IFR Lesson 5: Hot, bumpy, bad flight to NDB approach at Springfield (KSGH)

Howdy folks.

So today was my first real frustrating flight.  Today we planned to do the NDB approach into Springfield. Springfield is mostly an Air National Guard base that is silent on the weekends, so today we anticipated a closed control tower and little or no traffic.

We departed MGY in little wind and mostly sunshine-filled skies.  Once airborne off MGY, I donned my favorite vision-restriction-device and started a Northeasterly track to pick up the NDB beacon near Springfield. The 23nm trip from MGY to SGH only took about 10 minutes.

At 3,000 feet above the ground, I had a hard time maintaining a level altitude as we crossed above shopping centers, highways, and small lakes.  There was a lot of heat coming up from the ground that was bouncing us around, as well as generating up-drafts which aren’t fun at this point.

Today we used an NDB but also the Rosewood VOR to identify the DEFWO intersection while on the final approach course.  Just one more thing to add to an already overwhelming workload for my little brain.

I won’t detail everything, because it is probably boring.. and, I don’t remember all of it.  My brain turned to mush about when we crossed the IAF (initial approach fix) at the NDB.  I did my entry and outbound ok, but inbound was horrible.  I couldn’t track the NDB for a variety of reasons – I didn’t reset the direction gyro to the compass, I wasn’t reacting quick enough to the off-course indications, and I descending through my minimum-altitude on final a little too soon.

Dean had me try it again with a little more success, but when I took the foggles off I was about 1.5 miles south of the runway… Probably too far away to actually see the airport if we were in real instrument-weather.   After this, Dean did the approach to show me how it could still be done given the bumpiness and inaccuracy of the NDB.  His approach was much more forceful and reactive in deviations, precise in adjustments, and pretty darn accurate – only ending up about 1/8th of a mile off the runway on the 2.6 mile leg frmo the NDB.

I tried another one, and while I got much closer to the runway before I took the foggles off and had a look, I was still struggling to keep all the needles and widgets in the their place.  I was not happy with myself and really thought about just heading home at this point. Luckily, Dean helped me with by seeing my frustration and calling it a day.

The interesting part about the IFR training, compared to basic pilot training, is that when you’re fed up with IFR training you still have to fly home for another 15 or 20 minutes and land the damn airplane.  In my basic training, if things didn’t go well, the CFI would just take us back and land.. then we’d talk about it.  Here, I’m still flying and have to land the item of frustration… For me, this is an exercise in patience.   It is ongoing… we’ll see.

Today’s flying: 1.7hrs, 1.5hrs simulated instrument
Total flying time: 164.4hrs
Total IR Training: 8.0hrs

1 Comment »

  1. Steve Said,

    July 13, 2011 @ 11:26 pm

    I think I’ve heard a couple stories like this from everyone I know who’s been thru IR training… but hey, I’d be just as frustrated if it was me up there. Hope you have one of those a-ha moments soon!

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