R2F's IR Ride!! (long)

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
R2F\'s IR Ride!! (long)

As if the ride itself wasn't going to bring enough stress, I found out the night before that the ONLY road leading into the airport was going to be shut down at 6:00 a.m. for a friggin' tri-athelon (TPF, being located on an island in Tampa Bay is a prime location for such an event and the staging area was to be directly across from the airport).

So, I arrived at 5:45 a.m. for my 8:00 a.m. instrument checkride... and sat around drinking coffee and basically twiddling my thumbs.

I tried to review my notes from my studying, but I knew the stuff inside and out and felt that any more studying would cram my brain and be more detrimental than helpful.... so, I went into the "weather room" and got all the pertinent wx briefings in both textual form and from a telephone call to the FSS.... then, I sat.

Luckily for me, the examiner lives on the island. Also - and something I wish I had known before that morning - the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority had trucks on the airport to escort anyone who needed access across the runway via a separate (usually closed) gate.

After his arrival and the initial chit chat, we went into one of the offices to start the oral exam. As he was checking my paperwork and what-not, I informed him that the wx briefing that I had obtained from FSS indicated that there was a very good chance of some nasty weather moving in around 10:00 a.m -11:00 a.m. which would most likely be problematic.

So, he suggested we go fly first THEN do the Oral Exam - which was PERFECT by me as it was the flying part that had me wound up the most.

We flew directly to the practice area and did the steep turns which I nailed and then unusual attitude recovery - also nailed. The key is to TALK YOUR WAY THROUGH EACH STEP (I did this out loud so that he could hear my train of thought and KNOW that I understood what I was doing and why).

Then, he told me to fly a heading of 080 and intercept the 230 radial off of the LAL VOTAC. No sweat. Dialed it in and was on course in less than a minute.

He asked if I was ready to copy the holding instructions and then instructed me to hold on the north on the 360 radial of the LAL VORTAC. He then asked me what entry we would make, to which I replied "Parallel"... and he said "VERY GOOD...now turn to 270 and let's set up for the ILS to RWY 5"... so, no holding. He merely wanted to see if I understood the concept - WHEW!!

He was taking me west so that we would have plenty of time to turn back towards the marker, however, a Bonanza was on approach several miles out and for whatever reason, ATC decided to turn us IN FRONT of the Bonanza. By doing so, he turned me directly on TOP of the marker., giving me NO time to get the localizer to come in.

My DE said "he didn't do you any favors, did he?"

Me: No sir, but let's see if I can do this thing.

It took some fancy adjustments with the power settings and we had to descend at a much higher vertical speed, but I kept the Localizer PEGGED and soon had the glideslope pegged as well.

Him: VERY nice. Now go missed.

We then did the NDB for the same runway. We had a really strong wind (15G23) that reeked havoc on my mental math…. he probably could have failed me on that one, but - again - I talked it through OUT LOUD the entire time and he knew that I knew that I knew.

Went missed again and requested the VOR for RWY 9 ... that's when he "failed" my vacuum system... that's right ... PARTIAL PANEL BABY!!

No sweat - did the mental math mojo tricks that my instructor had taught me and nailed EVERY heading change! Intercepted the VOR inbound and kept that baby CENTERED.

We did a circle to land on that one to RWY 23 and the wind kept blowing us a bit off, but I kept letting him know that I was on top of it.

Circled to land at 700 AGL and did a HORRIBLE x-wind landing - worst I've done since I learned how to land.... it was NASTY. Landed WAY right of centerline - yikes!

Off we went back to TPF. We basically shot the crap on the way back, then landed on RWY 21 - with yet another HORRIBLE x-wind landing....

(NOTE TO SELF: Work on x-wind landings!!)

...then it was time for the Oral Exam.

I can tell you that my DE is a crafty SOB. He did not ask the questions as you see them in the ASA Oral Exam Guide Book. No sir - his questions were phrased in such a manner that he had me stuttering and stammering all over the place... but, there wasn't one that I didn't know the answer to (in the end).

