IMC Test Attempt 1

After a bit of frustration due to the Volcanic Ash around the UK, finally got to take the IMC Flight Test today. Was trying to arrange it with Graham but due to other commitments he was unable to make it. He managed to arrange for Roger to fly with me though.

Arrived at the Club in good time, and Roger gave me a quick brief about the flight before he went off with a student for another flight. I spent the time making sure I had all the plates I needed, and all the required frequencies on the plog. Roger had surprised me by asking for an ‘Alpha’ departure (I’d never done an instrument departure before!) but when I checked the plates it turns out that this is just a climb out on runway heading until 1600 feet QFE. Not too taxing!

After a good departure, I turned and intercepted the required track (220 radial from the LA NDB) and we headed out of the Zone. Ran into a small problem initially when we weren’t asked to report the Zone boundary so I didn’t know when we left the Zone. I made a quick guess based on the DME before setting QNH instead of QFE, probably a bit later than I should have done!

Roger had me climb up to 5000 feet, and we downgraded our Traffic Service to a Basic Service as he had good visibility. I had questioned this during the briefing and was a little surprised that he wanted a Traffic Service as it would likely result in a large volume of radio traffic.

My work on full panel was pretty good, I wasn’t having too much trouble holding height (my usual problem!) and all the turns onto specified headings went relatively well. Roger put me into some unusual attitudes, and I was slightly surprised that he had me close my eyes, as I didn’t think the test required this. Anyway, I managed some good recoveries and he seemed happy with how the flight had gone thus far.

We moved onto the limited panel work (without an Attitude Indicator or DI), and again this generally went well. Some of the turns onto heading went a little awry, I’m not 100% sure why, but I managed to regain the required heading relatively quickly which while wasn’t ideal, at least appeared to satisfy Roger. After the flight Roger gave me the tip to always take a pause before turning to ensure that the compass reading was correct (if you aren’t in straight and level flight the compass won’t read accurately).

Again Roger put me in some unusual attitude. Once again these were eyes closed, and Roger even adjusted the elevator trim on one. Still, I managed to recover well despite probably doing more than I strictly needed to!

Around this time Roger had me fix our position. I used the Compton VOR and the LA NDB. Roger didn’t comment on how accurate my fix was, but he announced he was happy so it can’t have been too far out.

Now it was time to track back to Lyneham for the approach part of the flight. The inbound track to the NDB went well, as I maintained the same track to the beacon. From there though, it all started to go a little wrong.

The outbound track from the from the NDB calls for a track of 088. Today, the 2000 foot wind was virtually from the South at about 20 knots, meaning this was almost a 90 degree crosswind for this leg. I made things trickier for myself by beginning a descent from 2600 feet on this leg, before quickly realising that this descent shouldn’t begin until the end of the leg. Roger said he was pleased I’d realised that in time! This distraction meant that I suddenly wasn’t on the correct track any more, so I made a good correction to regain track. However, I failed to make an appropriate correction for the rest of the leg and we continued to drift to the North.

I made the turn to intercept the localiser, but almost as soon as I’d levelled off the localiser needle was moving, so I had to make the turn to intercept. This should have been a clue as to the strength of the wind (not only had I been pushed North on the outbound leg, but also the base leg had been with a strong tailwind, meaning it took a lot less time than usual).

I just about managed to capture the localiser inside the limit (although I did overbank a little to do this) and again failed to correct for the southerly wind. As a result, we continued down the localiser right on the limit of half scale deflection of the localiser needle.

Roger asked me to try it again, and he positioned us for another ILS. He told me to use the time to plan the approach, and I failed to take the hint and correctly calculate an appropriate correction angle. As a result, although the second ILS was better, Roger still had to give me a number of pointers on the way down.

Once we reached 500 feet, Roger had me carry out a bad weather circuit to land. Somewhat flustered now by my two poor attempts at the ILS, I somehow managed to convince myself that instead of doing a single circuit to land on runway 24 (the runway the ILS leads on to) we were actually doing a circle to land on 06 (as I had done on all of my training flights due to the unusual easterly winds that week). As a result, my circuits was completely inappropriate. I ended up calling ‘Downwind’ and Roger had to tell the Controller to disregard it, as we were actually about to turn Crosswind. At this point, it became obvious the mistake I had made.

A Chinook was on an approach to a low level go around, so we had to orbit to the South of the field. At one point Roger took over and put us into a very steep turn to avoid annoying the locals by overflying their village at 500 feet. As we continued the approach, I at least felt I’d made a good crosswind landing given the conditions.

Roger took over and taxyed back, and announce what should have been obvious to me by now: ‘Sorry mate, I can’t pass you on that’.

Flight Track

Flight Track

We headed back into the Club and debriefed. Roger gave me a few tips to hopefully make things go a little easier on my next attempt and I left the Club feeling a little dejected about the whole thing. Of all the things I had been concerned about for the flight, the ILS had been the least of them and I had made a complete hash of it.

Hopefully I’ll be able to take the test again soon and make a better job of it next time.

Total flight time today: 1:30
Total flight time to date: 126:10

2 Responses to “IMC Test Attempt 1”

  1. IMC Renewal « Andy's Blog Says:

    […] 25 seconds, began the turn and set the watch. This had been a fairly weak area of mine on the two earlier IMC tests I’d undertaken, but today things went well and as I rolled out after the required […]

  2. Resetting and revalidating | Andy's Blog Says:

    […] procedure I began to take over more of the duties. Mindful of my apparent lack of preparation on my initial IMC test with Roger, I had taken the time beforehand to write out the various minima, descent rates etc. on a sheet of […]

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