Instrument Landing Minimums are ABSOLUTE!!!!!
In the discussion over the bad landing, it was stated how absolute that weather minimums were.
In thinking about that it hit me that in spite of clear minimums, there is a HUGE HUGE HUGE range of safety that these minimums supply.
200 feet and 1/2 mile is incredibly common for Category I ILS approaches.
But, who's flying? I only have 10 hours of instrument time and one ILS (under the hood) to my name. I found it tough to keep the airplane dead on course, check the plate, tune the ILS, check the morse code, change to tower frequncy, watch the altitude, watch everything else...
Then I watched the Jetstream crew do one (no autopilot either!)....Very cool- one dude flew the plane, the other dude messed with radios (and watched the needles and altitude too- just for safety)....then it hit me HUGELY: their approach was TONS safer than mine- and not simply because they had a lot of practice. Four eyeballs and two brains make a geometric, not linear, improvement in safety. (Not that they can't collectively CFIT, etc either, but they beat the hell out of one person in a high workload, critical environment.)
And that's not all- is it true concrete 200 and 1/2 in some gentle, low fog, or is it blowing snow and those pesky gusty crosswinds? Or is it torrential rain?
Are you doing the ILS at a remote airport- or is it a major terminal with plane after plane on a 3-min interval to report the prescense, or abscense of wind shears?
Is there ice?
Flat terrain or mountanous?
Let's get back to pilot training- in spite of hard limits- some airlines will limit lower hour pilots to higher minimums (What??? It's not absolute???). And- no question whatsoever - a low time instrument pilot in a light plane without an autopilot is way way way way way way way way more dangerous than two gillion-hour pilots in a top-of-the-line airliner.
Bottom line- just because there are clear restrictions on weather with respect to ceiling and visiblity- it actually does very little to control the level of safety.