Saturday, March 22, 2008

IR Lesson No. 3 Holds

It was an early start this morning, taking care of the Maggie girl (our Italian Mastif)and heading to the flight school for my lesson. I wanted to practice last night but instead spent quality time with family. Mary and I met up with my brother and his wife to have dinner at a local restaurant, "Lotsa Pasta". The eats were good, service fast and the company was entertaining as always. Needless to say my best laid plans for some hold practice time on the home flight sim went out the window, oh well.

Brian opened up shop promptly at 7am and I followed in like a lost puppy looking for no that would be knowledge. The Elite RC-01 sim came online as we went over today's lesson. This morning was my introduction to holds. I have went through the King DVD's, read multiple pages on the internet and followed many threads on the forum. I at least felt that I was informed.

The approach plate for today was the VOR-A at KOQN, Brandywine. Prior to start up my instructions were to climb and maintain 2000, on a heading of 000* until directed to proceed direct to the Modena VOR and hold. With my start and run up checks completed I was climbing out to 1200' in IMC then turning on course as directed. The sim is set to be very very, did I say VERY sensitive.
As Brian stated, "if I can fly the sim to Practical Test Standards (PTS) I will be fine in the aircraft." I am instructed to proceed direct to the Modena MXE VOR and hold. I dial up the MXE VOR on the Garmin 530 and off I go. I'm about 13.5 miles north and dialed in to course 190* direct to. I review the approach plate and note it's a standard right turn hold, at this point my CFI freezes the sim and we review my entry. I begin to explain my thought process and he listens. My method would be add 70* to my heading denoting the line which provides my boundry for direct entry area, pictured above left as area 'D'. 'P' is for the parallel and 'T' is for teardrop entry areas. As you can see the outbound radial is 234* represented by the red line and it falls in the 'T' area. No brainer it's a teardrop entry. Right?
Brian nods then asks, "why would I want to work so hard? You have the plate in your hands. All the plates are configured north up so use your thumb to simulate the direction you are approaching from." Ok, I am on a south heading so I am approaching from the north and will cross the VOR with the best entry being a teardrop. I note my direction of travel/entry by the red line on the approach plate on the right.
The teardrop entry seems pretty easy with the outbound radial of 234* I enter at 204 say 200*. I start the timer as I pass the VOR holding 200* and at one minute I start a standard rate turn to the right to the inbound course of 54 say 55*. I clear and reset the timer and I am inbound for 1 minute which almost falls dead on as I right turn back out on the 234* radial. Holding airspeed at 90 kts and altitude along with heading and timing was a bit busy at first but after once or twice around the hold I settled in.

The one hour lesson was over in no time. When I turned around to look at my holding pattern the turns looked great but the pattern grew as my speed increased for a few of the laps. You could very easily see where my airspeed was right on as the size of the hold was very good and on track. Overall a good lesson and again we talked about small and gentle corrections. Brian said I was really starting to get smooth on the last few laps as my altitude finally settled in and I held my airspeed solid.

I'm scheduled the next two Sunday's and maybe two mornings a week if my work schedule permits. I'm off to breakfast with my Bride, then baseball practice at 1:30. Happy Easter!!

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