Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Where did you get those Glasses?

Foggles to be exact! Today was back to lessons with my CFI after finishing up my Cross Country work. Weare going to work on Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) . I put in a 1.2 hour IFR lesson today on one of the nicest days to be in the air. I hated to think about limiting my view!

Lets see, vision limiting device - hood - foggles....designer glasses they are not, with that said I had a blast and worked my butt off. My CFI gave me a course and ALT prior to takeoff and then as we were departing the area exchanged control of the airplane followed by me adding the foggles over my glasses. Very strange, but a fun lesson. We went through the basics, turns, decents, climbs working on instrument scan and "gentle" inputs on all controls.

The next stage was "simulated" ATC calls starting with the VFR pilot lost in the clouds and moving forward from that. We simulated vectors back to VFR conditions and communications while concentrating holding tight on my turns and ALT. My CFI threw in tracking the MXE VOR back to the field (N99). I repeated ATC instructions (simulated) dialed in 113.2 on Nav 1 and also set up my #2 for the outbound 54* radial that puts me on a 6 mile to N99. I said as workload permits I am setting up for my outbound leg since I will be looking for the airport when we break out.......he smiled, I think he really liked that.

Just prior to downwind entry he took the airplane while I removed the foggles as instructed. Back on the controls I set up for landing. I ended up doing a misssed first time, poor adjustment to crosswind and to fast, I wasn't happy with my performance. Second time around, turned out enough to slowly come back to centerline and slip my way in. An ok landing with a short back taxi and I was done for the day. I left with the thought of what if I had to go around in those actual conditions and I needed to be on my game ALL the time.

The Added Lesson.....

After my lesson today two men approached my instructor and asked the limits on the aircraft. Take off weight (2450 lbs.), fuel on board and useful load (764 lbs.). My CFI pulls out the ol' POH and quotes the info (I’m thinking are these two guys taking another’s word on the info and fuel on board...ok, I'm confused) Both pilots talk back and forth and I hear well, with our weight (they try doing the math in their head) let's see, my CFI jumps in and says you'll have 120 lbs. for fuel or 20 gallons.

YIKES! These guys are going to New York from N99. I never once heard talk of winds aloft and it was windy today or did I see a flight plan or any calc's (they may have had it but I didn't see it). Well they go back and forth and conclude that they figure the school plane was up for just over three hours so doing landings and pattern work so they figure there is around 13 gallons left. Meanwhile I am giving my CFI a "I'm lost here look" My CFI jumps in and clearly states to them both again that these are the limits, and he strongly recommends NOT exceeding any limits in the POH, or attempting that flight with that amount of fuel......with that we both walked away.

I was amazed, I said what was that all about.....are they nuts or did they have superman tights under those clothes???? They had the fuel truck put 7 gallons in each tank.Winds were 310 to 010 10G16 and a quick plan in my head I figure anywhere from ....I'd say 010* to 080* and 90 miles as a direct route to NY just as a ballpark.I told my CFI that there is no way I take that chance and no way i would depend on ANYONE to answer my questions but me. He told me I learned a valuable lesson today and it was not while I was under the hood in the plane working on IFR lessons.

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