Saturday, April 11, 2009

Simulated Instrument

A warm front was slowly moving north and its associated low pressure area was dragging some rain showers along for the ride. The forecast was gloomy, 70% chance of showers, low visibility and low ceilings. So as I looked at all of the weather information at 8:00 am I was pretty sure my flight in the evening would have to be canceled. really didn't look too bad here at home. Perhaps there was a chance the 'weather guessers' were wrong.

I got out to the flight school early and immediately went in search of my CFII. He was in a deep discussion with other instructors about some of the latest simulator technology so I made myself comfortable in the lounge. There I listened to another instructor talk about an adventure with another pilot who had incorrectly set an altimeter. Hanger talk, I love it.

Objectives: Enroute procedures, terminal area procedures, and always my favorite; landing pattern.

Preflight and ground checklists are finally becoming comfortable. I'm not 100% smooth yet, but at least I get that 'uneasy feeling' when I've broken sequence or missed something. The cockpit is becoming familiar enough that I don't feel like a stranger. So as another 'company traffic' Cirrus landed while we waited at the hold short line, I was ready to go and made my call. Immediately my instructor was on the brakes. Huh? (We don't do position and hold anymore...two years of rust has an effect.) Wait until the aircraft has cleared the runway before taxiing into position.

Sub par takeoff as I allowed the plane to drift left prior to rotate. Climb out on course and checklist all went well. He reintroduced me to the auto-lean function, which I understand, but will have to perform before it is a part of me. Then he asked if I wanted to put the 'foggles' on. It take a few seconds to adjust with my bifocals and when he gave the plane back we were in a steep turn to the left...and here is one of the real jewels of flying glass. The attitude gyro..uh, indicator, is HUGE.

We picked up vectors for the ILS into KABE. I squirmed in my seat a bit as I haven't flown any approach in a long time. Again the instrumentation in the plane is magnificent. Even with a weak scan it is very easy to see course and glide slope deviation as it is displayed right where it should be on the PFD. I was pleased that I could stay ahead of the airplane and didn't suffer from the 'snakes' (chasing the needles). Got down to mins, foggles off for an acceptable touch and go. Then we headed out for holding at the missed approach point. My only problem here was trying to find a clock for timing. Of course with GPS you really only have to follow the magenta road.

Next he introduced me to the wonders of the autopilot. Immediately evident is that pilot skills must change. The airplane can handle most of the 5Ts, make the necessary wind corrections and adjust the inbound leg by itself. The pilot becomes a systems master, insuring all are working properly and using his head to plan for the next event(s).

So, what is the most efficient way to plan for the next event? I asked the CFII to take the airplane and demonstrate how he would set up for an approach at KLOM. With a variety of radios, navigation aides, onboard checklists and approach plates, it can be a daunting task to get a systematic flow to insure the all are efficiently doing what they should be doing. The autopilot did the flying, right down to mins where I took it for the landing.

The CFII asked if I wanted to work on the landing pattern. I always answer "YES" to this question. Unfortunately I still wasn't as crisp as I can be. You simply got to know speeds and power settings, and I didn't. Without a good pattern you won't have good landings. The last was 'in the groove' and I was happy with it. The instructor wisely ended the session on a positive note.
I'm anxious to go again.

Time = 2.4
Simulated Instrument = 0.5

1 comment:

  1. ABE is a great Aiport. I haven't been in there since my training, but they were very polite and helpful when I went in there in a C152. (check my blog archives for that day). Glad to see you had a great flight. Study study study, and you'll have those airspeeds down. Even though you have checklists in the plane, I find it very helpful to create my own checklists from the POH when I'm getting checked out in a new plane. I just laminated my custom ones for the DA-20. Really gets those new numbers and key check items in your head.

    Oh, Gary M had his surgery, and should be home Sunday/Monday. Longer and more complicated than expected, but he is good in spirits according to his wife Mary.