Friday, July 9, 2010

Missed Approach Fix

With the explosion of RNAV approaches, which end at a "Missed Approach WayPoint", the phrase "Missed Approach Fix" has become deprecated. But yesterday's training flight brings to mind two new meanings.

Many of us think of flying as an addiction, and with my new medical certificate I have finally been able to get a "fix." Yesterday, another pilot-professor at my university and I rented a Cessna 172 and headed out for the proverbial $100 hamburgers. Actually, I chose the heart-healthier $100 turkey sandwich. Anyway, one of my great passions is instrument flight, and I needed a couple of approaches to stay current. Boy, I've sure missed my approach fix!

Training without a debrief is almost useless, so this morning I went over the approach plates to see how I'd done.

The hold at the marker and the ILS went pretty well: I blame the one-dot deviation at 400' AGL on wind shear [insert sheepish grin here]. Then I headed out for a VOR approach. I've posted the libretto to the left so you can follow along. I was a little rushed (after all, it was lunchtime and I was hungry), but intercepted the radial and flew the procedure turn as charted.

I consistently asked Dan to clear my turns. This is one of my markers for instrument proficiency and situational awareness: when a student warns me about an upcoming turn I know that she or he has enough mental capacity left over for some situational awareness. If the student is saturated, there will be no warning.

I called the tower procedure turn inbound, got established and descended to 4920' MSL way too early, so Dan got a nice view of the tree tops as we flew along. I figured that 3DME would make a good visual decent point (VDP), and things were a little busy so when I got there I took off the hood and landed.

Looking back, I completely ignored the AZAJI fix minimums! I had DME (actual DME, not a GPS!), so I could have descended to 4640' MSL! So while my approach was "legal", it wasn't efficient because I had missed a fix on the approach!

Two missed approach fixes on one flight, one positive, one negative. So the day was neutral, right? No: when I got out my log book I realized that I needed three approaches for currency.

That means I get to go flying again!

By the way, I have really learned a lot from the newsletter. It highlights changes and trends in procedures for aircraft with more advanced avionics.



At July 13, 2010 at 9:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for the newsletter tip, that's definitely useful.

Really glad to hear you're back in the sky...


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