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This is an online comic called Chicken Wings Comics, by Michael and Stefan Strasser. The story unfolds in 3 panels, with 2 anthropomorphic chicken pilots sitting in a plane. In the first panel, Carl, the one sitting in the co-pilot seat, is giving instruction to Chuck, the one sitting in the pilot seat, saying: "A little shaky on the approach, but we're coming up on the minimums. Go ahead and land on this one." In the second panel, we see the Cessna 172 they are flying landing on the ground, as Carl adds: "Nice! Way to go! Smoothest landing I've ever seen you do!" In the last panel, Chuck replies: "Thanks! Can I take my hood off now?", to which Carl reacts in astonishment by saying: "Waaa!". The story was based on an idea by Drew Chitea.

What did Chuck do wrong, other than being in an airplane?

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    $\begingroup$ IFR Hood 1; chickenwingscomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/… "For the ones of you who don’t have an instrument flight rating: “The hoods” function is exactly as Chuck describes it in the strip. You put this thing on and it keeps you from looking outside the window when you are practicing flying solely by instruments. That way you don’t have to actually be in the clouds (especially if you’re training in areas like California or Nevada where there aren’t a lot of clouds) and the instructor can look for traffic instead of you while flying in perfect conditions $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 17:26

3 Answers 3

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Chuck landed blindfolded.

He's using a hood, a device worn like a visor which blocks part of your vision so you can only see the instrument panel and nothing outside. Pilots practicing instrument approaches in good weather wear such a device to simulate poor visibility, forcing them to fly the approach on instruments alone.

pilot wearing IFR hood

Aside from a few stunts that have been performed here and there, pilots never touch down using only instruments. The approach can only be flown down to a certain point called minimums. At that point you must be able to see the runway (or the approach lights) to continue. Otherwise you have to fly the "missed approach procedure."

So when practicing with a hood like this, the instructor will tell the student when to raise the hood, simulating catching sight of the runway. Chuck didn't, and continued past minimums into a landing without being able to see. In real life this would almost certainly result in a crash.

Stunts aside, only computers can land on instruments alone.

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    $\begingroup$ @GürkanÇetin I don't think that's the joke, though it's an amusing thought! The comic is about aviation and makes aviation-related jokes, not flying chicken jokes. And, I doubt a bird could land a plane, with or without instruments ;) $\endgroup$
    – TypeIA
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 17:28
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    $\begingroup$ @DarrelHoffman I don't see any relation at all to the comic, but that was JetBlue 292. $\endgroup$
    – TypeIA
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 18:36
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    $\begingroup$ It was mostly just the matter of having an unusually smooth landing in circumstances where you'd expect the opposite... $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 21:09
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    $\begingroup$ Part of the joke is that Chuck's landings are notoriously usually bad. $\endgroup$
    – Someone
    Commented Jun 15, 2023 at 23:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Barmar It means are able to. People, please, stop discussing this in comments. Ask a new question. I'll be happy to answer it, and that answer can then be up/downvoted, is visible to everyone, and is not subject to a character limit. $\endgroup$
    – TypeIA
    Commented Jun 16, 2023 at 15:37
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He landed with the hood on resulting in him being unable to see the necessary visual reference requirements before going below the instrument approach minimums. (Ref: 14 CFR Part 91.175

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As people of previously pointed out, the instructor is surprised that the student pilot landed the aircraft completely under the hood, without any visual reference to the runway, as is required by §91.175 for descent below minimums specified in an instrument approach. Aside from Cat II and Cat III ILS approaches, which would be completely out of the scope of a private pilot, all other instrument approaches require there be minimum altitudes and visibility requirements to allow a pilot to descend to a runway and land. Attempting to descend below minimums and/or land under reference only to instruments is extremely dangerous and has killed people.

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  • $\begingroup$ What you said about CAT III ILS is correct, but it could possibly be misunderstood by some. CAT IIIa and CAT IIIb always have some visual requirements. The difference is that CAT I and CAT II have both minimum altitude AND visibility requirements. CAT III has either minimum altitude OR visibility requirements. And of course the CAT IIIa and CAT IIIb requirements are much lower than CAT I or CAT II. CAT IIIb requires autoland. If the plane has HUD pilots can manually land in CAT IIIa conditions. Only CAT IIIc has no visual requirements, but CAT IIIc is not currently used anywhere. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 8:11

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