We then talked about the things that he thought were good and the things that he believed needed work (see x-wind landings)... and it was over!!

Started at 8:00 a.m., flew for 1.4, and walked out a newly-minted Instrument Rated Pilot just after 11:00 a.m., June 7, 2003.

If I could offer any advice to anyone who is about to take their ride - it's USE YOUR CHECKLISTS!! I was either constantly verbally or physically referring to either a hard-copy checklist or a mental one (i.e. - the aircraft checklist, GUMPS, "Five T's" or "Five A's"...or whatever checklist your instructor has you using) and TALK your way through it the ENTIRE time - from start-up to shut down.... TALK out loud. I cannot emphasize that enough.

Good luck to all of you and...

COMMERCIAL HERE I COME!!!


R2F
PPSEL/IA
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
Re: R2F\'s IR Ride!! (long)

Again, congrats; thanks for the info! Hope the vacition did some good
 

juskl

Well-Known Member
Re: R2F\'s IR Ride!! (long)

My checkride went the same. You nailed it on the head about talking outloud to yourself. That worked very well for me as well. That way the examiner is not trying to guess what you are doing. They know. Even if you are a bit off, the fact that you recognize it and are talking your way back in the groove made all the difference in the world. I am glad that I didn't have your crosswind, but my landing was one of the worst. My examiner even made a comment about needing to see her chiropractor.....Oh well. Pass is Pass.
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
Re: R2F\'s IR Ride!! (long)

[ QUOTE ]
I am glad that I didn't have your crosswind, but my landing was one of the worst. My examiner even made a comment about needing to see her chiropractor.....Oh well. Pass is Pass.

[/ QUOTE ]
Too funny! My DE said "Couple of exciting landings there, huh?"


And AMEN - a pass is a pass...

..although I will be beating myself up until I do a few x-wind landings and get `em right.
 

Alchemy

Partner, Ally, Friend
Re: R2F\'s IR Ride!! (long)

Great write-up and congrats on passing. My instrument checkride seemed similair to yours, and I strongly agree with just about everything you said. Well done.
 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
Re: R2F\'s IR Ride!! (long)

Awesome, Awesome, Awesome!!!! That's great, man. Have you been on your first solo IFR flight yet? That's a weird feeling. The big question is, Have you been in IMC by yourself yet? That one is kinda spooky...almost scary!!! But ohhhh so fun (as long as you're ready, which you are- theoretically..hmm, I'll shut up now before I confuse myself....).

Good job, man, and again - Congrats!!!
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
Re: R2F\'s IR Ride!! (long)

[ QUOTE ]
That's great, man. Have you been on your first solo IFR flight yet? That's a weird feeling. The big question is, Have you been in IMC by yourself yet?

[/ QUOTE ]
THANKS MTSU!

The answers are:

No and No. Haven't been flying yet (believe it or not
). I went on vacation (cruise to the Bahamas- which ROCKED) the very next day and I have been basically studying for the next step since I got back.

I'm flying Saturday and will file IFR. As for flying around single pilot in IMC.... think I'll wait until I've done it a couple of more times with another instrument rated pilot in the plane.


But.... I AM looking forward to that day!!

R2F
 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
Re: R2F\'s IR Ride!! (long)

The instrument ticket, when used correctly, really lets you stretch your legs more. And even after you've done it a bunch of times, there are times that you have to stop and think about how useful that rating really is.

A couple of months ago, my girlfriend - well, ex-girlfriend, but that's a different sad, sad story
- and I had a trip planned. we were going out to Memphis and spend a long weekend. Of course, I was flying, and we made hotel reservations, FBO reservations ( If you're ever at KMEM, go to Wilson - the best FBO in the state), and we were ready.

