Weather conditions changing in VFR Bravo transition

Weather conditions changing in VFR Bravo transition

Postby gsuoumu » Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:08 am

Doing a flight from VNY to SNA last night. Weather was good VFR conditions (or so I thought) and I was sort of cramped with time so I decided to go VFR and take the Mini Route southbound. While I was on the SMO128 some clouds came in pretty much directly over LAX. I wasn't really sure what the appropriate response was. The Mini Route has a required altitude and a required radial so I can't deviate from that. Sort of mimicking real world, taking evasive action in that area could be dangerous with LAX traffic. I could query the controller and ask for an IFR clearance or request a different altitude or something, but while this was going on the controller was especially busy and had two aircraft that had lost separation after one plane had not followed directions. The controller even said something to the extent of "all other aircraft standby".

Considering I was as close to IFR as possible while being VFR (Assigned altitude and course, in a Bravo with ATC separation service required) I felt like the best thing was to just continue on the SMO128 at 2500. But I'm really just wondering what the practical answer would be if I could get in with the controller?
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Re: Weather conditions changing in VFR Bravo transition

Postby overload » Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:14 am

Shame you've had no reply to this question - it happened to me, and I took the pragmatic sim option of going IMC for a while, but feeling very uncomfortable, even though it was a sim - I didn't know what to do for the best?
Any thoughts from others - it must happen in the real world on occasion?
Eugene
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Re: Weather conditions changing in VFR Bravo transition

Postby gsuoumu » Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:26 am

overload wrote:Shame you've had no reply to this question - it happened to me, and I took the pragmatic sim option of going IMC for a while, but feeling very uncomfortable, even though it was a sim - I didn't know what to do for the best?
Any thoughts from others - it must happen in the real world on occasion?
Eugene


To be fair, I had a fairly lengthy discussion with others in the Pilotedge Discord after I posted here and also discussed it with a Pilotedge controller in his twitch stream.

The discussion was essentially this - while in the Bravo the VFR minimums essentially decay to simply "clear of clouds". There are other requirements, but essentially just stay out of the clouds. There's no great answer for how far you can deviate from the lateral guidance of the airway. Normally you're allowed 4nm deviation but that makes absolutely 0 sense in a Bravo area when you're directly in the approach and departure path. So you need to maintain that radial as close as possible. If you need to deviate in any noticeable way from the radial to remain clear of clouds, just contact the controller and let them know. That's what I would have done here not considering the fact that the controller was very busy with a loss of separation issue. So I was essentially on my own.
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Re: Weather conditions changing in VFR Bravo transition

Postby jx_ » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:40 pm

Just a thought... With respect to pilot deviations, navigation accuracy, and obstacle clearance, radials/airways are typically 4 miles wide, sometimes more. Even RNAV routes can be up to 4 miles wide.

If you are on a bravo VFR transition, don't be afraid to maneuver laterally as needed to remain clear of clouds, because you MUST maintain VFR. If the deviation is going to require more than a mile or so, advise ATC by requesting deviation right/left for weather. ATC will usually approve. You can't get in 'trouble' for being a little off course on a radial.


Now, that being said, the LAX mini-route has specific visual instructions "Cross over RWY24L numbers." In that case you are required to overfly that point AND still required to avoid clouds and maintain VFR, and for this reason, the mini-route would have closed real world. The real issue here is the weather minimums for the procedure were not applied in your weather settings. The required ceiling is 1000 above the mini-route, so this should never have happened.

PE controllers typically do not enforce these minimums because they assume the pilot has set his weather in the sim appropriately. Check the ATIS. If the ceiling is at or below 3500 I would recommend locking the ceiling to 3500 or above before attempting to fly that route on the network.
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Re: Weather conditions changing in VFR Bravo transition

Postby kevin meyers » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:27 am

jx_ wrote:Now, that being said, the LAX mini-route has specific visual instructions "Cross over RWY24L numbers." In that case you are required to overfly that point AND still required to avoid clouds and maintain VFR, and for this reason, the mini-route would have closed real world. The real issue here is the weather minimums for the procedure were not applied in your weather settings. The required ceiling is 1000 above the mini-route, so this should never have happened.

