IFR current

Today I went up again and finished getting IFR current.

First we took Arrow for w flight to Iowa City VOR to train some holds. I’ve got to say, that they looks ugly. I’ve never flown holds in Arrow before. That combined with my general lack of recent practice left a lot to be desired looking at my ground track:

Practice track

The best looking part is probably the entry hold, then it went only worse.

After I got a little bit humiliated we started training approaches. VOR-A to Iowa city is one of the easiest approaches to fly out there. So it went pretty smooth. After that we went to Cedar Rapids and shot two ILS 27 approaches. As you can see from the track the aren’t perfect, but they are as pretty as my every one was before and both times I was lined up with the runway and had red and white lights. I’d said not bad.

But the biggest think I came with is the modified approach procedure. As you remember I’m trying to find out the easiest to remember and the most fool proof procedure there is. I’ve asked Terry how he flies approaches in Arrow. His procedure looks like this:

1. On vectors to FAF gear down, one notch of flaps, 22″ manifold pressure, full RPM, mixture, fuel pump, slow down to ~90kts
2. At FAF 18-19″ of manifold pressure

I don’t really like that procedure for two reasons – one being the gear down hanging out there way too long (unneeded stress on gear structures) and second – using power change to start down the glide slope increases the risk of gear up landing.

Personally I believe in ‘gear down – go down’ doctrine taught at BPPP schools (although I’ve never attended one… yet). So when I was practicing approaches today I’ve tested modified procedure, which looks like this:

1. On vectors to FAF – one notch of flaps, manifold pressure 20″, mixture, fuel pump, slow down to ~90kts.
2. At FAF gear down.
3. When missed – gear up, power up, flaps up

That procedure gives me two advantages over Terry’s one:
1. With aircraft trimmed out to 90kts putting gear down gives me ~500fpm descend keeping aircraft on the glide slope. And putting gear down is much easier and faster than setting 19″ manifold (at least in that Arrow it is)
2. “Gear down – go down” part of the procedure virtually eliminates risk of gear up landing – there is no way to land gear up because you won’t go down unless you extend the gear.

I tested this procedure twice at Cedar Rapids and one more time going back to Green Castle – works perfectly every time. So I’m going to stick to it now.

That flight concluded my IFR refresher and now I’m again IFR current. Do I feel proficient? Hell no. But this time I’ll try to train more and not only stay current but also become proficient.

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