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In almost 2k hours gliding I have intentionally entered cloud on only a half dozen occasions pre GPS using Turn and Slip and the airspeed indicator as the primary means of staying in control.  

The trick was to transition onto those instruments at least 200ft below the cloud base noting the compass heading for the direction you wished to leave the thermal and not moving your head.  Once in the cloud the turn was continued keeping the turn rate as constant as possible again without moving the head.  When straightening out to leave the cloud the sensation that you were turning the other way was quite strong. I would tilt my head to counter this sensation and stay concentrated on the Turn and Slip until clear of the cloud.  In a retractable glider I would also lower the undercarriage before entering the cloud.  The extra drag helped to stabilise the speed and the added sound would aid airspeed control, but in any case if the airspeed started to increase rapidly airbrake was immediately deployed.

Found out quickly that the time spent in the cloud wiped out the extra altitude gained and those gliders that stayed below the cloud were always much faster round the course.

The real point to be made here is that you cannot just flick over from visual to IMC in an instant. It takes time for the brain to adjust to the transition.  The fanciest piece of electronic equipment would not have prevented the upset and near fatal incident.

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Here is a good explanation from a gliding instructor (not the one in the subject glider) including parts of the actual video.      

Sobering to see how quickly it turns to custard...........(

I have a suggestion, don’t go into cloud unless you have an aircraft equipped to do so and you are qualified and current with flight in IMC. The only time you should be tilting your head in

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Agree with a lot of that but may I suggest you don't tilt your head. You are better to just keep it vertical in relation to the aircraft  axis. Transitioning to instruments is done on rotation on take off, when the fuselage pitches up and you are no longer going to stop if anything happens. In a prolonged turn rolling out of it produces a feeling of entering a turn in the opposite direction. There is NO WAY of avoiding this sensation and it just has to be ignored in favour of TRUSTING the instruments. It's the semi circular canals in your middle ear that normally help you balance . IF you are trained you can change in seconds but it can't be half and half . IT's ONE or the other.. Nev

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Many years ago I had the opportunity to play crash test dummy for a system that projected a laser line on the cockpit that matched the horizon. It was intended to give you peripheral cues and help your eyes convince the rest of your brain which way you were tilted. To answer the first question.. No it didn't work well during the day. To answer the second question.. yes I wore laser goggles.. To answer the third question... It didn't work... it made bugger all difference. 

Edited by Jase T
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15 hours ago, facthunter said:

........may I suggest you don't tilt your head. You are better to just keep it vertical in relation to the aircraft  axis.....

Tilting the head seem to work for me when returning to wings level after a prolonged turn in IMC.  When clear of cloud it took a few seconds until the visuals started to synch with the semi circular canals in the ear then I could straighten my head ...

Having said that those flights happened over 40 years ago..today I would not trust my ability to fly IMC.  

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I think augmented reality glasses would be a much better solution here. Project the horizon and a whole bunch of stuff into your field of view  without disturbing the far field view.

 

They work great on the bike. And in underground work , and in a lecture theatre, and and and. 

 

Or, project an image onto the canopy with a Laser vision projector (they don't have lens, direct scanning spot projection )

 

Or , you could just look at your HSI

Edited by RFguy
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2 hours ago, RFguy said:

I think augmented reality glasses would be a much better solution here. Project the horizon and a whole bunch of stuff into your field of view  without disturbing the far field view.

 

They work great on the bike. And in underground work , and in a lecture theatre, and and and. 

 

Or, project an image onto the canopy with a Laser vision projector (they don't have lens, direct scanning spot projection )

 

Or , you could just look at your HSI

....or we could just stay out of clouds.

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And not fly at night, because you can't see clouds at night unless lit up by lightning flashes or a big moon. I prefer the moon situation.

  Flying by visual reference to the horizon to adjust the planes attitude is the normal way. You adjust rapidly when direct eyesight comes into it. Attitude Instrument  Flying builds on the concept of replacing the real horizon with an artificial  one.

  Best place for such imagery is the  "widow " out the front you normally look out of. Head up display..  Nev

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I have a suggestion,

don’t go into cloud unless you have an aircraft equipped to do so and you are qualified and current with flight in IMC.

The only time you should be tilting your head in any direction is to read your documents that validate you and your aircraft’s documents prior to flight.

Don’t listen to experts other than your instructor.

👍

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm not sure if this is the same video posted earlier (but now unavailable at that url).

Anyway, this is a more recent upload - it's the original video plus non-judgemental analysis by 'Pure Glide'.

As he says, kudos to the two pilots for cooperating with the publication despite the avalanche of criticism heaped on them..

 

 

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There is all the difference in the world between entering cloud with a hidden mountain close by and entering a cumulus cloud  based at 10,000 ft over flat land.

They were in great danger, but the danger came from hitting the mountain and not from hitting the cloud.

Close proximity slope soaring is dangerous enough without doing it in conditions with cloud like in the video.

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In this follow up video Pure Glide seems intent on clearing up some of the misconceptions around the public critique of this incident.

 

 

In (NZ, as in OZ) within 1000' AGL, it is VFR-legal to fly near cloud as long as your are 'clear' of it, can see the ground and have 5Km visibility (which for the early part of this flight it does appear they had - out to the right).  Everybody agrees that mistakes were made - cloud was entered - and the main one seems to be that the instructor was distracted, at a key moment, trying to work out if they actually had enough altitude to make it back to base.  

From the original video, I get the impression that they could indeed see the ridge below them (out of the video frame) until they couldn't.

In Oz, of course, we normally need to be 500' AGL as well, but that would put ridge soaring out of play altogether.  Are there exceptions for gliders?

 

 

Edited by Garfly
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