John, The Airport Kid: A Magical Adventure


EIGHT

After John taxies down the runway, he must put on what is called a “hood.” With the hood on, his view of the outside world is blocked. John can see only the instrument panel directly in front of him.  As the tower clears him for takeoff, he sets the gyros to the runway heading and begins to increase the throttle until the engine has enough power to take off. Sally accelerates quickly, while John keeps her tracking straight using the rudder pedals
to control steering. As lift-off speed approaches, John eases her nose up and Sally takes flight.

John uses the instruments to control the angle of climb so that Sally will ascend at the maximum rate. For the next two hours John is asked to fly partial panel, instrument approaches of all kinds, simulated emergency procedures, and timed turns and descents. By the time John is on the return path to Baltimore, he feels like he’s lost twenty pounds from anxiety! As they shut down the engine on the ramp, Betty tells John that he has passed the test and welcomes him into the world of instrument-rated pilots. He feels on top of the world.