Early-Season Training Continues – Team Tuskegee and CAP Form 5

Tupper Craig TG-7A

Time has been amazingly scarce these past few months.  But that doesn’t mean that I can let the rust build up on my wings.

Last weekend, I got up with Team Tuskegee for some three-ship formation deep in the Detroit Class B.  I needed some echelon takeoff and landing experience, so I flew 2 in a phantom 4 configuration, landing and taking off abreast of lead on 21L at Detroit Metro (KDTW).  John Harte ably flew Lead and Chris Felton flew a very competent 3 (or, as he likes to be called, “Element Lead”).  We also got in some tail chasing and other more general formation work with me flying 3 and Chris as 2.

I took along Alex Craig, one of CAP’s check airmen in the Michigan Wing, with whom I’ve flown several checkrides over the years.  Alex is an ATP with thousands of hours logged, but little time in gliders or in formation.  Alex sat left seat to observe the formation work.  And, as Tim Brutsche likes to say, flying an aircraft with an empty hole is a sin.  Aviation is always best when it’s shared.

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Then, this past weekend, Alex and I switched seats and aircraft and I flew a CAP annual Form 5 stan/eval ride.  I hadn’t flown the CAP glass C-182T in maybe six months.  Needless to say, I spent a fair amount of Saturday preparing for the Sunday-morning ride.

I approached this ride with more trepidation than usual, largely on account of the rust build-up.  But I suppose that I needn’t have worried.  I goofed up the throttle work a little (one of the few cross-contamination problems that I experience between the TG-7A and the C-182T) and I managed to forget which way the glideslope indicator was supposed to move and I got fairly high on the glideslope on the ILS 27 at KFNT.

But, generally speaking, the ride went far better than I expected.  I’ve always hated landing the C-182T.  I still do.  It’s so nose-heavy.  You run out of elevator pretty quickly in that aircraft if you’re CG-forward, as you almost always are when you’re flying with two guys and 60 gal. of fuel.  The usual way to deal with that, namely keeping a little power in on the flare and flying it all the way to the runway like an airliner, isn’t an option for practice engine-out work.  So it was all attitude and airspeed on many of the landings.

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I did use one technique that I recommend to anyone who has hot hands with a C-172 but has problems with the C-182.  Put 50 lbs of something in Cargo Area B.  It moves the CG back a little and makes the landing flare a lot more controllable.

We rocked out the high airwork, did most of the landings (engine-out, soft-field, etc.) at Lapeer (D95), shot the ILS 27 and the RNAV 36 (twice) at KFNT, then flew back to Pontiac (KPTK), where I think I did my best short-field landing ever in that aircraft, getting it down and stoppable before the 1,000-foot markers.

Work and other commitments are still keeping me out of the cockpit more than I’d like to be, but I think I’ve done as good a job of getting active and proficient early in the season this year as I ever have.


It’s About Aircrew

The low clouds and snow flurries retreated today and, as luck would have it, Capt Norm Malek and I had scheduled the G1000-equipped CAP C-182 all afternoon.  So we launched around 1:00 and wrung out the aircraft for a total of 3.3 Hobbs hours.

As of this morning, all of my approaches for instrument currency dated from October, which means that they’re going to expire next month.  So I clearly needed some approaches.  Capt Malek didn’t need as many, having recently flown some single-pilot actual as part of some aircraft repositioning work this week.

So I rocked out a hold on a DME fix about 18 miles sooutheast of Flint, then went in for the ILS 27, the RNAV 18, the ILS 27 again, and the VOR 18 before landing and switching pilots.  2.0 ASEL high-performance and 1.6 of it under the hood.  We had some VFR traffic around NUPUE, my intended IAF, and I volunteered to be vectored to JUBER instead, so there was some fast fingerwork on the G1000.  But no worries. [Read more...]

Dave Allen Visits, Approaches, and I’m Good to Go at Flight 101

This is a regular blog post. Please check out the other posts if you’re looking for show notes or links to show audio.

David Allen from The Pilot’s Flight Podlog was in town on business on Tuesday, so we got together at Panera Bread for dinner and to shoot the bull. Ella joined us. Good time!

I flew with Andy Mawdsley of Flight 101 at KPTK to get checked out to fly the Cessnas there. Something line 2.2 in N9926Q hours getting familiar with the aircraft and the avionics. Most or all of the Flight 101 C-172s are equipped with Garmin 430s and the panels are a little different from what I’ve flown in the past, so I wanted to get familiar with the aircraft in addition to getting checked out to rent Flight 101’s aircraft. I had not flown an instrument approach in a C-172 since February 20 and had not flown any instrument approach at all since the multi rating on April 20 or so. I was really pleased that I ended up really flying them well. For the most part, needle departures of 1/2 deflection or less with most of the time being within two dots.

VOR-A Lapeer (D95) with the published miss and hold at MIXER, RNAV 18 KFNT, 2 x ILS 9 KFNT, VOR 9R KPTK, and ILS 9R KPTK. And that’s my six instrument approaches, intercepting and tracking courses, and holding, so I’m instrument current for the next six months!

Andy in the cockpit while being vectored outbound before the ILS 9R at KPTK. It was pretty dark and I didn’t use flash, so it’s a little blurry, but what the heck. Andy (Dr. Mawdsley!) is a pleasant guy with whom to fly. Rode me appropriately for the more prominent altitude or directional deviations and was really helpful in explaining the Garmin.

We had intermittent radio problems at KFNT and ended up switching to COM 2 after COM 1 failed during the final phases of the second the ILR 9. No biggie.

A shot of the sunset while being vectored outbound for the ILS 9R at KPTK. Not a bad shot for a guy under the hood and just holding the camera above the dash.

A shot of the flight line bracing the camera on the fence. Airports are so pretty at night! The parking lot light gives you just enough light to be able to see the aircraft and the lights from the other side of the airport are gorgeous. Nothing else looks like an airport at night.