Instrument Training

Today I finally got a chance to work on instrument training. It was mostly calm, but there were several updrafts during the lesson that made holding altitude a challenge. I was constantly adjusting power and pitch.

Unfortunately, it was a nice clear day with little haze. That made it less exciting to be under the hood and not be able to see outside.

After a few basic maneuvers and some practice intercepting and following a VOR, we worked (for the first time) on unusual attitude recovery. I close my eyes, Gene flies the plane around, up and down, maybe changes trim and power adjustments and all kinds of things to get the plane into an “unknown” orientation. Then, I open my eyes, check out the instruments and controls, and recover from whatever attitude the plane is in to a safe attitude. If we’re nose diving, power comes off and pull back; if we’re banked, straighten up; if we’re approaching a stall, nose comes down and power goes on. We did this three times, none of which I had trouble recovering from. The worst part was closing my eyes; I don’t like flying with my eyes closed.

After about a half an hour of that, the hood came off and we practiced a couple power out emergencies. I was a little high on final, but the field was large and a full slip brought us down to a survivable approach.

As we climbed out of that one, I noticed that someone had mowed the word DUKE in large letters in their lawn. Funny.

For the last emergency exercise, Gene wanted to climb to 3200 feet, pull the power over Hwy 15/501 (about 7 miles west of the airport), and see if we could glide to the airport. There was a slight tail wind, which helped. Nobody was in the pattern, so we didn’t have to deal with conflict. We made it over the end of runway 3 with 1500 feet left to lose. I spiraled down over the runway once and made a base and final, but I was still pretty high. Full flaps and a full forward slip brought us down quickly, but well past the threshold. With such a long runway, it wasn’t a problem. The roundout and touchdown were very nice, deserving a “wow” from Gene, so we called it a day. It’s amazing how far the plane can go without power.

After 1.1 hours, I have 60.8 total.