I need to get IFR current again. I let 6 months go by without doing 6 approaches (actually, only did one). I wanted to fly to KAGC to pick up Laura on Friday, but I couldn’t because of a very thin looking broken layer at about 1500 feet – if I’d been IFR current I could have punched through that and been in VFR on top the whole way. This weekend was pretty clear, so I wanted to go up with a safety pilot and get current again. Saturday, I had to work. So it was Sunday or nothing. I had a brunch to go to earlier, so the plan was to get to the airport at around 1pm, and do some approaches with a safety pilot. My original plan was to do it with Jim, who wanted me to be his safety pilot as well, but he had to cancel. So I called another guy, Lance, who wanted to see what it was like to be a safety pilot. He was available.
When I got to the airport, I found the next problem: the plane I had booked, the Lance (yes, really) had a nose gear strut was almost completely flat. And even worse, the very slow leak of hydraulic fluid in the prop has turned into a veritable shower. There are red spatters all over the cowl, and a red streak covering most of the spinner. (Actually, I just this second got an email from a more experienced person who told me that the red oil is probably from the gear strut as well.) There is no way I wanted to be doing approaches in that. So Lance and I waited until one of the other pilots came back from their flight, which fortunately didn’t take too long.
Once we got into the air, I found the next problem: the breezy conditions made it quite turbulent, especially down low. I should have realized that this would be the case, but I’d put it out of my head. I went out to Geneseo VOR and did one turn around the hold – it was quite bumpy and hard to hold altitude and heading. There were two other planes doing holds there, one at 3,000 and one at 3,500, so I went to 4,000. It wasn’t any smoother up there. One turn was enough, and because of the bumps I decided to skip my usual non-precision approach to Le Roy or Canadiagua and go straight into the ILSes.
The first ILS went ok, except at about 300 feet above decision height there was a tremendous bump and suddenly the localizer needle went several dots off. I wasn’t at full deflection before DH, but it was bloody close. Getting vectored around for the second one, I was starting to feel airsick, so I told approach that I was going to make this one a full stop. Once again, I was right in the donuts until about 300 feet above DH, and it suddenly started going all wrong. At about 100 feet above DH I took off the foggles and landed uneventfully.
Now to figure out what to do with the Lance and its mystery oil leak.