Stephan Schwab

Real IFR landing

Earlier last week I wanted to fly in the morning to Cologne (EDDK) and ended up using the car for three hours drive instead of a one hour flight.

The weather report (METAR) in the early morning were this:

EDDK 170520Z 28008KT 2500 -DZ BR SCT002 BKN003 13/12 Q1013 BECMG 4000
EDDK 170650Z 29010KT 4000 -DZ BR FEW002 BKN005 OVC010 13/12 Q1013 BECMG 6000
EDDK 170720Z 29009KT 3200 -DZ BR FEW002 BKN005 OVC010 13/12 Q1013 BECMG 6000

The last report ist from the time I would have landed at Cologne. It means drizzling rain with a few clouds at 200 feet over the field, broken clouds at 500 feet and an overcast layer on top of that at 1000 feet. The visibility in the drizzling rain was reported to be 3200 meters and improving towards 6000 meters.

I did opt to use the car as I needed to be there on time and this would have been the first time for me to land under these weather conditions. IFR training gets you prepared for that but simulating is not the same as the real thing. So I didn't want to do the real thing while under time constraints that might cloud my aeronautical decision making.

Later in the same week I needed to go to Hamburg (EDDH) and there was no time pressure. The weather report was similar:

EDDH 190920Z 29006KT 8000 -DZ FEW003 BKN006 BKN016 15/14 Q1020 BECMG SCT005 BKN011

Before I started the approach the weather system looked like this from 8000 feet.

2015 08 19 13.56.12

This is looking back towards the threshold of runway 23 where I just landed.

2015 08 19 14.18.22

At an altitude of about 400 feet I saw the runway environment with the lights ahead of me. At some 700 feet earlier I was able to see the ground for a second or two. However, then I spotted the lights it was all white around me and no sign of the ground was visible. All of a sudden I was out of the cloud and had good visibility - the same as in the picture above.

That was very good practice and a huge boost in confidence. IFR flying really works and provides good utility value :-)