Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Right Seat

Objectives of this flight: Safety Pilot. My job was to look outside and insure we stayed clear of clouds and other aircraft. The PIC had chosen to fly to C22 (Centre Muni) in Alabama, shoot a VOR DME (arc) approach, over to Rome for the ILS 01 and then back home via vectors for the ILS27.

It was a beautiful afternoon. A high pressure area was located just west of us pushing a cold front through earlier in the morning. Good visibility, few clouds and haze, but the winds were supposedly gusting up to 18kts. Forecast said the winds would be diminishing throughout the evening.

We met in the flight office at about 3:30, briefed the flight, discussed what duties he wanted me to perform and decided a VFR flight plan would not be needed. Normal preflight, startup, taxi, and runup. A little gusty on takeoff, but not too bad, he climbed 4500 heading west. Smooth air, nicer then forecst, sun in our faces, we flew right by Cedartown (A4) while listening for traffic. The First chore was to intercept the arc at ITZUN, arc around to the west and north for the final approach course of 270 into C22. The GPS makes the arc work really simple, and he did a good job staying ahead of the needles. He had a bit of a late start on the descent, made good corrections, but still ended up high on final and decided on a low approach and go around. Full stop was uneventful. It is a nice little airport and we saw no other traffic.

All checks normal, we left there heading for Rome. He used the GPS to fly to KAREL (IAF), standard holding patten with a direct entry for the procedural turn and started inbound. A Citabria was in the pattern doing T&Gs, so my job got a bit busier. We spotted each other in plenty of time and he graciously took interval on us as we went down to mins and executed the missed back to the RMG VOR.

Next job was to get radar vectors for the ILS back home. Atlanta approach was busy. It took a few minutes, but we finally got our squawk. There was at least one other aircraft with a similar call sign, so we both had to listen carefully for instructions. We decided it would be best for him to take off the foggles to give us another pair of eyeballs looking for traffic. Also, the sun was at a low angle and the haze was thick enough to really obscure everything when looking west. It was a tight approach, final vectors called for a sharp turn to capture the final approach course just at AKONE (Final Approach Fix). He did well keeping up with it, made a nice approach and a beautiful landing.

What a great way to spend an afternoon! We went 194 miles, reached 148 mph and climbed up to 4613 ft.

Time = 2.1

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