MBDiagMan

Flying on Instruments with No PC

Recommended Posts

How many of you have flown an early Mooney with and without the positive control operational?  In other words with no autopilot at all?  It sure seems different than a Cessna. 

Edit: That is, flying them on instruments with and without Positive Control?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*Members that donate $10 or more do not see advertisements*

I did my IR in a C-172, steam gauges and no autopilot. I also use to fly my buddies M20C with no PC , not that much different 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How many of you have flown an early Mooney with and without the positive control operational?  In other words with no autopilot at all?  It sure seems different than a Cessna. 
Edit: That is, flying them on instruments with and without Positive Control?


I flew my F for the first 7 years with the PC system 90% non-operational. Including a fair amount of IFR flying. When it worked 10% of the time, it was okay for maintaining wings level. You still needed to make sure the plane was trimmed well and without the Accuflite stuff, it was not able to follow any course. Certainly much better than nothing.

Hand flying without it was fine as long as the plane was rigged correctly. Flying IFR was a bit more work but doable. Flying VFR it was a bit of nuisance when you were just sightseeing.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I flew my 1964 E for 7 years with no PC and no autopilot.  (E models before serial number 400 did not have the PC system installed.)

IMC flight in any turbulence was busy. I couldn’t look away from the AI for more than a few seconds to fold a chart (Historical note: IFR charts used to be printed on big sheets of paper) or tune the radios.  

In glassy smooth air it would stay on heading well for several minutes.   An occasional nudge to the yoke was needed to keep on assigned altitude.  

  • Like 2
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PC helps a lot, particularly if in any kind of turbulence.   If pc is inop, it’s still easier to hand fly than some other planes out there.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My 64E didn't have an auto pilot and I got my IR using it.  I flew  a number of IMC flights in it as well before hurricane Issac flooded it. 

Auto pilot is real nice to have but not a necessity.   I would use some caution in full overcast down to minimums but that goes even with an AP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I flew mine for years without working PC. Only until after going through an embedded buildup at night did I fix it. That was an intense several minutes of focusing on maintaining wings level and 120 mph in a climb to put as much distance between myself and the ground as possible; I was working full control deflection through a good part of it. I went through what I thought was a haze layer at 1300ft in the climb and came out of the side at 8500ft. 

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Flying a BFR with the PC is pretty funny when you do upset maneuvers.  Just wait for the plane to do it's think and you look like an expert.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our autopilot has been inop for almost a year now.  I've flown several long trips without it including IFR from S50 (Seattle area) to RPX (north of Billings), GFK (Grand Forks) to BIL (Billings) and just last week a short hop from S50 to RNT (Renton, WA) to pick up my Angel Flight passenger.  I also had to pick up an IFR clearance from about RKS (Rock Springs) to almost OGD (Ogden, UT) at which point I could cancel and continue VMC.

As others have said, not that hard to hand fly but it makes it much more demanding in turbulence and makes it harder to load an approach and review the approach plate.  In smooth air it's not that hard.  Just trim, trim, trim.  You should be able to take your hand off the yoke for 10 or 15 seconds with little or no change in altitude.  Then, when you have to look away from the panel rest your elbow on the armrest and hold the yoke with your fingertips.  If you look away while holding the yoke with a deathgrip you will most likely get to practice unusual attitude recoveries.

I flew 3300 hours in the Air Force, and only about 3 or 4 hours did I have and let the autopilot fly.  It's all a matter of what you are used to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

400 Hours of no-autopilot Cherokees before buying a Mooney C with an inop PC.  It seemed more stable than the Cherokee, flew a bit IFR, with no problems.  After 250 hours or so I repaired the PC.  Seemed like I had to pay more attention as I fiddled with the roll trim more than when it was hand flown.  I know it is a safety feature but in the next couple hundred hours questioned the wisdom of repairing the PC. I agree with others, trimmed properly the Mooney will tend to fly itself with a little nudge here and there. Then bought a Bonanza F33A with a Century I autopilot.  Was no better or worse than the PC. Okay, should have been better but it wasn't.  Hand flew the Bo 5300 hours in 24 years.  In that time I used the autopilot maybe a total of 10 hours.  Maybe not that much.  The Bo has lighter controls than a Mooney, pleasant to maneuver.  Straight and level for hours in cloud, not so much.  Every couple seconds you gotta use those very pleasant controls to remind it where you want to be.   Mooney definitely easier to hand fly.  Hand flying anything IFR for a year, you will be pretty sharp on instruments.  Flying on autopilot for a year, you will be pretty sharp at button pushing.  I read of people saying they would not fly IFR without an operating autopilot and I am concerned.  What happens when it quits, as it will at some point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A decade of M20C with no wing leveler....

Burn the fuel off the pilot side first...

Most of the wing leveling need was related to the pilot/copilot weight ratio... really.

