Sunday, March 21, 2010

Las Vegas - San Diego / Cessna Citation X (N7446G) / IFR

[Note: Lately I've been so remiss on logging my flights that I've thought that perhaps I should just log flights that are unusual in some way. — AA]

This flight was a return flight to San Diego after I took some virtual relatives to Sin City yesterday. It was mostly routine, but there were a few interesting details.

I had trouble getting VNAV to respect the altitude constraints in the route again. In particular, it didn't want to climb after reaching the 7000 constraint on the BOACH2 departure. I had overshot 7000 in V/S mode, which may have played a part in this. I finally got it to start climbing again and reached my cruise altitude more or less on schedule.

Things went well after that, and I didn't really have any problem until my approach. I knew that visibility was very poor in San Diego (about ¼ mile in fog at times), but I was still careless on my approach to runway 27. The approach is localizer-only, so it was up to me to manage my descent, but I tried to improvise rather than calculate the proper rate of descent and my descent was uneven. Worse yet, however, I shut off the A/P and attempted to fly in by hand without following the localizer needle. Part of this is a problem with the aircraft, though, as there's no easy way in the Eaglesoft Citation X to look at the instruments and look outside at the same time—unlike many vendors, Eaglesoft doesn't provide pop-up instruments. With the limited visibility of the sim, it's very handy to have an unobstructed VC view of the outside with just a pop-up PFD so you can follow the needles and keep track of essentials. I tried to switch back and forth between 2D cockpit with the instrument display and VC with just the outside world (I don't use the VC cockpit instruments), and it didn't work very well. I wish Eaglesoft would set up pop-up instruments.

I was way misaligned with the runway when I finally made visual contact, but I managed to scoot back over and landed very smoothly, although I landed long and needed almost the whole runway to stop. From there I went back to Landmark and parked.