I could almost feel the excitement I felt during my instrument training. I waited for IMC days, so I could get some actual instrument flying experience. Not that I was hoping for IMC weather for my flying, I wanted it pristine and clear VFR, so I could get checked out in one of my favorite aircraft.
Forecast didn’t look good… Marginal with ceilings at 1,700ft. This briefly cleared to make the airport VFR and prompted me to make the trek there.
But as expected, things were in a soup by the time I rolled into the airport. It started raining, the clouds hung thick, dark and gloomy.
My instructor had suggested that we could checkout the aircraft, pre-flight and by then if things were still soupy, we could shoot some approaches. While I was disappointed, I wouldn’t be able to finish my checkout that day, still, I, felt excited to get some actual IMC flying.
It was raining, cloudy and all kind of soupy weather. I had never flown this aircraft. I am still trying to figure out where everything is, how much control forces to use for it to respond. I fly the G1000 so often, that I am used to the nice GPS moving map with the trajectory showing me exactly where I was relative to where I wanted go.
No G1000 here, but this was fully loaded aircraft. Everything excellently organized. It had traffic, weather and even a stratus antenna ready for use. All external accessiories, but ready for use.
The first hiccup arrived as we awaited release. An aircraft had departed just ahead of us, with the similar plans to shoot practice approaches. So we were asked to hold in the run up area indefinetely, while the airspace cleared and they could accommodate another aircraft to fly practice approaches.
We were running out of time, since my instructor had another student in less than an hour and we still hadn’t departed. Fortunately we requested an approach to our home base airport, without departing the area as an alternative and we were able to get it. Soon we were off and told to maintain runway heading and climb to 2,000ft.
The Grumman Tiger control feels very different from the typical Cessna 172 I am used to flying. It took a while to figure out how much to turn, how to adjust the power to maintain the altitude, how to not be distracted and turn when I shoudn’t. After all, we were in a soup, airspace is crazy out here and I don’t need as well as want to bust the airspace where I fly.
As we were vectored to intercept the localizer back in to the airport, i learned how to set up the autopilot to track the heading and altitude, how to input the approach procedure, brief the approach and get established on the ILS. With appropriate power settings, trim and flaps and partly assisted by the autopilot, flying back in was a breeze and landing not bad.
Typical training aircraft include Cessna and Pipers. More recently Cirrus and Diamonds have invaded. It is rare to find a Grumman on a flight school list of aircraft.
I have always longed to own a Grumman Tiger, AA-5B. I am glad my flight school has procured one for it’s flight line. Can’t wait to complete the checkout, so I can have some fun flying experiences in it and decide if it is the one for me!