Friday, April 17, 2015

The Path to Instrument Currency - Flight 3

Just like yesterday, it was another early morning for me, this time sans pooch. I had not been feeling well and focused on rest rather than studying the approaches I would be doing in the morning. Luckily, instrument flying is all starting to make sense to me again now that I am up and doing them in the air. I was greeted by a beautiful sunrise when I arrived at the airport. It immediately got me in a better mood versus the curse words I was muttering to my tired self on the drive in. I had the plane pulled out and ready when my CFI, JJ, arrived and we took to the skies, departing runway 12 with a sharp turn to the north over runway 23.

We flew back to Hagerstown and I donned my foggles the entire way, following the VOR to intercept the ILS for runway 27. Unfortunately, the localizer wasn't working on my top indicator but was on my 2nd. So I had to adjust my scan to control my decent on one instrument while watching how to stay on course on the one below it. It added an extra challenge but was a lot of fun. However, I was so focused about keeping the lines crossed that I completely forgot to prep for landing. I zoomed through the instrument procedure, tore off the foggles, and dove down for tan amazingly smooth landing. I let out a whoop! then we were into the sky again to do the VOR approach.

We did the same VOR approach the morning before, so it wasn't entirely foreign to me this time around. While timing my procedure turn, we both started cracking up as the timer built into the Cessna was the slowest timer ever. It took us saying 1 elephant Missippi twice before it moved on to the next second. So I just watched it until it hit 30 seconds versus one minute before turning inbound to intercept the approach. I tell you, it was a great feeling to pull of the foggles and see the runway just ahead of me on both of these approaches today! I enjoyed my instrument training when I first earned the rating, and didn't expect to enjoy it so much again. But what is amazing to me about this type of flying is that if you just follow these specific procedures, they will take you safely to where you need to be. And they did!

After the two approaches at HGR we headed back towards Frederick following a VOR in once again. JJ kept mentioning what a beautiful sight it all was below us and I immediately said that he needed to zip it. When we were over a mountain range, he said "OK you have to see this".

The foggles went off and I looked below at clouds tumbling over the mountains below me. The clouds were so low and you could just see the tops of radio towers sticking out above them. An overcast layer had quickly blown in and it was sunny and clear above. We were now unsure if we would be stuck above the overcast unable to land back in Frederick. We were not on an IFR flight plan so decided to carry on and hope to find a hole.  

Meanwhile, we heard my boss take off in his Pitts to only turn back around because of the clouds. They were right at pattern altitude and we stayed above them as we turned our base and began a steep decent down through a broken area. JJ then took the controls and demonstrated an awesome slip all the way down to the runway. With no flaps, he landed at the first taxiway. I told my boss (who was watching) that it was all me :) Next time, I'll have to give that a try.

It's been awhile since I've written this much about just a one hour flight. I like it! 


  1. Gorgeous photos, Victoria! Congratulations on exercising those IFR muscles!

    1. Thanks, Chris! Yes those muscles need some exercising for sure!

  2. Way to knock off the rust!

    Yes, the CFII I had always reminded me how gorgeous it was flying that day. Great, while we are under the hood. ;)

  3. I must say, pretty photos of clouds do give me the "need to get my IR" nervous tick. Sooner or later I'll have the time to actually do so!


What are you pondering?