Friday, November 18, 2005

IFR 7 - Just one of those nights

The objective of this flight: 1) Practice and review. I wanted to get some ground school done, primarily to review Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR Part 91), Aeronautical (Airman's) Information Manual, and Low Altitude Charts and Approach Plates. After that, I wanted to fly a few ILS approaches just for 'polish'. I'm feeling comfortable now, and just wanted to finish off any items prior to the IPC (Instrument Proficiency Check).

The briefing went well. My study of the manuals paid off, and I reviewed the DVD from Sporty's on the IPC. No questions surprised me, and we discussed common sense, practical airmanship as well as what is in the book. (Knowing that you are going into real IMC conditions, what is your minimum equipment list for a Cessna 172?) I missed a lot of questions on the low altitude charts. Everything is on the legend, and I could easily find it there, but probably a good idea not to be searching a legend on the other side of a chart while bouncing around IFR. So, I need to look over that some more.

Question: Is it legal to download approach plates from AOPA or AirNav (or other WWW sources) for use in actual IFR conditions?

We decide to try a PAR into Dobbins AFB. I hadn't done one of those in XX years, so thought it might be fun. Then try some ILS approaches back home and call it a night. KRYY is Notam'd for runway closure at 10:00 PM (local) for repairs, so we need to be back home before then.

So I go out to preflight and it is cold! My planning METAR looked like this, and by 2300Z it was colder:

KRYY 172045Z 34012G18KT 10SM SKC 07/M09

The first really dumb thing; "Normally" I take the key from the dispatch kit and put it on the glare shield. That way it is visible to any maintenance guys, or others walking around the airplane so that they know the twirly thing in the front isn't going to start moving. This time I put it in my jacket pocket. When I removed the pitot cover I put that in the same pocket. Back in the plane, I put the pitot cover in the dispatch kit (so I wouldn't forget about it and take it home with me.) When I got to the START Checklist we spent a good 10 minutes looking for the darn key. It was in the dispatch kit tangled in the flag of the pitot cover.

The rest of the ground procedures were normal. Take off a little squirely due to winds. Contacted Dobbins and found out they don't accept practice PARs for security reasons. OK, I can understand that, but its too bad.

Plan B: My instructor would like to shoot an approach and asks if I would mind being his safety pilot. GREAT! An education in itself watching his setup and execution. It really helps to drive home all of the tips and techniques he taught me, by seeing him using them to such good effect.

After he gets done, its my turn. Foggles on, approach plate ready, time for the ILS 27 at RYY. He asks me to contact ATC and request the approach. This is easy now, and all communications go well. (BTW, it really does help to have an active noise canceling headset.) Radar contact, on vectors for the approach. AMICEATM

Second really dumb thing: The 'C' in the gouge is for Course. I missed it. I checked it on the approach plate but never dialed it into the CDI. So I'm happily plowing along on vectors, "Cessna 361 turn right heading 240 intercept the final approach course you're cleared for the approach". Course deviation for the Localizer is alive, I turn to....the course from the previous approach, 183. CFI says I'm confused. Center says I'm well south of approach course and asks if I need vectors back. The light bulb comes on. "Center, 361, no thank you sir, I can find it." 30+ correction back to course and by this time the Glide slope is coming alive and the course needle is unpegged. "361 remain VFR, switch to tower Frequency." I'm scrambling. Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. Come left to final approach course, power off to start descent, did I miss anything else? Punch the button to bring up Tower. "Tower, Cessna 361 is with you at AKONE (FAF) ILS RWY 27 with information November. 361 Tower, what are your intentions following this approach? 361 will execute a missed approach for another ILS 27. 361 what are your missed approach instructions?" What, is he testing me too? OK, I know this; "Tower 361 will turn right 030 climb to 3000 feet and contact Approach on 121.0" It was not a test, evidently ATC had never made the complete hand off to Tower.

OK, so that one was ugly. CFI asks if I want to try to redeem myself. Redemption is a good thing. Next one goes OK. A little chasing at the end, I think due to winds, but definitely would have been able to land from real IMC.

Humility is a good thing. Just about the time you think you have this stuff wired, you get a 2x4 to the side of your head. Bad flight, GREAT(!) training flight. We covered 146 miles, reached 143 MPH and an altitude of 4448 feet.

Cessna 172P
Time = 1.2


  1. Its been a while since I looked at the charts on AOPA but I believe they are copies of the NAACO ones and are legal for use in flight, so long of course they don't say otherwise. You can of course also download them for free from the FAA as well.

    Obvious disclaimer applies about me not being the FAA :)

  2. 7C is cold...thats funny. Take a look at this one.

    KGFK 290453Z 35024G34KT 10SM BLSN OVC019 M09/M11 A2967 RMK AO2 PK WND 35038/0423 SNB04E17 SLP064 P0000 T10941111 $