Monday, April 27, 2009

Flying in the Clouds

Flight Date: 19 April 2008

Equipment: Mooney Acclaim Type S
WX: wind 370@8 ; Ceiling 1000ft ; Temp 45 F

Flight Rules: IFR
Airports: Flying Cloud ; Crystal

I took a ride in the clouds with my potential CFI. I have been speaking with him about flight training. I had desired an in person meeting so that we could ensure it was a a good fit. He offered to take me for a quick ride in a plane that he needed to move from Flying Cloud airport to Crystal.

We took off from runway 36 with a departure of 300 degrees. The conditions where IFR and being that he has all the proper training this was not an issue. Although it was a little rainy and cloudy the winds where relatively calm- the flight was very smooth.

Being that this was not a trainer airplane it was not appropriate for me to fly it as if it where a lesson. However, I did learn quite a lot and was able to do a few tasks. As an example, I called the tower for our take off clearance- my first call to the tower!

We took off and fairly quickly we where in the clouds. My instructor told be that in these conditions it is important to keep your attention "mostly inside the plane" on the instruments. From then on, he worked the radio and since this was a pretty quick flight there was a lot of action. We transitioned from Flying Cloud tower to Minneapolis departure to Minneapolis arrival and then Crystal Tower. ATC fed us the vectors and I watched as my instructor entered the vectors and altitudes into the Garmin G1000.

I was pretty amazed at all the information that is at your fingertips with the G1000. I learned a great deal by watching him fly. I also gained a new respect for all that it takes to fly in these conditions and I also must admit It motivated me a little stretch my goal to an instrument rating.
After about 15-20 minutes in the air we started our final approach. My instructor showed me how the glides slope dislpays on the G1000 as we where lining up on the final approach line. Before long we descended below the clouds and we could easily see the airport, and Minneapolis, directly ahead of us. We circled the field and landed on runway 32 R.

This was another great experience in a "small" aircraft, although this plane was a little upscale from the Cessna 172 and the Diamond DA20. It proved to be a motivating and valuable experience and once again illustrated the importance of a good instructor.

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