At first I was a little reluctant to post this here because I didn't think it was worth anyone's time, and a lot of our knowledgeable members left, but to hell with it, I'm posting it anyways.
I had my Stage II
IFR check yesterday, and it epitomized the rule of thumb that "once one thing goes wrong, the rest of the flight goes to hell." I was definitely prepared for it, because my previous flight with my CFII
went fine, I shot some nice approaches, fine holds, everything was ready to go. I spent the week cramming for the Oral portion, and I knew every detail about the ILS system, down to the distance down the runway the glideslope unit lies. I was ready to nail this one.
We flew before the oral (which, much to my chagrin, was only 5 minutes). After departing, we swung over to shoot the VOR-A approach into a local airport. I've done this numerous times before, but, for some reason I was just so nervous this time. Obviously, I was on a stage check, so naturally you'd expect to be a little nervous, but this time, I was just overly nervous. The cockpit atmosphere wasn't at ease, I'll put it that way. What was to follow was the absolute most stupidest mistake I've ever made as a pilot. One mistake that could have been potentially dangerous, let alone downright embarrassing.
I was instructed by ATC to fly a heading to intercept the VOR approach course. I flew the heading, tuned in the approach course before hand, but for some reason, and I still
cannot figure out exactly why, other than maybe being too nervous and not thinking straight, I just sat there, and watched the needle swing by. I blew past the approach course on a vector, but for some reason I was waiting for a "from" flag on the VOR display so I could turn inbound (I thought I was tracking a radial instead of a vector). After full deflection she asked me what I was doing, and I said I was waiting for a FROM indication. At this point I was so confused that I shouldn't have even been in the air. She said "No" and yanked the control to the right and I'm sitting here trying to figure out what I did wrong (because I am so confused at this point), I twisted to OBS to center the needle to figure out what radial I was on and was told again "No" and that I don't know "what the hell (you're) doing," which at that point I totally agreed with her.
So now I've been snapped at, I'm horribly confused, and it takes me a little while to figure out exactly what I did wrong. If I was just told "dude you're blowing past the course" I would have immediately figured out what I did. So now at this point I'm not flying anymore and I finally come to and realize what I did wrong, and am so embarrassed, and just absolutely pissed at the stupidity of the error and the fact that I've never done anything like this before...ever, and I just totally resign and was about to just say you know what I can't fly right now because I'm just going to waste money, and was going to just take the plane back. But I just kept going for some reason.
So I ended up finishing off that approach, then shooting another few which were fine, then shooting a VOR hold, and then, I was to shoot a partial panel intersection hold at some made up intersection, and while I was programming the VOR's and figuring out where I was (Intersection holds are probably my weakness in IFR stuff), I blew past it. So I then I had to turn around and re-intercept it, and I entered it, but my wind correction work stunk (I had trouble picturing the WC
angles without my DG
) and I had had enough at that point anyways.
On approach back to the home airport, at minimums, I looked out under the hood and began my flare. At that exact moment, 5 seconds before I land, I hear "Don't land hard, now, it screws up the instruments." Well...guess what I did after I heard that?
Sometimes, times like this, I just feel like maybe I'm not cut out for this. But other times, after great flights, I feel like I'm made for it. I've never screwed up on a stage-check or a checkride before, ever. This definitely humbled me, and I got maybe a couple hours of sleep last night trying to figure out what the hell happened up there, because none of that should have happened.
It wasn't just some mistake. Not like I forgot to time the ILS. It was a simple "intercept" which I do a million times each flight, that I screwed up on, because my mind was in the clouds (no pun intended). And it was a pretty big mistake (which is what really, really bothers me. A big, stupid mistake).
Well that's that, I'm going to go nap this off I feel like total crap today. I'll see you guys soon.
[Edited 2004-07-09 02:03:16]