IFR on top

It’s quite a beautiful thing where you fly out of the airport environment, realise the weather isn’t exactly ideal for VFR flight and utilising an IMC rating, the dream of soaring above the clouds quickly becomes a reality.

In this flight from Bournemouth to Stapleford, a frontal system that had been situated over the UK for the last few days meant some inclement weather and a rather think low level layer of cloud with crystal blue skies on top.

FAX Chart (Synoptics) from MetOffice 1200z on 31st May 2019

Having departed London by coach for Bournemouth at 0630am, it was quite clear that the flight back to London would be pretty interesting with lots of low weather and rain showers. It was hoped to get airborne relatively soon after arrival – with most flight preparations other than an aircraft pre-flight to complete.

TAF AMD EGHH 310604Z 3106/3115 23012KT 9999 FEW008 SCT030 TEMPO 3106/3109 4000 BR BKN008=  
METAR EGHH 310650Z 24007KT 4000 -RA BR BKN006 14/13 Q1025= 

With the weather conditions the way they was, It was preferred that I would likely fuel up with enough fuel for sufficient divert opportunities. With no weight and balance issues to take into consideration.

However with suitable flying conditions on arrival, once we re-fuel we would plan to depart IFR from Bournemouth. However due to a few commercial aircraft however, we was delayed by almost 1.5 hours due to a wait for Jet A1 with Shell Aviation.

Shell Aviation Bournemouth – JetA1

It meant that getting away on-time wasn’t going to happen until sufficient fuel for the planned flight was loaded. It was then during the taxi that I overheard a busy radar frequency with a wait for releases due to a few IFR training flights. It was likely I would accept a VFR departure and then SOLENT would be able to climb me up through there Control Zone.

This works in practice. However It would probably have been much simpler to climb straight up to cruise level after departure. This however may have had a significant delay due to the traffic conditions within the Bournemouth Zone.

TAF EGLC 310805Z 3109/3118 24008KT 9999 SCT035=
Departing Bournemouth, taken by Howard J Curtis

Once we had departed Bournemouth, initially VFR at 1,200ft before climbing up to 1.800ft to remain VMC – it quickly became clear that VFR back to London would highly unlikely be easy – especially with the amount of controlled airspace, and restricted areas nearby.

With localised low clouds, as there often are in coastal areas along with a cloud layer associated with a complex low pressure system situated over the UK we quickly gained an IFR clearance via Class D airspace and climbed on top of the weather.

It was pretty useful and made the flight far much simpler in principle than what it would have been if I had of flown low level back to London.

Departing the Bournemouth CTR towards Isle of Wight

This rating is incredible. With a situation where the cloud cover extends beyond the visible horizon – a fantastically equipped IFR aircraft with decent cruise speeds allows a fantastic opportunity to get above the weather quite quickly and enjoy some much needed Summer warmth.

Flying above the weather – IFR

Oversight & YouTube –

I hope the route I am taking is going to make me a better pilot, and to share with you all the new skills that I hope to learn. Whilst this will be a long road to having the Instrument Rating; I hope I can provide you with an oversight of my progression and as I develop my skill set and airmanship in exclusive videos on my YouTube channel. 

I hope to share with you guys in a unique editorial style with me breaking down thoroughly and honestly everything that went wrong from pre-flight, to landing to debrief, what I have learnt from it and what steps I am putting in place to make me a safer pilot in the future.   I’ll be using the reference material above along with Standards Document 01 (A) to assist in my endeavours. 

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