Friday, July 10, 2009


I scheduled the plane and instructor three times last week. I only got the first one in, the others were canceled due to weather. I had driven out for each flight, actually started the preflight for the one scheduled in the afternoon, but the cumulus built up so rapidly I only got the the sun shade off the glare shield before the CFII said to forget about it.

As I drove out this morning the conditions were better. My weather maps and forecasts all showed lots of low pressure, but no weather makers in the local vicinity. I was pretty sure this would be a go.

The object was to become familiar with the navigation/autopilot systems again. A VFR flight out to KRDG for the ILS 36 followed by an approach at KPTW and finish up with another (LOC06) back at KLOM. The preflight/startup/taxi were all normal...not uneventful, but normal. He gave me a simulated clearance direct PTW, direct HUMEL direct RDG, and I spent a bit of extra time in the run up area getting that all programmed into the GNS430.

I felt good, not necessarily ahead of the airplane, but able to keep up with it. The first big lesson was when to engage the APR function on the autopilot. Since I did that late, the rest of the approach was catchup, which ended in a circle to land low approach to runway 31 and then out to DUMMR for holding. My 'knob-ology' is getting better and at times I can actually anticipate what will/should happen next. However, the chart function in the plane lack some intuitiveness, and I still need to work on my approach/missed approach briefing. We spent some extra time driving the racetrack while I discussed options for setting up the next approach, and while we did that the clouds started to blossom. Requested and received IFR clearance. It has been a very long time since I've seen the inside of a cloud.

The setup and execution for a repeat ILS RWY 36 went well, and so did the published missed approach. A few more turns and I requested to go back to Wings via Pottstown. Instead he gave me direct to BUNTS and then Phila approach approved the LASBE transition. Having selected the right transition in the GNS430 meant I merely had to activate the approach...slick stuff. No issue with the rest of the procedure, I cancelled IFR, broke it off at 1500 feet to enter the traffic pattern. Setup was OK, but horrible airspeed control resulted in a Go-Around. The next attempt (not perfect) led to a nice landing.

Progress. The puzzle pieces are really coming together now. This one felt very good.

Time = 2.7
Actual IFR = 0.8

No comments:

Post a Comment