Last week I did my first cross country IFR (instrument flight rules) flight. We went over calling ATC for an IFR clearance, copying and reading it back, and setting it up in the Garmin G1000 avionics. I was a bit confused at first and still need some practice but after watching a few helpful videos this week I think I’ve got it. Then just after takeoff I put on the view limiting device and I was flying by instruments the entire flight. The first time is pretty rough but that’s normal as a lot is being thrown at you in a short time. As I become failure with the tasks necessary for each stage I will work out my cockpit organization, task management, so forth. During the flight I navigated by both GPS and VORs via Nav Radios.
I have found it really helpful to give a lesson a day to sink in as I replay it in my head and then I hit the internet for instructional videos to help me cement the concepts in my mind. I also try to find out generally what might be covered in the next lesson in order to prepare myself.
We had a two-day non instructional flight planned for this weekend where I was going to fly down to the Shenandoah Mountains in Virginia and then fly around the park and Skyline Drive. Laura and I were going to tie down the plane in Front Royal for the night and bike Skyline Drive on Sunday prior to returning that evening. However the weather forecast has worsened throughout the week and today got even worse so I cancelled the trip and booked a lesson Saturday morning before the weather moves in. Thunderstorms are not something to be toyed with and the limited visibility and rain is not something I’m willing to fly in at this point and, prior to getting my instrument rating, thus not having the ability to pick up an IFR Clearance if I encounter IMC 200 miles from home.
For Saturday’s lesson we will review IFR Clearances and conduct another flight as described above while introducing Holding Patterns aka Holds. I understand holding on paper as you learn all about them in ground school in preparation for the FAA Knowledge Exam; however, as with everything executing in the cockpit while actually flying is a another thing. We will see how I do? I know I need to become much more failure with the G1000 so that I am not so distracted trying input what I want and set things up, again practice will help a lot. I did find a several videos helpful in preparing for the introduction of holding patterns. Here are a couple of examples:
On a fashion and functional note I found my forever sunglasses. I have become a slave to my readers and am past the point of getting by without them. I initially had good results with the stick on readers on my RayBan Aviators but really didn’t find the nose pads all the comfortable. Also I was always worried about knocking the stick on readers off just before a flight while trying to clean the glasses. The solution came in the form of sunglasses with built in readers by Dual. They make lines for sports, fashion, and aviation. Last year I bought Laura two pairs for biking and she loves them also. For flying I bought those pictured below and my favorite aviation green. I especially like the anti-glare coating on the inside of the lenses.
Thanks for reading and I will continue to let you know how its going. I continue to look for ABTCR and PnP transports in my area and on a day where I’m in town and available. I also need to get my two hounds out for a practice flight soon. An instrument rating will give me more options and security to do longer trips so it’s all in the plan and I just need to push on a have some patients, not my strong point……