So, with the completion of a Masters degree in a career field I’ve decided not to follow, the imminent summer holds many new and exciting plans, probably the most notable among them being getting back to flying, and working a full time gig to pay for said flying. That means a solo, potentially by late summer/early fall. So why not practice?
Flew Pru Airport to Sand Canyon, with the intentional flyover through Spokane, in Washington State this evening. Hopped on skyvector, plotted several visual checkpoints with the “GPS” option SV provides, reviewed the airspace floor and ceiling altitudes, terrain altitudes, etc. Applied what I’ve been trying to commit to memory with that Sporty StudyBuddy app (which every student MUST get… wow - best $10 ever spent!) with regards to minimum safe altitudes, airspace procedures, etc. Looked over the SV navlog with attention to True Course, Heading, and Magnetic Course and Heading. Considered each scenario and thought through the math required for each leg. Flew the route in the IF sim using ONLY visual references and the flight time with consistent crosschecks between ETE and ATE. Flew one inbound radial (026*) using the IF Instruments app to Spokane VOR, GEG, as one of my legs.
Anyway, enough of the play by play. The point is, if you’re a student pilot, especially one about to solo, and/or at least take the pre solo exam, this is some great stuff to do on IF in preparation for that exam. It gets you reading sectional charts, solving wind triangle problems, and working out magnetic deviations. It gives you your own scenarios to not only work out on an E6B, but actually APPLY those scenarios to a potentially real life situation where those calculations will REALLY matter big time. And it doesn’t cost a single dime, nor a risk to your life, to test out how well you planned your route. It also works as your own personal CFI in a way to show you what you could work on, as in my case, it was a failure to safely plan my descent over some very rugged terrain. Once again, it doesn’t cost a dime, nor a risk of life(s), to test out your planning skills!
I do mainly IFR on IF and VATSIM, but this was a nice change - an educational, welcomed and pleasant experience with some wonderful views to say the least!