Tuesday, 25 February 2014

IMC Rating - Lesson 13 Test Profile and an ILS Southend Runway 24

Sunday I was back at Southend on Sea for the continuation of my IMC training. The wind at 2000ft was 50kts and with the scattered cumulus clouds charging angrily across the sky I knew I was in for a roller coaster of a ride, and so it transpired.

The lesson was going to be a test profile which meant replicating a typical test in so far as the type of things to cover as opposed to the strictness and accuracy of their execution.

I found it quite difficult and what with the weather knocking me around, quite taxing in terms of concentration. The final procedural ILS approach coming as it did at the end of the lesson was a real wrestling match. I won and according to Pete my instructor would have passed the real test but couldn't help feel I probably rode my luck a bit. He did say they wouldn't have done an IMC test in the weather we had.

Startup went fine, as did instrument checks and the initial call for taxi. Taxiing was ok, I remembered initial brake check and instrument scan. Right rudder numbers increasing (HI, Compass, Turn Indicator), left rudder numbers decreasing etc...

I was cleared to holding point Bravo 1 but felt drawn to the Alpha taxiway for some reason. Probably because there was an easyjet  plane there and I may have subliminally felt it offered me shelter from the howling wind. Anyway power checks done I called ready for departure and was cleared to enter the runway and due to possible wake turbulence backtrack to the end and line up and wait. Landing light on, compass and HI QDM checked and transponder set to ALT.

When cleared for takeoff I eased the throttle open and monitored full power present, Pressure and Temperatures steady and within the (green) limits and that the airspeed indicator was 'live'. Saying this out loud twice (as is my ritual) I rotated at 75mph and with right rudder kept the departure more accurate than last week where I yawed and hence slightly 'skidded off' the centre line on the climb out as I was not quite in balance.

So the lesson went along the lines of take off Runway 24, right turn climb to 2200ft heading 360 for a 30 degree intercept on a QDR of 330 from the SND beacon. In other words +30 degrees on the heading of 360 waiting for -30 degree tail deflection on the ADF needle. 

When getting the radar service from Southend (transferred from Tower) I told them of my intentions as I was getting a traffic service. 

G-TF tracking 330 degrees from SND beacon for 8 miles.

I then tracked outbound 330 for about 8 miles before intercepting the 070 degrees TO heading (250 Radial) to the Clacton VOR. Once established on that track, I then called the radar service again and advised them of my new intentions.

Once it was clear I was tracking fine for the Clacton VOR Pete downgraded us to a Basic Service and we did some general handling. I found the limited panel tough, not like the C172 but I put this down to the bouncy weather combined with having a Turn Indicator in the PA28 as opposed to having a Turn Coordinator in the C172. My next lesson will involve some more of this I think. Altitude management seemed to be a challenge as well, I don't know if it was the weather booting me around and exposing my poor handling or what, but I would like another go at this. Despite the headache this was to give me Pete my instructor said in the debrief we can work on this next time but that I never lost control and went into a spiral dive and my recovery from unusual attitudes was good. 

Once all that was for done we headed back for a procedural ILS approach via a parallel join. The ILS approach never went beyond half scale deflection but it was a bit of a scrap to be honest. Good experience it has to be said. 

At the end of the approach I was not to land but go around and do a bad weather circuit at 600ft. Which went ok. The chief thing here to remember is keeping it tight and not stray too far and maintain good visual contacts with the runway. Something of a minima you have to imagine if the visibility is very good!

So in summary my instructor was very pleased as it was a tough set of conditions to manage. There are things I need to improve on of course but the challenge feels good, and so I will continue to strive hard to get the most I can from this excellent course.

Departure: 13:40 Arrival: 15:15
Total Time: 1:35 | IMC Rating: 1:15

Total Hours = 67:45 DUAL + 21:00 PIC [P1] + 2:10 [PICUS]
Total IMC Rating: 13:05

Total Time = 90:55

Monday, 24 February 2014

Book Review: No Parachute - Arthur Gould Lee

This beautiful book is from the first world war which along with The Battle of Britain is a period of history I find most captivating. I could not rate this book highly enough. It is written rather like a diary based on real life correspondence in 1917 between Arthur Gould Lee (a young pilot in the Royal Flying Corps who later rose to be Air Vice Marshall, Royal Air Force) to his wife at home. Reading it really brings home to life how truly brave these young men were and the unimaginable terror and mass loss of life this great war brought to the young men of Europe. People faced their fate in resignation. They were fatalists, is this dive, is this attack going to be my last? I remembered Sagittarius Rising so vividly when I read this. I could not do justice to the authors nor the incredible people of this time to even begin to outline their combined achievements, their sacrifice, their loss. They just "got on with it" and accepted their potential deaths as a possible outcome. The book I got was a hardback version from Waterstones and is published by Grub Street but it is freely available from a variety of sources. Buy the book and transport yourself to 1917. It is a horror story filled with sacrifice and bravery, enough I think to stir the soul and help you imagine a time when men were men, and people were proud of their respective countries.

Monday, 17 February 2014

IMC Rating - Lesson 12 ILS Southend Runwy 24

Yesterday (Sunday Feb 16, 2014) I was back at Southend for some ILS approaches. The weather was really nice with lovely clear blue skies. I'm pleased to say I did three approaches to Runway 24 and they all went well. Well enough that my instructor Pete was pleased with the affair anyway. The wind was again kind with only 10 degrees of drift coming in on final approach so all the numbers made sense. 

Next week the agenda will be a test profile. A kind of lesson which is a recap on some of the earlier work. This should be interesting because although my recent work on the PA28 has gone well its been limited to pretty much tracking. The earlier handling stuff (limited panel, general IMC and recovery from unusual attitude etc) was all done in a different type of aircraft... a C172!

Departure: 15:35 Arrival: 16:55
Total Time: 1:20 | IMC Rating: 1:10

Total Hours = 66:10 DUAL + 21:00 PIC [P1] + 2:10 [PICUS]
Total IMC Rating: 11:50

Total Time = 89:20

Monday, 3 February 2014

IMC Rating - Lesson 11 Vectored ILS Southend Runway 24

Yesterday (Sunday Feb 2, 2014) I arrived at Southend (EGMC) to do some ILS approaches. However, due to some ATC requirements I was given vectored ILS approaches instead. This essentially means not doing the typical outbound procedural leg from over the beacon and then turning base to pick up the localiser. In this instance (what I was offered) was somebody providing me vectors (headings to fly) to pick up the localiser directly with one turn.

The weather was lovely and the wind pretty much straight down runway 24 . This meant coming down on final approach all the numbers made sense.

It was hard work (this is still new to me) but I knew it was going to be. It went very well indeed though and Pete my instructor said it was some excellent instrument flying.

Next week the agenda reverts back to the pure ILS approaches if ATC are ok with this at that time.

Departure: 12:50 Arrival: 14:05
Total Time: 1:15 | IMC Rating: 1:05

Total Hours = 64:50 DUAL + 21:00 PIC [P1] + 2:10 [PICUS]
Total IMC Rating: 10:40

Total Time = 88:00