AFSP 013 – Week 11: The 250 Nautical Mile IFR required flight

Take a moment and read 14 CFR part 61.65 (d)(2)(ii)(A, B, and C).  Just kidding, no one is going to do that.  But if you did, you would see that one requirement to take your Instrument Rating Check Ride is to perform a flight 250 nautical miles or longer filed as IFR, an instrument approach at each airport, and three different kinds of approaches.  So, our school actually has a predefined route for this for each location and ours takes us from North Las Vegas to Needles, then to Bullhead City, and finally back to North Las Vegas where we completed ILS, LOC, and GPS approaches (it’s okay if those terms mean nothing to you).  The first segment is the longest but that’s fine because Needles has an interesting approach – Coming in from the north at a high altitude, we had to perform the procedure turn and holding pattern to lose altitude for the approach.  Leaving Needles was the same but in reverse.  We had to follow the Departure Procedure and enter the holding pattern to gain altitude to depart the area.  Great practice with crosswinds in a holding pattern!  Bullhead was pretty simple and we stopped there for gas and to eat lunch.  The flight back to Vegas is always interesting.  We had a hard time receiving Las Vegas Approach and one of the other CFIs at our school was closer and heard us on the radio.  They acted as an intermediary and helped us out.  Way to go guys!  As we crossed over the hills around Vegas, we had a sudden wind shear.  This is exactly why you are always hands on the yolk when flying.  If I wasn’t holding on and immediately correcting, we would have hit at least a 45 degree bank or more.  But I’m a good pilot – not today, wind!  Finishing of this week will consist of more SIMs and maybe another flight to shoot another approach – we flew to St. George to shoot the GPS approach.  I struggled on this one and we had to circle to land which was good practice.