Showing posts from 2004

Night flight over the pennisula

Posted by my wife: Jason took me up tonight for a sunset/New Year's Eve flight. He reserved the plane yesterday so we'd have it today from 4:30 to 8 pm, giving us some leeway on either end. We picked up the key this morning since the flight school was closing at lunchtime today. We got to the airport around 4:30, and Jason began the preflight. The sun was below the trees but still seemed to be in the sky. We hopped in and taxied out around 5 pm for a smooth takeoff on 13. Jason had picked the Dinwiddie-Petersburg airport (KPTB) for us to head to first. This was nice since it took us out over the James River and directly into the sunset. It was a bit hazier and cloudier than would make an ideal sunset to see from the sky, but it was still nice with lots of soft oranges and purples.

IFR checkride!

This morning started at 2 AM for me. After feeling so unprepared for the checkride from my previous two flights, my brain was running at 1000mph thinking about the knowledge and skills I would need to demonstrate to the IFR rating examiner. It was 2:30 AM and I wanted to sleep, but all I could think about was how I would fly a DME arc or whether I'd need to demonstrate steep turns. I thought about all of the various weather charts that are available and how I certainly didn't have them all memorized - in real life I look at them to understand them instead of memorizing them - how much would the examiner want me to know off-the-cuff on the weather products?! Where would I need to park at KAKQ when I arrived there to meet the examiner? How exactly are the approach minimums affected when certain airport systems are inop? What was the weather going to do in the next few hours? Did I remember to do all of the cross-country planning the examiner requested? Had I forgotten som

Last practice before checkride

Today Charles and I went up for my last practice session before tomorrow's checkride. We left the JGG airport and went Northward to the HCM VOR. 5.5 nm out from the VOR we turned right to follow a 5nm DME ARC. We followed that for about 45 degrees and then turned inbound to do the FYJ VOR-A approach using the GPS and autopilot. I had some trouble setting the vertical speed on the autopilot, but Charles showed me what I was doing wrong (I was hitting the ALT key after setting the VS, which puts in back into hold-altitude mode, I just needed to leave it alone after setting the VS). We did a circle-to-land into FYJ on which I overshot the runway centerline a good bit. Charles reminded me to avoid doing that come checkride time. Then we started the VOR approach back into JGG under partial panel with only one VOR (it is harder with one VOR receiver because you need to identify an intersection based on specific radials from two VOR stations). Then he told me to do a hold at the

Practice for checkride

Today we went up for a bit to do some maneuvers under the hood (slow flight, stalls, unusual attitudes, timed and compass turns) and to let me get the feel for doing a non-precision approach with the autopilot. We had to dodge clouds the entire time, which made the simulated engine out especially interesting (I had to find a hole in the clouds to descend through on the way to a field). We scheduled my IFR checkride for Friday morning. Wish me luck!!! :)

Inverted final

I wonder what it would be like to fly in an airplane and do this type of landing (see the 1st place video): Radio-controlled plane on final .

More practice for checkride

Today we went up for 1.2 hours as more practice for the checkride. We only did approaches this time (no maneuvers) due to time constraints. We did a ILS, GPS, and a partial panel, single-VOR receiver VOR approach. I would guess that the checkride might have similar approaches in it. The flight went pretty smooth. I think I had the least number of errors I have had to date. The biggest thing was that I was a little off on my JGG VOR approach, I reached the missed approach time about 15 seconds before I should have, must have been a little fast. We used the autopilot for the ILS approach, letting it follow the localizer and the glideslope. This leaves the pilot to manage power and rudder (and get mentally ready for the approach). The autopilot was doing some serious S-turning, which was pretty sloppy, but it brought us in pretty darn close. I disconnected it just before we reached 250 AGL and did a touch and go. Today I now have a total of exactly 200 hours in general aviation a

IFR practice with short field

Today we practiced a GPS approach into a short field ( Hummel, W75 ). We did the GPS 1 approach and circled to land on 19. Hummel field was very busy and since it does not have any real taxiways we had to wait a loooong time to get a chance to backtaxi when no one was landing. Not a place to visit at lunch time on a nice Saturday for a simple touch and go. It was such a nice day that not only were there a million aircraft flying today, but all the pilots were in a good mood - and a bit overly-chatty on the radio. Made it hard to talk on the CTAF/UNICOM today. :) I now have 39.9 hours of instrument time and am working toward doing the checkride sometime very soon. Fingers are crossed that I'm actually ready. :) Since I need to fill out an FAA form (application for checkride) I need to make various calculations of the hours in my logbook. I am inputting my logbook into a database to make it easier. Once that is done, I'll likely hook it into this website.

