Thursday, October 01, 2015

Flying Lesson #13 - Fun With Instruments And Attitudes

Today was a really beautiful day that hid from view some very impressive shifting and gusting winds. Impressive lines of clouds were on display across the sky.

N73455 wasn't back from the shop yet, so I got to take N757MK up.

It had just come back after being flown, so I started my pre-flight.

Everything was in order, and we topped her off with fuel and got ready to go.

Sean decided that with the winds it would not be a pattern work day but we would do more instrument work.

I was about to have one of the most fun lessons yet.

The wind according to the ATIS was gusting from 040, so we asked to taxi and then takeoff from Runway 36 to depart to the northeast, and got clearance to do so by taxiing from Delta then all the way down 18 to 36

I did the run-up and everything was good and we notified them we were ready to go.

I had a good takeoff with a fun crosswind that had just shifted to 060 but no major issues. My first time using runway 36. It doesn't get used very often.

Then we headed off to the northeast and I put on the foggles and climbed us to 4,500 feet.

Below 4,000 there was quite a bit of turbulence and gusting winds but once we were over the clouds it calmed down quite a bit.

We practiced some turns, climbs and descents under the hood and then climbed to 5,500. Part of that was to learn how to follow radar vectors from a controller if you inadvertently get stuck in IMC and can't get out by doing a 180 degree turn.

If you do get stuck in IMC, keep flying the airplane and perform the 4 Cs - Confess, Climb, Communicate, and Comply. Confess to yourself that you're in a mess. Climb as height is your friend and the ground is not in this situation. Communicate - let a controller know the problem, they're there to help you and they can vector you out, so take advantage of the resource. Comply - Do what they say and follow their instructions to get out of the problem.

I did a good job at following the simulated vectors and course changes.

Then it was time for instrument flight and unusual attitudes.

Unusual attitudes are positions the plane can get into if you fly into IMC and lose your bearings and don't trust your instruments or lose track of them, which can happened quite quickly.

I got to close my eyes and put my chin on my chest as Sean flew us around a bit and then recover from the situation once he told me I had the airplane. Open your eyes, check the instruments, figure out what the plane is doing and then get back to level flight following the correct procedure.

The dives with eyes closed were about the best roller coaster you could get - Wheee!

I apparently did very well at these recoveries and it was a heckuva lot of fun.

Then, he had me close my eyes, chin down, and let him know what the plane was doing. I apparently kept up for quite awhile accurately reporting when the plane was turning left or right, ascending or descending, but then he threw in a subtle turn right and my body insisted we were still going left and yep, had it been seat of the pants flying there would have been a real case of spatial disorientation.

He had me open my eyes and recover and that was very instructive - again, trust your instruments in IMC.

Then we started flying back and got hit by some turbulence and rose over 500 feet instantly. I got the wings back to level and he was happy with how I recovered, and we discussed turbulence and how I did the right thing in focusing on leveling the wings. The studying is paying off.

He had me do radio calls while under the hood, showing how even taking your eyes of the instruments to adjust the radio could throw you off. I did all the radio calls and descended the plane down to close to pattern altitude under the hood and then he had me take it off.

On landing, not only did we have some very gusting and shifting winds, we also had a wind shear advisory. Sean said he would handle the landing once I got us on the downwind leg. I handed it off on the downwind and he landed it perfectly - at a higher than normal landing speed due to the winds and we landed on the upwind main gear first, followed by the downwind gear for a perfect landing. Lots of things learned from that landing.

It was a great and really fun lesson with 1.2 more flying hours in the log book and .9 of that simulated instrument flight.

Sean also endorsed me, based on my practice written test scores, to take the FAA Private Pilot Written Test so I'm going to get that test booked and done soon.


juvat said...

I've been so badly disoriented, I thought the jet was tumbling. It was extremely difficult to fly the instruments. Fortunately it only lasted for a little bit and I was fairly high. Just as a word of warning. Don't initiate a turn and simultaneously look the other direction and down.

Old NFO said...

You're hooked! :-) And vertigo and spatial disorientation WILL kill you. Juvat's advice IS OUTSTANDING!

Aaron said...

Juvat: Thanks, and that's most excellent advice.

I've had severe spatial disorientation happen underwater - I did a quick series of practice descents and ascents followed by a rapid descent and my inner ear was so messed up I actually saw and felt the lake was spinning around along with the other divers in it. It and they weren't but you could have fooled me. Finally got stable but it was not a fun experience.

Old NFO: I am indeed!