Good morning ladies and gentlemen!   In today’s blog, I will be talking about the flight I took with my CFII Matt last Thursday.  The weather was clear of clouds with lots of sunshine, but due to the fires burning around our region in the United States and Canada, things were a bit hazy and turbulent.  I preflighted N2436N, the C172R that was chosen for our lesson, and we started and got set up for a short local IFR flight from KMIC (Crystal, MN) up to KMGG (Maple Lake, MN).  The purpose of this lesson was to get me acclimated with the Bendix King on GPS approaches, while also working on resource and time management.

Here is the track log from the entire flight.  KMIC –> KMGG (VOR-A) –> KMIC (RNAV (GPS) RWY 14

We started out by taxiing from Thunderbird Aviation down Alpha and doing our Run-up on Delta preparing for a departure via runway 24R.  Something that I need to work on is really computing every frequency and details of the approach that I will be performing into the airplane so that once I am on the air and enroute to the destination I can stay focused on the task at hand of flying the airplane.  Whether you input all of the information from your approach plate into the airplane while sitting on the ramp, or on the run-up pad, it is important to reduce the amount of work that will be performed in the air if at all possible.

We took off on 24R and experienced a bit of rough air climbing up to 3,000′ MSL where I performed the cruise checklist and started to input the information for an approach into KMGG (Maple Lake) using the VOR-A Approach.   After grabbing the AWOS-3 weather information on 128.325, tuning into the DWN VOR on 109.0 and identifying the station, I briefed my plate by understanding how the MAP (Missed Approach Procedure) is executed and swapped to the Unicom frequency on 122.8.  We flew the approach from an IAF (Initial Approach Fix) of GEP VOR on 117.3 allowing us to perform a straight-in approach and not executing any kind of procedure turn.  I verified all of my MDA’s (Minimum Descent Altitudes) and introduced 10 degrees of flaps and pushed the nose down while reducing power for a 90 knot descent down to the MDA of 1,660′.   Something to note about this approach is that is is not a precision approach, it is a non-precision circling approach and depending on the winds, you must circle to land on the proper runway after flying it down to the MDA.   I flew the approach down and felt pretty good about how well I stayed on course and the rate that I descended down before going missed.  We did a different missed procedure than declared on the approach chart.  We climbed up to 3,000′ and I turned to heading 360 once I reached 2,200 feet.  We then turned towards the GEP VOR and flew direct.

VOR-A Approach into KMGG (Maple Lake, MN) 

While flying direct to the GEP VOR, we got set up for the RNAV (GPS) RWY 14L approach into KMIC (Crystal, MN) using the Bendix King.  The Bendix King is quite the machine… yes indeed… quite the machine… you spend a couple minutes getting the approach all programmed into the GPS and simply move to a different tab and BOOM!  Everything is GONE.  Yep, you have to be careful with how you multi-task on this GPS as it tries to be as inconvenient as possible.  I won’t talk too negatively about the Bendix King though as it works almost identical to say a Garmin 430 or 650 with the fact that a little red flag pops up on the annunciator panel next to the marker indicators and tells you when to start your turn to the next heading while also giving you an accurate ground track to further increase precision.   We set up the approach with the IAF being PIKAW intersection and flew at 3,000′ to the OYNOP Intersection before turning right to our FAF (Final Approach Fix) of ZUNBE.  We already received the ATIS information and understood that we would not be able to land on 14L so I planned on circling to land on 24L or 24R.  Upon sequencing the GPS all the way to ZUNBE, we flew the approach down to the circling minimums of 1,380′ at 90 knots and made a tight turn to the left to join a right downwind for 24R.  I performed a nice and smooth uneventful landing before taxiing down to Thunderbird and shutting down.

RNAV (GPS) RWY 14L  Approach into KMIC (Crystal, MN)

I found that this flight was very helpful and a good lesson learned about how important it is to get set up for the approach while on the ground instead of waiting until in the air where times will be busiest.  This flight was fun as I got to fly an approach into Maple Lake Airport, one of which I have never been to before.  (It is always fun to fly somewhere new and different in my mind!)  Hopefully everybody has had some good weather to fly in and improves their flights after lessons or cross-countries to become the best pilot you can be!

As always, clear skies and calm winds for all!  Please look forwards to more blogs in the future and follow, like and subscribe!  Add me on facebook if you have any questions or would like updates on when more blogs will be posted!

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