More practice approaches

Today we went up for 1.7 hours to practice an NDB overlay GPS approach into KPVG and then the DME 27 into Franklin. We did this under an IFR flight plan because it was marginal VFR weather. Had a nice crosswind at 3000' (out of 240 @ 16kts) for the flight to KPVG. I used the autopilot a bit for the enroute phase to KPVG. I had performed poorly on that GPS approach a few weeks ago, so I wanted to do it again. Today went much better. Certainly not perfect but much better. We got a few minutes of actual IFR time in on the way back north to JGG (the clouds starting right at and just under 3000' near JGG). We waited until the last minute to cancel IFR since we weren't seeing the airport until we were within 4 nm. We dumped altitude to get down to 900 and came in to land on 13. I landed quite long but it was a nice smooth touchdown.

Aviation links for today

A couple of great videos are linked off of Justin's forum here and today's issue of the AOPA e-newsletter had a link to live ATC internet radio (hear controllers online).

Ground review

Today we didn't fly (wx was bad anyway - very windy and overcast) but instead went over some of the oral exam-type of issues. Charles quizzed me on various legalities of flying IFR (currency, minimum equipment, etc.) as well as chart symbology. I also planned a trip from KJGG to KRDU with an alternate of KGSO as an exercise. We tallied up my logbook entries and found that I have all of the minimum requirements to take the FAA IFR exam, except for 2.6 hours of time under the hood. We should knock that out quickly. So the question becomes: Am I READY YET?! :) Still not sure.

First night flight in ages

Today Charles and I went up for a night IFR training flight of 1.4 hours. I did the pre-flight as dusk was rolling in so I needed to use a flashlight for large portions of it. This was the first time I have flown at night in about 8 years (I didn't fly for about 7 years) so I had to remind myself the give the lights a thorough check - simply turned on the master switch and brought all the exterior lights up - all good to go! Taxiing out to runway 31 we found some deer grazing by the taxiway (just after Charles mentioned that they'd probably be around). Worried that they might run out in front of us we stopped, held the brakes, and ran the engine RPMs up a bit. That got them moving quite well. :) They darted off and we continued on. After a quick run thru of when to turn which lights on/off and how to turn on the pilot-controlled runway lights we were rolling down runway 31 looking for 60 kts. We had determined that since there was no good overhead red light to use for t

A few Circle-to-Land pattern types

I sometimes have trouble getting out of a VFR pilot's mindset when it comes time to circle-to-land after an IFR approach. I have a tendency to think I need to perform a standard VFR-type traffic pattern which will typically have me go too far away from the runway for a good IFR approach (when on an IFR circling approach - which is an approach where you don't come in straight-in on final - you need to stay close to the airport because it is required that you keep it in sight). I brought this up with Charles a few weeks ago and he gave me some pointers which I have "digitized" in this diagram. This is by no means official advice, but I find this picture very useful to get my head screwed on straight when making a non-straight-in approach. :) The orange dotted line represents a course you might take for a circle-to-land and the blue/green dotted lines are for standard patterns (one to the right and one to the left). There are obviously other ways you might have to ci


Krista and I went up for 1 hour this morning in 5199A. We did some sightseeing and photographing, and then went down to Wakefield (AKQ) to do a quick touch and go. I made some use of the autopilot for practice sake. It is quite a nice tool to have on board. When we got back to JGG it was pushing lunchtime so I knew the place would be swamped ( Charlie's is a great lunch destination there). I started making position reports from a good ways out hoping to entice others to do the same. I thought it had worked, and that I was well aware of all the nearby traffic, until we were a half mile from entering the downwind leg of the 31 pattern and I heard a call that someone was just entering downwind themselves. My head on a swivel, I started looking for them hoping that when I found them they wouldn't be filling the windscreen with white. After a few tense seconds I spotted them on a very tight downwind, almost over the runway (at least from my perspective). I called on the radi

IFR practice approaches

Today we spent some time shooting approaches. We did the Wakefield GPS-20 approach, the Franklin VOR-DME-27, and then the Franklin VOR-9. Things I need to improve on: Maintaining assigned altitude Talking on the radio with more position reports Remembering to start the approach timer on time We did touch-and-goes for the Wakefield and VOR-9 approaches with a bit of a crosswind. The landings were interesting but I did fairly well. The Williamsburg landing was not quite as smooth, I kind of plopped it in pretty hard at the last second. I had a great descend going and once I crossed the threshold the descent rate picked up a good bit. I tried to get a quick flare in, which helped, but we still kinda smacked it in. There is a "swamp monster" off the approach end of JGG runway 31 (a weird wind pattern over the swamp) and it grab us a bit just before the fast descend kicked in. I came in intentionally high to avoid it and we didn't get it too bad. :)

First time in actual IFR conditions

Today I woke up to find that the ceiling at JGG was at 800ft and that the weather around the general area was all IFR. I called Charles to see what the plan should be and he told me to come on out and that, if the ceiling hit 1000ft, we'd go get some actual instrument time in. I went out to the airport and after preflighting we chatted for a bit in the office. He quizzed me on filing alternate airport destinations (when the weather requires it) and what the value of filing an alternate is (the primary one being that ATC has a good idea where you might head in bad weather if you lose communications). Charles then mentioned that he wouldn't throw any curve balls at me on this flight, since going into the "soup" for the first time would be enough for me to manage. He then said that if an emergency happened in flight that he'd let me do whatever I felt made sense, until I started to do something wrong. He's never actually said that aloud before. :) The weather

Practicing maneuvers under the hood @ JGG

Today we went up for 1.4 hours to practice some air work (stalls, slow flight, unusual attitudes, steep turns, etc.). I needed to be a little quicker on my throttle changes during some of the slow flight - I lost 200 feet at one point because I was trying to use too small of corrections in the throttle setting. The steep turns were pretty good. We did a couple of extra ones to try to come around and hit our own wake to bounce the plane a little bit. We made it work a few times. :) I am a fan of G-forces, at least the minor G-forces you get in steep turns - I could sit there and do those all day (if I set the trim right). We ended the practice by shooting the VOR-B approach into Williamsburg partial panel. I did fairly well on that except for shooting right by the initial approach fix (the HCM VOR) at first. But I just flew out to get some room from the VOR and turned back in. I did fine the second time. I even remembered to start the timer at the final approach fix and to broad

IFR flight - back in JGG for holds

After not getting to fly for about two weeks due to bad weather and an alternator problem, I went up today for 1.5 hours of work on "holds". We went to the HCM VORTAC and practiced various hold entries. After two normal entries, we did a few with partial panel. Then, to cap it off, we did an intersection hold with partial panel - VERY mentally challenging. We went over the basics of the autopilot, which, to-date, I have only used when flying on my own VFR trips. We'll use it for a few approaches next time. The weather was fairly nice, a few decent updrafts here and there had me struggling with my altitude. We ended with a simulated engine-out abeam the numbers in the pattern at JGG which I did fairly well on (the last one I did was right after I started flying again and in that instance I would not have made the runway - very bad). I ended the trip to the airport watching a guy pull his Cirrus SR22 up to his hangar. I was quite jealous. :)

IFR written finished

Took the official IFR written test tonight and did pretty well; got a 95% (missed 3/60). I used a CATS office. I think it is time to start doing more than one flight with Charles per week in prep for the practical flight test...

No flying today

Tried to go fly today, just before some rain rolled in, but the airplane has a voltage problem (battery seems to be draining) so we just did a few minutes of ground work. Charles reviewed the Sporty's test I had taken and then signed me off to take the written exam. He re-taught me had to calculate calibrated airspeed from the true airspeed value .

Sportys practice written IFR test

Just took the Sporty's free practice IFR written test exam and got a 92/100. It went really quick, took about 30 minutes to do the 60 questions. I didn't get any lengthy questions though, so that's probably why (the questions are chosen randomly from a set of many 100). I studied by going through the Jeppesen study guide - it was pretty nice but it was very painful to slip through the book to find charts (the charts are not always beside the question). If I had to do it again, I can't decide if I'd go with the book or with the electronic version. I was initially turned off by the fact that the web site study guide was on a subscription basis, but a this point, I don't think that would have been a problem for me.

