On Sunday I was back at Southend for the continuation of my IMC course. It has to be said, the weather was OK when I arrived but as I will explain it had closed in considerably by the time we returned. This lesson was reserved for some ADF tracking around the Manningtree Mast in the north. I believe this is used by Essex Radio so when you ident it on the ADF you don’t get a Morse Code ident rather than some Alan Partridge type DJ!
I had done some ADF tracking before (over the Rochester NDB) but my new instructor needed to cover this off. I presume (and quite rightly so) to make sure I could actually ADF track before we went somewhere that mattered! The conclusion from the lesson was in the words of my instructor.. ok so you can ADF Track!
How was the lesson organised? Well, after a briefing from Pete and my own aircraft checks we departed Runway 24. This which was a bit ‘cross-windy’ at 160/15 but the take-off was ok (no flaps) . At 500ft I did a climbing turn right and headed 060 to intercept 360 QDR from the Southend NDB. My estimate here by the way was I wanted to get a 45 Degree intercept but figured I would possibly be using 15 degrees of wind correction to the right (45 + 15 = 60). Maintaining this northerly track for approx. 10 miles I turned right and tracked North East to the mast. We ended up above cloud at this point so Pete downgraded our Traffic Service to a Basic Service. The wind was quite strong and I got blown north of the mast not really establishing a decent track. This knocked me out the outbound leg of the turn so coming back to the mast my instructor made me do this again. By this time I had a fair idea of the drift and the necessary wind correction angle and it went ‘text book’. His words not mine! It was good practice for me to experience the ADF go beserk at one point which appeared to be Coastal Effect. So then, all ok, ADF lesson completed it was time to head back.
Coming back to Southend there appeared to be some drama occurring with a Helicopter lost in cloud. This couldn’t have been good for the poor nerves of the pilot. I was assured by Pete we were quite safe where we were and he directed me to ask Southend Radar for a vectored ILS service. This was accepted and I was vectored onto the localiser of the ILS. Coming down the glideslope of the ILS I was coached by Pete into making little nibbles off of the heading and the height to maintain within half scale deflection. When I reached Decision Height Pete removed the screen and I could see the runway … considerably over to the right! This was because I had been tracking down the ILS with a good degree of heading into wind.
Coming into 24 it was a bit bumpy, cross windy and it was raining so new aircraft + bad weather = not a perfect landing. That said, Pete seemed pleased with it. Next time I get in that situation I’ll use a bit more rudder as I don’t think I landed perfectly straight. With a new aircraft you need to develop a feel for the control forces needed. I’ve noticed compared to the C172, the PA28 needs a bit more force applied on its controls. Note taken.
Next week, weather permitting we are due to perform an NDB approach to Manston. With the prevailing winds this will probably be R28 we shall see. Time to prepare and sharpen up some things (From /To on the VOR checks, calling out the descent heights etc). Can't wait!
Brakes Off: 14:00 Brakes On: 15:30
Total Time: 1:30 | IMC Rating: 1:15
Total Hours = 62:05 DUAL + 21:00 PIC [P1] + 2:10 [PICUS]
Total IMC Rating: 8:15
Total Time = 85:15