Instrument Current and my First GPS Approach

Tonight I met my CFI at KSEE for some time on the Elite BATD-PI35 simulator for an introduction to GPS. A few of our planes have Garmin 430’s now and it seemed time to see what they are all about. I’d love to get checked out on the G1000 but that’s really cost prohibitive now, although we do have a 182 with a G1000 for just $150 an hour….

Anyway we spent some time with a Garmin simulator before moving on to the sim. We simulated a flight from KMYF to KOKB with a hold in the procedure turn, all using the 430 for navigation. After the missed at KOBK I was given vectors to the GPS Rwy 17 approach at KSEE and saw how to ‘replan on the fly’. Missed approach at KSEE and then on to the ILS at MYF which we used the 430 to get us to the IAF and then followed the ILS down to a landing. This was the old ILS, not the new “DME only” one.

In order to get more practice I am going to find and download the 430 simulator from Garmin. One problem I have is that I am a Mac only person so will either have to get Parallels on the macbook (actually I have it, but no Windows copy to run on it) or use it at work. Paul over at is working on a tutorial and I shall look forward to that.

So now I am PIC and instrument current. Night currency is next as well as just getting up and having some fun.

My new PUMPS check

Almost seven years after getting my Private certificate I still have trouble with the GUMPS check. ‘G’ always seems to be “Gear” rather than “Gas” so when I get to the ‘U’ I’m, like, um, oh yeah that’s “Undercarriage”. So, I hit on a fine idea – from now on I shall perform a PUMPS check: “Petrol, Undercarriage, Mixture, Props, Seatbelts”. I think I’ll get that right each time. I think.

Poor Radio Talk

In yesterday’s post I alluded to the fact that I was not on my a-game radio-wise during my simulated instrument flight. I thought I’d list my mistakes as a reminder for me for next time. If you have comments, feel free to add them.

  1. My handoff to SoCal was fine but for my second controller handoff I said “N4922D on frequency”, thinking how smart I was not to say “with you”. The response was “say altitude and heading” – doh! Of course, I should check in with “N4922D, 3400 feet, direct OCN”.
  2. A couple of times I was given a heading and told to maintain 3400 feet. Each time I repeated the heading and confirmed “thirty-four hundered feet”, and each time I was asked to verify “3400 feet”. I have no idea why each time I repeated it incorrectly. I think I’ve been listening to a lot of live ATC where I’ve heard that and it has sunk in. I will banish it.
  3. After being transferred to the CTAF on the OKB approach I announced “N4922D, inbound on the VOR approach, Oceanside traffic”. A snarky voice came back “it would be helpful to us VFR pilots to know where you are and where you are going”. Attitude-aside, he had a good point. One can circle to land either side of the field and they didn’t know I was planning a missed approach. I’m surprised this hasn’t come up before but I definitely have it in my mind now.

Other than that, I think it went well. I like the radio work a lot, and I pride myself on usually being succinct and concise so it annoys me when I am not.

First flights of 2009

Just completed my second flight of the year; yesterday I met up with my CFI for some cobweb-shaking, and today we did some instrument work.

Started off yesterday with a first for me – took off from Montgomery Field with a “Miramar Transition” which enabled us to fly due north over Miramar MCAS (after a climbing 180 turn to 2900 feet) to the practice area west of Ramona. Santa Ana winds are in for the week making it a little bumpy near the foothills so we moved closer to the coast. Went through all the usual suspects – slow flight, steep turns, departure and approach stalls, climbs, turns, descents under the hood.

It was all going well so we went back to Montgomery and did a bunch of landings which also went pretty good. I swear I do my best flying after a couple month break.

Today was step one of getting back to instrument currency. Got a TEC clearance to Oceanside, did some turns in the hold and once I was dizzy did the approach to a missed. OKB is a tough one, I find, a lot to do all at once but it worked out pretty good. I forgot to announce my intentions on the CTAF and got a bit of a spanking from someone on the ground. Oh well.

From the missed we got vectors to the ILS approach at Carlsbad, another missed and vectors back to Montgomery. En route, my CFI ‘failed’ the gyro so I got some partial panel while back in the light chop of the Santa Ana winds.

A nice ride down the ILS (not without a little chasing of the needle I am sad to say) and we were done. In a couple of weeks we are going to do some Garmin 430 work in the sim to complete my 6 approaches. Total of 3.1 hours for the two flights.

Kind of a sad day as this is the last time I will fly the ILS as I have known it. Starting on the 15th there is a whole new set of approaches for KMYF including changes to the ILS that have removed the marker beacons and now require DME to identify the fixes. If you don’t have DME or IFR-certified GPS I’m afraid you aren’t welcome here in IMC.

2009 Goals

Once again we will dispense with the previous year’s review, just too depressing to see how little I flew last year. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do the annual list of flying wishes for 2009….

  • Get current in all things again, and I mean night, IFR, high wing, low wing and complex and high-perf
  • Get checked out in the DA-40
  • Learn how to do GPS approaches
  • Make at least one Angel Flight mission
  • Win the AOPA airplane sweepstakes
  • Go on some interesting cross countries like Sedona or Big Bear

We’ll see how it goes this year and of course we wish you all a happy and safe 2009 in the skies.