Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Practicing holds

Yesterday I took one of my Barons out for some practice doing holds. I had it parked at Phoenix, and I went out to the Stanfield VOR (TFD) just southwest of Casa Grande.

At first I used the autopilot. With HDG and ALT modes enabled, it was easy and straightforward to fly the hold. Then I switched off HDG and steered by hand. The results were still good, although my holds were slightly shorter than the autopilot holds; I'm not sure why (I examined the route trace later in MSFS). But when I turned off ALT, I had problems. The path was still okay, but I was all over the place in altitude. I still need to work on that. I don't really see a reason to fly holds by hand if you have a good autopilot, but I just wanted to practice a bit to make sure I could. If I can manage to do it well in the Baron, I'll try it in the Cessna 182, which doesn't have an ALT hold to begin with, and thus requires more care in holds.