Showing posts from October, 2004

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+.