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Instrument Checkride passed (Long)



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 30th 05, 06:02 PM
Paul Folbrecht
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Instrument Checkride passed (Long)

Took & passed my checkride (first try) yesterday. Here's the extended
narrative. Paragraphs enclosed in [] are explanatory for the
non-aviators who will recieve this.

[Ah, well, why don't I start out with talking about what the "instrument
rating" is all about. You can think of it as, basically, an "adendum"
tacked onto a pilot's licence that gives you additional priveleges -
namely, the ability to fly in weather conditions below "VFR" minimums.
All aviation is carried out under one of two sets of regulations - VFR
(visual flight rules) and IFR (instrument flight rules). Upon becoming
a pilot, you've got the skills and the right to operate under the
former, but not the latter - that's what the instrument rating is for.
The instrument rating makes flying a much more practical endeavor as
you're not nearly as much a slave to the weather when you're capable of
flying by reference to instruments only. It also makes you a
statistically safer pilot across the board, if statistics mean anything.]

[And now, a bit about the "checkride". This is the "practical test" by
which an FAA "designated examineer" (DE) is authorized to issue an
instrument rating upon successful completion. "Practical test" means
both an oral (ground question & answer) session as well as a flight
test. My instrument checkride lasted a total of about 3 1/2 hours,
which is typical. A prereq to taking the checkride, in addition to
having logged the 40 hours of instrument flying (simulated or actual)
that's required, is having passed the FAA's written test, which I did
back in December.]

My ride was scheduled for 1PM at MWC. I'd been asked in advance to plan
a cross-country IFR flight of at least 200nm; I chose Crystal, MN (MIC),
as it met the requirements and is a destination I've flown to VFR in the
past. I also planned for a fuel stop at La Crosse (LSE), as with me and
the examineer's 220lb, there was room for only 19 gallons in my 152. I
showed up at the airport at 12:30 to finish up my nav logs and get a
weather briefing, and the examineer was already there, having arrived in
his Bonanza. I gave him my paperwork (8710 form, written test results,
logbook) and his payment and told him I'd need a few minutes to finish up.

After getting my briefing, which correlated well with the somewhat
earlier weather reports I'd planned the flight based on, I decided it
would be a definite "go" if the flight were for real, and decided I was
ready for the oral.

He began by asking me to go through the flight, which I did. I
explained why I chose the route (airways) and altitude (wind) that I
did, and explained the reasons for the alternates I'd chosen, even
though they actually were not required. [The regs require you to file
an alternate airport if weather at your destination at ETA is below
certain minimums.]

He then got into the "what-if" failure/emergency scenaries I was
expecting - lost comm, vacuum failure, icing. He seemed satisfied with
my answers. By this point his demeanor had pretty much changed from
"formal" to "friendly/informal", and I had a good feeling about the oral
and the ride.

[The most challenging and involved area of instrument flying, in terms
of knowledge and flying skill, is the "instrument approach procedure"
(IAP). The purpose of such a procedure is to allow one to descend from
the enroute structure and make an approach to a runway, by reference to
instruments only, with no outside references, to a point very near the
threshold of a runway from which the transition to visual references can
be made, if possible, followed by a landing.]

[Each individual IAP is completely custom to a particular airport,
runway, and means of navigation. They are described on charts known as
"plates" that contain all the information necessary to fly the approach
- the navigation aids used, their frequencies, headings, altitudes,
times, communication frequencies, landing minimums (visibility and
ceiling), and "missed approach" instructions - what you do when arrive
at the decision point and are not able to continue to a landing due to
inadequate visual references or other reasons. Each one is a work of
art, IMO.]

We talked about approaches for quite a bit (no surprise there). He got
out a couple plates and asked me many questions about them, all of which
I answered with no problem. He talked quite a bit about making the
go-missed decision - how to determine if the required visibility is met,
mainly. He brought up some nuances I hadn't fully considered before,
such as the fact that pilot visiblity can overrule reported RVR values.
I did know some fairly obscure things such as the rules regarding ILS
approach lighting systems (the lights allow you to descend to 100' AGL
but no lower unless you have the red lights, or part of the runway
structure itself), which seemed to impress him.

Talking about VOR-A (or -B, etc.) approaches, I won brownie points by
knowing the answer to this question: Why might an IAP be designated -A
(no straight-in minimums given) when the course is within 30 degrees of
the landing runway? The answer is that, in that case, the MDA puts you
too high to execute a straight-in landing "at a normal rate of descent".
My instructor had happened to discuss that topic with me a few weeks
prior - the DE said I was the only checkride applicant he'd ever had
that got that one right. Cool.

We then talked about attitude instrument flight for awhile; he asked
about primary/secondary instrument in various flight conditions, and I
answered all of that correctly.

I think that was about it. A few more topics were touched upon, but
they were more informal chatting than any sort of grilling. I came away
really impressed with the DE's knowledge - he'd shown me different sides
of a number of topics. He obviously knew instrument flight inside and
out. (I suppose that's logical for a DE.)

He then told me what we'd be doing on the flight, to a level of detail
that surprised me. He gave me all three approaches we'd be flying, and
the hold, with the disclaimer that the plans *might* change - as it
turned out, they didn't. All the approaches were ones I'd done before -
the VOR-A and ILS 10 at UES (Waukesha) and the LOC 15 back into Timmy -
although all but the first involved using feeder routes that I'd never
used before, including intercepting the localizer backcourse for the
full ILS 10 UES.

We drove out to my hangar; I'd previously preflighted. As we climbed
into my 152, I apologized for owning such a cramped airplane and he
apologized for being so fat, as he put it. I made sure to use every
checklist, even the pre-engine-start, religiously, as I, uh, always do.

He told me he'd be playing ATC and that he'd have a mock clearance for
me to copy. I did, and readback correctly, and he told me to proceed
direct Badger (BAE), which was the first fix on my flight plan, up to
3000' msl.

[Holding patterns are another part of instrument flying - as the name
implies, the purpose is simply kill time, by flying in a circle, for
traffic separation, to wait out weather below minimums, etc. There
isn't a ton to it - you need to know how to enter the hold, which is a
function of the heading you're approaching it from, how to properly
correct for wind drift (important in almost every aspect of aviation),
and how to correct your timing to produce inbound legs of standard
length (one minute unless otherwise specified).

The first thing we did was hold at BAE, R90 - meaning a very obvious
direct entry, approaching almost due west. It turns out I completely
lucked out on the winds - they were almost non-existent. After dealing
with 30-40 knot winds aloft the last few times out, this was a nice
change.

Unfortunately, I made my first and only real mistake on the ride in this
hold. Since holding can be so simple, almost boring, I let my mind
wander a bit on the 2nd outbound leg, and was thinking ahead to the
VOR-A approach and the published missed there - I looked down at the
chart, which I'd put on the yoke clip ahead of time. The hold for the
published missed is at BAE on the 270 radial. You can probably guess
what happened - that extra clutter in my head caused me to basically
lose situational awareness for a few seconds. I was in the middle of
the turn inbound and I simply stopped, on a 180 heading, half way
through! Man, that was just awful. I recovered quickly but I could
have blown it right there, and how stupidly! Thoroughly ****ed at
myslef, I decided to keep my mind on what I was doing, at all times, no
matter how simple, and vowed no more stupid mistakes (or any mistakes).

After the 2nd turn of the hold he had me call UES tower and request the
two practice approaches, starting with the full ILS 10, and told me to
fly the BAE R212 feeder route to the outer marker.

The ILS was uneventful. As I noted, the calm winds today made things so
easy, frankly. I had flown this ILS with a 40-knot tailwind a couple
days earlier; today, it was all standard numbers, airspeed nearly equal
to groundspeed, only the slightest crab necessary, and no bouncing all
over the place once I got low, as I'd gotten accustomed to lately.
Easy. Down to decision height and then the published missed, back to
BAE. I turned for the parallel entry for the hold and then he covered
my attitude indicator and asked me to close my eyes and put my head in
my lap.

[This part of the checkride is designed to test your skill in
"partial-panel" instrument flying. Two of the main gyroscopic flight
instruments in most light aircraft are powered by an engine-driven
vacuum pump, and the reliability of these units is something less than
steller in general. Losing vacuum in IFR conditions is a full-on
emergency because you lose these instruments - the attitude indicator
and the directional gyro, which gives you your heading. When flying
partial-panel, you must rely more heavily on indications from other
instruments to augment your knowledge of the aircraft's attitude and
heading. This information does exist via other instruments, but it's
less direct and less readily available. Partial-panel instrument flying
is challenging.]

[The exercise the DE was giving me here is unusual-attitude recovery - a
situation you may very well find yourself in when you realize you've
lost your gyros! The DE puts the aircraft in a "crazy" flight attitude,
gives you the controls, and evaluates you on your ability to recover.
Any intervention necessary from the examineer in this exercise deemed
necessary for safety is a guaranteed failure of the checkride.]

He gave me only one UA - with him yelling "recover, recover, recover!",
I open my eyes, take the yoke, and note the altimeter unwinding, the VSI
pegged downward, and the airspeed well into the yelling range. I
simultaneously level the wings and pull the power, then gently recover.
Done. My eyes *did* go to the covered AI, initially, though - I'd
actually never done an UA recovery partial-panel before! (My CFI was
present for the debrief after the ride and it turned out he didn't know
they were a part of the ride - the PTS is not clear on this.)

After this, he has me intercept the BAE R333 outbound for the full UES
VOR-A approach, partial-panel. Now, a couple words about this - it
turns out that this particular DE covers only the AI for the
partial-panel approach - his concern being that looking up at the
compass if the DG is covered makes "cheating" a concern. Now, I'd
practiced PP approaches with no DG and never once did I have any
inclination to try to "cheat" by looking outside, but he has that
concern and he's the DE. There's no doubt that the PP approach is
easier when you have your DG, but I'm quite confident I could have done
it without as well, as I'd done so on several occasions.

