AOPA ACCIDENT CASE STUDY VFR INTO IMC

This could easily be reproduced in simulation. Pilots who don’t give Mother Nature the proper respect often find themselves humbled, scared and, in the worst of cases, injured or dead. Of particular interest has been the relationship between flight time and accident occurrence, as well as between pilot certification and accident occurrence. Seven minutes later, he asked the controller for information regarding cloud tops and ceiling height. Clearly, those with lower certification levels could benefit from situational-based training SBT that concentrates on weather decision-making and risk assessment.

During this time the airplane had actually completed a left turn and its altitude varied between 4, and 4, feet. It’s not surprising that high or mountainous terrain would be more deadly for a pilot that inadvertently flies into poor weather, but there’s likely more to this “story. The pilot and his passenger were killed. In this case, terrain, time of day, receipt of a weather briefing, filing a flight plan, pilot age, pilot flight time, pilot certification and communication with air traffic control were examined to see how they were related to or influenced the outcome of either a VFR into IMC accident, or an accident-unrelated VFR into IMC. Oddly, the significant majority of VFR into IMC accident pilots received a weather briefing, meaning they were concerned about the weather, or at the very least, knew of poor forecasted conditions. Please login below for an enhanced experience.

When it comes to accident statistics, low ceilings and visibilities rank as the greatest weather hazard to the VFR pilot.

It’s not surprising that high or mountainous terrain would be more deadly for a pilot that inadvertently flies aopa accident case study vfr into imc poor weather, but there’s likely more to this “story. And remember that water vapor is fickle: Other findings, such as the fact that pilots with low certification levels and high flight times having a higher incidence of VFR into IMC, beckons improved recurrent and flight review training to include SBT and hazardous attitude evaluation specifically related to flights in or around rapidly changing or deteriorating weather conditions.

The reason is simple: Therefore, the problem isn’t so much that pilots aren’t checking the weather, but instead are misinterpreting or ignoring clues given by Mother Nature. But it also speaks to some of those hazardous attitudes we should all avoid, specifically overconfidence in one’s ability to cope with weather, that may exceed expectations and abilities. Thunderstorms, icing, high winds, turbulence—none of these more dramatic, higher-profile threats aopa accident case study vfr into imc close to killing as many pilots as simple, condensed water vapor.

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Moreover, weather-briefer training could be modified or augmented to better provide pilots with more emphasis on warnings and hazards that may positively influence pilot decision-making. Of particular interest has been the relationship between flight time and accident occurrence, as well as between pilot certification and accident occurrence.

Two additional studies looked at some pilot demographics and environmental factors, but few statistics were offered as support. Weather-briefer training could be modified or augmented to better provide pilots with more emphasis on warnings and hazards that may positively influence pilot decision-making. But unusual attitudes can put tremendous strain on an airframe, and a panicked pilot lost in the soup can push an aircraft literally to the breaking point. He’s an assistant professor of aeronautics and program aopa accident case study vfr into imc of the masters of aeronautical science program.

VFR into IMC – AOPA

Airmets for IFR conditions and mountain obscuration had been issued about one and a half hours before the accident airplane departed. Air Safety Institute Accident Database. Moreover, pilots may be accustomed to poor weather in high terrain and be aopa accident case study vfr into imc likely to “push the limits,” which seemed to be the case in many accidents in the state of Alaska.

Other factors, such as time of day and air traffic control ATC communications, had weak associations with VFR into IMC, indicating such events were less likely to occur during the day and when in communication with ATC. Thankfully, studies such as these highlight improvements that pilots, as well as the industry as a whole, can make to improve the knowledge base and amend operational habits to make flying safer.

Another reason why there appears to be so much interest in these types of accidents is they’re highly preventable, because as is often the case, the pilot intentionally presses on with a flight that clearly should be terminated due to deteriorating weather conditions. Pilots who don’t give Mother Nature the proper respect often find themselves humbled, scared and, in the worst of cases, injured or dead.

In this scenario, ground impact is typically what destroys the airplane. Clearly, those with lower certification aopa accident case study vfr into imc could benefit from situational-based training SBT that concentrates on weather decision-making and risk assessment.

Understanding VFR Into IMC Accidents

Most noninstrument-rated pilots have only a few hours of hood time in their logbooks, and these skills quickly atrophy after the private checkride.

In the battle of trust between instinct and instruments, the gauges typically lose. This indicates that with experience and more advanced education, pilots are more likely to avoid such occurrences. About 10 seconds later, at Also, pilots aopa accident case study vfr into imc in mountainous terrain were less likely to be on a flight plan, perhaps counterintuitive to what might be considered good practice.

The current investigation used a type of regression analysis, which is a method to understand how strongly variables are related to, or predict, an outcome. Seven minutes later, he asked the controller for information regarding cloud tops and ceiling height. Always get a thorough preflight briefing, especially if conditions along the route are questionable.

Lessons Learned So what are the “takeaways” from this study? During this time the airplane had aopa accident case study vfr into imc completed a left turn and its altitude varied between 4, and 4, feet. Short of that, the key is understanding and respecting the weather. Ceilings can drop quickly, fog can materialize rapidly, and the clear air between cloud layers can close in with little warning. No further transmissions were received from the pilot, and radar contact was lost shortly thereafter.

These findings are intuitive, as poor weather is easier to see and avoid during the day, and ATC can provide assistance to pilots in trouble especially in high terrain. In an effort to better understand what may influence pilots to make and continue flights in which they’re threatened by poor weather, faculty at ERAU-WW utilized guidance from the aforementioned studies, as well as new research concepts to conduct a new inquiry on continued VFR into IMC accidents.

Related Links Accident Case Study: AOPA’s findings agreed with this statement as “most often, these fatal accidents resulted from pilots deciding to continue VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions.

Marginal VFR conditions prevailed at the time of departure. One is that perhaps we need to examine aopa accident case study vfr into imc weather education.

VFR into IMC leads to in-flight breakup – AOPA

The controller advised the pilot to stay calm and not to climb or descend. A prominent study by human factor and weather accident experts Juliana Goh and Douglas Wiegmann stated VFR into IMC accidents are “a major safety hazard within general aviation,” a fact clearly supported by accident statistics.

Fracture surfaces and control cable aopa accident case study vfr into imc were consistent with in-flight overload. Some other relationships uncovered by the current study were that older pilots were less likely to be involved in these types of accidents. Of course, higher-time pilots are more likely to be exposed to poor weather. As is often the case, the pilot intentionally presses on with a flight that clearly should be terminated due to deteriorating weather conditions.