book. Flying for a long period in IMC in a light group A single is exhausting enough - and that's in something which has considerably more inertia and is much more trimmable in level flight than any microlight that I know of.

'Phooey', you say, stick in an electric AH and you're good to go. Well maybe you'll get away with it if you're lucky with no proper IMC training in a fixed wing - but in a flex? Forget it. It's been shown time and again and there has been an ongoing debate going on for months if not years as far as I'm aware, regarding the fact that an AH just doesn't work properly in a flex (what do you attach it to - the pod or the wing because neither gives the right results). I've watched and read it with interest and as the main proponents looking for effective solutions are big flex enthusiasts, I have to conclude that at present at least, it has to be fact. And as I also recall from the work that I've read about that was done a year or two ago by University researchers (was it under Guy Grattan?) it was demonstrated that in zero vis cloud even an experienced flex pilot lost control and was well on the way to a tuck on average within I think it was 19 seconds.

Anyway, there you go for what it's worth. As far as I can see we who fly microlights are disadvantaged in all of the three essentials for safe IMC flight - instruments, instrument platform and training, but you need to make your own mind up. But please bear in mind what I said above before you stick your neck out and go cloud flying - I don't know of anyone who has had IMC training saying 'Yeah, go on, have fun, just do it'. It's only the ones who haven't who do. That's in my experience anyway.

One last thing - during IMC training you start by learning how to fly in IMC with a full panel and as you progress and become more experienced, your instructor begins to knock instruments out. And when he does, it's amazing how quickly you revert to making the kind of errors that could easily be fatal - so flying with a partial panel takes quite a bit of skill and practise. So how can you expect to fly successfully in IMC in a microlight which has a much reduced partial panel, and without proper training? You might be lucky, on the other hand......

P Kelsey
30-12-10, 21:13 PM
Short & sweet answer is : Don't even think about getting into IMC in any Microlight ( Yes a 3 axis microlight with a Gyro Artificial Horizon or Electric Artificial Horizon will probably give the pilot a chance of survival, but still not advised ) but getting into IMC in a flexwing is almost certain to end badly.

Sadly Martin Bromage's accident is a terrible reminder of this and he was classed as a very experienced microlight pilot.

Phil Perry
31-12-10, 12:38 PM
Hi Guys,

Andy's brilliant ( in my view ) post on this subject highlights two important points. If an aircraft is to be flown in zero visibility, the attitude feedback information MUST come from the aircraft system itself, and NOT from a remote source, whether this is a bunch of satellites or whatever, otherwise there will always be time lag which is unacceptable.

Secondly, TRAINING.

Roger has hit this on the nail precisely, so there is no need to add to it.

There will always be those who will want to push outside the standard envelope, whether this be through boredom with "Normal" safe flight after a while..., or a genuine desire to KNOW for personal achievement. We are all aware that the pioneers achieved the level of technology we now enjoy by doing just that; but along with the advancements comes an extension of the KNOWLEDGE BASE, with it's attendant risks.

I don't have any idea if flexwing development will, one day permit safe flight in solid IMC; perhaps it will, perhaps the very physics of the machine will finally preclude this, but one thing IS certain in my opinion,.. this subject WILL continue tho pop up with new people entering the pastime.

The difference between IMC in a three axis platform has been mentioned above, in the sense that it may be safer to attempt such flight if "Wearing" a stick and rudder; in my experience as a flying instructor on light aircraft many years since this was most certainly NOT the case, unless all of the students I had were equally lacking in hand / eye coordination, and this I strongly doubt.

In all first time cases where a student was exposed to actual IMC with a FULL panel, ( Not just a Chinese AI or a GPS ! ) the student almost invariably began to get into some kind of difficulty with spatial disorientation effects beng evident in sometimes less than forty seconds. This is why it takes many hours of rigorous training before a pilot can demonstrate safe control in these conditions, AND THEN IT HAS TO BE PRACTICED on a reasonably regular basis.

The UK IMC rating is a very good start, I sincerely hope that the Europeans don't wreck this rating, but even this is only about a quarter of the training required for a full instrument rating. The fact that there are very few private pilots in this country who posess such a rating should tell you something.

The arguments will go on, and the old farts will continue our attempts to advise!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE.

Roger Mole
31-12-10, 19:41 PM
Thank you Phil, from someone who had such a rating in another life ;)

I know from the snippets I've garnered about your past life and experiences that you and Andy, of course, have gone much, much further than I though, and I have the greatest respect for your knowledge and experience. Having seen how discussions on this subject, elsewhere mainly, have ended up going I would never dream of trying to lecture anyone about it. I would just end by saying one thing, though. Please don't treat cloud and poor vis lightly, because in flying, it's when you least expect it that you get your bum bitten. As Phil mentioned earlier, with cloud can come icing and heaven forbid that just when you're having loadsa fun demonstrating your mastery of the white stuff that at that precise moment your donkey decides to stop. In my case, because I have a high mounted engine, when I reduce torque, I have to shove the nose down. What do you need to do? Do you think you can cope with all the workload that you'll have at that moment and be able to concentrate on your instruments to retain some kind of control in zero vis? Do you want to try?

trevorlane
26-11-11, 05:42 AM
So what do the people do that get caught out. Because it happens. I know the best strategy is to not get caught out but what is the best strategy if you do. Hopefully you will not have your IPhone out with the spirit level app open.

I have read that a weightshift microlight is very stable when it has no power and is kept in trim. Hopefully in this configuration you can at least come out of the bottom of the white stuff still in the upright position. Hopefully it isn't white all the way to the ground.

It is not something I want to find out, but it is always in the back of my mind that the best option is to shut down the engine and don't crap yourself.

Cyberfryer
26-11-11, 11:38 AM
So what do the people do that get caught out. Because it happens. I know the best strategy is to not get caught out but what is the best strategy if you do. Hopefully you will not have your IPhone out with the spirit level app open.

I have read that a weightshift microlight is very stable when it has no power and is kept in trim. Hopefully in this configuration you can at least come out of the bottom of the white stuff still in the upright position. Hopefully it isn't white all the way to the ground.

It is not something I want to find out, but it is always in the back of my mind that the best option is to shut down the engine and don't crap yourself.

I would suggest that before you listen to any bar talk on this one you go to your nearest GA airfield and book an hour on this very topic - you will soon understand fact from fiction then :o)

In a fixed wing your in the sh*t but its possible to deal with it. Anyone who survived was not in a full white out situation or was equipped to deal with it.. Like me once they, maybe, could still see the top of the clouds/fog/mist where the sun was forming a line sufficiently distinct to allow me to climb out of it. Others have seen layers and used those as a reference point.

