Friday, March 21, 2008

IR Lesson No. 2 Partial,Times,Turns

After my first lesson I decided to devote some flight sim time here at home to my recent lessons. Of course I worked on BAI, slow flight, stalls and spin recovery. The extra sim time helped, I felt I had it under control.
Lesson two I decided to use my checklists and knee board to feel more at home. The Elite RC-1 sim was working to full potential today since the 55" flat screen was now showing me sitting on runway two seven almost ready to go. I did my pre-flight start checks and then a run up before departing the sim world at KOQN. Brian had the wx dialed in and it was looking ugly. I think we entered into Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) at 600 - 800'. I was given a heading to the north then directed to proceed direct to the Pottstown (PTW) VOR. Brian walked me through the Garmin 530 and I dialed in PTW on the CDI.

After crossing PTW I was given a series of turns left and right as we reviewed about scan and workload. I was holding good altitude and heading at this point. I had left my fuel pump on so I made that correction and it was acknowledged. I was cruising along at 2,500 when we started work on steep bank turns. I initially held to about a thirty degree bank and Brian asked if I intended on giving him a steep bank turn. Ok, banking right 45* altitude holding nice, looking good and rolling out on the initial heading. We flip back and forth left and right with an additional 360* turn or two thrown in. I didn't do to bad rolling out on heading and holding altitude.

Next we worked on timed turns, and I was asked what a standard rate turn was and why it is marked two minutes. A standard rate turn for (light) airplanes is defined as a 3° per second turn, which completes a 360* turn in 2 minutes or 180* in 1 minute. I did a boat load of timed turns until I had no idea where I was. I checked out the DME and noted how far I was from PTW so I was trying to paint a picture drawing a mental circle. While keeping my scan going the airspeed fell to zero but all other instruments checked out. I immediately turned on the Pitot heat and the airspeed came alive. I got a good catch, so how are we looking. I called out on heading, level and looking temp not looking so good but oil pressure good. Ok now what, said Mr CFI at the control panel behind me. I could lower the nose to help cool, Brian chimed in or run rich to cool yes? I am at full rich for the maneuvers, so I double check and I was not full rich. Ok, increase to full rich, oil temp starts to fall. Keeping my scan going or at least trying to I notice that I have a vacuum problem and the Attitude Indicator (AI) has failed. It's partial panel time.

With the failures presented, I start to re-focus on turn indicator for level flight backing it up with my Altimeter. I keep the aircraft in control straight and level on course and.....whoa! the directional gyro is spinning like an amusement ride gone wild. Again scanning/checking wings level, altitude good to go, now using my compass as my bank indicator I try and get my act together. Scan shows my altitude is starting to drop and my airspeed is increasing, I need to focus and level out to under control. Brian overloaded my VFR thinking brain. I could not believe how hard it was to NOT look at the failed instruments or even glance and still want to process their information. I notice a nervous twitch as my left leg starts to flex almost as if tapping my foot on the ground, I can't control it. Great, I keep thinking some circuits are not I regain control of the thought process and keep my scan along with interpretation going. With the partial panel I make various heading changes, timing each turn and rolling out on the new headings. I think I'm starting to get the hang of this!

Thankfully, there was no radio work this lesson, it freed up a few extra brain cells that I needed for aircraft control. Ok, the priority is to get on the ground with my partial panel issue. I now increase the scan time for the Garmin 530. My nearest airport is KOQN, Brandywine. I set up for a stabilized descent at 500 fpm to pattern altitude. Nice and smooth with a controlled descent at 500 fpm has me breaking out at 2100' and finally seeing mother earth again. I turn across midfield and enter the upwind for two seven without timing my turn, Brian takes note. Ok, turn to crosswind will be left 90* or 30 seconds, click to start timer and follow up on heading 180*, again a 90* turn left to 090* and 30 seconds has me on down wind. Slowing to add flaps and keep my descent smooth, I make a trim adjustment. A left turn to base and I can see the runway. Second notch of flaps, power adjustment and looking good. I have the runway made so I add the last notch of flaps and set my sim flying machine down, home safely.

1.8 hours in the log with a quick review has Brian stressing the importance of keeping the scan, small gentle adjustments and working the plan, staying ahead of the aircraft. Tomorrow will be more of the same with the addition of holds. Off to study and practice!

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