Friday, July 15, 2022

Flying - There We Have It

 At long last, it is done.

I am now an instrument-rated pilot.

The short of it:

 I came, I flew some approaches, I passed.

The long of it:

Happily, the winds were at 190-200 so we would do the west approaches almost as planned.

He threw a bit of a kink in it by doing it in slightly different order of KVLL first, then the KPTK Localizer Backcourse 27L and finally the RNAV 9, rhater than having the localizer last.

Further kink was Pontiac had Runway 27L shut down for some unknown reason, so that could complicate things.

Did the preflight, takeoff briefing, forgot to say it was a no-smoking flight, which apparently you're supposed to say even if no one around smokes.

Then got flight following, took off from 27R and immediately was told to start heading southeastwards even before hitting 1,500 MSL, which is non-standard, to make room for further departures.

Then contacted Detroit approach and did the KVLL RNAV 10-28 (the same as the RNAV 9-27 but finally updated in the charts to relfect the new runway markings).  Did a good entry but got blown a bit in the hold turn by the wimds and need to compensate more for that.

Then did the circle well, had the landing assured, and practically touched the runway before he told me to go missed.

Pontiac then opened Runway 27L which made things a bit simpler.

Then I got up on the missed and contacted Detorit Approach, who began to vector us for the Backcourse.  Then the examiner turned off the G5s and I was left with a turn coordinator, compass. and GPS box to act as DME and provide course headings.  

Kinda early to turn it off.  I had the backup NAV already turned and immediately identified the localizer.  Got established, did the approach, started the timer at the final approach fix and descended right to minimums and then went missed at the appropriate time on the timer.

Then up and the controller started to vector us first for a more direct RNAV 27L approach and then changed his mind and sent us out to KUHNA.

That's when the examiner took the controls and said we're goign to do some unusual attitudes.  So I had to put my head on my chest with eyes closed as he really wrung the airplane out until he said:


I then got my head up, saw the instruments and immediately corrected for a downward left turning unusual attitude - power back as gravity doesn't need the help, level the wings, gently get back to straight and level, add power back in, and return to original altitude.

Then more head on chest and getting really wrung out.


This time it was an upward facing altitude complete with a turn.

Recovery is full power, push forward on yoke,  level wings, and return to original altitude.

Then back towards KUHNA for the RNAV 27L approach.  My brain was still sloshing inside my head from the unusual attitude work, so it felt a little rough for a bit.  I then got everything stabilized and rode it like rails all the way down and landed the plane, taxi'd to the ramp, shut the plane down,  and then he said:

"Well, you're an instrument pilot now, so you can finish putting away the plane yourself and I'm going inside to get started on the paperwork".

I had passed.

In the debrief he noted I was very methodical, had great procedures, and had excellent radio work.  He stated he threw a lot of stuff at me and I kept my cool and just got everything done.

Yep, finally, I am now an instrument-rated pilot.

That's 1.2; 3 approaches; 1 hold; and an instrument rating!


Midwest Chick said...

Congratulations!! Sounds like you came through with... ahem... flying colors!

Glypto Dropem said...

So it expires 3/31/2023. What do you have to go through to re-certify, a simple check like the "RECOVER" test?

DaveS said...

A hearty congratulations! Been following your adventures and travails (and travels) as you've worked toward this achievement. Nice work!

Aaron said...

Midwest Chick: Thanks, I didn't do too badly overall, need to tighten up the altitudes as always, but kept in within tolerances.

Glypto Dropem: Thats' the examiner's designation expiry. The instrument rating itself doesn't expire, but it just has to be kept in proficient essentially with a minimum of 6 approaches (an holds, tracking and intercepts) done within 6 months, each and every six months or you can lose your instrument currency.

DaveS: Thank you!

B said...

As I said on the phone earlier, This is the hardest test for a pilot rating you or I will ever have to take.

markshere2 said...

Huzzah! noice work. Good on ya.

Rick T said...


Glypto Dropem said...

Aaron: Now I understand, I read it wrong. That is good news. All of my FD certs are for life, yet my EMS license requires CEU's and renewal every 2 years.

Matthew W said...

Woo Hoo !!!

Old NFO said...

Congrats! I know it's been a long and winding road, but you stuck with it! Now it's a proficiency thing going forward!

juvat said...

FINALLY! I was getting concerned. However, always remember. "Just because you CAN fly in weather, doesn't mean you SHOULD fly in weather."

Seriously, well done. I know you worked hard and it was frustrating at times. But you stuck with it. Well Done!

Aaron said...

B: Yep and it certainly felt like it. Definitely was put through the wringer.

Glypto Dropem:

Matthew W: Thanks!

Old NFO: That it has been, and yep, I'm going to remain proficient for sure, came too far to fall out of currency now.

juvat: Thanks and I know! I was getting rather concerned myself. And no worries about setting appropriate limits: I will not be taking off in zero/zero anytime soon, or ever really.

pigpen51 said...

Congratulations. I know just how you feel, when you accomplish something that you work very hard at, and then learn that it was not in vain. No doubt you will now look for reasons to take plane trips, rather than driving in a car.
Wishing you many hours of happy flight and strong tail winds.

Aaron said...

pigpen51: Thanks! It really is a great feeling, and there are now plans for trips in the works.

drjim said...

Well done, sir!