Chapter 595

La Feria, TX

Getting To The Right Seat

 My original plan was to start on my instrument rating with in a year of getting my private ticket, fast forward 3 plus years and here I am, finally going to pull the triggers. No, that wasn’t a “typo”, there will be 3 triggers so follow along if you’d like as I set out not only for my instrument rating, but my commercial and CFI ratings as well. My goal is to take my CFI check ride sometime in the middle of January 2013. The FAR's state that I “must be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language”. Be fore warned, writing has never been one of my better qualities, so with that in mind here goes my attempt at documenting my journey. Please note that the last post will be first.

Update: As you can see I'm running past a year now and have been bad about keeping this blog up to date lately. It is now current to date, if you are following along my last entries were on 6-6-2013 for the written exam. 

2/13/2014 (Instrument Check Ride)
 After getting through the holidays, a bad radio and a dead battery I was set up to finish my Instrument check ride. At  7:30 (my appointment was at 10:00) I was messing around on my I-pad checking weather (which was “severe clear”) and Notams, there was one Notam that I had seen before and decided that I would place a “User Waypoint” on my GPS for no other reason other than I could.

RADIUS OF 261421N/0982710W (11NM W MFE) 1467FT (1300FT AGL) LGTD
FLAGGED 1312010600-1404301800EST

With the lat/long entered I tapped OK and that’s when the problem started, locked up screen. With no en-route charts or approach plates I was scrambling to get everything back. With no other choice I deleted the program and re-installed it with only what I was going to need, charts and plates for Texas. At the airport with an hour to go I noticed that I was the last one to fly the 172 so there was no reason to check the fuel, I knew it was way down (8 gal) so after my pre-flight it was off to the fuel pump for some push-o-lean. Some 14+/- nm later I was at the examiners office ready to get it done. The normal chit chat turned into an hour and a half session of everything from under water basket weaving to aerial cake design with a few questions thrown in just see if I still remembered the rules/regs of IFR. The plan of attack was to pick up a local IFR clearance on the ground at KMFE as follows, hold over the McAllen VOR, VOR-A into T65 (with a landing), radar vectors for the LOC approach (partial panel) for 13 back at McAllen (with a missed), then vectored back for the ILS 13 (full stop). Climb out instructions were heading 040 to 3000, which were amended to 4000 shortly after take-off, some 12nm out I was cleared direct McAllen VOR hold north west on the 312* radial expect further clearance at 1854 current time 1820. On my second circuit in the hold I was cleared for the VOR-A approach at T65, tracking the 080* radial out I started my descent, at 10 DME I was given approval to switch to advisory, as soon as I switched I heard the DPS helicopter announce he was 1 mile north at 600ft, this might get tight seeing how I would be circling for 13 at 620ft in the same area, the examiner allowed me to come out from under the hood at mid-field just to have another set of eyes, I kept it in close and we had a visual on the traffic (he had landed in a field), on final I gave another call to let him (and anyone else) know that it was going to be a touch-n-go and that I’d be flying a heading 360 on departure. Back with departure we were given a heading of 270, it was time for a little fun as he put it, eyes on the floor it was his airplane as he yanked and cranked on the controls and then handed the controls back (actually unusual attitude is kind of fun). After giving the poor 172’s gyro instruments a jolt, I was resetting the DG and saw a hand come into view, the LOC 13 into KMFE was going to be partial panel, we were vectored around for sequencing (#4 is the slot you get when your slow). After going “missed” we were headed north for another wave of aircraft coming in, my last approach was the ILS 13 into McAllen with a full stop, cleared for the approach and established the “sterile cockpit” was out the door, we re-hashed everything from the first conversation at his office in the 7 minutes it took to hear a slight chirp as the wheels touched down. I would have to wait just a little longer for the answer I hadn’t even asked yet, the examiner bailed out and was gone, it seems that 2.0hr. flights are tough on a 1:45hr. bladders, I thought it was funny that we both were under a little pressure but didn’t say it until after he handed me my “Temporary Airmen Certificate” for Instrument Airplane. I would like to thank ALL that were involved in the first leg of my quest and for still interested the Commercial ticket will be HERE.

12/21/2013 (Instrument Check Ride)
 It’s been a long time since I have updated this blog, 6-5-2013 to be exact. As you can see I made it to the Check Ride, the oral portion was fairly long almost 3.5hrs (I’m sure due to the poor score on the written). There was a lot of weather for the cross-country planning between KMFE and KSAT due to the cold front moving thru, so all that had to be talked about as well. All in all the oral went well and I was able to even point out a few things that the DPE had over looked. With a short break it was time to go fly, I picked up my “local IFR” plan and headed to runway 31 as the wind had shifted while we were inside. Shortly after rotation the DPE took control so I get under the hood, the clearance was to 3000 and radar vectors for the LOC/DME for 31. level at 3000 ATC gave me a vector that was garbled and needed repeated, shortly afterwards I was cleared for the approach and handed over to the tower. At approximately 6 miles out I started having Radio Issues, after going “missed” on climb out for 4000 I heard the tower ask if had received the last transmission and then several more that didn’t get in and/or out prompted me to cancel IFR and head back VFR for my “Letter of Discontinuance”, at least I have the oral out of the way as long as I get back within the next 60 days.

12/16/2013 (Instrument Training)
  It’s now been over a year since I started on my Instrument Rating, and I need to get this behind me and move on the Commercial. Don’t get me wrong I like flying on instruments and being vectored in and out of airports. So I spent another 1.3hrs doing what has become the “norm”. DPE is back in town so its time for another phone call.

 11/12/2013 (Instrument Training)
  Went over and shot 3 more ILS approaches at KMFE and the VOR-A approach back into Weslaco. Called the DPE to set up a date one more time just to find out he was out of town, ok forget the frustration comment below, its time to move on.

 11/8/2013 (Instrument Training)
 As you can see it has been a while since I’ve been up, not so much frustration or discouragement, just hard headiness, along with the 172 being down for a month for its annual. During the annual a cranked bung was found which meant the right fuel tank was coming out for repairs. Anyway it’s been longer than 60 days so the 3.0hrs of Test Prep has to be flown again. By now you know the routine, practice, practice and more practice, 1.6hrs towards the DPE’s and my date for the future.

 8/7/2013 (Instrument Check Ride #2)
 Well kind of, was at T65 getting ready to pull the plane out but had a concern about the forecasted winds later in the day (about the time I should be flying). A quick call to DPE to see if there was going to be any issues was a (BIG) mistake. After an intense chewing out about being able to handle crosswinds, I was told to get more x-wind training before I even attempt to re-schedule. By the way wind was 22030G35KT, pretty brisk for rwy13 or 31 and way past the demonstrated crosswind component of 15mph (13KT) as stated in the POH.

