September 25, 2005
We stop again at Napa (KAPC) on the way back and discover that the apron's chock-a-block full of shiny business jets, expensive-looking piston twins, and a fleet of aerobatic Yaks. We never find out what the occasion was, but I've never seen the ramp at Napa that full before. We grab the last available transient parking spot after a mad dash across several lanes -- just like parking in The City, including successfully heading off a likely competitor in a Cherokee with some deft shortcuts -- and park between a couple of Bonanzas. Inside the terminal's airport shop we browse the kitschy flying toys and knicknacks, and debate whether to buy anything; in the end we just sit around in the cool air for a few minutes and watch the people come and go at Jonesy's (not quite our cup of tea, but never mind, it's famous, dammit!). Then it's back over the beautiful colours and shapes of the lower Delta to Hayward.
Not the 600 NM IFR trip I'd obsessively planned all week, but a nice flight anyway.
* * *
During pre-flight I somehow manage to slip while checking the seatbelts, and bash my forehead against the door frame. It's painful, but I don't think much more about it until Artist 3 looks at me a little oddly and says I have blood all over my forehead. Hmmmm. I wander back into Cal Air's office and get a similar (but rather less blase) response from Linda behind the desk. Turns out I've cut my forehead fairly impressively, and a couple of bandages later I look like some sort of beaten up homeless guy (especially since I'm limping slightly from an earlier injury and am wearing my Worst Clothes Ever). I spend the rest of the day making up stories about how it happened. It's amazing how much a small almost-painless shallow cut on the forehead can bleed...
September 22, 2005
September 20, 2005
I'm initially stumped that there doesn't seem to be any way to decouple only the vertical axis parts of the AP -- I find altitude easier to control than heading on IMC approaches and I'm not sure I want to have to dial in floor altitudes or work out required vertical speeds on the fly during an approach -- but I quickly get used to that, too. It really just isn't that hard to work out how to use this, and I do the LOC / DME 28L back into Hawyard fully-coupled, basically just sitting there watching for traffic, keeping the throttle and trim appropriate to the approach, dialing in the new floor altitudes, and making damn sure the AP is doing what I ask it to do. Magic, as I keep saying.
I'm also confused about how to use the AP for an ILS -- while it's obvious how to use it for non-precision approaches, I don't want to be vertically-coupled on an ILS if all I've got to control the AP is vertical speed or desired altitude. I feel I'm missing something really obvious here, so I call John and see if he's got any advice. The answer's pretty obvious in retrospect -- if the unit's in approach mode and vertical guidance (i.e. the glideslope) is operational out of the HSI or ILS, it'll use it. I need to practice this on a real ILS sometime soon. And read the manual properly this time.