Daily Pilot's Journal

Read the complete day-by-day flight log of an actual student pilot, from the first takeoff to the signing of his private pilot's license. Written promptly at the end of every flight, each entry is completely unedited - detailing the successes, failures, and mistakes we all encounter along this long road.
Day 16 - Foggles (Hood Training)
Tuesday, 7/11/06 7:00am - Low clouds. Almost didn't fly today, but the weather went from IFR to VFR as I was on the ramp doing the pre-flight. It was still very hazy. Stan showed up and told me not to worry about the haze because we'd be doing hood training today anyway.

Taxi, run-up, takeoff on runway 19... Stan puts the hooded goggles on me at 200ft. At first it was very unnerving... not being able to see while in an ascending climb. At one point I thought I was turning left but was in fact turning right. Stan showed me which six instruments to keep my eye on: the attitude indicator, the altimeter, the turn coordinator, the heading indicator, the vertical airspeed indicator and the airspeed indicator itself. I kept slipping from my heading in either direction as I struggled to keep the wings level. Making adjustments to attitude without being able to see a reference point outside the aircraft is very difficult. Once over the sound though, I began to get the hang of it. I radioed Bridgeport for a full stop while still blind, and Stan told me to take the goggles off once I arrived downwind of the airport.

"Impress me" he said, "And do your thing as if I'm not here". I told him he's pretty hard to ignore but I'd do my best. Turning base and final were pretty effortless, flaps down a little early but I added power to keep from going too low. My approach could've been a bit higher but the landing was nice. "Not bad, a little flat but pretty good" was all he said.

Flying IFR
A foggle's-eye view of flying...

Gassed up at gate 11 and drank some coffee, talking about what we'd need to do in the near future. I had to do some more hood training, plus I'd have to put in some nighttime hours. Stan told me to get my flight plans to POU and Groton done. After I solo to Bridgeport a few times I guess the next step is a dual cross-country with him to Poughkeepsie.

Flying back with the goggles on was a lot better. I actually started learning to trust my instruments. At one point Stan took the goggles off me because the fog over the sound was as thick as soup - it was the same as if I were wearing the goggles anyway. Got a runway 19 clearance and came in on a slight crosswind, did a nice slip out of my crabbing position and floated the landing only a little. Tied the plane off and Stan talked about me going to Bridgeport solo tomorrow. Taking my logbook he signed me off for solo cross-country flights and told me he'd speak to me in the morning. If the weather looks good, he won't even be at the ramp with me. Total freedom.

Flying hours today: 1.0       Total: 20.1

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