Today was packed with excitement—a tornado touched down inside of Vancouver, and at Pearson Field an instructor from Hillsboro encountered a flock of birds, 6 of which struck his plane, smashed through the windshield and covered him with dead goose. It was dark, cold, rainy, cloudy, windy, and turbulent for my 13th IFR lesson, but despite all of these bad omens I went flying.

SPB LOC/DME RWY 15 Profile

We departed via the SCAPO Four departure to the north, and after requesting the full procedure for the Localizer/DME Runway 15 approach in Scappoose, ATC vectored us to EXRAY interesection 11 miles out on the Localizer. I performed a course reversal using the holding pattern at EXRAY, entering with a Teardrop pattern, then intercepting the localizer inbound. There are 5 step-down fixes (including the FAF) on the LOC/DME RWY 15 approach in Scappoose, so I was busy with the throttle. The approach was pretty much perfect—there were no real noticeable deviations from the expected altitudes or course centerline. At 0.9 DME I executed the missed approach, switched back to Portland Approach’s frequency, and followed their vectors back towards Hillsboro.

The return flight was turbulent enough to compel us to report the conditions as moderate turbulence to ATC. After intercepting the localizer for the ILS at Hillsboro, the turbulence continued. My airspeed was fast on the ILS, and I had a very difficult time keeping the glide-slope needle centered. In hindsight my power corrections were too dramatic, so I ended up chasing the glide-slope pretty much all the way to the decision altitude (DA). That was probably my worst ILS approach so far; definitely not good enough for the check-ride! I floated and floated down runway 12 as I bled off our excess airspeed, then landed ok. A pretty uneventful flight, but good practice nonetheless. I have 17.2 hours of simulated instrument time and 4.5 hours of actual instrument time, which means that at the moment I’m a little over half-way through the 40 hour time requirement. Still a long way to go!

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