Instrument Lesson 2 – More Attitude

It was 90 degrees when I got to the club today. Pete was with another student when I arrived so he told me to file IFR to Kenosha while I waited for him. I filled out the form, called 1-800-WX-BRIEF and filed. Pete finished up with his previous student and we went over our plan for the flight. This lesson would be more of what we did in lesson 1 – basic attitude instrument flying and general introduction to the ATC system. Soon we were out on the hot ramp for the preflight. Again, like last time, we went over the difference between preflighting for a IFR flight rather than a VFR one.

With the preflight done, we got in the airplane, quickly opened the windows, and fired up the engine. We plan to do a VOR check before every flight even though it is only required once every 30 days. For these early flights, we do a comparison check between the 2 VOR in the airplane. Because we weren’t planning to use the nav radios on this flight, we both forgot about it. I didn’t think about it at all and Pete didn’t remember until we were doing the debrief after the flight. I am working on making up my own checklist so, I will add VOR checks to that.

I called ground, got our IFR clearance, read it back with no problem and we were on our way to runway 5. I made sure to check the turn instruments as we taxied. I did the run-up at the last intersection and Pete talked me through the radio setup and checks. We use the intersections so we don’t have to feel rushed like we would if we were at the end of the runway with another aircraft coming up behind us.

Pete has a routine for using the radios on the ground that makes sure both transmitters and receivers are tested before takeoff. We listen to ATIS on com 2 then call ground on com 1. Now, com 1 has been checked so, at the runway, we set ground and tower in com 2 and switch to that radio to continue monitoring ground. Then, we set Chicago departure and Milwaukee approach in com 1. When ready to go, I just flip frequencies on com 2 and call the tower. That completes the check on that transceiver and both have been tested.

In a few minutes, we were all set so I called the tower. Today, I was cleared for takeoff with a right turn to 090 which took us to the lake shore. Departure cleared us up to 5000 feet and turned us to 360 before handing us off to Milwaukee. When I checked in with Milwaukee approach, that controller amended out clearance to level off at 3000 feet. I repeated it back to him and leveled off. When he asked which approach we wanted, Pete canceled IFR and took the controls while I put on the foggles.

I took control back and Pete had me turn west for the practice area. For some reason, I was having more trouble holding altitude and heading than I did during the first lesson. After a few minutes of trying for straight and level, I settled down enough to get the airplane under better control. I think I was just trying to hard at first. It was bumpy today, with the heat generated thermals, but I can’t blame that for my difficulty getting on track.

I did straight and level, turns, climbs and descents – both straight ahead and turning – like last time. As a new task, I added and removed flaps while holding altitude. Then, Pete threw in a new twist to make things harder. He told me to hold my heading and altitude no matter what he did. Oh, and I could not touch the trim while I did it. Then he proceeded to change our configuration by adding and reducing power, adding and retracing flaps and rolling the trim wheel while I tried to compensate. I actually did pretty well at that exercise.

By now, it was getting close to the end of our time so Pete had me take off the foggles and directed me out over Lake Michigan to intercept the localizer for the ILS Rwy 23 approach back into Waukegan. As before, I kept my eyes moving from the dials to the runway to get a picture of how changes on the needles effected our position in relation to the pavement. Runway 5 was still in use so when Pete checked in with the tower, he told the controller we wanted to track the localizer as long as possible. We we told to fly inbound to 2 miles and then switch over to the left downwind for runway 5. I did a good job of keeping the needles centered this time and I was usually already moving the controls when Pete made comments. At 2 miles, Pete took over and stepped us over to the downwind. Then I took the controls again for the pattern and landing.

This was a very good lesson. I am feeling more comfortable with the basic aircraft control. Pete’s only comment was that I need to be more aggressive in making corrections. I still have the mindset of making only very gradual changes while on the instruments like I was taught in primary training. Now I have to learn to make the airplane do what I want it to do smoothly but firmly and quickly.

  • Glad to see that the training is going so well. I am hoping to start training for my instrument training later this year and following your progress has been great.

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