Well, everybody knows Tennesse weather in the springtime. For almost three weeks before our trip, the weather was wet and rainy.....no VFR days, and not one day of sunshine. On the day of our departure, when I checked the weather, Nashville was showing overcast at about 1400 with 6 miles of visibility. Tops were being reported at around 5000 feet, and in some places as high as 8000. Memphis was reporting 1400 overcast with 4 miles in mist - very reasonable. They were forecasting that for the remainder of the evening (we were scheduled to arrive at about 1800 local).
Off we jumped into the wild blue yonder...well, wild gray yonder, and 20 minutes later, we're direct memphis on top of the most beautiful cloud layer we had ever seen. Sunshine, and unrestricted visibility. Lot's of cool points for the pilot in command (can you say it was a wonderful weekend...??
)!!!! There was one thing bothering me, however. By the time we were at cruise and I checked the weather at KMEM, they were reporting 900 overcast. halfway there, it was 800 overcast. So, I briefed the possible approaches, and got ready to expect the worse.

when I began our initial descent, Memphis was reporting 400 overcast, with 2 miles in rain and mist. Grreeeaaaaat. I wasn't sweating it much with regards to my currency, as I think I'd shot about 8 actual approaches in the last 60 days. But I was worried about my passenger, who although she was a frequent flier with me, had never been on an actual approach. Well, she did great!!!! And I scored more points when I broke out at about 400 AGL, rain all over the place, with those pretty lights comming slowly out of the dark. She was very, very impressed (more cool points)!!!!!

I say all of that to say IT'S SO COOL!!!! It's really the most awesome flying in the world!! you can go on trips that would otherwise be cancelled, and get some real utility out of the airplane. Just be safety minded - always have an out, or at least an almost-out (if there's no reasonable alternate - don't go). Don't fly a single with questionable reliability in low IMC....it's stupid. And have fun!! That's why we fly, isn't it!!!!!
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
Re: R2F\'s IR Ride!! (long)

Good stuff!! Real good stuff!! Thanks for that!!

I have a question though - for you MTSU - or for any newly-minted IR pilot - how long was it before you went up in IMC conditions single pilot?

I ask because I'm considering flying with another guy who got his IR two days after mine - to share expenses/build time/ and to get used to being in the system.... before jumpin' off in IMC solo.

What do ya'll think?
 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
Re: R2F\'s IR Ride!! (long)

Honestly (don't let me encourage you....), I got my ticket on Saturday, and I flew in IMC on Monday night by myself. It was a short trip, 67 miles from KISO to KRDU. And it wasn't much IMC, to tell you the truth....like scattered at 2,000 with tops at 4,000. OK, and so what, I climbed to 6,000.....but nevertheless, it was IMC, dang it!!!
. I did that every chance I got, but I didn't try anything wild for a couple of weeks, just to get comfy with the system and procedures. I did, however, feel froggy enough to fly from KISO to KOLV alone about 2 weeks later....did it as a favor for an FBO, but that was an eye opener. Mountain flying (if that's what you easterners call these mole hills....) is really something else. You know those roll clouds you see in all the books? Well, they're right....don't fly through them.....
.

So, I think I had my ticket for about a month before I really got comfy enough to fly in hard core IMC alone....and maybe 2 or 3 months before I felt like I could fly an approach to mins alone, after flying 2-3 hours. Alot of people will tell you, "Don't do that in a single...", but it happens. It can be done safely, and without problems. But it ain't nothin' like the hood!!!!
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
Re: R2F\'s IR Ride!! (long)

True, true! I was fortunate enough to get 2.1 hours of Actual during my IR (not a lot in the grand scheme of things, I know), and it let me see why I was doing this.

Ain't nothing in the world like popping out of the clouds on approach.... and THERE's the RWY/RWY lights - right where they're supposed to be!!


I can't wait to get up into the system and get used to that. That lone x/c I took with my instructor was....instructional... but, I hardly feel like I am "well versed" in IFR flying..... yet.

Guess it's like everything else - no substitute for experience.

