Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Week Two of Instrument Flight Training

Recent maritime cold fronts passing through western Pennsylvania bundled with overnight cooling and terrestrial radiation canceled my Tuesday early morning flight.

Thursday was a different story altogether with a high pressure system and great visibilities. The lesson started off with basic hood work, climbs, turns etc. leading up to slow flight and stalls, be careful not to over-correct when referencing that tiny artificial horizon. Steep turns were next on the agenda followed by unusual attitude recovery techniques.

Next it was time to introduce the art of partial panel flying, i.e. flying with a crippled set of instruments and trying to determine if there is a backup for each one that failed. Jeremy started with a classic by failing the attitude indicator with a trusty post-it note, easy enough as you can use the vertical speed and altimeter for relative pitch information and the turn coordinator for bank and yaw information. When the Directional Gyro got covered over it was time to think that the vacuum pump failed, after a simulating the switch to the alternate vacuum system did not bring the instruments back on-line we were left with compass turns only.

That was just the beginning, in short order the airspeed indicator got covered over. Where's the switch for the pitot heat could that save the day? No, not when the Altimeter and Vertical Speed Indicator get covered as well. Opening the alternate static port did not remove any of the sticky notes. With all the instruments failed it was a relief to learn that there's no way to drain the whiskey from the compass.

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