Monday, June 04, 2012

Fish Cab

Centre releases me "for an approach" at an uncontrolled airport with no FSS on the field. I always feel like I'm playing around in Microsoft Flight Simulator when this happens. Ooh, what approach shall I fly? How shall I transition to it? Why does this feel like it shouldn't be legal? We're actually visual, but I don't do a lot of instrument approaches, so I need to fly them when I don't have to now and then to stay safe and legal for the rare times I need them.

There's an NDB approach to one end and a GNSS (Canadian for GPS) to the other. The wind is pretty much straight across the field, so I can pick either one. I'd pick the NDB, because NDB tracking is fun, especially on a windy day like this, but I got my NOTAMs like a good little pilot this morning and I recall that the NDB was NOTAMed unserviceable. The GNSS it is. I'm too high when I turn on, and remain too high and too fast for any kind of controlled approach until about two hundred feet and then do that thing I learned to do when I frequented an airport with a lot of military traffic where the controllers frequently asked me to maintain an approach speed higher than my gear speed: I plummet towards the runway until about two hundred feet agl, then pull up my nose to bleed speed. I climb, but when I lower my nose again I'm going 120 kts, with the gear and two notches of flaps deployed, ready to land. The boss says he's impressed. I feel guilty. It's a silly trick, and not a substitute for a well-planned descent, but for operational reasons were overhead the airport at 16,500' when we began our descent, and I really have to pee. The regs say I need six approaches to minima: doesn't say anything about them needing to be GOOD approaches. I promise to to better ones later.

The airplane is very easy to handle in a crosswind and crosswind landings are usually a non-event, with only the tiniest delay between contact for the into wind and out of wind wheels, even on those days where ATC volunteers two separate wind checks on final.

This airport is has a little chain hanging from posts near the parking lot to keep you from driving your car onto the apron, but no more significant airport security. That kind of town. We call a cab. It shows, eventually, according to the local definition of "right away." As the driver unlocks the trunk for us, I see a Christian fish symbol on the car. I don't have a problem with religious symbols on my cabs. In Vancouver they all seem to have Sikh symbols on them. But this fish turns out to have a greater significance. A strong fishy odour emanates from the back of the cab. I guess the last customers were up here fishing. The back seat has the same redolence. Apparently a passenger left behind a very small box of bait fish and it took a few days after the smell started for them to find it down the back of the trunk. Most of their fares don't use the trunk. The cab driver is telling this story as if the smell is in the past tense, but it's still very much present. Her nose must be just inured to it.

1 comment:

david said...

Back in 2003, my instructor told me I could log approaches in VMC without a view-limiting device against my 6, but the CARS don't seem to agree:

"401.05(3) b. within the six months preceding the flight, acquired six hours of instrument time and completed six instrument approaches to the minima specified in the Canada Air Pilot in an aircraft, in actual or simulated instrument meteorological conditions ..."