From: E-Pilot To: DIPLOCAT Judith Bradt
Well, I'm glad that you've
decided to get with the instrument program. Precision in your instrument
flying will mean that your landings and takeoffs will get much better.
Of your two choices, given those of doing more circuits and cross-country
or getting your instrument ticket, the latter will help you much
more in the former than the former will help the latter.
Next time that you fly
X-C after you get your instrument ticket, you'll find that you'll
be able to plan your flight easier, get there under positive radar
control (with all the traffic separation
ATC can give at the moment), and you won't have any anxiety about
getting lost, weather...
the time I wrote my original note and the time of your reply,
I decided that I would borrow the cash I need to fund the ticket,
just as I did for the basic license. I think that's the best way
to get good experience and exposure to new things that will help
me push the edge of the envelope. And get scared sometimes. And
I'm glad that you decided to stop wasting money doing circuits.
Remember my admonition that the more complex the aircraft and its
instruments, the easier it will be to fly -- especially if you have
either an HSI/ADI (Attitude display indicator) or a flight director.
weekday prices are cheaper, I'm considering that against how much
concentration I have left at the end of the usual work day here,
and how much study time needs to support the flying hours. I recall
you said somewhere between 3 and 6 to 1. I think I could do two
lessons a week -- perhaps one weekday night and one weekend slot
-- if I am prepared properly.
You can't fly
without the study, and you certainly will NOT maximize the learning
experience if you are NOT mentally prepared, i.e., thinking about
what you are going to do BEFORE you actually get into the airplane.
You will profit little from your lessons if you're not adequately
I had to study
eight hours for every hour of flight; in addition, as I was flying
a Baron while getting my instrument ticket, I needed about three
hours of time before every flight to mentally rehearse
the flight manoeuvers -- thinking through the manoeuvers, mentally
shutting down an engine while on approach, deciding whether to abandon
the approach until the shutdown checklist was accomplished or continuing.
Keep in mind
that the school I attended wouldn't let you even begin flying until
you'd completed the examination successfully, and finished the manadatory
ten hours of simulator training.Maybe
this doesn't sound like much, but I was flying every other or every
third day back in 1975.
In order to
get one hour of flight, it would go something like this:
I'd spend about
3-4 hours before the flight preparing myself for what I'd do in
the lesson -- reviewing lesson plans, drilling myself on engine
shutdown procedures, emergency gear extension, electrical failures,
loss of flight instruments, etc, etc. I'd relax for an hour. I'd
do flight plans and weather, etc, etc -- about an hour -- then pre-flight
the aircraft (usually about 35 minutes). Pre-flight briefing would
take an hour; I'd file my flight plan, then we'd depart. The lesson
was usually about 2.0 - 2.5 hours. I'd secure the airplane; we'd
de-brief about 1 - 1.5 hours. (I made lots of notes.) I'd hurry
home and mentally go through each manoeuver and approach, procedures,
set-up and execution: I'd make extensive notes. What went right;
what went wrong; how I thought I did; how HE thought I did. I'd
write down lessons learned; observations;
ATC/IFR procedures learned, reviewed and/or discussed. (Remember
that I was an air traffic controller, so I had somewhat of an advantage.)
This usually took about 3 - 4 hours. Then, I'd study instrument
rating books (Kirschner, Taylor, Buck, FAA, etc, etc) at about a
rate of about 8:1 for every flight hour. Eight hours of hard study
for every hour of flight. (Skim, highlight, read,
review, make notes.)
I was a full-time student doing this and was totally immersed in
my work. That approach was successful for me. There's good and bad
news in this for you.
While you may
not be able to give quite so much time to this, it means you'll
have to work harder. Fortunately, that doesn't sound like a problem
for you. The study demanded of you means that you'll have to approach
this much in the same way as attending university, except that the
vast majority of your time will be spent in pursuit of vocation
instead of classroom lectures: the flying and flight- study are
just added to the schedule. That's the bad news.
The good news
is that doing this all at once means that you'll be done with it
that much faster. Allowing, of course, that you've completed your
written examination successfully.