This approach, again, was, pretty much flawless, and should have been
given the conditions. I was able to hold alt within 25 ft or so and
keep the needle extremely close to centered all the way in. Missed back
to the north, intercept the BAE R61 feeding route for the MWC LOC 15, he
has me call tower and ask for a circle to 22. At this point, I know
that I have the ride in the bad unless I do something exceedingly stupid.

[A word about the "circle to land" manuever. Sometimes, you execute an
instrument approach to one runway but must land on another, usually due
to the wind conditions. The circle-to-land manuever is tricky because
you are doing a lot of manuevering at a very low altitude. On the
checkride, you have an altitude tolerance of +100, -0 ft (which goes for
every instrument approach minimum descent altitude or decision
altitude), so you must be very careful to maintain that range while
circling, as well as stay within the maximum distance allowed from the
end of any runway, which is a function of your approach speed and for me
is 1.3 miles. The tolerance of -0 is there because descending below MDA
while circling can easily result in hitting something, which is bad, and
climbing is also unacceptable because on a real approach in instrument
conditions that could easily put you back in the clouds, and if that
happens you must immediately discontinue the circle and execute the
missed approach.]

The DE decided to mess with my head on the circle. I had been expecting
such a "distraction", but for some reason at this point I in fact did
not recognize it as a planned "distraction", and instead of asking him
nicely to shut his pie-hole until we landed, proceeded to answer his
questions as best I could. "Where are we going to land?" "Uh.. the
runway". "Where will the mains touchdown?" "I'm shooting for the
numbers". "Do you think you should use full flaps with this wind."
"Sure.. why not?" Ok, I think I was catching on now. On the rollout,
he asked me why I missed the numbers. "Well, I was just a bit high on
final." I knew he was messing with me now. "But instrument flying is
all about precision, isn't it?" "Yes, sir, but I forgot how to land."
He cracked up and gave me a "good job", telling me that I had the ticket
unless I managed to hit his Bonanza on the ramp.

[Instrument students do typically let their landing skills slip a bit,
as there generally isn't much landing going on. We already know how to
land airplanes; we practice approaches to the missed approach point, as
it's the approach that's being practiced. Also, I'd had an engine
modification done 6 weeks ago, and because the engine was still in
break-in, pattern practice (landings) wasn't a good idea.]

So, that's about it! He took my nice plastic certificate and gave me a
crappy temporary paper one instead, but since it says "Instrument
Airplane" at the bottom, I'll take it!

Ads
  #2  
Old January 30th 05, 06:10 PM
jsmith
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Congratulations!!!
(Now, keeping current will be your task.)

  #3  
Old January 30th 05, 08:33 PM
Joe Johnson
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Contratulations, Paul! Very nice narrative, too. I'm starting my studying,
and you've mentioned many useful points.


  #4  
Old January 31st 05, 01:26 AM
Jon Kraus
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Congratulations Paul... Unfortunately, you can not be a member of our
busted a checkride club... Too bad.. There are some really
distinguished members in there!! :-0 Seriously though, great job!!

Jon Kraus
PP-ASEL-IA
'79 Mooney 201 4443H


Paul Folbrecht wrote:

Took & passed my checkride (first try) yesterday. Here's the extended
narrative. Paragraphs enclosed in [] are explanatory for the
non-aviators who will recieve this.

[Ah, well, why don't I start out with talking about what the "instrument
rating" is all about. You can think of it as, basically, an "adendum"
tacked onto a pilot's licence that gives you additional priveleges -
namely, the ability to fly in weather conditions below "VFR" minimums.
All aviation is carried out under one of two sets of regulations - VFR
(visual flight rules) and IFR (instrument flight rules). Upon becoming
a pilot, you've got the skills and the right to operate under the
former, but not the latter - that's what the instrument rating is for.
The instrument rating makes flying a much more practical endeavor as
you're not nearly as much a slave to the weather when you're capable of
flying by reference to instruments only. It also makes you a
statistically safer pilot across the board, if statistics mean anything.]

[And now, a bit about the "checkride". This is the "practical test" by
which an FAA "designated examineer" (DE) is authorized to issue an
instrument rating upon successful completion. "Practical test" means
both an oral (ground question & answer) session as well as a flight
test. My instrument checkride lasted a total of about 3 1/2 hours,
which is typical. A prereq to taking the checkride, in addition to
having logged the 40 hours of instrument flying (simulated or actual)
that's required, is having passed the FAA's written test, which I did
back in December.]

My ride was scheduled for 1PM at MWC. I'd been asked in advance to plan
a cross-country IFR flight of at least 200nm; I chose Crystal, MN (MIC),
as it met the requirements and is a destination I've flown to VFR in the
past. I also planned for a fuel stop at La Crosse (LSE), as with me and
the examineer's 220lb, there was room for only 19 gallons in my 152. I
showed up at the airport at 12:30 to finish up my nav logs and get a
weather briefing, and the examineer was already there, having arrived in
his Bonanza. I gave him my paperwork (8710 form, written test results,
logbook) and his payment and told him I'd need a few minutes to finish up.

After getting my briefing, which correlated well with the somewhat
earlier weather reports I'd planned the flight based on, I decided it
would be a definite "go" if the flight were for real, and decided I was
ready for the oral.

He began by asking me to go through the flight, which I did. I
explained why I chose the route (airways) and altitude (wind) that I
did, and explained the reasons for the alternates I'd chosen, even
though they actually were not required. [The regs require you to file
an alternate airport if weather at your destination at ETA is below
certain minimums.]

He then got into the "what-if" failure/emergency scenaries I was
expecting - lost comm, vacuum failure, icing. He seemed satisfied with
my answers. By this point his demeanor had pretty much changed from
"formal" to "friendly/informal", and I had a good feeling about the oral
and the ride.

[The most challenging and involved area of instrument flying, in terms
of knowledge and flying skill, is the "instrument approach procedure"
(IAP). The purpose of such a procedure is to allow one to descend from
the enroute structure and make an approach to a runway, by reference to
instruments only, with no outside references, to a point very near the
threshold of a runway from which the transition to visual references can
be made, if possible, followed by a landing.]

[Each individual IAP is completely custom to a particular airport,
runway, and means of navigation. They are described on charts known as
"plates" that contain all the information necessary to fly the approach
- the navigation aids used, their frequencies, headings, altitudes,
times, communication frequencies, landing minimums (visibility and
ceiling), and "missed approach" instructions - what you do when arrive
at the decision point and are not able to continue to a landing due to
inadequate visual references or other reasons. Each one is a work of
art, IMO.]

We talked about approaches for quite a bit (no surprise there). He got
out a couple plates and asked me many questions about them, all of which
I answered with no problem. He talked quite a bit about making the
go-missed decision - how to determine if the required visibility is met,
mainly. He brought up some nuances I hadn't fully considered before,
such as the fact that pilot visiblity can overrule reported RVR values.
I did know some fairly obscure things such as the rules regarding ILS
approach lighting systems (the lights allow you to descend to 100' AGL
but no lower unless you have the red lights, or part of the runway
structure itself), which seemed to impress him.

Talking about VOR-A (or -B, etc.) approaches, I won brownie points by
knowing the answer to this question: Why might an IAP be designated -A
(no straight-in minimums given) when the course is within 30 degrees of
the landing runway? The answer is that, in that case, the MDA puts you
too high to execute a straight-in landing "at a normal rate of descent".
My instructor had happened to discuss that topic with me a few weeks
prior - the DE said I was the only checkride applicant he'd ever had
that got that one right. Cool.

We then talked about attitude instrument flight for awhile; he asked
about primary/secondary instrument in various flight conditions, and I
answered all of that correctly.

I think that was about it. A few more topics were touched upon, but
they were more informal chatting than any sort of grilling. I came away
really impressed with the DE's knowledge - he'd shown me different sides
of a number of topics. He obviously knew instrument flight inside and
out. (I suppose that's logical for a DE.)

He then told me what we'd be doing on the flight, to a level of detail
that surprised me. He gave me all three approaches we'd be flying, and
the hold, with the disclaimer that the plans *might* change - as it
turned out, they didn't. All the approaches were ones I'd done before -
the VOR-A and ILS 10 at UES (Waukesha) and the LOC 15 back into Timmy -
although all but the first involved using feeder routes that I'd never
used before, including intercepting the localizer backcourse for the
full ILS 10 UES.

We drove out to my hangar; I'd previously preflighted. As we climbed
into my 152, I apologized for owning such a cramped airplane and he
apologized for being so fat, as he put it. I made sure to use every
checklist, even the pre-engine-start, religiously, as I, uh, always do.

He told me he'd be playing ATC and that he'd have a mock clearance for
me to copy. I did, and readback correctly, and he told me to proceed
direct Badger (BAE), which was the first fix on my flight plan, up to
3000' msl.

[Holding patterns are another part of instrument flying - as the name
implies, the purpose is simply kill time, by flying in a circle, for
traffic separation, to wait out weather below minimums, etc. There
isn't a ton to it - you need to know how to enter the hold, which is a
function of the heading you're approaching it from, how to properly
correct for wind drift (important in almost every aspect of aviation),
and how to correct your timing to produce inbound legs of standard
length (one minute unless otherwise specified).

The first thing we did was hold at BAE, R90 - meaning a very obvious
direct entry, approaching almost due west. It turns out I completely
lucked out on the winds - they were almost non-existent. After dealing
with 30-40 knot winds aloft the last few times out, this was a nice change.

