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Good Training Idea

Cliffy, might be time to change your handle to "scrambledguy".... or "poachedguy"... 8)
Steve, I was thinking, he should burn his pilot certificate and give his Supercub to me, since I don't live to far from him :lol:
Yes it is one reason lurkers don't post. I went back and re-read Cliff's post, and without the additional details, I think we have been a little quick to judge Cliff, and his instructor. His instructor may have done this exercise 10,000 times, and Cliff might be exaggerating how low he was. It also might have been a full moon, etc, etc, etc.

Now the guy that taped the newspaper to the windows.... holy cats... you are supposed to use SECTIONALS for that!

Having known Cliff for almost 23 years I can unequivocally state that he enjoys every minute of a spirited argument.

In fact, I think that sums up the last 23 years. :lol:
I have never met cliff ,but after seeing some of his posts asked a buddy who lives closer about him.He said he knew who he was and was getting lot's of training and had been taking lessons with a very good taildragger instructor.I don't know who he flew with out of portland and don't know what that night flight consisted of,but isnt that what pilots hire an instructor for? It was'nt like he tried this on his own.During my first year of flying,i assumed flight instructors were god's and probably would have tried anything they suggested.I have heard good things about cliff and the opinion he was going above and beyond normal training in taildraggers.Heck,i still have never got any taildragger training.Recently a flight instructor asked me for some tailwheel training,and to strengthen his short field techniques.Shows you what little a few instructors know,if they want pointers from me.
Well that was a good read!!

Good thing I grew up with three brothers. I take no offense at any of the posts. I am here to learn & have some fun along the way.

It was a clear night – no problems being low – the instructor had everything under control.

I could get instrument rated – that takes time which I do not have – for now I have a better idea of what I am apt to be dealing with if I do get into IMC. So I would say this flying lesson was a good one to have taken.

I am sure there are some of you out there who are not instrument rated who might be shocked at what it’s like flying under the hood at night – I highly recommend such a flying lesson as the one I took.

Have a good night.
Cliff in Maine
Hey Cliff,

Good for you getting some dual from a instructor is a airplane that he knows in a area he knows. I could tell lots of tales about how I taught myself low level night IFR when I was younger in a nonIFR, nonlighted plane....but if these innernet experts are crucifying you for what you did, I can't even amagine what they would do to me..... Fuck them all, stay safe and keep learning.
T.J. said:
He was on a VFR flight. Does IFR minimums apply? Show me.

Did anyone *say* IFR minumums apply? Show me

Running into something you couldn't see in an airplane is usually bad, whether you're IFR or VFR. Surely even you can grasp that?
Umm, Aalexander, did you read the part about that it was clear skies, and did you note there's no mention of the instructor being denied the privilege of looking outside? Towers and such have lights, you know - - - I'm 100% with Cliff. And TJ, even. TJ, you do write with a certain pithy eloquence that nobody could ever successfully mimic!

When I was working on my private my instructor would take us way out in the country on black nights with NO lights on the ground. He would put my cub through several turns and climbs while I had my head down then give me the plane and let me try to recover. There was no way to cheat and no hood was needed. I tried to fly upside down several times and learned several great lessons. Years later all that training paid off when following the very same instructor in crappy vfr in a pair of maules and all of a sudden his cloud grey maule disappeared about 200 yards ahead of me.

I learned a Maule will out turn just about anything in a pinch even if your suffering from the worst raw oyster/red beer hangover ever cuz there was no way I was going in after him.

It all ended well, he found me circling a local water tower and we still had a key to the room which is where we went to take a nap while the weather and our heads improved.

Lesson Learned!!

Good training idea

Cliff, thanks for the interesting post, and for making us think.
It reminds me of one of my flights with a favorite instructor...who I always said "came from the old school"
I was fulfilling the requirement that even limited commercial pilots needed 10 hours of instrument instruction...so we were up checking on my "proficiency".
It was day VFR ...and we were doing unusual attitude recoveries under the hood as I recall (it was over 20 years ago)...and it was time to head back.
He told me to "Find the airport and do an approach to 31."
Runway 31 was a ILS runway...and our plane was fully equipped for IFR.
I wasn't...but it was.
Anyway....with much effort, I managed to keep us in the geographical confines of the state that I live in....actually set the AC up for the ILS to 31...and finally established myself on the glideslope to the runway.
Well...as things go...things started piling up and slight distractions were occupying me...but we were getting "close in"...and I was waiting for my instructor to give me permission to go around or land....when he said to "lift up your hood and orient yourself".
Well...as you probably guessed already...the only thing I saw out the windshield was a line of trees in front of us...and we we were well below the tops :)
But in my defense...they were right on the centerline of the approach course :)
Lesson learned.....even with an AC equipped with all the bells and whistles, my 10 hours of instrument time was probably barely enough to keep me upright in a cloud...let alone any actual excursion into IFR conditions, even accidentally.
So....I'm a believer...like someone earlier posted about Clint Eastwood..."A man's got to know his limitations"...and I sure do.

