Wednesday, July 1, 2009

First Approach!

I flew the VOR into Big Lake under the hood. It was choppy and a lot of work but a LOT of fun. The second time, I think I might even have survived actual... :-) This is a useful approach too, because I could use it to get under and go into Palmer which only has GPS approaches.

I told my instructor that it was harder than I thought it would be, which she pointed out was a common theme with me... lol. It's more fun than I thought it would be, too. I can't wait to try it in actual IMC.

The Big Lake VOR is timed to the MAP so I ordered a timer - the clock is too hard to keep track of. How do people do this? Write down the start time and do the math on paper? Do the math in your head and write down the end time? Remember it all? I bought a timer... :-)

I practiced on MS Flight Simulator which made a big difference I think - the sim plane is a lot harder to trim out, but really helps with situational awareness. I ALMOST always know which way to turn now! I've run into several commercial pilots that use MS Flight Sim too. And it's good for knowing which way to look for the airport at MDA, although an experienced pilot would have already noticed this on the plate.

I have a program I can set the weather in the toy simulator with. So I set it at minimums (or just above if I'm not making it at minimums, because I like to land and feel like I accomplished something, THEN fly the missed) and I think it's pretty accurate. One thing I like about it is that you can usually see the ground before the airport - and it's tempting to descend a little and scud run the last little bit... just like I would be tempted in the real world. So I stay at or above the MDA and wait it out. Like a REAL instrument pilot... :-)

And for my son that will comment on my use of acronyms:

VOR - I forget ... lol Variable Omni something? Needle points to a radial.
NDB - Non Directional Beacon (AM frequency - we use a radio station in practice), needle points to it all the time.
MS - the Operating System almost everyone uses for stuff that won't run on any of the "Big Cat" OS's
MAP - Missed Approach Point
MDA - Minimum Descent Altitude
GPS - Have you been living under a rock?
IMC - Instrument Meteorological Conditions (and I spelled this right the FIRST time!)


  1. "…MS - the Operating System almost everyone uses for stuff that won't run on any of the "Big Cat" OS's…"

    Clever. Very clever. Mostly because Apple names its various incarnations after Big Cats, {exempli gratia; Leopard, Tiger, Panther.} but also because Apple is also simply the best Operating System out there, and therefore "the Big Cat" Operating System.

    I was wondering about your acronyms, thank you for explaining them so nicely!

    -=Best Regards=-


  2. I'm not sure what exempli gratia means but I'm pretty sure it's inappropriate for a family friendly blog... exempli gratia this one. :-)

  3. Exempli Gratia: 'for the sake of example' e.g.

    lit. Free Example.

    -=Best Regards=-


  4. for the love of god you two, it's summer ... go out and play!