Unfortunately, I made my first and only real mistake on the ride in this
hold. Since holding can be so simple, almost boring, I let my mind
wander a bit on the 2nd outbound leg, and was thinking ahead to the
VOR-A approach and the published missed there - I looked down at the
chart, which I'd put on the yoke clip ahead of time. The hold for the
published missed is at BAE on the 270 radial. You can probably guess
what happened - that extra clutter in my head caused me to basically
lose situational awareness for a few seconds. I was in the middle of
the turn inbound and I simply stopped, on a 180 heading, half way
through! Man, that was just awful. I recovered quickly but I could
have blown it right there, and how stupidly! Thoroughly ****ed at
myslef, I decided to keep my mind on what I was doing, at all times, no
matter how simple, and vowed no more stupid mistakes (or any mistakes).

After the 2nd turn of the hold he had me call UES tower and request the
two practice approaches, starting with the full ILS 10, and told me to
fly the BAE R212 feeder route to the outer marker.

The ILS was uneventful. As I noted, the calm winds today made things so
easy, frankly. I had flown this ILS with a 40-knot tailwind a couple
days earlier; today, it was all standard numbers, airspeed nearly equal
to groundspeed, only the slightest crab necessary, and no bouncing all
over the place once I got low, as I'd gotten accustomed to lately.
Easy. Down to decision height and then the published missed, back to
BAE. I turned for the parallel entry for the hold and then he covered
my attitude indicator and asked me to close my eyes and put my head in
my lap.

[This part of the checkride is designed to test your skill in
"partial-panel" instrument flying. Two of the main gyroscopic flight
instruments in most light aircraft are powered by an engine-driven
vacuum pump, and the reliability of these units is something less than
steller in general. Losing vacuum in IFR conditions is a full-on
emergency because you lose these instruments - the attitude indicator
and the directional gyro, which gives you your heading. When flying
partial-panel, you must rely more heavily on indications from other
instruments to augment your knowledge of the aircraft's attitude and
heading. This information does exist via other instruments, but it's
less direct and less readily available. Partial-panel instrument flying
is challenging.]

[The exercise the DE was giving me here is unusual-attitude recovery - a
situation you may very well find yourself in when you realize you've
lost your gyros! The DE puts the aircraft in a "crazy" flight attitude,
gives you the controls, and evaluates you on your ability to recover.
Any intervention necessary from the examineer in this exercise deemed
necessary for safety is a guaranteed failure of the checkride.]

He gave me only one UA - with him yelling "recover, recover, recover!",
I open my eyes, take the yoke, and note the altimeter unwinding, the VSI
pegged downward, and the airspeed well into the yelling range. I
simultaneously level the wings and pull the power, then gently recover.
Done. My eyes *did* go to the covered AI, initially, though - I'd
actually never done an UA recovery partial-panel before! (My CFI was
present for the debrief after the ride and it turned out he didn't know
they were a part of the ride - the PTS is not clear on this.)

After this, he has me intercept the BAE R333 outbound for the full UES
VOR-A approach, partial-panel. Now, a couple words about this - it
turns out that this particular DE covers only the AI for the
partial-panel approach - his concern being that looking up at the
compass if the DG is covered makes "cheating" a concern. Now, I'd
practiced PP approaches with no DG and never once did I have any
inclination to try to "cheat" by looking outside, but he has that
concern and he's the DE. There's no doubt that the PP approach is
easier when you have your DG, but I'm quite confident I could have done
it without as well, as I'd done so on several occasions.

This approach, again, was, pretty much flawless, and should have been
given the conditions. I was able to hold alt within 25 ft or so and
keep the needle extremely close to centered all the way in. Missed back
to the north, intercept the BAE R61 feeding route for the MWC LOC 15, he
has me call tower and ask for a circle to 22. At this point, I know
that I have the ride in the bad unless I do something exceedingly stupid.

[A word about the "circle to land" manuever. Sometimes, you execute an
instrument approach to one runway but must land on another, usually due
to the wind conditions. The circle-to-land manuever is tricky because
you are doing a lot of manuevering at a very low altitude. On the
checkride, you have an altitude tolerance of +100, -0 ft (which goes for
every instrument approach minimum descent altitude or decision
altitude), so you must be very careful to maintain that range while
circling, as well as stay within the maximum distance allowed from the
end of any runway, which is a function of your approach speed and for me
is 1.3 miles. The tolerance of -0 is there because descending below MDA
while circling can easily result in hitting something, which is bad, and
climbing is also unacceptable because on a real approach in instrument
conditions that could easily put you back in the clouds, and if that
happens you must immediately discontinue the circle and execute the
missed approach.]

The DE decided to mess with my head on the circle. I had been expecting
such a "distraction", but for some reason at this point I in fact did
not recognize it as a planned "distraction", and instead of asking him
nicely to shut his pie-hole until we landed, proceeded to answer his
questions as best I could. "Where are we going to land?" "Uh.. the
runway". "Where will the mains touchdown?" "I'm shooting for the
numbers". "Do you think you should use full flaps with this wind."
"Sure.. why not?" Ok, I think I was catching on now. On the rollout,
he asked me why I missed the numbers. "Well, I was just a bit high on
final." I knew he was messing with me now. "But instrument flying is
all about precision, isn't it?" "Yes, sir, but I forgot how to land."
He cracked up and gave me a "good job", telling me that I had the ticket
unless I managed to hit his Bonanza on the ramp.

[Instrument students do typically let their landing skills slip a bit,
as there generally isn't much landing going on. We already know how to
land airplanes; we practice approaches to the missed approach point, as
it's the approach that's being practiced. Also, I'd had an engine
modification done 6 weeks ago, and because the engine was still in
break-in, pattern practice (landings) wasn't a good idea.]

So, that's about it! He took my nice plastic certificate and gave me a
crappy temporary paper one instead, but since it says "Instrument
Airplane" at the bottom, I'll take it!


  #5  
Old January 31st 05, 02:56 PM
Jim Burns
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Congrats Paul, glad to see you had a good checkride. Was your DE Keith
Myers?
Jim

"Paul Folbrecht" wrote in message
...
Took & passed my checkride (first try) yesterday. Here's the extended
narrative. Paragraphs enclosed in [] are explanatory for the
non-aviators who will recieve this.

[Ah, well, why don't I start out with talking about what the "instrument
rating" is all about. You can think of it as, basically, an "adendum"
tacked onto a pilot's licence that gives you additional priveleges -
namely, the ability to fly in weather conditions below "VFR" minimums.
All aviation is carried out under one of two sets of regulations - VFR
(visual flight rules) and IFR (instrument flight rules). Upon becoming
a pilot, you've got the skills and the right to operate under the
former, but not the latter - that's what the instrument rating is for.
The instrument rating makes flying a much more practical endeavor as
you're not nearly as much a slave to the weather when you're capable of
flying by reference to instruments only. It also makes you a
statistically safer pilot across the board, if statistics mean anything.]

[And now, a bit about the "checkride". This is the "practical test" by
which an FAA "designated examineer" (DE) is authorized to issue an
instrument rating upon successful completion. "Practical test" means
both an oral (ground question & answer) session as well as a flight
test. My instrument checkride lasted a total of about 3 1/2 hours,
which is typical. A prereq to taking the checkride, in addition to
having logged the 40 hours of instrument flying (simulated or actual)
that's required, is having passed the FAA's written test, which I did
back in December.]

My ride was scheduled for 1PM at MWC. I'd been asked in advance to plan
a cross-country IFR flight of at least 200nm; I chose Crystal, MN (MIC),
as it met the requirements and is a destination I've flown to VFR in the
past. I also planned for a fuel stop at La Crosse (LSE), as with me and
the examineer's 220lb, there was room for only 19 gallons in my 152. I
showed up at the airport at 12:30 to finish up my nav logs and get a
weather briefing, and the examineer was already there, having arrived in
his Bonanza. I gave him my paperwork (8710 form, written test results,
logbook) and his payment and told him I'd need a few minutes to finish up.

After getting my briefing, which correlated well with the somewhat
earlier weather reports I'd planned the flight based on, I decided it
would be a definite "go" if the flight were for real, and decided I was
ready for the oral.

He began by asking me to go through the flight, which I did. I
explained why I chose the route (airways) and altitude (wind) that I
did, and explained the reasons for the alternates I'd chosen, even
though they actually were not required. [The regs require you to file
an alternate airport if weather at your destination at ETA is below
certain minimums.]

He then got into the "what-if" failure/emergency scenaries I was
expecting - lost comm, vacuum failure, icing. He seemed satisfied with
my answers. By this point his demeanor had pretty much changed from
"formal" to "friendly/informal", and I had a good feeling about the oral
and the ride.

[The most challenging and involved area of instrument flying, in terms
of knowledge and flying skill, is the "instrument approach procedure"
(IAP). The purpose of such a procedure is to allow one to descend from
the enroute structure and make an approach to a runway, by reference to
instruments only, with no outside references, to a point very near the
threshold of a runway from which the transition to visual references can
be made, if possible, followed by a landing.]

[Each individual IAP is completely custom to a particular airport,
runway, and means of navigation. They are described on charts known as
"plates" that contain all the information necessary to fly the approach
- the navigation aids used, their frequencies, headings, altitudes,
times, communication frequencies, landing minimums (visibility and
ceiling), and "missed approach" instructions - what you do when arrive
at the decision point and are not able to continue to a landing due to
inadequate visual references or other reasons. Each one is a work of
art, IMO.]

We talked about approaches for quite a bit (no surprise there). He got
out a couple plates and asked me many questions about them, all of which
I answered with no problem. He talked quite a bit about making the
go-missed decision - how to determine if the required visibility is met,
mainly. He brought up some nuances I hadn't fully considered before,
such as the fact that pilot visiblity can overrule reported RVR values.
I did know some fairly obscure things such as the rules regarding ILS
approach lighting systems (the lights allow you to descend to 100' AGL
but no lower unless you have the red lights, or part of the runway
structure itself), which seemed to impress him.

