Sunday, January 15, 2012


I got up around 5am and got Maggie outside then fixed her breakfast.  My Bride was still tucked in bed, snug as a bug.  I was surprised to see it snowing when Maggie and I did our abbreviated walk and I was worried the forecast had changed enough to cancel my flying for the day.

With the zoo taken care of I updated my flight plan. Actually the wx was looking great if you could handle the cold temps. 08Romeo was plugged in Friday so she was ready to go.  I grabbed a bite to eat, left over Helen's sausage sandwich, and then hit the showers.

Not much traffic to the airport and the ramp was a ghost town, as usual. I guess they all have an excuse today, you have to be nuts to be out here in the cold. Well nuts fits me just fine I want to knock out some approaches. Mike, my normal safety pilot, was not available today so I posted on Facebook for a volunteer.  Adam Z agreed and we would meet at Wings Field at 9 am.

Pre-flight completed and the last item is to pull the nose plugs, check my alternator belt and engine area then unplug the Reiff heaters and secure the oil access door. Seven shots of primer and 08Romeo roars to life with her oil temps well into the yellow and just shy of the green range. I made my call to Wilmington ground noting just VFR this morning since the wx was good (I had filed just in case).  Wilmington gave me a squawk code which was really nice and I taxied to runway two seven for departure.
Frawley Stadium, Port of Wilmington, Twin Bridges
Wilmington turned me loose and Philly cleared me through the class bravo without asking, clean living I guess.  Nice short cut in the 25 knot head winds that made the normal trip an extra 12 minutes. Traffic was in the run up area for runway two four as I crossed midfield for the left downwind runway six. Winds were 320-350 gusting, I'm not sure what the other guy was thinking but hey, he's the PIC for his flight.

Adam Z climbed aboard and we were soon launching for Pottstown Heritage field, KPTW. First up was the Localizer RWY 28 approach with vectors from Adam. I struggled with the foggles since my flip shades were broken, what a pain. I made my way in, holding a nice course but a bit fast. A low approach only followed by a climb out for the GPS RWY 28.

I made the swap on the iPad for the correct plate then got back to business. This approach went fine, good tracking and nice speed control all the way to the MAP. Did I mention that Adam failed my Attitude Indicator? Yep, he did, nice guy huh. I flipped the 496 screen to the six pack and had that as my back up since my scan now changed due to the failure. Again I went missed and climbed out for Brandywine Airport, KOQN.

Around the cooling towers of Limerick Nuclear power plant and on course for the GPS RWY 27 into Brandywine. It feels good to knock of the rust as I track nice and manage my speeds. Another low approach and a missed followed by a climb out to the Modena VOR (MXE).  This VOR 'A' approach will need the Procedure Turn (PT) and then track inbound, back to the airport. I track ok as Adam catches me in the GPS mode on the 530, which I like to do. I am tracking the VOR on nav2 so I'm good to go. I like the GPS mode, I trust it more than the VOR/VLOC mode.

We finish up and point 08Romeo back to Wings field. Adam takes over and does that pilot stuff as he knocks out the GPS RWY 6 approach. For as bumpy as it was and time between approaches I thought he did a good job. As Adam said, "I would have gotten us here without killing us", I'd have to agree, good job.
I dropped Adam on the ramp and turned for home. I was cold and wanted to get home and watch some football. I scooted along at 2200 feet under the Philly Bravo airspace and contacted Wilmington 10 miles out to the north. I was directed to a right down wind for runway one report mid-field. I acknowledged then landed long for taxiway kilo, I was home.


Chris said...

Whew, check out the visibility in that first photo! There is nothing like the visibility on a cold morning!

So...a question from an IFR newbie (heck, not even a newbie, I'm a pre-newbie). With the AI "failed", is the six pack mode on the 496 actually certified for use as backup attitude reference? Or is "needle, ball, and airspeed" more appropriate (if a bigger pain in the butt)?

Adam said...

Great Day Gary! Thanks for letting me be SP and flying the GPS 6 to LOM. You did a good job even with the failed AI :)

Chris, the 496 isn't certified as anything including a back up. But that doesn't mean it can't be used for a back up. The old saying any port in a storm can be interpreted here as " use what ever saves your bacon" Hand held GPS units are not certified for IFR use but good CRM would dictate that you use what you can.

Gary said...

Chris - No the 496 is NOT certified for IFR use. Heading Indicator, turn coordinator. I use the 496 as an extra tool, it helps with the mini six pack and its linked to the 530 for the flight plan. If all else fails in the clag, you use what tools you have to get to VFR and/or on the ground.

D.B. said...

Chris, I'm going to put on my CFI-I hat here.

Gary & Adam are correct, the 496 (or any other GPS unit) is not "certified" in any sense. Not even for IFR navigation! If you have one, and no IFR certified panel device (such as the 430W Gary uses), you are technically navigating on the required VOR and using the GPS for "situational awareness" as an extra navigational aid.

With the AI failed, the only proper and safe tool is the "needle, ball and airspeed (and compass)" method. With practice, it isn't too hard to control the aircraft. Turning to a course without the DG is the biggest pain, since the compass is never telling the truth unless you are straight and level and flying at a constant speed.

That said, however, Gary's use of the 496 as an extra tool is fully appropriate. You just have to remember that it can be slow to react, since it's really guessing based your GPS track. Last time I did partial panel myself, it never occurred to me to flip my 496 into the 6 pack mode. It should have, and this post will help me remember.

Gary said...

An older post utilizing the garmin and iPad while dealing with failed systems.

Gary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

Just a sanity check, guys. Thanks!