IFR Lesson #2: NDB/ADF and holds

Today, we had already reviewed the NDB Approach at Miami-University/Oxford Airport (KOXD), which is about 25nm West of Wright Bros Airport (KMGY).  We were not planning on doing the approach, and thus focused on the holding pattern entries, navigation, course correction, and reporting.  I had read up on it beforehand and felt comfortable with the actual flying of the hold, but was sketchy on getting into the hold.

Dean and I reviewed the entry procedures a few times, and I think I got the hang of it – it really helped to visualize the hold and entry.  Once Dean got the slight impression I was ready, we hopped in the 182R and took off.

Today was hot. Like Florida hot, and I know Florida hot.  93 or so forecast, which means on the tarmac its over 100.  I could not imagine flying a bubble-canopy plane like a Diamond DA-20 or Grumman.

Heat like this makes the foggles fun.  I felt like Robert Hayes in the Airplane! movie…  By the time we taxied out to runway 02, I was drenched in sweat.  Ah, the glamorous pilot experience.

We departed 02, turned West and I donned the foggles.  A few minutes of chit-chat and Dean helps me tune to the NDB @ OXD.  The identification was standard like a VOR; I didn’t use any ADF or NDB navigation in my primary training, as the plane I flew then didn’t have an ADF.

Finding the ADF beacon is pretty easy, especially since we had nearly zero wind at 3000AGL.  I found tracking it and staying on course fairly doable. Amazing! This IFR stuff will be easy! About that time, I realize that I’m 150 feet below my 3000msl target altitude.  Oops.  Back to reality I go – hand flying in bumpy hot weather under the foggles sucks.  I’m trying not to channel my negative energy towards my CFII, Dean.  He understands. I think.

We entered the hold from the East, and decided a teardrop entry was appropriate. That seemed to work ok – we were looking at the approach chart on Dean’s iPad, which had a few complications (glare and the rotation shifting) but otherwise would have been fine for an experienced IR-pilot.  We’ll be using paper going forward, pending I remember to print them out as I promised :-)

The hold

I enter the hold, and forget to start the timer. But that is ok, because I’m not actually in the hold…. I just crossed the NDB.  Oh, no, I do time this – so a few seconds late I start timing… We get out one minute and I turn a standard-rate-turn to the left until I intercept/point-at the NDB station.

Now I go towards the ADF needle, which leads me to the NDB transmitter (which, is right over the Oxford airport, but I can’t see that, because I’m still wearing the awesome foggles..and still sweating.. profusely).  I cross the NDB and turn left (standard rate, 180 degrees per minute) until I hit the outbound bearing of 222 (042’s reciprocal bearing) and fly out one minute (timer, again!).

I get to 1 minute, and start a left turn (again, standard rate… if you notice a trend here, everything is standard, as in standard rate of turn.. which means in two minutes, I will turn 360 degrees around… so we use 1 minute at standard rate to do a 180 turn-around) all the way around to where the ADF needle points to the station, which is close to the inbound heading (042). On the way in, I do some bracketing to make sure I’m flying to the NDB station – it immediately drifted (fell?) off to 8-10 degrees to the left (wind is from the West, off our 8-o-clock at this point), so I turn 20 degrees to the left, wait a few seconds, and watch the needle “fall” again to to about 10 degrees left, then turn back to the original heading + 10 to track right to the station.

That was a lot more work in my head while I was in the airplane, opposed to now, where I’m sitting at a bar in West Virginia wearing no foggles but possibly wearing s splash of red wine from dinner and beyond (what else do you do in WV?)….

Round Two…thru 13…

So this first tracking to the NDB station via the ADF needle was enlightening.  Now, Dean and I spent the next hour doing the same. Track to the station, bracket, adjust, readjust, turn, time, twist, some other stuff, turn again, time, etc etc…. Oh, forget to announce to where I am to ATC.  And repeat….

I really didn’t do 13 laps around the holding pattern – I think we did 4 or 5… but wow…. that’s rough!

This is very exhausting.  In my primary pilot training, I could fly an hour or two, and then go back to work or do something else.  At the end of today, when you add up the heat, sun, mind-math and visualizations when flying, I am lucky to add up 2 + 2 when I land.  Hell, I was lucky to land the plane….

thanks for reading!


Today’s flying: 1.5hrs, 1.5hrs simulated instrument
Total flying time: 150.7hrs
Total IR Training: 3.3hrs

1 Comment »

  1. Steve Said,

    June 6, 2011 @ 10:59 pm

    Ha, good reading. I knew it would be good as soon as I saw the photo of Ted Striker.

    Good job up there, it was a sticky day on the ground and I too was drenched in sweat… without the foggles!

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