Today I flew up to Oshawa. It’s not a long flight – almost not worth it, really, but I haven’t flown in months and I figured I needed the practice – especially since there is a nice overcast layer at about 1000 feet AGL and the freezing level is still up over 10,000 feet, so I could get some IMC time without worrying about ice.
Next weekend I’m hoping to fly Vicki to Barnes MA, so it would be good to knock the rust off without her in the plane.
It’s a good thing I did, too, because as soon as I got into the clouds, I found that I couldn’t take my attention off the panel for even a second without ending up way off course. Even a simple frequency change or copying down a altitude restriction and I’d be in a thirty degree bank. Bad. Not dangerous, but bad practice and not conducive to passengere comfort. After a few minutes, I settled down and didn’t have the wild deviations, but I still wasn’t what I’d call proficient. And soon after that, I was on top, out in the brilliant sunshine which we haven’t seen on the ground for a week.
On the other side of the lake, I was being vectored for the LOC/DME RWY 12 at Oshawa, and there was a solid layer between 1200 and 2000 AGL (and a MDA of 960), so it was a real loggable approach. I was only 2 DME outside the FAF and the controller said “turn right 030 for the base leg”. I turned, and almost immediately blew right through the localizer. I asked if he’d meant me to intercept, and he turned me to 150 and gave me a proper approach clearance. But by the time I intercepted, I was right at the FAF and I had to start down before I got stabilized. It was not a pretty approach going between three dots left and three dots right, but it got me to a point where I could see the runway (and the VASI was all white), so I landed uneventfully.
I really need to get out and practice approaches in real IMC. Practicing in foggles just doesn’t seem to do it for me.