Friday, February 6, 2009

Instrument XC and flight school progress

Today was a good day. It did start early, though. The alarm went off at 3am, but getting out of bed to fly an airplane is one of the easier reasons to go ahead and get with it. By 0445, I was on the phone to flight service (after a 10-minute wait...does Lockheed Martin have a land line connected to some alarm clock somewhere? I mean really, a 10-minute wait before 0500?). Anyway, the plan was McGregor-Fort Worth Meacham via the SLUGG 5 arrival, ILS approach at Meacham, then home to McGregor via the JOE POOL 3 departure. We were cleared as filed, and away we went.

Tracking on the way up and on the way back went really well. I think I've just about got this bracketing thing down. Really proud of that, because it gave me fits when I first started (waay back, two weeks ago :)) and was trying to use these monstrous correction angles.

The ILS into Meacham went beautifully. Really no problems at all holding the localizer and I only got above the glideslope briefly. Looked up and saw the approach end of the runway just as we hit our DH. We executed a modified (by ATC) missed approach and they vectored us to our first fix on the JOE POOL 3, and we were on our way home.

The wind was wicked by this point...I think we averaged 56 knots GPS-indicated ground speed. I don't know if I went that slow in the Cub last weekend. The convenient thing about this departure is it brings you back into the Waco VORTAC at about 186 degrees, and the final approach course for the VOR 17 at McGregor is 185 degrees. Voila, a no-procedure turn approach was granted without our approach.

The wind got sporty down below 3,000, but my landing was pretty much a greaser. Good cap to a good day of flying. Best part is, I think, that at least 2/3 of the flight was actual IMC. I'm getting more actual IMC in my instrument training than anyone else I can remember, and it's a total blast.

In other news, I did an oral stage check with the Chief Instructor at McGregor this evening. Went really well. He actually brought up the fact that the grapevine holds that me and Parker are starting a flight school over at Waco this spring, and seemed pretty cool about it. Have an in-air stage check Tuesday night, but it's stage 1 so it will be basic attitude flying, etc. Shouldn't be a problem.

Speaking of the flight school, we started moving furniture into our (small) office in the maintenance hangar at Texas Aero today. It's upstairs on a catwalk that overlooks the hangar bay and out through the hangar doors. Markedly improved view from my last office. Waco Flight Training keeps getting closer to reality. And, Parker just decided to put the Mooney on the line so once I get my retract hours (50---I'm going to do the second half of my Instrument in a 182 RG and then my Commercial in the Mooney) I'll get to instruct in a 1990 M20J. Sweet!

I'm now off to crash (on the couch) and then sleep late tomorrow. Training resumes at 0600 sharp on Monday!

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