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If you're a VFR pilot with an extra 20 hours under the hood does that give you an extra edge for survival?

when you fly cross country at night over desert or large open body of water ? My CFI warned me not to do something foolish like that unless I have an IFR rating. I will not do that. Off course I will listen to his advice, but I'm just curious about it.

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Water, desert, night, snow, fog, dust all can be bad for the VFR pilot. The answer is "discernable horizon". The VFR pilot uses the horizon line to determine aircraft attitude. The lack of this clear horizon can kill you. I had a student who became spacially disoriented flying at night in clear weather and thought the break in the ground lights was the line between the lights and the stars and dove the aircraft at the ground from 400 feet at 200 knots. To be sure I thought I had "bought the farm" that night. Unless you are properly trained on the use of your instruments you are always at risk when you try to use them. Will the 20 hours help? Sure it might! I repeat: IT MIGHT! It is always better to error on the side of safety and stay clearly VFR in VMC.

    Source(s): An old retired USAF pilot.
  • 1 decade ago

    Your CFI is right. While you can fly cross-country VFR if you really want to, weather permitting, for any trip of significant length an instrument rating can be invaluable. It makes it easier to navigate and harder to get lost, it reduces your vulnerability to anything other than clear weather, and in particular it keeps you from dying if you should happen to enter an area of IMC (one of the most common causes of death for VFR pilots).

    If you fly for any reason other than recreation, an instrument rating is important. Without your instrument rating, you can only fly in excellent weather, which becomes a real problem if you really want to get somewhere. Of course, even with your IR it would be foolish to fly in bad weather, but there are many cases where the visibility is poor but the weather is otherwise okay, and having that rating lets you fly under these conditions safely.

    Twenty hours is nothing. Two hundred hours helps a bit, as long as you don't get overconfident. Two thousand hours is comfortable. Twenty thousand hours is great. At some point, if you're not flying purely for fun, you'll be frustrated by weather that is below VFR minimums, and eventually you'll probably feel like trying for an instrument rating. Unless you're lucky enough to live in a region where the weather is always VFR (like a desert or something).

  • 1 decade ago

    If you are a pilot then you know know there is a world of difference between VFR and IFR. If you have no IFR training in a situation like that then you can become lost and disoriented. VFR only goes so far.

    Source(s): Private Pilot
  • 1 decade ago

    flying over water or at night you can get lost . remember what happen to JFK son was flying at night over water and crashed in the sea. in the day time you are useing land marks to find your way at night you cant see them why you need to bee under VFR that is why you have the gauges in the air craft to be able to find your way in the dark over water. fog and other stuff. take the time to get your IFR rateing it will save your life some day ive know men who had 100's of hours with VFR and tryed to fly at night and went down cause of weather or other stuff

    Source(s): A&E MECH
  • Steven
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Your CFI is right - it's foolish to fly in any visibility conditions where you cannot make out the horizon, unless you have the proper instrument training.

  • Mark
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    It might help, but even with plenty of instrument flight experience you can lose much proficiency without plenty of recent experience.

    You mentioned "survival"--so you know this is a life and death thing.

    The 20 hours is better than 10, but don't count heavily on it.

  • Katie
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Possibly, but it can't replace an instrument rating.

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