Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Foggy Interlude

The high pressure and prevailing fog is becoming a frustrating nuisance. I've been trying since Monday to get over to Wycombe Air Park to pick up a repaired fuel tank and ferry it off towards Shoreham and the weather is having none of it.

With two aircraft out of action for maintenance, I've been lent a third, which is fuel-injected, faster, tidier and more modern than my own but lacks the extra 'Toys', I have installed in my aircraft, namely moving map GPS units. These are indispensable in conditions like this particularly while working around the tightly regulated London Control Zone. So while I could quite easily fly from A to B in the fog, getting back down again safely with a 500 foot cloudbase presents a challenge unless I happen to be following the precision approach ILS needles into a big airport like Manston.

This is where the GPS units come in handy because much like the kit you see on much bigger aircraft, they will give me a precise visual landing approach to smaller airfields which have no navigation beacons on a moving map, as opposed to seeing nothing at all with the traditional instruments, until one pops-out of cloud a couple of hundred feet above a big runway like Manston's.

In the first video, by way of example, this is an instrument approach test in a Diamond DA42 (lots of 'Toys' with a Garmin 1000 glass cockpit) with one engine failed, into Southend with the blind flying screens up. In the second there's a good example of how disconcerting fog can be even with a big jet.

Normally what one does is to spend as little time in the murk and try and climb above the fog, into the bright sunshine above the cloud - It's a glorious day a 1,000 feet up - and then follow the standard instruments or the GPS approach path on the colour display, down at the other end. We all like to see where we are going, where possible whether it's travelling on a motorway or an airway.

Hopefully, the wind direction will change tomorrow and I'll be able to get all my jobs in before the council cabinet meeting in the evening.

1 comment:

ascu75 aka Don said...

flying blind dont sount much fun to me. Hope you get them sorted soon.