Jump to content

VFR or IFR more stressful?


201er
 Share

VFR or IFR?  

49 members have voted

  1. 1. What’s more stressful for you flying cross country

    • VFR
      24
    • IFR
      12
    • Equal
      10
    • Can’t say or don’t do both
      3


Recommended Posts

It probably depends where you are from. Out here in the west, the weather is usually severe clear with a lot of high terrain. I find VFR a lot easier and faster almost all the time. Whenever I go east of the Rockies, most of my legs are IFR because of the clouds. Out west whenever IFR Is required, it is usually really bad weather, ice, thunderstorms, mountain obscuration, etc….

So, most of the time I fly IFR, the weather is bad. That is more stressful than flying on a beautiful clear day.

If you are talking about having someone hold your hand through the whole flight, that may bring some comfort. You can get the same thing getting flight following while VFR. 

So, isn’t the real question, “do you find it more stressful flying with or without ATC?”

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

IFR in VMC is easy. VFR on a cloudless blue sky day is easy.

Either in poor conditions can be stressful. Add in some complex airspace and Either cab be difficult. 

Out here in the boonies, the only real stressful flights I can recall were trying to beat weather in or out, or needing to stay VFR in severe summer haze below building TCUs with embedded cells.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The advantage of having the instrument rating is that you can choose the less stressful set of flight rules for the situation you are in. If you don't have the instrument rating (or if you lack currency, or an instrument capable plane), then your choices are to go VFR or not go at all.

I routinely exercise my discretion to cancel IFR when a rerouting or a change in the weather or some other fact pattern makes VFR the less stressful alternative. (I also exercise my discretion to cancel flight following when I think ATC is charging me too high a price for the benefit I'm receiving.)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For cross country flying, I find VFR more stressful. Usually it means flying lower with more random direction traffic. This causes you to spend a lot more time looking for traffic. Not only traffic but weather and terrain too. 
 

You can’t really get above clouds VFR. Even if you find a hole to get up, you’re never sure how you’ll get back down.

The vast majority of IFR flying involves climbing above some kind of cloud layer and then smooth sailing the whole way to destination and then maybe another descent through a layer and a visual approach on the other side. Those couple minutes in the clouds grant a smooth ride in visual conditions with little or no traffic. That’s much less fatigue than getting bounced around below clouds and looking for tons of traffic, birds, and terrain.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had entire IFR flights where I was IMC from <1000 agl until final (KHTW-->KBNA). I've also had IFR flights where half would be IMC, either clearing up as I went along or getting worse. Left KFXE, ceiling ~500', flew out the top approaching Jacksonville; beneath me cleared up at the Georgia line, but the winds were sporty at my fuel stop!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Shadrach said:

IMC vs VMC = IMC is more stressful.  IFR vs VFR, VFR outside of the ATC system is more stressful (especially on the coasts).  No matter the weather, it's always less stressful to be in the system whether on an IFR flight plan or receiving VFR advisories.

Typically, yes. But, not necessarily.

Sitting in smooth air in the clouds at 6000+ ft with nothing to hit is a lot less stressful than scud running below 1000-2000ft overcast!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A great example of high stress VFR flying on Tuesday:  a twin checked in with ATL approach complaining he was having trouble getting flight following. 

Controller:  "Say position" 

The twin, "over ATL".

Controller, "Say altitude".

Twin: "10,500". 

Controller, " You know you're in the Bravo without a clearance?".

Twin:  "No, I'm above the B."

Controller:  "Do you know how high Atlanta's class B goes?"

I think everyone on the frequency could hear the VFR stress!

 

 

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Mooneymite said:

I think everyone on the frequency could hear the VFR stress!

I fly in some very busy airspace up in the NW pocket of the nation.  Lots of controlled and restricted airspace.  VFR is often easier to just work around those areas and with ADS-B traffic it is often much easier.  When flying IFR you have to be attentive 100% of the time, traffic, course redirections, frequency changes multiple times, etc.  Once out of the area, on cross country trips, the IFR is very nice to have someone also looking out for you. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

49 minutes ago, Mooneymite said:

A great example of high stress VFR flying on Tuesday:  a twin checked in with ATL approach complaining he was having trouble getting flight following. 

Controller:  "Say position" 

The twin, "over ATL".

Controller, "Say altitude".

Twin: "10,500". 

Controller, " You know you're in the Bravo without a clearance?".

Twin:  "No, I'm above the B."

Controller:  "Do you know how high Atlanta's class B goes?"

I think everyone on the frequency could hear the VFR stress!

