ILS 17, 2 Holds, and a LOC 17 at TIW

I've been wanting to get my airplane IFR certified and myself IFR current again for awhile now. I think when Chad said he was going out for some practice approaches in his RV it finally got me motivated. Thanks a lot Chad! :)

I have a pretty long list of things to do in order to make this happen but that's ok.

The list at this point is...

1. Fix my VOR/LOC/GS antenna.
2. Get my plane IFR Certified (needs to be done every 2 years) This is completed by an avionics shop includes a Altimeter check, Pitot / Static check, and Transponder check.
3. Replace my Dynon heated PITOT/AOA tube. (They have a recall on them due to some problems found during icing contditions.) I'm definately not planning on flying in ice but I'm replacing it just in case.
4. Study and practice a lot. The Instrument rating is one of the toughest ratings. There is so much to know and remember and it's all very important.
5. Do an Intrument Proficiency Check. (IPC) This is essentially another check ride. Everything to do with instrument flying is covered both orally on the ground and flying the airplane. This is done by an examiner or CFII. Like I said, lot's of studying.

Well in just a couple weeks I'm off to a decent start. After several test flights I was pretty convinced my VOR/LOC/GS antenna wasn't putting out what it should. (I'd bought my antenna used while building the airplane to save some money.) Long story but to keep it simple lets just say both NAV radios shouldn't have any problem picking up an H class VOR within 40NM while below 14,500ft. Mine wouldn't. Since I was pretty confident in my wiring I thought I'd take the gamble and order a new antenna. (I had called the local avionics shop to see if they could test mine but never got a call back and said screw it, I'll order one.) The only problem is this isn't just an antenna, it's an aviation antenna. That really just means a lot more money. $305 to be exact. Well I was lucky enough to find a brand new one on Ebay from a guy in Auburn for $140. Not cheap but a lot better than full price. On Friday after work I got a chance to try it out and it works perfect. My reception is now awesome on both NAV radios.

Here is the used antenna I had installed years ago.

I fired up my old Flight Simulator X computer and have been shooting lots of approaches. That and I'm up to DVD #5 out of 7 on my King IFR training course. (Same one I used when I got my rating.)

Today I thought I would take to the skies and practice some real approaches in the RV. Since both me and the airplane are not IFR current, approaches can only be done VFR and are technically called "VFR Practice Approaches". Everything is essentially the same but you have to stay VFR at all times, and you won't receive an actual IFR clearance. I could wear a veiw limiting hood if I had a safety pilot but today I just wanted to run through everything to get my feet wet again.

Two kneeboards to hold everything.

I called Seattle Approach and requested vectors to the ILS 17, the published missed to the hold, and the LOC 17 approach. It all went great and I was excited how much easier it was with the avionics I have compared to the old stuff in the Cessna's I used to rent. I can't wait to give it a try with a safety pilot and a hood.

Something that has been looming in my mind over the last couple months is my upcoming 500 hour magneto IRAN. At 500 hours the magneto manufactures recommend an IRAN. (Inspect and Repair As Necessary) Pretty much pull that mags, send them in, and they'll check them out and make sure they're still up to snuff. Not cheap but you can't really put a price on good spark in an airplane.

Anyway I decided that 499.1 hours was close enough so I went ahead and pulled them. I will send them to Aircraft Magneto Service on Bainbridge Island and should have them back in a week.

Here are the mags. Early 1900's technology but they've never missed a beat.