Today was fun. Nice Saturday for flying.
I had read up on compass and timed turns, and felt they would either kill me or they were really simple. I decided this based on the Jeppesen Instrument book only having about 1.5 pages on the subjects… and confirmed with the FAA IFR book also having similar content amounts.
Well, luckily they were within my realm of skills. We flew out from Wright Bros Airport (KMGY), and headed out to the Germantown area to do some turns, climbs, descents – all by timing or using the magnetic compass instead of the direction gyro. The day was smooth with mild amounts of at-altitude-haze, but overall good visibility. However, I would no nothing of this visibility, because after a few timed turns I donned my new setup of foggles. I was having a tough time keeping the regular sunglass-like-foggles on, so Dean gave me a set of even more limiting headwear that I affixed to my headset. This let me see even less – my situational awareness outside the plane in a sunny day was immediately apparent – it seems that even with the foggles, your body still recognizes the shadows and movements of light around the instrument panel. WIth that information, you can still kinda fly like you will never be able to in the actual clouds… so good for ego, bad for real skillz. With these babies – it was lights out. Uck oh.
After Dean (my CFII if you didn’t read the other thrilling posts) was satisfied with my turning ability, we navigated Southeast towards the Lebanon-Warren County Airport (I68). We approached it on the117 radial from the Richmond VOR.
I made the initial-approach-fix (IAF) over the beacon, turned right outbound to 158 for a minute, then did a procedure turn left to 113.. one more minute outbound… right turn 180 degrees back to 293 and inbound to make the ADF point to the NDB….So far this was all at 3,000 feet (MSL, about 2,100 feet above the gound)… after crossing the NDB, I pull the power to nothing (really, nothing. or, at least all the way to idle) and dive to 1600 feet.. then stabalize and fly to what I think is the airport. These NDB off-airport approaches are very non-precision, as indicated by how close I was to the airstrip when Dean had me pull the foggles off. I wasn’t too too close.
We tried the same approach twice more – but this time, the direction gyro and attitude indicator were ‘failed’ – which means I cant use them. And I can’t even cheat, and we used Garfield-themed post-it notes to cover up those instruments. These were flown by looking at the ADF (which points at the NDB) – and once I crossed it – trying to hold the wings perfectly level until getting to the MAP (missed approach point). This worked out well… Probably because it wasn’t windy.
I once had a great idea of documenting my IFR training with pictures, too; and here would be a great picture of the Garfield-covered-instruments.. However, I’ve realized that all my training is a sweat and brain-flummoxed 2 hours – and if I picked up a camera to take a picture during a flight Dean would shoot me – because so far, I suck at much things and I would only be allowed to touch things attached to the plane that make it not spiral into a dive to the ground….
Anyhow.. enough of that… I enjoyed the partial panel activities, and think I understand them…I for-sure need more practice.
The goal is to make sure I know how to fly the plane in the event the attitude indicator, the gyro, compass, etc craps out on me. Hopefully that will never happen in actual IFR conditions.. but given the vacuum operated system that most planes have – it would be a possibility and I’m glad I think I know how to deal with it. Everything we’ve done so far has been with the Garmin 430 GPS off. With the GPS, all this would be much easier (which means, when/if this does happen, I would have a much better awareness of the situation/location than what I get with the 1930′s ADF/NDB technology).
After partial panel approaches to Lebanon, we headed for home at KMGY… Other than one airplane that wanted to land on runway 24 (there is only 02 and 20), and a training flight that wanted to fly into us in the pattern, we had a normal tailwind landing. Lately, the wind has been direct east or west, and kinda bouncing around on the field.. So after 2500 feet, we touched down. I’m clearly still learning the 182 and that it won’t just drop out of the sky like a 172 with full flaps (well…it WILL, but I just dont know how to do it safely yet!).
thanks for reading, happy flying and reading!
Today’s flying: 1.4hrs, 1.4hrs simulated instrument
Total flying time: 162.7hrs
Total IR Training: 6.3hrs