Currency (with some photos)

So Aaron needed an approach or two for his currency, and I did also.  It was supposed to be clear on Saturday…..Good for IFR practice under the foggles. Plus an excuse to fly and see my friend and have lunch….

The weather forecast the day before said clear, the reality was not so much. No storms, but definitely NOT clear. Not an issue for an IFR pilot in a well equipped plane, however.

I flew to KPTK and met him at the FBO. The flight up was pretty nice.

Pulled the 340 out of the hangar about 7:40 local, having gotten a briefing on the way to the airport. Filed for takeoff at 8:00 am central. Fired up at 10 til, listened to the ATIS, taxiied, did the runup, called clearance, got the clearance (“As Filed”, 3000 then ten  thousand in 10 minutes, departure frequency and squawk code. runway heading …”hold for release, say departure runway”)

Did a runup, taxiied to the line, called clearance again for my IFR release, I held and then was released by ATC, switched to the CTAF frequency, waited for a landing plane on short final on another, crossing, runway, then departed. Wheels up at 8:07

Climbed to 3000 called departure, got cleared “on course” . They climbed me to 5000, then 7, then 9, then 13,000. Was IFR until about 8000 ft then clear above that. (No photos of the climb out in IMC, I was busy. Aviate, navigate, communicate, then photos) It was a beautiful view up on top.

looking north-ish at about 10,000 ft

like it was paved of clouds at 8,000 or so feet…. taken from 13,000 ft

On course, no deviations, all the way to Pontiac.  The 340 was performing really well. Moist air and fairly cool temps make the TSIO 520 engines happy…I got a solid 205 knot cruise at 13,000 feet. ATC started me down a bit later than I would have liked, but all doable in the 340 (Still wish I had speed brakes though). Got the weather and it was IFR all the way down, so asked for and got the RNAV27L approach , Cleared to the initial fix “KUHNA” crossed at an assigned 4000 ft then once on the approach was cleared to the proper altitude of 3000 ft, did the turn, lined up for the Final Approach Fix (FAVLI)  descended and broke out of the clouds about 2.5 miles out at about 500 ft…. on glide slope, on the localizer, and on speed…… nice when it works out, (but that’s why we practice). Landed with a slight crosswind, rolled out past the taxiway they wanted me to turn at (wasn’t gonna burn up my brakes or slide the tires), turned off the runway, taxiied to the FBO.

Aaron met me there, We secured the 340 and then drove to his hangar (The most dangerous part ws the driving as the drivers in Pontiac are, apparently blind as well as foolish…running red lights and all ,,,good thing Aaron has good reflexes…)  where he had already prefilghted his plane. Pulled his plane out of the hangar, fired up, he had already filed as I was landing….and away we went to Troy. He did the RNAV 10 circling 28 approach to minimums. Went back to KPTK in and out of IMC, then he did the Rnav 27 there twice, once to minimums and once to landing. I believe I will let him tell that part of the story, except to say that I never screamed and only covered my eyes once….(Nah, he did a great job good control coordinated turns, held altitudes and course. Great job.)

Taxiied his plane to the hangar, fueled up and cleaned the plane, then put it away and went back to the 340. Did a quick preflight, and away we went for MY currency.

Did much the same thing, only we went to Flint, as it is just a bit farther away…and at my minimum speed it was a bit easier to get all set up before starting the descent and approach….I mean, you gotta take off, contact approach, get up to the assigned altitude on the heading, get the ATIS at your destination, ask ATC for an approach, navigate to the fix (or follow the vectors they give you (which is what happened in my case) at the altitudes they give you, then fly the approach. It takes time and all of that is happening at about 150MPH. Busy when the airports are close together…..I did the Rnav 27 to minimums twice at Flint, mostly in IMC but under the foggles anyway, once letting the autopilot do the localizer, once doing it manually (I gotta do the glideslope, as the autopilot doesn’t do vertical), went missed approach twice, followed the vectors assigned by ATC, then returned to KPTK for another Rnav approach to 27L for a full stop.

So 4 Rnavs and about 1.9 actual IFR for the flight to Flint and the flight to PTK and the approaches plus a procedure turn/hold.  Parked at the FBO, arranged for fueling, left for a bite to eat at a really nice (but skeevy-looking) “Mexican” restaurant. The food and service was good though. Aaron bought lunch and we talked for about an hour and a half, then he had stuff to do and I had to return home.

Went back to the FBO, paid the fuel bill, Filed a flight plan, did a preflight, started up, called for clearance. Got my clearance, called ground…, taxiied,  did a runup, pulled to the line, called tower, got takeoff clearance, took off, climbed out, called Detroit departure, then got handed off to Great Lakes while in the climb, then leveled out. About halfway home I was asked to see if I could hear an ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter, 121.5)), but no joy…other aircraft could hear it, but not me from where I was, so it must have been to the north of my flight path. (They make a distinct warble) . (That’s the second time I have been asked to do that, I guess they go off more often that I thought). The climb was in and out of IMC, into a cloud, through the cloud, back into the clear, then repeat, until about 9000 feet,

In and out of IMC in the climb


then intermittent IMC until about Three Rivers, then it cleared into “Scattered” all the way down.

Fluffy, but there is turbulence in each one of them

Got cleared from 10,000 ft down to 5,000 ft in a nice 500 FPM descent, easy on the ears., then a nice pleasant vectored descent to the airport. Got lined up for the RNAV, but by then it was clear enough that I cancelled early and just landed visually.

on the descent somewhere over, I think, Chesterton, Indiana (ish) looking south from about 5000 ft

All in all, a good day, nearly three and a half hours of flying, a good lunch (and some flying) with a friend, and I am now current IFR wise.

There are worse ways to spend my day, I gotta tell ya.

**IMC=”Instrument Meteorological Conditions” Clouds, fog, etc. You have no horizon reference.

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