The last couple weeks have been very busy…… I was off work for two weeks so that the kids could be here prior to karate camp and return to school. The first week they attended a great camp, Camp Cops.
Then one day we planned a Fly-In breakfast/lunch trip that I could count towards my necessary cross country pilot in command time. We flew on IFR routing so I could practice with the GPS and Autopilot systems to Chester Country, PA (KMQS) then over and north to get a look at Lancaster, PA prior to returning to Carroll Co Regional, Md (KDMW). The Flying Machine Cafe there has great food and view of the runway that the kids loved.
With the kids at camp I scheduled 3-4 hour lessons almost every day along with my required long IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) cross country flight that had to be 250 nm long and include 3 different types of approaches including a precision and non-percision instrument approach. As with any pilot certificate or rating there are specific requirements for types of training, hours of training on specific topics and tasks, and allowable hours to be applied to different tasks. They are all spelled out in the Federal Aviation Regulations aka FAR. For an Instrument Rating they can be found in FAR 61.65. From AOPA a more comprehensible summary of the requirements.
I probably completed a months worth of training in 8 days with all those lessons and completed all the required training and hours I need to be eligible to take the Practical Test aka Check-Ride. The check-ride includes about a 4 hour oral discussion type of examination and a flight portion. If you pass the oral portion you move immediately onto the flight portion where you are required to demonstrate your ability to fly the specified approaches under IFR Rules along with a complete booklet of tasks specified in the ACS Instrument Rating – Airplane Airman Certification Standards. As with the Private Pilot Certificate I earned in November of 2016, many if not most people do not complete the certificate in the minimum required hours. Of the required 40 hours for private pilot the national average is 70 hours. While I could take a chance and complete the instrument t check-ride now, I would rather work a little more to become more confident and proficient. The extra time is never wasted.
My goal in all of this is to be able to use my pilot certificate to rescue dogs by providing transports. A few weeks ago I wrote about my transport for ABTCR and since I had to complete my required Instrument Long Cross Country flight I decided to combine a Pilot n Paws transport with my cross country lesson. We flew from Carroll Country Regional Airport, Md to Canandaigua Airport D38 just south of the Lake Ontario, SE of Rochester, NY. All flight was done with my view limiting device so all I could see are the aircraft’s instruments. All flight was done under an instrument flight plan under direct control of ATC. I completed the RNAV (GPS) Rwy 31 instrument approach into D38 and picked up Iris the puppy being fostered by a wonderful lady; Iris needed a ride to her forever home in Maryland. We departed and flew south to KELM Elmira Regional in New York and shot my precision instrument approach, the ILS or LOC Rwy 24 ELM. From there we departed after a quick stop to care for little Iris and flew home to Carroll County where the adopter was waiting. The Carroll County Times also sent over a reporter and photographer to document the occasion and today some of the photos were in the Carroll County Times Photo Gallery.
Rounding out the week, though not specifically applicable to my instrument rating we took a day trip to the Air and Space Museum. I had to see the Space Shuttle Discovery and a real live SR71!
So onto my Practical preparation period for my Instrument Practical Check-Ride; to be completed hopefully around the end of September. I have several lessons with my CFI to polish instrument approaches and work on partial panel approaches and emergencies. Then a couple lessons with the Chief CFI for practice Practical Check-Rides. All of these are scheduled from 8/19 through 9/16/17 with 2 more days before the end of September booked in the event that I can get my Check-Ride done on one of those days. Laura and I are also looking forward to a long weekend away in Lancaster, PA at the Smoketown Fly-In 8/11-14. If all goes well I will have my Instrument Rating prior to the AOPA Fly-In Groton, CT. Laura and I will be flying there 10/4 and returning 10/8/2017.
Thank You for reading.