A Mooney in stable air, can fly perfectly straight and stable...

In bumps anything is better than brand C... Some dihedral is a wonderful thing... :)

PP thoughts only,

-a-

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

got my IR in F with no PC.  Really wish I had PC.  One of these days Ill get it working.  I think I've had everything in the system rebuilt except the Turn Coor.  I honestly don't fly IFr except under the hood with my CFI to maintain currency (and I like to think proficiency) because I absolutely hate it.  It's still a huge workload to me even after 100 hour or so.  I'm to old to learn new trick ;P  Need auto pilot.  I trust computers.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Flying without a PC or auto pilot on a solid IFR trip is exhausting!  I owned my Mooney M20F for about 4 years, around 600 flight hours.  I made some long trips with some of them in solid IFR nearly the whole way.  The one trip that convinced me to spend to $$ on an autopilot was a flight from Washington DC to Georgetown, KY.  2.5 hours in soup without any horizon reference!  The autopilot saves your mental ability during cruise so you have plenty of bandwidth for the approach.  I still, however, fly my approaches by hand.  Not that I don't trust AUTO, I just like the challenge & satisfaction of flying a procedure.  Installed an STEC 30 system, 2 axis w/altitude hold -- money well spent!  To date, I've logged over 1400 hours in this bird!  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 63 C model with no autopilot, no wing leveler, no PC, nothing.  I have owned it for 12 years now.  Flown in solid IMC and benign in and out of the clouds.  Hand flown Approaches down to minimums.  

It is a stable airplane to fly in IMC.  But I am now going to get an autopilot as soon as one becomes reasonably priced and available for the C model.  As folks have said it would be nice to let the autopilot fly the majority of the flight so you have the brain power and energy left to fly a good approach.  Ending a long 4 hour cross country with an approach to minimums without the help of an autopilot can be tough and doing this over a course of a 12 year period, I kinda want to see how the other side lives. :)

However, the airplane is a good stable platform for IMC flight.  And the advent of the EFB and charts at your finger tips have helped a great deal.  It is much easier to pull up and electronic chart when needed then to flip through a paper book.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 61 C that had a PC system installed as an option. I have both the wing leveler and the pitch options. I have used it on occasion but the system needs to be rebuilt and brittian hasn't supported my system for a decade. my heading will wonder about 30 deg and the pitch is about 200 ft after trimming . because it doesn't hold very well i almost never use it, in fact I prefer not having it over the constant wing leveler on most mooneys. I limit the amount of hard IFR I fly because the PC system is not a help but it does not stop me from hand flying when I need to go IFR.

Brian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My D model never came with PC and still sports the factory "shotgun" panel with /A equipment (dual VORs and a DME).

I've got about 50 hours simulated under the hood and have no trouble whatsoever staring at gauges for up to 2 hours and holding wings level. I know it isn't the same when you're alone and in actual conditions, but I plan on flying my plane quite a bit with the factory panel as-is. My father and his father flew them as such. With ADS-B In and tablet at my fingertips, no reason it still can't be done in 2019. Some will agree, others will disagree and say you need a $100,000 panel to fly IFR. Just my $0.02

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Raptor05121 said:

My D model never came with PC and still sports the factory "shotgun" panel with /A equipment (dual VORs and a DME).

I've got about 50 hours simulated under the hood and have no trouble whatsoever staring at gauges for up to 2 hours and holding wings level. I know it isn't the same when you're alone and in actual conditions, but I plan on flying my plane quite a bit with the factory panel as-is. My father and his father flew them as such. With ADS-B In and tablet at my fingertips, no reason it still can't be done in 2019. Some will agree, others will disagree and say you need a $100,000 panel to fly IFR. Just my $0.02

I agree. My 64 panel is going to be double VOR with DME. I learned that way.  Add a tablet with terrain and ADS-B in, and you are light years ahead..not the same as having a Garmin 530 and LPV capability, but thats another $30k I didn’t have to spend on this old airframe. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My D model never came with PC and still sports the factory "shotgun" panel with /A equipment (dual VORs and a DME).

I've got about 50 hours simulated under the hood and have no trouble whatsoever staring at gauges for up to 2 hours and holding wings level. I know it isn't the same when you're alone and in actual conditions, but I plan on flying my plane quite a bit with the factory panel as-is. My father and his father flew them as such. With ADS-B In and tablet at my fingertips, no reason it still can't be done in 2019. Some will agree, others will disagree and say you need a $100,000 panel to fly IFR. Just my $0.02


I don’t think anyone said you can’t fly IFR without an AP or a 100AMU panel. Most of us began our IFR flying behind VORs, ADFs and LORAN-C. But once you begin flying long distances, in the soup, you’ll appreciate the relief a solid autopilot can provide. Add in high workload times such as re-routes or tough approaches and you’ll know why most of us consider an autopilot a highly desired capability in our class of airplane.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now