Cold at 7500 ft

So I am FINALLY getting it correct.

I can now (more or less) do a proper hold and (mostly) figure out the proper method of entry.

This has been my stumbling  block for a few moths: Flying a hold that looks something like the shape it should. Correcting for wind was just something that I could not do well.

VFR pilots have the ability to reference something on the ground to correct their flight path when it is windy….not so when IFR. Flying a hold (a more or less rectangular pattern referenced to a specific point) when one has no references except a couple of needles in a dial on your instrument panel was something that I simply could not Grok. I could fly a great hold (one that looks like a racetrack like the Indianapolis 500 track) in a no wind situation…that was easy…add in a brisk wind, and it became ugly (at least when I was flying).

Finally, after a fair bit of work, lots of frustration, lots of conflicting advice from other pilots and (did I mention?) a whole lot of frustration, it seems to have gelled for me.

Saturday, I and my instructor took off and flew on an instruction flight. There was a cloud layer (broken or worse) at 2400 feet, but we found a hole in the clouds and climbed VFR to the tops..about 6400 feet. Since we were flying in a northeasterly direction, we had to go higher..(Odd thousands plus 500 for VFR) and so 7500 it was…

The ground temp was about 74 degrees. At 7500, it was about 52 Fahrenheit. Cold for just a t-shirt. Had to actually open the heater vent to keep warm.

I did intersection holds three times along the way to the Keeler VOR (ELX), and then spent 30 minutes doing assorted holds at Keeler….this time with a layer of clouds under me. I finally seem to be getting the visualization of the geometry correct. (Finally!).

This was a great breakthrough for me. The rest of the tasks in IFR flying are actually pretty simple (for me, at least) The En-Route portion is pretty easy. Flying approaches to a runway?..cake. Filing a flight plan? child’s play. Flying on instruments alone? Easy-Peasy. Cross check of the instruments and instrument interpretation and cross check? As easy as walking on a level sidewalk…..

Soon, I will take my checkride…