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  1. #1
    Captain Dave Morton's Avatar
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    Whited out

    Whilst flying on sunday in the flex the cloud base was 3800ft but between 1000 and 1200ft there was a layer of cloud/mist.
    Flying through this layer took a matter of seconds but you were whited out and it was at this point that I decided to have a play at being whited out.
    I was very surprised at the difficulty in maintaining a heading without turning or climbing or falling using the vsi, altimeter and compass whilst being "blind".
    A good little exercise I thought and relatively safe as a push or pull on the bar quickly put me into clear sky and I was over my own territory as well.
    I always thought that if I was in a real "white out situation" for a substantial period I could cope, after all how hard could it be to follow three instruments.... throw in the panic factor making it even more difficult, I'm not so sure now


  2. #2
    Irishmicro
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    Sounds like if you had got caught out with the mist going low along ground level you could be in trouble.


  3. #3
    Founding Member - See my blog entries for help using the forums VinceG's Avatar
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    Hi Dave.

    Please don't try it again. There's very good reason why we are VFR only. You cannot rely on the instruments we have to keep "upright" and you can quickly find yourself outside the envelope in fog.

    The problem is that your inner ear tells you which way up you are. That's why you can stand up with your eyes closed. However in a banked turn in a flex you have no form of reference. The inner ear feels like you are upright but you are not.

    Imagine you have a paint tin with water in it, dangling from a piece of string tied to the handle. Now carefully start rotating this tin in a circle around your head. The liquid in the tin stays stationary and does not spill. Even when you are whizzing the string round like a helicopter and the string is 90 degrees to your arms (straight out) the liquid does not spill.

    If this was your inner ear you would feel as if you were still stood up straight but you could be outside the envelope of the flex. Therefore putting yourself in extreme danger of breaking something, and more importantly yourself.

    If you want to fly IFR then take IFR lessons in an IFR equipped aircraft. However, if you do ever find yourself in this situation again, only watch he compass and try small imputs to keep on an exact heading.

    To try and illustrate it better for yourself and get a feeling for it. Take a pilot in the back. Close your eyes and see if you can tell him how you are moving, you won't be able to. Only an artificial horizon would work (and not the one on the iphone because that's a toy that works with the acceloromiter)
    Happy Safe Flying
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  4. #4
    Irishmicro
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    Just what Vince said, don't do it even if on local ground


  5. #5
    Captain Dave Morton's Avatar
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    The reason I attempted this was because it was a very controlled environment, you could see for miles above and below the band of mist, familiar area with no high features and the purpose was to feel the experience.
    Your right about being disorientated very easily, probably should have mentioned that I could not "maintain" for more than 5-10 secs at which point I was into clear sky, made two attemps but failed each time.
    I think what I have learnt from this small experience is to understand that I could not manage in a real situation at all and perhaps becoming more vigilant of cloud/mist and the difficulties/dangers associated.


  6. #6
    Irishmicro
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Morton View Post
    The reason I attempted this was because it was a very controlled environment, you could see for miles above and below the band of mist, familiar area with no high features and the purpose was to feel the experience.
    Your right about being disorientated very easily, probably should have mentioned that I could not "maintain" for more than 5-10 secs at which point I was into clear sky, made two attemps but failed each time.
    I think what I have learnt from this small experience is to understand that I could not manage in a real situation at all and perhaps becoming more vigilant of cloud/mist and the difficulties/dangers associated.
    A very good lesson learned


  7. #7
    P Kelsey
    Guest P Kelsey's Avatar
    Sounds scary


  8. #8
    Founding Member - See my blog entries for help using the forums VinceG's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your experience Dave. I'll stick the thread so hopefully it may save a life one day.
    Happy Safe Flying
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    Vince Gledhill
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    http://www.greeneru.co.uk to save the planet by changing to LED lights.

    Find help here with various aspects of using the forum in my blog


  9. #9
    Captain Frank Thorne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VinceG View Post
    Hi Dave.

    You cannot rely on the instruments we have to keep "upright" and you can quickly find yourself outside the envelope in fog.
    Ahem Cough cough.... Sorry Vince but if your going to fly IFR thats exactly what you have to do...... Rely on instruments to tell you what the aircraft is doing, the brain can be fooled into thinking its doing something its not. The instruments we have are exactly those if not better than most pilots had available for a very long time.

    I seem to recall Brian Milton flying for long periods without visual reference points so it is possible.


  10. #10
    Captain Sam's Avatar
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    Think Mr Milton had a turn and bank indicator fitted not something most flexs have !


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