Flying IFR out of PHF - #3

Today I gained another 1.5 hours of IFR time. We had to wait for almost 15 minutes to get our clearance and during that time we watched a army chopper practice auto-rotations over the runway @ PHF. We took off and headed over to Richmond, via the HCM VOR. We did an ILS low approach there and then went over the wakefield to do the GPS 20 approach with a touch and go. After that we were sent direct to the ILS IAF at PHF. We did a circle-to-land over to runway 2 as darkness was setting in. All-in-all a good flight, especially compared to last time. Next time we plan to practice some holds and then, for the next lesson, some auto-pilot work. I plan to take the written test in the next few weeks. I am up to ~32 under-the-hood hours now, working towards 40+.

Flying IFR out of PHF

Today I filed an IFR flight plan and we flew from PHF to ORF to Hamptons Roads and back to PHF. We did the ILS @ ORF and PHF (with a circle to land on 02) and the GPS overlay for the NDB 2 approach at Hampton Roads. I did a poor job on the GPS approach, but OK on the two ILSs. Had some stumbles on the radio today as well. Definitely my worst IFR flight yet. The primary culprit was not being prepped for the GPS approach (it was a complicated one to boot). I ordered some new Jepp approach plates today, but I am getting tired of paying $27 per set. I think I may start printing out the FAA ones from PDF files online.

A millz fix

Saw this online today, it talks about a navigation fix called " MILLZ " which is the same as my username.

IFR flight #21 - air work

Today I gained another 1.0 hours of hood time by performing some airwork in the area local to JGG. We did steep turns, slow flight, power on/off stalls , unusual attitudes, partial panel turns, and a circle to land back into JGG. The air was absolutely, perfectly still today. It was very unusual. When we did some unusual attitudes, I put my head down and tried to fly straight and level blind. After a long 7-8 minutes Charles had me look up (just before I feel asleep) to see that we were in a perfect left-hand standard rate turn (3 degrees/sec). That airplane must like standard rate turns. :) I learned one thing I already knew, that I am too reserved with the yolk when doing stalls. I was not pulling it back far enough (all the way back) to make it do a nice stall. I guess there are worst things to be bad at though. :)

IFR flight #20 - Wakefield GPS, PHF ILS 7, JGG VOR-A

I brought my total instrument time up to 27.1 hours today after a 1.4 hour flight in the vicinity of JGG. We shot the GPS 20 approach into Wakfield, where I did a rather poor job of circling to land (got too low, should have gone straight in away). We then headed over to PHF to shoot the ILS 7 partial panel. That went quite well, I kept the needles nicely centered and did a nice, soft touch and go. I also did better on the VOR into JGG under a partial panel (and with one NAV radio). I got on the inbound radial much quicker this time, using the hold at HARCUM to help reduce the turn angle to get on the inbound course. Things to improve: - CIRCLING TO LAND - holding altitude (kept going 100 ft high)

IFR flight #19 - intersection hold with no gyros or VOR

Charles and I spent 1.4 hours today flying out of JGG to the ILS 7 at NN, the VOR-A @ FYJ and the VOR-B at JGG. After the ILS approach, we went partial panel (covered up the 2 gyro instruments) and did the approach at West Point. We planned to do a touch-and-go at West Point but since there were parachutists there we went off to the east for a steep turn to the right and left (both went well). On the approach to JGG Charles had me hold at the HIGAL intersection, partial panel, only using VOR1. This was the first time I had tried that before and it went relatively well. Things I can improve on from today: Holding altitude in cruise - especially during power changes I forgot to start the timer when passing the HIGAL intersection to JGG

IFR flight #18 - first time based at towered field

Charles and I did about 1.8 hours of IFR practice this morning from PHF. The Jamestown Flight center is spending part of their time based in PHF in order to widen their market. This was the first time I have been "based" at a towered airport. Security was much more present, seeing as there are large airplanes based there. Plenty of guards/officers walking around, which is a good thing. We departed to the west to shoot the VOR-DME 27 and VOR 9 at Franklin (FKN, I think). The approaches went well. I had a rough time tracking to the Franklin VOR, but I think the needle was wondering a bit on its own, without my flying helping it. :) On the way back we were cleared for the ILS 7 @ PHF. However, just as I intercepted the localizer we were told of an emergency on-field. We started to head VFR to JGG (where we'd have to get a ride back to PHF). When we got near the nuclear power plant we heard that the emergency had been cleared so we asked Norfolk Approach to let us go

