The skies were beautiful today…. if you were on a VFR flight that is.  Only high cirrus clouds today and very few if any.  However, summer is definitely on the way as afternoon convection made todays lesson nice an bumpy, so being on instruments would be interesting.

The preflight brief had me looking over the VOR-A approach at Siler City (KSCR).  I was informed that the GPS may or may not be on the fritz, hint hint.  This lesson is all about VOR tracking, timed holds and a circling VOR-A approach.

As we taxied, I received my mock clearance, “Cessna 72675, cleared to KSCR via radar vectors to Liberty, climb and maintain 3000 squawk 1200”

Once I was in the air and donning my fashionable foggles, I was given a convenient radar vector that lined me up direct to LIB VOR.

The ride to liberty was a non event.  Other than the air being a little bumpy, I was able to trim things out go through the cruise checklist and then start looking at the brief.  At that point, I hear “Skyhawk 72675, You are 9 miles from Liberty, Hold NW on the Liberty VOR as published, Expect further clearance 1620 current time 1600.”  I read back the instructions and went back to briefing the approach.  I briefed the entry into the hold, we would perform a parallel entry.  once we crossed the VOR we would start the clock… more on that in a minute.  Then we would make a right turn back to the VOR inbound course and begin the hold.

Sounds like a piece of cake huh?  Well, it starts getting real.  Once I crossed the VOR I turned on the outbound course and started the errr…. timer… err… crap, I wasn’t ready, I can’t figure out how to get the timer in timer mode.  “Don’t worry, We’ll keep the timer over here, you just tell me when to start and stop”  Whew… bailed out by the instructor.  Note to self, figure that out sooner.

Ok, 1 minute, right turn back to the the inbound heading.  “Are you sure we are turning to the inbound heading.” Doh, no, we need to turn back 45 more to the right to track the VOR inbound.  This sequence was the only part of the flight that I reached saturation.  I quickly corrected and got us back on course and around the hold we go.

Once we did one loop around the hold, as I was turning inbound, I was given the clearance for the approach.  Once we crossed the VOR, We started the clock.  5:28 seconds until we reach the missed approach point (MAP), And I was able to descend to 1380 msl for the circling approach.  As I was trying to get stable, I noticed that I was a little fast.  Even though I was stable through the descent to minimum altitude, I was consistently fast.  As we neared the MAP, I was told to take off the foggles.  We were going to be over the airport before the timer reach 5:28.  Evidently, this is pretty common.  My instructor informed me that most of the time, once you reach the MAP via time, the airport is slightly behind you.  Oh, and I forgot to configure for the approach.  Mixture wasn’t rich… doh.  Caught it on the missed.

Once on the missed, I was given clearance to TTA direct OZOPE at 2500 msl.  And… my gps magically started working again!  Once I was established direct.  I was then assigned a block altitude for maneuvers.

At this point I was asked to setup for steep turns at 95 kts.  I performed steep left and right turns.  Went pretty well.  Next, departure stall, slowed to 65 and full throttle.  Once I heard the horn I was allowed to recover.  Next, slow flight full flaps.  All of these maneuvers went well… no real issues.

Back on course to OZOPE at 2500 msl.  I see my instructor fiddling with something then all of the sudden, Covers go on the Attitude Indicator and Directional Gyro.  I lost my vacuum system.  Yay, partial panel.

Honestly, this part wasn’t really all that bad.  I immediately started to rely on my GPS track to keep me tracking to OZOPE.  I was able to brief the approach and stay pretty steady at 2500 msl and on the needles to OZOPE.

I briefed the approach…. well, ok, let’s be honest here.  This is where I felt kind of a bit lost.  I started with the name of the approach then jumped to the altitudes to cross OZOPE, then the descent to capture the glide path on the RNAV 21 LPV approach. then, I completely forgot the missed approach until prodded.  I feel this is an area that I really need to work on.  I’ll get it, just takes time.

As we crossed OZOPE and turned inbound on the approach, I hear… “Hmm, looks like the LPV indicator is turning yellow”.  What?  “Yep, definitely something going on here, we’re losing the WAAS, can we still proceed?”  Yep, we can use the LNAV minimums and step down.

I re-briefed, that once we cross YUXI, we can descend to 2000, then across WIZNY we can descend to 1060 until we cross OQBOK.  Once across OQBOK, we can descend to mda of 700.  Again, forgot the missed approach brief.  AAAAHHHH.

My last instruction was that once I reach 700 I can take off my foggles and land.  I took off the foggles and immediately blew the 700 minimum.  I was reminded that I needed to stay above that until I reached a normal descent point.  We were still about two miles away from the normal descent point.

Once we landed, we debriefed and I was told that I was his first student to fly partial panel on the second flight.  Neato, I guess I am doing well. 🙂

In the end, looking back, we did a whole lot in a 1.3 hour lesson.

  • VOR-A approach
  • timed hold
  • steep turn
  • slow flight
  • stalls
  • Partial panel
  • RNAV 21 approach to LNAV since we lost WAAS

I was pretty tired but really excited about everything.  I personally felt I did well and my instructor echoed that sentiment.  Even though I was hot, sweaty, bounced around and mentally pretty tired.  I got to fly an airplane today!