8/5/2013 (Instrument Training)
 Getting ready for round #2 with the DPE, I needed to knock the rust off a little. Mike pretty much had me do everything he could think of, ended up doing 2 ILS approaches, Holding, Unusual Attitude (full and partial panel) and a Circle to land back at T65. Logbook received another 2.1hrs of hood time. Called the DPE and got set up for another check ride.

7/19/2013 (Instrument Check Ride)
 Well today is the day, was given a cross country to San Antonio to plan. Several hours before I had to be there I was getting the current and forecasted weather, was having trouble getting it to print and it was getting close to the time I had to leave so I printed all of it (a small book). Showed up at the DPE’s about 15min early, which gave me a little time to go thru the brief I had printed one last time. Before we even started he asked why I had so much paper just to get to KSAT and why in the world did I use DUATS for weather, notams, planning…etc. Before I could even get out the answer I was told the he wasn’t even going to start the test because I was not prepared. Then he asked why I was getting Instrument Rating. I was able to answer that question but I shouldn’t have. I explained that I working towards the CFI (instructor). As he leaned back in his chair he made the comment on how he was going to bust a certain part of my anatomy. Long story short we talked for another 2.5hrs on what he feels are common deficiencies in CFI’s.

7/18/2013 (Instrument Training)
 This flight puts me just over the minimums as far as 40.0hrs actual/simulated and 3.0hrs of Test Prep. 2 ILS’s for 17R at Harlingen, holding at RELAX, VOR/DME-B at Cameron County (KPIL) then back to Weslaco.

7/16/2013 (Instrument Training)
 A quick trip to KEBG for fuel, then over to McAllen for the ILS 13, followed by the VOR-A into T65. Did get a little actual IMC 0.2hrs and 0.4 simulated for 0.6 total and Test Prep.

7/10/2013 (Instrument Training)
 I was needing time, so I grabbed Jeremy as safety pilot and went to McAllen for the VOR/DME ARC, The arcs are kind of fun and a good way to burn some fuel. Another 0.7hrs for the logbook.

6/28/2013 (Instrument Training)
 Switched it up some today by heading to Harlingen, VOR/DME approach for 17L, vectored back around for the ILS 17R with a full stop landing. Andrew was in the back seat so we switched places and I became the spectator, 1.0hr of hood time and Test Prep.

6/20/2013 (Instrument Training)
 I’ll save you the math, logbook shows 37.1hrs so far, kind of makes you wonder what I’ve been doing for 8 months. Logged another 1.5 today with 3 approaches, holding and partial panel work and another 1.5hrs of hood time.

6/19/2013 (Instrument Training)
 Today we did some holds over HARGI followed by the DME ARC for 13 at McAllen. As with most of my training after going missed we were vectored back around this time or VOR approach. Starting to get back in the grove after not training for a while, 1.2hrs of hood time.

6/6/2013  (Written Exam)
 Mike signed me off on 5/21/2013 to get the written out of the way and today was the day. I was scheduled for the written at 2:00 at TSTC, I arrived at around 1:30 just to make sure that I had the right building. All signed in and feeling confident I sat down and started the test, after going through the various screens to verify name, address, correct test, was time for the 1st question. I have only taken one written prior to this one at it was for my "private" and sure enough the 1st question was one that I hadn't seen before on any of the numerous practice test I had taken. Somewhere around question number 5 I was beginning to wonder what material I had studied, because I sure hadn't studied for this. If your not familiar with the computer test you can "Mark" questions and go back to them (time permitting). I went through the Test and answered only the ones that I was sure about. After getting to the end I still had an hour and a half, so it was time to go back to the ones that I had "Marked". It was a little humbling to see that there were still half the test not answered. Back thru the questions for the second time ( to give myself some credit I did save most of the math question for later) so I knocked out the "Math, end of round 2. At this point my confidence level was out the window but I still had 30min left so it was back thru for the 3rd time, at this point it was almost a guessing game on the last 10 or so remaining. With all the questions answered it was time to head up front a get the results, as I was getting my things the Test Report printed out and was handed to me (face down, not a good sign), I didn't even bother turning it over I just placed it in my logbook, thanked her and walked out. Still in the parking lot with the truck running it was time to see just how bad it really was, pulling the report from my logbook and turning it over I saw "PASSED". I had read several places on the internet and was told by a few people that it only takes a 70 to pass and anything over that is wasted points. I assure you I did not waste many points, my score looked more like a Golf score than a test I thought I was ready to take. Time to hit the Books before I really get drilled on Oral part of the Check Ride.

6/5/2013 (Instrument Training)
 Its been a while since doing any training (been flying, just not training) so I got Pat Haslem to go up as a Safety Pilot and we headed to McAllen to shoot the ILS into One Three. True to fashion ATC vectored me out of the way of traffic which put us way north of the field. I knew it had been a while when I noticed the localizer was coming "Alive" but then it won't when you forget to change the radio over to the correct frequency (was set, just not switched). After blowing thru the localizer (well almost) we were back on course, naturally final was bumpy but all in all it was a good approach. After going missed at KMFE it was time to do a better job getting the radios set for the VOR-A into Weslaco, at 10 DME from the McAllen VOR it was time to head down to 620ft and start looking for the Airport. A little fast on the approach ended with the typical "Float" but no big deal. Plane put away and 0.7hrs closer.

4/30/2013 (Instrument Training)
 Its been a week since my x-country so I was ready to go fly, Mike suggested the ILS at Brownsville followed by holding at RONAS and an approach into KPIL. Just north of T65 I gave ATC a call so they could work us in, at 4000 and west of Harlingen the Localizer started coming in, I’m now on 27 mile final for 13R (I sure like having DME). ATC took me down to 2000 and cleared me for the approach, just left of center line (good old S. Tx. wind) and at 220ft I called Missed and headed to RONAS and 4000ft. On my second inbound leg ATC cleared me to 2000 which meant one more time around before the approach, ATC was talking to a Citation inbound for KPIL and instructed me that they would call my turn inbound. 1.5 miles from the Brownsville VOR I finally got the call. Seven and half miles back to RONAS and then another 5.1 miles before I can look outside. After going Missed at PIL we headed back T65, 0.5hrs actual, 0.8hrs simulated, bringing my total to 36.0hrs of simulated and/or actual IMC to date.

