Thursday, September 25, 2008

Getting Ready for a Stage Check

Husband and I have now scheduled for our IFR stage 2 check. We both need to fly with the same assistant chief from our flight school. We thought about scheduling a back-to-back stage check just as we've been doing for our training, but opted instead to schedule two separate appointments. I'm scheduled for tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, and Husband is scheduled for Saturday afternoon. However, given the weather predicted for the next few days, we may still have to double up (and we may not be able to do the check.

Our CFI tells us that the stage 2 check is typically done as a VFR flight with a few different approaches into OKV, a nearby airport, and a few steep turns and unusual attitudes thrown in for good measure. Given how the weather is predicted to be, it's possible we may not be able to fly VFR, but may be able to do the approaches IFR. While I'm not generally a fan of doing new things in the aircraft on a checkride of any kind (even just a stage check), it would be cool to get in a little actual instrument time-- and do an approach without having to use the foggles.

On the down side, this weather is screwing with my plans to get in my night flight tonight. I just hope it clears out before my scheduled long commercial cross country on Tuesday. I've worked out with my mom that I'll come down and see her for the night. I can fly down, do the required 250 nm leg (300nm total) and three landings, then spend the night with her and fly home the next morning. I get my flight in-- and get to have some fun, as well (I mean, outside of the flying! That's always fun!).

We've still been flying as much as possible-- and I flew a total of 6 times between last Friday and Tuesday. Twice, I did back to back flights-- commercial to instrument. I think I'm getting a little bit of a feel of what it's like to be an instructor-- it's fun, but I am exhausted afterward. Tuesday afternoon, I flew with our old instructor, M, to practice my commercial maneuvers. He hasn't been in a 172 in a while-- he's now flying for Wisconsin Air-- so he had fun being in a small plane again. He taught me several useful tricks while we flew-- and then we came back and did landings. I did one pretty decent softfield, and then four shortfields. The last was dead on. M did three landings-- and it was pretty funny watching him try and adjust his flare after flying in a big dog for a while.

After that flight, I got the plane refueled and relaxed a bit. Husband and CFI T met me about 45 minutes later and we went out for our stage check prep-- three approaches each plus unusual attitudes and steep turns. Husband flew first-- he's not as much of a night owl as I am, and I needed a little more time to rest up. By the time I climbed into the front seat for my turn, I was zonked! But I still did reasonably well. My approaches weren't dead on-- but they were definitely well within standards. Makes me confident that I'll do fine when I'm fully awake-- and that I'd do fine after a long cross country flight coming in on a real approach.

I'll be keeping a close eye on the weather, hoping for the best!


Matt said...

Just be smart with the weather ya know? As you know it's to be respected but you should be able to get the approaches in if the weather permits. Actual approaches are a great amount of fun! As for maneuvers, see if you can fly above the cloud layer and do VFR on top! All depends on what the tops will be and I know that we're slated to have some convective stuff here on the Island so you very well may have the same type of weather.

Head in the Clouds said...

Good point. I haven't yet seen if the convective stuff will stick around through tomorrow and Saturday or not. I've flown in actual-- but never on an approach.

Ron said...

Good luck with you IFR. Someday I will have to do that to. Like Matt said dont rush the weather.

Matt said...

Boy oh boy it is a blast to do an actual approach... It's one hell of an adrenaline rush when you see those lights!

Head in the Clouds said...

Unfortunately, no flying for me today. The Asst. Chief didn't want to do actual instrument approaches on a stage check... at least not down to such low ceilings and visibility. Plus- our plane was stuck at another airport after its 100 hr. The work is done, but the flight school was waiting for the ceiling to lift to go get it. Hopefully, Husband and I will do a joint check tomorrow afternoon.