Talking about VOR-A (or -B, etc.) approaches, I won brownie points by
knowing the answer to this question: Why might an IAP be designated -A
(no straight-in minimums given) when the course is within 30 degrees of
the landing runway? The answer is that, in that case, the MDA puts you
too high to execute a straight-in landing "at a normal rate of descent".
My instructor had happened to discuss that topic with me a few weeks
prior - the DE said I was the only checkride applicant he'd ever had
that got that one right. Cool.

We then talked about attitude instrument flight for awhile; he asked
about primary/secondary instrument in various flight conditions, and I
answered all of that correctly.

I think that was about it. A few more topics were touched upon, but
they were more informal chatting than any sort of grilling. I came away
really impressed with the DE's knowledge - he'd shown me different sides
of a number of topics. He obviously knew instrument flight inside and
out. (I suppose that's logical for a DE.)

He then told me what we'd be doing on the flight, to a level of detail
that surprised me. He gave me all three approaches we'd be flying, and
the hold, with the disclaimer that the plans *might* change - as it
turned out, they didn't. All the approaches were ones I'd done before -
the VOR-A and ILS 10 at UES (Waukesha) and the LOC 15 back into Timmy -
although all but the first involved using feeder routes that I'd never
used before, including intercepting the localizer backcourse for the
full ILS 10 UES.

We drove out to my hangar; I'd previously preflighted. As we climbed
into my 152, I apologized for owning such a cramped airplane and he
apologized for being so fat, as he put it. I made sure to use every
checklist, even the pre-engine-start, religiously, as I, uh, always do.

He told me he'd be playing ATC and that he'd have a mock clearance for
me to copy. I did, and readback correctly, and he told me to proceed
direct Badger (BAE), which was the first fix on my flight plan, up to
3000' msl.

[Holding patterns are another part of instrument flying - as the name
implies, the purpose is simply kill time, by flying in a circle, for
traffic separation, to wait out weather below minimums, etc. There
isn't a ton to it - you need to know how to enter the hold, which is a
function of the heading you're approaching it from, how to properly
correct for wind drift (important in almost every aspect of aviation),
and how to correct your timing to produce inbound legs of standard
length (one minute unless otherwise specified).

The first thing we did was hold at BAE, R90 - meaning a very obvious
direct entry, approaching almost due west. It turns out I completely
lucked out on the winds - they were almost non-existent. After dealing
with 30-40 knot winds aloft the last few times out, this was a nice
change.

Unfortunately, I made my first and only real mistake on the ride in this
hold. Since holding can be so simple, almost boring, I let my mind
wander a bit on the 2nd outbound leg, and was thinking ahead to the
VOR-A approach and the published missed there - I looked down at the
chart, which I'd put on the yoke clip ahead of time. The hold for the
published missed is at BAE on the 270 radial. You can probably guess
what happened - that extra clutter in my head caused me to basically
lose situational awareness for a few seconds. I was in the middle of
the turn inbound and I simply stopped, on a 180 heading, half way
through! Man, that was just awful. I recovered quickly but I could
have blown it right there, and how stupidly! Thoroughly ****ed at
myslef, I decided to keep my mind on what I was doing, at all times, no
matter how simple, and vowed no more stupid mistakes (or any mistakes).

After the 2nd turn of the hold he had me call UES tower and request the
two practice approaches, starting with the full ILS 10, and told me to
fly the BAE R212 feeder route to the outer marker.

The ILS was uneventful. As I noted, the calm winds today made things so
easy, frankly. I had flown this ILS with a 40-knot tailwind a couple
days earlier; today, it was all standard numbers, airspeed nearly equal
to groundspeed, only the slightest crab necessary, and no bouncing all
over the place once I got low, as I'd gotten accustomed to lately.
Easy. Down to decision height and then the published missed, back to
BAE. I turned for the parallel entry for the hold and then he covered
my attitude indicator and asked me to close my eyes and put my head in
my lap.

[This part of the checkride is designed to test your skill in
"partial-panel" instrument flying. Two of the main gyroscopic flight
instruments in most light aircraft are powered by an engine-driven
vacuum pump, and the reliability of these units is something less than
steller in general. Losing vacuum in IFR conditions is a full-on
emergency because you lose these instruments - the attitude indicator
and the directional gyro, which gives you your heading. When flying
partial-panel, you must rely more heavily on indications from other
instruments to augment your knowledge of the aircraft's attitude and
heading. This information does exist via other instruments, but it's
less direct and less readily available. Partial-panel instrument flying
is challenging.]

[The exercise the DE was giving me here is unusual-attitude recovery - a
situation you may very well find yourself in when you realize you've
lost your gyros! The DE puts the aircraft in a "crazy" flight attitude,
gives you the controls, and evaluates you on your ability to recover.
Any intervention necessary from the examineer in this exercise deemed
necessary for safety is a guaranteed failure of the checkride.]

He gave me only one UA - with him yelling "recover, recover, recover!",
I open my eyes, take the yoke, and note the altimeter unwinding, the VSI
pegged downward, and the airspeed well into the yelling range. I
simultaneously level the wings and pull the power, then gently recover.
Done. My eyes *did* go to the covered AI, initially, though - I'd
actually never done an UA recovery partial-panel before! (My CFI was
present for the debrief after the ride and it turned out he didn't know
they were a part of the ride - the PTS is not clear on this.)

After this, he has me intercept the BAE R333 outbound for the full UES
VOR-A approach, partial-panel. Now, a couple words about this - it
turns out that this particular DE covers only the AI for the
partial-panel approach - his concern being that looking up at the
compass if the DG is covered makes "cheating" a concern. Now, I'd
practiced PP approaches with no DG and never once did I have any
inclination to try to "cheat" by looking outside, but he has that
concern and he's the DE. There's no doubt that the PP approach is
easier when you have your DG, but I'm quite confident I could have done
it without as well, as I'd done so on several occasions.

This approach, again, was, pretty much flawless, and should have been
given the conditions. I was able to hold alt within 25 ft or so and
keep the needle extremely close to centered all the way in. Missed back
to the north, intercept the BAE R61 feeding route for the MWC LOC 15, he
has me call tower and ask for a circle to 22. At this point, I know
that I have the ride in the bad unless I do something exceedingly stupid.

[A word about the "circle to land" manuever. Sometimes, you execute an
instrument approach to one runway but must land on another, usually due
to the wind conditions. The circle-to-land manuever is tricky because
you are doing a lot of manuevering at a very low altitude. On the
checkride, you have an altitude tolerance of +100, -0 ft (which goes for
every instrument approach minimum descent altitude or decision
altitude), so you must be very careful to maintain that range while
circling, as well as stay within the maximum distance allowed from the
end of any runway, which is a function of your approach speed and for me
is 1.3 miles. The tolerance of -0 is there because descending below MDA
while circling can easily result in hitting something, which is bad, and
climbing is also unacceptable because on a real approach in instrument
conditions that could easily put you back in the clouds, and if that
happens you must immediately discontinue the circle and execute the
missed approach.]

The DE decided to mess with my head on the circle. I had been expecting
such a "distraction", but for some reason at this point I in fact did
not recognize it as a planned "distraction", and instead of asking him
nicely to shut his pie-hole until we landed, proceeded to answer his
questions as best I could. "Where are we going to land?" "Uh.. the
runway". "Where will the mains touchdown?" "I'm shooting for the
numbers". "Do you think you should use full flaps with this wind."
"Sure.. why not?" Ok, I think I was catching on now. On the rollout,
he asked me why I missed the numbers. "Well, I was just a bit high on
final." I knew he was messing with me now. "But instrument flying is
all about precision, isn't it?" "Yes, sir, but I forgot how to land."
He cracked up and gave me a "good job", telling me that I had the ticket
unless I managed to hit his Bonanza on the ramp.

[Instrument students do typically let their landing skills slip a bit,
as there generally isn't much landing going on. We already know how to
land airplanes; we practice approaches to the missed approach point, as
it's the approach that's being practiced. Also, I'd had an engine
modification done 6 weeks ago, and because the engine was still in
break-in, pattern practice (landings) wasn't a good idea.]

So, that's about it! He took my nice plastic certificate and gave me a
crappy temporary paper one instead, but since it says "Instrument
Airplane" at the bottom, I'll take it!



  #6  
Old February 4th 05, 06:46 AM
Alan Pendley
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Paul,

Congrats! You must have really been on it to pass the first time. I too am
the somewhat dubious recipient of a pink slip, but passed the second time!

Cheers,
Alan Pendley
PP - ASEL - IA
Commercial Student
Hawthorne Muni, CA
'75 Cardinal RG
N2770V
KHHR
==========
"Jon Kraus" wrote in message
...
Congratulations Paul... Unfortunately, you can not be a member of our
busted a checkride club... Too bad.. There are some really
distinguished members in there!! :-0 Seriously though, great job!!

Jon Kraus
PP-ASEL-IA
'79 Mooney 201 4443H


Paul Folbrecht wrote:

Took & passed my checkride (first try) yesterday. Here's the extended
narrative. Paragraphs enclosed in [] are explanatory for the
non-aviators who will recieve this.

[Ah, well, why don't I start out with talking about what the "instrument
rating" is all about. You can think of it as, basically, an "adendum"
tacked onto a pilot's licence that gives you additional priveleges -
namely, the ability to fly in weather conditions below "VFR" minimums.
All aviation is carried out under one of two sets of regulations - VFR
(visual flight rules) and IFR (instrument flight rules). Upon becoming
a pilot, you've got the skills and the right to operate under the
former, but not the latter - that's what the instrument rating is for.
The instrument rating makes flying a much more practical endeavor as
you're not nearly as much a slave to the weather when you're capable of
flying by reference to instruments only. It also makes you a
statistically safer pilot across the board, if statistics mean anything.]

