The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Air Safety Institute (ASI) has launched a new safety campaign VFR into IMC: Avoidance and Escape.
The campaign, which runs from April 1 to Dec. 31, 2022, is designed to focus efforts and outreach on addressing the most significant cause of weather-related accidents in general aviation — visual flight rules into instrument meteorological conditions (VFR into IMC), ASI officials said.
“VFR into IMC is among the top five causes of fatal GA accidents, which are largely preventable,” said ASI Senior Vice President Richard McSpadden. “And it’s not only VFR pilots who get trapped — about one-third of these accidents involve instrument-rated pilots.”
The campaign includes a new VFR into IMC safety spotlight based on a research study from the Air Safety Institute that reveals pilots encounter these conditions every other week on average.
“The nature of these accidents typically results in a fatality,” McSpadden said. “Experience alone is no guard against them. In fact, instrument-rated commercial pilots are twice as likely to be involved in VFR into IMC accidents compared to their non-instrument-rated counterparts.
“Often thought of a single cause, VFR into IMC plays a role in several other types of accidents, including loss of control in-flight (LOC-I) and controlled flight into terrain (CFIT),” he continued.
The campaign’s material, programs, and upcoming events are packaged in a new online resource center with links to the new safety spotlight, videos, podcasts, articles, and webinars. The center will be updated throughout the year as more materials and events become available, according to McSpadden.
You can go to the campaign’s online resource center by clicking here.
Dr. Albert R. Conley says
Good advice for all pilots. Before I lost medical ( due to Parkinson’s disease… bummer) I flew a Seneca II equipped with every option Piper could cram into it including approval for flight into known icing and color radar. What really made flying it nice was the autopilot/ flight director (KFC 200). Any airplane you plan fly IFR needs at least a wing leveler autopilot. With that you can at least pick up the pencil you just dropped without straying into the unusual attitude world. Had lots of fun flying it. Son’s were very young then, one is in flight training now. Hope I’m around to see it come to pass. I plan to be.
scott k patterson says
Let me inject a few of my observations;
I have been VFR into solid IMC a number of times…..each within 45 minutes to an hour and a half of obtaining a Solid VFR weather briefing.
Obtained IFR in the air and completed the flights, with ATC assistance and knowing exactly where I was having flown the courses numerous time and able to commit to memory. Once, solid VFR briefing, iced at night to the point of unable to maintain altitude. My position, rate of decent, ATC vectors to FAF and the end on a runway happened to coincide, fortunately.
Problem with IFR ratings flying VFR into IMC is they weren’t prepared with charts, in unfamiliar territory and didn’t have escape routes in memory.
Depending of location and planning, some aircraft offer little flexibility. After three hours into the flight my C-172 gave me little latitude. My M20C still had a 500 mile radius to play with, not to mention a 18k service ceiling, big difference.
I fly western US. When weather goes down you often are in the middle of it, a 180 probably won’t work and better to know where the closest airport is if not situated to continue. Few times I’ve been in the southeast it seems adverse weather is more defined, made a precautionary landing at Rogers, AR to wait out towering cumulus reaching well into the flight levels. Good point here, other pilot wanted to keep threading them in a C-206… results would have been another statistic.
What’s difficult?…Measuring comprehension and competence. Those you’ll find out when you get there.