Back to the Skies
Today was the first flight I've taken since Mark passed away. It was a bittersweet moment, to be sure. He loved 2TB, thought it was the ideal platform for the missions that we had defined for ourselves. It will not be the same not having him sitting in the seat next to me, chiding me for not leaning the way he did, not navigating the way he did, and generally for not being him! :-)
However, I had to take to the skies because I needed 3 instrument approaches to remain current. So, I enlisted a brave CFI, DC, and we blasted off into skies that were reported SCT to OVC between 1300 to 1500. Perfect - low enough to do the approaches in actual, but reasonably high enough that we'd be able to return to the Home Base, which is VFR only.
I filed a flight plan just in case. Always strange to have departure and landing points be the same, and you've really got to finagle the AOPA Flight Planner to let you file something like that. I ended up using just a local intersection as an intermediate waypoint and put into the remarks section, "Requesting multiple instrument approaches."
Takeoff was a non-issue, and we remained VFR while contacting Akron Approach. We got the approaches we asked for: ILS 1 @ CAK, LOC 25 @ AKR, and GPS 2 @ 3G3.
When it was all said and done, about 1.5 hours later, I had 1.2 hours of actual, .2 hours of simulated instrument, and a great deal more confidence. While I used the autopilot for a lot of the vectoring and maneuvering, I hand flew the actual approaches, keeping things mostly within PTS.
The only hiccups were that I had a bit of trouble getting the Garmin 480 to understand that after AKR, I wanted to proceed direct DALTS and then turn inbound to execute the approach. Apparently, a bit more time with the GNS 480 manual and quick reference book are in order. The other hiccup was a 100 foot altitude excursion that I'm blame entirely on the autopilot. I put it into ALT mode at 2600', but it descended to 2500' and held that.
All in all, a good workout and confidence builder. Sorry, no pictures -- too busy flying!