I bumped my flight time block to 8:30-11:30, this gave me some extra sleep time and a chance to work with the Garmin 300XL GPS. I arrived at ILG around 7am and uncovered 679er, I'm not to sure either of us were ready to work. I carefully went through my pre-flight and then climbed aboard. I left the cabin door open and got the air-conditioning, engine, started. I went through the steps to load a GPS or VOR approach into the 300XL, there is no ILS approaches listed because the 300XL does not provide glide slope. Basically my Nav 1 is useless since it is slaved to the GPS. If Nav 2 fails, I'll have to re-read how that interfaces or be satisfied with a localizer approach.
Wilmington was busy this morning with NASCAR race traffic buzzing in and out. There were helicopters for the late arrivals that needed to make the start of the race. I got the typical directions to taxi to runway two seven at Mike. I acknowledged and off I went. With the run up complete I called to advise that 679er was ready to go two seven at mike. The tower acknowledged Archer 679er cleared for takeoff runway two seven, winds three zero zero at eight, right turn on course approved.
It's a short hop to OQN and as soon as I am at 2500' I am calling my 4 mile 45* for the left down wind two seven at Brandywine. Landing checks completed I hear the traffic clearing the runway. As I cruised past, abeam the numbers, I throttle back to 1500 rpm, settle and then add flaps. No traffic in and around me I announce my base and turn to final. Nice and easy, slight crab in and a smooth touchdown and easy roll out. I taxi in and park then head to the flight school.
Brian and I get ready to go but have to wait on a helicopter turning right base to final. I open my window and Brian opens the door, it's getting warm. Archer 679er departing runway two seven Brandywine and with a last check of the base and final I am rolling. We climb out and follow the noise abatement procedures, always being the good neighbor. It's foggles time and the beautiful day I was enjoying is gone. Nothing but instruments and mock ATC calls. My CFII vectors me to what seems like all over hell's half acre. He pulls out an approach plate and said brief this approach ( MQS ILS RWY 29) and get set up. I set up the Nav 2 for the ILS (108.5) and set up the Modena MXE VOR in standby (113.2) for my missed approach. Comm 2 has the AWOS 126.25 and CTAF 122.7 in standby. Comm 1 in the GPS has Philly approach 124.35 and CTAF in the standby. I pre-set my timer to 3:20 and have it ready to go for my Missed Approach Point. My landing checks are completed, I'm at 90 kts plus or minus and a notch of flaps is extended.
I am heading in from the north so I will lead my turn as the localizer comes alive. My ATC instructions are to turn to 270* maintain 2500' until established on the ILS 29 approach, report MOSES inbound ( the FAF outter marker). I follow the instructions and intercept the localizer and try to maintain my heading. The wind is gusty and my altitude suffers as it jumps up and down 100' I have the wind correction figured and my heading is fairly stable. I started my timer when I crossed the MOSES Outter Marker. I am descending from 2400' cleared to 910'. I call off course position along with altitudes. Left or right of course, 1500 for 910, on course and 1100 for 910, on course 1000' for 910 leveling off and waiting on my timer. Brian tells me to take a look, HEY! that's what I was looking for, runway 29 at Chester County.
No time to pat myself on the back I'm going missed. Climbing left turn to the MXE VOR hold at 2400'. I turn my heading bug, CDI and flip Nav 2. I track direct to MXE on a 120* heading, the same heading I will maintain past the station to make my teardrop entry for the hold. The to/from flag flips so I start the timer and try to maintain my heading. I'm everywhere, blowing left of the safe hold area and struggling to get on course prior to the one minute mark. Buzzzzz, times up, turning to the 329* inbound heading. I make the mistake of trying to chase the CDI but that only makes it worse and I am pushing my hold out of the safe area and actually on to the opposite side. The one minute time passes and I turn outbound for 149* and manage to get on course. I add twenty seconds to the outbound since I ran over tracking to the station.
If your thinking it's confusing, it is, well it sort of is plus add in the bumpy ride and gusty winds. I manage to turn on course and get my time and track squared away, Brian was going to let me keep struggling until I worked it out. He would ask, "how we looking" and I would blurt out, I suck. He would laugh and encourage me to stay with it figure my wind correction and keep plugging. I did and made the last two laps really pretty good.
As I crossed Modena MXE yet again, I was cut loose to follow vectors to intercept the ILS 29. I once again read back the instructions and chugged along. Straight and level I gave the landing checks a once over and switched tanks. Things went a bit better this time and again I went missed. Traffic was really starting to pick up so we headed back towards Brandywine. I was given vectors to get me well north of Brandywine and then was given the OQN GPS 27 approach plate to brief. I clicked through the steps and I picked the DASDE Initial approach fix. I crossed DASDE coming from the west and made a right turn to a course of 179* for 5.5 miles. The 300XL GPS lead my every turn. My next way point was GONVE and there was no procedure turn required. That's right a right tun to 269* to intercept the approach course. I was now clear to descend to 2100' and hold that until crossing the Final Approach Fix CELPA. From CELPA I would be looking for 940' until the missed approach point RUDME. This approach went very nice, I actually felt ahead of the plane. The fun didn't last I went missed but with out the turn back to GONVE. Instead I was told to track direct to my old friend Modena, the MXE VOR.
The winds were really kicking and to be honest I'm not sure how I was so stable and holding altitude on that last approach. Sometimes it's best not to wonder why but to just enjoy the moment. I did, and times up, time to get my head back in the game. I was given instructions to proceed direct to once again my old friend the Modena VOR. I descended from 3000 to 2000 and since heading north to south planned for my favorite, a teardrop entry to the procedure turn. As I once again crossed MXE I turned to a heading of 200* and went outbound for one minute. At the one minute mark I turned inbound to 54* and tracked to the station. Altitude looking good and heading good too. I cross MXE the FAF and make a slight turn to 52*, give the timer a tap and check my settings for 90 knts. I am clear to descend from 2000 to 1120' and I will be looking to go missed at the 3:48 mark. Holding at 1200 and closing in on my time I was told to look up. Woo hoo, right were the airport should be. I practice my circle to land on runway two seven extending my downwind to base turn a bit to wide. Corrections made I am set up for my short final and set 679er down with a nice smooth roll out.
Brandywine traffic, Archer 679er clear two seven, Brandywine. Thank God, I need a drink of water and a break from the foggles. Brian and I head to the office after getting 679er locked up so we could review and I could pay for my lesson. I was told my briefings are getting better, not fixating as I did before and the info is starting to flow, easier to retain. On course headings were ok despite the wind but I do need to be more consistent on altitude. Brian said I know the procedures and what I should be doing and with practice it will start to flow more naturally.
I square up with the school and climb back in 679er for the short hop home. Uneventful which is always good and I am reporting three mile right base for two seven. Cleared to land followed by a short taxi to Red Eagle. I call for fuel so Dave won't have to waste time when he heads out this evening. 21 gallons for exactly 3 hours of work, gotta love this bird, she's a fuel miser.
I am going to try and get a few hours in this week since Brian is off and Mary and i will be attending a graduation in Louisburg, NC next Sunday.