What should VFR pilot do in conditions of IMC


IMC, this is one of the flight conditions that frighten VFR pilots the most, because of its insidious nature. So what to do when entering IMC during a VFR flight? There are multiple answers to this question based on the flight circumstances but there are also a few rules that if followed, can lead to a safe ending. 


Rule number 1

Follow your flight instruments. Unlike the human body that is not designed for flying, the instruments (ATT, HDG,BA, ecc indicators) are designed to guide the pilots in these situations. As was previously mentioned, the human body in not designed to fly and upon entering a meteorological condition where outer visual reference is lost, different information about our attitude are given to the brain thus creating this sensation of disorientation that most of the pilots have experienced when flying in IMC. 


Rule number 2

Stay calm. It can be very easy to let the panic enter your mind, but it is necessary for a pilot to stay calm also in dangerous and more stressful conditions. Just take a deep breath and maintain your mind lucid to make a good decision. 


Rule number 3

Leave the IMC condition. There are multiple ways, which can be found in the books that explain what to do, but one single thing is sure: If you go from VMC to IMC then just turn back making a 180 degrees turn, or stop the climb, and descend to your previous altitude, or stop the descend; basically the 3 rules tell us to just go back to the point where the sun was shining.



If for some reason we are forced or we cannot exit IMC conditions, we still have many “cards to play”. Most of the airplanes, also if used for VFR flights are equipped with some means of navigational equipment under the form of VOR, GPS, ADF etc. Those instruments of course have to be used to find a way back home. Now the question arises, which home? Where should I go? In this case, a good judgment can make all the difference.


Try to maintain the airplane stable without forgetting to fly 1st, then navigate and then communicate, and try to select the best option for you. Do not forget to use all the available information before making a decision, for example the help that the air traffic controller can give is essential.


With heading, terrain, airspaces, meteorological conditions, traffic information, the ATC having a bigger picture of the situation can give the pilot some good clues. So when facing some difficulties it is good airmanship to remain calm, firstly fly the airplane, analyze the problem, create solutions, and make a final decision. Fly safe.


Source: R. Iannaccone, instructor Flying Academy, Foto: Wiki

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