April 05, 2005

A First...

A leisurely trip in 4JG through the twilight to Modesto (KMOD) with Boyan (my sometime flight-share partner) and back. I fly out, under a proper filed IFR flight plan -- my first as a certified gen-u-wine IFR-type pilot thing -- and Boyan flies back VFR. Boyan's curious about what a Real IFR flight's like, and I do it without the Cone of Stupidity so I can answer his questions. Everything is utterly straightforward and predictable, but I'm still somewhat nervous -- which is ludicrous, but there you are. A severe clear VMC evening, little-to-no traffic outside the main airways, a bunch of laid back Northern Californian controllers doing their competent thing with humour and grace, and a flight through Yet Another Boring Bay Area Sunset.

Flying 4JG again after 2SP brings home just how much better the Garmin 530 can be than 2SP's KLN 94 -- not just the bigger display, but the interface still seems friendlier, or at least less prone to inducing user error. It's still not friendly -- will there ever be a GPS unit that's as simple to use as an OBS or HSI? -- but somehow I make fewer errors setting it up and changing it on-the-fly (inevitably we didn't actually fly any of the original clearance beyond the initial departure vectors -- we got cleared direct Modesto within five miles of Oakland...).

I have to say I'd miss 2SP's autopilot on long flights or high workload segments, but it's not the big deal I sometimes think it could be. But then I wasn't under the Cone of Stupidity, was I? Makes all the difference...

Congratulations Hamish!!!

You'll have to tell me the secret I just started along the same route.

Greg (from the Aero Club)
Greg -- thanks! No secret, though, just a good instructor and a near-obsessive wish to get the damn thing over!
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