August 10, 2008
First news is that John's student Evan and I went flying together again a few weeks ago, alternating PIC / safety pilot duties for a really enjoyable long flight to and around Napa (KAPC), Sacramento (KSAC), Rio Vista (O88), and Oakland (KOAK, home base). Lots of real-world IFR work under the hood (and just enough actual IMC for me to have to do the flying in and out of Oakland to get through the unexpectedly-persistent stratus), including being slammed onto Napa's localizer some two thousand feet too high and way too close-in, being vectored around and around (and back again) while being sent to Oakland's ILS 27R for an IMC approach (I don't think I've done that approach straightforwardly now for several years — it's always one damn thing or another nowadays, usually the result of traffic spacing issues by the sound of things), my forgetting to cancel IFR on the missed at Napa and unintentionally tying up the airspace for billions of nautical miles around us (or so the Oakland Center controller rather testily implied when he finally got around to asking whether we really intended to stay IFR; usually I cancel on the missed and tell the controller we'll do the rest as practice approaches, which is essential at Napa but not so essential at Sacramento or Stockton or places directly under NorCal's control rather than Oakland Center's), and landing straight into the teeth of a steady 30 knot headwind at Rio Vista (Evan did the landing after a perfect VOR approach from Sacramento VOR under the hood; I remember looking out and thinking we could as well be walking at that speed). Evan's booked for his instrument checkride sometime soon, and unless he makes a silly mistake, he'll pass it with better flying and instrument work than I'm capable of.
Second news is that the other E, "E." (another of John's students and an occasional safety pilot for me), got her instrument rating last week on her first attempt. Cool! Congratulations...