IFR Diary, Day 1: Friday, August 27
My friend Rick Lindstrom is letting us use his office at First Light
Productions at the Hayward airport for morning ground sessions and
for setting up my PC and simulator software.
Charles and I began by discussing basic IFR instruments--how they
worked, how to recognize and deal with their failure. Since he knew
I was already acquainted with basic IFR procedures and approach
plates, we reviewed the two approaches at Salinas. I use Jepp
plates, but NOS enroute charts. I planned a flight by phone to
Salinas and filed my first IFR flight plan. I'm feeling very grown-
In the airplane, I requested, copied, and read back my first
clearance. I slowed down the controller by saying "Ready to
copy...slowly." He then showed me how to work my way through the
airplane's equipment, setting it up for the clearance I had just
received. After punching in my squawk code, I set the transponder
to standby." Charles reached over and set it to Mode-C position.
Surprised, I said, "I've been taught that operating a transponder on
the ground interferes with the tower's radar." Here I got my first
taste of Charles' pragmatism. "Maybe it does. But only occasionally.
I'd rather have them tell me to turn it off twice a year than for me
to take off twenty times with it on standby."
Enroute, Charles handled the radios while I wrestled with course and
altitude. I flew the two approaches--ILS and VOR--miserably.
Despite dutifully reciting the famed 5 T's, I was always far behind
the airplane, and nothing seemed to go right, but what the heck, it
was my first try.
De-briefing over lunch Charles said an astonishing thing: he asked
me to drop the 5-T mantra. He says he stopped teaching it after he
noticed that when under pressure some students mindlessly recite the
5 T's--without doing any of them. That's the last we ever spoke of
the 5 T's.