Instrument Flight 6: We Have Clearance, Clarence

I filed my first IFR flight plan today. It’s just about the same as the VFR version, but I was supposed to practice copying a clearance. We took off and called Tampa Approach to get the clearance. We heard nothing after a few tries, so apparently the radio problem is still there. It was time to improvise again, so my CFI gave me a few practice clearances to write down. (Since he’s not an auctioneer, I didn’t have as much trouble getting them as I would with real controllers.) We did some more steep turns, climbs, descents, slow flight, and VOR/NDB tracking/intercepting before landing at Lakeland for lunch.

I did some partial panel maneuvers, and my CFI says I still seem to do better than with all the gauges, which is not normal. I think that’s a polite way of saying I’m not paying enough attention to the attitude indicator, which is the main instrument in most situations. It’s the one he covers, along with the heading indicator, for partial panel work. When it’s uncovered, I’m supposed to scan it a little more than the others.

It must be hard for someone else to tell if I’m scanning properly, unless my heading, altitude, airspeed, etc. are wrong. A few times I’ve had them all right at the same time, but realized it was more luck than skill, since soon at least one of them was off.

The radio problem seems to be distance-based, since we can hear local traffic and had no problem communicating with the tower and ground at Lakeland. (At least, no trouble caused by the radio. My controlled airport skills are definitely rusty, because until last week I hadn’t visited one in months.) The signals that are farther out, such as approach, are the ones we don’t hear.

Today: 1.1 hours instrument time
Total: 11.4 hours instrument time

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