Lesson 52 - Friday September 10th

Unusual Attitudes & Diversions

A Fairly normal little lesson today, after I finally recovered from the grueling cross country last Friday.  I was stiff for several days after, and I was glad to have the week away from a plane.

But today I sprang back into action with an 11AM flight in 8567C.  We took it up towards Simi Valley, and as we were climbing, Craig told me to put the hood on.  I need to notch up my time in simulated instruments, so Craig is taking every opportunity to have fly blind.

Craig vectored me out into the valley with occasional changes of direction, and I did a pretty good job of keeping us level and roughly on course.

After a while I took off the hood, and Craig demonstrated "Unusual Attitude Recovery", which is basically what you do when you find the plane pointing in some unusual angle up or down, and tilted left or right.  

If the plane is pointing down, you bring the power to idle, level the wings, and slowly bring the nose up, then add power back when level.

If the plane is pointing up, then add full power, lower the nose, then level the wings.  The change in the order here is to avoid stalls.

So after Craig demos one, he tells me to close my eyes and fly the plane, making some turns to the left and right.  As I can't see the instruments, I have no idea of which way we are facing, although I kind of think we are descending.  Craig tells me to open my eyes, and we are pointing down, and angled right about 40 degrees.   I bring the power to idle, level the wings and bring the nose up.

Craig then puts me in a nose up unusual attitude, and I recover from that.  Then two more with the hood on, so I just look at the Attitude Indicator (the artificial horizon), and I recover just fine.   I found it good to think for a fraction of a second before doing anything, and say what I'm going to do, make sure it sounds right: "the nose is down, so ... bring the power to idle".

We then off and do a steep turn, just to make sure, I do it within limits, not especially good, but I'd pass the test.

Then diversions, this is a part of the test where the examiner will tell you to go to another airport, and you've got to basically plan the route there in mid air.

Craig says: "Diverting to Redlands", and I then proceed to spend about five minutes looking for it in the Terminal chart.  It ends up all the way on the far east side, a long way from where were are.  Craig then tells me to Divert to Agua Dulce, which is a lot closer, and easier to find on the map.  He shows me a better way of scanning the map by keeping it folded accordion style, and then holding it in one hand and looking at one column at a time, so you can keep flying the plane with the map held up.

Once you find the airport, you should turn in the general direction, and then get your plotter out, and calculate a magnetic heading, presumably including winds, the the best of your knowledge.

Then some more hood work, and we headed back (with me under the hood).  As we got closer home, I took off the hood and Craig showed me how to level off from my descents better.  I'd been in the habit of pulling up the nose, then adding power.  But it's better to add the power first, and just let the nose come back up of its own accord.

Then back to SMO, for a landing, calling that a day as it was so hot.

Night flying should be sometime the week after next.  I've just got to notch up my simulated instrument training (currently 1.1 hours out of 3 needed), and a bit more solo (7.8 hours out of 10 needed)  


(c) 2004 Mick West