From your most
two very good simulator sessions, I have a question for you. Some
time ago, you mentioned that at one point you had to have a professional
help you take your scan apart and put it back together properly.
would be to use the attitude indicator for everything -- it helps
when you find one that is 4" or 5" instead of 3"
(One of the other examples of bigger being better!). Use the
other "primary" instruments to set and stabilize performance
within limits; after you are stabilized in whatever manoeuver you're
doing, use your peripheral vision to confirm that continued performance.
The attitude indicator is important because you're going to use
that for pitch and roll control.
Being the astute
pilot that you are, you know that -- 1. a one degree pitch change
will give a climb/descent rate approximately equal to your airspeed
in miles per minute times 100;
2. a standard rate turn can be calculated to be equal to airspeed
(in knots) divided by ten, then ADD 7 to the result. Thus, at 120
knots a std rate turn would be 19 degrees of bank. Half-
standard rate would be one-half that, or 10 degrees. (Don't worry
about half std rate until you're flying jets.)
prefer not to have him assume that because I am getting through
the lessons with good results that whatever scan I use must be
working. I do not want to get into complex manoeuvres and THEN
discover that my problem is my scan.
It is VERY
important to master, repeat, master the basics before beginning
approaches. As a CFII, I have repeatedly found pilots who could
not fly approaches because they never mastered the basic manoeuvers.
surprisingly, I find it difficult to watch everything at once,
and following the prescribed approach is sometimes tricky.
telling you that so much of getting good at flying is "flying
in a relaxed state of sharpened awareness"? This is especially
true pertaining to instrument navigation/approaches. If
you get to a point where you fly the AI and watch the rest peripherally
-- and can make accurate changes in configuration, heading/airspeed/power/descent/climb/turns
without taking your
attention from the AI -- you'll be getting there. The trick is to
make the flying secondary to the head game.
accurate, precise flying secondary to the head game allows you to
be thinking -- well in advance -- of the approach steps such as
letdown fixes, crossing altitudes, MDA/DH (or is it DA?) etc, etc,
not to mention that the airplane is ready (flaps, power, frequencies,
etc, etc). The successful head game means you won't be surprised
by missed approaches or ATC or surly FAA examiners.
I took my instrument training in a twin-engine airplane, a fast
one at that. Not only was I doing the instrument flying, I was involved
with engine failures/fires and shutdown
checklists while on approach; cranking the gear down; instrument
failures, etc. Usually while in night IMC. We had actual icing to
contend with, too, what with large CU and/or CB lurking about,
imbedded in the CS or stratiform stuff. Don't be a passenger: be
a pilot. Get your head out ahead of the airplane.
with practice and a great deal of experience. Don't worry about
it happening because it will happen -- but only if you're mentally
prepared to fly each flight.
Yes, I too
find that approaches are tricky. Flying a three-axis aircraft in
three dimensions -- four, if you include TIME -- in an ever-changing
terrestrial environment (where winds are ALWAYS
changing -- particularly as you climb, descend or turn). Throw in
a little orographic turbulence or wind shear to add to the fun.
And, as you get frustrated in your lessons, keep in mind that you
must always remember that FLYING IS FUN. When you note that you're
getting frustrated, remember that you're having fun. Right?
I can't seem to find my butt with both hands in my back pockets
and someone giving me hints as to what it is that I'm feeling. Every
once in a while, the needles remain motionless, and I marvel that
I ever have any problems flying an approach.
lies in mental preparation and what we call situational awareness
-- knowing where you are and what is happening around you. When
I find myself in difficulty in an approach, it is
usually because I didn't plan well enough for the approach or started
the procedure without thinking. Single pilot approaches without
benefit of EFIS is difficult. I don't envy you your
experience right now, because there's a lot to master and you're
learning without the equipment which makes it much, much easier.
What you're experiencing right now is about as difficult as it gets.
That's a reassurance, though. It WILL get easier with experience
and better equipment. (Especially when you can get into an airplane
equipped with an HSI and RMI.)
automatic -- no matter how many times you've shot an ILS to minimums.
