Week 3

Welcome to Week 3 of National Safety Month 2023



OzRunways is a combined team of Australian recreational and private pilots who fully understand the unique aspects of regional Australian flying. They are dedicated to supporting the Recreational Aviation community and are committed to enhancing safety standards and situational awareness through National Safety Month.

Their EFB tools, focusing on Weather and Traffic, are core features that are pivotal for pilots across all skill levels and flying operations. OzRunways believes that every pilot should have the resources to easily and comprehensively access information about the safety parameters of every flight.



Visual Flight Rules into Instrument Meteorological Conditions, or VFR into IMC (flying into cloud / smoke / or other sources of reduced visibility below VFR criteria) is one of the most common causes of fatal accident within RAAus operations. VFR into IMC is a contributing factor in approximately 1 in every 10 fatal accidents in Australia (including CASA registered aircraft).

VFR into IMC is believed to have been a contributing factor in two RAAus fatal accidents in 2022. Both accidents occurred within 50 nautical miles of the departure aerodrome.


Hazard symbol - Wikipedia Continued flight into deteriorating weather conditions

Hazard symbol - Wikipedia Flight into areas of smoke from bush-fire activity

Hazard symbol - Wikipedia Get-there-itis - Pressure to get to a destination within a specified timeframe

Hazard symbol - Wikipedia Failure to confirm weather forecasts

Hazard symbol - Wikipedia Complacency regarding poor weather, particularly within the pilots local area



 Obtain the required weather forecast from an approved source prior to each and every flight

 Avoid complaceny relating to weather, particularly when operating in the local area

 Be aware of, and avoid pressure to arrive at a particular destination within a specified timeframe. Many fatal VFR into IMC accidents involve get-there-itis, or pressure to get to your destination. Be particularly aware when attending events or fly-ins

 Review weather conditions regularly and make early decisions to turn back or divert rather than pressing on

 A precautionary landing into a field resulting in aircraft damage is a better outcome than pressing on into cloud resulting in an unrecoverable loss of control



As pilots, one factor we can not control is the weather. Despite this, through the use of modern technology and weather forcasting, pilots can receive real-time, up to date weather information which enables improved decision making prior to and during flight.

American research shows that 76% of VFR into IMC accidents involve a fatality.

An ATSB research publication concluded that the chances of a VFR into IMC encounter increased as the flight progressed with the maximum chance occurring during the final 20% of the flight distance.

Studies conducted in the 1990s show that, on average, pilots who entered cloud lost control of the aircraft in just 178 seconds.

Do you understand how spatial disorientation can impact you?

Do you know your legal requirements to obtain weather forcasts prior to flight?





With many pilots now chosing to use an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) for their flight brifing and planning requirements, its important that pilots understand the range of features available to improve situational awareness prior to, and during, flight.

Do you know how to source weather information for your intended aerodrome?

Do you have aerodrome weather colours enabled on your map view?

Do you access weather cameras prior to flight?

Did you know you can view radar, satellite, and windy.com weather information from OzRunways?

Did you know you can overlay weather radar information which includes rain, cloud, and lightning overlay onto your map view?

National Safety Month Sponsor, OzRunways, have prepared a short video to brief members on how to obtain valuable weather information within the OzRunways EFB.


The following Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) AvSafety Accident Investigation Video reviews a fatal weather-related accident involving a Wittman Tailwind in Tooloom National Park in New South Wales

The panel shares insights on a range of weather and forcasting relating topics including spatial disorientation, how clouds are formed, pre-flight and during the flight decisions and having a plan B if the weather deteriorates. 


 VFR into IMC and loss of control involving Wittman Tailwind, VH-TWQ, Tooloom National Park, NSW, 12 January 2020

This occurrence is covered in the above CASA AvSafety Accident Investigation Video.

Image shows 2 photos - one of each aircraft

What happened?

On the afternoon of 12 January 2020, the pilot of an amateur-built Wittman Tailwind aircraft, registered VH-TWQ (TWQ), departed Evans Head Airport, New South Wales, with one passenger on board. The pilot was conducting a private flight under the visual flight rules from Evans Head, to Boonah, Queensland.

The pilot flew in a north-north-westerly direction towards Boonah via the Richmond River valley. At 1353, the pilot commenced a 180° turn overhead the township of Kyogle and diverted, due to the weather, south back down the valley to Casino Aerodrome, landing at 1406.

At 1454, the pilot took off from Casino and flew in a west-north-westerly direction. At 1512 TWQ commenced a series of rapid descents and climbs followed by a descending left turn. The turn and descent continued until TWQ collided with terrain. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured, and the aircraft was destroyed.

As a result, the investigation determined the following key safety messages relating to VFR pilots flying into areas of reduced visibility:

  • Pilots should avoid deteriorating weather by conducting thorough pre-flight planning. They should ensure they have alternate plans in case of an unexpected deterioration in the weather and make timely decisions to turn back, divert or hold in an area of good weather.
  • VFR pilots should use a ‘personal minimums’ checklist to help control and manage flight risks through identifying risk factors that include marginal weather conditions and only fly in environments that do not exceed their capabilities.
  • Pilot’s should consider reducing speed and/or altering the configuration of the aircraft to allow more time for decision making and maneuvering in areas of deteriorating or marginal weather conditions.
  • Pressing on into instrument meteorological conditions without a current instrument rating carries a significant risk of severe spatial disorientation due to powerful and misleading orientation sensations with reduced visual cues. Disorientation can affect any pilot, no matter what their level of experience.
  • If VFR pilots find themselves in marginal weather and becoming disoriented or lost, they should seek whatever help is available. Air Traffic Services (ATS) may be able to provide assistance, especially if the aircraft is in ATS surveillance coverage. There have been a number of reported occurrences where this simple action has averted potential disaster.

    (Content and image source: ATSB)



View the content above, then click the following link and complete a short quiz to enter our week 3 prize draw!



FIRST PRIZE:  uAvionix SkyEcho2 - Sponsored by OzRunways - Valued at $1,195.00

SECOND PRIZE: uAvionix Ping ADS-B Receiver - Valued at $445.00

THIRD PRIZE: GMEMT610G PLB and CC610 Case - Sponsored by GME - Valued at $394.00

FOURTH PRIZE: 12 Month RAAus Flying Membership - Valued at $325.00

FIFTH PRIZE: OzRunways Subscription - Sponsored by OzRunways - Valued at $169.00


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Applicants must hold a current Flying Membership or Non-Flying Membership In order to be eligible to win the uAvionix Skyecho2.

 *Terms and Conditions Apply


National Safety Month would not be possible without the support of our sponsors:


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