BUT if its a full white out in a flexwing and a very, very quick 180' turn does not help - your probably seconds from your grave.

Cheery thought so close to Christmas :o) Maybe a good time to prompt swmbo to book you an hour 3 axle on this topic.

Jiggles
26-11-11, 11:49 AM
A "3 axle" cf? What's one of those? ;-)
John

Kestutis
26-11-11, 13:15 PM
So what do the people do that get caught out. Because it happens. I know the best strategy is to not get caught out but what is the best strategy if you do. Hopefully you will not have your IPhone out with the spirit level app open.

I have read that a weightshift microlight is very stable when it has no power and is kept in trim. Hopefully in this configuration you can at least come out of the bottom of the white stuff still in the upright position. Hopefully it isn't white all the way to the ground.

It is not something I want to find out, but it is always in the back of my mind that the best option is to shut down the engine and don't crap yourself.

I used to go into "white" by purpose just for research reasons. First I tried to look to the compass and sustain the same course. Not very good idea, because trike carriage has not 100% tight connection with wing and compass would shake all the time. On the top of that it would start spinning fast if trike starts spiraling (it is hard to understand to which side the trike started turning). So I took GPS for my next flight and it was some kind of success. Using GPS you just need to keep the arrow, or the map image at the same direction and your more, or less fine. I could sustain well leveled and coordinated flight for about 5 minutes. That is quite enough to get out of white. I even managed to land my trike to well known airfield in fog.
It just my personal experience … do not try to do it at home :grin:

vicky G
26-11-11, 15:03 PM
Dave Morton , there is a way to get through cloud im not going to say what it is BUT ! a flex wing is unable to do this maneuver . three axis can . ... its a 50 o/o chance of survival :ghostface:

ajojets
26-11-11, 16:48 PM
The best thing for us is a simple spirit level mounted on the dash for emergency use only, works very well if you can get over what your inner ear is telling you.

Jiggles
26-11-11, 17:56 PM
"The best thing for us is a simple spirit level"
You are joking aren't you?

John

goldrush
26-11-11, 18:10 PM
Sorry to say ajojets that if you really think that, then unfortunately I believe you are destined to become one of the "nasty" statistics.
Whilst I do not have an IMC rating, I did, much earlier, have gliding "cloud flying rating" and although used to do so regularly, and admit to having been "caught out", I simply cannot conceive anyone ever being able to fly, and survive, in a total and continuous "whiteout" situation without the very basic "turn and slip", compass, asi and altimeter.

Must be a wind up.

AndyJ
26-11-11, 18:14 PM
The best thing for us is a simple spirit level mounted on the dash for emergency use only, works very well if you can get over what your inner ear is telling you.

I don't think so, these use gravity so when a bit of centrifugal force builds up ijn a turn it'll read wrong. A gyroscope is the only thing you can use, (as with artificial horizon.
On the odd occasion I've flown into small clouds for the hell of it; the only thing of much use was the VSI, matched with rpm it seemed to at least give something consistent. If the VSI was changing without engine speed I must be sideways somewhere.

AndyJ
26-11-11, 18:29 PM
Forgot to say, this spirit level is not any use and is dangerous info. please nobody use this

Jiggles
26-11-11, 21:42 PM
Hold up chaps, it may be a lack of knowledge or it might be a wind up like Kestutis with his 5 mins of flying through white out without instruments or training and landing in fog.

John

Cyberfryer
26-11-11, 23:11 PM
We all have in our bodies built in "uprightometers", simply fly with no seat belt and as you feel yourself falling you know that inputs are needed on the bar, (good reactions required) however the new PulsR is designed to catch and give the "more mature" flyers a second chance.
Typical of P&M, not only leaders in flying technology but in flight safety too.

On the off chance you are not joking and are, in fact, being serious - your so wrong it is impossible to be any wronger in a wrong day on the wrong week.

When you go in cloud you have no idea what is going on, left, right or upside down. If you want proof go to a glider club and ask them about one of the benefits of speed brakes.

ANDY1973
26-11-11, 23:47 PM
Dave,

You're talking about flying by the seat of the pants; literally.

Your "uprightometers" are real. They rely on the pressure that we feel from the reaction forces from the seat, arm rest, bar etc. They also rely on the sensation of motion we get from the otoliths, the fluid filled canals within the inner ear.

The problem with these "uprightometers" is that they have evolved / were designed (delete according to your belief system) to operate within a stable 1g environment, where that 1g always pointed towards the floor. As a result, they are considerable worse than useless in cloud when things start to go wrong. As just one example, consider the pitch up illusion.

The pitch up illusion is a commonly encountered form of disorientation, that has been responsible for many accidents; especially during take-off at night or into bad weather. When stationary on the ground, gravity exerts a force of 1g pointing straight down. However, when accelerating on take-off you have the combined effect of gravity pointing down and thrust pointing back. In effect, your uprightometer is getting fooled as you're not only getting a force in the seat of the pants, you're also getting a force in the small of the back. The resultant force acting on your body is no longer acting straight down, it is acting down and back-a-bit dependent on how much you are accelerating.

We primitive humans can't resolve the two forces in our tiny brains, and instead assume that the force we feel is gravity and that if the force is pointing back-a-bit then we must have pitched up-a-bit. The natural response is to pitch down - which many have done despite there instruments telling them otherwise - often with fatal consequences.

Unless you've experienced it, it's very difficult to appreciate just how overwhelming the sensations of motion can be when you're deprived of visual references. I can vividly remember one flight, where I'd been doing some spinning in an aircraft, then had to recover through cloud. The AI told me I was right way up, but my internal gyros were still toppled from the spinning, and my head was convinced that I was rolling around, and around and around.

To fly safely in clouds you need a suitable aircraft, suitable instruments and (most of all) a suitably trained, current and competent pilot. And there is a interdependency between those three factors. A very stable instrument flying platform, with good and easy to interpret instruments, can be flown by a relative novice pilot to high standards of accuracy. But a microlight isn't a very stable instrument flying platform, few would want to waste money and weight on fitting a proper gyro system, and even fewer are likely to go to the trouble to get proper instrument flying training. There is a world of difference between "playing" through a thin layer of wispy cloud, and being properly in the murk of solid IMC. My humble opinion is that almost all NPPL holders in microlight aircraft without a full IFR fit would lose controlled flight within 2 mins of entry into IMC.

ajojets
27-11-11, 05:17 AM
I enjoy flying above broken fluffy white clouds but I can’t see any attraction in flying in anything near IMC nor would I want to put myself in that situation where I would have to, from what I see it takes a lot of training to become Instrument rated and for those dabbling into it without the correct equipment (correct aircraft) is foolhardy. We fly flexwing aircraft if you want to be a spaceman get a rocket.

