They say it’s important to continuously practice flying in IMC, as without doing so, a pilot can become rusty. To that end, I took a reasonably short local IFR flight from Biggin Hill in the PA28.
It was a very good VMC weather day, with broken clouds at 4500 – 5000ft. I practiced the IFR departure from Biggin Hill, then flew using VOR beacons down to Seaford. Just off the Bexhill coastline, I practiced a teardrop entry into a holding pattern – something I’d never done in the air – then climbed into the IMC weather to keep my handling skills fresh.
Flying in cloud, you have to constantly scan all the instruments, and ignore the physical sensations you feel, which are almost always deceiving. While doing this, all the usual cockpit tasks have to be undertaken – navigating, communicating, and checking that the aircraft is in good shape. Interestingly, while communicating with Lydd Approach, and while reading back information, the aircraft entered a medium level bank. I soon noticed and corrected this, but as you’ll see in the video, it’s shocking how quickly things can go awry if you aren’t on the ball.
I asked Thames Radar for radar vectors to the ILS21 approach at Biggin Hill, which they duly provided.
Video: PA28 IFR practice from Biggin Hill