The RV-6 Instrument Check Ride experience by Anonymous
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We've all experienced failure before, haven't we?
After an hour of "ground school", answering questions on topics regarding IFR flying in general, as well as receiving pointers from the CFII, we went and got the RV-6 out of the hanger. He stated that he had heard these planes were not a very good IFR platform and I told him he was absolutely correct in one regard, however, the same responsiveness in an RV could be used in a positive mode just as well.
My plane has no auto pilot, wing leveler, or GPS. I have a "bare bones" instrument package consisting of a KX 155 Nav/Com with glide slope, three light marker beacon, AH, DG, whiskey compass, and the transponder. With these instruments, it is limited to certain approaches, but the CFII, after checking all of the documentation, said it was good to go.
After taking off, he told me to put the hood on when we were about 20 ft. off the ground. At 200 ft.he covered up the AH and told me to climb to 3, 500 ft., and continued to give me heading changes, ect. as we climbed. Flying on partial panel is one of my main criteria for flying on instruments. I had asked him to "put me to the test" on partial panel.
He kept me on partial panel and had me contact "approach control" at the airport where we were heading to shoot an ILS. He had me fly the partial panel during the ILS which, of course, had my brain overheating at times. After that he took off the cover over the AH and I felt the weight lifted off of my brain! After the "missed approach" we went to a VOR and entered a holding pattern for four "laps". We were flying at 3, 500 ft. MSL, and the winds were 28 kts. at 3, 000 ft. that day. He had me adjust my "legs" of the pattern so the entire circuit would take the 4 minutes to do.
After leaving the "hold", we did a non precision back course, with the FAF point being established with the localizer and a VOR radial. With only one VOR head, needless to say, I was very busy finding the FAF. The needle never deflected enough to execute a "missed approach", but it came close a couple of times.
So, now I had been in the air about 1 hr., of which about half of it had been partial panel work. We had "shot" a precision approach and one non precision approach. Only one left to go. The final non precision approach he had me do was a VOR to an airport along our route back home. With the use of the AH and a VOR approach, I was feeling confident with the "check ride". We did the last approach with no problem and he let me take the hood off and I couldn't believe how nice a day it was out. Everything looked a little brighter than usual, and of course, I felt good because I had passed the dreaded check ride.
The last 15 minutes or so I let the CFII fly the plane and told him to enjoy himself. He flies corporate jets for Motorola and really enjoyed flying the RV. He had never been in one before and was very impressed with the lightness of it's controls and quick responsiveness.
We landed and he signed me off for my Prof. Check. When I asked how much I owed him for an hour on the ground and 1 1/2 hrs. in the air he said $50.00. I couldn't believe it, what a deal. He said actually it may end up costing him about $50, 000 or so because now he had to look into building one of these RVs!!
In conclusion, I feel better about flying IFR in an RV, and will do so now with more confidence. They obviously have their limitations (ice, etc.), but there is no reason with proper training and basic instrumentation, these nice little traveling machines can't be used for IFR traveling.
I encourage you "RV people" (as we are called at our airport by some) to not be skeptical of these planes for IFR work. The quick responsiveness that main seem like a negative can also be seen as a positive when flying in IMC conditions.
These little planes are like the girls we used to date. Some you can take home to "mother", and others you took out for a "good time". This plane accomplishes both tasks very well!!
Krusty the Klown