I don't want to be OVERLY cautious, however, and NOT use my newly earned privileges. Guess I should just man up and go do it, huh?

Don't get me wrong - not "Scared", just more along the lines of "what's it gonna be like by myself?"
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
Re: R2F\'s IR Ride!! (long)

Ready2Fly

I went up in IMC with Iain just days after getting my rating. I got 0.9 actual on that first flight; it was fantastic.

To tell you the truth... if you are planning on using your rating the time is now.

You're fresh off your training and, while you might not have much experience, you're skills are sharp and after all, it's what you've been training for.

I really can't describe what it's like flying into IMC without the 'safety net' of the instructor. My heart was pounding in the very first cloud (you're taught to fear the stuff in private pilot school). I got through it and the rest of the flight was really, really fun and exciting.

I will vividly remember that flight for a LONG time!

Since then I've been flying in as much actual as humanly possible here in socal. That equates to not much more than the marine layer and a few approaches, but this weekend I got 0.9 acutal and flew my first non precision approach solo. I *think* my lowest approach so far has been something like 1 and 3/4sm vis with ceilings around 600'. Even with 1 3/4 vis you still break out and see nothing but the ground under you... and those runway lights shining from 1.5 miles out are really something to behold! I can't immagine what an approach to minimums would be like, though I'm sure I can do it if the forecasts fall through.

Each flight I've been more relaxed and confident; each flight is easier and more fun!!! And you get MUCH more utility out of your flying... Hell I can pretty much take any plane I want at my school when all the VFR guys cancel and I want to go up.

Yup...flying on cloudy days is great!
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
Re: R2F\'s IR Ride!! (long)

Excellent! Thanks for the response, Ed.

I was talking with my parents a couple of days ago and my mother said "I think your flight this weekend will be canceled. There's supposed to be a lot of rain..."



I said "Um - Mom - don't think so. I'm instrument rated now - remember?"

At any rate, I'll be flying Sunday barring any unforseen events. Looking forward to it!!
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
Re: R2F\'s IR Ride!! (long)

Be sure to let us know when it happens!


and... can it be??? When did you get more posts than me?!??
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
Re: R2F\'s IR Ride!! (long)

[ QUOTE ]
Be sure to let us know when it happens!

[/ QUOTE ]
Will do. I have lessons all this week (I'm going ahead and getting my multi-engine/instrument rating en-route to the Comm.- i.e. figured that if I was building time, I may as well add another rating....) and I have a Cessna reserved for this coming Sunday (July 6th) - rain or shine, we're (Tim - a Comm. pilot working on his CFI) and I are going.

[ QUOTE ]
and... can it be??? When did you get more posts than me?!??

[/ QUOTE ]
Actually, I've had you beat for a while. My user name "ready2fly" should actually say "ready2fly-2" because the "original" R2F got "lost" in one of the system upgrades and the name magically changed to the first part of my e-mail address and I couldn't change it back. So, I had to re-create the "ready2fly" moniker.


I *think* I registered (the first time) in November, 2001. Might have been October of that year - I forget.
 

I_Money

Moderator
Re: R2F\'s IR Ride!! (long)

GOOD JOB R2F!!!! A good check ride feels great!!!

[ QUOTE ]
I went up in IMC with Iain just days after getting my rating. I got 0.9 actual on that first flight; it was fantastic.

[/ QUOTE ]

Yeah it was good fun - the funny thing was when we took off Ed an Instrument rated pilot had less actual then me - just a fair weather weekend warrior.

[ QUOTE ]
I really can't describe what it's like flying into IMC without the 'safety net' of the instructor. My heart was pounding in the very first cloud

[/ QUOTE ]

I think that was the consensus on going into that cloud! It was quite amusing - I was on the edge of my seat.

[ QUOTE ]
Yup...flying on cloudy days is great!

[/ QUOTE ]

He has even cancelled flights as the weather was 'too good'
 
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