Wednesday, May 21, 2008

IR Lesson 17 Localizer Tune Up

I was up and out of bed early in anticipation of my lesson. I'm not sure why other then I haven't had one since the 10th, eleven days ago. It's been four weeks since I have put in left seat time. Can you say rusty? Brian and I talked about flying and this past weekends Fly-B-Q at KLOM-Wings. I had to spread the word! Since Mary and I will be attending my Goddaughters wedding on Friday in Ocean City Maryland he decided on polishing up the localizer skills with approach work at OCMD, KOXB. Hey, this works for me, or so I thought. On to the lesson, or should I say rust removal.

I know it's only been eleven days since my last IR lesson but I was rusty. My first approach was GPS RWY 2 into Ocean City, Maryland. I was placed north east of the Salisbury VOR and had to track inbound then cross the station and track on a heading of 144* for 17.9 miles at 2000' to the Initial Approach Fix, CIRAN. About 4 miles out from CIRAN I slowed to 90 knots and added 10* flaps, I also performed my landing checklist. Upon reaching the station I turned to a new heading of 224* and performed a parallel entry for my procedure turn. I tracked 4 miles outbound then turned to a new heading of 090* until intercepting the 044* heading. I started my descent to 1600' holding that altitude until BECAP the Final Approach Fix. This all sounds really peachy but trust me, I was struggling with my heading the entire time and the altitude was maybe within 200 feet. I must have hit the CDI button on the Garmin 530 so it was not coupled to the No. 1 Nav. I was literally flying by my GPS. I tried to trouble shoot but every time I did I was having control problems. Think of it as trying to set stations on your car radio, while riding a bucking horse. Ok, now your there with me, are you feeling my pain yet?

I managed to cross BECAP at 1600' and get things stabilized enough to hold above the minimum descent altitude of 420'. At or around 480' I broke out and had a visual on the runway but not much more. At just about a mile and a half I had the runway environment. I cut the power added another notch of flaps and wiggled my way in, it was not pretty but I got it on the ground.

After a quick review of my sub par performance and a peek at the computer screen, my tracking confirmed this was not the fun day I had imagined. I may need to change the title from Localizer Tune Up to Restoration body/fender shop time. I was really sloppy and way behind the plane this first go round. Brian reset me out over the Delaware Bay and I vowed to get it together, at least in my mind. I've learned you don't verbalize these things to someone who controls the computer/wx and or turbulence. Repositioned out over the bay at 2000' looking to now track direct to the Waterloo (ATR) VOR for my next approach. I made sure the cdi button on the Garmin 530 was set correctly this time and off I went. Mind you I reviewed the approach plate for the GPS RWY 14 approach and had everything dialed in.

Winds were from the north west and I was heading to ATR on a 240* course. I made sure my wind correction was dialed in and I was much steadier this time. Altitude was spot on at 2000' it almost seemed to perfect to think about, as if waiting for the other shoe to drop. As much as I was waiting things flowed along smoothly. About 4 miles out from ATR I slowed to 90 knts and added a notch of flaps. Slow and steady, on course and at altitude, I was feeling like the PIC (Pilot In Command) for the first time today. I started my turn to 200* about a half mile from the station and rolled out just about right on my new heading. Turn, Time, Twist, Throttle and Talk. No time on the GPS approach and I'm not really talking during the sim work. 23.1 miles to the IAF, PFAIR. At PFAIR I entered the procedure turn direct and tracked outbound for four miles. Very smoothly I turned inbound on the 145* heading and descended to 1500' holding that until the FAF, LANDY. Once crossing LANDY I descended to and held 700'. I broke out about a half mile from my missed approach point and picked up the runway environment. It looked good as I pulled the power and added a second notch of flaps. Much more stable on this approach and now over the fence I added the last notch of flaps. I rounded out nicely and if I must say so myself, greased the landing. Man, that felt good even if it is on the sim!

I am up Sunday for my first real flight time, a three hour block. I finished up the sim on a positive note and that was good for the mind. I'll work on my GPS in 679er this weekend and figure a place to put my new timer. I'll be ready for Sunday!

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