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IFR training flight #8

Posted by sledghammer

I had my eighth instrument training flight lesson today. (If you don't know what that is, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrument_rating). The training itself is a blast, and I'm getting the hang of it pretty well only 12 of ~40 hours in. Today we took advantage of the crappy bay area weather with a flight from Concord (KCCR) to Modesto (MOD) and back:

Route: KCCR Buchanan9 departure, PITTS transition, V108, LODDI, direct MOD (modesto).
Altitude: 4000 expect 5000 10 minutes after departure.
Buchanan field to Modesto
The departure procedure (Buchanan9 departure, PITTS transition) is just there to make communication quicker. It standardizes departures from Concord so that the controllers don't have to give detailed instructions to everyone leaving under IFR. It's designed to keep you away from the mountains to the west and east of the airport. If you're taking off to the south, left turn direct to the navigation aid (CONCORD, 117.0 CCR) then the PITTS transition has you fly east from there to meet the PITTS intersection.) From PITTS keep flying along V108 (an airway, which is just what it sounds like) to LODDI intersection, then direct to the Modesto navigation aid (MOD, which happens to be right at the airport:

Once we got to around the OAKEY intersection ATC cleared us to go direct to Modesto. We entered the clouds about halfway there and got into some heavy rain. The temp dropped to -1 C, and some light ice started building up on the airframe. I immediately informed ATC and they cleared us to drop from 5000 to 3000. The temp increased to 1 C, and the ice melted. Easy game. Here you can see some of the ice melting off the tire at 3000 after descending:
Ice coming off the tire

Before getting to Modesto we requested a Pilot Nav ILS approach for runway 28R:

The whole point of an ILS approach (or all of IFR, really) is to get you onto an approach course (below, it's the half shaded arrow looking thing) and safely bring you down to a few hundred feet so you can pop out of the clouds lined up for the runway. "Pilot Nav" means that instead of having ATC vector us into the approach course, we navigate ourselves by going direct from the northwest to the nav aid MOD (crossing at 3000ft) then outbound on the approach course (descending to 1800) then turning around and going inbound (descending to 288ft after crossing ZELAT). Below, you can see the top-down view at the top, and the profile view at the bottom.

After the approach we picked up a clearance to head back to concord using GPS: Modesto direct to REJOY at 6000ft for the LDA 19R approach into Concord. Again we picked up some ice and descended to 4000ft till we hit REJOY. You can't quite see the name REJOY in the below chart but it's the first waypoint going east to west.

The LDA approach into Concord is fairly simple, especially from REJOY. There is plenty of time to intercept the approach course and set up:

The following video starts just before REJOY over some windmills and clouds. At REJOY we are in thick clouds, with heavy rain and turbulence. Crossed REJOY at 4000ft, descended to 2500ft (you can see 2500 is the first altitude on the approach plate above). Left the clouds and kept flying west to join the approach course at JOAN intersection, and dropped to 1300. Now flying direct over the water into Concord. Once we hit the final approach fix (a marker beacon called KANAN that beeps when you fly over it) we descend to 380ft and go find the runway.

REJOY to KCCR LDA 19R

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