I headed to Wilmington keeping my fingers crossed that the thunder boomers are not going to show up. I performed my normal wx checks and felt comfortable with my decision to head to Brandywine for my lesson. I did pause to give the gusting winds some consideration but they were, for the most part, blowing down the runways two seven at OQN and ILG. I forgot my ASA timer so I had to walk back to the truck so I decided to grab a bottle of water for the lesson today and made a quick stop in Red Eagle.
Finally, ATIS noted and all frequency's dialed in. ILG ground on nav 2 with the tower in standby, OQN AWOS in Nav 1 with the CTAF in standby. Altimeter is set, DG set and cross checked with the mag compass, flaps retracted, brake check and I am taxing to runway two seven at mike. At the hold short I complete my run up, close the windows, check my seat belt, touch the flap handle, mixture, strobes, landing light, fuel pump and contact the tower. I am cleared to take off two seven and get an alert for traffic landing on three two.
Brandywine is a short hop so I stay at 2000' and announce my position as I close to within 5 miles. It's sure hazy today and those clouds are building, it will be a bumpy lesson. Down wind, base to final and I let 679er roll out for easy slow down and exit from runway two seven. I pick up Brian and we taxi out to depart two seven, winds are pretty steady and gusting at times. 679er is off and running and gets us in the air, not her screaming self this afternoon instead dealing with the warm and muggies other wise known as density altitude. Brian wants to polish up my procedures so we will be working on the ILS 29 at Chester County and some GPS work back at Brandywine. I need to see some new stuff, new approaches and places to land. Not so today, it will be the familiar places. I take up an northerly heading and get vectors from my CFII (role playing ATC) to ILS 29. I noticed I have been late turning to intercept the localizer so I make it a point to clean it up and get on final course early. I am getting in the habit of actually saying each step out loud, it helps. Ok, on course at altitude, localizer alive! I turn to a heading of 293* and the localizer centers as I am rolling out of my standard rate turn. I double check my settings and complete my landing checklist. I catch the marker beacon toggle switch so I can hear the OM tone. I'm now good to go.
I call out left or right of course and make gentle corrections with my feet, yep just rudder here. Glide slope is looking great now that my power settings are set in my brain and I continue my descent at about five times my ground speed, good tip Mike. I reach my minimum descent altitude and hold there waiting on my timer to expire when I get the "look up" from Brian. Hey there it is, runway two niner at Chester County! Yeah great, your going missed so get to it! I make a climbing left turn to 2,400' and direct to Modena MXE VOR.
I want to nail my hold. Brian asks what entry, I respond teardrop and give him my entry heading and walk him through what I have planned. Obviously if you have been reading along you will understand that what is planned does not happen all the time. This time, yes, you read right, THIS TIME I am kicking butt and taking names. Brave talk for a guy dealing with strong winds and bumpy conditions. Brian once again reminds me there is no smooth IMC.
I cross the station and continue on my heading of 120* for one minute. I'm looking good so far so let's turn to the inbound course. I turn, twist to 329*, time the inbound (looking for a minute), check throttle (it's good) and no talk right now. I should have held maybe a 285* heading since the CDI was not showing any movement but instead I only allowed for a 20* correction. I decided to come back left to 285-290 and I finally intercept the inbound. Quick time check is one minute and thirty seconds as I pass the station, strong winds. I turn outbound again on a 149* heading but only head out for thirty seconds this time around. I flow through the 5 T's again and cut a larger angle to cross the 329* inbound. It works and my time crossing the station is almost right on the money. Wooo Hooo, I think I'm catching on!!
No time to really enjoy my mini victory since Brian heard my chat as I taxied in to Brandywine. The guys at the desk asked on the radio how long I was going to stay and I responded long enough to pick up my instructor and torture him for a few hours, they got a laugh out of that one. Now it's time to pay for my comment. Next up is the GPS 27 into OQN. I have been practicing with the 300 XL and it's starting to show. I punch in direct to KOQN then go to the route page and turn through the pages. Ahhh here we go, select approach. I tap the cursor button, turn the knob and select GPS 27, I follow that with the DASDE Initial Approach Fix. Once at altitude I reach down and turn on the Auto Pilot so I can brief the approach and maintain my heading, my CFI is silent. Insert sinister laugh that "I" hear in my head. Hey, it's my lesson, my flight!
I pull out the approach plate brief and set it in the yoke clip. I set up my comm/nav radios pick up the AWOS and note the wind on my ADF for reference. I give George (autopilot) a rest and take control. A few short miles then turn to 179* to GONVE. Once on course I add a notch of flaps, set rpm to 2100 and cruise along at 90 knots. Once turning final from GONVE I am cleared to descend to 2100 to the Final approach fix CELPA. I complete my landing checklist within those few miles and get ready to land. Across CELPA and now looking to descend to 940' with RUDME as my missed approach point. Off come the foggles and I am a tad high and fighting the winds, I make the decision to go missed. I climb out to pattern altitude and join in. Crosswind, downwind, base and final I'm looking good and correct for the cross wind. 679er settles in for a real nice landing and as a reward a roll out that needs little to no braking action.
We end the day with a review as Brian fills out my log book. Today the light came on, I was happy with my lesson and actually start to feel like I belong in the plane shooting approaches. I can't wait until Sunday. Depending how much sleep I get after working a double. I may get some lesson time late tomorrow afternoon.
A side note that I thought I should add is a funny, well maybe not a funny but, it happened while flying to my lesson. Once off of Wilmington I see something in the cockpit with me flying. No biggie, fly the plane and hope its just a fly or some fuzz ball the now wide open floor vent kicked up. It's neither, instead it's a wasp and he lands on my left arm. Hey there fella, I'm going to destroy you if you sting me (this being said in my most happy tone with that oh crap I better force a happy face). IT takes off and flies out of my field of vision, no time to look I am trying to fly here. About seven miles out of OQN IT (the bee) decides to park itself on my sectional that is folded and tucked away on the right side of the control panel. I reach up and give him a slooooow ride on the chart and whack him against the door panel, now he's dazed and ticked off. The bee falls to the floor, I reach over and flip to HDG vs. NAV and turn on the autopilot. Once stable I grab the sectional and beat the daylights out of said intruder. [ding] Your now free to return to your normal flight.