Thursday, June 14, 2018

Learning The S-Tec 50

This morning I was trying to stay ahead of the heat while getting some air time prior to the Ocean City airspace closing for a TFR at 2pm.  Today is practice day for the airshow and I am looking forward to hearing and viewing the Thunderbirds in action.
I headed over to the hangar early and tugged 45Yankee out into the sun, yes, that big shiny thing in the sky. The plan was to launch and fly the GPS 32 approach followed by the GPS 14 approach in order to get some autopilot practice. I completed my preflight and closed up the hangar.
Following my run up I made my call for departing runway three-two and was quickly in the air and retracting the gear. I ran through the take-off checklist prior to rolling for the runway to reinforce the target airspeeds and as a reminder to retract the gear.
I entered the GPS 32 approach and pointed 45Yankee for GOBYO. As I crossed the shore line I remembered that my vest was still in baggage and I hate being low, two thousand feet, over the water and five miles offshore. I made a U-turn and reset for the RNAV GPS 14 approach instead.
I wasn't sure why, when in approach mode, the autopilot turned me slightly to the right. Instead, I disconnected and turned to the outbound heading of 325° in order to perform a parallel entry. Once on the proper heading I switched back to the autopilot heading mode and continued my procedure turn. I was outbound for four miles, then with a turn of the heading bug, completed my procedure turn and was tracking inbound on the 145° heading.

I also worked on my power setting for approaches, noting manifold pressure, RPM's and degree of up or down with my trim setting. Having the chart completed and memorizing it will make my flying more precise. 

Some notes on the S-Tec 50

NAV – Navigation Mode
Before using the NAV mode, you must manually place aircraft within 10 degrees of the desired course. AP will NOT make large course
adjustments in NAV mode.
APR – Approach Mode
This mode is exactly like the NAV mode with one exception: It tracks the CDI with much greater authority, as you would want to do if you were flying a localizer approach.

It was fun to get in the air, however, it would have been better with another pilot in the right seat so I could focus more on learning the AP.  I did manage to work through some simple steps as if shooting approaches and still be mindful of traffic and radio chatter.

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