My friend and fellow pilot Charles G is in Ocean City today and he has time to safety pilot for me. It's a rare occasion that he drove into town, but I appreciate him offering to right seat. Charles advised he had a mask and his headset with him. A true pilot, he travels with the spare headset.
Today's plan is to get in the air by 8am and go shoot approaches. I'm current until the end of August but it's nice to make a dent in my currency requirements to eventually advance that date.
After rereading the Stec manual I found an item I want to try. Once clear of the pattern and climbing to altitude I would like to test the Vertical Speed function. It is my understanding that as I climb out I can select vertical speed and the autopilot will lock into my rate of climb and hold that, not to exceed 1600 fpm. I routinely set the heading bug indicator to runway heading so I have the option of switching AP on to maintain wings level on departure. It's also a third confirmation of the DG and compass matching up on the correct heading.
Lets get flying...
First up, a few approaches into Delaware Coastal, KGED. Now that I have relearned the correct buttonology sequence for the Stec 60-2, I should have no issue with my approach when entering the procedure turn (PT) or hold. Nav selection will be made once I am on the final approach course, not prior to entering the hold/PT. Lesson learned, the hard way.
First up after our Ocean City departure is the RNAV GPS RWY 4 approach into Delaware Coastal, KGED. My initial course was a direct to GED and then after checking weather I set up for the GPS 4. The autopilot worked perfectly and I disconnected at five hundred feet then climbed out for another round.
This time I hand flew the same approach, GPS RWY 4 and it really felt good, almost slow motion. I went missed and made a left turn out for my next approach in Cambridge,MD KCGE.
We headed to Cambridge, MD dodging some traffic. For this round I will use the autopilot and shoot the RNAV GPS RWY 34 approach.
The autopilot (Stec 60-2)has been a non issue since reviewing the pilots guide and working through some simulation. I feel proficient and ready to get back to instrument conditions.
The last approach for the day was back home, into Ocean City. Winds favored runway one-four (110 at 5) but being uncontrolled there were planes also landing on two-zero. Charles and I made our way from Cambridge, keeping clear of Salisbury class Delta. This round was another autopilot approach. Direct PFAIR for a turn in the hold then inbound for minimums at seven hundred feet.
It was a beautiful VFR day but I was stuck under the foggles for most of the flight time. I am really feeling good about the autopilot work, and my hand flying approaches in 3 Tango Charlie. Man and machine are finally on the same page. I'm ready for some IMC time!