[And now, a bit about the "checkride". This is the "practical test" by
which an FAA "designated examineer" (DE) is authorized to issue an
instrument rating upon successful completion. "Practical test" means
both an oral (ground question & answer) session as well as a flight
test. My instrument checkride lasted a total of about 3 1/2 hours,
which is typical. A prereq to taking the checkride, in addition to
having logged the 40 hours of instrument flying (simulated or actual)
that's required, is having passed the FAA's written test, which I did
back in December.]

My ride was scheduled for 1PM at MWC. I'd been asked in advance to plan
a cross-country IFR flight of at least 200nm; I chose Crystal, MN (MIC),
as it met the requirements and is a destination I've flown to VFR in the
past. I also planned for a fuel stop at La Crosse (LSE), as with me and
the examineer's 220lb, there was room for only 19 gallons in my 152. I
showed up at the airport at 12:30 to finish up my nav logs and get a
weather briefing, and the examineer was already there, having arrived in
his Bonanza. I gave him my paperwork (8710 form, written test results,
logbook) and his payment and told him I'd need a few minutes to finish up.

After getting my briefing, which correlated well with the somewhat
earlier weather reports I'd planned the flight based on, I decided it
would be a definite "go" if the flight were for real, and decided I was
ready for the oral.

He began by asking me to go through the flight, which I did. I
explained why I chose the route (airways) and altitude (wind) that I
did, and explained the reasons for the alternates I'd chosen, even
though they actually were not required. [The regs require you to file
an alternate airport if weather at your destination at ETA is below
certain minimums.]

He then got into the "what-if" failure/emergency scenaries I was
expecting - lost comm, vacuum failure, icing. He seemed satisfied with
my answers. By this point his demeanor had pretty much changed from
"formal" to "friendly/informal", and I had a good feeling about the oral
and the ride.

[The most challenging and involved area of instrument flying, in terms
of knowledge and flying skill, is the "instrument approach procedure"
(IAP). The purpose of such a procedure is to allow one to descend from
the enroute structure and make an approach to a runway, by reference to
instruments only, with no outside references, to a point very near the
threshold of a runway from which the transition to visual references can
be made, if possible, followed by a landing.]

[Each individual IAP is completely custom to a particular airport,
runway, and means of navigation. They are described on charts known as
"plates" that contain all the information necessary to fly the approach
- the navigation aids used, their frequencies, headings, altitudes,
times, communication frequencies, landing minimums (visibility and
ceiling), and "missed approach" instructions - what you do when arrive
at the decision point and are not able to continue to a landing due to
inadequate visual references or other reasons. Each one is a work of
art, IMO.]

We talked about approaches for quite a bit (no surprise there). He got
out a couple plates and asked me many questions about them, all of which
I answered with no problem. He talked quite a bit about making the
go-missed decision - how to determine if the required visibility is met,
mainly. He brought up some nuances I hadn't fully considered before,
such as the fact that pilot visiblity can overrule reported RVR values.
I did know some fairly obscure things such as the rules regarding ILS
approach lighting systems (the lights allow you to descend to 100' AGL
but no lower unless you have the red lights, or part of the runway
structure itself), which seemed to impress him.

Talking about VOR-A (or -B, etc.) approaches, I won brownie points by
knowing the answer to this question: Why might an IAP be designated -A
(no straight-in minimums given) when the course is within 30 degrees of
the landing runway? The answer is that, in that case, the MDA puts you
too high to execute a straight-in landing "at a normal rate of descent".
My instructor had happened to discuss that topic with me a few weeks
prior - the DE said I was the only checkride applicant he'd ever had
that got that one right. Cool.

We then talked about attitude instrument flight for awhile; he asked
about primary/secondary instrument in various flight conditions, and I
answered all of that correctly.

I think that was about it. A few more topics were touched upon, but
they were more informal chatting than any sort of grilling. I came away
really impressed with the DE's knowledge - he'd shown me different sides
of a number of topics. He obviously knew instrument flight inside and
out. (I suppose that's logical for a DE.)

He then told me what we'd be doing on the flight, to a level of detail
that surprised me. He gave me all three approaches we'd be flying, and
the hold, with the disclaimer that the plans *might* change - as it
turned out, they didn't. All the approaches were ones I'd done before -
the VOR-A and ILS 10 at UES (Waukesha) and the LOC 15 back into Timmy -
although all but the first involved using feeder routes that I'd never
used before, including intercepting the localizer backcourse for the
full ILS 10 UES.

We drove out to my hangar; I'd previously preflighted. As we climbed
into my 152, I apologized for owning such a cramped airplane and he
apologized for being so fat, as he put it. I made sure to use every
checklist, even the pre-engine-start, religiously, as I, uh, always do.

He told me he'd be playing ATC and that he'd have a mock clearance for
me to copy. I did, and readback correctly, and he told me to proceed
direct Badger (BAE), which was the first fix on my flight plan, up to
3000' msl.

[Holding patterns are another part of instrument flying - as the name
implies, the purpose is simply kill time, by flying in a circle, for
traffic separation, to wait out weather below minimums, etc. There
isn't a ton to it - you need to know how to enter the hold, which is a
function of the heading you're approaching it from, how to properly
correct for wind drift (important in almost every aspect of aviation),
and how to correct your timing to produce inbound legs of standard
length (one minute unless otherwise specified).

The first thing we did was hold at BAE, R90 - meaning a very obvious
direct entry, approaching almost due west. It turns out I completely
lucked out on the winds - they were almost non-existent. After dealing
with 30-40 knot winds aloft the last few times out, this was a nice
change.

Unfortunately, I made my first and only real mistake on the ride in this
hold. Since holding can be so simple, almost boring, I let my mind
wander a bit on the 2nd outbound leg, and was thinking ahead to the
VOR-A approach and the published missed there - I looked down at the
chart, which I'd put on the yoke clip ahead of time. The hold for the
published missed is at BAE on the 270 radial. You can probably guess
what happened - that extra clutter in my head caused me to basically
lose situational awareness for a few seconds. I was in the middle of
the turn inbound and I simply stopped, on a 180 heading, half way
through! Man, that was just awful. I recovered quickly but I could
have blown it right there, and how stupidly! Thoroughly ****ed at
myslef, I decided to keep my mind on what I was doing, at all times, no
matter how simple, and vowed no more stupid mistakes (or any mistakes).

After the 2nd turn of the hold he had me call UES tower and request the
two practice approaches, starting with the full ILS 10, and told me to
fly the BAE R212 feeder route to the outer marker.

The ILS was uneventful. As I noted, the calm winds today made things so
easy, frankly. I had flown this ILS with a 40-knot tailwind a couple
days earlier; today, it was all standard numbers, airspeed nearly equal
to groundspeed, only the slightest crab necessary, and no bouncing all
over the place once I got low, as I'd gotten accustomed to lately.
Easy. Down to decision height and then the published missed, back to
BAE. I turned for the parallel entry for the hold and then he covered
my attitude indicator and asked me to close my eyes and put my head in
my lap.

[This part of the checkride is designed to test your skill in
"partial-panel" instrument flying. Two of the main gyroscopic flight
instruments in most light aircraft are powered by an engine-driven
vacuum pump, and the reliability of these units is something less than
steller in general. Losing vacuum in IFR conditions is a full-on
emergency because you lose these instruments - the attitude indicator
and the directional gyro, which gives you your heading. When flying
partial-panel, you must rely more heavily on indications from other
instruments to augment your knowledge of the aircraft's attitude and
heading. This information does exist via other instruments, but it's
less direct and less readily available. Partial-panel instrument flying
is challenging.]

[The exercise the DE was giving me here is unusual-attitude recovery - a
situation you may very well find yourself in when you realize you've
lost your gyros! The DE puts the aircraft in a "crazy" flight attitude,
gives you the controls, and evaluates you on your ability to recover.
Any intervention necessary from the examineer in this exercise deemed
necessary for safety is a guaranteed failure of the checkride.]

He gave me only one UA - with him yelling "recover, recover, recover!",
I open my eyes, take the yoke, and note the altimeter unwinding, the VSI
pegged downward, and the airspeed well into the yelling range. I
simultaneously level the wings and pull the power, then gently recover.
Done. My eyes *did* go to the covered AI, initially, though - I'd
actually never done an UA recovery partial-panel before! (My CFI was
present for the debrief after the ride and it turned out he didn't know
they were a part of the ride - the PTS is not clear on this.)

After this, he has me intercept the BAE R333 outbound for the full UES
VOR-A approach, partial-panel. Now, a couple words about this - it
turns out that this particular DE covers only the AI for the
partial-panel approach - his concern being that looking up at the
compass if the DG is covered makes "cheating" a concern. Now, I'd
practiced PP approaches with no DG and never once did I have any
inclination to try to "cheat" by looking outside, but he has that
concern and he's the DE. There's no doubt that the PP approach is
easier when you have your DG, but I'm quite confident I could have done
it without as well, as I'd done so on several occasions.

This approach, again, was, pretty much flawless, and should have been
given the conditions. I was able to hold alt within 25 ft or so and
keep the needle extremely close to centered all the way in. Missed back
to the north, intercept the BAE R61 feeding route for the MWC LOC 15, he
has me call tower and ask for a circle to 22. At this point, I know
that I have the ride in the bad unless I do something exceedingly stupid.

