Foggles

Today was cross country flight number two back to Ramona, and time to fly with the foggles on. I know those that are pilots already know what foggles are, but for those that don’t know, they are an evil creation by someone who wanted to make you fly as if you…

Written by
Richard Brown
Published on
13 Jul 2016
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Today was cross country flight number two back to Ramona, and time to fly with the foggles on. I know those that are pilots already know what foggles are, but for those that don’t know, they are an evil creation by someone who wanted to make you fly as if you were in the clouds when you are in reality flying through clear skies with miles of visibility. Why? Because you don’t want to train for instrument flight in actual instrument conditions. Why when you aren’t going for an instrument rating? What if you end up flying into instrument conditions accidentally? You better know how to turn around 180 degrees and fly back out without meeting up with the ground…
sps_ifr-glasses

Here is what the lovely set that I got to use looks like. My CFI asked if I had my own, I said no and he said then I was lucky because it’s really hard to cheat with these ones. You can only see just in front of you and have to turn your head even to see the radios in the center of the dash.

 

So my nice VFR flight plan I put together was out the window as I would be trying to fly part of it using a VOR radial with the foggles on. (I told my CFI that I trusted he didn’t have a death wish and if I was heading for disaster he would intervene…) We took off and headed for the Paradise VOR which is just a little SE from Chino. Once there I found the correct radial, put on the foggles, began my climb to 5,500′ and tried to fly straight on the radial.

Flying with just instruments is very different. The plane will begin to bank slightly and turn but you can’t feel it. Without the outside horizon you just don’t notice. You must trust your instruments completely. It is a constant process of watching your turn coordinator, attitude indicator, altimeter, heading indicator, vertical speed indicator, and the airspeed indicator and making small adjustments. Looking at the flight on flightaware later and the flight down looks like a snake (remember I said I tried to fly the radial), the flight back when I could see outside was much better.

Flight

All total it was about 33nm “under the hood.”

The flight both directions was fairly uneventful, which is always a nice thing…

Palomar
Over Pala with the Palomar Observatory (That little white spot on top of the mountain) in the background

We landed in Ramona and this time I made use of my checklists. (Make a mistake once but try not to make the same one again.)

On the flight back I had to use VOR’s to triangulate my position on the TAC. That was not difficult as I was doing that on MS Flight Simulator back in the 1980’s and on other sims since then. (Yep, I was that weird kid. This desire to fly has been around a very long time…) 

Beautiful haze resting on the mountains.
Beautiful haze resting on the mountains.

As we were passing March Air Reserve Base Socal let us know “Cherokee 00Uniform, heavy at about your two o’clock, five miles, opposite direction, same level.” We looked over to see a C-17 heading to March, very cool.

We had started the flight late and weren’t sure if we would be back before dark. That would have been okay as I could have gotten in some night landings which I will eventually need, but turns out we landed about 7:40pm so the sun hadn’t gone down yet. However, with the sun low and the haze much thicker up towards Chino than in the picture above, you couldn’t see the ground very far out in front of you. As we were coming up on the Paradise VOR we got this call.

Socal: “Cherokee 00Uniform, you have a 767 at your ten o’oclock, 10 miles out, opposite direction, climbing.”

It must have been leaving Ontario and I told my CFI we were going to just see it come up out of the haze. Sure enough just a few seconds later he said “There it is” and we saw it quite a way out in front of us, climbing fast. By the time it passed right over us it was probably at least 6,000′ above us.

We were handed off to Chino Tower and told to enter left base for landing on 26R. I knew the general direction of the airport, we still couldn’t see it, and I could see ground below us even though I couldn’t see ground 4 miles away. So, I started my turn to base and we kept looking for the runways. About the time we were almost even with 26L we finally saw them and I made my turn to final to line up with 26R.

Next up we will fly the route to Ramona one more time on Saturday but instead of making it all the way there my CFI is going to make me divert to another airport. The flight after that? Well that will be back to Ramona one more time for my first solo cross country. Then it will be my long solo cross country, time to figure out where I want to fly to and start planning it. I thought this was fun before, but it is getting really fun now.

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