Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wind Correction and Holds

The wx was looking great and I could not wait to leave work. I turned in a leave slip for 3 hours and was headed home to throw on some sneakers and grab my flight bag. Mary was working in the yard and it looked perfect. She is into all that gardening stuff, me, I rather write a check to our landscape guy and have him do it. Yeah, I'm getting lazy but with the new hip I hope to add a few more outdoor yard activities to my schedule.....sleeping in a hammock "in the backyard" does count as an activity?

I pulled into the school 45 minutes early, I was ready to erase my last lesson and prove to myself I can do this stuff. I just read on one of the forums about some 70 yr old lady that had passed her instrument and she was still flying. I was embarrassed I let myself get so worked up, if she could do it at her age I have no excuse.

Prior to my pre-flight a Beechcraft Super King Air 200 was waiting to pick up two passengers. The courtesy car was out and the pilot needed wheels to head about 15 minutes away to get them. I volunteered my services and off we went. Our pick up was two ladies fresh out of a meeting and they were a blast. The pilot advised I volunteered my wheels to help out and they thought that was so nice. As I explained to them it was my way of paying forward some of the nice things folks at local airports have provided me, I asked them to do the same in return. Doing nice things for people helps with the good mojo and at this point in my life with all the things on my plate I'll take every bit of good mojo I can get. Hmmm...where did I leave my Italian horn, it wards off the bad mojo.

On to the lesson...

Winds had picked up so it should be fun. The Brandywine AWOS reported winds are at 11 gusting 16. Throttle forward, aileron wind correction set and we launch, weathervaning out over Route 202 and taking up a heading for noise abatement. I'm vectored off to the north (by my instructor) and we chug along. Eight Lima Alpha does NOT climb like 679er, it's a slow go. The plan is to work on nailing wind corrections and holds as we review for the big ride. I didn't bring the 496 today, instead it was spartan conditions in the Cherokee and we both got to share in the fun. I was on my highest alert with the Heading Indicator problems last lesson. Today it was warmer and maybe that had an effect on its use, the precession was not as bad as the last time out. I did check after each turn to a new heading once wings level, a bit obsessive I know but I didn't want to deal with chasing my tail.

I have no DME on board the school Cherokee so I am playing by ear and drawing the mental picture of my location. I guesstimate maybe seven to ten miles north of Modenna (MXE VOR) and give myself a three minute window before slowing to 90 knots and adding a notch of flaps. I soon crossed the station mindful of the winds at 2500 feet and turned to a heading of 200* for my tear drop entry into the hold. I tracked outbound for 1.5 minutes and then turned right to a 054* heading to intercept the inbound course. The CDI needle was slow to come off the full scale so I held my course to 010* cutting a bigger angle trying to intercept. Finally needle movement and I immediately continue my right turn to 054*. No sooner I am on course the needle swings through giving me warning I am about to cross the station. A quick look at the timer and I am just short of a minute, the tail winds are blowing.

I turn outbound for 4 more laps in the hold each time dialing in the wind correction and intercepting the inbound course earlier each attempt. On the last go I cross the station and deviate slightly to my course of 052* for the VOR-A approach. Once I get the CDI to come off the wall I start my timer looking for 3:48 to the missed approach point. I pull some power to start my descent to the decision height of 1120 feet planning on leveling off at 1200' for my safety cushion. As my time expires and at altitude I am cleared to remove the foggles, there she sits, runway niner just where it should be.

I entered the downwind leg of the pattern minding my altitude not breaking the 1120' circling to land height. I did make my circle to land a bit wide but lined up nice for the final. With wind correction held and plenty of rudder I crossed the numbers and flared a bit high followed with a flat landing, actually a short skip and then settled in nicely.

I'm up again Friday afternoon with a double block of time that we will spend at Allentown. Brian wants to go through my ATC work just to make sure I'm ready. I think radio work is the least of my problems but we can shoot approaches and knock out radio work all at once. One bright note is that Brian said we should be done the "ready work" and my check ride completed by the first week of April. We shall see.

The history behind the Italian Horn....

What is the evil eye superstition? In olden days it was believed that when a person was jealous of another person’s achievements, possessions or even his physical appearance, his jealousy alone could harm the other. The evil eye was especially known to cause harm to child bearing women, nursing women, men, fruit bearing trees, milking animals, fertile lands and many other objects. This evil eye was thought to have much influence against fertility of both men and women and their sexual powers. And to protect one’s self from all these harms, the Italian horn was worn.


Pilot Bob said...

Crosswinds in the hold. Just what I was studying (getting my head around, now, while NOT flying) right now! On your outbound leg, do you use two times the correction or three times? My instructor advises - two.

Gary said...


I wasn't taught a "set" two or three times the correction but I'll ask. Once I have the correction figured thats what I hold. Yesterday on the second third and forth loop in hold I had to decrease my correction in order to cross the inbound faster.

I was cutting a large angle trying to intercept the inbound. On a few loops it was a heading of 000 - 010 to cross the 054 inbound. The winds were crazy. It seemed like it took the CDI needle forever to come alive!

The outbound timing really is important. getting the feel for extending 'x' number of seconds in order to hit the inbound at the right time. I was running outbound yesterday for two minutes with the winds then cutting it within seconds of the 1 minute mark inbound.

I have so much more respect for those who flew before us, prior to GPS and follow the line for approaches!