Saturday, September 5, 2009


Finally good weather. Fall has come to the Northeast, temperatures are about ten degrees cooler and the skies have turned to blue.

After another two weeks to fly my easy chair thinking about knobology and procedures, I felt pretty good about getting back into the cockpit. (Not over confident by and stretch, but knowledgeable enough with GNS430 and S-Tec 55 to get from Point A to Point B.)

The CFII suggested we do the VOR-A at Allentown. Now, I've been around enough to know that VOR-A approaches are not necessarily simple. Most have little tricks or nuances that if missed during the setup will almost always cause a missed approach. This would be no exception.

The ground stuff was normal (and not perfect). My mindset was different as I was convinced not to let my errors block my attention to other things. Among these other things, I should have set a more aggressive rate of climb on the autopilot for after take off. Otherwise climb out and departure were normal (and while cautious I was pushing the right buttons.) The CFII did a great job of quizzing me on the approach setup, questioning what needed to be done, where was I on the approach what I should be doing, etc. I'm finally starting to manage the systems, not ahead of them but at least with them. I had set up the approach to go to HOPPS, and worked the navcomms in the GNS430 to define that intersection. When the Controller approved vectors to final I altered my plan and chose the right option. And here I had a brain fart. You see, this approach has a dog leg, 210 into FJC followed by 182 outbound, so my brain told me that 182 was the final approach course. Wrong answer. Now, I had FJC dialed in, I had 210 dialed in and I hit approach mode when my CDI came alive, but my slow cooker of a brain was still trying to reconcile the FAC. In my mind, this means a lot of twisting and turning to get this to all work out. Nope, the plane can handle it just fine. What it can't do is start the descent unless I tell it to. So, I should have started a pretty aggressive descent at BOUNCE, instead I was worried about what was going to happen at the VORTAC. Blew it.

The Tower was very nice when I told him we were going missed and I'm sure he was glad that we were leaving his control to the south. I switched and then canceled Radar Services with Allentown and headed home. One more head work error setting up for the VFR entry. I've always crossed the field 2500' to descend to pattern altitude for RWY24. KLOM was landing RWY06, so again my head was...well not screwed tightly where it should be. The CFII helped me save some dignity by having me fly North to avoid traffic, essentially giving me another shot at it. I got the speed off and flew something resembling a pattern to an OK landing (not great and left of center-line) .

This was actually a good flight. I messed up a lot, but I've been in this place before. I haven't made all possible mistakes, but a large enough percentage that I can start moving forward. I have just a hint of optimism, a dash of confidence, and a better idea of who I am. The journey continues.

Time = 1.2 hours


  1. The journey is what it's all about. It will all click....I still havent rescheduled my checkride so what do I know. So many buttons and knobs, I'll always like the hand flying. Keep at it...better wx is just around the corner!!

  2. I went and looked up the N57 New Garden VOR RWY 24 Approach. It has that same jog to it and I missed it more then once. I kept wondering how the heck am I where I am.....this plate must be messed up! It wasn't, I was!! LOL....I know now to brief more careful on all the plates.

    Fun stuff!