Sunday, April 30, 2006

IFR Lessons Learned.....

Lesson Date - Saturday, April 29, 2006

An early start to a long day ahead. I pre flight N65021 for an hour of IFR work. This is not the normal lesson aircraft I use but the added requirement of Carb heat will make me think when needed. My CFI has me climb out to the SW while we transfer control of the plane so I can put those "really cool" glasses on. A few unusual attitudes went well, followed by intercepting VOR's. I guess the late baseball game coupled with an early start and a brain fart sounded good but the plain fact was I was not on my game. Oh the heading control, altitude and wings level were fine but I was clueless on my location relative to the VOR.

When given an intercept course I would set up just fine, ID the station and dial in for the course or direct to. When asked my location I blanked, I gave the heading to/from the station and then my actual heading, then blanked, then retraced my steps. Ok finally on track. The next go round same thing just not with it today, feeling like I really dropped the ball. and having at round three, my CFI says relax and be instinctive don't push it to where you are thinking every little thing to the last degree. I acknowledge, and we roll play ATC again with vectors then a direct to VOR. I set up the NAV1, ID it and then dial it in, banking slightly inn the direction to intercept. I repeat back and head direct to MXE, he asks where we are in relation to the station and I give a correct answer instantly, feeling good about getting my head outta my butt thus being able to fly a bit better I focus on getting it done. Round four is a direct to after a series of vectors to follow (get me lost). I set up for DQO, ID then dial it in. Checking heading and turning to the station I see I have reverse sensing and make the correction and plan my intercept course to the station. My CFI again asks location in reference to the station and I again answer correct and proceed.

I am now given the direct to MXE command and I follow all the above mentioned procedures. Once the TO flag switches I turn to follow the 54* FROM radial. Finally, off come the foggles and there is N99 about 6 miles out. I announce my position and intentions and enter the pattern at a 45* to the right downwind to runway 9. I do a soft field landing and fight my way in. I needed to slip in and I fought it in instead. The landing is ok, it just would have been Soooooo much easier slipping it in instead of fighting it .

Lessons learned......Don't put myself in a bad situation . Fly the airplane, remain calm, assess the situation. Gentle control inputs, trust the instruments and not the body. No time for macho, contact approach if with them or 121.5 for vectors back to VFR conditions. In the clouds is no time to think I'm a hero or try to be one.

Next lesson is Sunday and the test prep begins.

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