Showing posts from November, 2004

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. :)