Most people wish to fly on the old gauges at one time or another but are prevented by the high cost of the instruments necessary for this form of flight. The following is a more or less known and extremely simple method which may be used by all.
Place a live cat on the cockpit floor, because a cat always remains upright, he or she can be used in lieu of a needle and ball instrument. Merely watch to see which way he leans to determine if a wing is low and if so, which one. This will enable you to your aircraft level in route with complete accuracy and confidence.
A duck is used for final instrument approach and landing, because of the fact that any sensible old duck will refuse to fly under instrument conditions, it is only necessary to hurl your duck out of the cockpit window and follow her to the ground.
There are some limitations on the cat and duck method, but by rigidly adhering to the following check list a degree of success will be achieved which will not only startle you, but will astonish your passengers as well, and may have an occasional tower operator with an open mouth.
- Get a wide-awake cat, most cats do not want to stand up all the time, so it may be necessary to carry a fierce dog along to keep the cat at attention.
- Make sure your cat is clean, dirty cats will spend all the time washing. Trying to follow a washing cat usually results in a slow roll followed by an inverted spin. You will see that this is most unprofessional.
- Old cats are the best, young cats have nine lives, but an old used up cat with only one life left has just as much to loose and will be more dependable.
- Avoid stray cats. Try to get one with good character because you may want to spend time with her.
- Beware of cowardly ducks, if the duck discovers that you are using the cat to stay upright, she will refuse to leave the aeroplane without the cat. Ducks are no better on instruments than you are.
- Get a duck with good eyes. Near sighted ducks sometimes fail to recognise that they are on the old gauges and will go flogging into the nearest hill. Very near sighted ducks will not realise that they have been thrown out and will descend to the ground in a sitting position. This is a most difficult manoeuvre to follow in an airplane.
- Choose your duck carefully, it is easy to confuse ducks with geese. Many large birds look alike. While they are very competent instrument flyers, geese seldom want to go in the same direction that you do. If your duck seems to be taking a heading to Ireland or Sweden, you may be safe in assuming that someone has given you a goose.