After not being able to fly last week due to having to work and the airfield being closed, today I had PPL Lesson 34: Radio Navigation and IMC.
Today I was with Ian, an instructor who I had not flown with before but who had given me tutoring. If anyone reading this happens to fly from Cranfield and need help with anything, Ian is a qualified helicopter and fixed wing instructor who is quite frankly a genius and there isn’t really anything he doesn’t know.
Anyways we took of and I was told to climb, not a problem but erm, there’s cloud up there. Fly through them I was told, wooo! Something new to experience. Not only did I get to fly through cloud but I got to climb to 5000ft, that is a record for me!
We also were using DME and VOR to practice the radio navigation. This was the first time I had used them and it took some getting used to.
You put the frequencies into the radio then you need to get the line on the instrument to go through the center which also gives you a direction to or from the VOR.
On the DME it will give you the distance from the DME, this allows you to know how far you are from it.
Using the two you can either navigate to the radio station or workout where you are.
In regards to clouds this was a weird experience. In all my flying I fly with reference to the ground, and use ground as a reference for just about everything I do.
When you go into cloud you cannot do any of this! It is easy to get disoriented and end up in trouble very quickly. You need to pay very close attention to your instruments and especially your attitude indicator.
You need to also remember to keep your turns under 20 degrees so you do not get disoriented. I am glad we have practiced this as I would NOT want to be caught in cloud without the proper training. My instructor gave me a high workload at one point so he could show me how quickly you could become overwhelmed.
I will be staying well away from the clouds until I have the correct training!
After this we headed back to Cranfield and on final we were at risk of having to do a go around due to an aircraft on the runway so we did slow flight before getting a land after clearance. My instructor always told me NEVER go under 60, so coming into land just about above stalling speed was an interesting experience.
I’m back up at the airfield again tomorrow.
In other good news, my instructor Martin has got a job flying for a private jet company! This is great news for him.