Friday, 24 January 2014

IMC Rating - Lesson 10 an NDB Approach into Manston Runway 28

Last Sunday’s lesson was reserved for my first ‘live’ NDB approach into Manston (ICAO: EGMH). The weather was lovely… dry, cold and clear. It’s only a shame I wasn’t to benefit from any of this beautiful vista as I was clearly destined to be behind the screens,  heads down stressing over some needles. We have still been suffering from a lot of overnight rain which has meant that the ground is absolutely soaked. This has closed grass airstrips like Rochester for several weeks. I feel for the pilots essentially marooned in that situation. I suppose the wise ones relocate in the winter. I don’t know, I’ll have to ask a few!

All considered the actual approach went very well actually and Pete my instructor was kind enough at the end of my lesson to suggest I should be proud of how it turned out. Especially given it was my first one. The ADF behaved impeccably which clearly was pivotal to this most satisfactory outcome. Had it gone berserk or just plain lied it could all have been a different story of course.

Getting out from Southend down to Manston was obviously a straight forward affair. Leaving R24 and heading SSE to intercept the 000 Radial from the Detling VOR. Then tracking south until about 5nm to go before turning left to intercept the 085 radial. I was quite surprised that the ident for MTN wasn’t available until we were practically approaching the ATZ, and even then it was somewhat inaudible to us. Leaving Southend I was at 2100 feet going down to Detling where I had decided to climb to 3000 feet.

The radio work leading into Manston caught me out as it was completely new and for this reason I struggled understanding what came at me. The words coming toward me was a melody I had not heard before. I wasn’t expecting it. During the debrief at the end of my lesson Pete gave me an overview of the types of things to expect which I will look into. He also added that upon calling them the ATC person gave me a number of things at the same time which technically speaking he should have limited. I think if memory serves he cleared me to the MTN beacon and followed this at the same time with the clearance outbound as well as giving me the QNH and possibly asking me a question. I can’t quite remember how it came at me only that it was like Wooooaaah. Lesson learned I guess. Although I planned everything else meticulously I had not looked into what vocabulary I would be dancing with on the radio! I had forgot how distracting it could be.

So anyway.. the approach into R28. Well you can see from the screen shot it went to plan, so I was pleased with that. I had picked out the 10 mile long NDB approach not by design simply as it was the first one I came to in the UK AIP. This meant we went out quite far over the sea so Pete ensured we had some life jackets in the back.

I had been briefed by Pete that when on Final Approach, that I should call out the descent numbers (vertical profile I was following). For example : “7miles 100 feet high, adjusting”, “at 6m we should be 2140”, “6m 100 feet low, adjusting” and so forth. This was good advice and helped me ‘zone in’. Likewise he told me to talk out loud through the approach over the beacon and the outbound leg details before performing the landing checks etc. When in visual contact with the runway I was asked to do a non-standard missed approach. This appears to simply be a profile that differs from the one published on the approach plate.

On the way back to Southend I was given an SRA service (Surveillance Radar Approach) which I was so impressed with. Essentially some clever person in front of a radar screen telling me exactly what headings to fly so I end up nicely on final approach! Brilliant! What a service!

Confirmation Points – I find it reassuring to have as many confirmation mechanisms as possible. Why have a VOR unused when it could be doing something for you? An example in this approach was I had my VOR2 tuned to the DVR beacon and positioned on the OBI at 180. The theory being when I reached MTN I should be approximately centred on this VOR. I’m pleased to say I remembered to check VOR2 while I waiting for the ADF needle to fall over the beacon, and even more pleased to report it was centred!

So next week I think we are moving to the ILS. Although I had a nibble at this a couple of weeks ago I can imagine the first time going round a circuit doing 4/5 is going to fry me completely. We shall see!

Departure: 12:55 Arrival: 14:25
Total Time: 1:30 | IMC Rating: 1:20

Total Hours = 63:35 DUAL + 21:00 PIC [P1] + 2:10 [PICUS]
Total IMC Rating: 9:35

Total Time = 86:45

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