Thank you to the controllers

Thank you to the controllers

Postby mh81 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:01 pm

If any of the PilotEdge controllers see this, please pass it along to the other controllers.

I just took and passed my instrument checkride today, and being able to practice with PilotEdge was a huge help. I'm sure that having to deal with instrument students who don't get things right all the time can be frustrating. You've all been very patient, and made a huge difference in getting me to this point. I would definitely recommend you to any instrument students I run into.

Thanks again, and keep up the good work!

- Marc
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Re: Thank you to the controllers

Postby Keith Smith » Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:22 pm

Congratulations! How did the ride go? What sort of things did you practice on the network which you found to be helpful for your r/w training?
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Re: Thank you to the controllers

Postby mh81 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:57 am

The checkride went really smoothly. The only “that could have been really bad” mistake that I made was that, when setting up for the the ILS approach, I dialed in the ILS, ID’d it, dialed in the VOR for the missed approach and ID’d that, then forgot to toggle back to the ILS frequency on Nav 1. Fortunately I had the second nav radio and the GPS set up for the approach, so I noticed the difference between the CDI deflections and caught my mistake well before localizer intercept. Every other time I’ve been in that situation I’ve ID’d the missed approach VOR after going missed, but I was trying too hard to be perfect, got out of my normal routine, and almost screwed up. Other than that, everything went really well.

PilotEdge was really helpful in a number of ways. The obvious one is that it helped me get over mic fright and get comfortable talking to controllers. It also helped me with approach clearances. Most other coms I was alright with in the real world, but I would lock up when being cleared for an approach. Being able to practice a lot of those in the sim was really helpful.

The bigger way that PilotEdge was helpful was that, with the variety of situations, clearances, and communications that I could experience, I was able to make a lot of mistakes and learn from them. It would have taken a lot longer to gain that experience in the real world, and the stakes would have been higher. I make mistakes on every flight but, fortunately, I eventually learn from them. Off the top of my head, some of the mistakes that I’ve learned from in PilotEdge:

- I was cheating a bit and not fully briefing the missed approach. In training, I typically knew if I was going missed or not and would anticipate it. In the sim, I had set the weather up myself, so I also knew if I was going missed or not. The other night I screwed up the weather, had to go missed unexpectedly, and was suddenly flying the airplane, read and understand the missed procedures, and trying to communicate my intentions with the controller. I’m definitely doing a better job of thinking through the missed approach after that experience.

- I hadn’t realized it but, when I copied a clearance, I was using “V” for both “via” and “radar vectors”. That bit me the other night when I was given a clearance for radar vectors to a radial but, when I flew it, I read the clearance as “via” and turned onto the radial when I intercepted it rather than being fully vectored onto it. I now make sure to write “RV” or “via” when I copy my clearance. (As they’re reading this, some PE controller is thinking, “oh, this guy is N47406.”)

- It was really helpful to get practice at copying down and reading back clearances

- PE gave me a much wider variety of routes, clearances, and situations than I got from flying around my local area. As an example, I flew the departure procedure out of KWHP the other night, where you have to intercept a radial, fly outbound until reaching 4,600’, then fly inbound until you reach your MEA. I took that to my instructor and asked, “what if I reach 4,600’ before reaching that outbound radial? What if I reach MEA before reaching that outbound radial?” It gave me a lot more questions to ask my instructor, rather than seeing that situation for the first time in the real world.

I’m sure there were other ways that it helped too, but I’m sure people have stopped reading by this point anyway. So, thanks again to PilotEdge and the controllers. It saved me a lot of money and made me a much better pilot.
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Re: Thank you to the controllers

Postby Keith Smith » Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:02 am

Thanks for taking the time to share that, it's interesting stuff. Rest assured, I made it through to the end! We have some preconceptions/opinions about the utility of PE when it comes to instrument training and on-going proficiency, but there is no substitute to hearing users' direct experiences. We never know when a use-case, benefit or even a drawback will rear its head that we hadn't previously considered.

I had to laugh a little bit at the first paragraph, btw. The number of times I've shot myself in the foot by doing something differently than my normal working flow, only to have it bite me in the butt 5 minutes later is astounding. So, know that you're not alone there.

It's interesting that you were relaxed on your missed approach briefings. TBH, that's something your instructor should've caught early on....there's really not much wiggle room there except for very niche cases such as some Part 121 operators who have the published missed excluded from their op specs (fascinating, but not really relevant to normal instrument training). The pitfalls of briefing a missed only if you plan on going missed are pretty obvious when you start to look at real world IFR flying where not every missed is intended. As such, you really do have to brief the missed 100% of the time, even in cases where you know that airport tends to use a vectored missed which overrides what's published, etc.

Not knowing at least the first portion of the missed during what is already a busy time (going around in bumpy IMC on an unexpected missed is the most challenging IFR task I can think of) is not somewhere you want to be, but it sounds like you've already conquered that issue.

Good stuff, thanks again for posting!
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Re: Thank you to the controllers

Postby mh81 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 9:46 am

It's interesting that you were relaxed on your missed approach briefings. TBH, that's something your instructor should've caught early on


I think that being lazy about briefing the missed approach had a lot to do with flying in the sim, where I set the weather. When I would fly with an instructor, I would just assume that we were going missed (since we did 90% of the time), and I would brief it properly. In the sim, I would know if the weather that I had configured would let me get in or if I would be going missed. If I thought that I was going to make it, then I would get lazy about briefing the missed approach. It would be nice if there was a way in X-Plane 11 to add a little randomness to the weather. “Cloud bases at X, plus or minus a couple hundred feet” or “visibility Y, plus or minus a mile.” That would add some helpful uncertainty.

The value in this situation was that I had the opportunity (in the sim) to end up way behind the airplane because of an insufficient approach brief, experience how quickly the situation goes bad, and learn from it without actually being 200’ AGL in the real world. It’s really valuable to be able to make stupid mistakes and learn from them without my life or license being on the line.
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Re: Thank you to the controllers

Postby Kevin_atc » Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:47 am

Hey mh81- check your private messages on the forums, please!
Kevin
PilotEdge Marketing
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