Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Flew the localizer all the way to the crash

I started my instrument training a couple weeks ago. The first 15 or so hours of this training will be in a flight simulator (or Flight Training Device to be more precise). The simulator I'm using now is a Frasca 131. I call it "the box".  Not the most advanced graphics but the instruments are real and the control pressures are accurate. Considering this is instrument training, how good do the graphics have to be to imitate the grey of a cloud?

Anyway, last lesson I was practicing my first localizer approaches. My CFII, same CFI that worked with me on my primary training, was using the localizer approach to do a couple things:
  • demonstrate how important knowing how far away from your nav aid is important
  • demonstrate how sensitive and precisely you have to fly using these nav aids when close to them
  • give me some experience with step downs, lots of step downs (he calls them chop and drops)
There is a lot to think about, airspeed, altitude, distance, when the next step down starts, what altitude to get to, how to get there before the next step down, staying on the localizer, etc, etc. As usual, I do some things better than others.

It was fun... the first pass I made it to about 3.5 NM from the airport before totally losing the approach. The second time I flew the approach all the way to the crash at the end of the runway. Crashing is not a funny thing, but I had to laugh after I broke out of the clouds in the simulator, saw how far away from the airport and airport runway I actually was and then had to try to land. I was actually pretty happy that I got the plane over the runway for the crash.

So far so good... next lesson will be an ILS approach and he's going to be throwing more radio work at me at the same time.

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