Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Basic instrument training - Part 2

We practice unusual attitudes in which the instructor takes the controls and I close the eyes while he tries to confuse my brain moving the airplane around doing steep turns and/or stall approaches.
He says "Open your eyes, you have the controls" and I open my eyes and make a quick instruments analyse to find in what kind of situation he let me in. This is done also in partial panel.
Normally this can be:
- pointing to the ground in a turn and accelerating. The recover procedure is idle power, level and bring the nose up carefully if the airspeed had enter the yellow arc.
- pointing to the stars almost in a stall. The recover is done by applying full power, level the wings and drop the nose.
Unusual attitude recovery

Sometimes this maneuvers makes your brain playing tricks on you, telling you are turning right and actually you are wings level or turning left. You have to trust the instruments!

Spatial disorientation is a weird sensation that I had felt in the first hours of instruments when I was doing a 180º level right turn passing through some clouds (even knowing very well this kind of situations occur). During some seconds my brain was thinking that I was in a left turn, I  stare to the turn coordinated that was saying that I actually was turning right. My instructor saw this  "What the hell is happening!" looking coming out of my face and said smiling "You are lost?!", I answer "Yes". He said that he was trying to put me in that situation just to let me feel how my brain can be wrong. 

After this episode it happen a few more times but when I felt the sensation approaching I looked to the turn coordinator and said into myself: Trust the instrument.  

Other maneuver included in the basic instrument training are procedures turns (45/180, 80/260, base turn), stall recoveries, steep turns.
Procedure turns

The steep turn is a 360º level turn with 45º of bank. After passing the 30º of bank its necessary to pull a little the yoke to maintain the altitude and add 100 rpm.

Steep turn

We practice the "approach to stall" and "full stall" recoveries. To who don´t know what a stall is, basically  it is when the wing can't generated enough lift to maintain the airplane´s altitude and the airplane kind "drops from the sky".
During the approach to stall recovery  you have to maintain the altitude, don't even think in loose or gain 40' :). At the same time maintain the heading, this is more difficult because of the engine torque produced when full power is set.
The stall recovery is initiated when a wing drop or a buffet is felt on the yoke. You let the nose drop to gain some airspeed, level the wing and then push up at the same time adding power. If the recovery is done correctly only 100-200' are lost. Initially I had the tendency to add power while in a pitch down position, this can be dangerous because the airplane gains airspeed quickly.  

Stall recover

Tail view during a stall recover training

Stall in a turn

The next video shows a take-off where you only are allowed to see the instruments. Don´t try to look outside!   

Take-off under the hood

Hope you enjoy the reading and the videos. :)

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