Scheduled for 8 AM and the weather was, if not perfect, at least acceptable.
Preflighted the Apache, started the engines, warmed ’em up…listened to the ASOS, chose the runway, taxiied….did the runup. Did a procedures briefing as to what happens during takeoff emergencies, which surprised the instructor, but I didn’t want there to be any question as to who was doing what if we actually lost an engine on takeoff or what the plan would be if we did.
Waited for an arriving aircraft to land and clear the runway, then pulled out, lined up, advanced the throttles and took off.
My first time in an Apache…..Not too bad of an airplane…..kinda heavy in the controls, even with trim…..and the trim is up on the ceiling, which takes some getting used to. You trim a LOT in this airplane… Flaps and power changes make a HUGE difference in the control feel, but again, trim.
Up with the gear, and turned crosswind. And, of course, the instructor did an engine failure. Not simulated either…..
The plan had been for me to fly a bit and get used to the aircraft then do some engine out drills…….but he changed the plan.
I did “The Drill” ….throttles, props, mixtures full forward, gear and flaps were already up, but I made sure….Identify, verify, and secure the dead engine/prop. Not a big deal, and the Apache flew fairly well with the left engine out. Having satisfied him that I knew what to do, we restarted the left engine and left the pattern.
Then I did some flying, dodging clouds, some steep turns, a couple of stalls just to get the feel for the aircraft, and we turned back to the airport to do an approach… Set it up in the 530, put on the foggles…. the instructor started playing ATC, giving me vectors. Got onto the GPS “Localizer” and….aaaand another engine failure…and another “Drill”….I did the approach to minimums, and then called missed and went around. Restarted the engine and we climbed into the pattern..
We flew away from the airport and then back in. Entered the pattern on the downwind, (Had to go wide ’cause I was a bit fast, and there was another (slower) single engine plane in front of us), turned base and set up for final… GUMPS and all that and my final was perfect….until it wasn’t. As the mains touched we floated and the nose dropped and I chose to apply power and go around. The instructor asked why I didn’t just pick up the nose and hold it to lose energy. I explained that I didn’t wanna cause “Pilot Induced Oscillation” (which can happen and causes quite a few accidents) and that I felt that Go Around was the better option. He thought that I should have held it off and landed but agreed that Go Around is always an option…..(Trust me, it is always an option, and often the best one)…besides, I was the PIC…my call.
We re-entered the pattern and I did a much better landing the next time, then taxiied back and took off and did one more GPS approach…Had no issues except getting my crosswind correction figured on the last 5 miles…but I got it handled and the last 2 or so mile approach was smooth. Never took the foggles off, but I did look up when he told me to at about 100 ft on short final and did a nice smooth crosswind landing.
Overall my skills haven’t deteriorated that much. The plane was unfamiliar to me, so that took some getting used to (I really miss my 340) but I can still fly a twin well, and I can still handle engine out emergencies reasonably well, even “unexpected” ones. I am confident that I can fly the 340 as soon as we get the final missing part from Ram.
All told it was a good morning.
So 1.8, 2 landing, 2 approaches and a go around.
Now if Ram Engines can pull their thumb out, and get us the parts and pieces they forgot to send with the engines, I can be flying in MY plane soon.