perhaps it was my reply which started this, but I have down approaches to minimums in practice under the hood. I tend to like to practice clouds, rather than in VFR conditions. I’ll go out on a 1000 OVC and10 mile vis day and do 4 approaches.
My home airport has 700 ft minimums for GPS hence waiting for 1000 ft days - makes the approach realistic.
The ‘problem’ with doing low approaches is several fold:
Days when wx is truly LIFR requiring 200 1/2 means it is likely also precipitating. That makes me want a 5000 ft runway so I do not need brakes until very slow - wet runways want me to have a safety net.
200 1/2 means ILS - which means a Class D airport at least. In many cases in the Northeast USA where I live, you need Class C before you get an ILS. I am not going into thethose airports using General Aviation - those are my BACK UP airports with ILS.
really low weather also means stationary fronts usually, or fog in the winter [which is warm air over snow or cold ground] these are set ups for ice, at least in winter.
LIFR means you may not have a legal alternate available within range of a GA aircraft - that starts a whole new issue.
Flying GA means going into smaller more convenient airports - those airports, if not towered - generally do NOT have ILS, This means a Localizer, VOR, GPS, or ADF approach with higher minimums. My 530 is not a 530W so WAAS is not available to me. Plus, there are no WAAS GPS Appraches in the NE USA that are not into airports which lack ILS. Seems silly, but thats a true statement. If an airport has ILS to 200 1/2 why use a GPS approach with a 250ft or 300ft min? Other than equipment being out.
The entire point of GA is to AVOID the larger, more expensive airports away from where I want to go. If I want to fly the airlines, then I’ll do it!
This means, most of the time, I’m flying approaches with 400, 500 or 700 foot minimums which I’ll do day in and day out.
My issue is flying, say, from Connecticut to my vacation home in South Carolina. Lets say the minimums are 400 ft for a GPS. Ceilings are 300-500VRB. The forecast is for better weather in 12 hours. Why not wait? It is inconvenient as heck to fly down there - run an approach into 73J. Not make it - go missed and have to go to SAV, shoot the ILS and then rent a car, drive to my house and then back to airport the next day to get the airplane.
Don’t tell me that professional pilot ‘HAS’ to make the flight cause if s/he needs to go missed, they end up at SAV as well, and their passenger is inconvenienced. Minimums are minimums - and to a professional pilot I hope they are. You go missed you go missed - simple as that.
The whole point of GA is convenience. This thread started with a slam dunked Bonanza that was off course, descended below minimums of 200ft and crashed CFIT.
Airlines and Part 135 and Jet Part 91 are usually going to airports that have ILS - and do it regularly - great. Those airports then have the lighting and other indicia to a good approach and aircraft with good autopilots.
As I said in the other thread, my Comanche has a S-Tec 60-2 with both GPSS and Alt-Preselect, together with a Garmin 530, an HSI, and a radar altimeter. If I’m pressing the buttons properly I’ve got the DA dialed in on the Radar Altimeter, the DA in the ALT Preselect and Hold function and the airplane is tracking itself down the NAV line, be it ILS/LOC/VOR or GPS.
The autopilot generally flies most jet, large twin and other heavy approaches in bad weather - that good technique and FlightSafety and the other schools train that heavily. Handflying is generall done in a sim or on good days or when you feel reach sharp after flying a few the last couple days.
Now, ENROUTE IFR is a whole different ball game. I’m flown 4 hours of the the 4.5 hour leg from IJD-73J sitting in the clag, seeing no ground from 500foot to 600foot AGL at either end of the trip. That’s as rare as being VFR the whole way.
Now, on this past Sunday we had real gentleman’s IFR - unexpected stratus layer 3000 up - about 1000 thick. Thats an EZ visual if they can get you under the clouds legally. The layer makes VFR hard because under it it is bumpy and visibility is poor and uncomfortable for the 75+ elderly parents in the back seat of the Comanche. So I went IFR so I could get above it. The flight home was nothing short of spectacular. We were at 6000, cloud tops had come up top about 5800, the sun was setting,; those of you who have been there know what I’m talking about. My in-laws [first or second time in a small airplane] were sitting there agape at the scene - 200 ft above the clouds, lit orange by a setting sun. Plus, it was IFR since I was less than 1000 ft above the cloud tops - I could log it too!
Now THAT is IFR!!!
For you wannabes, thats IFR 90% of the time. Enroute in the clouds, with an autopilot, descending to a 1000-2000 foot ceiling so you are essentially VFR at the time of landing. You use the rating to get above clouds and shoot approaches into what I’ll call MVFR.