Instrument Flight 22: Saying Goodbye to My CFI

I took the plane back to the shop to get the VOR indicator connected properly. Now that it’s working, I like the new CDI. It’s easier to use than a conventional VOR head.

There are two VOR modes. The first mode is somewhat like a standard VOR; dial in the radial and the unit shows the course deviation. The radial is displayed with LEDs (like a digital clock), so it’s obvious which one is selected. (If no signal is being received, three dashes are displayed.) There are To and From lights instead of a flag, and when both are off, that’s the same as the Off flag on an typical VOR. There’s a reciprocal button which instantly reverses the course (158 Frombecomes 338 To).

The other VOR mode is really slick. It just displays the current radial. To fly to the station, instead of playing with the knob until the needle centers, just hit the Mode button, make sure the To light is on (if not, just press Recip), and point the plane in that direction. I imagine this mode will be handy when approaching an intersection, but I haven’t tried that yet.

Today we did holding over a VOR, followed by one VOR approach and one ILS approach with radar vectors. The biggest problem was the holding pattern; I seem to have forgotten a lot about how to select the entry method and how to execute it (which heading to use, etc.).

On the ground I can draw the pattern and eventually figure it out, but when my flight instructor expected me to be able to do that in the air, I couldn’t. It was too hard to fly and draw at the same time. When I get instructions like “Hold on the 246 radial”, I can’t figure out fast enough how to do it. Once I get a holding pattern started, I don’t have too much trouble with it, though.

The approaches went OK in a rusty sort of way. I’m overcorrecting in trying to keep the dots centered, but that’s just a matter of practice. A bigger task will be learning to do the full approach without being vectored. The wind was strong and gusty today, which never helps.

I made the painful decision today to drop my CFII. I’ve been with him since the beginning, but it’s come to the point where he’s barely available. He does very little instructing now, and booking him more than once a week is about impossible. (Just look back through this log and see how spread out the lessons were.) The instruction was always good, though, which is probably why I put up with the scheduling situation for so long.

Today he couldn’t keep himself from being distracted long enough to instruct me, so I felt like I was flying alone. I need to have an instructor’s full attention, and I need feedback, because I find it hard to tell how well I’m doing. It’s time to cut the cord while I still have a high opinion of him.

Today: 1.2 hour instrument time
Total: 2.1 hours IMC time
Total: 38.5 hours instrument time

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