IFR to Hoquiam

Since getting my IFR going again I've been filing IFR every chance I get. It's still a little tough this time of year to get actual IMC as most of the airways are high enough to have freezing temperatures. Since RV's and icing don't go together I stay out of the clouds that are below freezing. Today was nice day but there were no clouds, at least on my route.

Earlier this week on Monday I got my autopilot installed and took it for a spin. It is awesome! I have been waiting for the Gemini AP for months but it is still hasn't been released. I called them (TruTrak) last week and said "What the heck?" They said they were getting very close but it's still not ready. I asked if it would be possible for me to borrow a Vizion until the Gemini is released. (Same autopilot but no built in EFIS.) To my surprise they said "sure, we'll send you one". Well you can't beat that! Since the wiring and pitot static connections are identical I was able to install it in about a 1/2 hour. So far I'm very impressed with it! It will fly a heading, or fly the GPS flight plan and approaches with GPS steering. (it anticipates turns and cuts corners where applicable so it's nice and smooth) As far as pitch it will hold any altitude. You can also enter an altitude and the rate of climb or descent you want and it will climb or decend and level off at the altitude. It does all of this very well even in turbulance.

I have been perfectly happy without an autopilot (the RV is so fun to fly) but it will sure be nice especially for IFR.

Today the route I filed with ATC was KPLU COTNY CARRO ULESS KHQM at 4000ft. I called clearance delivery on the ground at Pierce and they cleared me "as filed, climb and maintain 3000, expect 4000 5 minutes after departure". About a minute after takeoff I turned on the autopilot and never touched the flight controls until I was on about a 1 mile final for runway 24 at Hoquiam. (Although I wasn't flying the airplane there is still a fair amount of buttonology.) Not long after takeoff Seattle Approach ammended my flight plan and ended up giving me radar vectors to join V27 just a little west of CARRO then continue as filed.

Here's a pic of the airplane flying itself via GPSS (GPS Steering) on the airway between CARRO and ULESS. Funny I've been flying this plane for 4 years and in less than a week the autopilot can fly it better than me. It is very precise.

Before I got to ULESS ATC cleared me for the GPS RWY 24 approach into Hoquiam.

Here is the Foreflight recording of the flight.

And here is the Flightaware log. It is slightly incomplete because it doesn't record when your are not in radar coverage. The ending is right about where Seattle Center called me and said "Radar contact lost, radar services terminated".

Flew home VFR and snapped a couple of pictures.