4/23/2013 (Instrument Training)
 Time for a X-country trip up to Corpus, Alice (fuel) and back home. Mike filed 2 flight plans, the trip up would be T65, HARGI, JIMIE, KCRP, KALI (alternate). We were cleared us to Corpus “As Filed”. The DME sure made it nice following along the airways, at JIMIE we headed up the V70-407 airway and Valley Approach handed us off to Corpus. Approach turned us left to vector us around for the ILS 13 into KCRP. Mike got on the radio to give ATC a heads up that it would be a Missed Approach at Corpus and we would go to our Alternate, ATC fired back that we had not been cleared to Alice and that “One clearance meant one airport”. Mike explained that it was an Instrument Training Flight in which ATC replied he would amend the clearance Direct Alice or Vector us to Corpus but NOT both. Mike chose Corpus and told me that we would cancel IFR on the Approach into Corpus and go VFR over to Alice. Ten minutes later another controller turned us in to intercept the Localizer and ended with “I understand you would like to go to Alice after this Approach?” Why the other controller was being a (fill in the blank) is beyond me. The ILS into corpus went good, back with ATC I got vectors to shoot the LOC/DME approach for 31 at Alice with a Full Stop for fuel. After a short pause for the cause we were back in the air. I contacted Kingsville Departure (military controller) and got my clearance back home (KALI, JETTY, JIMIE, MFE, T65). Somewhere around 35 miles south of the Corpus VOR Kingsville Approach asked me to verify I was on the V70 airway, a check on the Nav. Radios and then Nav. Heads confirmed that I was right on course (needles centered), Mike asked what they showed in which he replied “Just wondering, I show you a half mile to the left”. My guess is the Military birds have a better avionics package than the Ole’ Cessna does. Kingsville handed us off to Valley Approach who got us vectored to 080 radial from the McAllen VOR so we could shoot the VOR approach back into Weslaco. What a long day 3.8hrs total, 1.0hr of actual IMC and 2.3hrs simulated.

4/20/2013 (Just Fly’n)
 It has been a long time since I just went flying and even longer since Jan my wife had been up. Pat and his wife Mailinh are going to meet up with us over the bay to see if we can get some photos of each other flying. Over Harlingen I heard Pat talking with Valley Approach. Being in a Mooney they should catch us over the Bay. ATC was aware that we would be flying in close range of each other for the photos (no need to get them excited).    We each made several passes with the Island as a back drop (we’ll see how the pictures turn out). Pat headed for KEBG for fuel and I wanted to shoot the ILS into Harlingen (visually), Jan had been on a training flight before, but had never gone into Harlingen in a GA aircraft. The C-172 had just came out of the Radio Shop to have the ADF (in-op) removed and a DME installed and I wanted to check it out as well. ATC vectored us for the ILS for 17R and I explained the Approach as it unfolded, at 234ft I executed a Missed and headed back to T65, 1.7hrs of flying was just fine with us.

4/11/2013 (Instrument Training)
Headed out for T65 to meet with a new Safety Pilot by the name of “Doc” who is also working on his Instrument Rating. The pre-flight was complete on the 172 when Doc showed up so after a short intro it was time to get in the air. Doc didn’t want to fly and had come out just for the ride. The wind was out of the North at 18 and there where several people out at Weslaco, a C-172 was doing Stop-N-Goes, a Bonanza took off as we taxied to the run-up area. After my run-up and holding short of Three One for theC-172 on final we saw a C-182 taxing are way, seems like everyone wants to fly today. The C-172 did as before, came to a complete stop before taking back off. Just as I started my take-off roll the left window popped open so I elected to abort the take-off and get back in line. The C-182 wasn’t thru with their run-up and radioed me to come on around them so I was able to take the active before the C-172 came back around. It had been a while since I had practiced “Holding” so I headed to “HARGI”, Doc took the controls while I got the foggles on and got my I-pad with Wing-X fired up. After taking the controls back Doc said that there would be a long discussion on the I-pad when we got back, once I had both VOR’s set I handed Doc the I-pad (I never get to use it anyway). Getting close to the “Fix” Doc handed the I-pad back and I was able to use it for “Situational Awareness”. I did 2 holds at 4000, a descent to 2000 while holding and then 1 more hold at the lower altitude. Heading back to T65 I could hear more traffic in the pattern so I came out from under the hood to put another set of eyes out there. 0.6hr of simulated, 4 holds and got to see them on the I-pad. Note: I expect that the next time I fly with Doc there while be 2 I-pads in the plane.

4/5/2013 (Instrument Training)
Lift will get an aircraft in the air but Money will keep it there, so I went by the hanger to put some on my account. Mike had a cancellation so we headed back over to McAllen so I could fly the last 200ft again. I’m starting to think that it can’t be done or at least not by me. Not one to give up easily I requested an ILS for One Three, the air was fairly smooth so I might have a chance. The first approach was going well, until the Tower called and told us not to go below 600ft for a Commercial Jet waiting to take off (maybe it didn’t look that good from where they where). The second approach went well, I was able to keep it all together long enough to get down to the minimum and see the runway right where it was suppose to be, 0.9hrs and headed back to Weslaco.

3/30/2013 (Instrument Training)
 1800ft ceilings means Mike will have to file an IFR flight plan for today to happen. Looking forward to some actual “IMC” seeing how I have only logged 0.6hr. With the “Run Up” and a call into “Clearance Delivery” complete it was time to go play in the clouds. I was cleared to KMFE via Radar Vectors at 3000ft and Valley Approach was a little busier than yesterday due to the ceiling but did a fine job of working me in over at McAllen for some more ILS approaches. On my first approach I was brought down to 2000 and given a heading to intercept the localizer. With the CDI centered it was time to wait for the Glide Slope to come in and start my descent down to 307ft. Both needles centered (with in reason) the battle was on to keep them there, 1500ft and looking good 1000ft and having to “Hold On” to the needles, 500ft and the GS is moving down fast, showing that I am too “High”, I read somewhere that close in, each dot on the GS is about 8ft. Climbing back out after going “Missed” it was time for round 2, and then round 3. It seems that the last 200 ~150ft can’t be had, at least not yet. Three ILS’s and I was ready to head back to T65 and shoot the VOR-A which will gave me 4 approaches, 0.5hrs of actual IMC, and 0.8hrs of simulated.

3/29/2013(Instrument Training)
 The 172 just came out of the radio shop from getting its “Pitot Static” check, which it passed. Mike suggested we go to Harlingen and shoot some approaches, but the night before coming home I noticed a flashing “X” on the approach end for 35L. Sure enough 17R/35L was closed for maintenance. McAllen bound for a few approaches it was then. It was nice and cool and the air was fairly smooth, I needed to get over there and shoot my approaches before it got Hot and Bumpy. Intercepting the localizer with smooth air was nice, but the glide scope wasn’t coming to life, Mike queried the tower and they said it was working fine, ok then this will be a localizer approach, down to 540ft and 3:40 for the time. Looking out the window I was thinking sure would have been nice if the glide scope would have worked, with the smooth air I might have made it all the way down with the needles centered, but oh well. My final turn to intercept the localizer on my second approach I noticed the “Flag” for the glide scope was twitching, shortly after intercepting the localizer the flag went away (seems they might have had it off after all). I was already planning on hanging on to the needles all the way down when the tower advised us of a vehicle on the runway and not to go lower than 600ft. just my luck, wasted smooth air…. 1.0hr hood and 2 approaches.