 

 

Really stupid mistake but I'd bet no paperwork was filed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 6/24/2022 at 11:15 AM, 201er said:

Any flying is

I usually find flying quite relaxing actually. It shelves all of the stressful unfinished business of everyday life and allows me to be singularly focused on the task at hand. My mind typically slows down in the best of ways when I am in the cockpit. That is, unless the mission/flight becomes questionable due to something unexpected, which is increasingly rare as I get older and more conservative.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Shadrach said:

Really stupid mistake but I'd bet no paperwork was filed.

I have no clue how it all ended, but the twin got the dreaded, "Call this number for a possible pilot violation" from approach.

Because Atlanta has an unusual class B top, I suspect the controllers see this fairly frequently.  I hope the FAA is "somewhat" understanding.

However, my point was this entire event could have been avoided by flying IFR and getting vectored away from the B.  It might be longer, but it's better than having to make that call and risk a violation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Wildhorsetrail said:

I get all discombobulated when I have to carry a conversation over the radio, so until I sorta get my radio voice and mentality going, anything with ATC is more stressful. But I speak as a pilot who up until recently lived in one of the last class G to 18000 ft areas of the nation. 

I’ve seen this many times. Sometimes with new pilots and sometimes with pilots that have spent more than a decade avoiding ATC interactions. I tell them all the same thing. The only way to get comfortable with ATC is to talk to ATC. No one sounds like a pro out of the gate. One has to accept sometimes looking like an amateur while learning. The payoff is worth it.

A buddy ran me to Linden, New Jersey to pick up a car one time. I handled the radios on the way there.  I asked him if he got flight following for the return flight his reply was, “They’re busy, they don’t need to deal with me”. I said they’re already dealing with you, you just elected not to help out by making yourself available on the radio.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

59 minutes ago, Mooneymite said:

I have no clue how it all ended, but the twin got the dreaded, "Call this number for a possible pilot violation" from approach.

Because Atlanta has an unusual class B top, I suspect the controllers see this fairly frequently.  I hope the FAA is "somewhat" understanding.

However, my point was this entire event could have been avoided by flying IFR and getting vectored away from the B.  It might be longer, but it's better than having to make that call and risk a violation.

Conversely, flying IFR might get you through a class B.  I was shocked once departing from Santa Monica to San Diego when I got the dread "advise ready to copy new routing," then the controller gave me route straight through the LAX Bravo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, jaylw314 said:

Conversely, flying IFR might get you through a class B.  I was shocked once departing from Santa Monica to San Diego when I got the dread "advise ready to copy new routing," then the controller gave me route straight through the LAX Bravo.

You are correct and I have gotten class B clearance from ATL many times when using flight following as well as when IFR.  However, there is one fellow on Mooneyspace who loves to rant about how Atlanta never lets him in, so I didn't want @Hank to feel bad.   :lol:

There is actually an unpublished corridor that runs N/S right over the Atlanta airport that is given out more frequently than denied right through the B.  If you get it, stay on heading and altitude as assigned.

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Mooneymite said:

You are correct and I have gotten class B clearance from ATL many times when using flight following as well as when IFR.  However, there is one fellow on Mooneyspace who loves to rant about how Atlanta never lets him in, so I didn't want @Hank to feel bad.   :lol:

There is actually an unpublished corridor that runs N/S right over the Atlanta airport that is given out more frequently than denied right through the B.  If you get it, stay on heading and altitude as assigned.

Aww, poor @Hank ! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, jaylw314 said:

Conversely, flying IFR might get you through a class B.  I was shocked once departing from Santa Monica to San Diego when I got the dread "advise ready to copy new routing," then the controller gave me route straight through the LAX Bravo.

Come try that in Atlanta, going further than from one side of the Bravo to the other. It's never worked for me, I always get to copy a course like "direct SINCA, direct destination."

My most frequent course is directly over the field, straight line from Alabama to the Carolinas. VFR it's either "remain clear of the Bravo" or "stay out of the Bravo" depending upon which displaced Yankee is on the radio and how his day has been. That adds 20-25 minutes to my flight.

The nicest controller I've talked to IFR actually gave me the choice of SINCA or HEFIN, just as long as I went to one or the other. That adds > 30 minutes to my flight, or 2:00 instead of 1:30.

My C is a bit too anemic to climb to 13,500 and run 60nm before descending. That would put me legally needing oxygen, as well as my body likely wanting it, too.

Maybe one day they will at least let me cut the corner and gain back 5-6 minutes of extra fuel burn required to keep small planes out of their sacred airspace . . . .

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.