Flight School Day 19

Today I learned how to fly by only watching the instruments.  This was supposed to simulate what would happen if I lost visibility by flying into a cloud or something.  First I got to buy my somewhat expensive “blinders” that clip over my glasses and only allow me to see the instrument panel… I should get into that business… ~$30 for a piece of plastic that clips on your glasses.

Anyway… I took off from the airport and after climbing a thousand feet or so, he had me start wearing the blinders.  He would then tell me to do things like climb to a specific altitude or head a certain direction.  This is a little trickier than it might seem as no one instrument really gives you enough information, but you have to combine readings from all of them.  Then he had me turn while climbing and descending.  At one point I flew almost 100 feet below the altitude I was supposed to be at because I got distracted trying to fix my heading.  He said never get too low… a little too high is okay, but never get too low.  So after flying around a while he had me lift my visor and I realized he had me flying all over the top of a hill.  We saw an irregularity in some trees and flew close to investigate and saw a big cave opening on the hill.  It seemed like somewhere impossible to accidentally hike to and hard to see from anywhere except where we were.

Then he had me climb to about 4000 feet and we practiced “unusual attitude recovery” where I would close my eyes (while wearing the blinders) so I couldn’t see the instruments or otherwise surmise what was happening and he would put the airplane in an unusual attitude like climbing really steep and banked crazily off to the side.  He would then have me open my eyes and “fix it” only looking at the instruments.  We did this about three times then he had me follow a bunch of headings again and flip my visor up and find the airport.  Turns out he had me lined up perfectly on downwind parallel to the runway.  We tried a wheel landing that turned into a bouncy 3-point landing, took off, and tried another one.  This time it worked perfectly.  The wheels touched exactly when I wanted them to and I was able to apply just enough pressure to keep them on the ground.  I lowered the tail just right and it was probably my smoothest landing so far.  The very calm winds helped.

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