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Actual IMC

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Do you need to be in a cloud to log actual or just in IFR conditions?

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2 Answers

  1. John D Collins on Oct 07, 2015

    61.51 specifies two categories for logging instrument flight time, actual instrument conditions and simulated instrument conditions. When you are using a view blocking device and require a safety pilot covers the simulated instrument conditions case.

    To log actual instrument conditions, the conditions must prevent you from being able to control the aircraft using visual outside references. Being inside a cloud is an example. Being 500 feet above a cloud deck in class E airspace, where the visibility is sufficient to control the aircraft using visual means, may be IMC, but since you can control the aircraft using the visual means, you can not log this time as actual instrument conditions. A counter example that I would consider actual instrument conditions would be flight on a moonless night, over the desert or mountains where there are no lights on the ground, and there is a high overcast blocking a view of the stars. In this situation, even if the visibility is 100 miles, you are unable to make out a horizon and need to be flying solely by reference to your instruments. I would log this time as actual instrument time.

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  2. Mark Kolber on Oct 08, 2015


    For an alternate explanation that really says the same thing, as yourself this question:

    You are flying at 4000 msl. There is an overcast 400 feet above you. Other than that overcast, there is not a cloud around. None below, And the visibility is 100 miles.You are definitely in IFR conditions.

    Forget the logging regs for a moment. Do you think the FAA would treat that as flight in “actual instrument conditions.”

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