Saturday, December 12, 2015

Flying Lesson #27 - With Your Head In The Clouds

Today was a really good flying day for many reasons.

I arrived at the field this morning and the tower's beacon was on and it was IFR conditions

So I did the preflight and Sean told me he was filing an IFR flight plan for us to Lansing and we'd be doing actual IFR conditions. This also promised to be a break from pattern work, got me all the required IFR training hours for the Private Pilot requirements, and would be my first official dual cross country. Lots of boxes were getting checked off with this one flight.

So we got clearance to taxi, and I taxi'ed all the way down to Runway 9L, did the run up and held short and awaited IFR and departure clearance.

Then I did the takeoff after getting instructions to fly the runway heading and climb to 3,000 feet.

Immediately after takeoff we were in the clouds, and it was fun as all get out.

We were then instructed to contact Detroit Approach and they had us immediately climb to 4,000 and they gave us a direct heading to Lansing.

So I climbed through the soup to 4,000, then leaned the engine and kept it level and on course by instruments alone.

This was lots of fun. It then got better as we approached Lansing and got an ASR approach with no gyro.

Basically if you're a VFR pilot and you get stuck in IMC conditions and you can't get out, it's best to communicate and declare an emergency if need be, and you'll get an ASR approach to an airport. So this was to simulate such a situation.

Lansing control was very cool with it. Basically with an ASR approach they initially give you course and speed to follow and as you get closer to the field then they just tell you not to acknowledge and they give you instructions like "Turn left.", "Stop", Turn right", "Stop", Turn right", "Stop" and such.

The controller did pretty good getting us there, but had us break out of the clouds a fair bit off to the right of the runway and practically on top of it.

Sean got us lined up and then said "You've got the landing!"

I then did the absolutely smoothest landing I've done up to that point. Go figure, maybe I just had to get all the crappy landings out of my system yesterday, or I can land better in IFR than VFR.

We then immediately took off back to KPTK and we climbed to 5,000 feet for the return trip.

Detroit had us do it as an ILS approach which is beyond my ken. I got to fly it up past waypoint Spartan and to do the initial descent at waypoint WAKL and then Sean took over.

Again we popped out of the clouds and Sean had us lined up and then he said again "You've got the landing!"

And I proceeded to do an even better landing than before. It was so nice you could barely feel us touching down on the runway.

Go figure. Yesterday my landings were so consistently bad I figured I was never gonna get them and it was time to start reconsidering this whole flying thing. I was pretty much fed up. I had even received inquiries after that flight from both the Imperial Japanese Navy and some Arabic-sounding guy who were both excitedly looking to recruit pilots that could fly but for whom landings were optional.

Then today I make two of the best landings ever.

Let's hope it means I'm finally past that slump and back on an upswing. Either that or I need to skip the Private Pilot cert and go straight to an instrument rating.

That's 1.6 more hours, 2 landings, 1.6 hours of actual instrument time and 1.6 hours of dual cross country time, and a completed log book page.

That was also some of the most fun I've had flying so far.


Home on the Range said...

You've got a good instructor. Since I was teaching out in the Pacific Northwest where fog could roll in off the ocean with little warning all of my students regularly got practice doing a 180 degree turn on instruments to get the heck out of dodge. More than one student told me that saved their bacon at least once.

Murphy's Law said...

Like I keep telling you--just relax and fly the damned plane. It'll gel.

Keads said...