Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mirror Image

The arrival of a large check brought my Accounts Receivable balance to zero, and flush with cash I set out to keep my instrument currency.  Instrument practice on a CAVU day requires a safety pilot, and so I started calling my flying friends.  Dale was eager to join me, so we made the arrangements.

Dale and I are among the most prolific contributors to our EAA chapter's newsletter, so I should have expected him to write a flight report. With his permission I present it below.

For me every moment is a teaching moment, and I recommend that you do what Dale and I did: Fly with a friend and read his or her report about your flying. It's good to get that kind of perspective on how you do it.

Oh, skip the 'teaching moment' stuff: It was a fun afternoon!

I went flying with Jim Wolper today as his safety pilot. This is a last minute deal and I have to rearrange some other commitments, but it works out to meet halfway at Blackfoot at 3:00. I arrive a little early when Jim calls to say the Cherokee Six won’t start, so he will have to fly the Archer, like a rich guy deciding what plane to fly today. I drop in on Richard Neves and chat with him and some of his students until I hear Jim announcing on the radio so I go to meet him. He is very cheerful to get some ‘flight therapy’ and eager to try his new GPS, programming it while we wait to take off. Jim gives a running narrative on his actions, probably from his background as an instructor. The sun is straight ahead and causes Jim problems with the glare and with his foggles. These are problems that don’t occur in real instrument conditions. The first approach is an ILS at PIH. Tower asks if he has the current information after he already told them we did in his first call. This is routine anymore. Is there a problem with the localizer and glide slope? The needles seem stuck in the middle. I accuse Jim of having done this before and he says the Archer is an easy instrument platform, but not as easy as a King Air. He elects to touch and go; the first time I have seen this done to finish an instrument approach. We fly nearly to American Falls and turn back in, making an approach that does not seem to be designed to be followed by a landing. Then back to U02 for a GPS approach. On the way Jim flies some VFR, and we divert under a small cloud to prove a point but the outcome is indecisive. We are set up for a straight in, but Jim decides to fly the pattern instead. Richard Neves waits for takeoff with a student while we go around. By now it is a little bumpy with a crosswind but Jim ‘chirps it on’ and we retire to the lounge for snacks and conversation. Richard comes back in the 150 and makes a good landing himself. After chatting with the new owners of the 150 we all get out of the wind in Richards’s hangar for some more hangar flying. I’m glad I was able to take part in this adventure.


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