Thursday, September 29, 2011


On top for a few minutes heading to 58M
Minimums, Yes today would provide my first real test of my instrument skills.  Yes, I've been in the "soup" on various flights but today would test my skills to minimums.  Wilmington was looking good for departure so I filed for the ten minute hop to Cecil County, 58M in order to have my leaking fuel sump replaced.  Ground read my clearance to me; runway heading, radar vectors, two thousand, one one niner point seven five squawk 4626.  I read everything back correct then advised holding for release.

Philly finally gave Wilmington the ok and I was cleared to takeoff.  I was in the clag, soup, IMC by seven hundred feet comfortable knowing I could get back in on the ILS or GPS approaches if needed.  Once handed off to Philly I followed my first vector heading two two zero.  I advised I had the wx at Cecil County, (noted from Summit airport) and continued on. Next turn was to two three zero and then a final turn to two nine zero, cleared for the RNAV GPS 31 approach maintain two thousand two hundred until established, showing heavy rain in the area, cancel with me or on the ground...blah....blah ...blah. The just shy of three thousand feet by seventy foot runway was going to be a welcome sight.
Rain passed 58M now I get to deal with it at ILG
Ok, the 496 hasn't shown any rain and the info is maybe 4 minutes old but it's best to trust approach.  I can't see a thing outside as I follow the approach inside calling out altitude and on course.  I make my final GUMPS call and spit out the missed approach procedure so I can hear myself.  I was just out side WESIL the final appraoch fix (FAF) and descending to one thousand seven hundred, still no ground view.

Finally a glimpse of terrain but gone just as fast. I am descending to the six hundred foot minimum descent altitude (MDA) and was making ready to go missed. I check out front and see nothing, look to my ten O clock and spot the Elk river. Passing through just under seven hundred I get blasted with heavy rain, I'm almost to the river. I have ground contact, six fifty, six forty I have the airport and runway.  I add a notch of flaps and continue in deciding not to flip back to cancel with Philly but to call once on the ground. That was my very first approach to minimums, what a rush!
The guys at Cecil Aero are the best and they worked me right in to swap out the sump. I hung out for a bit giving the wx a chance to clear. Things looked better at Cecil but what I flew through on final was now over Wilmington. I waited until 9:30ish and decided to pick up my clearance back home. I called the 800 clearance delivery number and was ready to go.  Once in the air I pointed direct Wilmington until I received vectors for the RNAV GPS 19 approach into KILG.  I was in the soup from eight hundred feet after departure and only had some bright sun peeking through to let me know I was close to the tops. I followed the vectors for JIGUP and shot the RNAV GPS 19. I flew a good approach breaking out at seven hundred feet, two hundred twenty above the minimum.

A great feeling knowing I can do this instrument stuff and be safe. I like the work load and the details not to mention the result of that hard work. Sorry no pictures today, I was to busy flying the plane.

Sump replaced and we are ready for the trip to Ithaca, NY.


Steve said...

Awesome, a perfect case for why you have the IR. Even a short 10-mile hop wouldn't have been possible without the rating!

ddf said...

Congratulations! There is nothing to compare with breaking out at mins and seeing the runway right THERE!

Gary said...

Today's hop would not even be given a thought without the IR. Once I got on the ground at 58M and talked to the guys I noticed my hands shaking....the adrenaline rush was peaking!

Frank Van Haste said...


Ain't NUTHIN' harder than an IFR flight, actual conditions, less than 20 minutes. The departure merges with the arrival and it's bloody hard to stay ahead of the airplane. You don't get an enroute segment to take a deep breath and get sorted out.

So, kudos, my friend. You did good!


Gary said...

I agree!! It's way to cool!

You're right on with the "merge". I guess that's why they gave us so many back to backs during our training. The mental check list really shows itself, each step, working through it and descending for the DH/MDA.

Chris said...

Nice work, Gary!

Geoff Nelson said...

Nice job, especially being ready to go missed!