I'm still working on fine-tuning my setup of the power and pitch
so that I'm not playing with the approach speed and glideslope
too much (ideally, at all).
So am I, so
am I. You will never -- repeat, never -- fly an approach where you
aren't adjusting power/pitch to maintain a glideslope. Even without
wind, a descent of 1000' results in
getting into warmer, more dense air -- which changes both airspeed
AND engine thrust. What you're hoping for is a physical impossibility,
woman. So, forget it.
I think when I get that nailed, it will be easier to concentrate
on the localizer.
SHOULD be on the AI -- no matter what. Try it. Fly the AI and make
whatever corrections on the AI (remembering that it lags a little,
particulary in older vacuum-driven gyro instruments typical in older
training airplanes) to correct for changes in and/or to maintain
the localizer and glideslope being centered. THAT'S why I suggested
to you to get into an airplane with an ADI and HSI. First of all,
those instruments are AC electric: very fast, very accurate. Secondly,
using an ADI/HSI, the localizer and glideslope are superimposed
on the AI -- thus your scan doesn't have to be divided elsewhere.
It's SOOOOOOOO much easier to use, woman.
An added PLUS
of having an ADI/HSI is that the airplane usually has an RMI --
which makes intercepts of bearings and radials much easier AND affords
you (with two RMI needles which can be interchanged for either VOR
or ADF) a backup for knowing exactly where you are at all times.
Too bad I can't demonmstrate this for you out. You'll have to come
out here and ride jumpseat with me on a flight so that I can demonstrate.
One other added
plus of having an ADI/HSI/RMI is that they are usually installed
in a high performance aircraft (a complex airplane). It's faster,
usually a lot more stable, and even though
things happen faster, you don't have to get vectored around so damned
much to stay out of the way of faster traffic. Less time being vectored
means more approaches -- which equates to more BANG for the BUCK.
the moment, however, my scan starts to scatter as I get closer
in on the ILS. Otherwise, I use the AI as a>centrepoint, and
radiate from there; I try to alter which>instruments get checked
more frequently depending on the>thing I'm trying to do and
the instruments that are primary for performance and control of
two schools of thought about flying (and teaching) precision approaches.
One says that the approach head (NDB or CDI) is your primary instrument
in any approach; the other, that the AI is primary in all cases.
The makers of modern avionics and instruments favor the latter over
the former -- hence, the G/S and course/runway bars for a VOR/ILS
approach are superimposed on the ADI (and repeated on the HSI) for
ease of approach navigation. Taken another step, with the glass
cockpit, the EADI and EHSI incorporate everything right in front
10 had a completely new avionics suite, the latest in everything
new in 1987. (If we'd had a new airframe, it would have been a Falcon
100 as we had the bigger engines, the ompletely
overhauled avionics, aircraft interior, etc, etc.)On
the EADI, you had the horizon with bank and pitch markers, course
bars, G/S bar, A/S, VSI; there was a heading indicator; a symbol
was provided for the VOR and NDB facilities as you got within a
certain range. We would see the "cone" for fan markers
(OM, MM, and IM). In the case of the ILS, two "plane"
bars were added (in magenta) to display your vertical and horizontal
guidance to the runway which corresponded to the G/S and localizer
-- eventually, the runway -- bars. (When you got within a certain
range, an airport symbol was added with the localizer bar/plane
guidance and closer yet, a runway bar was displayed which became
increasingly larger as you got closer and lower. Precision approaches
were very easy to fly.
Like I said,
the more complex the aircraft, the easier they are to fly -- especially
when it comes to approaches.An
option my company chose NOT to add was an electronic repeater of
weather information, though we could (and did) superimpose radar
returns on the EHSI. Today, the EADI and EHSI both display radar
weather echos AND TCAS TAs and CRs (traffic advisories and conflict
on the other hand, has nothing but steam gauges and a poor flight
director. I use the flight director almost religiously, but have
flown of late with nothing but raw data. (I cannot imagine having
to fly a precision approach using a separate CDI.)
your instrument training -- it's a step which will pay off handsomely.