Home       Features       Site Map      Français

Image is not available

VFR into IMC

How long can a pilot who has no instrument training expect to live after they fly into bad weather and lose visual contact with the ground? SmartPilot.ca put that question to the test.

Many pilots have heard the 178 second story. It is based on a study by researchers at the University of Illinois who put twenty student “guinea pigs” into simulated instrument weather. All went into graveyard spirals or rollercoasters with time intervals that ranged from 480 seconds down to 20 seconds. The average time was 178 seconds - just two seconds short of three minutes.



178 Seconds to Live (AOPA)




     Transport Canada Take 5 "178 Seconds"

     take-5-pdf-button Download


Just recently, SmartPilot.ca took 17 Canadian pilots to PrecisePilot’s full motion flight simulator in Vaughan, Ontario to see for ourselves what would happen. All pilots were experienced VFR pilots, some totalling times in excess of 1000 hours however all had very little instrument time.

Check out the results below!







 VFR into IMC


SmartPilot proudly works with.

aopa logocopa logo

sar logo

We would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada for this initiative through the Search and Rescue New Initiative Fund (SAR NIF).