Why did nobody tell me how amazing it is to fly in the clouds?
After years of dreading those fluffy monsters and postponing flights at the first sign of any moisture, I finally flew my first ride into actual instrument meteorological conditions. My Northway flight instructor, calm and cool as ever, was an excellent guide on my first trip. We departed via the Paine 6 departure and as ATC vectored us around I had absolutely no hope of containing my smile. I was literally grinning from ear to ear as I looked around at the fluffy blanket coating the landscape.
A left turn to heading 170 pitted me against my first cloud and I fought the sensation that I was flying head first into a solid white wall. Plowing in, I was immediately surprised by how bright everything was. I truly expected to be plunged into darkness, but with the water molecules diffracting the rays, it felt like I was inside the sun!
We cloud surfed our way down to ISOGE intersection, juggled the radios between Seattle Approach and Boeing field, and after no time at all we were cleared for the ILS for runway 14 right. Although I still need some practice, I was pretty happy with my approach and landing.
We received our IFR clearance to head back home, took the NRVNA departure out of Boeing, and once again slipped the surly bonds.
Also, as a guitarist, can I just say how awesome our IFR departure naming system is? I mean, Nirvana and Cobain departures? That’s so cool! And a quick glance at KSEA’s approaches yielded the HUSKY visual approach! As a Husky Mechanical Engineer aluminum (you read that right), that made me happy.
We vectored around the air space until we were established on final for the RNAV 34L at Paine field. I contacted tower, was greeted by a friendly voice, and it felt like I had come home. Another serviceable landing, a bit of taxiing and solid debrief later and we were done for the day.
Man, I can’t wait to hit it again.
Monty is a private pilot and advanced ground instructor at Northway Aviation. He has a passion for aviation and loves teaching it to anybody who will listen. If you want to check out his work, look for him on YouTube at Monty AGI. Thanks for reading! See ya!