Flight Training - April 2011 - 34

CLIMB!

COMMUNICATE!

and deadly—accidents result from VFR flights that continue into IMC. One could logically conclude that the training these accident pilots received in preparation for an IMC encounter was insufficient; or the skills achieved were not retained or reviewed frequently enough to be useful when they were needed. Unless a pilot decides to proceed to instrument training after receiving his or her pilot certificate, typically very little additional time, effort, or thought is given to improving or even maintaining the meager instrument skills obtained during primary flight training. Unfortunately, the next time a newly minted pilot dons a hood to simulate IMC may very well be during a flight review some 24 months later. But even the flight review’s one-hour minimum flight training requirement does not stipulate that any instrument training be provided. The FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook reminds us that a pilot whose instrument skills have eroded will lose control of the airplane in about 10 minutes upon entering IMC. Flight instructors often advocate a 180-degree turn as the first line of defense upon encountering IMC. It is much more appropriate to consider the 180-degree turn an avoidance maneuver—not an escape tool. In the history of aviation, there has never been a case where IMC has suddenly snuck up on, overtaken, and completely enveloped an airplane without warning. Instead, it is the pilot who, through poor judgment, chooses to continue flying into the IMC. Once
34 / FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

encountering IMC, making a 180-degree turn is unwise if the pilot has been attempting to maintain VFR by descending lower and lower until the presence of terrain and/or obstacles prevented any further descent. Accomplishing a 180-degree turn at this time, without losing altitude, is challenging to a pilot facing intense anxiety and workload. Even worse would be a pilot’s decision to descend further, in spite of the knowledge that terrain exists immediately below. So, make your 180-degree turn well before getting into IMC. Failing that, a much safer course of action once IMC has been encountered is to aggressively escape the immediate danger by executing the “Four Cs." If you’ve allowed very poor judgment to get you into this mess, successfully executing these four Cs can and will get you safely out of it.
CLIMB! Begin climbing immediately to a

a trained instrument pilot would have difficulty recovering. Focus all of your attention on maintaining a wings-level attitude as you apply full power and climb. Don’t look at sectional charts or reference manuals as a means of determining your location or what ATC facility to contact. Digging for charts or information only distracts you from successfully accomplishing the only task that really matters right now—flying the airplane. If you are fortunate enough to be equipped with a reliable autopilot system, activate it to climb on a steady heading.
COMMUNICATE! All you need to recall are

safe altitude, even if this means remaining in IMC. Climbing puts as much distance as possible between you and the ground which, as an added benefit, increases your chances of obtaining effective assistance from ATC. VHF radio communications and radar services require line-of-sight capability to be useful, and these are precisely the two types of immediate assistance of which you are in desperate need. Avoid, at all costs, the natural temptation to begin looking out the windows to reacquire visual cues. Gazing out the windows almost guarantees entering an extreme unusual attitude from which even

the two emergency numbers your instructor was so adamant that you memorize: 7700 and 121.5. No matter where you are in the United States (almost), these two numbers will get you the most immediate and effective help. And now that you are climbing to a higher altitude, squawking 7700 on the transponder and selecting 121.5 MHz in the communications radio will provide you the quickest access to the help you need. Even if you are located in a remote area with few ATC facilities near your position, every airliner coursing the skies above you is monitoring 121.5, leaving very little chance that no one will hear your plea for help. If you don’t receive an immediate response to your first calls, don’t panic—just keep climbing; each additional foot of altitude you gain will increase your chances of being heard, and observed on radar. Don't allow your attempts at communication to distract you from your

STEVE KARP


http://FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

Flight Training - April 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - April 2011

Flight Training - April 2011
Contents
President’s Perspective
Right Seat
Flight Forum
The View from Down Low
This Weekend
Tech Tip What It Looks Like News
Training Products ASI News
AOPA Action
Since You Asked
Final Exam
Member Products
Success Story
News Member Products
Insights
Flying Carpet
REVVING UP THE REVIEW
EXIT STRATEGY
TECHNIQUE
Weather
Accident Report
Flight Lesson
Flight Deck Roles
Career Advisor
Career Pilot News
The Owner/Mechanic
Male Students
Say What?
Advertiser Index
Debrief
Flight Training - April 2011 - Flight Training - April 2011
Flight Training - April 2011 - Cover2
Flight Training - April 2011 - Contents
Flight Training - April 2011 - 2
Flight Training - April 2011 - 3
Flight Training - April 2011 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - April 2011 - 5
Flight Training - April 2011 - Right Seat
Flight Training - April 2011 - 7
Flight Training - April 2011 - Flight Forum
Flight Training - April 2011 - 9
Flight Training - April 2011 - The View from Down Low
Flight Training - April 2011 - 11
Flight Training - April 2011 - This Weekend
Flight Training - April 2011 - Tech Tip What It Looks Like News
Flight Training - April 2011 - Training Products ASI News
Flight Training - April 2011 - AOPA Action
Flight Training - April 2011 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - April 2011 - 17
Flight Training - April 2011 - Final Exam
Flight Training - April 2011 - Member Products
Flight Training - April 2011 - Success Story
Flight Training - April 2011 - News Member Products
Flight Training - April 2011 - Insights
Flight Training - April 2011 - 23
Flight Training - April 2011 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - April 2011 - 25
Flight Training - April 2011 - REVVING UP THE REVIEW
Flight Training - April 2011 - 27
Flight Training - April 2011 - 28
Flight Training - April 2011 - 29
Flight Training - April 2011 - 30
Flight Training - April 2011 - 31
Flight Training - April 2011 - EXIT STRATEGY
Flight Training - April 2011 - 33
Flight Training - April 2011 - 34
Flight Training - April 2011 - 35
Flight Training - April 2011 - TECHNIQUE
Flight Training - April 2011 - 37
Flight Training - April 2011 - Weather
Flight Training - April 2011 - 39
Flight Training - April 2011 - 40
Flight Training - April 2011 - 41
Flight Training - April 2011 - Accident Report
Flight Training - April 2011 - 43
Flight Training - April 2011 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - April 2011 - Flight Deck Roles
Flight Training - April 2011 - Career Advisor
Flight Training - April 2011 - 47
Flight Training - April 2011 - Career Pilot News
Flight Training - April 2011 - The Owner/Mechanic
Flight Training - April 2011 - 50
Flight Training - April 2011 - Say What?
Flight Training - April 2011 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - April 2011 - 53
Flight Training - April 2011 - 54
Flight Training - April 2011 - 55
Flight Training - April 2011 - Debrief
Flight Training - April 2011 - Cover3
Flight Training - April 2011 - Cover4
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