[A word about the "circle to land" manuever. Sometimes, you execute an
instrument approach to one runway but must land on another, usually due
to the wind conditions. The circle-to-land manuever is tricky because
you are doing a lot of manuevering at a very low altitude. On the
checkride, you have an altitude tolerance of +100, -0 ft (which goes for
every instrument approach minimum descent altitude or decision
altitude), so you must be very careful to maintain that range while
circling, as well as stay within the maximum distance allowed from the
end of any runway, which is a function of your approach speed and for me
is 1.3 miles. The tolerance of -0 is there because descending below MDA
while circling can easily result in hitting something, which is bad, and
climbing is also unacceptable because on a real approach in instrument
conditions that could easily put you back in the clouds, and if that
happens you must immediately discontinue the circle and execute the
missed approach.]

The DE decided to mess with my head on the circle. I had been expecting
such a "distraction", but for some reason at this point I in fact did
not recognize it as a planned "distraction", and instead of asking him
nicely to shut his pie-hole until we landed, proceeded to answer his
questions as best I could. "Where are we going to land?" "Uh.. the
runway". "Where will the mains touchdown?" "I'm shooting for the
numbers". "Do you think you should use full flaps with this wind."
"Sure.. why not?" Ok, I think I was catching on now. On the rollout,
he asked me why I missed the numbers. "Well, I was just a bit high on
final." I knew he was messing with me now. "But instrument flying is
all about precision, isn't it?" "Yes, sir, but I forgot how to land."
He cracked up and gave me a "good job", telling me that I had the ticket
unless I managed to hit his Bonanza on the ramp.

[Instrument students do typically let their landing skills slip a bit,
as there generally isn't much landing going on. We already know how to
land airplanes; we practice approaches to the missed approach point, as
it's the approach that's being practiced. Also, I'd had an engine
modification done 6 weeks ago, and because the engine was still in
break-in, pattern practice (landings) wasn't a good idea.]

So, that's about it! He took my nice plastic certificate and gave me a
crappy temporary paper one instead, but since it says "Instrument
Airplane" at the bottom, I'll take it!



  #7  
Old February 5th 05, 01:51 AM
Jon Kraus
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Then you are invited to join our "Flunked a Checkride" Club... Welcome!!

Jon Kraus
PP-ASEL-IA
'79 Mooney 201 4443H

Alan Pendley wrote:

Paul,

Congrats! You must have really been on it to pass the first time. I too am
the somewhat dubious recipient of a pink slip, but passed the second time!

Cheers,
Alan Pendley
PP - ASEL - IA
Commercial Student
Hawthorne Muni, CA
'75 Cardinal RG
N2770V
KHHR
==========
"Jon Kraus" wrote in message
...
Congratulations Paul... Unfortunately, you can not be a member of our
busted a checkride club... Too bad.. There are some really
distinguished members in there!! :-0 Seriously though, great job!!

Jon Kraus
PP-ASEL-IA
'79 Mooney 201 4443H


Paul Folbrecht wrote:


Took & passed my checkride (first try) yesterday. Here's the extended
narrative. Paragraphs enclosed in [] are explanatory for the
non-aviators who will recieve this.

[Ah, well, why don't I start out with talking about what the "instrument
rating" is all about. You can think of it as, basically, an "adendum"
tacked onto a pilot's licence that gives you additional priveleges -
namely, the ability to fly in weather conditions below "VFR" minimums.
All aviation is carried out under one of two sets of regulations - VFR
(visual flight rules) and IFR (instrument flight rules). Upon becoming
a pilot, you've got the skills and the right to operate under the
former, but not the latter - that's what the instrument rating is for.
The instrument rating makes flying a much more practical endeavor as
you're not nearly as much a slave to the weather when you're capable of
flying by reference to instruments only. It also makes you a
statistically safer pilot across the board, if statistics mean anything.]

[And now, a bit about the "checkride". This is the "practical test" by
which an FAA "designated examineer" (DE) is authorized to issue an
instrument rating upon successful completion. "Practical test" means
both an oral (ground question & answer) session as well as a flight
test. My instrument checkride lasted a total of about 3 1/2 hours,
which is typical. A prereq to taking the checkride, in addition to
having logged the 40 hours of instrument flying (simulated or actual)
that's required, is having passed the FAA's written test, which I did
back in December.]

My ride was scheduled for 1PM at MWC. I'd been asked in advance to plan
a cross-country IFR flight of at least 200nm; I chose Crystal, MN (MIC),
as it met the requirements and is a destination I've flown to VFR in the
past. I also planned for a fuel stop at La Crosse (LSE), as with me and
the examineer's 220lb, there was room for only 19 gallons in my 152. I
showed up at the airport at 12:30 to finish up my nav logs and get a
weather briefing, and the examineer was already there, having arrived in
his Bonanza. I gave him my paperwork (8710 form, written test results,
logbook) and his payment and told him I'd need a few minutes to finish up.

After getting my briefing, which correlated well with the somewhat
earlier weather reports I'd planned the flight based on, I decided it
would be a definite "go" if the flight were for real, and decided I was
ready for the oral.

He began by asking me to go through the flight, which I did. I
explained why I chose the route (airways) and altitude (wind) that I
did, and explained the reasons for the alternates I'd chosen, even
though they actually were not required. [The regs require you to file
an alternate airport if weather at your destination at ETA is below
certain minimums.]

He then got into the "what-if" failure/emergency scenaries I was
expecting - lost comm, vacuum failure, icing. He seemed satisfied with
my answers. By this point his demeanor had pretty much changed from
"formal" to "friendly/informal", and I had a good feeling about the oral
and the ride.

[The most challenging and involved area of instrument flying, in terms
of knowledge and flying skill, is the "instrument approach procedure"
(IAP). The purpose of such a procedure is to allow one to descend from
the enroute structure and make an approach to a runway, by reference to
instruments only, with no outside references, to a point very near the
threshold of a runway from which the transition to visual references can
be made, if possible, followed by a landing.]

[Each individual IAP is completely custom to a particular airport,
runway, and means of navigation. They are described on charts known as
"plates" that contain all the information necessary to fly the approach
- the navigation aids used, their frequencies, headings, altitudes,
times, communication frequencies, landing minimums (visibility and
ceiling), and "missed approach" instructions - what you do when arrive
at the decision point and are not able to continue to a landing due to
inadequate visual references or other reasons. Each one is a work of
art, IMO.]

We talked about approaches for quite a bit (no surprise there). He got
out a couple plates and asked me many questions about them, all of which
I answered with no problem. He talked quite a bit about making the
go-missed decision - how to determine if the required visibility is met,
mainly. He brought up some nuances I hadn't fully considered before,
such as the fact that pilot visiblity can overrule reported RVR values.
I did know some fairly obscure things such as the rules regarding ILS
approach lighting systems (the lights allow you to descend to 100' AGL
but no lower unless you have the red lights, or part of the runway
structure itself), which seemed to impress him.

Talking about VOR-A (or -B, etc.) approaches, I won brownie points by
knowing the answer to this question: Why might an IAP be designated -A
(no straight-in minimums given) when the course is within 30 degrees of
the landing runway? The answer is that, in that case, the MDA puts you
too high to execute a straight-in landing "at a normal rate of descent".
My instructor had happened to discuss that topic with me a few weeks
prior - the DE said I was the only checkride applicant he'd ever had
that got that one right. Cool.

We then talked about attitude instrument flight for awhile; he asked
about primary/secondary instrument in various flight conditions, and I
answered all of that correctly.

I think that was about it. A few more topics were touched upon, but
they were more informal chatting than any sort of grilling. I came away
really impressed with the DE's knowledge - he'd shown me different sides
of a number of topics. He obviously knew instrument flight inside and
out. (I suppose that's logical for a DE.)

He then told me what we'd be doing on the flight, to a level of detail
that surprised me. He gave me all three approaches we'd be flying, and
the hold, with the disclaimer that the plans *might* change - as it
turned out, they didn't. All the approaches were ones I'd done before -
the VOR-A and ILS 10 at UES (Waukesha) and the LOC 15 back into Timmy -
although all but the first involved using feeder routes that I'd never
used before, including intercepting the localizer backcourse for the
full ILS 10 UES.

We drove out to my hangar; I'd previously preflighted. As we climbed
into my 152, I apologized for owning such a cramped airplane and he
apologized for being so fat, as he put it. I made sure to use every
checklist, even the pre-engine-start, religiously, as I, uh, always do.

He told me he'd be playing ATC and that he'd have a mock clearance for
me to copy. I did, and readback correctly, and he told me to proceed
direct Badger (BAE), which was the first fix on my flight plan, up to
3000' msl.

[Holding patterns are another part of instrument flying - as the name
implies, the purpose is simply kill time, by flying in a circle, for
traffic separation, to wait out weather below minimums, etc. There
isn't a ton to it - you need to know how to enter the hold, which is a
function of the heading you're approaching it from, how to properly
correct for wind drift (important in almost every aspect of aviation),
and how to correct your timing to produce inbound legs of standard
length (one minute unless otherwise specified).

The first thing we did was hold at BAE, R90 - meaning a very obvious
direct entry, approaching almost due west. It turns out I completely
lucked out on the winds - they were almost non-existent. After dealing
with 30-40 knot winds aloft the last few times out, this was a nice
change.

Unfortunately, I made my first and only real mistake on the ride in this
hold. Since holding can be so simple, almost boring, I let my mind
wander a bit on the 2nd outbound leg, and was thinking ahead to the
VOR-A approach and the published missed there - I looked down at the
chart, which I'd put on the yoke clip ahead of time. The hold for the
published missed is at BAE on the 270 radial. You can probably guess
what happened - that extra clutter in my head caused me to basically
lose situational awareness for a few seconds. I was in the middle of
the turn inbound and I simply stopped, on a 180 heading, half way
through! Man, that was just awful. I recovered quickly but I could
have blown it right there, and how stupidly! Thoroughly ****ed at
myslef, I decided to keep my mind on what I was doing, at all times, no
matter how simple, and vowed no more stupid mistakes (or any mistakes).

