Finally! Today was the day I finally got some actual in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC). The plan was to see if 679er got her Nav/Com radio back and then decide what course of action to follow. A new Nav/Com would require a VOR check and in order to complete that it would require me to scud run. that's a no brainer, next option. Option two would be to fly with the loaner nav/com since we did check it out but it didn't receive very well when we used it. I'm not feeling warm and fuzzy with this choice either. Option three was to fly a plane that my CFII provided, a super clean Cessna 172 with the bells and whistles to get me some actual.
With option three I will be faced with a totally different plane then I have flown in a long time, but do have seventy plus hours in type from PPL days and renting. Option three it is and I meet my instructor on the ramp. It took me a while to climb in, I'm so used to the Piper roll after nearly three hundred hours. I read through the checklist and try to once again get familiar with the Cessna. I had filed our flight plan and Wilmington never got it so I refiled.
Wilmington Ground Cessna Nxxxxx at Red Eagle with Bravo, IFR clearance. I copied the following clearance. I like the mnemonic CRAFT for Clearance, Route, Altitude, Frequency and Transponder code. My version of shorthand for the Route is RWY HDG - runway heading and V HADIN is Vectors to HADIN the Outer Marker. 2000 was my initial altitude and 4000 should be expected in ten minutes. The departure frequesncy for Philly is 119.75 and 4525 was my assigned transponder code.
C - ILG
R - RWY HDG, V HADIN
A - 2000 - 4000/10
F - 119.75
T - 4525
Ok all set and ready to go since we are cleared to taxi to runway one niner via kilo, mike, hold short. Run up completed and holding short for a Gulfstream now on short final. Ok throttle full power some right rudder, gauges green, airspeed alive and we are wheels up. I guess we were in IMC by one thousand feet and I could not resist but glancing outside. Get those eyes going on your scan rang out and shattered my brief moment of wow this is cool stuff. Ahem...ok back on the instruments and I get my scan going. Holding runway heading and climbing to two thousand I flip to Philly Approach and get my first vectors. Honestly it's a bit blurry but I know I was going over the river maybe towards the Bay and back around to make a right turn to intercept the ILS.
Philly turned me within thirty degrees of the intercept with the following clearance, Nxxxx turn right three four zero maintain 2000 until established, cleared ILS RWY 1. I slowed to 90 knots, added the approach flaps (late) and watched the glide slope slip on under me. I had waited on my outter marker beacon to sound and didn't hear a thing, I was playing catch up from that point forward. I didn't factor for my tail wind which had me hauling butt down the glide slope pulling power trying to not deflect full scale. This first go was not the best by far. I remained a "bit" high on glide but had my localizer pretty good until short final then by the time I was at decision height it looked like I was crabbing in.
Full power climbing left turn when advised by the tower then handed off to Philly for another go. The second time was better as I intercepted with a left turn to final having come from the area of KEVY, Summit. This approach terminated with us going missed and once again following directions climbing out and following vectors from Philly. I got lazy in my climb and flattened out getting the finger point and shake to remind me to get my head outta my butt and get on altitude.
This last approach seemed like it took us forever to get vectored in. Chuck told me to look up and it was nothing but clouds below as we broke out and I sucked up the view, very very cool looking. I even got to see a rainbow which made my day as I was starting to think I had some bad mojo working against me with all the radio, flight plan and tight schedule. I was back in the game as I once again briefed the approach plate. I also configured for 90 knots and really wanted to nail my glide slope, tail wind and all. Again no outter marker beacon but I was on glide as I was on the localizer. I held good speed at 90, pulling power to descend while maintaining my airspeed.
This approach was going to be my last for the day so I was looking for my DH of (580) 600' for a circle to land. I started to turn right for my circle to land before the tower cleared me and got the finger point and hold runway heading until cleared. As if the tower was in the plane they cleared us and off I went. Chuck reminded me don't bust the 600 feet or your check ride is done however I did bust the 1.3 mile CTL limit edging into about a mile and a half. My CFII notes all the fine points and really keeps me squared away. I reference the finger point and shake but it's in jest as he makes sure I have his attention with out blocking radio calls. It works for me and I'm sure I'll see that every time I stray from heading or altitude whether he's flying with me or not. You pilots understand this....how many of you still hear you PPL instructors voice when you fly? I do!
METARS from this afternoon.....
METAR KILG 011951Z 12009KT 10SM OVC013 11/08 A3001
SPECI KILG 012047Z 14009KT 5SM RA BR OVC011 11/09 A3001
METAR KILG 012051Z 14008KT 2SM R01/5500VP6000FT +RA BR OVC011 11/09 A3001