Thursday, March 02, 2006

Gadsen, Alabama

The objective of this flight: IFR enroute procedures.

The weather was 'iffy'. A cold front was slowly moving down from the Northwest pushing some clouds and rain in front of it. We had planned to fly to KPLR for a $100 Hamburger, but low ceilings and gusty winds made the Go-No Go decision hard. My practice pilot decided to wait for a better day, and by 3:00 I had just about decided to do the same. I called local ATIS one more time and found that at least around here, conditions had improved. So, why not go out and get some actual IFR time shooting the ILS?

By the time I got to the airport, winds were still gusty, but ceilings had gone from overcast to broken. So, I filed IFR to Gadsen Muni, just a waypoint on the way to Pell City, but in the right direction. I don't have much solo IFR time, so this could be interesting. It would give me a chance to practice, as well as play with the GPS a bit (what does that OBS button really do?)

Ground work was all normal, however my clearance came back a bit different then filed. ATC wanted me to go down to HEFIN, then up V321 rather then the shorter DALAS/V325 I filed. Longer route, but I was trying to get some enroute IFR time, so no complaints. *Note: "FAA has suspended all 'position and hold' clearances until further notice." First time I heard that one. Takeoff was normal, climbed to 4000 ft, expecting 6000 in ten minutes. Radar contact, I'm cleared direct GAD. (So much for planning.) I get to punch through a few little white puffy ones before getting on top, and the weather starts getting...nice. Where's my IMC? I guess the front ran out of moisture because the clouds got thin and then vanished. Head winds at about 40 kts with a bubble here and there, but nothing extraordinary. Maybe I can log a tenth.

So I enjoy the trip. Polish airwork, play with the 430, shoot a low approach (GPS RWY 24) and head for home. Vectors for the ILS are a bit interesting as I have two twins in the row behind me so am asked to keep my speed up. a 172 can only go so fast. It turned into a nice approach (although VFR) and a sweet landing.

221 miles, with homeward winds I reached 163 mph and was above the clouds at 6053 feet. This was a good flight. Every so often its nice to spend some time alone up there.

Time = 2.3


Dave said...

from AVWEB:

"Taxi-into-position-and-hold clearances can speed up operations but they can also put aircraft in direct conflict if things go awry and recent stirrings suggest the FAA may be moving toward a nationwide ban on the practice. According to numerous e-mails received by AVweb, the practice will officially end March 20, but FAA sources weren't able to confirm that for AVweb prior to this publication. Already commenting, however, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association says the ban will have something opposite of the desired effect on safety. NATCA spokesman Doug Fralick said eliminating TIPH will make it much more difficult for controllers to judge how much time is needed to ensure the runway is clear for the next aircraft on approach, ultimately decreasing an airport's flights-per-hour capacity while adding more variables to a controller's equation. If the plane taking off is already on the runway and ready to go, the departure time is easy to predict, but if the next plane in line has to maneuver onto the runway, perhaps backtrack and get turned around, seconds can easily turn to minutes and the chance for conflict grows. "Therefore the likelihood is that spacing on finals will have to be increased, once again decreasing capacity while at the same time the FAA is doing all they can to increase capacity," Fralick noted. He also said the FAA is using a blanket approach to the issue when there are many airports that have never had a problem caused by TIPH. "The bottom line is that the loss of TIPH will make the airport environment a more dangerous place than it was before," Fralick said. "I couldn't imagine not being able to use this time proven tool."

Anonymous said...

Hey you got to visit my stompin grounds. Hope you liked it.