Friday, June 18, 2021

Not Flying - IFR Simulator Ride And Stage Check

It was time for a stage check.  The stage check was set with the Assistant Chief Instructor, Sara.  She really doth knoweth her stuff.

Normally the stage check has both a flying and ground component and takes two lesson blocks.

Today was supposed to be the flying portion but prior thunderstorms and potentially more thunderstorms during the flight time, and IFR conditions meant that wasn't going to happen, especially as there would be steep turns and unusual attitude recovery maneuvers that are best not done and evaluated in actual IFR, and, you know, thunderstorms.  

So instead we setup the simulator.  My first time in a full sim since 2017.

In short, for instrument flying it's not a bad way to go but it takes some getting used to.  It is way, way more sensitive than an actual plane by far, and a lot of the instruments such as the HSI are not the same as in the planes and require different operation which lead to a few issues.

But, I still did well, doing apparently excellent steep turns, and really good unusual attitude recoveries, VOR tracking (Once we figured out the sim lacks the Flint VOR - it did have the Salem VOR which surprised Sara as well, and that the HSI has a totally different OBS approach from the G5), and did a VOR cross check "in flight" as well.  Sara would also ask me some ground knowledge question while I was flying - Aviate first as always, but get the questions answered too.

Then I setup and did an instrument approach in the SIM back to Pontiac doing the RNAV 9R approach (Which I have never done before) and I did it quite well - I loaded it into the GPS, activated it, got out the plate on Foreflight and did it.  Although, landing the super-sensitive simulated plane was very different from a real one.  In short, the SIM shines as an IFR trainer for approaches as you can get many more done in the sim compared to a real flight but landing and takeoff are nowhere like a real aircraft. Best part of all is that it's also cheaper than renting a plane for the same amount of time, so that's helpful.

Next, we went to her office and did the ground portion of the stage check - lots of grilling over flight instruments, the compass, some of the FAA IFR regulations and requirements for both the airplane and the pilot.  Got some things to improve on and tighten up, especially because of my overthinking stuff a bit too much.

I passed both the ground and flight portion of the Stage Check and next week will start Stage II of the IFR curriculum.

That's 1.3 Sim,  0.6 Ground instruction, and 1 simulated landing (no you don 't log simulated landings).

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