IFR Diary, Day 1: Friday, August 27

Lesson One

     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.

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