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VMC flight into IMC

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I am sure a lot of folks on here have had similar experiences ..... not because of them but bad moves by customers who absolutely had to get something done...I have had more than my share...pucker factor 10....and most would not try and push pilots again after getting the **** scared out of them!

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14 hours ago, DGP said:

I am sure a lot of folks on here have had similar experiences ..... not because of them but bad moves by customers who absolutely had to get something done...I have had more than my share...pucker factor 10....and most would not try and push pilots again after getting the **** scared out of them!

I hear what you are saying. I’m sure most pilots have experienced the pucker factor on several occasions. I know I have for a variety of reasons. With that being said, I don’t recall finding myself in aN extended zero visibility situation in a VFR aircraft. I generally used decision making to avoid zero visibility, turned back or landed first. It often requires being assertive with clients. Low level IFR in a VFR aircraft is a deadly situation.

I agree with you, that there is a very good possibility that pressure got him into the situation. It’s not clear whether where the pressure came from. Could be client, could operator, could even be self imposed (Which is quite common). I also understand that Our industry, is unlike most fixed wing. Quite frankly, the pressure to pick up clients in the bush At the end of the day, in subzero environments, with shortened daylight Hours is a reality that can’t be denied (and rarely occurs in other segments of aviation)....although that doesn’t appear to be the case here.

its also possible that overconfidence and normalization Of deviance  got him into this situation. Something that is also quite common. Maybe he’s been in this situation before without suffering any consequences and received positive feedback. There is just not enough details to know.

Regardless, the Aeronautics Act and the law clearly puts the legal responsibility on the Pilot-in-COMMAND to operate safely, ensure weather meets minimums and avoid IMC in a VFR aircraft (not clients).

So , legally,, it was “because of him”. 

An attitude that passes the buck to others, does not install confidence that the pilot is in COMMAND, and is one that is more likely to lead to tragic consequences.

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I will take a wild guess here on what we do know...buddy is by himself heading to Manhattan....somebody there probably owned the ship and said I need to be picked up...so our hero says he will give it a try...when he first contacts JFK he is around 400 ft and varying up to 700 ft so ceilings were not too bad but vis was probably not very nice. He is an IFR pilot but flying around in a VFR jetbox he probably wasn't doing regular ifr trips...he finally decides to throw in the towel and turn around...looks like the fog trapped him and I am surprised how calm this guy stays as you watch  him flying around in circles...this also surprises me..not what you want to do in the clag...hold a heading..keep that horizon level....get some altitude...he was cleared to 1000 ft....sounds to me he was trying to stay vfr which he already told atc that he couldn't see ****. Not sure why he would want to descend if you are already ifr. I am sure he had lot of pressure from his boss to get over and pick him up....the line I usually got  was ...I absolutely have to get from point A to point B...didn't matter how ****** the weather was....if you didn;t give it a try you would be on the short list to get canned....I could go into details of some of the similar trips I had to do...I have already posted other trips I did with folks that had to get there...one really stands out when this passenger is screaming like a little girl and grabbing my left arm yelling WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO!!!! I calmly said ...first thing...stop yelling in the mic and second...let go of my arm...I am flying here DUDE...and calm down!

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15 hours ago, DGP said:

I will take a wild guess here on what we do know...buddy is by himself heading to Manhattan....somebody there probably owned the ship and said I need to be picked up...so our hero says he will give it a try...when he first contacts JFK he is around 400 ft and varying up to 700 ft so ceilings were not too bad but vis was probably not very nice. He is an IFR pilot but flying around in a VFR jetbox he probably wasn't doing regular ifr trips...he finally decides to throw in the towel and turn around...looks like the fog trapped him and I am surprised how calm this guy stays as you watch  him flying around in circles...this also surprises me..not what you want to do in the clag...hold a heading..keep that horizon level....get some altitude...he was cleared to 1000 ft....sounds to me he was trying to stay vfr which he already told atc that he couldn't see ****. Not sure why he would want to descend if you are already ifr. I am sure he had lot of pressure from his boss to get over and pick him up....the line I usually got  was ...I absolutely have to get from point A to point B...didn't matter how ****** the weather was....if you didn;t give it a try you would be on the short list to get canned....I could go into details of some of the similar trips I had to do...I have already posted other trips I did with folks that had to get there...one really stands out when this passenger is screaming like a little girl and grabbing my left arm yelling WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO!!!! I calmly said ...first thing...stop yelling in the mic and second...let go of my arm...I am flying here DUDE...and calm down!

Thats one plausible theory.
 

Getting canned without cause is better than getting canned with cause.Also no job is worth dying for. The accident stats in our industry clearly demonstrate that low level flight into IMC with a VFR helicopter is high risk.

i know hindsight is 20/20, but If we carry on with your speculation,: After Violating regs and destroying an aircraft and almost killing himself, his employer now has every right to fire him. He’s also liable in civil litigation and could be charged..

So, turning back (or landing) while still VFR /reduced visibility would have the right call; fired or not. the metar was 1/2 mile visibility and 300 feet when he called in. Still legally flyable with the correct training, but on the bottom visibility  limit. He also knew he had to fly out over the water, which increased risk. I suspect the zero visibility just didn’t come out of nowhere. He likely made a conscious decision to enter the cloud/fog. Perhaps it closed in behind him after that, but had stayed VFR, that would have reduced that  that risk significantly.

We’ll have to see if any details from NTSB are released in the future.

learn from the mistakes of others; you won’t live long enough to make them all yourself.

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To be clear, I’m not judging the pilot. We don’t know any of these details, and it’s just speculation.
 

You are right there could be wide variety of systemic and organizational factors that led him to this situation. If management pressured him o fly, then they are also complicit and should be held to account. There are mechanisms for this also.
With that being said, ultimately under the law the PIC carries the final say and responsibility. Something that everyone should consider when making these decisions.
The only true way to prevent these type of accidents is through awareness. Discussions like this amongst pilots, might just save a colleague’s life one day.

 

 

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I am guessing it is only going to get worse with everything that is going on now...as someone on here said the owners will be reminding pilots of the stack of resumes sitting on the chief pilots desk! With bills to pay and mouths to feed...well you can see how this thing goes.

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Would probably be something like  the time I headed north out of Churchill heading for Eskimo Point in March ....overcast with snow...very very white! Pretty sure I have told that story already.

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