After the 2nd turn of the hold he had me call UES tower and request the
two practice approaches, starting with the full ILS 10, and told me to
fly the BAE R212 feeder route to the outer marker.

The ILS was uneventful. As I noted, the calm winds today made things so
easy, frankly. I had flown this ILS with a 40-knot tailwind a couple
days earlier; today, it was all standard numbers, airspeed nearly equal
to groundspeed, only the slightest crab necessary, and no bouncing all
over the place once I got low, as I'd gotten accustomed to lately.
Easy. Down to decision height and then the published missed, back to
BAE. I turned for the parallel entry for the hold and then he covered
my attitude indicator and asked me to close my eyes and put my head in
my lap.

[This part of the checkride is designed to test your skill in
"partial-panel" instrument flying. Two of the main gyroscopic flight
instruments in most light aircraft are powered by an engine-driven
vacuum pump, and the reliability of these units is something less than
steller in general. Losing vacuum in IFR conditions is a full-on
emergency because you lose these instruments - the attitude indicator
and the directional gyro, which gives you your heading. When flying
partial-panel, you must rely more heavily on indications from other
instruments to augment your knowledge of the aircraft's attitude and
heading. This information does exist via other instruments, but it's
less direct and less readily available. Partial-panel instrument flying
is challenging.]

[The exercise the DE was giving me here is unusual-attitude recovery - a
situation you may very well find yourself in when you realize you've
lost your gyros! The DE puts the aircraft in a "crazy" flight attitude,
gives you the controls, and evaluates you on your ability to recover.
Any intervention necessary from the examineer in this exercise deemed
necessary for safety is a guaranteed failure of the checkride.]

He gave me only one UA - with him yelling "recover, recover, recover!",
I open my eyes, take the yoke, and note the altimeter unwinding, the VSI
pegged downward, and the airspeed well into the yelling range. I
simultaneously level the wings and pull the power, then gently recover.
Done. My eyes *did* go to the covered AI, initially, though - I'd
actually never done an UA recovery partial-panel before! (My CFI was
present for the debrief after the ride and it turned out he didn't know
they were a part of the ride - the PTS is not clear on this.)

After this, he has me intercept the BAE R333 outbound for the full UES
VOR-A approach, partial-panel. Now, a couple words about this - it
turns out that this particular DE covers only the AI for the
partial-panel approach - his concern being that looking up at the
compass if the DG is covered makes "cheating" a concern. Now, I'd
practiced PP approaches with no DG and never once did I have any
inclination to try to "cheat" by looking outside, but he has that
concern and he's the DE. There's no doubt that the PP approach is
easier when you have your DG, but I'm quite confident I could have done
it without as well, as I'd done so on several occasions.

This approach, again, was, pretty much flawless, and should have been
given the conditions. I was able to hold alt within 25 ft or so and
keep the needle extremely close to centered all the way in. Missed back
to the north, intercept the BAE R61 feeding route for the MWC LOC 15, he
has me call tower and ask for a circle to 22. At this point, I know
that I have the ride in the bad unless I do something exceedingly stupid.

[A word about the "circle to land" manuever. Sometimes, you execute an
instrument approach to one runway but must land on another, usually due
to the wind conditions. The circle-to-land manuever is tricky because
you are doing a lot of manuevering at a very low altitude. On the
checkride, you have an altitude tolerance of +100, -0 ft (which goes for
every instrument approach minimum descent altitude or decision
altitude), so you must be very careful to maintain that range while
circling, as well as stay within the maximum distance allowed from the
end of any runway, which is a function of your approach speed and for me
is 1.3 miles. The tolerance of -0 is there because descending below MDA
while circling can easily result in hitting something, which is bad, and
climbing is also unacceptable because on a real approach in instrument
conditions that could easily put you back in the clouds, and if that
happens you must immediately discontinue the circle and execute the
missed approach.]

The DE decided to mess with my head on the circle. I had been expecting
such a "distraction", but for some reason at this point I in fact did
not recognize it as a planned "distraction", and instead of asking him
nicely to shut his pie-hole until we landed, proceeded to answer his
questions as best I could. "Where are we going to land?" "Uh.. the
runway". "Where will the mains touchdown?" "I'm shooting for the
numbers". "Do you think you should use full flaps with this wind."
"Sure.. why not?" Ok, I think I was catching on now. On the rollout,
he asked me why I missed the numbers. "Well, I was just a bit high on
final." I knew he was messing with me now. "But instrument flying is
all about precision, isn't it?" "Yes, sir, but I forgot how to land."
He cracked up and gave me a "good job", telling me that I had the ticket
unless I managed to hit his Bonanza on the ramp.

[Instrument students do typically let their landing skills slip a bit,
as there generally isn't much landing going on. We already know how to
land airplanes; we practice approaches to the missed approach point, as
it's the approach that's being practiced. Also, I'd had an engine
modification done 6 weeks ago, and because the engine was still in
break-in, pattern practice (landings) wasn't a good idea.]

So, that's about it! He took my nice plastic certificate and gave me a
crappy temporary paper one instead, but since it says "Instrument
Airplane" at the bottom, I'll take it!





  #8  
Old February 7th 05, 04:27 AM
Paul Folbrecht
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Hey, it could have easily gone that way for me too had I been thrown a
lot of turblulence or some other bad luck. Just glad to have it behind
me. Thanks for all the 'cograts'.

Flew to Midway today (from Milwauke - MWC) IFR, just to do it. VFR
weather. Got vectored the whole way (no surprise), east of Chicago -
not happy being over the water as far as 3-4 miles out but we got a
wonderful view of the city coming back in on the south side.

Jon Kraus wrote:
Congratulations Paul... Unfortunately, you can not be a member of our
busted a checkride club... Too bad.. There are some really distinguished
members in there!! :-0 Seriously though, great job!!

Jon Kraus
PP-ASEL-IA
'79 Mooney 201 4443H


Paul Folbrecht wrote:


  #9  
Old February 7th 05, 09:21 PM
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Chicago loves to send single engine aircraft out of the way, out over
the lake. I fly out of Gary, IN and if I'm eastbound, they always give
me initial course of 40 degrees. If I complain, they might amend it to
60.

  #10  
Old February 9th 05, 06:35 AM
Alan Pendley
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Thangyouverymuch! I was really ****ed off when I busted the ride, but now I
consider it to be the "Pink Slip of Courage", and quite a distinction to be
a member of your esteemed Club!....

Thanks,
-Alan
========
"Jon Kraus" wrote in message
...
Then you are invited to join our "Flunked a Checkride" Club... Welcome!!

Jon Kraus
PP-ASEL-IA
'79 Mooney 201 4443H

Alan Pendley wrote:

Paul,

Congrats! You must have really been on it to pass the first time. I too
am
the somewhat dubious recipient of a pink slip, but passed the second time!

Cheers,
Alan Pendley
PP - ASEL - IA
Commercial Student
Hawthorne Muni, CA
'75 Cardinal RG
N2770V
KHHR
==========
"Jon Kraus" wrote in message
...
Congratulations Paul... Unfortunately, you can not be a member of our
busted a checkride club... Too bad.. There are some really
distinguished members in there!! :-0 Seriously though, great job!!

Jon Kraus
PP-ASEL-IA
'79 Mooney 201 4443H


Paul Folbrecht wrote:


Took & passed my checkride (first try) yesterday. Here's the extended
narrative. Paragraphs enclosed in [] are explanatory for the
non-aviators who will recieve this.

[Ah, well, why don't I start out with talking about what the "instrument
rating" is all about. You can think of it as, basically, an "adendum"
tacked onto a pilot's licence that gives you additional priveleges -
namely, the ability to fly in weather conditions below "VFR" minimums.
All aviation is carried out under one of two sets of regulations - VFR
(visual flight rules) and IFR (instrument flight rules). Upon becoming
a pilot, you've got the skills and the right to operate under the
former, but not the latter - that's what the instrument rating is for.
The instrument rating makes flying a much more practical endeavor as
you're not nearly as much a slave to the weather when you're capable of
flying by reference to instruments only. It also makes you a
statistically safer pilot across the board, if statistics mean anything.]

[And now, a bit about the "checkride". This is the "practical test" by
which an FAA "designated examineer" (DE) is authorized to issue an
instrument rating upon successful completion. "Practical test" means
both an oral (ground question & answer) session as well as a flight
test. My instrument checkride lasted a total of about 3 1/2 hours,
which is typical. A prereq to taking the checkride, in addition to
having logged the 40 hours of instrument flying (simulated or actual)
that's required, is having passed the FAA's written test, which I did
back in December.]

My ride was scheduled for 1PM at MWC. I'd been asked in advance to plan
a cross-country IFR flight of at least 200nm; I chose Crystal, MN (MIC),
as it met the requirements and is a destination I've flown to VFR in the
past. I also planned for a fuel stop at La Crosse (LSE), as with me and
the examineer's 220lb, there was room for only 19 gallons in my 152. I
showed up at the airport at 12:30 to finish up my nav logs and get a
weather briefing, and the examineer was already there, having arrived in
his Bonanza. I gave him my paperwork (8710 form, written test results,
logbook) and his payment and told him I'd need a few minutes to finish up.

After getting my briefing, which correlated well with the somewhat
earlier weather reports I'd planned the flight based on, I decided it
would be a definite "go" if the flight were for real, and decided I was
ready for the oral.

He began by asking me to go through the flight, which I did. I
explained why I chose the route (airways) and altitude (wind) that I
did, and explained the reasons for the alternates I'd chosen, even
though they actually were not required. [The regs require you to file
an alternate airport if weather at your destination at ETA is below
certain minimums.]

