VFR INTO IMC ACCIDENTS



VFR-into-IMC is potentially a big problem for the following reasons: 

Situation Assessment
Pilots press on into deteriorating weather because they don't realise they're doing so.  A loss of situational awareness may be due to lack of experience in interpreting real-time weather by low-time or 'fair weather' pilots."   

Risk Perception
Much pilot training involves teaching pilots to feel confident in all flight conditions. A by-product of this may be an unrealistic optimism about the chances of avoiding harm. GA pilots sometimes exhibit relatively low risk awareness and generally high optimistic self-appraisals of abilities and judgment.

Decision Framing
Pilots occasionally make decisions based on potential losses (e.g. cost of diverting) and therefore push on into bad weather, particularly if close to their destination. 

Social Pressure
Pilots may feel pressured to reach their destination when they have passengers on board

US study
·         About 20% of all GA accidents are fatal.
·         80% of VFR into IMC accidents are fatal! 
·         High-time Pilots are not immune! One accident happened to a 10,000 hour ATP rated pilot, so don't fall into the trap of believing a VFR into IMC accident can't happen to you! 
·         It’s great that pilots are confident, but a little disturbing that when asked, the vast majority rate their piloting skills as "above average."  That's just not possible under the Law of Averages!
·         Accident data supports the Social Pressure theory, as a higher percentage of VFR into IMC accidents carry passengers compared with all GA accidents.

Avoid becoming a statistic
·         Check the weather for your whole route  
·         Have alternate plans in mind  
·         If you encounter diminished visibilities, follow your alternate plan immediately!  
·         Get advanced training.  Why not get that Instrument rating?
·         Know where the terrain is - add a GPS with terrain capability
Tony Birth