What are IMC Conditions?
There have been a lot of questions about helicopters flying in clouds and fog. A term used frequently by pilots, and recently by the media, is IMC conditions. IMC stands for Instrument Meteorological Conditions. When Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flight suddenly enters into IMC, the likelihood of a catastrophic outcome increases dramatically. One reason can be the pilot’s spatial disorientation.
Once a pilot flies into clouds or fog they lose all visual outside references that give them a sense of direction. They may feel the helicopter is flying level when it could be banking, pitching up or down or even turning. This is called spatial disorientation. A pilot who is trained to use the flight instruments correctly can overcome the disorientation, but when distracted or overwhelmed, the result can lead to disaster.
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