Sam
27-11-11, 09:58 AM
Following on from Johns post I think the older gliders speed brakes enabled them to be deployed after loss of control in IMC. This would enable you to fall / spin your way out of the bottom of the cloud without exceeding VNE. Don't think this works with the modern slippery things.

Cyberfryer
27-11-11, 10:00 AM
Following on from Johns post I think the older gliders speed brakes enabled them to be deployed after loss of control in IMC. This would enable you to fall / spin your way out of the bottom of the cloud without exceeding VNE. Don't think this works with the modern slippery things.

Last glider I flew was a T21! Long time ago before I discovered the advantages of petrol :-)

Dave Morton
27-11-11, 11:37 AM
All wise words regarding average Joe's inability to fly in a whited out situation and completely agree that it would probably end up with dire consequences, but what I discovered as I have said before is that I wouldn't be able to cope at all and it has made me more vigilant of conditions.
I'm glad I tried it though, I thought I could cope as I have over thirty years diving experience many many times in absolute zero visibility where you have to trust your gauges and bubbles direction regardless what the grey matter is telling you, on the day of flying there were no ground obsticles just clear sky above and below the cloud layer which I could exit in a matter of seconds, an enviroment that I believed was good enough for such an experiment.

trevorlane
03-12-11, 10:57 AM
Forgive me harping on again. My question a while ago was not about flying in cloud. I know that I cannot maintain straight and level, nor even a controlled turn. However if I get caught out, as many have done in a weightshift. What is the most sensible thing to do?

Does someone have any advice from experience. I was led to believe, don't try to control it, just remove the power and let it come down. If you try to control it you will get it wrong, but if you allow it to do its own thing without any power, you should come out of the bottom of the cloud where you can regain control. A weightshift is inherently stable because it has all of the weight hanging from the hang point. As long as there is no power it should return to level, even if that is eventually. Trying to control it is the wrong thing to do and straight and level, once again, is impossible.

With all of the experience here, would you think this is a good synopsis?

Cyberfryer
03-12-11, 11:03 AM
How does one inadvertently get caught out in cloud?

I think you would make far better use of your keyboard finding out how to avoid cloud.

If your still curious go and hire an instructor for an hour to sit in the back and you fly take control with a blindfold on. Come back and tell us what happened...

AndyJ
03-12-11, 11:15 AM
General agreement from where this comes up in conversation is to know how long it takes to do a 180° turn at a given bank angle. You won't know your angle once in the cloud, but if it takes you 10 seconds at 30° get used to what 30° feels like then time 10 seconds at it. Even if you are wrong by +/- 40% you'll still end up coming out of it. In a flex as I said before you can feel the wind in your face to have an idea of speed. I've not had to try it but the logic is complete and it is better than nothing.
Another logic is a gps, you know ground speed, altitude and direction; you don't know airspeed but you know this from you flying ground speed before you went in. Just reverse your track, but try to do it fairly quickly kepping a turn without change in altitude.

rifruffian
03-12-11, 12:06 PM
AndyJ that is a dangerous post, any relatively inexperienced pilot reading should not take the contents seriously. It's a bad idea. If your plan is to fly clear of cloud, do whatever it takes to avoid entry to cloud. Otherwise undertake formal IFR training .

colin buckley
03-12-11, 12:33 PM
Not sure if this has been seen before? enough to convince many it just isn't worth trying.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXzYZjpoz_E

AndyJ
03-12-11, 12:47 PM
AndyJ that is a dangerous post, any relatively inexperienced pilot reading should not take the contents seriously. It's a bad idea. If your plan is to fly clear of cloud, do whatever it takes to avoid entry to cloud. Otherwise undertake formal IFR training .

I absolutely and totally agree with you, and so is this entire thread; there were some absolutely wrong posts before with actual wrong information in this thread, spirit levels etc. What I have done here is state what is reality after the question was re-raised by Trevor. If anyone here needs to be told not to fly into clouds, even to test it, then there is a more serious problem which I'm not qualified to deal with; but when there are ineperienced pilots asking a question at least knowing what is possible and what is bullshit, it's best to provide an answer or scenario to explain if there is one, so I have given the scenario with some answer. Having read my post again I have omitted to say, "avoid it like hell first", I actualy thought I had, but sent it too quickly, I did say this before though.

Someone below asked "How does one inadvertently get caught out in cloud?"
The answer is it can happen, and though only briefly it has caught me, I have also spoken with several people who I consider to be of a very high standard and integrity and they have too. If you are flying very, very well within all safety margins nothing untowards will ever happen (will it?), however you will probably never take off either; you haven't flown in the Alps have you? Why do you do spiral dives in your GFT? It should never happen but things do and you need to know how to deal with it. The same could be said of flying over water. On a long cross country, local conditions change even if you've read the Metars.

When I have been caught in cloudy environments, having a mental picture of what to do is helpful for security, and knowing what is of some use and what is dangerously wrong is better than general confusion and panic.

Please feel free to comment I am not being perscriptive

VinceG
03-12-11, 12:56 PM
I was talking about this very thing in P&M once with Jim Cunliffe and he said to keep an eye on your compass and keep it heading in the same direction. Then climb.

Something that was advocated by Brian Milton in his book. Brian does have an artificial horizon in his flex though. On the round the world trip it saved his life on more than one occasion.

Jiggles
03-12-11, 13:11 PM
I still cannot understand or believe how anyone, who is paying attention to their flying, can "inadvertantly" fly into a cloud. If you are flying along and you find that you cant see any blue or green ahead of you, then that is a cloud, change direction by at least 90 deg. If you can see a little bit of blue or green then that is called a "suckers hole", do not try to fly through it. Always fly towards the biggest expanse of blue or green and you will be fine. If you cannot see any blue or green then kiss your a**e goodbye because that is natures way of culling.

John

Irishmicro
03-12-11, 13:28 PM
Brian does have an artificial horizon in his flex though. On the round the world trip it saved his life on more than one occasion.