IFR flight #17

Today Charles and I spent 1.8 hours in the IFR system by shooting an ILS approach at Chesterfield County and then Richmond; and the VOR approaches (partial panel) into New Kent and Williamsburg. This was my second time doing partial panel non-precision approaches and they went reasonably well. We also assumed that we lost VOR #2 on the JGG approach which required me to bounce VOR #1 b/t two stations so that I could know when I reached the HIGAL intersection. I did a little better on remembering to start the timer at the final approach fix. Things I screwed up on: Big one: busted the minimums at New Kent because I had the wrong altitude number in my head - why did I do that? I think it was the combo of having talked to some many controllers (and memorizing numbers they gave me) and trying to figure out the magnetic compass errors for the partial panel work I was doing. No excuse, but they are things to look out for as I move forward I lost 100ft of altitude almost everytime I slowed

IFR flight #16 - hood time

Today I went up with Bill acting as my safety pilot. Bill is also an instructor at JGG working on his CFII. We shot one ILS 7 at PHF and then the VOR-A at FYJ. We had to call off the VOR approach a little early due to skydivers, but I got to practice what I really needed to. We did some steep turns and then a DME-arc on the way back to JGG. My DME arc technique was OK, but I was reading the wrong distance number on the GPS so I ended up getting way off course. Not good. I feel that I could get a lot from practicing those on the simulator, so I might not worry too much about doing these in real life practice. Other things I screwed up on this flight: - forgot to dial in the inbound course into the OBS when shooting the ILS - forgot to turn on the marker beacon audio on the ILS - forgot to start the time at the FAF on the VOR-A into FYJ - did not maintain altitude when setting up for the steep turns (did ok in the turns themselves though).

VFR flight with Matt

Matt was in town today and he and I went up for 0.9 hours of VFR time this morning. I was worried that the winds would be a bit much, and that the ceiling would be too poor, but the weather turned out to be just fine. We had a low ceiling, something close to a 2,300 feet base of scattered clouds. We went up to 2,000 and set the autopilot to maintain altitude and follow the heading bug. We flew to my neighborhood and then north up the Chickahominy toward the York river. We were trying to spot the movie set that was supposed off that river but didn't. We flew around for a bit over the middle pennisula, doing one steep turn, and headed back to JGG. Shortly after landing we had a nice storm roll in which we thankfully missed.

IFR flight #15 - first cross country

Today I did my first cross-country IFR flight. Charles and I went from JGG to ROA to AVC to JGG over 4.8 hours of flight time. Needless to say, I was worn out at the end of that trip. Last night I used the AOPA flight planner to determine my routes for the trip and to print out nav logs, and flight plan templates for later use when filing flight plans. This morning I filed via DUATS for the leg to ROA - I used the flight planner to do that and really liked that feature. We left around 1pm with (generally) good weather forecast for the entire trip - light winds, a few clouds at 5000 feet AGL. After the pre-flight and a final check of the radar internet pictures we taxied out to 13 to do the run-up and instrument checks. I called up Norfolk on the GCO frequency and received the clearance. I had some trouble understanding the clearance due to the controller's accent, but eventually got it all copied down (and repeated) correctly. She cleared us to 4000 feet and direct to Wakefie

IFR flight #14 - second time in the system

Charles and I got in 1.9 hours today shooting a couple of approaches at the Dinwiddie Co. airport in Petersburg, VA. We first shot the VOR-23 approach and then did an early "missed" to avoid some VFR traffic. From there we asked the controller for vectors to the LOC-5 approach, but it appeared he took us in the wrong direction (NE) for a bit. Charles mentioned to the controller that it appeared we were going in the wrong direction and at the point we starting getting some good vectors. We shot the localizer 5 and did a circle to land for 23, left hand traffic. I was surprised at how natural the LOC approach felt, since I had never actually done one. I have done all the parts of it before, but never together. I all fit together just fine in my head. I was amazed at how busy KPTB was considering it was 10AM on a Friday. There was a decent bit of traffic for a field with no tower. Since we ran out of time we did not get to shoot the VOR-A into W96 . We just headed

IFR flight #13 - first time in the system

Today Charles and I went up for 1.4 hours and it was the first time I have flown in the IFR system. Before I went to the airport I used 1-800-WX-BRIEF to get the weather and double-check that my DUATS flight plan filing worked. It took more than 30 minutes on the phone to get a real person on the line. I believe that is typical nowadays, with so few FSSs, at least when it is a slightly busy time of day. We used the GCO from JGG to call up Norfolk and get our clearance. It was up to me to do the majority of the radio work, and I did about 60% of it. Charles helped me out from time to time as we transitioned b/t approaches. We shot the ILS at Newport News, then on to West Point to shoot the GPS. They had jumpers at West Point when we were coming in, so we went missed at about 2 miles out to play it safe. From there we headed back to JGG on the VOR-B approach. At about 6 miles out we canceled IFR with Norfolk approach and continued on. The JGG radio traffic was getting heavy so we

