My Super Cub has no instrumentation to fly inside of a cloud. In other words, if my eyeballs can’t lay hold of some portion of solid earth at all times, I am not only breaking the regulations, but I am also gonna’ get hurt. The average life expectancy of a pilot inside a cloud without an artificial horizon is less than 3 minutes. Some pilots have told me it is “unsafe” to fly without an artificial horizon. I argue just the opposite because when the weather is bad I don’t fly. People will drive too fast on icy roads because they have studded snow tires, similarly someone with an artificial horizon will push the bad weather. I would not argue this for larger faster aircraft simply because larger aircraft do not have the countless landing opportunities that I do in my Cub.
I always carry a satellite phone with me under my seat. On several occasions I have simply landed and called back to the office to tell them I was on the ground safe-and-sound, waiting on weather, and I was going to be home late. A wise old Bush Pilot told me one time, “Remember, the helicopter always hauls out the wreckage when the weather gets nicer.” This is a great reminder that the weather will improve eventually.
I took this photo flying over the Chugach Mountains on the way towards Tazlina lake. There is a lot of granite floating around in those clouds, and they deserve much respect. I think most pilots prove to themselves at some point in their career that, “yes, clouds can be VERY scary.”