August 23, 2006
Command And Control
The whole flight's been a bit like this so far: lots of small things going wrong, but I seem to have developed an ability to not panic but step back and work around the issue. For example, I was unable to get the autopilot to couple with the glideslope on the only coupled approach I did, the second ILS-29R into Stockton; in that case I gave up in disgust and set the AP's vertical speed to 500fpm down, which (with appropriate attention to the throttle) tracked the glideslope nicely. So far, in every case I manage to keep my cool and work around the problem, and I end up feeling pretty good about it all.
We go back to NorCal on the missed and ask for the practice localiser approach back into Hayward (KHWD), our home base. A short while later we're back on the ground, 2.5 hours logged, 2.3 continuous hours under the hood, five approaches (GPS, VOR, LOC, and 2 x ILS), a couple of holds, a bunch of enroute flying it all adds up .
* * *
One of the aims of this evening's flight is to take heed of John's observations about the difference between flying glass and flying the old way. As one of his students, I learned both the traditional instrument flying techniques and the glass cockpit techniques with him, and I'm curious just how much the old ways have contaminated my glass flying. And of course, it turns out he's right I really am treating the glass instruments as just glorified versions of the older gauges, when I really should be adopting a more "command and control" approach to things. It's not hard, and in many cases it's really just "obvious", and by the end of the flight I'm having no trouble using the AI as more of a flight director thing than as something to react to. The difference in things like heading and altitude stability is obvious I really am finding the G1000 easier to fly than the old steam gauges. It's an attitude thing, really, in every sense of the word.
The other reason for this flight (apart from the fun of actually flying, of course ) is to maintain currency. No, I'm nowhere near losing instrument currency legally, but I like to keep my hand in, and as long as someone like Boyan's up for it, a decent workout like this evening's keeps me sharp. Or sharper than if I just did the minimums, I hope.
August 16, 2006
Yet Another JABBAS
Back at Hayward we sit on a bench in the late evening calm and eat a snack in the darkness beside the club. We watch a few late stragglers arriving or departing on 28L long after the tower's closed for the night, and talk about the flight. Sheena's been in small planes before, but as she says, flying in California is so different from flying in most of Texas or over the fly-over states where she flew here's there's always the landscape: mountains, oceans, canyons, rivers and it's hypnotically-beautiful rather than just hypnotic.
The idyl's spoiled completely by Sheena getting stung by a bee as we sit there eating. I'm never going to hear the end of this one she survives what everyone's telling her is a dangerous thing to do ("those small planes are always falling out of the sky!!") only to be bitten by a bee. I drive her back to her place wondering whether she's going to die from anaphylactic shock or whatever, but she makes it back to her place without any obvious problems.
[Two day later: Sheena's entire arm managed to get incredibly itchy and there's still an angry red patch around the sting, but otherwise there's no obvious harm. I guess I survived that one ].
August 10, 2006
By Any Means Necessary, Redux
Well, lo and behold, here's a NOTAM I just noticed:
!FDC 6/0993 TCY FI/T TRACY MUNI, TRACY, CA.
VOR OR GPS A, AMDT 5...
MISSED APPROACH: IMMEDIATE CLIMBING RIGHT TURN TO 2000 VIA
HEADING 320 AND ECA R-229 TO TRACY INT AND HOLD.
Someone's listening, I guess :-). Or someone complained loud enough (not me).