He then got into the "what-if" failure/emergency scenaries I was
expecting - lost comm, vacuum failure, icing. He seemed satisfied with
my answers. By this point his demeanor had pretty much changed from
"formal" to "friendly/informal", and I had a good feeling about the oral
and the ride.

[The most challenging and involved area of instrument flying, in terms
of knowledge and flying skill, is the "instrument approach procedure"
(IAP). The purpose of such a procedure is to allow one to descend from
the enroute structure and make an approach to a runway, by reference to
instruments only, with no outside references, to a point very near the
threshold of a runway from which the transition to visual references can
be made, if possible, followed by a landing.]

[Each individual IAP is completely custom to a particular airport,
runway, and means of navigation. They are described on charts known as
"plates" that contain all the information necessary to fly the approach
- the navigation aids used, their frequencies, headings, altitudes,
times, communication frequencies, landing minimums (visibility and
ceiling), and "missed approach" instructions - what you do when arrive
at the decision point and are not able to continue to a landing due to
inadequate visual references or other reasons. Each one is a work of
art, IMO.]

We talked about approaches for quite a bit (no surprise there). He got
out a couple plates and asked me many questions about them, all of which
I answered with no problem. He talked quite a bit about making the
go-missed decision - how to determine if the required visibility is met,
mainly. He brought up some nuances I hadn't fully considered before,
such as the fact that pilot visiblity can overrule reported RVR values.
I did know some fairly obscure things such as the rules regarding ILS
approach lighting systems (the lights allow you to descend to 100' AGL
but no lower unless you have the red lights, or part of the runway
structure itself), which seemed to impress him.

Talking about VOR-A (or -B, etc.) approaches, I won brownie points by
knowing the answer to this question: Why might an IAP be designated -A
(no straight-in minimums given) when the course is within 30 degrees of
the landing runway? The answer is that, in that case, the MDA puts you
too high to execute a straight-in landing "at a normal rate of descent".
My instructor had happened to discuss that topic with me a few weeks
prior - the DE said I was the only checkride applicant he'd ever had
that got that one right. Cool.

We then talked about attitude instrument flight for awhile; he asked
about primary/secondary instrument in various flight conditions, and I
answered all of that correctly.

I think that was about it. A few more topics were touched upon, but
they were more informal chatting than any sort of grilling. I came away
really impressed with the DE's knowledge - he'd shown me different sides
of a number of topics. He obviously knew instrument flight inside and
out. (I suppose that's logical for a DE.)

He then told me what we'd be doing on the flight, to a level of detail
that surprised me. He gave me all three approaches we'd be flying, and
the hold, with the disclaimer that the plans *might* change - as it
turned out, they didn't. All the approaches were ones I'd done before -
the VOR-A and ILS 10 at UES (Waukesha) and the LOC 15 back into Timmy -
although all but the first involved using feeder routes that I'd never
used before, including intercepting the localizer backcourse for the
full ILS 10 UES.

We drove out to my hangar; I'd previously preflighted. As we climbed
into my 152, I apologized for owning such a cramped airplane and he
apologized for being so fat, as he put it. I made sure to use every
checklist, even the pre-engine-start, religiously, as I, uh, always do.

He told me he'd be playing ATC and that he'd have a mock clearance for
me to copy. I did, and readback correctly, and he told me to proceed
direct Badger (BAE), which was the first fix on my flight plan, up to
3000' msl.

[Holding patterns are another part of instrument flying - as the name
implies, the purpose is simply kill time, by flying in a circle, for
traffic separation, to wait out weather below minimums, etc. There
isn't a ton to it - you need to know how to enter the hold, which is a
function of the heading you're approaching it from, how to properly
correct for wind drift (important in almost every aspect of aviation),
and how to correct your timing to produce inbound legs of standard
length (one minute unless otherwise specified).

The first thing we did was hold at BAE, R90 - meaning a very obvious
direct entry, approaching almost due west. It turns out I completely
lucked out on the winds - they were almost non-existent. After dealing
with 30-40 knot winds aloft the last few times out, this was a nice
change.

Unfortunately, I made my first and only real mistake on the ride in this
hold. Since holding can be so simple, almost boring, I let my mind
wander a bit on the 2nd outbound leg, and was thinking ahead to the
VOR-A approach and the published missed there - I looked down at the
chart, which I'd put on the yoke clip ahead of time. The hold for the
published missed is at BAE on the 270 radial. You can probably guess
what happened - that extra clutter in my head caused me to basically
lose situational awareness for a few seconds. I was in the middle of
the turn inbound and I simply stopped, on a 180 heading, half way
through! Man, that was just awful. I recovered quickly but I could
have blown it right there, and how stupidly! Thoroughly ****ed at
myslef, I decided to keep my mind on what I was doing, at all times, no
matter how simple, and vowed no more stupid mistakes (or any mistakes).

After the 2nd turn of the hold he had me call UES tower and request the
two practice approaches, starting with the full ILS 10, and told me to
fly the BAE R212 feeder route to the outer marker.

The ILS was uneventful. As I noted, the calm winds today made things so
easy, frankly. I had flown this ILS with a 40-knot tailwind a couple
days earlier; today, it was all standard numbers, airspeed nearly equal
to groundspeed, only the slightest crab necessary, and no bouncing all
over the place once I got low, as I'd gotten accustomed to lately.
Easy. Down to decision height and then the published missed, back to
BAE. I turned for the parallel entry for the hold and then he covered
my attitude indicator and asked me to close my eyes and put my head in
my lap.

[This part of the checkride is designed to test your skill in
"partial-panel" instrument flying. Two of the main gyroscopic flight
instruments in most light aircraft are powered by an engine-driven
vacuum pump, and the reliability of these units is something less than
steller in general. Losing vacuum in IFR conditions is a full-on
emergency because you lose these instruments - the attitude indicator
and the directional gyro, which gives you your heading. When flying
partial-panel, you must rely more heavily on indications from other
instruments to augment your knowledge of the aircraft's attitude and
heading. This information does exist via other instruments, but it's
less direct and less readily available. Partial-panel instrument flying
is challenging.]

[The exercise the DE was giving me here is unusual-attitude recovery - a
situation you may very well find yourself in when you realize you've
lost your gyros! The DE puts the aircraft in a "crazy" flight attitude,
gives you the controls, and evaluates you on your ability to recover.
Any intervention necessary from the examineer in this exercise deemed
necessary for safety is a guaranteed failure of the checkride.]

He gave me only one UA - with him yelling "recover, recover, recover!",
I open my eyes, take the yoke, and note the altimeter unwinding, the VSI
pegged downward, and the airspeed well into the yelling range. I
simultaneously level the wings and pull the power, then gently recover.
Done. My eyes *did* go to the covered AI, initially, though - I'd
actually never done an UA recovery partial-panel before! (My CFI was
present for the debrief after the ride and it turned out he didn't know
they were a part of the ride - the PTS is not clear on this.)

After this, he has me intercept the BAE R333 outbound for the full UES
VOR-A approach, partial-panel. Now, a couple words about this - it
turns out that this particular DE covers only the AI for the
partial-panel approach - his concern being that looking up at the
compass if the DG is covered makes "cheating" a concern. Now, I'd
practiced PP approaches with no DG and never once did I have any
inclination to try to "cheat" by looking outside, but he has that
concern and he's the DE. There's no doubt that the PP approach is
easier when you have your DG, but I'm quite confident I could have done
it without as well, as I'd done so on several occasions.

This approach, again, was, pretty much flawless, and should have been
given the conditions. I was able to hold alt within 25 ft or so and
keep the needle extremely close to centered all the way in. Missed back
to the north, intercept the BAE R61 feeding route for the MWC LOC 15, he
has me call tower and ask for a circle to 22. At this point, I know
that I have the ride in the bad unless I do something exceedingly stupid.

[A word about the "circle to land" manuever. Sometimes, you execute an
instrument approach to one runway but must land on another, usually due
to the wind conditions. The circle-to-land manuever is tricky because
you are doing a lot of manuevering at a very low altitude. On the
checkride, you have an altitude tolerance of +100, -0 ft (which goes for
every instrument approach minimum descent altitude or decision
altitude), so you must be very careful to maintain that range while
circling, as well as stay within the maximum distance allowed from the
end of any runway, which is a function of your approach speed and for me
is 1.3 miles. The tolerance of -0 is there because descending below MDA
while circling can easily result in hitting something, which is bad, and
climbing is also unacceptable because on a real approach in instrument
conditions that could easily put you back in the clouds, and if that
happens you must immediately discontinue the circle and execute the
missed approach.]

The DE decided to mess with my head on the circle. I had been expecting
such a "distraction", but for some reason at this point I in fact did
not recognize it as a planned "distraction", and instead of asking him
nicely to shut his pie-hole until we landed, proceeded to answer his
questions as best I could. "Where are we going to land?" "Uh.. the
runway". "Where will the mains touchdown?" "I'm shooting for the
numbers". "Do you think you should use full flaps with this wind."
"Sure.. why not?" Ok, I think I was catching on now. On the rollout,
he asked me why I missed the numbers. "Well, I was just a bit high on
final." I knew he was messing with me now. "But instrument flying is
all about precision, isn't it?" "Yes, sir, but I forgot how to land."
He cracked up and gave me a "good job", telling me that I had the ticket
unless I managed to hit his Bonanza on the ramp.

[Instrument students do typically let their landing skills slip a bit,
as there generally isn't much landing going on. We already know how to
land airplanes; we practice approaches to the missed approach point, as
it's the approach that's being practiced. Also, I'd had an engine
modification done 6 weeks ago, and because the engine was still in
break-in, pattern practice (landings) wasn't a good idea.]

So, that's about it! He took my nice plastic certificate and gave me a
crappy temporary paper one instead, but since it says "Instrument
Airplane" at the bottom, I'll take it!






 




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