Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chaos in the Pattern

It was early in the morning (or late at night) the sun had net yet come up when I left my house for lesson number 8 in my IFR training, all I wanted was to get through the lesson checking off all the required tasks whichout much unnecessary excitement. In the beginning it appeared the would be the case, engine start was normal and we were ready to taxi, Ground Control asked us to give way to a Learjet 31, N29SR to pass east-bound on Taxiway Alpha on an early morning run to Chicago. All was going well.

The lesson was progressing without incident. No abnormalities were found during the run-up and we was cleared for takeoff on the calm wind runway, RWY 28. I demonstrated tracking the Runway 10 LOC (Localizer) outbound with reverse sensing. My proficiency with constant rate / speed climbs, turns, descents and any combination thereof was examined. Not the easiest thing in an airplane without an Attitude Indicator (AI), remember it failed on September 11th 2012 and has not yet been fixed. It has been placarded (photo below), however when the instrument is still visible it still creeps into your scan. Here's a tip I discovered mid-flight: completely cover the failed instrument, in my case I used a folded piece of paper. 

Another tip that seems to work fairly well (thanks Amanda) is for every 100 foot  per minute climb start by adding 100 RPM and for decent decrease the same and adjust from there.

Next we tracked to the VOR and flew outbound on the 253 degree radial to set up for an extended final over the beaver river which would normally have culminated in a uneventful landing back on runway 28, the same runway we had departed barely an hour before. This all was transformed by a certain lapse of awareness into "Chaos in the Pattern".

The chaos began when we were sequenced to turn final at the river, a Diamond in the pattern requests that the Local Controller advise him when to turn Base Leg to which the controller obliges. However the pilot doesn't respond when the controller calls him back. 

It sounded like 3 or 4 airplanes were involved in the mess. Thankfully no paint was scratched and we landed uneventfully. Even with a watchful eye in the sky you must be super vigilant and know your surroundings. Never underestimate the value of knowing where all the traffic is. 

Tailwinds and blue skies.

Stay safe and have a great flight. 

The video: Chaos in the Pattern

Failed Attitude Indicator N266ND