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The Art of Instrument Flying in the old days

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The Art of Instrument Flying in the old days

Old 24th Nov 2019, 14:44
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The Art of Instrument Flying in the old days

The Civil Aviation Historical Society museum at Essendon Airport (sorry - Essendon fields) occasionally have a surplus of aviation books belonging to members and can be taken for a gold coin. I managed to pick up the Instrument Flying Handbook by Thomas P. Turner published in 2001. It is a fair size tome of 715 pages. It proved sheer gold as I was to discover when settling down to read it at home.

Page 79, figure 6-4 is titled Pattern C practice maneuver. It states: "Master Pattern C is flown on full panel then try it on a partial panel. It is a sure cure for overconfidence; it is also instant insanity. Some dedicated students have done this. I think they were former military pilots who had partial panel Cs inflicted on them by sadistic military instructors. Civilian instructors, of course, would never pull a stunt like that. Flying is supposed to be fun.
If you can fly Pattern C with its nonstandard climbs and descents you will have certainly mastered the fundamentals of attitude flight.


Being a bit of a dummy trying to cut and paste Pattern C on PPRuNe, I'll stick to the text which starts as follows:

Fly level flight at normal cruise speed. Heading 360. 2 minute leg. Altitude as required.
Climbing turn left through 270 degrees to heading 090. Gain 1000 ft at 666 fpm.
Then level flight, accelerate to fast cruise 2 minute leg.
After 2 minutes make descending 450 degree turn to the right to southbound heading of 180 degrees. Slow to descent speed in first 90 degrees of turn and lose height at 500 fpm.
On heading 180 degrees climb 1000 ft at 500 fpm. 2 minute leg.
After two minutes, make level left turn at normal cruise speed to a heading of 270 degrees.
On reaching heading 270 degrees M, climb 1,000 ft at 500 fpm and 2 minute leg.
After two minutes commence a 450 degree descending turn with flaps and gear extended losing 2000 ft at 800 fpm.
Recover to straight and level flight at normal cruise on a heading of north.
End of Exercise.

The purpose of this and similar patterns used in Link Trainers was to practice basic instrument flying skills on both full panel and limited panel.
The RAAF used Link Trainers (now called Flight Training devices or FTD's) at Point Cook and other RAAF flying establishments. My RAAF log book shows I completed 18.5 hours of instrument flying in clouds or under the hood in Tiger Moths and Wirraways, and 23 hours of Link Trainer instrument flying practice. In those days we were awarded the pilots brevet or "Wings" at 205 flying hours.

The only difference that I can pick between the above Pattern C figures and the equivalent pattern we used in RAAF Link Trainer practice, is that rates of climb were not mentioned in the RAAF diagram. The RAAF used timing in the turns such as 1.5 minutes for the first climbing turn through 270 degrees at whatever rate of climb was needed such that you reached 1000 ft higher at the same time as you rolled out on an easterly heading. Same principle for all the other turns.

These and similar Link Trainer exercises were designed to improve instrument scanning skills. Nowadays, there is evidence that flight directors, where concentration on a single instrument is necessary, have the potential to erode pilot instrument scanning skills; if the pilot had them in the first place. . This may be also be happening in flying schools that have EFIS equipped aircraft with autopilots.

The "little aeroplane" of the artificial horizon that looked like a real aeroplane with wings, has been replaced with a coloured triangle into which a flight director symbol can be snugly fitted. In some installations the EFIS is further cluttered with other icons or symbols around the edge of the instrument such as airspeed, and altimeter tapes. This narrows the scan to one primary instrument or PFD rather than the wider scan of the "six pack" instrument dial display of yore.

It would serve well for flying schools to re-introduce the concept of the various instrument flying patterns like Pattern C described above. Desk top simulators can be used and speeds adjusted to suit aircraft type such as the Cessna 172 or similar trainers. Once the ab initio student has been introduced to Pattern C for example, he can practice solo to his heart's content until he succeeds in successfully completing the pattern within reasonable tolerances and on time. The student will steadily increase his scanning skills on both full and limited panel and he doesn't always require an instructor observing him. Some desk top simulators or FTD have a read-out of the pilots track and a print out to take home.

In the old days, RAAF pilots received their 'Wings' on the venerable Wirraway, and many went on to fly fighters like the Mustang and single seat Vampires. Others flew Dakotas and Lincoln heavy bombers. Formation flying in IMC in all of these aircraft required real instrument flying skill. When the one and only artificial horizon and directional gyro toppled in a steep turn leaving the pilot to recover on limited panel, he would have been grateful for the instrument flying skills afforded to him by the old Link Trainer and Pattern C - or whatever it was called in those days.
Centaurus is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2019, 15:46
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Join Date: Oct 2007
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Since this seems unlikely to be a high volume thread I will put this here even though it is not on topic.

"Being a bit of a dummy trying to cut and paste Pattern C on PPRuNe,"

You need to paste image into say Microsoft Paint, save the file and then load it into the post with the Image Button.

You need to press "Upload" after selecting the file when it seems that nothing is happening.
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 22:14
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My Google-fu is alive and well. Hopefully this works...Courtesty of THIS PDF.

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Old 24th Nov 2019, 22:40
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Thanks Jumjim1 and KRviator for your posts. Both very helpful indeed.
Cent..
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 06:40
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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Its amazing what you can pick up at second hand book stores. i paid $1 for a 1969 edition of David Beaty's "The Human Factor in Aircraft Accidents" I will quote the final 2 paragraphs which shows that the industry really is a hamster wheel.

"With two and often three pilots watching each other and making their own individualistic judgements, particularly if they could form a crew team and always fly together in an adequately controlled flying environment,pilot human-factor accidents should be virtually impossible....Flying should be and could be by far the safest from of travel. In the decade of the 1970s, when airbuses carrying up to a thousand passengers and supersonic flying at over 2000 miles and hour will be taking off over densely populated areas,it must be so."

Much to be learned from dem ol'books.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 09:33
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Join Date: Sep 2018
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Very interesting, thanks Centy for posting that
I recall the old Link trainer at EN with Keith Hants, seemed at the time an I posdble task especially when Keith would slide back the canopy and stuff a coffee in yr face all the while turning inbound on a fixed card NDB App
I miss the good old days
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