Logged 1.5hrs under the hood today. Will probably start
removing older TruTrak autopilot tomorrow to install newer one that will
fly coupled approaches/holds.
Here's the new G3X that is installed in our RV-6. IFR training continues...and now I have a chance of actually
understanding it <g>.
RV-6 RV-3B IFR Blog
Garmin® G3X™: An Affordable, Customizable Glass Cockpit for Experimental
and Light Sport Aircraft ...the official company annnouncement.
Installation and More In-flight Picture of Garmin's New G3X (Tip: Click on
link, maximize screen, click 'Slideshow' and use keyboard right/left arrows to
view at your own pace.)
.5 simulated IFR in the RV. Safety pilot Charlie Kearns
Work slows.....economy and a -3B now in the mix. My nav/comm
done locked up, so I don't have a VOR in the RV right now. Gonna
install one of the 430W's into the existing panel so I can continue with
the IFR lessons.
Rough cut done. Felt good to crank up some air cutting tools
and sweep up aluminum dust <g>.
Got some of the avionics a few days ago from
Stein along with a nice file
showing the layout... Today drew out the grid on the new
panel to cut the curve. Used squares I inherited from my Dad.
He always had great tools. As the new panel progresses I'll just
add pictures to the online gallery linked below. Feels good to
work on something RV in the garage!
Sim'd IFR Time Logged: 1.3
Safety Pilot:___ CFII:_X_(Stan)
VOR RWY 31
approach at KMWL
twice - told to go missed each time. (2) procedure turns.
Was given permission to use autopilot on way down - told to be a 'meat
servo' on way back...with partial panel. Good workout - lesson
learned on this outing was that I hadn't paid attention in the past six
years of VFR flying to the quirkiness of the VOR head as the plane
passes over the 'cone of confusion'. I now have a better feel for
holding heading and WAITING for the VOR to settle back down after you
pass it. The urge to chase the needle too soon has been broken (I
think). Great lesson.
I've now logged 11.0 IFR training
hours, half with CFII and half with safety pilot.
Went VFR solo to Denton and flew the ILS 17 approach (used the 496
as a psuedo-ADF to find the outer marker PINCK). One procedure
.1 logged sim'd IFR with Joe as safety pilot. Just getting the
Flight with Ross Burgess as safety pilot.
1.8 under the hood (foggles on 38 seconds after takeoff). We flew
to the Mineral Wells VOR and then did the
VOR RWY 31
approach. Went missed and did two laps holding (parallel entry). Back to 52F.
Danged up a hold and finished with a brain full of mush.
Later in the day back home I
downloaded the demo for
On-Top IFR Simulator by ASA v9.5, played with it for an hour and
then bought it (demo's airspace is limited to a 75NM radius of Helen,
MT.). Lets you use a Garmin 430 (like my new panel will have) and
lets you display an instructor's station on a 2nd monitor. Hopefully should make the time in the plane less
of a 'drinking from a firehose' type event. Plan on shooting a
virtual approach the day before we do it for real (with forecast winds).
Turns out hand flying a RV through
procedure turns and holds takes skill (something I don't have an
abundance of at the current time <g>).
SPOT returns from the lesson.
Fun times. Stan left a message on my phone the night before
telling me what we were going to cover the next day. "Be ready for
brief with a fueled and pre-flighted plane at 0700." Five minutes
after the briefing we were airborne, and 30 seconds after liftoff I was
under the FrankenFoggles. Took them off 1.3 hrs later.
Picked up the 310º radial out of RANGER (FUZ)
and tracked it until about halfway to Bowie, somewhere around HIKAY
intersection. Switched over to BOWIE (UKW) and tracked the 310º
radial on it. Once past Bowie we turned around and, using the
VOR/DME RWY 17
approach plate, tracked the 137º radial at 3,000' to the ENTUR IAF.
Used the 496 with the Bowie VOR loaded in the GoTo to determine DME
distances, knowing full well we can't legally do this in real IFR
conditions, but it's always nice to have a plan 'B'.
