Saturday, December 10, 2016

IFR Current

With the thought of surgery looming closer I knew it would be best to knock out approaches and extend my IFR currency to June 2017.  This plan will allow me to eventually ease back in the saddle and knock off the rust after being grounded for three months. I want to get back in the air as soon as I'm cleared, maybe late March early April. The goal is to make Ted and Laurie's Bonfire in Olathe Kansas. Last April I was getting ready to start my consulting job and we took the spam can out and back, this year I want to fly. We will also add on a trip to Waco Texas then work our way home, hopefully meeting with friends along the way.

It would be an early start this morning, feeding the zoo at 5 am and then checking weather and the plan for approaches. I headed to the airport and passed John on the way in, he brought the fuel truck to my hangar.  I took on enough to bring me to fifty-six gallons.
I launched into the cold morning air, Brrr...20* at three thousand feet. I picked up flight following with Dover and they eventually turned me loose to squawk vfr, suggesting Philly approach. I already had the weather at Wilmington and was monitoring the tower. I called in at ten south and was directed to enter a left base for runway two-seven, number two behind a gulfstream. I made a nice landing and made taxiway B, that felt good.
I didn't shut down when I got to FlyAdvanced, instead, with a few hand gestures Charles confirmed I was going to keep running as he made a wide path and climbed up on the wing to enter the cabin. Most folks boo hoo this but with pilots we get it. Normally for the non-pilot types I shut down.
I had a rough plan of attack for approaches today, making our way to Summit (KEVY, Claremont (58M), Chester County (KMQS) and back to Wilmington (KILG). First up was Summit and the GPS 35 approach. A lap around WENDS for the procedure turn then inbound, not bad.
We made a full stop on this first one to change foggles, my view limiting device. Next up I thought I would try the GPS 17 and work the approach with a strong tail wind, just some added pressure to get it done, knowing I had no intention of landing. I ended up not getting slowed down quick enough and I ended up a bit high. I went missed and climbed out for Chester County making a few mental notes on flying in this scenario.
I295, Delaware river looking towards NJ
Next up was Claremont (58M) and the GPS B approach followed by Chester County (KMQS) and the ILS 29. This one went bad from the start. With all the local traffic I made this approach a vectors to final attempt. Distractions take us off our game and today I really blew it. I worked my way almost to the Modena VOR (MXE) and then turned towards the approach. Somewhere along the way I intercepted just outside EFECO but thought I was just inside and started my descent. Odd, I'm below glide slope (clue one), The distance looks wrong on the 530W and I should be descending to 920ish (clue two).
Something was still not right and my safety pilot now calls out we are looking low, then the Garmin 530 gives me a terrain alert across the screen and the Garmin 496 shows yellow towers off my right side, power lines. I then realize I'm just outside EFECO (should be 2400') and power up, I'm 700' below the approach. We had clearance but it's a big time bust flying the approach and this is the type of brain fart that can get you killed. I cross EFECO and descend, lifting the foggles at 940' and making a nice landing.
Delaware river into the Delaware Bay.  Salem nuke plant (center)
Charles and I talk it out and I reminded him that if he feels uncomfortable at any time during the approach for traffic or my brain fart just call my plane and its yours to get us out. Charles did say we still had clearance and he was ok since I held the descent then climbed.
We took a lunch break and then decided to head out for a few more approaches. I added twenty-five gallons to 08Romeo for the remainder of our flights. On the next approach I would try the GPS 29 back into Chester County. I had to get the monkey off my back and shake off the ILS 29 fiasco. This approach was rock solid ending in a low approach, it restored my faith in me. I finished up the day returning to Wilmington and making a decent landing in the gusty winds.
RT 50 bridge at the inlet
KOXB over the nose
After entering my flights from today I noticed I am one approach short. Today's work only extends me to March 2017. I'll have to get back in the air this month for one more approach to extend currency through June 2017.

Thanks Charles for the safety pilot help and lunch.


Jim and Sandie said...

Sometimes a brain far isn't too bad but in your case it could be diasterious. So please be careful and good luck with the surgery.

Gary said...

Sandie, Thanks! I hope to be back in the air in time to head to Kansas in April.