All pilots know that when you are flying the number one priority is to “Fly the airplane first,” AVIATE. Next on the list of priorities is to know where you are, NAVIGATE. Finally, rounding out your responsibilities is COMMUNICATE or using the radios to talk to ATC (Air Traffic Control) or in the case of flying into or out of a non-towered field talking to other planes to announce your position. On this particular flight I had one and two nailed down, but there were a few times I missed number three.
I was able to pull the ATC tape from part of the flight and have included the audio of my communications with ATC. It is sliced up and sections of either silence or communications with other aircraft have been left out.
Flight 21 – July 19th
I have the IFR Cross Country requirement out of the way so the only thing that is left is building IFR time and honing skills. So, with clear blue skies and not a cloud to be seen it was back under the foggles for a round robin trip of approaches to Corona (KAJO), Chino (KCNO), and back to Fullerton (KFUL). It is a great practice route. It requires a procedure turn for the approach into KAJO which is basically a GPS overlay of the VOR approach, followed by an LPV approach into KCNO and then an LNAV approach back to KFUL.
I had used the autopilot for two of the three legs on the cross country while hand flying all approaches. This flight it would be all hand flown. The autopilot is amazing, but for building those skills and stretching abilities the recipe is hand flying.
Fullerton Ground got us set up with a squawk code for flight following and after taking off the tower handed us off to SoCal Approach. We were cleared on our “own nav” meaning we could fly to KAJO by whatever route we wanted. When we were handed off to the next controller I checked in and requested the GPS-A approach into Corona.
Me: “SoCal Approach, Mooney 78878, three-thousand one hundred and would like the GPS Alpha practice approach into Corona.”
SoCal: “November 78878, SoCal Approach, roger, maintain VFR I’ve got no information for Corona, practice approach approved, altimeter two-niner-niner-six.”
Me: “Practice approach approved, two-niner-niner-six, 878.”
I flew the outbound leg and as I was beginning my turn SoCal called up.
SoCal: “Mooney 878, are you inbound?”
SoCal: “Mooney 878, roger, radar services terminated, squawk VFR, have a good day.”
Me: “We would like to go missed and come back around for an approach at Chino.”
SoCal: “Mooney 878, roger, then stay on your squawk, frequency change approved, be advised on the go proceed westbound back to me.”
Me: “Alright, frequency change approved, we’ll keep the squawk, on the go we’ll head westbound and back to you, 878.”
I got slowed down on the inbound leg, dropped the gear prior to the FAF (Final Approach Fix) and made the turn toward the airport. Everything was going well, I was flying the plane (AVIATE), I knew exactly where I was on the approach (NAVIGATE), but what was that third thing? We were almost to the MDA over the airport when I realized I had not made any position calls on the radio. There wasn’t any other traffic on the radio and my CFII was letting me fly along until I realized my mistake. I made the position call, that we were going missed and heading westbound.
Once I had the gear up and was climbing out I switched back over to SoCal to check in. There happened to be a Cessna out of Riverside that was flying the VOR-A into KAJO behind us and SoCal had given him the same instructions to fly westbound on the go. Listening to the recording he repeated back the instructions but for whatever reason flew something different when he went missed which would result in a chiding from ATC.
(I have edited out all the calls not related to our flight.)
Me: “SoCal Approach, Mooney 78878, two-thousand four-hundred.”
SoCal: “Mooney 78878 SoCal Approach, roger, altimeter 29.96 and you wanted a Chino approach now?”
Me: “We’d like the RNAV 26 Right into Chino.”
We continued on the 270 heading for a couple minutes waiting for ATC’s next instruction.
SoCal: “Mooney 878, turn right heading zero-niner-zero, vectors for a Chino approach.”
Me: “Right heading zero-niner-zero, 878.”
After a couple more minutes:
SoCal: “Mooney 878, what is the approach request?”
Me: “The RNAV 26R.”
SoCal: “Mooney 878, roger, start a VFR climb to three-thousand five hundred.”
Me: “Climbing three-thousand five hundred, 878.”
SoCal: “Mooney 878, traffic is a Cessna not doing what he’s supposed to at your 12:30 and a mile an a half, he’s north I guess turning north-east bound indicating 2,400 climbing.”
Me: “Alright looking for the traffic, 878.”
Cessna: “SoCal Approach, Cessna 55291, just off Corona back to with you to Paradise climbing through 2,600.”
SoCal: “Cessna five-five-two-niner-one SoCal Approach, you’re not doing what you’re supposed to you’re supposed to be westbound on the go. Maintain VFR at or below three thousand there’s traffic above you at 3,500.” (We’re that traffic)
Cessna: “Maintain at or below three thousand, 55291.”
My CFII said he had the Cessna in sight so I let SoCal know and we continued on the current heading at 3,500′.
SoCal: “Mooney 878, fly heading zero-six-zero.”
Me: “Zero-six-zero, 878.”
SoCal: “Mooney 878, turn left heading 360.”
Me: “Left heading 360, 878.”
About a minute later he gave us our last vector and clearance to fly the approach.
SoCal: “Mooney 878, seven miles from the final approach fix, turn left heading two-niner-zero, maintain VFR, practice approach approved.”
Me: “Left heading two-niner-zero, practice approach approved, 878.”
A minute and a half later we were turned over to Chino Tower. Again, I was doing great with AVIATE, NAVIGATE, but earlier missed the part of COMMUNICATE. I should have told him that we were going missed when he first asked what approach I wanted at Chino. Earlier when he asked me what approach I was requesting I could have said RNAV 26R into Chino followed by missed approach.
SoCal: “Mooney 878, contact Chino Tower, have a good night.”
Me: “Switching to Tower, 878.”
We continued the approach which went well, went missed, and because we still had our squawk code just went back to SoCal to pick up flight following into Fullerton. We were cleared for our own navigation and altitude so my CFII played the part of ATC and gave me vectors onto the final for the RNAV 24 approach into KFUL.
It was a good flight. After a long break between shooting back to back to back approaches I was happy that I wasn’t behind the plane, chasing needles. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post there were a few times I missed the COMMUNICATE part of the equation, but I just need more practice. Overall things are coming together, about 23 hours into it with another 17 hours to go.