IFR flight #12

Today we went out for 1.5 hours to do a few GPS approaches, the last approach type that I haven't yet seen (NDB doesn't count since we don't have an ADF). We went to Hummel field to shoot a low approach followed by the holding pattern in the published missed approach. Then we went over to West Point to shoot the VOR/GPS approach. I did a poor circle to land to try to get over to runway 27. So poor that we did a go-around b/c I was close in at about 25 degrees off the center line. We just went direct back to JGG as by then we were running short on time. All-in-all it was not a bad flight for not having been in an airplane for 2.5 weeks. Of course, the GPS and still air were very helpful in letting me maintain tracks and altitudes.

IFR flight #11

Today we did 3 VOR approaches; 2 to West Point and 1 when coming back to JGG. I was way behind the airplane at the start of the lesson and it took me a while to get back on track. This time and last time I have had problems maintaining heading properly, I believe that I am starting to focus too much on the att. indicator, which may be giving me slightly off bank indications. I think I need to focus on the heading indicator a little more. Anyway, on the second West Point approach we did not go missed; we circled to the right to land on 27 behind another Cessna. I managed to set up the approach fairly well, but when we were just a few feet over the threshold we had to go around. The other Cessna was still on the runway, taking his time getting on the taxiway. He told us he was unfamiliar with the airport and that that caused his delay. I could see that b/c I did the same thing he did when I landed there with Krista a while back (taxied to the end of the runway before exiting). Of

IFR flight #10

We shot three ILS approaches at KPHF today, with Charles manning the radios. We had a decent crosswind from the left for runway 07 and it was a pretty warm day. I had some trouble nailing down my headings every once and a while but when my scan was keeping up I was occasionally able to hold the needles in their proper place. We went "missed" on the first two approaches and did a touch and go on the last one. When transitioning from instruments to the landing pattern at JGG I have always had to shake off the IFR flight style to put on my VFR hat. That was especially hard on the ILS b/c you only have about a minute (~200ft) from eyes-up time to touchdown. After our first approach we circled back to the left via heading 320 at 2000 feet. A flight of F-15s were supposedly performing a fly-by very close to us, at 1000 feet but we never even saw them (or heard them). My landings were sub-par today, due in no small part to the fact that I haven't flown in 2.5 weeks. I thin

All about airfoils

Quite a read about airfoils:

IFR flight #9

Today we spent 1.4 hrs working on DME arcs and holds at an intersection (with two radios). We also did some slow flight and 720 degrees worth of steep turns. My slow flight took a while to get settled, had to knock the rust off. The steep turns were pretty good, shot through my target headings but kept my bank and altitude in the OK range. The DME arc went pretty well. We did a 21nm arc off of the Hopewell VOR starting from the 180 radial and turning left until we got out to the 120 radial. Since it was so far out I had a few minutes b/t each turn, which no doubt helped me settle in better. The holds at an intersection went pretty well. My situational awareness could use some help, but I didn't have a chart in front of me (and I was learning a new technique) so I can't beat myself up too badly. Some of my holds were actually pretty dead on. I think practicing on Flight Sim the night before helped me out. :)

IFR flight #8

When I pulled up to the airport today there was a sizable Jet on the new part of the ramp, fueling up. I was kind of surprised that he could even get into JGG and I wondered why he landed there instead of Newport News 10 minutes away. I'll never know. Today we started on holding patterns . We did a few holds relative to the HCM VOR practicing the three different entry methods: direct, parallel, and teardrop. I started to get the hang of it a bit, although I obviously have tons more to learn/polish. My instructor taught me a nice way to determine the entry method using the outbound course relative to your heading ( described here ) The ASOS at the airport was saying that there was quite a decent wind on the field as we headed back to land. It was saying a near-90-degree crosswind of about 11 kts gusting to 18. Ugh. But, the landing was uneventful. I think maybe the wind sensor was just getting some little stream of air that wasn't affecting the runway (the windsock was

VFR time with Clay

My friend Clay and I went up for 0.7 hours today. Had a ~9 knot crosswind which was good practice. The air was very smooth at 2500 and 3000 ft and we practiced some steep turns and a bit of the engine-out procedures. We stayed mostly to the NW of JGG checking out some of the local neighborhoods and lakes.

