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HeliTorque :: View topic - Should PPLs be taught to fly on instruments?
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HeliTorque Forum Index » Instructor Forum

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Should PPLs be taught to fly on instruments? Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
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Should PPL(H) candidates be taught instrument flying?
no - it inspires over-confidence
15%
 15%  [ 5 ]
yes - it is a useful familiarisation that could save lives
51%
 51%  [ 17 ]
an hour or so as a familiarisation only
33%
 33%  [ 11 ]
Voted : 23
Total Votes : 33
This poll does not expire

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DBChopper
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 11:05 am    Post subject: Should PPLs be taught to fly on instruments? Reply with quote

There is a thought-provoking article by Pat Malone in the current issue of the AOPA UK magazine, General Aviation, citing investigations by Richard Mornington-Sanford (an engineer and helicopter instructor who runs the UK Robinson Flight Safety Course) into causes of recent helicopter accidents. In this piece the suggestion is made that PPL(H) students should not be taught basic instrument flying skills, on the grounds that the five hours of instruction and a pass in the skills test, effectively confirming their skill in this (and other) discipline, gives the fledgling PPL(H) over-confidence in flying into IMC, leading to avoidable accidents.

As the holder of a CAA PPL(H), I have never received such training and I'm unlikely to until I embark on my CPL course. I'm interested in what you instructors think about the subject, and indeed anyone else who happens across this post?
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a can of worms.

Is this flying to be included in the same hours for the licence?, If so, which part of the syllabus gets dropped? When the minimum was set, it was the absolute minimum for the Ace From Space to do the training in one continuous course. PPLs that I have seen could use twice as much training.

And how many schools have an instrument-fitted trainer? In Oz, they are pretty rare. Then you need an instrument-qualified instructor.

Make it a post-graduate add-on, or lengthen the course.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2005 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Over here we have to do 5 hours instrument flight as part of the JAA PPL(H). I assume DB, you got your licence before this rule came about (I don't know exacltly how long it's been like that but both WhirlyGuy and myself had to do it).

WhirlyGirl Cool

P.S. Just 'cause I've done it, I wouldn't just go and fly into cloud to "try it out".
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I assume DB, you got your licence before this rule came about


That's right. I did my training over 1999/2000 on a 40hr CAA course (ok, it took me 42hrs...) and there was no instrument input at all. It seems a massive jump from zero to five hours instrument input.

In the article Dick Sanford makes a further point that we in the UK spend many hours training for the engine failure that is statistically unlikely to happen, rather than for an off-airfield landing into a confined space due to weather, that is more likely to.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 6:34 pm    Post subject: Instrument flying Reply with quote

Hi All,

Who listens to those at the coal face!

I am rated to teach instrument appreciation and use this to explain the dangers of losing visual references. The problem with flying in artificial conditions, ie under the hood, is that you actually have some visual reference. The reality is completely different when in cloud.

I do not think this should be part of a PPL H, but was informed that the JAA thought that if a pilot inadvertently entered cloud he should be able to execute a 180 degree turn and exit the cloud. What a load of rubbish!

Most students fly immaculately under the hood but would lose control if they went into cloud.

You cannot accidently fly into cloud, you can carelessly or stupidly do it if you have a death wish!

I tell students who have fantastic lives not to throw it all away trying to be an airline pilot, in an unstable aircraft, with little and inadequate knowledge.

Finally, do not copy other pilots - they may have a lot more experience than you!

Dick Sanford is correct in my opinion.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simon, I have to disagree with your point about stupidity, unless you're absolutely insistent that I am stupid!!

Once, on leaving Shoreham with a soft mention of possible sea fog rolling in, and while the tower were happily giving take-off clearances to all aircraft, I carried on off the end of the field, noticing that there was a fog over the sea, which looked far enough away not to cause a problem

Having then travelled no more than a mile, we were indeed in IIMC, and had to use instruments to get out of it.

Knowing that other aircraft were coming up behind us off the same runway, we could not do the standard 180 turn and just head straight back in, for fear of a head-on with another aircraft.

This fog looked very low, and far out over the sea, and nowhere near us.

I used to tell people that it must be impossible to fly into cloud without knowing it.....until this happened.

And I don't consider myself stupid...far from it.

Thinking about it, if I had not been tought to fly on instruments, at least to do the 180 turn, I wonder if I would have been alive today....so yes, I think we should all be taught it.

