Pilot in Command

The hour building is moving along…..slowly though. Recent weather has been un-cooperative to say the least! Low freezing levels, low cloud, 50 knot + winds from the Nor’west, CB’s & TCU’s. Not a good place to be in an un-pressurised, non-deiced light twin. Monday was suitable so I flew to New Plymouth and back. Friday was so-so, good enough for a VFR flight to The Brothers in the Cook Strait. Finger’s crossed I can get a bit more done this week

.Here’s some video from an earlier flight to Nelson and back.


MEIR Renewal.

I got my MEIR way back in 2003 at Nelson. It was in a PA34 Seneca II (ZK-JDH) and the route was NZNS-TR-PP where I did an NDB/DME approach and then back to Nelson for a VOR approach. Skip forward to last week where I renewed my MEIR in a DA42 (ZK-MTR) as part of the upgrade training to Multi Instructor. The route was the now familiar PM-HA (RNAV)-PM (VOR), the route I used for the TEA renewal last year and I’ve also instructed IFR on several times, so no surprises.

Next step is to get 25 hours pilot in command multi in time for the Multi Instructor flight test in August. I’ve made a small dent in that by flying to Nelson and back earlier this week. There and back in 2.3 hours.


After a long time waiting I am finally doing a Multi Instructor Rating. The good news came about a month ago and my flight test date is August 1st. What’s involved?

  1. DA42 type rating DONE 3rd June
  2. Multi Engine Instrument Rating renewal Three flights to go
  3. Get 25 hours P in C multi
  4. Learn Multi Briefings and lessons
I will keep my blog updated as I progress.

‘Round the Block’ TEA-style.

I finally got my Technically Enhanced Aircraft (TEA) instrument rating on October 6th. As I already held an instrument rating this would be a renewal. In order to get use of the ILS at RNZAF Ohakea we had to be airborne by 0700 which meant an 0600 report to flightplan, refuel and pre-flight. No student to do that for me as I was the student! The plan was:


Flight time was just over an hour and a half, no alternate required and as it was just me and the examiner I had the tanks filled up. RAIM forecasts-checked, Jeppesen NAVDATA alerts-checked, off we went.

A short climb out on the RWY 25A7 SID I was vectored straight away for the RWY27 ILS at NZOH.

At 4000ft we were just skimming the top of a layer of stratus, I wish I’d had a camera. I selected Vector-to-final on the MFD as we were cleared for our first ILS. This was to be a fully automated approach. The GFC700 took us down to DA + 100ft where I disengaged and hand flew to DA. Then it was right-thumb on the Go-Around button as we commenced the missed approach.

One lap of the missed approach hold and then one more ILS but this time hand flown. I say hand flown but I did have the use of the Flight Director. Down to DA again, this time we wnet to Wanganui (NZWU) for the GNSS RWY29. This is a short leg so my fingers were furiously loading a flight plan OH-WU and then loading and activating the approach. Again, the GFC700 was doing a great job as I figured out the approach.

This approach was flown on the GFC700 to MDA +100ft and then in the missed approach I got our clearance back to PM via FOXTN at 6000ft.  I requested the RWY07 VOR/DME circling for RWY25, one I’ve done many times before. Again, the G1000 & GFC700 did a fantastic job flying the plane while I got the ATIS, briefed the approach and configured the VNAV.

Back on the ground and now renewed/technically enhanced. Now I’m ready to teach IFR in the DA40. Bring it on!

Let’s get Technically Enhanced.

The Warrior’s are a thing of the past. So are ADF’s and DME’s. It’s all Garmin G1000 from now on.

I’ve flown around 100 hours VFR in the DA40 now, instructing the new Scenario Based Training syllabus. We’re now at a stage where the IFR Instructors (me included) need to be instrument rated on the G1000 to teach the next phase which will be a mix of VFR CPL handling and IFR training, on the same flight. An example might be fly to New Plymouth VFR, including Lost Procedures, FLWOP, Low Flying, Max Rate Turns etc, stop for coffee (alright!) and then back to Palmerston North on an IFR plan with a GNSS approach at Wanganui and a VOR/DME at Palmerston North.

As the DA40 is equipped with the G1000 it is considered a Technically Enhanced Aircraft for IFR purposes. This means specific training and a flight test and endorsement in order to fly IFR. I started this training a couple of weeks ago.  Thus far I’ve had a few sessions on the G1000 Desktop Trainer and one flight (round the block). I’m hugely impressed with the G1000 VFR but IFR is just amazing. No more chasing dodgy ADF needles! It does bring a few new things to the mix though. We check RAIM forecasts before filing the flightplan, also NAVDATA Alerts from Jeppessen. RAIM is checked again prior to commencing an approach to ensure appropriate satellite geometry for the approach. The GFC700 Auto Flight Control System (autopilot in old speak) does a fantastic job of flying in VFR condition but under the IFR it’s incredible! Engaged above 1000ft after airborne and disengaged at MDA/DA +100 ft. It’s a paradigm shift from hand flying raw data to managing systems. A bit of a learning curve!

Next flight is to Hawera (NZHA) for a GNSS approach then missed to Wanganui (NZWU), another GNSS approach and back to Palmy for a VOR/DME. The final dual flight is to Ohakea (NZOH) for a few ILS’s followed by a GNSS back into Palmy. More entries to follow.

Halftime check.

The first half of 2010 is over. A quick update of my logbook and productivity sheets yields how busy (or not!) I’ve been so far. It goes like this:

Flying Hours: 97.00 hours

Simulator: 121.00 hours

Duty Instructor: 99 hours

Far too much time on the ground! Let’s hope the last half of 2010 is more productive for my logbook……