Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sucker Holes

If you're a pilot, you're probably familiar with the term sucker hole.

In the United States, it's legal for a non-instrument rated pilot to operate in VFR (visual flight rules) conditions above clouds, but to get there you need a clear path to get up and down. A sucker hole can provide the means, but it isn't always the safest thing to do. Once through the hole, it might close behind you, making a later descent very problematic. Non-instrument rated pilots can become easily disoriented in clouds. Besides, it is illegal.

In Canada, VFR above the clouds is not permitted. You must be an IFR (instrument flight rules) certified pilot on an IFR flight plan to fly above the clouds, even if it is clear up there. -- Margy

13 comments:

  1. Interesting! I'll send this link to a pilot friend of mine ;)

    Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. They are pretty, even if they have an unpleasant name and connotation!

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  3. Hi Margy!
    Beautiful sky hole & cloud shots. And very important reminder. I'll make sure my son reads this one.

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  4. Interesting post Margy. Thirty five years ago I was flying to Whitehorse on our beloved Canadian Pacific Airlines aka Canadian Airlines when the pilot advised us that he was going to assist a young pilot who had got himself caught above the clouds with no way down. This was a 737 assisting a little Cessna. It was an amazing experience as the big plane slowed to stall speed so the little plane could keep visual as we went through a think layer of clouds to all land safely in Whitehorse. CPA fired the pilot but so much stink was made that he was re instated. I suspect this young pilot took the sucker hole route and was lucky enough another was willing to risk his job to assist. Thanks for this post and have a great weekend.

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  5. Beautiful cloud photos. My hubby is a private pilot so I have heard the term before but it is nice to see photos just the same.

    Have a great weekend,
    SQ

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  6. so interesting! happy TGIF to you!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog - fellow BCer!! :)

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  7. I didn't realise that was what they were called. I've seen a couple of those in our skies recently..

    Interesting post !! :-)

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  8. I often wonder of the hole I've been seeing in our skies around here. Thanks for the info.

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  9. Interesting info on sucker holes - nice shots too. Will send rain to you! Hope it gets there.

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  10. I LOVE learning new stuff! I'd never heard of sucker holes before, cool. Have a great weekend.

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  11. hello margy...love your captures. indeed an appropriate term for such a phenomenon in the clouds.
    have a wonderful weekend.
    take care

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  12. Sucker holes, eh? I never knew that is what they are called. Of course I am not a pilot. But I do find them interesting and call the, simply, Holes in the Sky. I like taking pictures of them too. MB

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  13. Thank you to everyone for stopping by my Skywatch Friday post. After weeks of sunshine, Wayne and I are watching for a sucker hole to get our plane 997 off the ground. She needs a good exercising after sitting in the hanger while we've been in Powell River. - Margy

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