An artificial Horizon would be a life saver in a situation like this, the last C42 I flew had one fitted, the unit for it to works looks like an air horn bolted on to the side of the plane :-)

AndyJ
03-12-11, 14:03 PM
This is the air driven type artificial horizon available for less than £400.
http://www.transair.co.uk/sp+FALCON-GH02V-3-ATTITUDE-GYRO-VACUUM+8672
In these the gyroscope is powered by airflow so there is no electrical issues to contend with, sounds really good I saw one once then but the budget back then didn't allow for this; at this price its tempting though.
Are there any rules about having such an instrument fitted if you're not instrument rated?

Thanks Colin, I agree with your comments, this is one for Vince Jiggles is off the mark.

Irishmicro
03-12-11, 14:15 PM
In your photo on Kennedy the airhorn looks on the underside :salute:

Side, underside, its still on the side, not the front, back or top Colin.

Jiggles
03-12-11, 15:36 PM
Colin, I'm afraid that the subject of flying in adverse conditions has always polarised pilots since flying was invented, so we must agree to disagree on the subject of who would and who wouldn't fly in what. Let me just say that, contrary to your "that no one of any sense would deliberately fly into IMC" there are pilots who will push the envelope further than they should and having an AHI would only embolden them. IMHO
You said in your post "the idea that someone might push onwards is complete rubbish" are you so inexperienced to not know how untrue that is? Aviation is littered with stories of pilots that have pushed on further than they should.

John

paultheparaglider
03-12-11, 16:17 PM
Something that was advocated by Brian Milton in his book. Brian does have an artificial horizon in his flex though. On the round the world trip it saved his life on more than one occasion.

Vince,

I don't have his book to hand to check, but I seem to recall when I met him and Keith Reynolds in Macau he had a turn and slip indicator in the Quantum and not an AH. His story over dinner that evening was pretty amazing. Better than the book. To put it mildly, I don't think Brian and Keith were in complete agreement as to the advisability of such flying.

Paul

MadamBreakneck
03-12-11, 17:27 PM
Forgive me harping on again. My question a while ago was not about flying in cloud. I know that I cannot maintain straight and level, nor even a controlled turn. However if I get caught out, as many have done in a weightshift. What is the most sensible thing to do?

Does someone have any advice from experience. I was led to believe, don't try to control it, just remove the power and let it come down...

I'm not a flexi flyer so have no experience, however former BMAA CTO did a lot of research into tumble entry and came to the conclusion that what you describe is the best approach.

See [here (http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/bitstream/2438/708/1/final.pdf)] for his full paper. The relevant bit is at para 5.15 (page 148!):

"A further comment may be made concerning the results above. This is that given that aircraft in this class appear to show the greatest spiral stability at low power settings, pilots should be taught, in the event of inadvertent flight into IMC, to descend out of it in idle power where possible, rather than attempting to climb out or maintain level flight."

Hope this helps
Joan

woodysr2
03-12-11, 17:37 PM
John I have sat in the background reading messages on this topic and I have to agree with some of the other guy's
If you have ever flown up here in Scotland the chances of cloud closing in around you are really quite real I know as I have had it happen to me. we were basically whited out about 2 miles away from the airfield due to power lines roads etc there was really no other option than to carry on for those two miles there were five of us flying that day the two of the pilots managed to land out the rest of the group carried on and landed safely at the airfield would I recommend it not on your nellie.
As we landed first you were then hit with realization of what do we do next do we taxi back possibly into the path of oncoming aircraft do we just run off the side of the runway and wait for the remainder of aircraft to land then taxi back etc.
I suppose we were lucky(?) in that although whited out our field is 40 feet AMSL power lines are less that 20 feet above that and we are in a valley approx 6 miles wide so no major obstructions and it was still a sphincter pulsing couple of minutes.
I would aggree with Vince in that if caught out then keep the same heading and climb as the ground and all other nasty bits are therefore going away from you possibly easier in a flexwing than 3 axis but it would be my choice in unfamiliar surroundings would I trust a gps ? only to warn me about surrounding terrain. If in familiar surroundings Ie no tall buildings masts etc I would cut power to idle and let the machine come out of the bottom of the cloud assuming the bottom was above ground level that is
I have been sucked into cloud in my hang glider therefore had even less in the way of instruments to help me but as you will have realised I did not die. this has made me more aware of conditions and thermal activity and strength I have never felt that I have done it before and all was ok so I will just do it again.
Ok rant over
Please dont generalise and slag off other pilots or suggest that it is natural wastage.

Jiggles
03-12-11, 18:11 PM
As can be seen woodysr2, there are many equal and opposite opinions on the subject of flying and cloud. Some advocate climbing out of it, some descending to land and some struggling on. I personally still cant see how someone can get caught out but that's just me. I do get concerned though when totally inexperienced pilots voice an opinion on what someone else should do if caught out. What may be the best for one circumstance will not be the best for another. Far better to plan ahead to avoid the situation, someone once said something along the lines of "Never let your aircraft take you to some place that your head has not already been to"
Oh, and by the way, my remark about culling was the CULLmination of the tongue in cheek post. I shouldn't have to explain what what is serious and what is not shirley? I thought that the green and blue bits gave it away; I'm obviousdly posting to people that have had their sense of humour removed. Among the good advice for flying was "Keep the blue above and the green below you" do I need to explain that to anyone?

John

Irishmicro
03-12-11, 18:24 PM
Never say never Jiggles, this can happen to anyone, the weather is so unpredictable no matter hoe many years experience you have.
Woodysr2 flys up in Scotland, some of the most hilly terrain and very changeable weather due to this, not only him but 4 other pilots were caught out just 2 miles away from their field.
I had flown to an airstrip just in from the sea back a few months ago, vis was brilliant the whole way down. Before take -off the vis was still brilliant but soon after climbing out the cloud base dropped to 1000 feet within minutes. I had only recently flew over the same area and knew it was really flat so I turned, and landed back down until it cleared.

Jiggles
03-12-11, 19:18 PM
Irishmicro, I'm not saying that it's impossible, fact, I'm saying "I still cannot understand or believe". I can change my opinion when faced with facts or experience but the only experience that I have come across so far has been from pilots that have admitted that it was their own fault. We are all allowed an opinion aren't we, whether it's right or wrong? And shouldn't be threatened by some numpty because they have a different one?
"can't see sense and really needs to shut up with his inept opinions" is a thinly veiled euphomism for "Doesn't agree with me and I know better" and is a little childish for an adult Colin.