It's like saying: "most students couldn't cope with a real engine failure, and the likelyhood is so small, why bother teaching them to do autos". Again, I would totally disagree!
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 7:45 pm    Post subject: Instruments Reply with quote

Hi Adam

Let's not get personal, I am only expressing my opinion.

Light Helis are unstable and Somatogravic illusions will catch people out, have a look at the attached link.

You were not taught to fly on instruments only appreciate them, instrument flying is a 55 hour course on a sim and twin; plus tech exams first.

My IR fixed wing at London Poly in 1985 was extremely difficult.

Once acquired instrument flying skills needs every day practise.

I fly every day but would never fly IMC in a Robinson, its not equipped for it.

My opinion is that most students would not react quickly enough in a real engine failure situation - that is not to say you wouldn't.

Regards

blme

http://www.spatiald.wpafb.af.mil/Videos.aspx
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2005 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe you're reading my message too seriously, or being influenced by what's happening in another post, to do with my posts....I wasn't getting personal at all.

"my opinion" is that instructors wouldn't be teaching these basic procedures if it was totally unnecessary.

I honestly don't believe that you have to be stupid to end up in IMC. You can, honestly, get caught out by the weather. I believe I did!

A.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there,

Just wanted to quickly put in my two penneths worth!
Personally (whether I am right in thinking this or not I don't know) I can't understand having to do 5 hours of Instrument Training when on a PPL you aren't allowed to enter into IMC. I think a good understanding and a couple of quick lessons are definitely in order but not sure if I agree with a full 5 hours though.

I for one would always try to do my best to never get anywhere near to being able to entering IMC and as such so far haven't. As to whether someone can inadvertently enter into these conditions then to tell the truth I just don't know as with only 60 or so hours in hand at the R22 I can't for definite say that it would never happen. I think from my flying and knowledge of flying is that if it is going to happen at all then it would be when a pilot has less hours than one that has more and could maybe possibly happen with a recently qualified pilot if they were to get under a lot of pressure and maybe were being given instructions to hold clear of somewhere then got confused as to their position and things got too much for them. I can see how it might (stress the might) happen then.

I think that if a student has been taught by a good school and instructor [like I was (will collect the money later Simon!!!! lol Smile )] then they will be fully aware of what to look out for and if conditions were to worsen then they should be able to have been taught enough to understand as to whether or not to carry on or to turn around.

I remember once coming back from (I think it was Biggin Hill?) with BLME after we had gone down in a 44 with another Instructor and 1 other for them to pick up their Citation and for myself and BLME to fly the R44 back to base at Wellesbourne. On our way back the weather turned pretty nasty (lots of rain) and so we detoured to Denham and landed to wait for it to pass. Excuse my ignorance at this but am not too sure whether this would have constituted flying IMC as we would not have been flying by instruments alone. We could see where we were going but the vis was not at all the best and it would have been a fairly bumpy ride. I remember at the time when BLME said that we should divert to Denham that this was the right choice to make. I think that if you are in any doubt at all then you should either turn back or divert around as if you decide to carry on then you run the risk of the weather getting much worse and you could get in to a situation that you might later regret.

I think for me the worst thing that could happen is that if it did progress to much worse weather then not so much the problem of IMC as again I don't think we were fully IMC but more the problem of losing your visual references of towns, cities, landmarks etc as they would probably look very very different as to what we are usually used to. I think that this kind of flying should be left to the professionals and people who have had a lot more experience as I would say from what I have seen is that it needs that expertise to be able to carry out this kind of flying suitably well.

Sorry if I blabbed on a bit there, just wanted to get my end in as it were.
I do agree that no one person can ever be right in anything as nothing is set in stone (apart from the rules of course) but that certain areas do take more to learn than others and should be treated with respect. Like anyone who has ever worked with electricity (as I have) then you know that you are not God and should treat all things man made or other with respect.

Saying all that - Fly well and have fun at it!

