The plan for today was ATC radio work with Allentown, KABE. The approach and tower folks at Allentown are really great to work with and always very accommodating. They also have plenty of instrument approaches for one to choose from. Once again I decided on no GPS so the Garmin 496 stayed home on the shelf. The plan was to head towards ABE, contact approach and request an ILS approach based upon the wind direction/runway in use noted on the current ATIS. I pulled out Enroute chart L34 and made some notes prior to my taxi out. My route was Direct MXE V29 PTW SPUDS and made notes of VOR's and cross radials. A quick taxi check of the instruments and I am launching into today's adventure.
I climb out direct to Modena MXE and in mid climb Brian role plays ATC and amends my route directing me to intercept V29 then as filed. I twist to a heading of 025* FROM Modena (MXE) at an almost 90* angle and turn right to track the radial/V29 course. So far so good, famous last words huh. It's roughly 20 miles to PTW from MXE so I keep tracking while setting up to ID the SPUDS intersection. I'm up and down with altitude today but I'm tracking course fine. Once crossing PTW I turn to a 032* heading and proceed to SPUDS intersection. It's about time to ring up Allentown approach and I didn't note the frequency. I could have grabbed the AFD or Flight Guide but instead looked at the VFR NY sectional and dialed in 118.2. I was now approaching SPUDS since my 133* cross radial from ETX came to life. I made my call to Approach.
ME: Allentown Approach, Cherokee 988Lima Apha
APP: Cherokee 8 Lima Alpha Allentown approach say intentions
ME: Approach 8Lima Alpha is 15 north of Pottstown VOR inbound for practice ILS approaches.
APP: 8LA squawk ' 4xxx'
I read back the squawk code, approach confirms location and I'm on my way following the vectors for final. I like the ATC stuff, keeps you busy and it's fun. I get vectored towards runway 6 and brief my approach once again. Localizer and approach course set, Decision height, final approach fix, published missed all noted and I'm ready.
APP: Turn right 030*, descend and maintain 2400 until established, cleared for the ILS RWY 6 Approach.
ME: right 030*, 2400 until established, cleared ILS 6
And here we go.....holding course and altitude waiting on the localizer to come alive. Also I configure for landing, one notch of flaps, keep my speed at 90 knots, fuel pump on, mixture full rich, fuel fullest tank, landing lights on. I make the first mistake and reset my CDI for the missed intersection MUDRE by dialing in the SBJ VOR and setting the 309* radial. Ok localizer alive and down the glide slope we go. I'm holding at 2400 and cleared to 594' once crossing the Final Approach Fix (FAF) SHAGY, at that point I will start my timer. One problem, I can't ID SHAGY since I tuned off of the ETX VOR and set up my missed on the SBJ. To late, I blew that one but continue on for the ILS practice. No timer so its fly the needles as I maintain glide just fine but chase the needle on the localizer with heavy hands. UGGhhhhh.....I'm at decision height and look up, not far off following the glide slope but the timer would have been nice. Going missed...
I make three rounds each one progressively better, using rudder corrections as I get on short final and keep my needles centered. On the last attempt I flew the published missed. I flew the localizer to keep my heading as I switched to the STW VOR and flew the 243* radial. I already had the cross radial dialed in due to my over anticipation and kept the bird on track. I got a call from ATC asking if we were flying the published missed.....rhut rho.. that ain't good. Affirmative Approach direct MUDRE. Ah....8 Lima Alpha your 2.5 miles south east of MUDRE. I say out loud,but not over the radio, we're what! I'm tracking on course! My CFI keys the mic and requests vectors to MUDRE. I follow the directions while he rechecks the Course Deviation Indicator (CDI).
I'm now crossing the station and perform a loop in the hold requesting a south west heading. Off to Brandywine for the VOR-A approach. I make my tear drop entry a perform the procedure turn then head in on the 054* radial. Once across the station I adjust to a 052* heading, wait for the needle to come off the wall then set my timer and head towards the airport. At the noted time, yes set my timer this time, I get to flip up the foggles and see runway niner. I had listened to the AWOS while killing time heading to MXE. Winds were 030 and can't remember the speed. I circled to land on Nine and made an excellent landing with the stall horn moaning away. Thank God I'm in, my hip hurts, and I'm very tired.
I'm not having fun right now flying with all the pressure to get the rating finished up. Between getting projects squared away at work and other everyday things I just feel a bit overwhelmed at times. I can't wait until they knock me out and do the stinking hip, at least it will be some good sleep time!