John

ps
I will no longer post on this thread as it has unfortunately degenerated :studyingbrown:

Irishmicro
03-12-11, 19:28 PM
I will no longer post on this thread as it has unfortunately degenerated :studyingbrown:

Your opinions are not very constructive Jiggles, Initially Dave should have not done what he done when he did have a choice to avoid the whited out situation, he was tempting fate and this should not be condoned at all. The discussion went on to talk about if this could not be avoided and I feel Joan gave the best answer to this
Pilots should be taught, in the event of inadvertent flight into IMC, to descend out of it in idle power where possible, rather than attempting to climb out or maintain level flight. If you have a GPS fitted to the aircraft and know its not safe to descend maybe a 180 degrees turn should be made back into the clear you just came out of. In the winter time fog can come in minutes and start from the ground up this is a really scary thought and possibly the best decision is not to go flying, but it could and might happen to anyone.

Red Baron
03-12-11, 20:16 PM
Worst thing about these forums is that people just take them far too seriously. Someone upsets Colin and Colin keeps banging on about it, other people get fed up of Colins repetitive posts and tell him so Colin defends himself and his opinions and the exchange deteriorates. Now Roger the Dodger has stepped in and fired a salvo into the melee and my prediction is that the thread will be locked imminently and fully grown boys (and girls) that we are will all slope off hissing and seething at the injustice of it all.

Can I just say that if you klnow your posts are going to offend or inflame the exchanges being made - don't hit the post button. You would never risk a punch on the nose for turning a chat down the pub into an aggressive confrontation so why do it on here?

Chill out guys and take a chill pill or have a glass of Chianti. It is just so not worth getting het up about.

PS - Flying into cloud - my opinion. Take a one off lesson in a group a aircraft and ask for partial panel and under the hood instruction. If you cope well - then consider fitting an artificial horizon as an emergency preventative bit of kit for the off chance that at one moment in your flying career you may get caught out. For the 99.999% of the time that you would be flying fair weather VFR stay well clear of cloud and you won't need think about the training hour, the AH or even the debate if we are being honest.

trevorlane
03-12-11, 21:32 PM
How does one inadvertently get caught out in cloud?

I think you would make far better use of your keyboard finding out how to avoid cloud.

If your still curious go and hire an instructor for an hour to sit in the back and you fly take control with a blindfold on. Come back and tell us what happened...

A few people have been. So how did they get there. At a guess I would say that you might be flying very high and notice the cloud base dropping. Decide to turn around and notice a lower layer has been creeping up on you.

**** HAPPENS.

So your advice to me when it happens is "get on the phone and book a lesson". Well I have to say that isn't very helpful. Let's get one thing straight. I already know my senses will not help me. I do not need a lesson or demonstration to figure that out. I already know that I cannot judge wind speed or direction by feel. I do not need a lesson with that. I do not have the instruments, so learning how to use them is pointless. Learning in a Cessna will not give me any insights into what happens in a weightshift.

So back to my valid, and very real question; asking pilots with more hours and experience than I. What would you do, did you do, once in that very frightening position.

Please do not patronize me any more. If you have a helpful answer that has not been posted, please let me know.

So what do we already know.

1 don't get into that situation
2 if you do visual references will not help you because you have none
3 you cannot trust your other senses once you have lost visual reference
4 you do not have the correct instruments
5 if you want to fit the correct instruments, do you put the gyro in the wing or on the pod? Who knows?

With all of that knowledge we still do not have a strategy to stay alive. At this moment I am sticking with what I have read elsewhere, because no-one has given me an alternative yet.

Max
03-12-11, 21:41 PM
All unrelated posts are being moved to 'The Sofa'.

http://www.microlightforum.com/showthread.php?6170-White-Out-thread-Unrelated

Max

trevorlane
03-12-11, 21:53 PM
I posted my last by hitting the link from an email. That resulted in my ignorance of a dozen or more posts between the one I replied to and my last. WOW. A lot has happened on this thread whilst I slept.

I apologies to all those people that gave me the answer I needed in between. Thanks for re-affirming what I read.

ANDY1973
03-12-11, 22:10 PM
Edited to add - Cross posted with Trevor's post (#75) above.

Trevor,

I don't think that anyone has been "patronizing" you. You seem to be asking for a catch-all solution, which doesn't exist.

There is a generally agreed procedure for inadvertent entry to IMC. That is to put aircraft in balance, roll to wings level, apply full power, climb at best gradient speed to safety altitude. Then, once safe and settled on instruments, work out how you're going to get back down.

The above clearly isn't going to work on a microlight without suitable instrumentation, as you will end up to an extended period of instrument flight with no safe way of getting down again.

I'm going to reiterate once again - the only safe solution is not to go IMC. Anything else is not safe -which leaves you trying to choose between the least unsafe option. And here's the problem - I can think of several different scenarios for IMC where I'd take diametrically opposite actions.

Your scenario has you caught between two layers - one above and one below. How deep is the layer below you? Do you think the cloudbase is below the safety altitude? Do you think the cloudbase is on the deck? Do you have enough visual references between the layers to maintain controlled flight? Do you have enough fuel to hunt for a gap? Is the weather better elsewhere? Are you able to get a stable speed and wings level prior to entry?

The answers to each of those questions would alter what I would do in that situation. Even then, there's no guarantee of achieving a safe recovery.

You give the impression that you want someone here to tell you that it'll all be alright if you do x,y and z. I'm afraid it it isn't like that.

scotlad2003
03-12-11, 23:21 PM
does a flexwing hands off power off fly its self? from what i gather the answer is yes?

1. plan route know about mountains hills and power cables below etc incase of clouds and stick to that route and plan for it in the first place if all else fails ....
2. chk altimeter if enough height power off hands off and stay fixed to altimeter and asi and await clear skies
3 if not enough height its power on and up up and away (does a flex not fly level hands off with power on ) ?? and await clear skies look for a gap and spiral down through it (you should have enough fuel)it was in your plan lol

i'm just learning but i think all this talk of flying by instruments should not apply to us and why would we need to know anything about it at all ??

i understand that dif situations require dif steps but whats the problem with the above 3 points ive made?

surely its all about forward planning and knowing your suroundings? you wouldn't stick your hand into a big cage without knowing what was in there so why fly when you dont know your suroundings.

either you should have taken note of the suroundings and made sure you had enough height if clouds suddenly apear or if its not possible turn round or better still plan ahead and realise what might happen and go a dif route or dont fly at all :salute:

this will be good info for me up here in scotland:plane-028:
pls dont shoot me down here its just the way it seems to me and openley invite your replys as i too want to know what others have done:salute:

Roger Mole
04-12-11, 00:08 AM
We fly for fun in microlight aircraft. You don't have to take off in them if you so choose and if you have to get somewhere you wouldn't choose to go in a light aircraft at all. The very last mode of transport you'd choose is a microlight.