P.S. On a side note it is definitely possible for an R44 to outrun a Citation aircraft. I made the joke that we would beat the Citation back to Wellesbourne and even with our divert we still did!!!! Smile
Admittedly they found some very minor problem with the aircraft and so had to wait for an engineer to sort it out but we did still beat them. A couple of smiles from us but not from them unfortunately. Smile

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Certainly an interesting topic, and I'm split really in what I think. JAA obviously want pilots to have some appreciation of instrument flight - rightly or wrongly, it gives one a full appreciation of all the instruments (HSI I guess being the one that isn't used much under VMC). But, as Mr Sanford and Mr BLME suggest, this appreciation means that non-IR pilots may take more risks because of it. That then, is clearly dangerous.

As for "inadvertantly" entering IMC, I also did, once, briefly. But, that statement really needs to be qualified with the circumstances! Climbing out of Nottingham, to a low cloud base, we simply climbed into cloud because, I guess, we were distracted by talking about something else. "We" in this case, would be me and instructor. (So perhaps it could have been instructor testing me to see if I'd do anything about it) I have no doubt that with the weather conditions that day, I wouldn't have been P1 - only because I was out with a far more experienced pilot did I fly.

WhirlyGuy - by the sound of it, you weren't IMC - you were "clear of cloud and in sight of surface".

On the subject, it was an interesting ride back from Helitech last Wednesday evening - we were on the ground 5-10 minutes after sunset, and with the weather that evening, you can imagine how gloomy that was!

As we were flying towards the weather, we could see the cloud base ever so gradually lowering as we flew further west. But that cloud base was a good 2000ft or so. That raises a question - obviously one wouldn't want to be out in worsening weather, but is it better to fly towards the poor weather, so you can see what's happening? Or away from it, where it might creep up on you? (Would it ever? I don't suppose it happens that fast does it?)
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
but is it better to fly towards the poor weather, so you can see what's happening? Or away from it, where it might creep up on you?


I guess that is one of those "it depends" questions...

- on what the weather in question is: cold front / warm front, CBs, strength of wind and any precipitation;

- speed at which the weather is travelling;

- type of aircraft, its speed and equipment;

- experience and qualifications of the pilot;

- distance left to travel...

...and so on and so on. In the circumstances you describe, James, everything sounded perfectly under control. You were aware of the forecast, the actual weather, the cloudbase and your minimum safe height and it was obvious to you that you not only had room to manouever, but also time to consider it. I guess it's normally not the weather that causes the danger, but the thought processes (or lack of them) that lead to flying into it.

My thoughts last Wednesday, which led to me driving to Helitech rather than flying, were that if the fronts came in as fast as expected I would be feeling a touch of get-home-itis as time ticked on. As it turned out, I'd have made it safely in loads of time, but I'd rather blame the BBC forecaster for making me cancel a trip unnecessarily than become a news item just before the weather... Wink
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with BLME.

Instrument appreciation shouldn't be on a ppl syllabus. Without the appreciation would you even consider flying on a day with incoming fog or low cloud? Sadly the five hours seems to be viewed as a get out of jail free card for weather when in effect what JAA wanted to show was that flying fully IMC in an unstabilised light helicopter is extremely difficult with the instructor ensuring the student knows it's foolish and dangerous.

Foggles are no where near an accurate representation of what it's like. If you fancy a more accurate experience speak to one of the Ir training companies with a simulator and get the full grey cockpit sensation.

Inadvertant IMC still makes me laugh. The weather doesn't creep up on you! Initial PPL training teaches you to use the horizon as the visual cue to keep aircraft attitude and heading. When that horizon 'disappears' then difficulties are on their way Sad I fly SPIFR onshore in A109's and S76's I always know when I'm going IMC and if the pre flight planning leads me to believe I might be going IMC then I'll be planning for that to happen before I get airborne

The Inexperienced press on, passing the experienced who've turned back to go see the most experienced who didn't take off in the first place.

Also bear in mind that a new ppl instructor will only have about 15-20 simulated IMC hours themselves.

If you're still in doubt about the extra pressure sof IMC flying (IFR is a different matter again) then I suggest you have a very good read of the AAIB report recently released concernign the SA365 at Morecombe bay and then see just how rapidly it can go wrong even for an experienced two crew flight.

See you at Redhill next time DB (26th Nov I think)

FW
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is DB still with us? We haven't seen him around here for such a long time!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know alot of instructors who wouldn't teach the 5 hours instrument, however the reason they do it is because of the JAA PPL Syllabus. I personally think that the 5 hours should be spend on poor weather navigation and training pilot's to land in a field when the weather gets crap (which people seem reluctent to do).

Just my opinion.

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