Stan made me check in with regional
approach, get flight following, dial in the xponder, switch tanks and
look up info on the GPS while hand flying under the hood. His idea
of fun I think....
Although Stan hasn't let me use the AP yet, I would currently consider
not having a fully working dual axis AP a deal breaker for single pilot
IFR flight in my RV.
15 DME from the UKW VOR we started
holding (standard). The wind was about 18kts at our altitude and
it took me a couple of laps to get the feel for heading corrections.
By the fourth lap I was getting close, so we proceeded in.
Descended down to MDA by the missed approach point, then went missed and
followed its instructions back to the Bowie VOR.
Having a clock that I can start/stop
easily right next to the turn coordinator seems to be working for me.
After a few more minutes doing other
things we flew direct 52F (me still under the hood most of the way),
landed and debriefed. I used my pocket digital recorder to record
the debrief for my personal notes. Having a CFII who spends his
work days driving a Boeing means there is a real possibility he might
spit out a few tips and nuggets of IFR info that will help me down the
road. My brain was mush by that point and I didn't want to risk
not catching any tips that I might miss otherwise.
said it was a pretty morning to fly - I wouldn't know...didn't see any
of it <g>.
Special thanks to the controller on
118.1 that put up with my newbieish, tongue-tied drivel on the radio
while I was 'foggling around'.
Later the next day I combined the output
route tracks from the Garmin 496 with the approach plate using
GPSVisualizer.com and Photoshop
(image below). Wanted to see if the real tracks were as bad as I
thought they would be. Furthest track left was the teardrop
entry later in the lesson. First hold was the second loop from the
left, second was the third loop from left....got better as I interpreted
correctly what the SE wind was doing.
SPOT returns from the
Route of flight using Runwayfinder
A good lesson. Fun
Currently in the running. We'll see...
(2) practice tests yesterday for the IFR written. Passed both.
A good sign...
.5 with Ross Burgess as Safety Pilot
(during lunch) So then Ross says, "I can go fly safety
pilot with you if you want some simulated IFR." Why
not? It's only 96*F. Fifteen later I'm under the hood -
logged .5 under the Frankenfoggles. This
trip was highlighted by 360 turns at 60* of bank (many of them). 75kt
full flap descents and climbing turns. Recalibrated the compass on
the EFIS a few days ago - it's running way smoother now. I think
Ross was easier on me than Stan, he knew I had a stomach full of food
<g>. I feel SO fortunate to be doing this training in my own
RV - it's very sensitive, but I'm getting comfortable with it.
Literally putting on the hood thirty seconds after takeoff, 95% of each
training flight is logged simulated IFR.
This time under the hood was more solid than last time. Progress
made. The avgas budget is blown for the week, but I got
to fly with
the jeweler and got some IFR sim time to boot.
Good times. No planned flying next several days - gotta play grown
up for a bit.
IFR Training Lesson #1 in Flash
I haven't logged one second of simulated IFR since 8/15/97. And
as (cruel) fate would have it, one of the
guys I fly formation with on a regular basis (Stan Price) is a CFII...and
He knows that with a thousand hours in it I'm pretty comfortable now
with the RV, and he's either had me on his wing or been on my wing a
couple dozen times in the last year. I suspect that might be the
reason he gave me a little more to do on my first IFR lesson in
than I had expected. You see, I had expected straight and level
with a few turns.
Yesterday I logged 1.5 hrs under the hood in one continuous stretch, but I'm getting ahead of
up an hour early and gassed up Flash. Took her around
the pattern a few times, as I hadn't flown in over a week and wanted to
make sure all the stuff was working and configured right. .1 on
the hobbs and all loose. Let's do this thang...
Stan showed and motioned me over to brief. He spent a few
minutes describing what he wanted out of me (don't kill us) and gave me
an overview of the next few weeks. Got in, started, taxied and
took off. Sixty seconds into the flight he
handed me the foggles. By foggles I mean 'FrankenFoggles'.
