Friday, June 26, 2009

Phoenix - Los Angeles / Beechcraft Baron 58 (N3862S) / IFR

This two-hour flight went fine most of the way, but I messed up badly once in SoCal.

The route was V16 almost the whole way. Up to 6000 to start, then later on, up to 8000. I had filed V16 all the way to PDZ in SoCal, but the last legs between PSP and PDZ would have taken me to at least 14,000 feet, and I didn't want to gulp oxygen for half an hour (nor did my virtual passengers). So I asked ATC to amend the flight plan to take V388 between PSP and PDZ, which crosses DEWAY and has a MEA of 9500 instead. That was approved, so I was able to limit my altitude to 10,000 at most during the trip. I was brought back down to 5000 after ACINS, in part due to my request.

Things got messy when it came time to do the approach. I was told way in advance that I'd get 25L, so no problem there. But somehow, when it finally game time to capture that localizer, I just didn't manage. I got the AP modes screwed up or something, and I actually managed to blow through the localizer twice. I could sense ATC's patience wearing thin, and I was at first cleared for a visual approach (translation: the controller was worried that I'd never get my act together for the ILS), but the weather had just deteriorated, so I was sent back onto the ILS. This time, I managed to line up partially by hand, and then I got all thes modes right on the AP and got fully established. The rest of the approach was fine. A couple miles out I turned off the automation and landed by hand, a tad low but still very smooth.

I taxied over to Mercury Aviation and parked, fuming over the poor approach I had made. I guess I need to stay more current.