New wing design?

Interesting research at Duke here. They seem to have performed research showing a bumpy wing to have a higher critical angle of attack (AOA) with improved lift and LESS drag.

Why you don't fly something you shouldn't

This guy apparently bought a new helicopter and decided he could figure out how to fly it on his own . Wow.

In the pattern

K and I went up today in an attempt to let me practice some steep turns and landings. However, after watching the wx closely for a while, we took off and realized that the 3-5nm visibility was not the best in the world for fun practice. So we stayed in the pattern, shot two landings, and called it a day. All 0.4 hours of it. :) We had been hoping that the wx would have been better. You can see in the pic for this entry that the north side of the airport was showing blue skies and the south was showing white. When we got in the air though, all was white - to our sides anyway. Our hope was to at least play around in the north for a bit, but MVFR was not good for that.

IFR flight #7

Charles and I did another 1.3 hours today. This time we performed an instrument take-off (with the foggles on) and practiced some VOR tracking. This was my first lesson on instrument navigation, which I am hoping will be one of the more interesting sections of the training; it is so far. We intercepted radials inbound and outbound and I got my first look at a simple VOR approach with a procedure turn. I managed to pull a way-high landing at the end, a fairly disappointing end to the otherwise fun lesson. I plan to practice some touch-and-goes and steep turns Sunday morning in an attempt to get the feel back.

IFR flight #6

Today we performed a progress check flight for 1.3 hours, where I perform just about every maneuver that we have gone over to-date. I did a bit better holding altitude today, but I busted through my assigned altitude one time when my scan was too slack. My steep turns are slowly improving as well, I had at least 180 degrees of excellent steep turn at one point. :) It had been almost 2 weeks since my last flight, so I wasn't too disappointed with my performance (Charles had to cancel a flight just before I went to NY). Next lesson we plan to get into the really cool stuff: nav instruments, starting with using the VOR in an IFR environment.

IFR flight #5

Today Charles and I went up for 1.1 hours of instruction in 99A. We worked on a number of maneuvers, focusing on dealing with unusual attitudes. We did a 360 steep turn to the right and to the left. I improved on those from my last flight, but still had some altitude oscillations I need to work out. We then went on to some slow flight: 50kt flight in a clean config and 45kt flight in a landing config. The slow flight really had me scanning fast, and double checking that airspeed a good bit. We performed power-on and power-off stalls and did some unusual attitude work (with full and partial panel). For the unusual attitudes we did them with Charles flying the plane and with me flying the plane with my eyes closed. In the last one I did with my eyes closed I had us in a 50 degree bank when I was supposed to be performing a standard rate turn. Charles had me recover at about that time.

IFR flight #4

We went out in some so-so weather today to get another 0.8 hours of IFR training done. We did some work on copying clearances as well as performing steep turns under the hood. I didn't do great on either subject, just OK. My steep turns had problems with altitude not being held properly and my clearance delivery practice could use some more radio work (we just did "virtual" radio work today). There were some significant clouds coming in from the south while we were up today, so we cut the lesson a bit short in order to get on the ground before they rolled in.

IFR flight #3

Today Charles and I did 1.1 hours of IFR training in 99A. We mainly practiced using the magnetic compass in order to show me about the various errors it has during maneuvers. We performed some timed turns using the mag compass in order to increase roll-out accuracy. The winds around 2500ft were significant, but steady. My landing was fairly acceptable, in general they are getting more predictable, but I have not had to land in a bad crosswind recently.

IFR flight #2

Today Charles and I went over some of the preflight stuff once more, as a refresher, and reviewed the basics of instrument flight (straight and level, standard rate turns, ... ). This was after I wrestled with the hood for a bit, quickly deciding that I like the foggles better. I had hoped the hood would block more of the outside world than the foggles, but it didn't and was harder to manage. The new things we looked at were: constant rate climbs and descents, constant rate and airspeed climbs and descents, doing each of those while turning, and timed turns. The two most challenging aspects of today's flight were the constant airspeed and rate climbs and descents, and trying to time turns while doing those. I felt almost overwhelmed, especially in the latter task. But that is the point: to push my ability to manage multiple variables at once, since parts of IFR flights have many simultaneous tasks, such as climbing turns while listening to ATC and having passengers ask quest