So it's up to you. If your fun is so important to you that you're prepared to kill yourself in the process then do exactly as you describe above. But first ask your close family for their opinions.

scotlad2003
04-12-11, 03:25 AM
i nver said i would be trying any of the above rodger is what i said wrong ? i stand to be corected and as the origional poster has said already no one has realy answered his question thats my point above and by flying for fun maybe your too old now to fly x counrty and are restricted to bimbling around for no more than 20 min round the aerodrome lol
dont you think i know its for fun rodg we should always plan a flight b4 we take off though so as too avoid clouds etc

pip pip :plane-028:

trevorlane
04-12-11, 07:44 AM
@Andy

There you go again. I have already told you that I gree with you the best plan is to not get into it. Yet you have to tell me again that the best plan is not to get into it. And the same goes for the rest of your patronizing post. I am not a child looking for anyone to tell me it will all be alright. I asked a serious question to which I have received several serious responses. I shall ignore your last post, as my question has been answered several times now by a couple of people in an adult manner.

Say whatever else you want, I shall not comment further on this thread.

Roger Mole
04-12-11, 10:49 AM
It seems that everyone who has no real experience of flying in proper IMC is looking for advice on what to do when they get into it but get upset when they are told time and time and again by people who do have the experience that if they do they will only get out of it safely if they get lucky. Joan posted a bit of advice from Guy Gratton's work with flexwings which gave advice on what to do. What she didn't include was another little section that said, if I recall it correctly, that in actual tests in such conditions even an experienced flexwing pilot was found to lose control and be heading for disaster in an average of 16 seconds I think it was. Do a Google search and see for yourself. Martin Bromage was a very experienced pilot, experienced enough to attempt a flght to Oz a couple of years before our Dave. He went into the Channel in IMC on the first leg. Dave had some really bad scares too, not in cloud I think but in other forms of very poor vis and it would be interesting what advice he would give to novice and less experienced flexwing pilots.

We've covered this several times in the past but here goes for the last time. This is not meant to be patronising just because it's not what people want to hear - it's fact. To fly safely in IMC you need to satisfy three criteria.

1. You need a certified instrument fit - not the sort of cheap kit that is fitted to most microlights that came out of Beijing by way of Bradford. You need that because at the end of the day you are staking your life on it.

2. The instruments have to be installed in a stable instrument platform. By definition this excludes all microlights, which is why they are not legally cleared for flight in IMC. The minimum that you can legally fly in IMC in is a SSEA Group A* and then only if you can meet the third condition which is..

3. You have to undergo a course of training

Just because you have got a few hundred hours under your belt, don't think that you will just hack it, because you will not. Take my word that it takes many hours and a lot of bloomin hard work even to get to IMC Rating standard and if the instructor does his job properly you will end up sweating and knackered after many of the lessons you go through on the way. He will also start off the course at the very beginning by demonstrating how much you have to learn and how your complacency borne by limited experience, lack of knowledge and lack of training come together to create an excellent recipe for killing the unwary and the unfortunates who happen to be flying with them at the time. Just check the accident records - it's happening all the time.

So by all means take off and fly in conditions that are already marginal or in which, as a trained microlight pilot, you probably know are likely to become so at some time during your flight. That's your choice as PIC. Bad weather and poor visibility don't just happen out of the blue but when it does happen please don't think that the bar room advice you get on forums such as this will be what you need to get out of it. I do not think that there are any guarantees to ensure that you will do but by all means go ahead and take pot luck.

* I'm excluding gliders - Wally has previously mentioned gliding and having a cloud flying rating

goldrush
04-12-11, 12:32 PM
As Roger points out unless you have ALL 3 of his criteria in position your chances of surviving a real and continuous "white out" are very small.
I cannot comment on the stability, or "flyability" of a Flexy in such conditions as I have spent my life flying 3 axis.

If you still don't believe the advice being given by many, book yourself an hour with an instructor, in a suitable aircraft "under the hood". That WILL convince you.

Just to add, that although I did have a sailplane "cloud flying" endorsement (many years ago) that only allowed me to enter cloud in specific circumstances and was by NO MEANS allowed general flying in IMC..

Roger Mole
04-12-11, 13:05 PM
This is a serious discussion which we all need to think about and I keep doing so on and off. It seems to me that what some people are looking for is a handy checklist 1....2......3 called 'What to do if you end up in cloud'. The whole point is that there is no such list and the chance is that when you do end up in a proper white out as distinct from playing around and flying in seconds through a thin layer of white stuff it'll be the last thing you'll be thinking about anyway. Someone mentioned earlier that a crowd were out flying and got 'caught out' by incoming cloud. Some landed out safely and others pressed on to the home field. The rest of us don't know what the conditions were actually like and we would all have had to make our own decisions at the time (not that long ago a less experienced flex pilot returned to the field I was at declaring that he found the vis very limited and 'scary' whereas when I took off I found it quite manageable in MYRO, so we probably all have different perceptions about what is 'bad'). But if the cloud really did come in that quickly and was quite thick, how did the ones who pressed on know that they weren't about to fly into something that might have been really serious? Then the ones who landed safely would have been proven to have made the 'right' decision and we might have had a major disaster on our hands with all the others who had pressed on. So be careful of following the 'herd instinct' and be prepared to make the decision that's right for you is probably the best advice in such situations. Old and bold pilots and all that stuff.

scotlad2003
04-12-11, 16:57 PM
all valid points "its good to talk"

just to let you know where i stand "i,m not investing any time on this thread i'm declaring myself out" lol

:guitarred::guitarred:

ANDY1973
04-12-11, 18:03 PM
@Andy

There you go again. I have already told you that I gree with you the best plan is to not get into it. Yet you have to tell me again that the best plan is not to get into it. And the same goes for the rest of your patronizing post. I am not a child looking for anyone to tell me it will all be alright. I asked a serious question to which I have received several serious responses. I shall ignore your last post, as my question has been answered several times now by a couple of people in an adult manner.

Say whatever else you want, I shall not comment further on this thread.

Trevor,

There was no intention to patronize. Your question implied that you had not understood the previous posts - hence my response. Your subsequent apology (which was posted after I had started drafting my response) made it clear that you hadn't even read the previous posts.

There are all sorts of people posting on this forum. From first time flyers, to at least one world champion pilot, and everyone inbetween. As a result, if you ask a question on here you can expect some answers that you find too simple, and some that are beyond your comprehension. Sometimes I've had both at the same time.