3/19/2013(Instrument Training)
Yesterdays ILS’s went well so Mike switched it around a bit. With southerly winds it was time to do some VOR approaches into 13. The VOR approaches are easier, but it seems every time I’m shooting approaches everyone comes out to play. ATC did a great job of keeping us apart but that meant long finals when you did get turned. On our 2nd approach I believe it was a Queen Air was told to “Circle” for spacing, I was #1 and was going missed there was another aircraft behind me for a “full stop”. On my climb out I heard the tower tell the aircraft behind me exit when able, when I went back to valley approach and was getting vectored around I heard Valley Approach ask the Queen Air to state their intentions which they replied “We would still like to land”, I’m guessing ATC forgot about them seeing how it had been about 10 minutes or so. On our 3rd approach Mike told the tower it would be a “Full Stop” and then we taxied back and did a VOR check, both VOR’s in the 172 checked within 2 degrees and with in 3degrees of each other so it was back to Weslaco, 1.7hrs of hood time and 3 more approaches.

3/18/2013(Instrument Training)
 Back to training, with the winds out of the north we headed over to McAllen for the ILS to 31. After being vectored to intercept the localizer it was time to focus and get my heading “Nailed” down and then just slide down the glide scope, the last couple hundred feet is the hardest and that proved true on this one as well but not too bad. I could hear ATC working a couple of planes into KMFE so I knew it was fixing to get busy. Sure enough on my second approach there was a commercial flight behind me, but I had made my mind up not to let it bother me and just fly the approach. Back around I was vectored to allow someone in and then cleared for the approach, this was my 3rd approach and they seemed to maybe get a little easier. (1.0hr hood time)

3/14/2013 (Just Fly’n)
 Jumping the gun a little I decided to go fly another 172 at a local FBO, they also have a 172RG that I will need for my commercial ticket and this would get my foot in the door so to speak. Most of my flying has been out of a non-towered airport so this will also help on my radio skills. The instructor warned me about having to use more right rudder than I was used to and I assumed it was for the additional 15 horsepower. Once airborne I was having to use a bunch of right rudder, although I’ve never flown a twin on one engine I’m pretty sure I have a good idea now.


3/6/2013 ~ 3/9/2013 (100 Insp. And Maintenance)
 Its time for a little maintenance on the 172, which is fine with me for two reasons (1) I fly it and (2) the wind is howling (typical March in S. Texas). There were 3 objectives that Mike wanted Lloyd (A&P) to tackle, 100hr inspection, nose strut leaking down, and an oil leak(‘s). My first task was to go fly it so that we could drain the oil and do a compression test. Mike was with a student working on his tail wheel endorsement in the Super Cub and Lloyd would be there within the hour. Back at the hanger after a brief flight it was time to start getting the engine cowl and inspection plates removed. Compression check showed all cylinders to be with in specs with #2 and #5 being slightly lower than the other 4, #2cyl. Seemed to leaking around the rings and #5 was leaking from the exhaust valve. With the cooling baffles removed from around the cylinders it was time to track down that oil leak. After further inspection it was decided to replace all six cylinders base o-rings and all 12 pushrod seals, besides Mike had ordered all the parts in advance so why not use them plus only the #4 cylinder showed little signs of a possible leak. With everything cleaned and inspected it was time to re-install the top end, as Lloyd and I worked on getting the cylinders installed Mike was tackling the main wheels & brakes and a few other tasks laid out. The nose strut was next, a soap test revealed an air leak at the top o-ring. All taken apart and cleaned showed the top o-ring to be old and brittle, with all new o-rings, seals, fluid and the nose wheel bearings serviced it was time to go back on the firewall. I had asked my bosses for Sunday off to go to Air Fiesta at Brownsville (actually I told them I was taking off). I was the 1st to show up on Monday so I went ahead and opened the hanger only to find that Lloyd and Mike finished up, checking the logbook showed a return to service flight, there was no oil on the top of the nose wheel and the strut was still up after 3 days. Now all I had to do was get with Mike and get back on the schedule and start flying.

3/1/2013(Instrument Training)
 Back in the 172 with Andrew as my safety pilot and dual VOR’s I able to do some holds at HARGI (029 radial off MFE and 302 radial from HRL) with climbs and descents. After that I checked the ATIS at McAllen were the ILS to Three Five was in use, we were 30nm N.E. so I monitored Valley Approach while contemplating trying to shoot an approach from the right seat. Three things help decide not too, ATC was working an airliner in for the same approach, he was farther out than me but a whole lot faster, We had only had 1.5hrs of fuel left (legal for VFR) if I didn’t get vectored around too bad, and it would have been cutting it close to having the plane back for the next guy inline. I elected to head back, Andrew vectored me back to T65 and now it was time to see if I can land the 172 from the right seat. During the pre-flight the nose strut was a little low so I was going to have to grease this one, barely felt the mains touch and used almost 1000ft to ease the nose down, good enough and logged another 0.5hrs of simulated Instrument time.

2/27/2013(Instrument Training)
After yesterdays flight while having lunch Andrew mentioned that it was nice being able to see the area for a change. Being from Colorado all his flying down here in the valley has been training. In the 150 Andrew flew first as I want to fly from the right seat again. After an hour it was time to take the controls. I told Andrew that we had full fuel at take off so vector me around to what ever he wanted to see. I was on flight following headed over to Port Mansfield and then down the coast, there was a cloud layer over the Island so we stayed inland for a while and then headed back to Weslaco. So far during my Instrument training I haven’t really had time to just fly (en-route), most of the time it’s holding or vectors and approaches (not much time to relax) except for 45min. of my trip to Alice. Andrew got to see some of the Valley and I got .9hrs for “no pressure” hood time.

2/26/2013(Instrument Training)
 Well it’s been over 6 weeks since my last lesson, maintenance on the 172 and bad radio in the 150 along with high winds, but I’m back. On my last flight Mike said it was time for me to find a “Safety Pilot” and just start building hours. I had gone up with Mike and a student of his that is working on his Instrument ticket as well the week before, so today it will be the Blind leading the Blind. The 172 was booked so we took the 150 up. The nav radio is “In-Op” but we can still get some hood time. Andrew flew first and we went out north of Delta Lake and he practiced turns, climbs and descents for just under an hour. When it was my turn I elected to try it from the right seat (that’s where I’m headed anyway). It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, although the left yoke blocks the altimeter I was still able to do the same maneuvers. At 6’1” I was starting to get cramped in the 150, so Andrew vectored me back to T65 where I landed (little odd from the right seat). Not much hood time, but I did log another half hour.

