Monday, August 21, 2006

Cartersville, Georgia

I received a notice from the Flying Club stating that "Currency in aircraft type AA5B will expire within the next month." I had spent so much time and effort learning to fly the G1000 that my first love had been neglected. It was time to go have some fun.

The local weather hasn't changed much. It is, maybe 10 degrees Cooler, but we are still in the summertime cycle of hot, hazy mornings turning into dark noisy CBs in the afternoon. I scheduled the Tiger for an 11:00 (L) go to bounce in the local area for about an hour. There were no applicable NOTAMS, and nothing else in my planning indicated any reason not to play hooky and go flying.

Objective of the flight: re-familiarization with the Tiger.

Ground procedures all went well, and my comfort level was high. Even after a month away this airplane still felt like home. I decide to depart to the Northwest and try the new GPS approach at Cartersville (VPC). Runup and takeoff were normal. There was a thin cloud layer at 3000 ft due to the power plant stacks, so I snuck above it and leveled at 4500 ft. It was very smooth air, trim it up and hands off kind of flying. I dialed up VPC in the GNS 430, pushed enter/enter and followed the purple line. Checked the AWOS, (no surprise,) and found a Robinson helo and a Baron were inbound to the field when I checked CTAF.I did my calculation to figure out the holding entry, then reported outbound at DACEG (probably mispronounced it), about 10 miles north of the field. The GPS confirmed my entry (teardrop) and I did my 6 T's. One turn in the pattern was good, so I decided to opt out of the approach and dial up the LOC 19 instead. This was interesting because the frequency has changed, and I wanted to confirm that the new freq was in the updated data base. (Yes, I'm still a skeptic.) It was, and I flew the rest of the approach as a straight in.

Another lousy landing. I HATE THAT! The truth is, I gave up on it and allowed myself to 'drop it in'. Not horrible, but when you can do better you should. That was just plain being lazy.

Departed there and headed for home. Just for completeness I dialed in KRYY in the GNS430 and drove down the purple highway. ATIS was 'November" and they were still using 27. Once I got south of runway centerline I called the tower and was surprised with a RIGHT downwind "call 1.5 from the field". So, I dropped the left wing to get north of the field and descended down to 2000 (pattern altitude). I was number 2 behind a Cessna (company traffic) on a 2 mile final. I haven't flown a right hand pattern in awhile (or left hand for that matter...Shooting approaches are mostly straight ins), so my spacing wasn't great. However my airwork was good, found my traffic in plenty of time and made a great (finally) landing back home.

Time = 1.0

*Update; The 96c is in Olathe getting tweaked a bit. Hopefully I'll have tracks and stats on the next update.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Electric Airplane - 2

The evening weather for the past few weeks has been typical for the deep south. We've had clear blue mornings, high humidity with building thunderstorms by the late afternoon. Our temperatures have been over 100 degrees providing enough energy to the cells to make them nasty. My plan of flying in the evening after their dissipation just wasn't working. I cancelled last Thursday for weather and decided to take some time off from work to try and get up before the weather got too bad. I used the down time to take the written test for the C172s. I needed more time with the operating manuals, and this was a good way to do a review.

Objective of the flight: Instrument work with the G1000 system.

I got to the airport about 10:45 (l) under MVFR conditions. There were lots of scattered and broken layers below 5000 Ft, but no airmets or sigmets. So it was a perfect day for some actual IFR! The plan was to use the G1000 and autopilot to depart RYY, fly over to the Rome VOR, enter holding for the ILS, hand fly the approach to mins, then execute the missed, transition back to cruise and hand fly a GPS back home. I filed a flight plan, got a weather brief, picked up the dispatch kit and went out to the airplane.

Preflight was normal (I found all of the 13 fuel drains) and the prestart checklist went well. I still had a slight problem with the start by probably advancing the mixture to rich too quickly. Overall I feel comfortable with the ground procedures now. I was 'Cleared as filed' and entered the squawk into the transponder. I'm not completely at ease with the softkeys yet, but can get the job done with a little forethought. Entering the flight plan information was a snap, really no different then the GNS430.

Takeoff was normal, and we were 'in the goo' by 1500 Ft. The autopilot worked as advertised by taking us up to 4000ft on course to the Rome VOR. I got the checklists complete, leaned the mixture and prepared for the approach. AWOS for the weather was as expected (bottoms at about 1000 Ft), no gyro to align, we were pretty well set up for the approach. Approach Control told us to report KAREL (IAF) inbound. This fix is defined by the Final Approach Course (007) and a radial (284) from the VOR. I made a mistake here. I misread the active and standby navaids and DEselected ILS from the active box. After a bit of confusion I realized the error and corrected it, but it is a small example of the transition that has to occur using the G1000.

The actual approach went well. The very large attitude indicator and digital VSI make flying the ILS much easier. However I do miss the turn and bank indicator for establishing a standard rate turn following the missed approach. (The little bar at the top doesn't quite do it for me.) Following the missed it was back to the VOR for holding(!) before getting cleared for home. I was only just entering the holding pattern when the "cleared direct" was given.

I went direct to the Initial Approach Fix (IAF) for the GPS RWY 9 with no problems. The transition from IFR back to visual went well as I picked up the runway immediately and made a nice adjustment to reach my touchdown point. Then I made a lousy landing. I hate that. I recovered well, but not the way to end a flight.

Time = 1.4 (with about an hour of actual)

* I had another achievement last week. I passed my medical! I'm good for another two years.

** The 96c is not doing too well. Garmin Tech Support has asked me to send it in for repairs. No track or stats for this flight.