Sunday, March 08, 2009

Squared Away

It was up and out the door early this morning for a 7am lesson. The dogs cooperated and played nice while I fixed breakfast then headed out for the morning outside stroll. I double checked my flight bag, gave the Bride a smooch and walked out the door. With the time change it was still dark outside and I was wondering if I was going to have a chance to get night current. Nah, sunrise was scheduled for 7:23 and it was only 6:45. I do love the fact that there is no traffic in the early morning hours, it makes for a pleasant drive with good tunes playing on Oldies 98.1.

Brian rolls in on time and I pick up the keys and clipboard to 8 Lima Alpha. My pre-flight completed noting fuel at tabs we climb in and buckle up. I posted a skinny little sticky that reads CHECKS, as in remember all the checklists, front and center just under the tail number. I perform my taxi checks as we taxi to runway niner in order to back taxi on the runway and check for deer. I announce my intentions and begin bambi patrol. All clear as we make a 180 and get pointed down two seven for take off. Today I added a notch of flaps and stand on the brakes a bit longer to give 8LA some help. Off we go and it seems to take forever as we finally get into ground effect. Speed up and now climbing as I turn for noise abatement and take out the first and only notch of flaps having cleared all obstacles. Today I will be shooting the Localizer 29 approach at Chester County (KMQS). I eventually get to 2,500 feet leveling off, heading north and following vectors as Brian role plays ATC. My on course is very steady this morning, I completed my cruise checks by shutting off landing lights, fuel pump and leaning the mixture.

I did set the Garmin 496 up high on the windscreen on Brian's side but near the center post. It was up and running and would serve as a situational back up. Brian (ATC) advises; 8LA turn right two six zero descend and maintain 2,400 until established, cleared localizer runway 29 Chester County. I repeat verbatim and keep flying the plane working the scan and adding the extra look at the altimeter to keep steady. I also flow through my checks slowing to 90 knots adding a notch of flaps, fuel pump on, mixture full rich and landing lights on, marker beacon check and nav two set to help ID the 349* radial off DuPont. I'm holding steady on course, speed good and altitude good. Ok, localizer is alive so I start my turn to inbound on final. Tracking nicely and patiently awaiting the outter marker tone while watching the nav two needle start to swing as the cross radial slowly comes to center. Good timing on both as the outter marker sounds off. Reduce power to begin my descent and focus on course and altitude. I am clear down to 1040' or 1100' for my safety factor. I'm looking good almost to decision height and realize I did not start my timer....UGHhhhh what a dipstick. I needed to fly 3:28 from the Outer Marker and figure I've been inbound for maybe a minute tops. I could have clicked on the MQS designator on my Garmin 496 and it would have displayed distance to the airport as a back up. My CFII advises that we now break out around 1200' and I am almost on time with my timing guesstimate,I power up and go missed.

For the missed we climb out to 1300' then make a climbing left turn to 2400' direct Modena (MXE). The missed/hold outbound is on the 149* radial so I continue direct to on the 120* planning a teardrop entry. I cross the station and track outbound for 1 minute then turn inbound to intercept the 329* radial. The winds are strong today which requires one to cut a larger angle to intercept the inbound. I'm holding around 300* and the needle finally comes alive as I follow it to the correct heading. We practice a few laps in the hold then I follow vectors to who knows where. I know I'm east of Modena (MXE) but I'm not sure where he has me going. With my mind trying to keep ahead and keep the scan going Brian pulls the power. Ok he says, engine out IMC conditions, now what. I trim for best glide note that I'm already on with ATC so I would advise and I use the Garmin to get a look. I'm south of Brandywine (KOQN) but think its my best bet under the conditions. I make fairly steep left turn to get tracking towards my destination, keeping a watchful eye on airspeed and altitude. Just below 1000' my CFII advises we break out so I get to flip up the overcasters/foggles. No airport off the nose so a quick glance at the garmin says my 1:00 position and there she is. Hmmmm...this will be close as I cut the angle from a base to short final. The speed is really good, altitude falling but the landing is doable, I add a notch of flaps, then second guess and wish I hadn't quite yet since the headwind is slowing my progress. No turning back, can't take those flaps out at this point so I ride it out and nose it over the end of the runway. I get full power back and climb out going missed, that was some fun stuff! Once around the pattern for an ok landing and taxi in to complete the lesson.

I'm up again Thursday morning, a double block then a double block Saturday and Sunday. The mock check ride should be one day between the 16th and 20th.


Rob said...

CONGRATS,... sounds like you had a much better flight this time around. Little more familiarity with the plane probably helped a bit too. Hope this week goes well for you, Finish line is right around the Corner!

Gary said...

Thanks! Yep feeling better about the ride, can't wait to get it over with.

Doctor reviewed the CT scans this afternoon and actually suggested moving the surgery up to this thursday morning, I told him no can do, I waited this long I'm getting my instrument rating. He and Mary both just gave me that "are you crazy look".

I'm still scheduled for April 9th for full replacement to include the hip socket and plenty of bone grafts.....yippie.

Steve said...

Good luck finishing it all up, Gary... and best wishes for a quick recovery from the hip fun!

Gary said...

Thanks! The call is going in to the DE today. There will be two of us going on check rides, one private pilot and my instrument ride. I can't wait to get it completed!!