1/21/2013 (Just Fly’n)
 Some times you just need to go FLY, a friend of mines cousin was in town from Washington state and we had promise him an airplane ride last time he was down, but the weather didn’t allow it. This trip wasn’t looking much better for him but the weather finally cleared out (he leaves in the morning). We had the plane scheduled till 1:00pm so we headed to EBG for fuel. All topped off with 100LL it was time to go sight seeing. We departed Edinburg and headed east and climbed 3500ft, it was cool, smooth and clear. We flew just north of “Charlie” airspace between the two wind farms and we could see the windmills south of Baffin Bay as well. We flew over Port Mansfield and headed south along the coast, as we got closer to the city of S. Padre I dropped down to 1500ft and was about ½ out over the gulf so Terry could get a good view out the right side of the plane. Just past the south jetties over Boca Chica Beach we climbed to 3000ft and headed back to the north so he could see the Island from that side. Turning west headed back to T65 took us over Harlingen and Terry was able to spot a few landmarks from the air. Back on the ground from our 2.0hr flight and the plane secure in the hanger it was time to decide where to get a burger, being Terry’s last day he was unable to join us for lunch, but he did say that the flight was the highlight of his trip (we just tell his son that lives here that).

1/18/2013 (Instrument Training)
 Winds are back out of the south so its time to head to McAllen and try my hand at the ILS for “One Three”. ATC was working with two commercial flights inbound so our NW heading lasted longer than normal. Finally we were cleared down to 2000 from 4000 and vectored to intercept the localizer. Had plenty of time to nail the heading down, now all I’ll need to do is follow the Glide Slope down to 307ft and head back home. The approach went as planned and we were climbing out and head to T65. Level at 1500ft we started getting a slight vibration, but it had gone away before the carb heat was applied. We had planned to do the VOR “A” into Weslaco but there were several planes in the pattern so we just went with the flow, 1 approach and 0.8hr added to the log books

1/16/2013 (Instrument Training)
 Today started like most other than the temp being in the low 40’s and a strong North wind, hanger doors facing north meant they stayed closed until it was time to pull the plane out. During the pre-flight the fuel level showed just over 16gal. so we taxied over and put another 6gal. per side. Winds were 330@12G16 so runway Three One it was. Shortly after takeoff I was under the hood and pointed north, Mike had my Ipad with Wing-X open and I noticed a Blistering Ground Speed of 37knts, granted we were still climbing to 4500ft but 37knts isn’t much faster than a horse and buggy. Level at 4500 our GS increased to 78knts, which was good seeing how we were headed to Alice some 94 miles away. The en-route part to KALI was nice and smooth for the first 50 miles or so, just south of Brook County Airport (as always) the “Bumps” started, wasn’t bad and I knew from the past they would go away just north of there. Just past there we switched over and checked the weather at Alice, 310@14 and we were doing the VOR approach for Three One. Some 20 miles out it was time to change over to 123.0 and see (hear) what kind of traffic was at Alice. A Cessna 206 was I believe 10 mile East of the field for a “Full Stop” and a Navy King Air was doing touch and goes. Coming in from the south meant flying the full procedure, which starts at the VOR. With Mike acting as ATC we went down to 3000, a heading of 345* was keeping the CDI centered but the change in altitude put us in the bumps (not as bad as Brooks Co.). The 206 announced he was clear of the runway and the King Air was Left downwind for 31, Mike had them in sight and they us. Shortly after that we passed over the VOR (station passage) fighting the wind I flew the same heading for another 3 minutes so I could get turned around and start the approach. Intercepting the 325* radial was quick as was station passage, down to 1900ft and tracking the 145* radial outbound to start my procedure turn, timing the turns and tracking inbound it was time to get down to 620ft, the Navy guys must have decided to stay and watch (Mike and they were in constant contact) as the extended their downwind leg (better view). After two approaches it was time to head to Robstown for some fuel, Mike gave me vectors and I took off the foggles as I entered the pattern at KRBO. Full of fuel and a 30min break it was time to head home. Mike gave me the option of getting some more hood time on the flight back so I took it. As usual the winds that slowed down going up didn’t help as much going home (gs = 121kts) another thing that had changed was the “pot holes” in the sky, I might have missed one but I doubt it. The ride home was anything but smooth but I did manage to log 3.1hrs of simulated (hood) time and it was a change in scenery at least for Mike.

1/11/2013 (Instrument Training)
 With the Christmas Holidays and some bad weather behind us I was finally able to get back in the air. While driving to Weslaco I noticed that there was Fog starting to form and by the time I went thru the gate at T65 it was 400ft ceilings with ¼ mile visibility. Thinking positive, I went ahead and did my pre-flight on the 172 and waited for the fog to lift. By 8:30 it was up to 800ft and a mile so Mike filed a flight plan and off we went. I went under the hood during our climb out and started tracking to Harlingen’s VOR, as might have guessed I was headed to Cameron County Airport (KPIL) for the VOR-A approach. Level at 3000 I noticed about a 20* wind correction to stay on the outbound radial from HRL, as the 2 VOR’s centered I contact Valley Approach and told them that I was entering the hold at RONAS. I noticed a lot of traffic on the radio and it seemed that keeping me at RONAS worked out good for ATC because I was told to expect further clearance at 1600 (its 1530 now). On my fourth or fifth time around I was finally cleared for the approach, ATC knew that it would be a missed so I was told to fly the published missed approach. The 30 or so knot tailwind made the approach go really fast, so it was up to 2000ft and headed for RELAX for another holding pattern. Thankfully I was vectored for the ILS 17R into Harlingen before reaching RELAX which was good; I wasn’t looking forward to any more holds. The ILS into Harlingen was fairly straight forward followed by a missed and then back to Weslaco. I was ready to come out from under the “Hood” but Mike had other plans. We cancelled our flight plan and Mike acted as ATC as he vectored me back to T65, finally it was time to remove the hood just off T65 on base for 13. I see what they are talking about being current and proficient is totally different. This by far was my longest lesson, 1.8hrs under the hood after being off for 30 days also made it a tough one.

12/13/2012 (Instrument Training)
 Not really a lesson but I went up in Byron’s Cherokee and shot a couple of approaches. The first one was the ILS 17R into Harlingen, followed by the ILS 13R into Brownsville. What I didn’t realize is how fast you intercept the localizer for KBRO after going missed (roughly 7 miles) at KHRL. Not wearing the hood meant I couldn’t log the time, but that’s fine with me ‘cause I still was able to get in the air and get another view on approaches.

12/12/2012 (Instrument Training)
 Back in the air headed to McAllen, the first approach is the Localizer for 31. ATC vectored us over Mexico, way over Mexico. I couldn’t see outside as usual but Mike said we were over Rio Bravo. On final and everything looking good Mike had me go ahead and do a touch-n-go so that I could transition form the approach to the actual landing. On the go ATC didn’t send us as far into Mexico (I think they forgot us the first time) and got us setup for the ILS for 31. Something about that second needle that’s speeds up the whole process, all though I didn’t get full deflection on either one which is good but I did manage to test and make sure that the swung in both directions. We then asked for the VOR-A into T65 to finish up the lesson, 3 approaches, 2 landings and another 0.9hrs.

