What are the instruments in your aircraft?

How not to be confused with

instruments in your aircraft?

          There is no such thing as flying half-and-half – that is, flying on instruments and at the same time trying to keep I contact with the ground. Cloudy Joe cannot understand why one may not fly on instrument and occasionally check the accuracy of his flight by coming down through soupy weather and looking at the ground. He does not realize that it is exactly this sort of flying that leads to a serious trouble. In fact, you can almost tell in advance that a flight carried out in this way will be the last one made by the man at the controls. If both the ceiling and visibility are good, you fly contact: otherwise you fly on instruments, not half-and-half, but wholeheartedly.

          Cloudy Joe has had more than one cousin who never acquired this judgment because their promising careers were cut short by lack of practice in the early days of instrument flying.

                   During those pioneering days there was continual conflict between the airplane, the weather, the instrument, and the airman’s own senses. Since very little was known about any of these factors, many had to pay dearly for the experienced gained. Once, there was a case where one of Cloudy Joe’s cousins flew over a stretch of nice, level ground. As he approached the hills, the weather became thicker, the ceiling dropped, and fog formed close to the ground. The man had instruments in his plane, but he used them half-heartedly, hoping for the fog to rise. The fog didn’t rise, however, and he began to lose confidence in his instruments. Poking his head out of the plane, he came down through the overcast to look at the ground. Well, he got just one glimpse of the good earth – his last.

          Cloudy Joe’s cousin is not an isolated example. Similar cases occurred frequently back in the early flying days and still do occur, but you should follow the golden rules upon which safe flying is based; to fly contact when you can, and to practice on the ground and during good weather until you are proficient enough and confident of your ability to fly through the overcast on instruments without trying to see what you are flying over, If your calculations are right, you don’t need to see what is below you; if your calculations are wrong, coming down to take a look at the terrain will only add to your troubles.

          Another thing that caused trouble in the early days was that very few airmen believed their instruments, for the simple reason that they had no idea how to interpret them. They tried to guide themselves through the overcast by the feel of the controls which they had only acquired during contact flying. “Fell” is a reliable guide, however, only during contact flying; in the overcast it merely confuses the airman and has brought many a plane and its pilot to grief. But time, experience and studded have gradually taught us what was wrong, and we have finally learned the right way to fly on instruments.

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