Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

This forum has been developed to discuss aviation related topics.

Moderators: ahramin, sky's the limit, sepia, Sulako, lilfssister, North Shore, I WAS Birddog

Post Reply
Message
Author
DanWEC
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1487
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:05 pm
Location: 404

Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#1 Post by DanWEC » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:20 pm

Date: 2018-06-18
Narrative: An Ottawa Aviation Services Cessna 172M (C-GBRO) on a flight from Ottawa/MacDonald-Cartier Int'l, ON (CYOW) and landing at Ottawa/MacDonald-Cartier Int'l, ON (CYOW) departed Runway 04 for circuits. Shortly after turning downwind, the pilot declared an emergency and stated that it had entered instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). The weather at the airport at the time was visual meteorological conditions (VMC), but there were isolated showers North of the airport. The aircraft was able to re-establish VMC and landed safely at 1556Z. No impact on operations.

Thoughts? Not here to roast the pilot, but it is the first time I've heard of this happening.
---------- ADS -----------
  

digits_
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1548
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:26 am

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#2 Post by digits_ » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:46 pm

Better that than keeping quiet and hitting someone else or spiraling it into the ground. Even just tower trying to calm him down, or giving him vectors, might have a calming effect on a panicking pilot.

You can't train everything before you send the students solo. Staying out of the clouds is a pretty big item to stress during training. If he then enters the clouds inadvertently, I can see how he might think it warrants an emergency. It might seem silly to the average CPL holder, but it could have ended very badly.
---------- ADS -----------
  

DanWEC
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1487
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:05 pm
Location: 404

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#3 Post by DanWEC » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:45 pm

True. Maybe overkill, and I'm sure there'll be plenty of eye rolls about it but ultimately declaring an emergency is there to help save you when in danger. I think everyone's a little freaked the first time they inadvertently enter IMC alone.
I'm wondering what led to it.
---------- ADS -----------
  

User avatar
C-GGGQ
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1346
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 12:33 pm
Location: Manitoba

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#4 Post by C-GGGQ » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:06 pm

It's something like 11 seconds on average a vfr only trained pilot has between entering imc and complete loss of SA/ upside down and backwards according to old training material. Honestly at least he realized he was out of his depth and not too proud to ask for help. Could it have been a small patch of cloud he was clear of an instant after declaring the emergency. Maybe (probably) but what student hasn't panicked at least once. Everyone is safe and everyone has a new story to laugh over. Pilot in question included I'm sure.
---------- ADS -----------
  

User avatar
telex
Rank 4
Rank 4
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:05 pm

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#5 Post by telex » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:48 pm

---------- ADS -----------
  

455tt
Rank 3
Rank 3
Posts: 103
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:18 pm

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#6 Post by 455tt » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:02 am

Yes I support the PIC 100%. The declaration of an emergency is the call of the PIC under their unique circumstances and it's always best to seek immediate help if considered necessary in the interests of safety rather than struggling on in stubborn silence. This pilot has gotten the message he/she was trained for.
---------- ADS -----------
  

Lightchop
Rank 4
Rank 4
Posts: 223
Joined: Mon May 28, 2018 10:03 am

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#7 Post by Lightchop » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:54 am

DanWEC wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:20 pm


Thoughts? Not here to roast the pilot, but it is the first time I've heard of this happening.
Inadvertent VMC to IMC is pretty common. Especially if it was light rain with good visibility and then the intensity increased. At the end of the day the pilot landed safely, and hopefully learned from their mistake.
---------- ADS -----------
  

User avatar
CL-Skadoo!
Rank 7
Rank 7
Posts: 517
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 6:41 pm
Location: Intensity in Ten Cities.

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#8 Post by CL-Skadoo! » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:01 am

100% with the PIC. If immediate assistance was required in this pilot's view, then the emergency declaration was the correct thing to do. Many student pilots get themselves into situations where a simple click of the mic can offload a bunch stress in a hurry. I probably would have tried to silently save my pride and dig myself out of my mess on my own. Not sure how that would have gone for 16 year old me as a student pilot. My only question would be, why would the pilot have been signed out with no IMC training unless complete VMC was expected at all times?
---------- ADS -----------
  

photofly
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 6701
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:47 pm
Location: Making aviation exhausting, everywhere

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#9 Post by photofly » Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:42 am

The report doesn’t say he or she had no IMC training.
---------- ADS -----------
  
“This isn’t flying, it’s falling. With style.”

pelmet
Rank 11
Rank 11
Posts: 3472
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2005 2:48 pm

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#10 Post by pelmet » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:35 pm

A look at the airport chart shows that while on downwind for 04, you are headed for final approach for 07. This quickly informed ATC to ensure no aircraft were on final in a potential collision scenario with the guy on downwind who might be extending his pattern.

No doubt there were lessons to be learned for the pilot that we can't analyze because we can't see what it was like in terms of whether it was a good idea to depart or turn in certain directions. I have posted previously about unecessary declarations of emergency but this declaration may have been useful for reasons other than it actually being useful to this pilot and such a situation can be considered an emergency for some pilots depending on a variety of factors such as pilot experience, aircraft equipment, etc.