Andy

Phil Perry
05-12-11, 22:55 PM
Trevor. . . . Having read the entire thread, and also your repsonses to advice from pilots, some of whom have more hours in the sky than you will possibly ever achieve,. . . . . can I suggest that it would be a good idea if you left this forum and took up a less demanding hobby, . . . perhaps, go-kart racing, moto cross, rally driving, or some other really exciting pastime where the problems you ask about do not exist. ???

Flying yourself in a flying machine is a totally unique operation. . . . so if someone who has several years experience gives you advice, FOR WHICH YOU ASKED . . . . . and you discard it with the vehemnece in which you discarded Andy1973's post. . . . . you are not the sort of bloke that I want to be flying in the same sky that I am using. Basically you talk like a prat, and act like a fourteen year old schoolgirl. so go away and have a really good think, then perhaps you might, I SAY JUST ,,,, MIGHT see that the advice you have been given by ACTUAL pilots, is not the PATRONISM to which you have indicated.

Grow up lad,


Phil Perry

trevorlane
06-12-11, 05:10 AM
Trevor,

There was no intention to patronize. Your question implied that you had not understood the previous posts - hence my response. Your subsequent apology (which was posted after I had started drafting my response) made it clear that you hadn't even read the previous posts.

There are all sorts of people posting on this forum. From first time flyers, to at least one world champion pilot, and everyone inbetween. As a result, if you ask a question on here you can expect some answers that you find too simple, and some that are beyond your comprehension. Sometimes I've had both at the same time.

Andy


Thank you Andy, I am sorry if I took it too personally but I asked a serious question, one for which I have had several great responses now. Just to let you know, the bit I was getting annoyed about was that although I had made it perfectly clear that I have no intention of entering cloud on purpose, it has always been in the back of my mind that even greatly experienced pilots like Martin Bromage have found themselves in it. I think that it is importany to consider that we may be there one day, even if we do not intend it.

If you would allow me to sum up what I knew before asking this question.

1. ) Don't go into clouds because it is dangerous and unforgiving.
2. ) if you find yourself in cloud you cocked up and shouldn't be there.
3. ) If you think about going into cloud, think again.
4. ) If you find yourself in asituation where you may get into cloud, think about how you can get out of that situation.
5. ) Even the most experienced pilots ****-up from time to time.
6. ) sometimes it wasn't a ****-up it was just an unfortunate sequence of events.

If you understand that I already knew all of the above, and I believe you when you say you didn't mean to patronize me, you might also understand why I might have felt like a scolded little boy being told not to go near cloud.

What I have had reinforced, since these posts.

If you are unfortunate enough to have found yourself in the worst case scenario you can either.

1. ) Panic, which I do not think helps anyone.
2. ) Ponder at how you got into that mess, which I think is a distraction from what is happening, and you might want to do that later (assuming there will be a later)
3. ) adopt a power on climb, and get above it. (my own opinion is that this is probably not the best thing to do in a weight shift. With the power on and in a climb, then any resultant turn which you will not feel, will be pulling itself steeper. climbing turns pull inwards.
4. ) Adopt a power off glide and as long as the cloud does not go all the way to the ground, maximises your chances of getting out without being inverted, for all of the reasons that have been stated previously. Including descending turns tend to want to pull out and level out, which has not been stated in this post before. (please note I said maximises your chances, not that this is a get out of jail free card)

I do accept the fact that you did not intend to patronize and do not hold any grudge, I am sure we will get on together.

I did not want to reply to this as I had already stated I would not respond but the post from Phil Perry kinda forced my hand.

@Andy, thanks for your last post.

@Phil. I really don't need to tell you about your response. You may well one day wish you had not hit the send button I will never know. But if that day comes, please understand that you have not offended me and allow yourself to move on. Believe me when I say that I do not hold you in high enough regard for anything you say to offend.

johnny3star
06-12-11, 09:12 AM
Erm, Trevor.
heres a great thread to read about IMC in microlights.
It's on the other place, started by a chap called Rik Golding.
He's currently banned on here, (er, from using his own name anyway)
http://forums.bmaa.org/default.aspx?f=15&p=001&m=59040
cheers
Johnnydeadstick

VinceG
06-12-11, 10:53 AM
It serves as a warning to new pilots not to venture into cloud.

I still say watch the compas. Fly straight and climb. It's the ground (or the sea) that kills you.

Gentreau
06-12-11, 11:00 AM
.... It's the ground (or the sea) that kills you.

Frost-bite and hypoxia could do some damage too :D

Phil Perry
06-12-11, 20:15 PM
Hi again Trevor,

I have to say that I'm pleased that you don't hold me in high regard, because I don't either. I am a practical nonentity compared with many of the worthies who populate this site. This is why I hang around, as I always learn something new. I had read the entire progression following your original post and admit to finally losing my rag somewhat, due to the rather odd responses you appeared to make.

I sincerely hope that you stay with us on this forum, I never intentionally offend anyone; nor, I hope does anyone else here. . . . it goes against my grain entirely, and I apologise for my friends also, as they obviously did not address your most detailed and specific questions in a manner that you found satisfactory . . . . Sometimes, there isn't a "Book" answer, but PLEASE don't take umbrage at replies which are surely not intended to make your questions appear foolish.

Very kind regards,


Philip Perry

martin sanderson
06-12-11, 21:08 PM
very well put phil

VinceG
07-12-11, 12:24 PM
Thread closed

gadgetjunkie
31-07-13, 13:02 PM
Sorry if it's a daft question but I've been wondering about this for a while.
I don't think I've ever seen a microlight of any sort with an attitude indicator and I'm wondering why.
I realise we shouldn't need one but from what I've read and heard it strikes me as it would be a rather handy thing to have should one inadvertently end up in IMC.

Thanks,
Justin

rodeonick1985
31-07-13, 13:11 PM
If you end up in IMC your pretty much dead Even with an AI.
The training required and to stay current for an IMC rating is intense.
Our brain is a powerfull bit of kit but it gets tricked. Better off not having one so idiots dont attemp to use it.

Gentreau
31-07-13, 14:01 PM
The FAA did some simulator trials with VFR pilots flying into IMC with full instruments and the results are shown in this video.

http://www.aopa.org/AOPA-Live.aspx?watch=%7BCCA30EA1-A94D-4E45-ABCD-3AD4074403E0%7D

Average life expectancy .... 178 seconds !

Martin Watson
31-07-13, 14:01 PM
Its a good question, and those are good answers. Microlights are strictly VMC machines and are equipped as such.

Another point is that instruments for instrument flight need a fairly stable aircraft to be useful - micros bounce about too much for them.

