Welcome Guest. Sign in or Signup

3 Answers

Inadvertent VFR into IMC

Asked by: 1552 views
Flight Instructor, Private Pilot, Student Pilot

When teaching the basic instrument flight maneuvers to a private pilot student do you advocate the 180 degree turn after entering IMC or do you use the 180 degree turn as a preventative measure and prefer the 5 C's (Control, Climb, Communicate, Confess, Comply)? I have seen a lot of opposing opinions from reputable sources. I'm in the process of writing the lesson plan and trying to decide which way to teach it.

Ace Any FAA Written Test!
Actual FAA Questions / Free Lifetime Updates
The best explanations in the business
Fast, efficient study.
Pass Your Checkride With Confidence!
FAA Practical Test prep that reflects actual checkrides.
Any checkride: Airplane, Helicopter, Glider, etc.
Written and maintained by actual pilot examiners and master CFIs.
The World's Most Trusted eLogbook
Be Organized, Current, Professional, and Safe.
Highly customizable - for student pilots through pros.
Free Transition Service for users of other eLogs.
Our sincere thanks to pilots such as yourself who support AskACFI while helping themselves by using the awesome PC, Mac, iPhone/iPad, and Android aviation apps of our sponsors.

3 Answers

  1. Mark Kolber on Oct 24, 2015

    The 180 is a basic maneuver since it returns you into the conditions that existed before you entered IMC and doesn\’t depend on knowledge of what is there if you don\’t make the turn. Straight ahead, smaller turns, climbs and descents all suffer from the same drawback – they all =assume= the maneuver will take you out of the clouds, which may or not be the case. And if not, we have a surprised and disoriented pilot who probably hasn\’t flown under the hood since his last FR (and maybe even not then). I\’m not sure wht they should do anything that doesn\’t involve a level turn back to visual (or straight ahead of the pilot is =certain=) that will get them out.

    Asking for help is always an option — and a good one — but the first step is to maintain control and get the heck out of there. I\’m not sure how trying to talk on the radio while climbing into the unknown helps.

    Now, the 180 s subject to a drawback – the ability to make that level turn despite all those years without the hood. But if the pilot can be instilled with the importance of that one maneuver, it might be something he or she practices with a friend in the right seat even if other hood work goes by the wayside.

    You didn\’t mention whether the airplane has an autopilot. If so, turning it on immediately can be a lifesaver in this situation even if the pilot never uses it otherwise.

    +2 Votes Thumb up 2 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  2. BJ Miller on Oct 29, 2015

    I personally think of the 5C’s as an emergency procedure. In other words, I’ve already descended as low as I know is safe and my 180 degree standard rate turn (executed separate from the descent) failed to get me out of IMC. As these first two steps represent the least cockpit intensive (and therefore hopefully safest) courses of action, I will always advocate for them first. I recommend setting a clock limit. If I’m not out of IMC within 30 seconds (or whatever you choose) of my 180/descent, then I’m immediately initiating 5C’s. If I were an average low hour VFR solo in this situation, I would argue that this constitutes and in flight emergency. I totally agree with Mark that the 180 degree, level, SRT should be emphasized as a means of safely escaping/avoiding this situation.

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  3. ssgplazmoid on Nov 05, 2015

    If there’s any doubt they can’t handle a standard rate turn then 180 degree turn using rudder only I think is prudent?

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

The following terms have been auto-detected the question above and any answers or discussion provided. Click on a term to see its definition from the Dauntless Aviation JargonBuster Glossary.

Answer Question

Our sincere thanks to all who contribute constructively to this forum in answering flight training questions. If you are a flight instructor or represent a flight school / FBO offering flight instruction, you are welcome to include links to your site and related contact information as it pertains to offering local flight instruction in a specific geographic area. Additionally, direct links to FAA and related official government sources of information are welcome. However we thank you for your understanding that links to other sites or text that may be construed as explicit or implicit advertising of other business, sites, or goods/services are not permitted even if such links nominally are relevant to the question asked.