PE controllers typically do not enforce these minimums because they assume the pilot has set his weather in the sim appropriately. Check the ATIS. If the ceiling is at or below 3500 I would recommend locking the ceiling to 3500 or above before attempting to fly that route on the network.


FWIW, the mini route weather minimums are actually just a 3000ft ceiling.
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Re: Weather conditions changing in VFR Bravo transition

Postby jx_ » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:22 pm

kevin meyers wrote:
jx_ wrote:Now, that being said, the LAX mini-route has specific visual instructions "Cross over RWY24L numbers." In that case you are required to overfly that point AND still required to avoid clouds and maintain VFR, and for this reason, the mini-route would have closed real world. The real issue here is the weather minimums for the procedure were not applied in your weather settings. The required ceiling is 1000 above the mini-route, so this should never have happened.

PE controllers typically do not enforce these minimums because they assume the pilot has set his weather in the sim appropriately. Check the ATIS. If the ceiling is at or below 3500 I would recommend locking the ceiling to 3500 or above before attempting to fly that route on the network.


FWIW, the mini route weather minimums are actually just a 3000ft ceiling.



Must've changed. It's 3500/3 for sure.
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Re: Weather conditions changing in VFR Bravo transition

Postby jx_ » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:22 pm

just checked KC, you are correct, it WAS 3000/3...now 3500/3
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Re: Weather conditions changing in VFR Bravo transition

Postby gsuoumu » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:31 am

jx_ wrote:Just a thought... With respect to pilot deviations, navigation accuracy, and obstacle clearance, radials/airways are typically 4 miles wide, sometimes more. Even RNAV routes can be up to 4 miles wide.

If you are on a bravo VFR transition, don't be afraid to maneuver laterally as needed to remain clear of clouds, because you MUST maintain VFR. If the deviation is going to require more than a mile or so, advise ATC by requesting deviation right/left for weather. ATC will usually approve. You can't get in 'trouble' for being a little off course on a radial.


Now, that being said, the LAX mini-route has specific visual instructions "Cross over RWY24L numbers." In that case you are required to overfly that point AND still required to avoid clouds and maintain VFR, and for this reason, the mini-route would have closed real world. The real issue here is the weather minimums for the procedure were not applied in your weather settings. The required ceiling is 1000 above the mini-route, so this should never have happened.

PE controllers typically do not enforce these minimums because they assume the pilot has set his weather in the sim appropriately. Check the ATIS. If the ceiling is at or below 3500 I would recommend locking the ceiling to 3500 or above before attempting to fly that route on the network.


I actually did check the ATIS and was well aware of the weather. I was getting clear below 5500 or something like that. Sometimes the sim does wonky things.
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Re: Weather conditions changing in VFR Bravo transition

Postby Peristarkawan » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:08 am

The METAR for a towered airport like KLAX only updates once an hour (whenever the ATIS is update), so it can change pretty significantly and suddenly. You must have flown it just as your sim pulled an updated METAR from the web.

If you don't want that to happen, you can initialize the sim weather from real-world weather, but then turn off the real-world weather tracking so that you just have static weather over the course of your flight. Of course, then you won't have any of the "fun" events like arriving at your destination and finding it having unexpectedly gone IMC.
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Re: Weather conditions changing in VFR Bravo transition

Postby kevin meyers » Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:14 pm

Peristarkawan wrote:The METAR for a towered airport like KLAX only updates once an hour (whenever the ATIS is update), so it can change pretty significantly and suddenly. You must have flown it just as your sim pulled an updated METAR from the web.


If the weather changes significantly, the controllers will push a new ATIS/METAR as a special report.
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