Under The Hood-Single Engine Instrument Flying

What is Flying Under The Hood?

A pilot working under the hood means, he is doing air exercises without visual reference to the outside. When you read or hear the term “under the hood”, it relates to simulated instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), it may or may not be an actual hood. I think it’s better to be called a view limiting device.”refer to the featured image above”

What is Instrument Meteorological Condition or IMC? IMC means the weather is not good to fly visually. Usually when the weather is below minimums. Depend on your instruments and navigate yourself to the destination aerodrome or as directed by the air traffic controller. Technically called “instrument cross-check”, it determines the structure of things, and it allows the pilot to be strategic. Scanning the instruments does not mean a random or rushed path, but rather a disciplined approach to assembling all the important information and creating a complete picture of the flight. Instrument flying is all about regulations and procedures. That being said, those procedures differ greatly depending on if you’re flying an airplane or a helicopter. If I explain everything in detail. It’s going to take me pages of writing, so I am going to make it short & simple.

How Does It Feel Like To Fly Under The Hood?

After nearly 60 hours of flying visually, flying under the hood was pretty challenging initially. Everything has to be precise and no room for mistakes. Everything was pretty good, but after every instrument flying, I would feel nauseous and extremely tired. Just for your information, flying under the hood is just for training purposes and the cadet will be assisted by a safety pilot (instructor) to be always aware visually. In my flying school approximately after 135 hours of flying, every cadet will go for a single-engine instrument flight check with one of the CAAM certified examiners. This test is also known as progress test 2. After 4 months of intense training, I  flew PT2 on the 7th of September 2020 with Capt Naveed. Instrument training helped me become a stronger pilot in many ways. As a brand new pilot, learning how to keep altitudes and maintain a scan on your gauges is important, especially for flying inadvertent IMC (which hopefully you’re smart enough not to take that risk in a non-IFR rated bird). So let’s get into what will be covered during the assessment.

Single Engine Instrument Flying Is Divided Into 4 parts:

1.Full Panel

When flying with sole reference to the instruments, the main instrument is the attitude indicator (AI) also called artificial horizon, there will also be some performance instruments specific to each maneuver carried out. It requires some serious effort and concentration.

Basic T” – the Six-pack instrument – ABCD.XXX
This is a Full Panel. Which means none of the instrument is covered or an instrument failure is simulated.
Full Panel Exercises:
  • Straight Climb: An aircraft only can climb if it can produce extra thrust. The attitude indicator and the airspeed indicators are used. If the airspeed is low or high appropriate correction is made until the desired airspeed is achieved. The directional indicator (DI) is used to maintain heading while climbing.
  • Straight Descend: In a descend, the standard descent rate should be 500 ft/min. With a power setting of 40%. Perfectly trim and the plane descends 500ft/min on its own. Equilibrium is required for a steady descent. If, whilst in level flight, the power is removed there will be no force balancing the drag. Therefore in order to maintain the flying speed, the nose must be lowered.
  • Rate One Turn: Make a 180-degree turn by referring to the turn and slip indicator. At a rate of 3 degrees per second. the student should be able to complete a 180-degree turn within 60 seconds.
  • Medium Turn: Banking 30 degrees and making a 180-degree turn
  • Steep Turn: 45 degrees Bank to achieve a 360-degree turn
  • Climbing Rate One Turn: Climbing at the best rate of climb speed and 180-degree rate one turn timed to 1 minute.
  • Descending Rate One Turn: To descent at the rate of 500ft/min for 1 minute then continue descending while initiating a 180-degree rate one turn for another 1 minute. For a total of 2 minutes.
  • Slow Flying: Flying at low speed, about 5-10 knots above stall speed. The objective of maneuvering in slow flight is to understand the flight characteristics and how the airplane’s flight controls feel near its aerodynamic buffet or stall-warning. It also helps to develop the pilot’s recognition of how the airplane feels, sounds and looks when a stall is impending.

2.Limited Panel

The objective of this exercise is to be able to control attitude without the Attitude Indicator(AI) and Directional Indicator(DI). All the above exercises except for steep and medium turns will be carried out with the AI and DI covered assuming failure of the suction. All turn rates are to be confined to rate 1 and descents at a rate of descend of 500 ft./min only or lesser for corrections.

Partial Panel exercises:

  • Straight & Level
  • Straight Climb & Descend
  • Level Rate One Turn
  • Climbing Rate One Turn
  • Descending Rate One Turn
  • Unusual Attitude: There are two different kinds of upset attitude recoveries: nose-low and nose-high attitude recovery. The results should be to resume straight and level un-accelerated flight.
  • Clean Stall: Power-on stalls mimic departure configurations throughout takeoff and climb. With the close to full engine power, you’ll pitch up higher than a power-off stall before you reach the critical angle-of-attack. The stall horn alerts and recovery is commenced


3. Partial Panel

The following exercises will be practiced with the Airspeed Indicator (ASI) and Vertical Speed Indicator (VSI) covered simulating failure in the pitot/static system.


  • Straight and level flight and Rate 1 turns.
  • Climbing and descending using known power and attitude. The descend must be timed against the altimeter to achieve a descend of 500 ft./min.


Very high-frequency Omni-directional range (VOR) is a type of short-range radio navigation system for aircraft, enabling aircraft with a receiving unit to determine its position and stay on course by receiving radio signals transmitted by a network of fixed ground radio beacons. Not going to elaborate further on this but you can watch videos on youtube to get a better explanation on it.

In this assessment, the cadet should be able to

  • Intercept radials inbound & outbound
  • Hold Overhead The VOR as per the chart
  • Able to recognise & execute holding entries
  • VOR approach & letdown procedures

Everything is done based on the published chart:


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