Topic Author
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2001 3:44 pm

Flying IFR

Sat Aug 11, 2001 2:06 pm

How can IFR flying be explained to a person who has no knowledge of flying. How about that. To go from A to B you fly through a series of waypoints who have a heading from your position, a frequency, and a direction. I'm not a pilot, and this is as clear as I can come up. Can anyone make it any easier or i'm totally out of line. Thanks.
Posts: 173
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2001 11:07 am

RE: Flying IFR

Sat Aug 11, 2001 2:09 pm

With IFR you can fly through clouds and reduced visibility. With VFR (visual flight rules) you can't. Both still use headings, freq's and directions. I hope this is what you wanted to know.  Smile
Topic Author
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2001 3:44 pm

RE: Flying IFR

Sat Aug 11, 2001 3:12 pm

What is it exactly that can make a pilot fly thru clouds that a private one can't. Is it a particular instrument on the panel or what?

RE: Flying IFR

Sat Aug 11, 2001 11:22 pm

Here's a little article that will show you why an IFR could save your life.

178 seconds

If you're ever tempted to take off in marginal weather and have no instrument training, read this article first before you go. If you decide to go anyway and lose visual contact start counting down from 178 seconds.

How long can a pilot who has no instrument training expect to live after he flies into bad weather and loses visual contact? Researchers at the University of Illinois found the answer to this question. Twenty students "guinea pigs" flew into simulated instrument weather, and all went into graveyard spirals or rollercoasters. The outcome differed in only one respect: the time required till control was lost. The interval ranged from 480 seconds to 20 seconds. The average time was 178 seconds - two seconds short of three minutes:

Here's the scenario...
The sky is overcast and the visibility poor. That reported 5-mile visibility looks more like two, and you can't judge the height of the overcast. Your altimeter says you're at 1500 but your map tells you there's local terrain as high as 1200 feet. There might even be a tower nearby because you're not sure just how far off course you are. But you've flown into worse weather than this, so you press on.

You find yourself unconsciously easing back on the controls to clear those none-too-imaginary towers. With no warning you're into the soup. You peer so hard into the milky white mist that your eyes hurt. You fight the feeling in your stomach. You swallow, only to find your mouth dry. Now you realize you should have waited for better weather. The appointement was important, but not that important. Somewhere a voice is saying "You've had it - it's all over!"

You now have 178 seconds to live. Your aircraft feels on an even keel but your compass truns slowly. You push a little rudder and add a litle pressure on the control to stop the turn but this feels unnatural and you return the controls to their original position. This feels better but your compass is now turning a little faster and your airspeed is increasing slightly. You scan yuor instrument panel for help but what you see looks somewhat unfamilliar. You're sure this is just a bad spot. You'll break out in a few minutes. (But you don't have several minutes left...)

You now have 100 seconds to live. You glance at your altimeter and you are shocked to see it unwinding. You're already down to 1200 feet. Instinctively, you pull back on the control but the altimeter still unwinds. The engine is into the red - and the airspeed nearly so.

You have 45 seconds to live. Now you're sweating and shaking. There must be something wrong with the controls; pulling back only move that airspeed indicator further into the red. You can hear the wind tearing at the aircraft.

You have 10 seconds to live. Suddenly, you see the ground. The trees rush up at you. You can see the horizon if you turn your head far enough, but it's at an unusual angle - you're almost inverted. You open your mouth to scream but... have no seconds left


Posts: 1066
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2007 1:29 pm

RE: Flying IFR

Sat Aug 11, 2001 11:49 pm

Ziggy said it simply but very well. IFR flying means the pilot uses no outside visual references to fly the airplane except on takeoff and landing.

There are flight instruments that the pilot looks at by way of a "scan", meaning he/she looks at them all in a set pattern of one after the other. Without an autopilot it can get tiring very quickly, but is necessary to keep the airplane flying properly and on track to its destination.

The traditional cluster of 6 instruments goes like this:

Top group, left to right: Airspeed Indicator, Attitude Indicator (sometimes referred to as an artificial horizon), Altimeter;

Bottom group, left to right: Turn Needle and Inclinometer (ball), Heading Indicator, Vertical Speed Indicator.

Those are the basic flight instruments. There are others which can integrate into the displays, or must be referred to separately to determine your navigation performance.

Hope that makes sense.

Best Regards,


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