Think Silence of the Lambs night vision foggles. Think work very
well foggles. Old school black out everything.
I instantly felt like a 2hr rookie. My brain actually ached
as I tried to remember all the stuff that I had forgotten fifteen years
ago. He had me do straight and level for about two minutes and
then we started on the vertical S's (climbs, descents, climbs, descents,
etc). Heading change left. Heading change right (hold +/-
3*). Climb and turn to heading this. Descend and turn to
heading that. Track heading 350, then 270, then 090, then
360...give me ten degrees left.
Turns out we flew all the way to Gainesville (who knew?) and then
turned around. Contacted approach, got a code and did a few laps
holding over the PINCK LOM/IAF north of Denton. First in my
life...and they stunk a little, but I'm learning.
Then we headed outbound and did a procedure turn -
the little clock next to the turn coordinator worked out really nice for this.
Bang the top to start clock - bang the top to stop clock. Got back
on the localizer and shot the approach down to missed. The
approach plate called for an ADF to locate the LOM when you go missed
(and I don't have one), but since it was simulated, we were VFR, and we
were pretending it was an emergency, I used the 496 to identify it.
Can't do it for real but it's a nice plan B to have in my pocket.
There's an ILS that doesn't require ADF over at Alliance that we'll
shoot next, I figure.
After we went missed and I had climbed to pattern altitude, we
headed back to 52F. Stan took the plane for the last .1 and I
slithered down to the floor into a pool of blubber. I logged 1.5
honest to goodness hours of simulated IFR Wednesday. My brain
feels like Jello and my neck feels like concrete is setting up in there.
I am GLAD I have around 1,000 hours in this RV already. It is WAY
easy to get all over the place in this thing without an autopilot and I
found myself chasing it a lot more than I thought I'd have to. I
have to really watch the ball on climbs, because I tend to change
heading if I don't. When Stan told me to take off the FrankenFoggles and fly VFR again, I actually felt something go cha-click
inside my brain. It was weird for about five seconds - I'd read
about that transition in the books, but didn't think it would be as
pronounced as it was.
Having your own plane that you can be flying in under 30 minutes is a
Godsend for this kind of training. Also, having your own plane can be a nightmare if your CFII
wants to give you 1.5+ hood. I now have 7.5 hrs simulated IFR time in
the log, no foolin'. Yeah, I bought Stan's lunch, and he earned it
After lunch I went home, took a cold shower, put on a SteinAir
T-shirt, started on paperwork and the normal workflow, then daydreamed
about how nice it will be to have a 430 that flies holding patterns on
autopilot. My brain is silly putty...and you (and I) don't want to
ever see the groundtracks of
Later the familia motored over to El Chico to celebrate Tate finishing
his basketball camp (and me not flying into the approach lights), where
I ordered a margarita the size of my head. My neck finally relaxed
Looking forward to the next flight...
The IFR section of the forums
Still studying for the written. Not cramming, just
picking up the book every few hours when the kids and site are squared
away (or more accurately when I need a break). One thing I did do
in the last two days was discover the 'course notes' section in the King
book that came with my DVDs. These (54) pages are a tight
summary of all the concepts needed to pass - just like you had taken
notes while watching the DVDs. I cut them out of the 4 lb book with
my knife, drove over to Office Depot and had them bound. Now I can
keep that balanced on the armrest of the chair in the living room and
have the computer testing supplement in my lap.
I'm highlighting the key info in the notes section and also the parts of
the figures that are referenced in the questions (third pic below).
Total weight for this 'travelling IFR study set' is about 10oz and it's
now my primary study tool.
After watching the DVDs one time I took a practice test with NO review at
all. Passed with a 78 - if the question involved calculations I
just guessed and went on. I'm going to go through these notes one
time (1/5th of the way through a little more than 1.5 days into it) and take the
practice test again. If I pass I'm going to go take the real
I'm not cramming too hard on this, just 30 minutes here and there maybe
every other day while the kids and wifey are watching another episode of Are
You Smarter Than America's
Favorite Dance Video Idol Investigator Unit (or something to that
Q: Who's gonna make a 100 on
his IFR written?
