Pilot's tip of the week

VMC to IMC Transition


Subscriber question:

"What's the best way to transition from VMC (visual meteorological conditions) to IMC (instrument meteorological conditions) when flying IFR?" - Alan F.


“Sometimes turning that mental switch from flying VFR to flying IFR can be tricky. It is not uncommon to try to continue flying by visual reference when there are not adequate references available.

VMC to IMCThis is especially dangerous when departing into low ceilings and visibilities. It is common for a pilot to attempt to maintain visual references as he climbs into the clouds. In so doing, he leans forward toward the windshield and inadvertently moves the yoke slightly forward causing the airplane to descend. Since the pilot is trying to look outside, he does not notice the descent until too late. This has been the cause of many accidents.

The same problem can occur going from IFR to VFR on a low visibility approach. Sometimes there is just not enough visual reference to operate VFR safely. This problem has caused pilots to land in the approach lights.

So if you find yourself straining to see out and leaning toward that windscreen, that’s a good time to get right back on those gauges and keep that attitude where you want it.”

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