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Empty Field Myopia CFIT


kodoz
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Just a reminder that even high-timers succumb to spatial disorientation in this weather. The Columbia River Basin has been solid IFR for the last week, and I witnessed several incidents yesterday. The ground is covered with snow, and white roof tops blend with the gray skies. Barely a horizon at 2-4 SM visibility. So I'm sitting here looking out at the poor weather, and hear a WHAP just above us. I walk outside and note a handful of feathers drifting off the roof. On inspection, there's a dazed quail at the end of a 3 foot skid mark. About an hour later, WHAP-WHAP...a flight of 2 smacked mid-roof. None of them were sufficiently stunned to stay for x-mas dinner.

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This is a great post!

 

After a couple of long cross countries this discussion came up at Rotors. Two of our higher rated CFIIs went to Las Vegas a couple of months ago, they got into Nevada just after dark and were glad to be instrument rated as there were no lights for orientation. The sky was completely black and out in the country there were no lights on the ground.. they said it was unnerving to say the least with no horizon to be found.

 

thanks for sharing..

 

dp

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That was both funny and scary at the same time. One thing is for sure, if the birds are either flying backwards(wind) or crashing then it's time to stop flying.

 

RMH,

 

How's it been? I can understand what your CFIIs whent through. I am flying in Southwest AZ now and there is nothing out here. It's true night flight. There are a lot of little tricks that help out with flights like that. While I am NVG qualified my aircraft isn't. So I haven't used the NVGs unless I take a different helicopter(not offten). I don't mind flying around un-aided. There is only one place between Phoenix and San Diego where I get nervous. That is between El Cajon and the Imperial Valley. There is a horizon but everything in between is pitch black except the 8 freeway which runs in the mountains. So, it's the prospect of a forced landing that makes me a little nervous. Very few places but can be done.

Edited by JDHelicopterPilot
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Good post. Although I had to laugh a little since the poor little birdies weren't hurt.

 

Well, actually, I think the hawks figured out that the quail weren't doing so well in IMC, and have been cruising by the houses just above roof level....

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My husband was living out in the middle of the Hoh rainforest in NW Washington one year when he came upon a dead elk -- apparently it had gotten spooked by something in the middle of the night, jumped and hit an antler on a tree branch and snapped its neck. Doh! :o Gets pretty dark out there, needless to say.

 

Fly safe guys and watch for windows, tree branches...

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My husband was living out in the middle of the Hoh rainforest in NW Washington one year when he came upon a dead elk -- apparently it had gotten spooked by something in the middle of the night, jumped and hit an antler on a tree branch and snapped its neck. Doh! :o Gets pretty dark out there, needless to say.

 

Fly safe guys and watch for windows, tree branches...

 

... and spooked elk :D

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