Sunday, February 25, 2024

Flying - Instrument Practice Made A Tad Bit Exciting

The sun was out the sky was clear up to 25k and it was windy.

A lot of wind. Indeed a lot of crosswind.

10-22 kt gusting at Pontiac and  it was blowing from 180-200 degrees. Pretty much a direct crosswind for Runway 27L.

 I had James along as a safety pilot and we did the preflight and run up on the Piper Dakota, and I arranged for flight following to Flint to get my approaches in and regain my IFR currency.

Good takeoff with quite the gusty wind to keep me on my toes. The Dakotas has plenty of power and is heavier than the Archer and I'm still getting used to it, but that weight and power sure makes the winds a bit less of a factor. 

I then put the foggles on right after takeoff and got on the instruments. Adding to the fun, there was  a fair bit of chop and bounciness as well.

I contacted Detroit Approach and we headed to Flint.  Used the autopilot to try it out and it was rather nice.  Got handed off to Great Lakes Approach and setup for the RNAV 27 approach at Flint and all was going well. 

Got vectors and started the approach on autopilot, and was cleared for the approach and switched to tower and got the option for Runway 27 and soon things started getting weird.

After getting established, I had massive back-pressure on the yoke which was kinda disconcerting as it was trying to climb the plane, and how.   Disconnected the autopilot and it was still very heavy backpressure which was weird.  Pushed the trim forward and still a lot of backpressure.  The autopilot came back on at some point (there's a chance James hit the wrong button as we were diagnosing it bit that's not for sure) and backpressure remained and so we turned it off again, but still a lot of backpressue.

We decided to land to figure things out.

Did a good approach even fighting the yoke and did a very nice crosswind landing under the circumstances.  Taxi'd to the run up area and checked everything out and ran the autopilot preflight proceedure again, and checked its actions and it worked just fine.  I think the trim got out of whack at some point with the autopilot and once we re-trimmed the heck out of it, all was well again.

Then we took off again and no further problems, but I decided to hand fly it just in case.

We did the RNAV 27 again.  This went much better and even with a heckuva crosswind correction in I did a really great approach.  We went missed and then I did the ILS 27 approach. Even with the winds pushing us around a lot, causing the controller to give us some revised headings as the ones he gave initially didn't correct enough for the wind, I got on the localizer and glideslope and ran it like it was on rails. That was pretty happy making.

I still need to fly the Dakota more as I'm not nearly as intuitive with it as I am the Archer and the power adjustments need to be refined.

We then headed back to Pontiac and I did the 27L RNAV to land on 27L. I did a great approach, even though I was getting blown a lot by the wind and had to correct for it quite a bit so we were coming in at quite an angle with the nose pointing to the left of the runway.

22 knot direct crosswind and about 10 knots of wind shear on short final made for an exciting landing.  That was the most crosswind I've handled in a while and the wind shear made it even more challenging. Still, it was a darn smooth landing for all that.

I mean, James didn't scream even once during the entire flight.

So, I'm now IFR current again, and it is a real confidence booster that I can handle the plane in those rough and windy conditions and still make the approaches and landings happen. That was some great instrument practice.

That's 2.0, 1.6 simulated instrument time, 2 impressive crosswind landings, and 4 approaches.  This was also the final entry in my first logbook, on to logbook #2.


juvat said...

I feel your pain. Starting out in the Instrument phase of Pilot Training, I was positive I'd wash out. After the first couple of blocked visor missions, the IPs would take the aircraft and go through a bunch of quick maneuvers to get your internal gyro tumbling, then give you the stick and tell you to "Recover". One had to very quickly learn to trust the eyes not the ears. And more than a few of my classmates washed out because of this. I thought it was a bit much, but kept my mouth shut.
About 10 years later, I was flying in the weather off Okinawa, no horizon, winds aloft were pretty bouncy and pretty soon I thought I was in a spin. Fortunately, I focused on the instruments and recovered. Did I mention I was leading a flight of 4 Eagles? The other 3 had the easy part, keep the light in the star. Me? Try hard not to barf while maintaining straight and level flight.
Flying is fun. Sometimes it's challenging.
Glad you did well.

Aaron said...

Juvat: Thanks! Sounds like you had a much "funner" time, for certain definitions of fun, than I had. It was certainly a challenge, but it felt good to accomplish it.

Old NFO said...

Hopefully you wrote up that gripe and the T/S you did. That sounds like runaway trim.