Studies: HSI, VOR, LOC & Holding Patterns

This week I worked eight days straight to give others Christmas day off and me a four-day New Year’s weekend.  The multiple long work trips  also gave me an opportunity to dig into my instrument ground school course.  The intensity of the course is definitely ratcheted up a notch compared to my private pilot ground  school.  However I found it interesting and I’m getting into some of the things that I was wondering about and wanting to learn  while earning my pilot certificate,  not realizing that was part of the instrument rating.

Although at times I have found it frustrating. For example yesterday by the time I got to my hotel I wanted to throw the reference book in the garbage can!  I  thought it was just me that found the HSI  Instrument  confusing when you’re told to read the instrument and determine your proximity to the station.  The questions are presented  and phrased in several ways on the  instrument rating knowledge exam.  However after sleeping on it and going over it again this morning I was able to answer all the questions correctly though I still feel that I do not have 100% grasp On it.

I don’t feel so bad after speaking with a few friends that have their instrument ratings and they said that the way that material is presented is confusing but when you’re actually sitting in the cockpit flying it makes sense.  One said that he just guesses at those questions on the exams.  Another said he could do it when he was studied up for the exam but he  probably couldn’t answer the questions today.

After that it was on to learning all about holding patterns.  Think back when to  your last flight to go on a vacation and  just prior to getting there you felt like the plane was just flying around in circles.  Well actually it was sort of; in reality it was flying in ovals called holding patterns. They are used when air traffic controllers need to create more space between planes or when the airport is too busy and they need to hold planes just outside that field until they can bring them in to land.  They are also part of an automatic procedure pilots use when they come in for a landing but for some reason abort the landing and have to go someplace else until air traffic controllers can bring them back in to land again.

I find it helpful to do one or two sections going over the  material real well then give it a couple days and go over it again.  But once again after asking around it appears I am not the only one that has to go over the material more than once.

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