Some Actual IMC

Today I finally got to fly the RV in the clouds! Looking at the Area Forecast this morning it looked like the it looked like most of the local airports would be MVFR. (Ceilings 1000 to 3000ft) with the tops of the clouds around 7000. Perfect!

I met Harry for breakfast and then headed to the airport about 9am. Unfortunately it was raining when I got there so I waited awhile. I ended up filing for an 11:35am departure. Since there was still some rain showing on the radar up North, I decided to head South to Centralia.

I received my clearance on the ground and was cleared "As Filed" at 4000ft. I took off on runway 16 and circled around to the North to pick up my initial West bound leg. I ended up going into the clouds at about 1500ft MSL. Woohoo! It didn't last all that long and I soon popped out on top just before reaching 4000ft. Still cool though, I love flying just above the clouds.

Over the Olmpia VOR I started the GPS approach procedure for runway 16 at Chehalis.

Then at RELTE I started my decent to 2000. It was't long and I was back in the clouds.

Just breaking out...

After a low approach ATC cleared me "As Filed" back to Pierce county. Shortly after that they had me proceed direct to ARWEL and cleared me for the GPS 34 approach. Pretty much the same deal on the way back, I climbed through the clouds and ended up on top for the flight home.

Then back into the clouds for the approach...

Then out the bottom.

As soon as I landed back at Thun I had already decided I wanted to do this some more. I took a break and looked at the weather again. Still pretty showery up North so this time I decided to fly West to Shelton.

At 1:40P I was off again. I thought my clearance was a little odd because they cleared me "As Filed" at 4000ft but gave me a 220 heading to fly after takeoff. After takeoff I turned to 220 and checked in with departure. I asked him if he wanted me to fly my filed route or if he was going to give me vectors? He said he would give me vectors and soon cleared me direct to OYRED, one of the IAF's for the GPS 23 approach at shelton. He also ammended my altitude and had me maintain 3000. This time I went into the clouds around 2000ft and stayed in at 3000 for a good 10 minutes or so.

With still a ways to go they went ahead and cleared me for the approach. Not long after that they called me back and said they needed to cancel my clearance because the published missed approach would create a traffic conflict. He asked me if I wanted him to vector me around awhile or if I'd like to hold at OYRED? Since I was back in the clouds I chose to hold to get some practice. He said ok and said I could expect a further clearance in a half an hour. What a half hour of holding? Well not exactly but that's how long I would need to hold if I lost radio communication and never talked to him again. I did hold for like 15 minutes though and then ATC asked me if I knew the Shelton Departue Procudure. I said "Well I know the published missed but I'd need to look up the Departure Procedure." He said he could get me in if I knew the DP but I'd have to hold longer if I flew the published missed. He offered to read me the DP and I wrote it down and read it back to him. OK now he cleared me for the approach and instructed me to fly the DP. Cool. Well the autopilot just payed for itself for sure. It would have been tough to do all that while hand flying holds in actual IMC.

The approach went great and I broke out around 1100ft.

After a low approach and the DP he cleared me direct to ARWEL at 4000ft for the approach back into Pierce County. I was on top for awhile but went back in the clouds before flying the procedure turn and the approach. I broke out about 2000 ft and did a circle to land on runway 16.

Here is a video of some of the flight to Shelton. My 4 gig card didn't record as long as I thought it would.

Wow what a great first day of flying in the clouds. As usual I learned a lot.