Monday, April 4, 2011

An IFR Birthday

This past Saturday was my 26th birthday.


At least it feels that way to me. We celebrated by taking a late morning flight from Camarillo to Solvang where we had lunch. Considering how much Avgas costs these days, I can confidently say it was the most expensive lunch I have ever eaten. The taxi into town from the airport was alone $20 bucks. I made sure to reassure Wes that I am TOTALLY worth it. He countered by saying thank god I only have a birthday once a year. He’s sweet, no?

I want to share some pictures from our flight out of Camarillo because the clouds were incredible. It’s not often that you get to see such a thick marine layer from the top down.

It also provides a good opportunity to show you want IFR flying is like. I had mentioned a couple of posts back that I had to wear something called Foggles during one my flight lessons, because Foggles simulate flying in IFR conditions. Here’s the excerpt:

A private pilot’s license (which is what I’m aiming for despite the fact that I SUCK), requires that pilots operate an aircraft following a set of rules called VFRs (Visual Flight Rules). That means you can only fly when the weather is relatively clear. If you wish to fly in weather that is worse than the VFR minimums (where you cannot control attitude and altitude by simply looking out the cockpit), you must get an additional “Instrument” endorsement. These rules are called IFRs (Instrument Flight Rules).

On our flight into Solvang we got the real deal. No Foggles were necessary. Into the clouds we go!

Now that I’m not just another na├»ve passenger who looks out the window and says “Ooooo, clouds. How pretty!” (cause yes, I’ve done that ), flying into the clouds is very stressful. You can lose orientation very quickly which can turn a safe, coordinated flight into a dangerous situation. Fortunately, with Wes being the badass that he is, we dove through those clouds like an Olympic high diver, and our landing was like Babe Ruth sliding into home base… He’s SAFE!

It was a wonderful way to celebrate the day.

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