Caution: Mountain Obscuration due to Foggles 25 Aug 2013
aviation flying vfrstudentpilot

I’ve fallen a bit behind on my flight-related writing recently. Believe it or not, blogging tends to fall lower on the priority list than things like sleeping or eating.

On the menu for week was some instrument practice, one of the many requirements for the VFR pilot. With only low-level clouds this past Tuesday, followed by clear skies this past Saturday, I had no option but to put on some “foggles.”

Which make me look about as cool as this guy.

They’re pretty rad.

Anyways, the point of the foggles are to simulate flying in instrument conditions, without needing to actually fly in instrument conditions.

How this generally plays out in practice is that I put foggles on, my instructor plays the role of air traffic control on the intercom, while performing a traffic scan and pretending not to make faces at me.

Saturday, after the usual pre-flighting business, my instructor reviews the procedures for recovering from “unusual flight attitudes.” We were originally going to cover the subject in Tuesday’s foggle-session, but with an upset stomach in the left seat, neither of us were willing to risk it.

The lesson would consist of me navigating to the practice area, relinquishing control, putting my head down, and closing my eyes. My instructor then would disorient me, and put the plane in some unfamiliar attitude and I would recover.

The first time was the most nerve-wracking. With my eyes squeezed shut, I tried to discern what manuevers we were performing to make sure I could recover the plane as quickly as possible.

“And, recover.”

My eyes flash open, I orient my head such that the foggles let me see the instruments. Airspeed first, then attitude, finally leveling out and bringing us back to cruise.

After a few more exercises, I open my eyes to see the airspeed increasing quickly. I pull the throttle back, but the airspeed keeps increasing. Pulling the throttle back as far as I could, we brush up on the “caution zone” of the airspeed indicator, over the maneuvering speed for the Ugly Duckling. Pulling the yoke back further, we finally start to bleed off some speed.

Annoyed, I ask if there’s any better way to mitigate that scenario other than being very gentle with the controls.

I remove the foggles and we go through the same exercise again. Instead of only being able to see my instruments, this time I’m able to see the windscreen fill with green and brown as the ground rushes towards us.

I preferred not knowing.

The foggles returned, and I was vectored back to Hayward. One soft-field landing later and the lesson was done.