|Typical Cessna 172 Heading Indicator|
In over 229 hours of flying that is something I'd never been able to do, to really understand where I was and where I was going beyond just flying to a number and doing some mental math. I think this change will be a very big help for me when I do partial panel flying on my checkride. That is likely to come right when I'll be getting radar vectors for a VOR approach (and through the VOR approach) so being able to know what a heading of 030 means beyond just a 0 and a 3 and a 0 will help my situational awareness and ability to interpret what heading changes mean and predict what that will mean for the approach and navigation.
Other things that went really well last flight. I was ahead of the plane at all times. Every action I did had a purpose. I knew what altitude I was going to descend to before I started any step down. I planned on leveling off 50' over MDA on each approach and I did. I think all of that was due to me taking the time to sit down and write down the sequence of each approach including headings and altitudes and missed procedures. Writing things down helps me, even if I never look at what I wrote again.
I remembered what my CFI said and kept my scan rapid, wings level and made corrections no more than 5 degrees on the approaches. When I got down to MDA on the LPV approach at Tracy, I looked up and I was lined up with the runway. I flew a very good, solid, missed approach that got the plane up and away from the ground quickly and safely. When I got down to the MDA on the ILS at Livermore, I looked up and I was lined up with the runway again! I didn't bust once.
So much attention to detail is required. So many corrections and small adjustments have to be made to fly in the instrument environment. When it all comes together, it is just amazing. But the one thing that just blows me away is now I know what 120 means as a direction and not just a number. How cool is that?!