Was it stated that the 200 foot portion was NOT on the approach path????

I know when I was instructing that it was easy to tell the student to fly a heading, then pull power on them and tell them to "look up, you lost and engine, land." Often we would be directly over an airport and they did not kow it..

So it would be easy for the instructor to be on the approach, actualy having overeasy flying a simulated PAR, and not endangering anyone.

I do not know anyone that has found actual imc harder to handle than a hood. In actual you can relax your body and scan, without the clausterfobia. :crazyeyes:

As far as training, the best training time for instruments is night. Yes, you up the hazard factor with emergencys, but to really show a student disorientation....(the name of the game for instruments is scan, and don't freak out)

And for you VFR only guys, try taking off from Galveston to the south at night in a low wing. When the wings cross the shoreline, you are IMC, no questions asked. Did it in a V-35. Choice, use instruments to climb to a safe altitude and make constant rate turn, or do an emergency turn semi-low. Sometimes relaxing and letting the plane do the work is the safest thing.

Overeasy, if you enjoy flying that much, work toward your ifr. Lots of fun will come out of it.

Don't let all of us scare you, we just get on here and act big cause our wife's don't let us at home :p :p
I do not know anyone that has found actual imc harder to handle than a hood. In actual you can relax your body and scan, without the clausterfobia.

My assessment of the problem? IFR pilots are taught to manage IFR conditions. VFR pilots are taught to fear IFR conditions. Fear is the problem, because VFR pilots already know how to fly the plane, they just don't expect to be able to.

Note that "relatively low" towers are not required to be lighted, and in fact, the people building them don't have to talk to the FAA or the mapping folks.

At 200 agl, you are WELL below the required tower height for lighted towers, and charted towers.

If the instructor knows the area VERY well, and the visibility is really good, this may be okay, but as several folks have pointed out, you don't have to be that low to demonstrate IMC.

Over water at night is a classic example of what I call PVFR.

Pretend VFR is where the weather conditions meet the requirements for basic VFR, but there's nothing out there you can see.

That is also called IMC. I think a lot of people confuse VMC with VFR.

One's a condition, the other is a set of rules.

Hopefully, Cliff's instructor knew this area very well, but they erect towers literally daily nowadays.

I remember a Goose just barely missing a tower with an FAA guy still working on the tower, south of Cold Bay. Tower wasn't there two weeks earlier, when this pilot had gone on vacation.

mvivion said:
Note that "relatively low" towers are not required to be lighted, and in fact, the people building them don't have to talk to the FAA or the mapping folks.

At 200 agl, you are WELL below the required tower height for lighted towers, and charted towers.
I love it when people quote rules they know nothing about. Sure, make up your own.
§77.13 Construction or alteration requiring notice.
(a) Except as provided in §77.15, each sponsor who proposes any of the following construction or alteration shall notify the Administrator in the form and manner prescribed in §77.17:
(1) Any construction or alteration of more than 200 feet in height above the ground level at its site.
(2) Any construction or alteration of greater height than an imaginary surface extending outward and upward at one of the following slopes:
(i) 100 to 1 for a horizontal distance of 20,000 feet from the nearest point of the nearest runway of each airport specified in paragraph (a)(5) of this section with at least one runway more than 3,200 feet in actual length, excluding heliports.
(ii) 50 to 1 for a horizontal distance of 10,000 feet from the nearest point of the nearest runway of each airport specified in paragraph (a)(5) of this section with its longest runway no more than 3,200 feet in actual length, excluding heliports.
(iii) 25 to 1 for a horizontal distance of 5,000 feet from the nearest point of the nearest landing and takeoff area of each heliport specified in paragraph (a)(5) of this section.
(3) Any highway, railroad, or other traverse way for mobile objects, of a height which, if adjusted upward 17 feet for an Interstate Highway that is part of the National System of Military and Interstate Highways where overcrossings are designed for a minimum of 17 feet vertical distance, 15 feet for any other public roadway, 10 feet or the height of the highest mobile object that would normally traverse the road, whichever is greater, for a private road, 23 feet for a railroad, and for a waterway or any other traverse way not previously mentioned, an amount equal to the height of the highest mobile object that would normally traverse it, would exceed a standard of paragraph (a) (1) or (2) of this section.
(4) When requested by the FAA, any construction or alteration that would be in an instrument approach area (defined in the FAA standards governing instrument approach procedures) and available information indicates it might exceed a standard of subpart C of this part.