12/7/2012 (Instrument Training)
 Ground school on planning a cross-country, good day for it seeing how it’s raining anyway. With no legal GPS in the plane my x-countries will be on the airways and long.

12/5/2012 (Instrument Training)
 It’s been a while since I have posted any entries due to a bum arm that was kept me from typing but it didn’t keep me out of the air. Today we were back in the 172 and headed for Cameron Co. (KPIL), ATC cleared us to RONAS and vectored us to the fix. As we got closer to the coast the ceiling was dropping, I was able to come out from under the hood and experience some actual “IMC”. As we held at RONAS we were cleared down to 2000, still in the soup we did one more circuit and then cleared for the VOR-A into KPIL. With the timer set as we crossed the “IAF” and power reduced we started our descent to 600 ft. Holding my altitude at 600ft things got real busy, still in the soup and running out of time there was no airport in sight KPIL was below the minimums. As I was climbing out on the missed approach Mike did get a glimpse of the runway as we passed overhead. Next on the list was the LOC/DME BC RWY 35L at Harlingen, en-route I was getting things in order, Mike was briefing me on a Back Course and ATC was vectoring around, good thing the 172 isn’t very fast, I was needing some time. The approach into Harlingen was surprisingly easy, after the approach fix, it was down to 420ft.and only one needle to keep centered. Although the Localizer does read backwards it went fairly well. Two more approaches both firsts for me, actual IMC below minimums and a Back Course, 0.6hrs of Actual and 0.6hrs simulated.

11/21/2012 (Instrument Training)
 Well it’s been a week since my last lesson and I’m back in the 150 headed for McAllen. MFE’s weather was light wind out of the north and a visibility of 3 miles, ATC gave us the ILS for One Three which was fine seeing how I wasn’t going to land anyway and the 150 could use a little more groundspeed. Very little traffic on the radio made it easy to keep up with what was going on around me. Remembering how my last approach went I was determined to do better. I was able to get the heading to stay centered on localizer early on, now just small heading changes to keep it there when needed, with the glidescope starting to come in its time to pull some power out and get busy keeping it ALL together if possible. The power setting was working really well for keeping on the glidescope, now if I can just keep the heading working as well. Some where around 1100ft msl there must have been a wind shift, what was working isn’t now and only 800ft or so to go things are starting to move quickly. With less than 100ft till the DH (decision height) of 307msl the Localizer needle started moving to the right, Mike says I didn’t get full deflection until after I looked up and seeing how he’s the boss I’m taking his word on it. As a side note, I’m fairly sure I could have made the landing being I was just left of the runways edge. With McAllen’s VOR set, it’s outbound on the 080 radial to head back home. Just over the expressway at Weslaco I started to reduce the power and get set up for three one at T65 but Mike had other plans, now just over the field the power was set to idle (simulated engine failure), trim up for best glide and keep it in close. With full trim I still had slight back pressure on the yoke to keep the airspeed around 65mph, turning final I wasn’t sure if I’d make the runway or not, but we crossed the numbers at 20ft or so. It had been a long time since I had practiced an engine failure, but I’m positive that won’t be the last one I get while training with Mike. It was a short lesson 0.9hrs total and 0.6hrs under the hood, but all in all a good flight bringing the total to 11.2hrs hood since the start of my training.

11/14/2012 (Instrument Rating)
 Back to my training, today we set out to shoot a couple of ILS approaches into KHRL but it seemed Valley Approach didn’t want to play. With a slight wind out of the North Mike requested the ILS for One Seven Right, but they gave us the Back Course for Three Five I guess it should be Tree Fife Left. Mike changed it to the ILS for Three One at McAllen (KMFE) and that seemed to work for all parties concerned. While being vectored, ATC was clearing another aircraft behind us for the same approach as well. Seeing how we were in the Cessna 150 Mike asked if they needed or wanted us to move out of the way of the Big Iron (everything is big iron to a 150). While getting my last vector to intercept the localizer, ATC finished the transmission with “maintain maximum forward speed on final”. After shooting the approach and going “missed” I had time to think about ATC’s last statement while climbing out, with an Embraer ERJ-135 following a Cessna 150 I’m sure it looked like I wasn’t going “forward” but just under red line the GPS showed a GS of 115kts, not bad for a little 150. On my 1st approach I felt rushed even though it turned out ok, if I can get back around soon enough my 2nd one should go better with no one using my elevator as a bumper. My 2nd approach was going well, notice that I said “was”, at the start the needles were centered and looking good then the CDI started to drift to the left and that’s when the dance began. It seemed like what ever I did was wrong and at 500ft it happened, full right deflection, pitch for climb, head for 2000ft and Weslaco. Oh well, it’s training and its going to happen, 2 approaches and .9hrs closer to my goal.

11/10/12 (Stick-N-Rudder)
 As you can see today wasn’t a typical instrument training day, I was off my game for what ever reason and didn’t feel like flying under the hood. At the airport anyway I figured Mike would do some ground school, luckily Mike had a much better idea. Chachalaca Aero (Mike) has added a 1953 PA-18-135 (Piper Super Cub) to his fleet and needed to by flown (seating in new rings), so off to the other hanger we went. It had been 25yrs or so since I’d been in Cub and I planned on getting my “tail wheel endorsement” anyway, might as well start today. After a pre-flight it was time to pull the bird out, Mike got in the back seat and it was my turn to get in up front. Two full strokes of the Primer, Throttle cracked open, Master on, Mags to “Both” and it was time to push the Starter Button. As we sat there letting the engine warm up some Mike went over a few things about conventional gear aircraft and then he started to taxi out, in a way it was a refresher flight for Mike and an Intro flight for me. As we (Mike) taxied out to one three at Weslaco you could feel the brakes being tapped to keep us pointed in the right direction. Mike would take off and talk thru the whole process, with the throttle advanced and slight forward stick the tail was flying in a very short time and shortly after that so were we. At a thousand or so feet Mike handed the plane over to me and told me to fly wherever I’d like, so north it was. Over Delta Lake at 3000 we headed west, I was surprised at what little effort it took for straight and level. Off the nose was La Sal Vieja Lake, a little dried up but still a landmark that I knew. West of Hwy 281 and over the ranch land it was time to head to Edinburg (KEBG) where Mike would demonstrate a “Wheel Landing”, on final for one four Mike explained that it would be reverse from the take off, mains first, then plant the tail. Mike taxied us back to the run up area for one four and hand the plane back over to me, “heal” brakes instead of toe brakes, Mike talked me thru the take off and said he would ride the controls if needed. Full throttle and fairly straight it was time to ease the stick forward and get the tail up, as the tail came up I released what little forward pressure I had on the stick and in the air we were, a little green on the rotation, but it all worked out. Back around for a “3 point” landing demonstration, as with the wheel landing the 3 point was perfect, Mike put in on the numbers and got us stopped fairly quick. Still on one four it was time for me to take off again, now that I knew what to expect I would try and keep it on the ground a little longer. Better this time but it was time to head back to Weslaco, the wind had picked up so it was going to take a while to get there. Mike walked me thru the wheel landing on the trip back and some 20 minutes later it was time to try it out. I could feel Mike on the controls with me on final, which was fine by me, after all he would be the second one to arrive at the crash site. The landing was a lot different than I though it was going to be, the wind had picked up some and I’ll leave it at that. The 1.5hrs Tail Wheel training was nice break from the Instrument Training which I’ll get back on next week.

