July 2001 Issue

Spooked on Approach

Panic sets in when new instrument pilot suffers engine trouble after takeoff in low IMC

The late November day was made for an instrument rating: winds 170 at 4 knots, visibility 5 miles in light rain and mist, ceiling 200 feet, temperature and dewpoint both at 40 F.

The airplane, a turbocharged Mooney manufactured in the mid-1980s, was made for the flight. Models of its type and vintage usually came from the factory equipped like mini-airliners, with a full complement of instruments, radios and autoflight equipment.

The pilot, low time and with an instrument rating issued 10 days previously, was not, however, made for the task. He lacked the experience to fully utilize his rating and aircraft.

It had been a busy flying year for the pilot, according to pilot certificat...

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