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Old 05-18-2010, 03:13 PM   #1  
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Default Personal Minimums

As a new IFR pilot I thought I should decide on some personal minimums required for flight into actual IFR. This is what I came up with for now, I plan to slowly lower the minimums as I gain experience. (most of my IFR flying will be in a basic minimum 91.205 equipped C172. I did all my training in a glass cockpit, autopilot equipped SR20. This is why some of my minimums are so high, due to the fact that I don't have any of the aids in my C172 that I had in the SR20)

Clouds Takeoff Minimums: >= 1000ft AGL
Visibility: >= 3 Miles
Fuel: 1 Hour Reserve After Alternate
Alternate WX 1hr before/1 hr after ETA: >=1000ft AGL 3 Miles Visibility
Sleep: 6 Hours or >
Currency in A/C: 2 hours in last month
Destination Minimums: 1000ft AGL 2 miles Visibility 1 Hour Before/After ETA
Known Icing: Cancel
Thunderstorms or CB Clouds: Cancel

I'm still working on them now. What do you all think of them? Too high? Too low? Just right?
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Old 05-18-2010, 03:32 PM   #2  
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Default Other Considerations

Quote:
Originally Posted by WMU av8tor View Post
As a new IFR pilot I thought I should decide on some personal minimums required for flight into actual IFR. This is what I came up with for now, I plan to slowly lower the minimums as I gain experience. (most of my IFR flying will be in a basic minimum 91.205 equipped C172. I did all my training in a glass cockpit, autopilot equipped SR20. This is why some of my minimums are so high, due to the fact that I don't have any of the aids in my C172 that I had in the SR20)

Clouds Takeoff Minimums: >= 1000ft AGL
Visibility: >= 3 Miles
Fuel: 1 Hour Reserve After Alternate
Alternate WX 1hr before/1 hr after ETA: >=1000ft AGL 3 Miles Visibility
Sleep: 6 Hours or >
Currency in A/C: 2 hours in last month
Destination Minimums: 1000ft AGL 2 miles Visibility 1 Hour Before/After ETA
Known Icing: Cancel
Thunderstorms or CB Clouds: Cancel

I'm still working on them now. What do you all think of them? Too high? Too low? Just right?
Those are well thought out and very reasonable. What about night? Will that change your mins? What's your definition of known icing - a PIREP or Forecast. Thunderstorms can be isolated, scattered, or embedded sometimes you can weave around them, sometimes you can't.

Congratulations!
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Old 05-18-2010, 03:39 PM   #3  
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Those are well thought out and very reasonable. What about night? Will that change your mins? What's your definition of known icing - a PIREP or Forecast.

Congratulations!
I've never thought about night when making these! Would you say I should maybe add 500 ft and another mile on my minimums for night flight?

At WMU my CFI always told me to cancel if there were icing airmets/sigmets, PIREPS, or any other mention of ice along my route.
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Old 05-18-2010, 04:21 PM   #4  
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It is a very good start. The important thing is to adjust accordingly based on currency and proficiency with the aircraft you are flying.

I fly C172 and C182 aircraft regularly with the Civil Air Patrol. That said, if I'm solo in an aircraft that is not equipped with an autopilot, my own personal minimums preclude me from flying IMC at night when the weather is below 1000' and 3SM.

My minimums change on a sliding scale based on familiarity of airport/procedures/terrain, aircraft equipment and automation, day vs night, and the urgency of the trip. If there are factors that are pressing me to go (getthereitis), I automatically add 1/2 mile and 500' to my personal minimums.

The FAA has a good Advisory Circular and AOPA has some good training materials about creating personal minimums. As I stated before, one of the most important things to do is to continuously evaluate your minimums and adjust them accordingly. That said, your minimums should not change prior to a flight based on various factors affecting that flight (IE conveniently changing them to allow a "go" decision).
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:16 PM   #5  
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Originally Posted by WMU av8tor View Post

At WMU my CFI always told me to cancel if there were icing airmets/sigmets, PIREPS, or any other mention of ice along my route.
Yes. Ice and 172s don't mix.
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:19 PM   #6  
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Those are very good and well thought out minimums. More or less, they are what our school limits our students on for solo IFR cross countries. Although we determine "known ice" as visible moisture near or below freezing. So it could be OVC at 3,000 but 2 degrees at the surface and -4 aloft and we call that "known ice."