A: Not me (but I'll pass it
1. The book I cut out the 'notes' section
2. The 'notes' bound at Office Depot ($2.50)
3/4. The new, combined study package.
ready for IFR training. The Dynon remote compass is installed,
calibrated and functioning properly. The Garmin 496 is talking to
the TruTrak Pictoral Pilot heading autopilot (as well as the HSI
function of the Dynon) and the ASA flight clock is mounted next to the
TnB indicator. There are a couple of minor housekeeping chores to
do - readjust the compass on the far right
side, label a dedicated power switch to the Dynon/496 and waterproof the
canopy seal a little better.
Nothing new to report on the 'new new' panel. Stein will call me
one of these days with an update, I suspect. I'm on his schedule
with this so no worries. Whatever he says is fine w/me.
Bring on those procedure turns!
Finished watching the King IFR DVDs all the way through.
Here's what is covered in the AIM section - the last one covered:
ATC Clearances and Services
- Contact Aproaches
- Visual Approaches
- Cruise Clearance
- Clearance to VFR on Top
- Radar Service
Airport Ops. And Traffic Avoidance
- Apts w/o Control Towers
- Traffic Avoidance and LAHSO
- Wake Turbulence and Hydroplaning
- Runway Markings and Lights
- VASI and PAPI
- Airport Markings and Signs
- Spatial Disorientation
- Hypoxia and Hyperventilation
- Night Flying and Landing Illusions
Just for grins I immediately took the practice test without reviewing
a single thing I've looked at since 3/27/08. If the question
involved doing a formula or mental gymnastics I just took an educated
guess. Total time taking test was (21) minutes.
I wanted to see how bad I'd fail...and I ended up passing with a
78.3%. Go figure! All this is amazing, as I would expect to get somewhere
in the area of a 50% with my nine brain cells, having not looked at half the material in a
month and a half. No review at all - not one second. A
nice data point showing some of this King DVD stuff stuck in me noodle.
The hope is that with a couple of weeks
review I might be able to consistently pass, which would be nice.
These DVDs were a good idea (at least for me).
Pics of the existing panel's IFR upgrades online at:
Gearing up for real, honest to goodness IFR lessons in the RV.
Dynon upgraded with remote compass, OAT probe and input from 496.
ADI installed on pax side, compass move over left one hole, wires
cleaned up behind the panel and a nice box for AF/D, approach plates,
etc ready for use. Up next, hardwiring 496 into power bar and
Finished the FARs section of the King IFR DVDs (screen capture below
shows what was covered). Did you know if you have (2) VORs and one
fails in flight during an IFR flight, you MUST report that failure to
ATC? I didn't know either...(but I do now). AIM section
next...wish me luck <g>.
Finished the 'Weather' section. Going through this got me to
add some more links to the top of the VAF WX
Starting FARs next...
A little progress to report on the rating. I finished 'Flight
Instruments' and have started 'Weather'. Got to give a little
shout out to Martha and John on these topics, as I had gone through the
primary/secondary instruments in various flight scenarios before and it
didn't stick. After watching Martha lay it out I actually got it -
and it was simple. They have a way of saying 'this is how you
remember it' that seems to stick in my 9-celled brain.
Work begins on Flash
next week to get the panel up to IFR lesson standard - installing a
remote compass for the Dynon, adding a clipboard for approach plates,
re-sealing the top of the panel for water, etc. It'll be over at
Monk's for most of the week I suspect.
About halfway through 'Flight Instruments'. Still amazed at
all the stuff I've forgotten over the last decade and a half of VFR
flying. I do have to give credit to Martha and John King for
making me UNDERSTAND why the compass lags and leads - the graphics they
use may make you sleepy after awhile, but they do work. I have
discovered I'm a graphical learner. I'll never forget it again.
