Friday, August 01, 2014

Another update from Erin, GWW Advanced Training Scholarship Winner!

This is the third journal entry provided to us by Erin DeYoung, who was selected for an Advanced Training Scholarship within The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of an Advanced Rating or Certificate such as instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, flight instructor certificate, instrument flight instructor certificate, multi-engine rating or multi-engine flight instructor certificate. This new scholarship award is in the amount of $1000, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Erin's application essay is published here her first update here and her second update here.

Girls With Wings Blog #3 

Clouds are amazing! They are also very dangerous and slightly terrifying, but they are exhilarating. Earlier this month I had the opportunity to shoot my first set of approaches in actual IMC (instrument meteorological conditions—a.k.a clouds). This means instead of being under the foggles simulating IMC, I would actually be in the clouds. Pilots learn about the dangers of flying unprepared into IMC from the very beginning of their training (flying untrained into IMC is one of the most perilous situations for any pilot), and, because of this, it is also a necessary part of Instrument training. 

I’d flown in the clouds on a few other occasions, but we always kept the maneuvers basic—track a radial, gentle climbs and descents, etc. This time I would be taking on some of the most precise flying I’m asked to do (approaches, holds, etc.) and putting them in the clouds. Also, just in case I wasn’t making things difficult enough, I’d decided to take one of the PA-28s that doesn’t have a GPS. Lately, I’ve discovered I have a tendency to rely on my Garmin 530; it’s a beautiful piece of equipment, but I’ve always prided myself on my ability to navigate without a GPS. However, I have fallen into the trap of becoming a “magenta line pilot” simply because it is so easy. When I’m feeling overloaded briefing approaches, finding my holding fix, running the 5T’s, and communicating—I can just look over at the magenta line and know how to get back on course. That said, just because something is easy that doesn’t mean that’s how it should be done. So, I’ve spent the last several weeks refusing to use it for anything other than an RNAV approach. When I went up in the clouds it was another attempt in forcing myself to use all the other navigational aids at my disposal, and it was beautiful. 

I didn’t necessarily fly as well as I would have liked, and there’s definitely some room for improvement, but I didn’t miss my GPS. I’ve tried to attach a video from one of my approaches—an ILS into Dover AFB. One of my favorite things about flying an approach to Dover is the low minimums (200 ft)! The downside: you can only land if you fly an approved airplane—otherwise you have to go missed. I was flying in an airplane from a different flying school, so I hit 200 ft and went missed. You can see that I sit left of course, and I don’t do too much to fix it (one of the things I need to work on). You can also see the ceiling is about 700 ft (although I prided myself on not searching for the field until I hit minimums). I shot this particular ILS twice, and then I flew a VOR approach back home. On the whole, it was a fantastic experience. I really can’t wait to log some more actual time—I think I might be the only pilot at the flight school hoping for “bad” weather! 

A few more updates: Two weeks of my aviation summer camp are done! I’ve only had a handful of girls (3 to be exact), but I think the boys are really benefiting from seeing a female both as their camp leader and as a pilot. It takes them a few days to figure out I really do know what I’m doing, but the looks on their faces make it worthwhile. I know I’m having a great time encouraging all these kids to keep working towards becoming pilots (or getting active in aviation). I absolutely love being able to pay it forward. 

Lastly, I’m in the last phase of my Instrument training! I have two cross countries, an end of course check, and then it’s my checkride! I can’t believe I’m almost at the end already; however, it’s been an absolutely beautiful summer full of flying.

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