R.B. Aviation

October 12, 2015 -- lost procedures

This flight went from K4M7 to KBWG and back again, with an inadvertent detour to the north side of Franklin, Kentucky. Skills practiced included VFR navigation by landmarks, VOR navigation, pattern entry, radio calls, and lost procedures.

     I began the flight on the ground with a VFR flight plan, using the current winds aloft data from KBNA for calculations. I did not compute the times for the legs because the entire flight should have taken just 9 minutes (although 12 seemed to be a better estimate, according to Foreflight). There were NOTAMS out stating that the KBWG VOR was unreliable.

I was  on the use of a climb speed above both Vx and Vy- or, more properly, a climb attitude. By keeping the top of the nose level with the horizon, a comfortable climb rate is achieved that lets the pilot see traffic better, provides more engine cooling, and results in the greatest total energy state of the airplane. That is, if you knew the engine were going to fail but wished to glide the farthest once it did, then this would be the airspeed and attitude combination to use.

     The pre-flight on the airplane involved the standard airframe and power plant checks, plus some organization of the cockpit. I managed to spill a few drops of oil, and the windshield had to be cleaned off because it was dirty. The nose wheel strut at first appeared slightly low, but it was actually just stuck that way, as it came back up again after some encouragement.

     I was given a pre-flight briefing before we left, and I started the engine at approximately 8:30 local time. After this, I checked the engine instruments and set the flight instruments to field elevation and the magnetic compass. I had some trouble with the avionics and radios, and so a few minutes on the ground were devoted to studying the airplane’s electrical systems. The headset I was wearing had noise canceling, which had to be turned on. Additionally, the aircraft radios needed to be switched to the headset instead of the speaker. I had entered the wrong frequency into the radio as well, and this was changed.

     Takeoff was on runway 24, as the wind was from the West. From the ramp, I taxied us down the taxiway , holding the ailerons into the wind. The radio call was “Russellville traffic, Cessna 4202Q taxiing to runway 24, Russellville traffic”, then, as we rolled onto the runway, “Russellville traffic, Cessna 4202Q taking the active runway, Russellville traffic” After performing the run up on the runway (during which I forgot to tell you to close the door), we took off and flew half of a left hand traffic pattern; climbing to 500ft AGL, then making a left turn, climbing another 500 ft, then making another left turn. The ground track for this half pattern was not great, as I neglected to hold right rudder to correct for the engine torque effects and the slight crosswind. As a result, I overshot the initial left turns and this put the airplane too close to the runway and about to cross it. We were also not climbing at a constant rate. I corrected and we continued to climb at about 80 knots to 3500 feet MSL. I had picked this altitude because it coincided with the VFR cruising altitudes rule, and because it was low enough to reach quickly and see landmarks from.

     We reached this altitude fairly quickly, as this was only about a thousand feet above pattern altitude at 4M7. The leg to Bowling Green’s unreliable VOR was only a few minutes, and I essentially stayed to the right of highway 68-80. (It should be noted that if you choose to follow roads, you should fly on the right side, should there be any other air traffic following it, too. 68-80 runs mostly West-East, is a four-lane road, and usually has fairly light traffic. )