Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bigger Indications, Smaller Corrections?

After having to cancel two instrument training flights this week and knowing I have another week before my next training flight I didn't want to let my new found scan rot. So I went into the flight club this morning and practiced an ILS approach to Stockton in the Frasca 131 simulator. I wanted to see if I would crash and burn/get totally lost or if I could navigate and intercept a final approach and fly the approach on my own. This would be the first time I tried to navigate by instruments alone with no one else around.

Since I had little time, I positioned the plane somewhere off the Modesto VOR then navigated to MOD and from there to the appropriate spot to intercept the ILS and then the ILS all the way down. I figured it would be a good combination of experiencing and practicing various levels of VOR and ILS/LOC needle sensitivity.  I found I started to do better on intercepting and tracking courses off the VOR.

The second time I did the sequence I started to understand how the closer you get to the airport on an ILS approach the smaller the corrections need to be in spite of the wilder and faster swings of the CDI and GS.  It is totally counter intuitive. The way the needles move quicker and swing wider the closer I get makes me want to correct bigger! But that's the opposite of how it actually works it seems. If the needle makes a big swing, I need to make a little correction, quickly, especially closer in.

Another thing, I'm starting to be able to hold a mental picture of where the plane is in space as it moves in relation to the navaids. That's something I've been struggling with. The picture is still a bit fuzzy but at least I have one now. I've got a long way to go to my Instrument Rating but I think I'm headed in the right direction ;)

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