IFR flight planning; risk limitation
All flight planning could be said to be about limiting risks. There is of course, no way to accurately predict what is around the corner on any particular flight but IFR planning goes a long way towards doing exactly that. Maintaining the safety of all on-board an aircraft is the main point of all flight planning and in addition to that, flight planning can minimize fuel consumption and wastage which in today’s climate is a very important consideration for all flights. Risk limitation comes in all shapes, there are risks within route planning and weather patterns, fuel planning and in Air Traffic Control. There is no way to eradicate risk but a solid IFR Planning system will certainly help.
IFR flight planning and weather
IFR planning is especially important when it comes to the weather and how it can affect flights. A pilot flying under IFR needs to rely upon their on-board instruments to maintain clearance and to ensure that routes are adhered to. IFR planning takes into account that there are no minimum weather conditions under which an aircraft may fly, so flying through cloud for instance is permitted but there are still regulations which control take off and landing. Some VFR if conditions warrant it, but there is the risk of conditions changing during the course of the take off or landing which can then make this a very dangerous operation. There are a significantly high number of light aircraft accidents which have been flying (taking off or landing) under VFR when the weather conditions have changed suddenly and the pilot has continued to fly under VFR when a change to IFR would have been advisable due to visibility constraints.
Who may fly under IFR planning rules?
In order for a pilot to qualify for IFR, he or she must have gained an “instrument rating” which involves more training than that which a private pilot has undergone or even that which a commercial pilot ordinarily undergoes. The qualification involves a written test as well as a “check ride” or a hands-on practical test. IFR flight planning in short, involves many important factors and considerations which are all in place to assure the safety of all who board an aircraft which needs to fly under IFR. It is this attention to detail which limits risk to all air passengers and maintains the standards which are so important in keeping our airways safe. Pilots undergo extremely rigorous testing, written, oral and practical tests are all part of the process of becoming an experienced and professional pilot. As technology makes further advances, the instruments which help pilots to navigate and to make successful flights are improving with each passing year and the future holds the promise of flights which will become even safer than those we currently enjoy.