Any temporary or permanent structure, including all appurtenances, that exceeds an overall height of 200 feet (61m) above ground level (AGL) or exceeds any obstruction standard contained in 14 CFR part 77, should normally be marked and/or lighted. However, an FAA aeronautical study may reveal that the absence of marking and/or lighting will not impair aviation safety. Conversely, the object may present such an extraordinary hazard potential that higher standards may be recommended for increased conspicuity to ensure safety to air navigation. Normally outside commercial lighting is not considered sufficient reason to omit recommended marking and/or lighting. Recommendations on marking and/or lighting structures can vary depending on terrain features, weather patterns, geographic location, and in the case of wind turbines, number of structures and overall layout of design. The FAA may also recommend marking and/or lighting a structure that does not exceed 200 (61m) feet AGL or 14 CFR part 77 standards
In this case a tower 2 miles from the runway would be required to be lit if it was higher than 105 feet. And this doesn't even include areas on a insturment approach. They could have been over the runway for all you know. Blah blah blah
12 Geezer said:
Umm, Aalexander, did you read the part about that it was clear skies,

Yes, I did. Did you happen to notice that was posted *after* my post???

regardless, the NTSB files are full of accounts of dead pilots who *thought* they could see well enough at night to avoid everything. Also, while everyone is arguing about whether 200 ft towers should or should not be lighted, so what? It's been about 20 years since I landed at Lewiston but I seem to recall wooded hills around the airport. Do they put lights on every tree on every ridge that is more then 200' above the nearest airport? How about 100 foot towers on a ridge 150 feet above the airport? And anyway, are you really 212 feet above the airport? Specs for an altimeter used in IFR are +/- 75 feet if I recall, So even if the flight school maintains it's rental 152 to minimum IFR specs (not a sure bet at most flight schools), you could still be about 150 feet above the *airport* when you thought you were 212' above the airport, which puts you well into the unlit tower territory in perfectly flat, treeless terrain, and Lewiston is not flat and treeless.
Look, more people posting that think they were there with you Cliff. Yippie.

Sorry, what I should have said was that, at 200 agl, you can be well below the tops of unlighted towers, which were constructed without the FAA's knowledge or permission.

I passed a bunch of them last summer. The companies who erect these things like to put 199 foot towers on tops of things like bluffs, rocks, etc. The resulting tower, which is perhaps 199 feet above the ground immediately under it, can surprise one, particularly at night. There is a LIGHTED tower that really sticks up high north of Anchorage that got by the FAA's obstruction standards because it is just barely below the obstruction criteria height. IT's marked and mapped, but it really sticks up in some flat ground, by being sited on top of a small promontory. I'm sure someone from the ANC area can recount how that deal went. I just remember there was a lot of angst over that when it was built. The FAA Region actually was trying to stop construction, as I recall.

Many cellphone towers fall into this category. They work pretty hard at not having to talk to the FAA on these things. Finding a 100 foot or 200 foot tall hill does that. Saves a lot of paperwork.

I haven't been to Maine, but I've been told it's got some hills.

As you say, though, I don't know anything about that.

I have spent a lot of time flying around close to the ground, though, and I can tell you that even small obstructions can really sneak up on you. Especially at night.

That was my point.

The fact that Cliff sought to expand his horizons in the company of a CFI is admirable.

The fact that Cliff didn't tell about a half dozen posters "F.U." tops it.

Got any more cool stories, Cliff? This has been entertaining. Well, parts of it have. :D

Here's to you, Cliff. An aviator and a gentleman.


We have lobster and BEvERages waiting for you next summer. The Eastern Gang has definitely got to hold the WAD Summerfest and do a bit of NH and Maine flying.