Yesterday, while watching the DVD on my laptop waiting in the car for
Susie to do some stuff, I re-learned:
- Lag and Lead of the magnetic
- Horizontal lift component,
centrifugal force, vertical lift component (and skid/slip's effect
- Rates of turn (increases and
decreases in rates and radii of turns and their relationship to
increases and decreases in airspeed, bank and rate).
Onward to all the turn coordinator stuff I've forgotten
now...then shortly into the primary/secondary instruments. Holy
cow, there's hope for me yet.
Tinkering still with the new panel layout. IFR test prep study continues with the King DVDs.
Reacquainting myself with the use of the E-6B (IAS/CAS/Wind
problems/etc). On disk four now - working my way through true,
pressure and density altitudes now. Finished with both the
'Holding Patterns' and 'Flight Planning' sections. Getting there!
Started and finished the 'Holding Patterns' section of the King DVD.
- Holding Pattern Speeds
- Holding Pattern Timing
- Holding Pattern Entries
- Holding at a DME fix
- Holding at a VOR
...and a couple dozen questions on
determining which type of entries to make given various clearances from
ATC. My head hurts a little...
My scratch pad on some of the questions.
GPS has spoiled me.
Studying continues with Martha: RMI, ADF, HSI, VOR, DME
approaches. All the three letter stuff... Amazed at what I
have forgotten flying strictly VFR for the past decade.
Approach plates section complete. Here's the TOC of that part.
Each video is about five minutes long followed by questions.
First DVD complete. Now on approach plates. See Doug.
See Doug study. Study Doug. Study!
En route section of the King IFR Test DVDs complete. I actually
understood it, which is saying a lot. Went through the questions
at the end of each section and got 'em all. I actually think I
have a shot at this thing. It's on a laptop I keep next to a chair
in the living room - I plug the iPod ear buds in it and the kids can
make all the noise they want. A nice improvement from the
please be quiet studying routine in a book. Confidence level
high. Attacking approach plates now...
DP doesn't stand for
Dr. Pepper anymore...
The King IFR Knowledge Test DVDs came in the mail today. I
installed the software on my laptop, went through the 'how to use' clip,
then went through the following clips and questions over the next two
Low Altitude Charts
Minimum Navigation Equipment
VOR Changeover Point
Minimum En Route Altitude
Minimum Obstruction Clearance Altitude
Minimum Crossing Altitude
Minimum Reception Altitude
IFR Flight Operations
First impression is very positive -
making a difference with my retention percentage. I'm sold.
Having someone point to a thing on a chart in a video and explain what
it's for allows my feeble brain to absorb the info a little better
for some reason.
Was talking with Rosie a couple of weeks back and he said he was
using the King IFR training DVDs to study for his test and checkride.
He's a visual kinda guy (his words). I must admit, studying for
the test using the ASA Written Test Prep book can get pretty dry for me,
I've found. In an attempt to get the written out of the way a
little sooner, I have an
Knowledge Test Course and IFR Rating Checkride Course (DVD) inbound to the house as of today. I'll
let you know if I retain stuff better...
I only have about nine good brain cells, and four of those are dedicated
to reminding me to put food in my mouth and not my ear. Anything
that helps me understand all this will be appreciated.
Feb - Mar '08
Holding pattern. Life....taxes...spring break....sick....and a thousand other
New panel blank arrives. I'm committed...
Talked with Alex DeDominicis. He has agreed to be my CFII.
Talked with Tim Hass of
approachfaststack.com Wednesday. I'm thinking about using
their modular wiring system.
Studying continues. Currently re-wrapping my brain around
primary and secondary instruments in pitch, bank and power. Fun
stuff (not). Today I ordered a new RV-6 tip up instrument panel
blank from Van's - I'm $42 into the project.
Bought IFR exam test prep and related books from
Shop at 52F. The journey begins (continues....actually).
New workbench on side of garage completed. Swings down to
allow entry into passenger side of my car.