Would I lose my Pilot's Licence?

I just had an exhilarating flight into Zurich airport in the Cesna 152. Was given clearance to land on runway 16 but upon arrival saw thick low cloud and fog blanketing the airport. Never fear my nav radio was tuned into the right ILS frequency and it guided me to the point where I could see the runway and I was able to ace the landing. I was really chuffed with myself as it was the first time I had used instruments to guide me through fog. Unfortunately I realised I had landed on runway 14 and not runway 16 as instructed by the tower. What would happen in real life ? Would I be in trouble ? In my defence the tower cleared me to land with fog covering the airport…

Please post any other examples of when you tried to do the right thing and ended up breaking the rules…


If it’s any consolation, I think Harrison Ford is still flying. :rofl:


I’m not a pilot but i think realistically you’d do everything in your power to NOT have to land at an airport where you can’t see the runway. You’d also be properly rated well before you got into the plane.

Though, i think in the worst case scenario, assuming you haven’t crashed into another plane landing on 14 instead of 16, you’d at least get a call from the local aviation authority. I can’t speak for what punishment you’d receive, but I suspect it ranges from a slap on the wrist to complete revocation of your pilots license, depending on the severity of the incident

It’s probably better than landing on a taxiway because you had an old chart…still bad…

If you were a pilot IRL, you would have the proper training to know what to do in such situation


Yes, you would be asked to explain how you arrived on the wrong runway. They may have been another aircraft with hundreds of passengers there. What the penalty might be I’m not sure, but for that I’d expect some penalty. I think it would be a fine, request that you do remedial training, or license suspension.

As mentioned by someone else though, Harrison Ford still flew and from memory he landed on a taxiway!

In real life the tower probably would have noticed you were heading for the wrong runway and asked you to correct it. But as PIC, it is your responsibility and no one else’s to follow instructions accurately and know how to operate your aircraft. ATC are not required to tell you that you are stuffing up, sometimes they are busy so can’t stand around watching to see if a pilot knows what they are doing or not!

It is one of the interesting things about flight simulation. A lot of people think it is easy, but when you follow all the regs properly showing proper airmanship, it gets a lot harder!


Happens IRL as well, some airliners manage to even land at the wrong airport!

Sometimes they not only land on the wrong airport, but in the wrong country :rofl:

DC-10 misses Frankfurt runway - by 300km | News | Flight Global


RL ATC probably would have said some to you about being lined up in error.


Ground: "Pilot, your need to contact Tower on telephone number xxxxxxxx, they want to speak to you’


I flew into Zürich in GA aircraft in real life. That was many years ago. You need to get a slot. It’s not prohibited to fly into LSZH IFR in GA aircraft.

At least back then, it would have been legal, provided you had an arrival slot, were on an IFR flight plan and had an IFR certified aircraft. Remember that IFR Cat 1 ILS minimums are 200ft AGL and a certain minimum visibility.

I guess nowadays, the requirements are all the above plus your vaccination certificate :smiley:

Regarding your ad-hoc side step maneuver: you probably just forgot that the tower instructed you to side step onto the other runway. It’s absolutely possible and happens sometimes.


I blame ATC. I was on a VFR flight plan and they cleared me to land in fog. Also I am unqualified simmer with only 60 hours of virtual flying experience !

I did what I had to do to survive…

All good fun :grinning:

I guess that’s why they do not let simmers fly real planes.


Less than 100hrs are sufficient IRL which isn’t too much either.

At least 50 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot in command. At least 10 of these hours must be in airplanes for an instrument-airplane rating. A total of 40 hours of actual or simulated instrument time on the areas of operation listed in 61.65(c).

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I don’t think it’s possible to have 50 hours PIC with 60h TT. Also I have not seen an instrument rated C152.

But I don’t think someone would lose his license over this. It would likely get suspended and extra training would be required.

I was reading one of the plates in the C152 cockpit yesterday and it would seem that, at some point, (maybe not these days) the C152 was indeed certified for IFR.

You are correct regarding the flight hours.
Edited accordingly.

@Cliffyboy1962 correct. In our flight school we did have an IFR equipped 152.


Couple things with this. Here in the states, 1. FAA 91.3 would not let you use “the controller made me do it” reasoning. 2, presume you weren’t on an IFR flight plan and flying visually? That would have put you in controlled airspace where, here in the states would have been class “B”. You need to remain clear of clouds. 3. You landed on the wrong runway. At minimum, you’d be given a number to call by the administrators. Then the rest of your violations would come into light. Yes, you’d probably get into a world of trouble but not sure you’d lose your certificate.

Now that same 91.3 rule here would have allowed you to declare an emergency which would have covered your butt, and, in the real-world, would have made you a priority for the controllers.


T.J. Fogarty on Jul 11, 2011

As stated, the Cessna 152 can be used for an instrument rating provided it is equipped for IFR operations. Make sure the aircraft has at least a Nav with a glideslope since a precision approach (ILS) is required for the instrument checkride. I’ve found having a GPS in the aircraft also makes life a lot easier for IFR but unfortunately are rare in 152s.

True, but the OP asked if he’d lose his license. Having an IFR capable aircraft and being an instrument rated pilot are different things. Given he’s not instrument rated, flying into clouds in busy controlled airspace is a no-no. Whether an IFR aircraft saved his bacon or not.


If you don’t have any experience with flying in IMC without AP, the survival time is a bit more than 2min.
So IRL the OP wouldn’t have made it to the runway anyway.


I believe that might have been true years ago. But not with younger people raised on flight simulators. Flying based on instruments is more natural than looking outside. You just need to know your senses might fool you and to trust the instruments.

Although I’m not instrument rated I did a few NVFR flights where I couldn’t almost see anything outside (nothing to see, just forests and no moon light. It was VMC, just super dark). Had 0 problems flying based on the instruments.

Regarding the C152 I have not recently see one with working two sets of radios, backup NAV equipment etc.


This has nothing to do with simulators.

And that’s exactly the problem.
If you have never experienced it you don’t know how to fight it.
NVFR isn’t (obviously) not even remotely comparable to IMC.