August 31, 2004

Practice, Practice, Practice

Another short enjoyable evening's lesson in 4JG practicing GPS usage and airwork: steep turns, holds, unusual attitudes, GPS setup and programming, and the GPS RWY 27R approach into Oakland (twice), nearly all of it partial panel. This time everything feels good, and if my flying's a little agricultural, it's getting consistently closer to PTS standards, and I was ahead of the plane and instruments the entire time, for once. I'm still having problems with the Return Of The Death Grip and some tendencies to over-correct and over-control, but the approaches both went well, and the radio work's getting easier... Overall, things felt good.

Again I'm impressed by how much easier it is to fly things like holds with the GPS, and how nicely partial panel work goes when you can use the GPS ground track instead of the whisk(e)y compass. One thing bugs me -- and many of the other pilots I talk to about it -- there's no depiction of victor airways on the screen. This is really only a convenience issue, but it cost me a few moments the other night when John threw me a hold at the last moment and I couldn't find V187 on the area chart; and if told to join V244 from your current position, life would be even easier if victor airways were first class parts of the GPS world. But even with all its faults, it's hard to imagine doing serious IFR work in a small GA plane without a unit like this...

* * *

About 30 minutes into the flight, as we're departing the hold at SALAD intersection (which, surprisingly, isn't over Berkeley), John suddenly says "Look up and behind to your left!". Just Another Boring Bay Area Moonrise, the moon a slightly-flattened yellowy-orange disk coming up in the scattered cloud over the Diablo Range. Cool!

* * *

John's started talking about the checkride, which is a little scary. I have to juggle job and contract commitments at the moment just to be able to fly at all; the thought of also getting all worked up and nervous for a few weeks about the checkride sometime in the next couple of months doesn't increase the serenity levels much. But it'd be nice to have that damn rating in time for the long-planned trip to LA late autumn in 4JG....

No comments: