Learning Experiences

June 2008 Issue

Expectations

Expectations can force the eye to see what the mind wonít parse. My lesson in this human frailty occurred when I was taking an end-state instrument student out into some real weather, which he had been pestering me do for weeks. The trip was a short one, from a central Connecticut airport, across Long Island Sound to Islip, then Westhampton Beach and back home again. A nice easy 90 minutes with four or five approaches. The weather was horrid, but perfect for IFR training. A late-winter warm front had moved in over the still snow-covered ground to produce uniform ceilings of 300 to 500 feet in a couple of miles of viz. Tops were widely reported at 3000 feet and since Iíd seen these exact conditions before, I knew what to expect. Link one: The lesson was a rushed after-work affair and I was pushing to get it done before full dark. I donít mind night IFR, but not in a Cherokee with no backup vacuum, thanks. We slammed together a briefing, filed a flight plan, got into the airplane and picked up a clearance while the engine warmed.

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