Friday Photo: Partial Panel ILS

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The view: Final ILS runway 11 at KBED

The pilot: Sandro Salgueiro

The airplane: 1999 Piper Warrior (PA-28-161)

The mission: Last instrument lesson before IFR checkride

The memory: The feeling that I could do this for real and without gyros

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  • The fatality proportion for real life vacuum failures in IMC is terrible. Don’t get too chuffed about it.

  • Sandro, yes, you should be able to complete an approach while flying partial panel. But remember, a vacuum failure can be insidious in its slow and methodical way of creeping up on you as it gradually skews the gyros. It won’t announce itself like your instructor does when he covers up the instruments. But remember this also: Charles Lindbergh flew across the western U.S. at night and all the way across the Atlantic – much of it at night and in IMC – in ‘partial panel’ operations. And his airplane was inherently unstable. A really good pilot doesn’t need the gyros, but they do serve to make life easier. Keep your head and your wits about you. Remain calm. You’ll have enough left to get you home. Good job.

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