Sunday, November 26, 2006

Under the Hood

I spent an hour with Rich today flying under the hood. For anyone who might not know what the "hood" is, it's a device that restricts a pilot's visibility to the instrument panel so they can't see what's outside. Learning to trust what the gauges are saying is hard -- my inner ear and other senses had a tendency to tell me I was leaning toward the right, so I kept wanting to bank to the left. It's hard, and takes a lot of concentration. On the map below, not how crooked and wavy the early part of my route is.
Rich had me go under the hood as soon as we took off from KGAI, and then dictated an instrument (VOR) approach to Carroll County (KDMW), a missed approach, a VOR approach to Clearview (2W2), a missed approach, and then an ILS approach to Frederick (KFDK), and then a missed approach. By that time, I was worn out from concentrating on the instruments, and I elected to take the hood off for the return to Gaithersburg. I was glad I did, too, in part because the sunset was gorgeous! But also because I was tired of concentrating so hard, and it made me happy to realize how relaxing simply flying has become compared to the early days of learning. I'm not really looking forward to the instrument rating I know I need to have.

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