Instrument Current Again

With the new job starting soon I wanted to get my instrument currency back and scheduled some simulator time with my favourite CFI. It didn’t go too well on the simulator last time as the controls were very sensitive but this time I got the light touch just right most of the time. We set the clouds to a solid overcast so that each approach would end up going missed.

We started by taking off from MYF, vectors to the VOR approach at SDM, missed approach. Once on the missed, we zapped over to SEE and did vectors to the LOC approach there followed by a missed again. From there we shifted to OKB and did some holds in the published turn, the VOR approach once again to the missed. After that, I was positioned for vectors to the ILS at CRQ, this time I did break out for a landing but did the missed anyway with vectors back to a landing at MYF.

For those of you counting thats only 5 approaches, we didn’t fit the 6th one in. However, when I updated my online logbook it said I was now current until the end of May; I had overlooked 3 approaches at the end of the last year so 5 was just perfect. Its good to be ifr current again.

Fun Day Out Around the Pattern

You may remember that one of my new year’s resolutions was not to lose any of my currencies this year. Well, losing my job in the first week of the year put paid to that and this Sunday I found myself not current in anything; first time I’d ever not been current to take passengers.

So today I went up to get my PIC back by doing some touch and goes around the field. The winds were high driving over but not too bad for my first time around. I was making right traffic on 28R, winds were picking up and it was getting busy, a couple of people making circuits with me and a steady stream of inbounds but the tower was doing a great job of sequencing. Winds were picking up, by my third landing the winds were 230 at 14kts and I struggled with my rusty crosswind skills.

Just as I was wondering why we weren’t using runway 23 the tower announced the switch. Someone in front of me offered to do a 360 and switch rather than land, tower accepted and then offered me the same. I do a 360 and am told to extend my new downwind. You have to be careful, extend too far and you will be in MCAS Miramar’s class Bravo. Now there’s a citation and a king air on the ILS to 28R, I’m no match for them. I get a turn to base and then a go-around before I’ve finished the turn. This time I have to extend upwind and rather than make a left crosswind I get a right 360 before the turn. By the time I am done, things seem sorted out and I make a normal (in terms of pattern at least) approach and landing on 23.

A very interesting ‘welcome back’ after 3 months away. I really do want (and need) to stay more current. Fortunately I should start a new job in the next couple of weeks and will then get my CFI up with me for my IFR currency.

Lenticular Clouds

Sandwiched between here in Brawley and San Diego is a little mountain range of about 5500 feet or so at its peak. This regularly means that travel between here and there, whether by plane or car, can be a little bumpy. Coming back from lunch today I looked to the west and could see two perfect looking lenticular clouds. To pilots that means strong winds and likely nasty turbulence so it was no surprise when a couple of hours later it was blowing a treat outside in the yard.

The closest weather-reporting airport to here is Imperial and a look at the METARs show the winds from 270° at 27 knots gusting to 33 knots. All the airports on the other side of the hills are showing 6 – 8 knot winds, so I think we would not be enjoying the flight home if we up there today.

Lenticular Cloud
[Image from Wikipedia]