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9 Reasons Why You Should Never Fly VFR Into IMC

What's the most dangerous thing a pilot can do? The Nall Report on General Aviation accidents reveals some eye-opening statistics: VFR flight into clouds is one of the most deadly things a pilot can do. Here's why...

1) According to the Nall Report, only 4% of general aviation accidents are weather related, but they account for over 25% of all fatalities.


2) The chances a weather related accident will be fatal is nearly 63%.

Fernando X. Sanchez

3) Half of the weather related accidents in the report involved pilots attempting fly under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) into Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC).


4) Over 72% of VFR into IMC accidents are fatal.


5) Private pilots account for 38% of pilots, but they are involved in 49% of accidents.

_Night Flier_

6) Student pilots are statistically safer than private pilots. Students make up 15% of all pilots, but they only account for 6% of all accidents.


7) In the majority of VFR into IMC accidents, the pilot received a weather briefing. And, a majority of the weather briefings included "VFR not recommended" from the weather briefer.


8) As pilot certification level increased, the accident rate decreased. However, high-time private pilots were involved in more accidents than low-time private pilots.


9) Increased confidence of high-time, non-instrument rated pilots may be the single biggest contributing factor for VFR into IMC accidents.


If you're VFR, never fly into the clouds - the odds are stacked against you. And if you do want to fly in the clouds, now's the perfect time to start your instrument rating.

Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at

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