Sunday, February 20, 2011

Practice Approaches

Not bad weather today following yesterdays blowing winds that forced a no go on the dog rescue flight.  I met up with Mike B so we could get some practice approaches in, I'm always always chanting current does not make one proficient. With that thought in mind we saddled up for a trip to KCGE, Cambridge Dorchester Airport.

We are cleared to take off from runway two seven and climb south, south west for our intended destination. Dover approach could not get our tail number right but they did confirm our squawk code, one outta two ain't bad I guess. We were handed off to potomac then patuxent in that order and Mike asked for the GPS RWY 34 approach for Cambridge. We maintained visual separation as directed and descended into the bumpy air at three thousand. Patuxent turned us loose for unicom at Cambridge and Mike role played ATC for the approach.
I managed to get some tracking in along with a procedure turn on this go round. I kept high to not interfere with local traffic and Mike figured he would torture me with a descending procedure turn to make it interesting. I turned outbound to a 155* heading once arriving at the Cambridge NDB. Yikes, scrape off the rust pilot....turn twist time throttle talk, the 5 T's. My airspeed is looking good and holding altitude as I give the approach plate on my iPad another glance. Procedure turn is a left turn to 110* then inbound on 290* while letting down for 1,800 feet. The needle comes alive and I intercept the new inbound heading of 335*. Altitude looks good, airspeed is good although I am fussing with it and not locking into my known rpm for the desired rate of descent. On course and looking up around 500 feet. I am just right of the runway but pull more power add flaps and make a really nice landing.
Mike and I had lunch in a side room since the main dining area was packed with a waiting line. A cup of chili and a BLT did the trick, washed down with the best sweet tea around. We were ready to head north so Mike could do some fun flying and shoot an approach or two. The ramp was getting busy with a few Mooney's a Bonanza and Cessna's lined up neatly. We taxied out and launched off of runway three four with a turn out north east for Wilmington. The ride was bumpy for a bit then felt better as we leveled out around 3,500. 
Mike contacted Philly approach and requested the ILS RWy 1 into Wilmington, KILG. We had a few traffic call outs but had visual on them.  Mike continued in riding the rails, a real nice approach. If you have a *visual on the approach lighting you can descend below the decision altitude to 100 feet above the touchdown zone elevation of 76 feet. Mike had needles centered when we went missed, a real nice approach. We were doing a low approach only and climbed out to join the down wind for runway three two.

A fun day of flying and a much needed practice flight for me. I'm looking forward to getting some actual with Mike right seat and really work on being proficient.

*Visual on approach lighting
You can only descend below MDA or DH only if;

1. You are continuously in a position where you can land on the intended runway using a normal rate of descent and normal maneuvers. (14 CFR part 121 and 135 operators must be able to land in the touchdown zone).

2. The flight visibility must be at or above the visibility required to complete the approach. (It remains the pilot's decision and responsibility to determine the visibility on the approach (14 CFR part 91).

3. You have at least one of the following in sight:

a. The approach light system, except that you may not descend lower than 100 feet above the touchdown zone elevation, unless the red terminating bars or the red side row bars are clearly visible.
b. The runway threshold.
c. The threshold markings.
d. The threshold lights.
e. The runway end identifier lights (REIL).
f. The VASI.
g. The touchdown zone lights.
h. The touchdown zone lights.
i. The runway or runway markings.
j. The runway lights.

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