As an aside, I do notice that conditions in some areas seem to be considered VFR with the ceiling at 1000 feet(among other variables). But when is it really legal to be flying circuits when considering cloud clearance and obstacle clearance? Not quite so straight forward. Even a 1500 foot ceiling may not be legal when flying over the city.
---------- ADS -----------
  

photofly
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 6701
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:47 pm
Location: Making aviation exhausting, everywhere

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#11 Post by photofly » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:24 pm

The 1000' above the nearest obstacle within 2000' rule does not apply during "takeoff, approach and landing" and is not applicable to circuits. Circuits are generally acceptable anything down to 500agl if in a control zone, maybe lower.

Several PSTAR exam questions reinforce the point that circuits flown at no point higher than 500 agl are acceptable to Transport Canada, as long as you remain 500' below the cloud base. Or request special VFR.
---------- ADS -----------
  
“This isn’t flying, it’s falling. With style.”

pelmet
Rank 11
Rank 11
Posts: 3472
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2005 2:48 pm

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#12 Post by pelmet » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:27 am

photofly wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:24 pm
The 1000' above the nearest obstacle within 2000' rule does not apply during "takeoff, approach and landing" and is not applicable to circuits. Circuits are generally acceptable anything down to 500agl if in a control zone, maybe lower.

Several PSTAR exam questions reinforce the point that circuits flown at no point higher than 500 agl are acceptable to Transport Canada, as long as you remain 500' below the cloud base. Or request special VFR.
That is interesting. I would like to see the exact questions and answers on that one(if somehow available). I know you pretty much answered it, but would one be considered legal to be doing 500 foot circuits in airports located in urban areas?

Thanks.
---------- ADS -----------
  

lownslow
Rank 8
Rank 8
Posts: 977
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 8:56 am

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#13 Post by lownslow » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:16 am

pelmet wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:27 am
would one be considered legal to be doing 500 foot circuits in airports located in urban areas?
Legal? Yes. Good neighbour? Not so much.
---------- ADS -----------
  

co-joe
Rank 11
Rank 11
Posts: 3258
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 2:33 am
Location: YYC 230 degree radial at about 10 DME

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#14 Post by co-joe » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:03 am

This is called putting safety first. Ahead of pride, ahead of everything. I would never fault someone for putting safety first.
---------- ADS -----------
  

linecrew
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1683
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2004 6:53 am
Location: On final so get off the damn runway!

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#15 Post by linecrew » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:35 am

The report doesn't state if this was a licenced pilot or a student pilot that had recently soloed. That could make a difference as well since they would only have a relatively low number of hours and experience.
---------- ADS -----------
  

photofly
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 6701
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:47 pm
Location: Making aviation exhausting, everywhere

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#16 Post by photofly » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:30 am

pelmet wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:27 am
photofly wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:24 pm
The 1000' above the nearest obstacle within 2000' rule does not apply during "takeoff, approach and landing" and is not applicable to circuits. Circuits are generally acceptable anything down to 500agl if in a control zone, maybe lower.

Several PSTAR exam questions reinforce the point that circuits flown at no point higher than 500 agl are acceptable to Transport Canada, as long as you remain 500' below the cloud base. Or request special VFR.
That is interesting. I would like to see the exact questions and answers on that one(if somehow available). I know you pretty much answered it, but would one be considered legal to be doing 500 foot circuits in airports located in urban areas?

Thanks.
Questions 6.08, 6.09 and 6.10.

Airports in urban areas must be certificated, and not registered (aerodromes). TC assesses and approves operations at certificated airports. If TC judges extra restrictions on circuits at specific airports are required, they can impose them, through CAR 602.96(3)(d) by specifying them in the CFS.

Otherwise, fill your boots.
---------- ADS -----------
  
Last edited by photofly on Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
“This isn’t flying, it’s falling. With style.”

photofly
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 6701
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:47 pm
Location: Making aviation exhausting, everywhere

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#17 Post by photofly » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:34 am

duplicate
---------- ADS -----------
  
“This isn’t flying, it’s falling. With style.”

User avatar
dpm
Rank 2
Rank 2
Posts: 89
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:08 pm

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#18 Post by dpm » Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:45 pm

Glad to see that the comments have been supportive. I trained at that same airport in 2002, and know the circuit well. Aside from the pilot's concern about his own safety, I agree that a pilot, within a mile of one of Canada's busier airports, who finds himself suddenly in a situation where he isn't confident that he can maintain assigned heading and altitude, is right to speak up about it ASAP.

D
---------- ADS -----------
  
@CYRO

Schooner69A
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 398
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:17 pm
Location: The Okanagan

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#19 Post by Schooner69A » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:57 pm

"Legal? Yes. Good neighbour? Not so much."

