Why do VFR pilots fly into IMC?

For a useful article on this topic from General Aviation News, http://www.generalaviationnews.com/editorial/articledetail.lasso?-token.key=6139&-token.src=news&-nothingclick here.

Roger: The most insightful part of the article was at the end, where the writer concluded, “If you take a risk and 99% of the time it comes out all right, you are more likely to take that risk again.”

It all goes to show that even if you have a positive outcome, the decision may not have been “right,” “good,” or “best.”

When you can say, “I’ll never do that again,” experience is gained and hopefully you won’t make the same mistake again. In cases like that, it is usually a pretty obvious mistake or bad choice and the future decisions will be easy. But sometimes, the outcome will be positive at the 99% level. These are the really difficult times and the retropspective, “I’ll never do that again,” is usually not there. Sometimes it is just extermely tough to determine what is or was “right.”

Let’s face it, every time we say, “No,” we are taking a shot to our egos, letting one or more people down, or just not doing something that we enjoy. The rewards for “going” are high and the “penalties” for not going seem to outweigh the rewards. It is so very hard to predict that we would have had a bad outcome, especially when we’ve trained ourselves to believe that it won’t happen to us.



Without reading your reply first, I picked up on the same line as being the most important. In fact, if you remember in the CPPP I referred to this as “gambling” and not to use previous success as the primary criteria for making the next trip. I hear this all the time from various pilots. “Oh, I flew in the clouds last week when there was an AIRMET and didn’t pickup any significant ice.”

By definition, each flight we take has to be considered unique. In our planning process we must be willing to anticipate the potential for forecast errors. In addition, we need to keep a close eye on the observations to see if the forecast is verifying. If not, then we lose confidence in our flight when conditions are actually worse than originally forecast. Short of this, and we are gambling.