Two Good Blog Postings to Read

If you’re looking for a little reading this afternoon, we highly recommend the following:

  • Head over to Krista’s blog and congratulate her on becoming a pilot.
  • Read this account of how good training overcame a stuck right throttle somewhere over FL.

Not much to report here. I’ve scheduled a couple of bookings, one this week for currency, and then a weekend in April for us to go somewhere (maybe Big Bear). Also talking to Bob about getting checked out in the club’s 210 so I can take it on a trip to Albuquerque.

1.5 Hrs Sim Time

Extended my instrument currency this morning for another few months with an hour and a half ‘mucking about’ in the sim with my CFI. The club is sharing a Frasca 42 with the Anglo American flight school at KSEE so I got to see a different airport than usual. Rather than blaze through the usual route I wanted something a bit different today, loosen up some cobwebs:

  • VOR approach to KSDM usual take off from KMYF, vectors to the approach down to Brown Field. The sim has an HSI so I got my second look at those, I like ’em.
  • DME arc off PGY VOR haven’t done a DME arc since the checkride but, other than forgetting to turn 90 degrees when I reached 6.5 miles, it went very well. Bob had set up a 17kt wind from the west so there was some work to do in keeping close to the 6 mile radius.
  • Holds at RYADH intersection exited the DME arc on a straight shot to the fix. I got there so fast that I hadn’t yet looked at my entry procedure. Fortunately its an obvious parallel entry so I turned in the outbound direction and reminded myself how I needed to turn back in. The HSI seemed to make this much easier than usual. The holds went great excepting a little timer issues thanks to the westerly wind pushing me further out on the outbound leg each time.
  • LOC approach to KSEE partial panel Bob moved me to a position close to the approach and then failed the attitude indicator and DG. A few compass turns (always takes me a moment to remember to fly in the ‘opposite’ direction) and then vectors to the approach. I was doing a pretty lousy job and then it got a lot worse – you really need two navs to identify the timing point for the missed approach but the HSI was inop due to the partial panel so I only had one. This meant I had to keep flip flopping the nav frequency to check my position and in doing so my speed went up, my altitude went crazy and so on. I did manage to do a reasonable track of the localizer but I went past the airport before the timer went off.
  • LOC approach to KSEE back around for another go but full panel, much better this time, timer went off almost exactly over the field. I wasn’t able to maintain 90 kts but adjusted the time based on the ‘average’ 110kts I was actually doing.
  • ILS approach to KMYF partial panel a climbing turn out of KSEE and my panel failed again. I got established on the localizer but was having a lot of trouble losing altitude. 1100 rpm and 100 knots and I was still only getting 400fpm. So I was high most of the way down the slope, weaving in and out chasing the needle. Popped out of the clouds with the runway a little off to the left but thanks to some odd graphics on the screen I actually landed on a taxiway.

All in all a good workout and dusting off of some rusty skills. Now to get some flying in the real thing… time to find a safety pilot for the Archer….

So Much for the Resolutions

My PIC and night currency expire today. I had planned a flight home tonight for Valentine’s night with the wife which would have had the side benefit of giving me the one landing I need to extend another 90 days or so. But the storm system that has been sat over SoCal is taking its time to move out and the winds in the desert are unpleasant. Current METAR at my destination is 18 knots gusting 22 almost perpendicular to the runway, making it a 17 to 22 knot crosswind. I doubt I’d go if I was very current, but at night definitely not.

So thats number 1 resolution gone unless I can go up tomorrow and then no one will notice there was a lag.

Agua Caliente: A Tricky Airport?

Not too far from where I live is Agua Caliente airport. Its a neat little airport since it is a strip in almost the middle of nowhere, nothing but desert for miles around, excepting a small store and campgrounds. But it packs a nasty surprise for the unwary – some rock can get in the way of your flight if you are not careful.

In SoCal we hear a lot about the dangers of Catalina, Big Bear or Sedona but I don’t know of any club airplane that has been damaged at those fields (which is not to say that they haven’t). However, this week is the third time a club (that I belong to) plane has been damaged at Agua Caliente. I don’t know the details of this incident but the previous two incidents were the same – landing long and fast. If you look at this aerial photo you can see that the go-around options run out pretty fast and in each case the pilot elected to overrun the runway rather than risk the abort. Damage is definitely less this way.

I don’t hear people talk about Agua Caliente but the airport definitely seems to have a habit of catching people unaware.

February Plans

As the Flight Time box to the right shows, February is currency month, so my plan for the month is:

  • Short night cross country to extend my day and night-PIC. Perhaps another French Valley hamburger….
  • An early morning sim session with my CFI for holds and approaches. The club now has a Frasca which I might like to try, and rather than do the usual things I want to revisit DME arcs and ‘unexpected’ holds.
  • Take the Commercial written exam. I am still averaging around 85% with three or four silly mistakes a day.

Stay tuned for reports on each.