An experienced fighter pilot was attempting a night precision approach at his weather minimums
in an F-16.
We tend to soft pedal general aviation's hazards, and emphasize the regulatory weather minimums
. In my opinion, operating VFR away from the airport under conditions of 1000-foot ceilings and three miles visibility is hazardous for most pilots most of the time.
, degraded ASE (automatic stabilization equipment) and flight-minimums SOPs can be waived with battle-captain approval.
A combination of better instrumentation, better approach aids, and strict adherence to weather minimums
would make it easier for today's pilots to make the call not to fly.
Moral: the pilot is solely responsible to meet weather minimums
Let's stop right here and ask the question, "With the weather minimums
continuing to drop, just how far along an approach can we wave an aircraft without a paddles contact?"
That's one reason the selection of an alternate and the weather minimums
required rank high in the authorized deviations from the FARs provided by Op Specs.
Basic VFR weather minimums
and cloud clearance requirements do not necessarily apply.
Through our troubleshooting of the INS, mental calculations of the decreasing weather minimums
and listening to approach bark at us, the concept that the NAVAID and the field were not colocated completely dropped from my scan.
Special VFR weather minimums
for fixed wing aircraft are reduced to a mere one mile of flight visibility and the straightforward requirement to remain clear of clouds when operating within Class B, C, or D surface areas.
Personal minimums, of course, generally are a set of conditions--not unlike the basic VFR weather minimums
or the ceiling and visibility requirements for an instrument approach, but also involving other operational considerations--beyond which a pilot vows not to fly.
What would be your required weather minimums
at your alternate if you were flying a helicopter instead of an airplane?