Today I had a different instructor, Roger, who briefed me on the next stage of the training. This would reinforce what I’d learnt so far, develop the ADF tracking and try other types of instrument approach (which should be available today because it was not the weekend or holiday period).
Roger marked the paper I had sat the previous day and was pleased to report I had passed. Since the club rules prevent taking the practical test before passing the theory, that’s one hurdle out of the way.
ADF Tracking and an SRA
Roger asked me when I had last used a Whizz Wheel, to which I replied “yesterday during the test”. I calculated the effects of the wind aloft and so what course to steer (and what the ADF should show). The plan was to intercept an NDB radial and then track it, taking into account the wind.
After take-off, I put on the foggles and steered the course set. We hadn’t left the zone when we turned on to the intercept course, so talked to the Zone controller to request and gain permission. Continuing the climb, we intercepted the radial and tracked it. During this, my adjustments and trim were a bit jerky – instead I should be making small but discrete movements and looking for their response. I can relate this to steering a boat, where its easy to make too many movements on the rudder instead of a few carefully calibrated ones.
We then did some timed turns on the partial panel, reinforcing what we’d done the previous day.
An SRA is where the controller talks you down, tells you which direction to go in and what your height should be, but doesn’t tell you what your glideslope is (or should be). The controller decides what direction you should take, the pilot decides what the glideslope/descent rate should be. I expected this to be quite straightforward, but it isn’t. There’s a lot of other activity to do as well – FREDA checks, cockpit checks before landing, changing frequencies etc.
More ADF tracking, and recovery from unusual attitudes – on partial panel
The second session of the day involved another ADF tracking task, again with pre-calculated headings.
We then tried out recovery of unusual attitudes with the AI/DI not working. Roger first demonstrated this, using the turn co-ordinator and ASI to determine if we were diving (and getting faster) or stalling (and getting slower). Depending on which one, you open or close the throttle/level the wings/pull or push the yoke.
We tried this with me closing my eyes while Roger put it into a dive, from which I recovered. OK, I got to open my eyes to do that bit.
On the return, we asked for a got a PAR. This is slightly different from an SRA, because the talkdown controller can see both glideslope and azimuth, and provides frequent updates on whether either are wrong and issues detailed instructions on what correction is required. This was down to as small as 2 degree changes left or right to keep on track, as well as slight changes to our descent rate. Roger handled the radio side of things while I concentrated on the flying.
As we got close, the foggles came off, the runway magically appeared, and we landed, taxiing quickly to vacate and avoid holding up other traffic.