My instrument currency expires at the end of November so last night I met up with Serge, who I have been Safety Pilot for a few times, to go fly the south pattern with the idiot glasses on.
We got off to an odd start by having to wait a long time for our clearance to Brown Field. The controller only has to get a sqawk code from the system and usually issues the clearance without hesitation, but tonight we had to wait. And wait. So we taxied out to the runup area and picked up the clearance there.
It was a truly beautiful night, calm winds, clear skies just a shame that I wasn’t going to be seeing any of it! We took off, switched to SoCal Approach and Serge took the plane while I fumbled to get the glasses on under my head torch. Usual deal for the south pattern: climb to 4000, eventually get a turn to the east, intercept the PGY radial, cleared for the approach. Last time we forgot to advise that we wanted to do KSEE and KMYF next so I made sure we declared our intentions this time. I did a decent job on the approach, at the missed approach we made a climbing left turn to the north east and back to SoCal for the next leg.
SoCal told us to climb to 5000 feet, remain VFR. I had a lot of problems keeping the plane climbing, just could not get it trimmed and it was a semi-wild ride, well it felt that way under the hood. I didn’t hear any screaming from Serge. Serge was in charge of radios and set us up for the localizer into Gilispie Field. Eventually we got our turn towards the approach and our clearance. I pretty much nailed the localiser spot on. The missed approach point is timed and I always overshoot, did it again this time but not by a whole lot, I would have made it down had I been landing.
Another climbing turn and we’re off to Montgomery Field. Its not far between the two airports so its always quite a rush to get set up, it is very helpful to have a co-pilot punch in the frequencies. After my prowess on the LOC I totally messed up the ILS. I had decent glideslope control but I spent way too much time chasing the needle and over-compensating. I removed the glasses at 600 feet and made a very smooth touchdown almost exactly on the instrument landing area. I was impressed even if Serge wasn’t.
A pretty decent flight with a few moments where I wasn’t on top of the plane. I hadn’t flown since September so I knew I would be rusty. Most importantly Serge enjoyed himself and is happy to do it again in a few weeks when I will need to do a couple more approaches and some holds.