I would think that you'd be doing a student a disservice if said student was not shown low level circuits at some point in their training. A lower-than-normal circuit altitude usually means lower ceiling than normal (obviously) and maybe more importantly, a reduced visibility. A "Special VFR" day would be perfect...
---------- ADS -----------
  

digits_
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1548
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:26 am

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#20 Post by digits_ » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:58 pm

Schooner69A wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:57 pm
"Legal? Yes. Good neighbour? Not so much."

I would think that you'd be doing a student a disservice if said student was not shown low level circuits at some point in their training. A lower-than-normal circuit altitude usually means lower ceiling than normal (obviously) and maybe more importantly, a reduced visibility. A "Special VFR" day would be perfect...
You'd also do them a disservice by not practicing emergency/simulated engine failure landings, that doesn't mean you have to do that 20ft above someone's home.
---------- ADS -----------
  

photofly
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 6701
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:47 pm
Location: Making aviation exhausting, everywhere

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#21 Post by photofly » Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:05 pm

Twenty feet over someone's house while practicing a forced approach would be in breach of 602.14(2) and unlawful, whereas flying a downwind at 500 agl over someone's house isn't.
---------- ADS -----------
  
“This isn’t flying, it’s falling. With style.”

TT1900
Rank 2
Rank 2
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 8:19 pm

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#22 Post by TT1900 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:11 am

Schooner69A wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:57 pm
"Legal? Yes. Good neighbour? Not so much."

I would think that you'd be doing a student a disservice if said student was not shown low level circuits at some point in their training. A lower-than-normal circuit altitude usually means lower ceiling than normal (obviously) and maybe more importantly, a reduced visibility. A "Special VFR" day would be perfect...
I agree with both of you.

Just because something is legal does not make it intelligent; examples are plentiful sometimes with fatal consequences. If this was a student pilot on a solo the decision making of the instructor & school should be examined closely. The student should also be questioned as to his comfort level. If this was a licensed pilot then both he and the school need to have an honest debrief.

Circuits deviating from normal should absolutely be introduced during training when appropriate, with an experienced instructor on board. Demonstrates there are always alternate options, builds capacity, strengthens decision-making.

At the end of the day, even if you’re superbly trained, bad stuff happens and you need to deal with it. Good call to declare the emergency if he/she felt it was required. Glad everyone is alright. Use it as a learning experience & teaching point.
---------- ADS -----------
  

pelmet
Rank 11
Rank 11
Posts: 3472
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2005 2:48 pm

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#23 Post by pelmet » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:39 pm

photofly wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:30 am
pelmet wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:27 am
photofly wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:24 pm
The 1000' above the nearest obstacle within 2000' rule does not apply during "takeoff, approach and landing" and is not applicable to circuits. Circuits are generally acceptable anything down to 500agl if in a control zone, maybe lower.

Several PSTAR exam questions reinforce the point that circuits flown at no point higher than 500 agl are acceptable to Transport Canada, as long as you remain 500' below the cloud base. Or request special VFR.
That is interesting. I would like to see the exact questions and answers on that one(if somehow available). I know you pretty much answered it, but would one be considered legal to be doing 500 foot circuits in airports located in urban areas?

Thanks.
Questions 6.08, 6.09 and 6.10.

Airports in urban areas must be certificated, and not registered (aerodromes). TC assesses and approves operations at certificated airports. If TC judges extra restrictions on circuits at specific airports are required, they can impose them, through CAR 602.96(3)(d) by specifying them in the CFS.

Otherwise, fill your boots.
Thanks for the good info. It actually makes clearer a certain situation at a certain airport I am familiar with but I don't think it really answers to the exact legality of the altitude you can fly circuits at a particular airport. Does Ottawa have a certain altitude listed in the CFS? And any more direct info about an altitude that can be flown in the circuit and be legal?

Thanks.
---------- ADS -----------
  

photofly
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 6701
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:47 pm
Location: Making aviation exhausting, everywhere

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#24 Post by photofly » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:12 pm

Honestly I think trying to put an exact altitude where a circuit is too low to be "legal" isn't fruitful. We don't have a simple set lower limit in Canada, and the low flying regulations that we do have are a mixture of weather limits, obstacle clearance limits and emergency scenario limits each of which have their own range of validities and exceptions. If these rules are tricky for you and me to piece together, then they're also difficult for Transport Canada enforcement to work their way through to make a case against a pilot, too. I think those guys have enough work on their desks dealing with the really obvious infractions, and of those, the ones that generate public complaints.

Maybe this is another way of saying the same thing: what's too low to be legal? Transport Canada will know it when they see it. So will you.
---------- ADS -----------
  
“This isn’t flying, it’s falling. With style.”

Braun
Rank 7
Rank 7
Posts: 679
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:32 pm

Re: Emergency declared in circuit due to IMC

#25 Post by Braun » Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:06 am

As an ATC I can guarantee that as soon as a VFR pilot enters IMC conditions we consider an emergency even if the pilot doesn't "declare" one. Good job on the pilot asking for help. Honestly, this happens fairly often.
---------- ADS -----------
  

Post Reply

Return to “General Comments”