There have been lots of threads here and elsewhere on this topic, with no shortage of folk for example advocating artificial horizon apps on their smartphone for the "just in case" scenario (even though they have no training), but they are deluding themselves. Anybody who has flown in cloud will know this. Ive flown in cloud in gliders with a panel full of instruments and a qualified instrument pilot in the other seat and you just cant do it.

Gentreau
31-07-13, 14:14 PM
Just to clarify, there are microlights which have them, but generally as part of a glass cockpit display, so it tends to be the modern hot-ships.
I recently dis some gyro training on a DTA J-Ro which was equipped with full glass, and the instructor (16,000+ hrs) had turned off the AI.
When I asked him why, he told me that it was useless on such a lightweight machine, and he wanted to avoid anyone becoming used to it and starting to refer to it in flight.

VinceG
31-07-13, 14:40 PM
Here we go again... :PullingMyHairOut:

Gentreau
31-07-13, 14:58 PM
Vince, I personally don't think it's a question to make you pull your hair out, you might need it one day (your hair)

I think it's a question that any intelligent person will eventually ask.
Of course the true measure of intelligence is, to what extent the person accepts the answers provided .....

Brand1068
31-07-13, 15:48 PM
It does seem odd though - i'm only a learner but I've been up in cloud with the instructor in a Cessna - I too wondered why it was so hard in a microlight - never thought about the lightness of the aircraft having an effect...

gadgetjunkie
31-07-13, 16:22 PM
The FAA did some simulator trials with VRF pilots flying into IMC with full instruments and the results are shown in this video.

http://www.aopa.org/AOPA-Live.aspx?watch=%7BCCA30EA1-A94D-4E45-ABCD-3AD4074403E0%7D

Average life expectancy .... 178 seconds !

Wow!


Better off not having one so idiots dont attemp to use it.

I did wonder but thought there might be more to it than that. Makes perfect sense!

So, if you are that worried about getting caught out, fly something with a BRS fitted then or don't fly!

Good answers.

Thanks,
Justin

gadgetjunkie
31-07-13, 16:41 PM
Here we go again... :PullingMyHairOut:

Oh dear, and I have loads more newbie type questions too. Reckon you could be bald by the end of the week ;) (at least it was in the newbie questions and answers section!).

VinceG
31-07-13, 17:24 PM
Sorry mate, we've done it to death, but please don't let my outburst deter you from asking your questions. The reason for my outburst was because it was a great heated debate..... but we need things livening up around here so I will start....

It is considered by many that a microlight, especially a flexwing would be doomed by trying to use an artificial horizon. My answer to this (not from experience) is that in the round the world trip by Brian Milton. Read the first chapter of his book here on this site (http://www.microlightforum.com/content.php?150-Brian-Milton-Global-Flyer-The-First-Chapter). Brian himself had one fitted to his plane, and it saved his life on more than one occasion.

Is he a "special human being" I think he would like to think so, but he's certainly got something to "make it" where others have failed. But as far as I am aware, he didn't have any special training, just relied on the instrument and not what his "body" and "mind" were telling him.

goldrush
31-07-13, 17:40 PM
Just to ad the the foregoing, please do NOT be afraid to ask what may be seen as a "silly question" ... and may well have been covered before.......we have ALL been there.. in my case some 65 years ago...... if you do not ask.. you do not learn.

Similar to Martin, in my "old days" gliding I had a "cloud flying" endorsement.

This meant one "could legally enter cloud under strict conditions and should be able to survive"........... even on a limited panel..... However from experience, I would hate to do the same in my Shadow............. even if fitted with a full panel.......... "kettle of fish"!!!!

Interestingly, so far all Microlights are restricted by their Permit to Fly to rather restricted "deflections form the straight and narrow" so an attitude indicator should never in theory be of any use.
I would also venture to suggest to Brand that the impression of being in cloud with an instructor, even if you are acting as P1, is a million miles away from the situation when you are there SOLO... be it in a Cessna, Jumbo or Microlight.

Forget it........

AndyJ
31-07-13, 17:59 PM
"we've done it to death"

Hehe I remember the debate, someone asked about flying in clouds and it all went sideways. :pistoldouble::chainsaw:

Russ_H
31-07-13, 18:18 PM
"Brian himself had one fitted to his plane, and it saved his life on more than one occasion."

...Hehe, Vince thats something else that was discussed beofre, it wasnt an AI/horizon, it was a turn/slip and bank indicator thingamajob (no pitch information)

either way, not really worth fitting to a flex imo, the pod being decoupled from the wing.......but as you say, we've been here before (a couple of times)

p.s, i've no idea why my post is in large text, im not doing a Peter, honest guv

VinceG
31-07-13, 18:44 PM
Anyone find the thread to let the new members read?


iPhone Tapatalk

AndyJ
31-07-13, 19:25 PM
Anyone find the thread to let the new members read?

http://www.microlightforum.com/showthread.php?3665-Whited-out&highlight=Whited

Sam
31-07-13, 20:05 PM
Just to add another aspect, wouldn't it be great to have a wing leveller in a three axis machine, inadvertently fly into IMC, flick the switch until your clear :-) Sorted !!

Brand1068
31-07-13, 21:07 PM
Oddly - when discussing similar with my FI - he thought that maybe because I spent quite a bit of time on the simulator I'd become a little to dependant on instruments :) and not enough looking out the windows.

Something I think I'll have to change on a 3axis

VinceG
31-07-13, 23:03 PM
http://www.microlightforum.com/showthread.php?3665-Whited-out&highlight=Whited

Nice one Andy. 11 pages of debate... now, how to merge the threads... a challenge me thinks...

Not such a challenge it seems, threads merged. This forum software really is much better than me ;-)

I also should have been able to find it, because, it held so much useful info for newbies I made it sticky at the time...

Have I told you? I have the short term memory of a goldfish... Castle, what's a castle, have I told you? I have the short term memory of a goldfish... Castle, what's a castle.

gadgetjunkie
01-08-13, 09:13 AM
Sorry mate, we've done it to death, but please don't let my outburst deter you from asking your questions. The reason for my outburst was because it was a great heated debate.....

No worries, Vince. Glad I asked the question, though, it's been a real eye opener. Thanks for merging it in to a sticky, it's the sort of info that could make a person think twice about putting themselves in a dodgy situation.
To summarise, if I may: flying in IMC without the right kit and training is akin to jumping in to the lion enclosure at London Zoo and trying to make friends with the residents i.e. you might get lucky and live to tell the tale but chances are you won't :)

Cheers,
Justin

P.S. Don't forget to give me a call re my factory lights.