11/7/2012 (Instrument Rating)
 Short lesson this morning, Mike gave me the option of going back over to PIL for the VOR "A" approach or try my hand at the ILS 17R approach into Harlingen. Wanting to change it up some I opted for the ILS into HRL. On the ground at T65 I set up as much as I could as far as the radios are concerned, the winds were calm and there was a Comanche taxiing out so we followed them to rwy 31. We picked up Valley Approach shortly after takeoff and was told to squawk 0172 after radar contact we were vectored right to a heading of 040. A short while later a right turn to 080 was given, this time I was ready for the sun with my new foggles version 2.0. I had taken my frosted foggles and painted them with black vinyl paint which blocked out ALL of the light and worked pretty well. Over the radio came Cessna one two Lima, is 5 miles from the final approach fix, turn right heading one four zero, maintain 2000 until established on the localizer cleared ILS one seven right approach. Mike had set the timer to 2:36 as a back up should the glide scope go out on final, the intercept on the localizer was fairly quick, now to see if I can hold it there. The localizer is 4 times as sensitive as a VOR, very slight corrections made for BIG changes but I was able to keep the CDI (course deviation indicator) centered with in one degree (2 dots) but now the GS (glide scope) is active so now the work begins. Keeping both needles centered (well, close to center) wasn't as bad as I thought, granted not much wind but Mike said for my first ILS approach it went really well. At 300msl Mike called it "missed, full power, carb heat off, pitch for climb and bring the flaps up and ATC gave us a right turn out to get us back to Weslaco, just over the flood way it was time to remove the foggles, ATC called out traffic at our "one o'clock" so anotlf hour of simher set eyes never hurts. Back at T65 Mike endorsed my log for another haulated instrument.

11/2/2012 (Instrument Rating)
 Its been a month since I started on my Instrument Rating and a quick look at the logbook puts me fairly close to my goal of finishing up in Jan. 2013, that is if I can get pass the written and the check ride just pass the 40hrs the FAA requires. My wife Jan happened to be off today so she went along for the ride, it was back to tracking the VOR to HRL then outbound to the RONAS intersection. Mike had filed an IFR flight plan and we were to pick it up shortly after take-off, we exited the pattern at T65 and headed north to contact Valley Approach. Mike teaches the "CRAFT" method of copying your clearance down "C=cleared to", "R=route of flight", "A=assigned altitude","F=frequency(radio)",
and "T= transponder code". After contacting Valley Approach they cleared us to PIL as filed (T65 > HRL > RONAS > KPIL) at 4000 and gave us a squawk code 4536 and told us to remain on this frequency. Its approximately 18.5nm to RONAS from the Harlingen VOR and in the 172 that gives you about 12 minutes of "Quiet Time" to go over the approach plate and get things in order. Some where about half way there the ride started to get bumpy, not bad just bumps and I asked Mike if there were clouds around and his reply was yes and we are in them. a Few minutes later the 6cyl Conti shuttered and changed tones and now we have a vibration, with 2 of us pulling the carb heat control I'm surprised we didn't have several feet of cable hanging out of the panel. With all the engine gauges reading normal and the vibration gone, it would appear that we picked up "Carb Ice" and for a split second or so we had a 145hp blender as the engine ingested the ice. Two circuits in the holding pattern and I shot the approach, was a little left of the radial when my time expired but other than that things were good. Another one in the book along with 1.1hrs of simulated instrument, out from under the hood just east of Harlingen it was time for me to enjoy the flight a little more as we headed back to Weslaco.

10/31/2012 (Instrument Rating)
 Being Halloween I was in for a “Treat” or at least something different. The VOR RWY 13 approach is what Mike had planned this morning, ATC kept us out of the way of traffic leaving McAllen and then we did the “Full Approach” outbound with a “Procedure Turn” then inbound. The radio was really busy with traffic leaving and me attempting something different, we had told ATC that it would be a “Missed Approach” so now there was ground vehicles moving around and on the radio as well. The ADF was acting up and Mike had ATC confirm “MISSI”, so start the timer and down to 600ft. My treat was turning out more like trick, winds were different at 4000 than at 2000 and on the way to 600 they were changing again. I was struggling to stay on coarse and I wasn’t in front of the airplane as far as I needed to be. Nonetheless I crossed just right of the threshold for “one three” with 10 seconds to spare. The Missed Approach is a climb to 1000ft and then a climbing left turn to 2000ft direct to MFE VOR / DME and hold, Mike called off the Missed at 1700ft and told me to intercept and track the 080 radial back to T65 and shoot the VOR “A” approach. Leveled off at 1700ft and a right turn for the intercept. Tracking outbound on 080 radial from MFE I didn’t have time to get the Baro at T65 so that upped the minimums from 600ft to 660ft at T65 and a false ceiling of 700ft. At 700ft I was more than ready for the foggles to come off but I had only 40ft of altitude to play with and get into T65. I had a little trouble finding the airport due to gyro drift that I didn’t catch, once in sight it was a left hand circle and land on “one three”. What seemed like a VERY long flight only yielded 0.9hrs of hood time but I did get two approaches out of it.

10/26/2012 (Instrument Rating)
 This morning Mike explained and filed an IFR flight plan even though it was VMC (visual meteorological conditions) to show how the system works. We had filed T65 > HRL > RONAS > PIL and in the “remark” section he added “Instrument Training”. After my run-up I contacted “Clearance Delivery” and was Cleared to PIL as filed at 3000, just after departure, ATC gave me a heading of 150* due to traffic at KHRL. I was a little concerned about the 1500 ft towers in that area and the fact that Mexico is only 8 miles away. This truly was going to be a training exercise, over the radio you could hear 2 controllers talking, one instructing and the other talking to the pilots, the blind leading the blind came to mind. I was asked to expedite my climb to 3000, Mike explained that we were getting there just as fast as we could in a 172 with a mid time 145hp engine hanging off the front. Finally at 2500 ft we were cleared direct to RONAS and with a turn the left we avoided Mexico’s airspace. Over RONAS I started the teardrop entry for the hold and was cleared down to 2000 from 3000, over RONAS again it was time to start the timer and get down to 600ft. Mike allowed me to peak down outside the left window as we crossed over a tower that is right in the approach. At 600ft and no time remaining I started the “Missed Approach” and shortly there after I was able to come out from under the hood. Although I didn’t shoot the full “Missed” Mike said that he didn’t see any reason to continue due to the fact the approach and the start of the missed went well. Crossing Rebel Field at 4000 ATC cut us loose, the air was smooth so I pulled the power back and stuck the nose down, way down. Wish I could get that kind of IAS all the time, back at the hanger the logbook got one more entry of 0.9hrs and one Instrument Approach.