After one very bad encounter with ice, I have pretty strict personal limitation with ice - has to be forecasted 2 degrees above freezing at or above my maximum cruise. For instance, winds aloft are forecasted 3,6,9,12000 feet. So if I want to fly at 4,000 then the 6,000 has to be 2 degrees or higher throughout the entire route of flight AND forecasted period. I use to also have another part - the temperature ALSO had to be 2 degrees following standard lapse rate. So a flight at 5,000 feet would require it to be 12 degrees at the surface (10 degrees plus 2). With all that, I am VERY strict about ice. I don't even want to mess around.

Clouds and visibility? Generally I will go with just about anything. I'd like to have a "take off alternate" - that is an airport within 30 minutes that I am pretty sure I can get into. But if not, I say no lower than the highest minimum for the favoring runway. That way I have at least 2 systems to get in on if the airport is so equipped.

Like I said, I am MUCH more conservative about ice than clouds/visibility. I am much more confident in my IFR flying skills than I am in my iced airplane skills. In fact, skills really won't help too much when your aircraft is iced up. Therefore, I just avoid ice all together.

/soapbox
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:23 PM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snippercr View Post
Those are very good and well thought out minimums. More or less, they are what our school limits our students on for solo IFR cross countries. Although we determine "known ice" as visible moisture near or below freezing. So it could be OVC at 3,000 but 2 degrees at the surface and -4 aloft and we call that "known ice."

After one very bad encounter with ice, I have pretty strict personal limitation with ice - has to be forecasted 2 degrees above freezing at or above my maximum cruise. For instance, winds aloft are forecasted 3,6,9,12000 feet. So if I want to fly at 4,000 then the 6,000 has to be 2 degrees or higher throughout the entire route of flight AND forecasted period. I use to also have another part - the temperature ALSO had to be 2 degrees following standard lapse rate. So a flight at 5,000 feet would require it to be 12 degrees at the surface (10 degrees plus 2). With all that, I am VERY strict about ice. I don't even want to mess around.

Clouds and visibility? Generally I will go with just about anything. I'd like to have a "take off alternate" - that is an airport within 30 minutes that I am pretty sure I can get into. But if not, I say no lower than the highest minimum for the favoring runway. That way I have at least 2 systems to get in on if the airport is so equipped.

Like I said, I am MUCH more conservative about ice than clouds/visibility. I am much more confident in my IFR flying skills than I am in my iced airplane skills. In fact, skills really won't help too much when your aircraft is iced up. Therefore, I just avoid ice all together.

/soapbox
I wish WMU let students fly solo IFR flights. At WMU actual IFR flight is prohibited w/ out a CFI. We must have 3000ft and 5 miles to do a solo flight and less than a 10 kt crosswind.

That is a very reasonable system you have for ice. My CFI told me about a time he got a SR20 so iced up that he couldn't maintain altitude anymore, I plan to never have that happen to me!

My only reason for having a higher ceiling/visibility is that I have never done a approach before without the GPS and autopilot helping me (my cfi would yell at me if I tried doing a approach brief w/out the autopilot!) I anticipate my minimum ceilings/visibility to lower after some experience doing approaches without gps/autopilot aid.
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:25 PM   #8  
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Originally Posted by FlyerJosh View Post
The FAA has a good Advisory Circular and AOPA has some good training materials about creating personal minimums. As I stated before, one of the most important things to do is to continuously evaluate your minimums and adjust them accordingly. That said, your minimums should not change prior to a flight based on various factors affecting that flight (IE conveniently changing them to allow a "go" decision).
Yea, changing the minimums before a flight would defeat the purpose of minimums!
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:27 PM   #9  
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Thunderstorms can be isolated, scattered, or embedded sometimes you can weave around them, sometimes you can't.

Congratulations!
I noticed you added this on to your message after I replied to you, My CFI always told me to never even get near even a scattered thunderstorm unless equipped with wx radar on the plane.
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:03 PM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WMU av8tor View Post
I noticed you added this on to your message after I replied to you, My CFI always told me to never even get near even a scattered thunderstorm unless equipped with wx radar on the plane.
Well...it is a good thing that your CFI flies in a time when a lot of airplanes have such conveinences
He might not have flown much **back in the day**!

Thunderstorms are obviously a huge weather threat, but follow the well established rules for Thunderstorm avoidance and you'll do well without having to hamstring yourself to a point where you would never fly in certain parts of the country.

Are you sure he didn't say EMBEDDED THUNDERSTORMS?
Now those buggers! WOW!

USMCFLYR
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