Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Path to Instrument Currency - Flight 5

Obligatory post flight fuzzy hat selfie
Today was my fifth early morning flight knocking the rust off of my instrument skills. And I can feel that the rust is finally flying! Today will be the last for about a week as my CFI has to attend to his "real job" flying jets around the world. So, chair flying is in order to keep on the up and up!

Today we started with the ILS 27 at Hagerstown, did a touch and go, then went on to the VOR runway 9. When we were on upwind getting ready to prep for the VOR an aircraft with the fun call sign of "Hoagie" was departing behind us. We ended up doing another lap around the pattern (tight pattern with slip in to land) to give him room to take off and beat us past the VOR. To finish off the lesson we tracked the FDK VOR back to Frederick.

What I applied from my last lesson:

1. Trust what I've learned. Stop second guessing yourself and do what the chart says.

Did it work? YES! My approaches were spot on, minus a few nit-picky things. Each time I lifted the foggles, there was the runway! 

What I took away from today:

1. Take your time - Instrument approaches are not to be rushed through. There is a decent amount of time where you don't do anything. Use that time to prepare yourself for the next step. If you rush to finish, you won't have time to descend at a smooth rate and set up for landing.

2. Have fun - normally you would not slip to a landing under instrument conditions. But it was a beautiful day and I had fun taking the opportunity to hone this fun technique. I loved how the airplane was is such an unusual cross configuration, yet I felt like I was 100% in control of the steep descent and came in for a perfect landing. That felt really, really, really good! Advice: When in said slip on short final and your CFI says "Woo! We're dropping like a Cirrus full of doctors!" don't laugh hysterically and forget that you're supposed to be landing a plane. 


  1. "Take your time": This was one of the biggest epiphanies I recall having about 2/3 of the way through my instrument training. Early on, I felt pressed for time in setting up each approach. I think a lot of that came from unfamiliarity and task saturation when it was all new. Once I (more or less) knew what I was doing, I realized that there was plenty of time to set up everything - and if I took my time, I was much less likely to make a mistake.

    I'm enjoying these accounts of the rust removal process. Good job and good luck!

    1. Glad you're enjoying the posts, Chris! It really shows how important it is to stay instrument current! I find that most mistakes can come from being in a hurry. For example, many of my sloppy landings have been because I am ready to be done and just want to land. But when I take my time, and don't rush it....lovelies!

  2. And on the slip note, go fly a kite, er, Cub if you really want to have some fun with the rudder to the stops. :)

    1. Hey, I'm just waiting for the time I finally get to visit you and you'll show me how it's done!

  3. Victoria, it sounds like you're back up to speed. Good job!

    Sometimes I have to just take a breath and flow through the things I was taught to do. I think all that back to back approach training, rapid fire, helps us with the workload. When we take our time and prep for the approach you find yourself looking for something to do. That's when it's all coming together.


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