10/24/2012 (Instrument Rating)
 Time to try and put the puzzle together, just off T65 I was under the hood picking up flight following so we could transition “Charlie” airspace over Harlingen. Tracking the VOR to Harlingen and after receiving station passage the #1 VOR was set to track outbound on the 115* radial. Next we set up the #2 VOR for the 357* radial out of BRO, when the #2 VOR centered we were over RONAS and time to start my teardrop entry. My first hold was at 3000, as we descended to 2000 I was cleared for the VOR “A” Approach into PIL (Cameron County Airport) so after crossing RONAS the timer was set and we were headed for 600 ft, it worked out well our ground speed was spot on 90kts which meant I had 3 minutes and 24 seconds to find the airport. Mike gave me a imaginary ceiling of 700ft allowing me to come out from under the hood and fly the circle to land for One Three. I flew VFR back to Harlingen and dropped Mike off to pick up a Cherokee 180 and after a short break it was back to T65 for me. Mike showed back up at Weslaco about 30 minutes later to log my first Instrument Approach along with 1hr of hood time.

10/16/2012 (Instrument Rating)
 Flight briefing at the hanger at 7:00am and then headed out to practice “Holding” at the “HARGI” intersection, which is the 029* radial from the McAllen VOR and the 302* radial from the Harlingen VOR. We first flew a heading of 330* and intercepted the 029* radial out of MFE which would give me a Direct Entry to the hold, several minutes later the #2 VOR set up for the 302* radial out of HRL centered up indicating we were at HARGI, now 1 min. legs and 1 min. std. rate turns and we’re back at HARGI, if only it was that easy. A few adjustments on the outbound leg got me were I needed to be as I rolled out for the inbound leg, which was back at HARGI. Next we flew due north, 2 clearing turn so Mike could check traffic and then a 45* bank turn to the right followed by 2 more clearing turns and a 45* bank to the left. I was then instructed to head back to HARGI and re-enter the hold, this time it was a teardrop entry for the hold. Short flight back to T65 and 0.8hrs added to the logbook.

10/12/2012 (Instrument Rating)
 Today I started out by flying pattern “B” full panel and the sun is brutal at 8:00am. Then it was off to Power On and Power Off stalls, I can’t forget my very first stall during primary training, it was in a Cessna 150 our heading was due north when it started and almost due south when I leveled back off. The stalls today won’t be nearly as bad, I have learned very quickly to keep the ball centered and besides that I can’t see outside the plane anyway. A slight dip of the left wing on my “Power On” stall, but it wasn’t bad. “Power Off” stall was next followed by a short hop back to T65, another 0.9hrs to the logbook. 

10/10/2012 (Instrument Rating)
  Now to fly the patterns for real. Back under the hood and over the practice area I flew “full panel” pattern “B” and all went well. My first attempt at pattern “A” didn’t go as well, being partial panel and having to look up to see the compass put the sun in my eyes, switched over to sunglasses and round two went much better. 1.2 more hours logged as Simulated Instrument.

10/8/2012 (PC Based Flight Simulator)
 After my last flight lesson Mike had given me a handout to look over and study for or next flight. It was 2 patterns, although they where the same they were to be flown “Full Panel” and “Partial Panel”, the pattern simulates a procedure turn, an entry to a hold, the hold pattern and final approach, in different configurations.
It all looked simple enough so I decided to set it up on my PC based Flight Sim. For those of you not familiar with flight simulators most of them allow to view your ground track afterwards. With my Patterns handout and the Flight Sim ready I was off to fly cheaply (for a change), I had set up the simulator for actual weather and placed the plane on the ground at T65. After taking off on “One Three” I turned to a heading of 360 and climbed to 3000. Straight & level at 3000 I started the maneuvers on pattern “A” with partial panel, some 16 minutes later pattern “A” was complete and it time to go look at the ground track that had been recording in the background. When I opened logged flight I was expecting to see something similar to Pattern “A” after all that is what I was using as a map, instead I saw what looked like maybe a 5 year old's etch-a-sketch drawing. Oh well reset the program and on to pattern “B”. After flying and reviewing pattern “B” which turned out a whole lot better I decided to wait until I was in a real airplane to try them again. 

10/5/2011 (Instrument Rating)
 It’s 7:00am again, today we are going to get the numbers for the Cessna 172 I normally fly and will due most of my training in. Once again my view is limited to the panel and heading over to the practice area. Mike covered the Attitude Indicator and Directional Gyro, other than the fact the scan had changed some, partial panel seemed a little easier. Getting the numbers for the different phases and configurations went fairly quick, Mike took control of the aircraft and I was instructed to look at the floor. I knew from my primary training what the task was probably going to be when the controls were handed back, “Unusual Attitude Recovery” and sure enough, airspeed was bleeding off and banked. I recovered the aircraft but not having an Attitude Indicator made for an interesting time. Short break at KEBG for fuel, and we were taxing back out for one four. After my run-up Mike told me to put my foggles on and line up on the center line of the runway and use the DG to keep the plane straight as we accelerated for takeoff. The “Instrument Takeoff” is not required, but it was an interesting challenge nonetheless. Runway heading up to 3000msl and I was asked to look at the floor again, ok, here we go again, this time it was reversed, airspeed was coming up so pull the power, stop the bank and level off. Another 1.4hrs of “simulated” logged for this lesson.

Oct. 2, 2012 (Instrument Rating)
 My first lesson of many started shortly after 7:00am. Mike and I sat down and discussed how the lesson would unfold. It had been 1 day short of 2 years since I had been under the hood. This would be a fairly easy flight, just to get power settings for the different phases of flight in various configurations. Mike threw me a curve right out of the gate, it had been 3 yrs since I had flown a Cessna 150 and that was what we were going up in. Shortly after turning “crosswind” it was time to go under the hood. Climbing out to 3000 Mike gave me vectors to get to the practice area. Once in the practice area I had started to settle in some, so we set out to get our numbers for Level Flight Cruise, Level Flight Approach, Cruise Descent, 500fpm and an 800fpm Descent at Approach Speeds. While getting the numbers we were constantly changing headings and altitudes and a few vectors later I was told it was time to come out from under the hood. Just west of KEBG (Edinburg) it was time to get some fuel before heading back to T65 (Weslaco). Fueled up and heading back to T65 I was able to get a little more hood time, a total of 1.0hrs simulated instrument time logged. Considering the time it had been since I had flown on instruments and in an aircraft I had never flown, I felt things went well. After a short debriefing at the hanger I was headed back to Harlingen for the hardest part of the training, “hitting the books"


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